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Andrewz00 04-16-2010 12:21 PM

precautions of going larger...
so as some of you know im setting up my 90 tomorrow!

we have also been house shopping.... at what point do i have to start reinforcing the floor? what if its a co-op / condo and there are people below us?

melosu58 04-16-2010 12:48 PM

You`ll probably need to get the structual or engineering plans.

BigJim 04-16-2010 12:58 PM


I figure a running aquarium weighs roughly 10lb per gallon. There's a safety factor built in there, but it's better to go conservative.

VonUberReefer 04-16-2010 01:02 PM

No basement?

Andrewz00 04-16-2010 01:06 PM


Originally Posted by VonUberReefer (Post 1098941)
No basement?

we are currently in a basement apartment... thats why we are looking.. we are tired of having bearly any windows!

the places we are looking at are "garden apartments" (co-ops/condos)... if we get a first floor, i suppose i could make friends with the owners and reinforce the floor.... but if we get a second floor, i doubt the people living below us would want columns running through their living room.... somehow i dont think they would understand...

kc27 04-17-2010 07:45 PM

This article at the link below seemed to be a throrough discussion of all the things you need to consider.. The author states at the beginning of the article that he is a structural engineer.

Smitty 04-18-2010 09:56 AM

Personally, I don't think anything shy of 200+ will make much of an impact as you are spreading the weight out over the floor. Think about it this way, how many people worry about adding a water bed?

Of course, that is just IMO... if you are moving into an old house, one with possible wood rot or termites, that of course changed everything!

jcarlilesiu 04-26-2010 01:44 PM

You are looking at about 1000 pounds there with the tank full and filter and stand. This is significant weight in an area which has a pretty small footprint. Most 90 gallons are 48" across and 18 inches deep. Doing a little bit of simple math, you can expect a load of about 166 pounds per square foot of floor area.

That is going to be well in excess of the designed limit which is between 40-60 pounds per foot for residential construction. The closer you place the tank to an exterior or load bearing wall the better. Placing a heavy point load like an aquarium mid-span is where the real problems are since the floor will deflect considerably under the weight.

The reinforcing necessary most likely won't be a column, but rather additional joists to carry the load of the aquarium to the column/foundation or other structural component. These components would not have to be considered under most circumstances. As stated above, the floor is designed to carry 60 pounds per foot, thus a 300 square foot room is designed to put 18,000 square feet of load on the structural members. Your aquarium doesn't weigh that much in the whole scheme of things.

Aquariums however are much different than water beds as previously stated. Aquariums are point loads moreso than a water bed, meaning that their load is isolated to one particular location whereas a water bed has the load over a much larger area. For this reason, its spreads the load to more of the 60 pounds per square foot than an aquarium would.

Keep in mind that reinforcing an already built and concealed building is quite destructive in nature. You CAN access the joists from the top, in your own unit. You also have the option to spread the load out more by building a bigger frame for the aquarium to sit on.

I would be happy to help you anyway that I can, just send me a PM if you are interested.

Oh, and by the way I am an Architect, and what I have said in no way makes me liable for damages that may be caused by installation of the aquarium. Seek professional help to truely resolve the issue. (keeps the insurance man happy)

jestes 04-26-2010 03:10 PM

That was an interesting article. I just did the math on a 55 gallon tank, and it seems that it exceeds the 40 pounds per square foot by a good bit.

The article says that most floors have a safety factor of 1.5 to 2 built in. Assume a 55 gallon tank weighs 550 pounds, and has a footprint of 6 square feet. [(48X18) / (12X12)] = 6. That gives you 91 pounds per square foot, well over the 1.5 to 2 safety margin.

Jcarlilesiu, I guess there's a curve by which you can exceed the saftey margin? Meaning that, to a point, you can exceed the saftey margin to a larger degree in a small area than you could in a larger area?

CA_BroncoFan 04-26-2010 03:12 PM

I would think that if your on the first floor and theres no basement then youll be on a concrete slab. atleast thats how the houses are out this way.

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