Update #4 - Building the custom stand
Authors Note: I’m actually about ½ way through the build at the time of authoring this. I’m adding these entries to remember the fun I had along the way.
It’s April and the COVID-19 stay at home order is in full effect. I live in one of the counties that are considered “ground zero” for PA. How does this a part of the tank build story? Glad you asked…
It’s hard to ignore a 6’ fish tank and stand in the MIDDLE of your family room. Being stuck inside your house 24/7 doesn’t help that problem either. I’m constantly staring at the empty glass and thinking about the build a lot (which can be dangerous). Fortunately I anticipated the shut down and did some frantic trips to the local fish store and Home Depot trip prior to the order to stock up on some of the materials.
The plan is to have a 40g breeder as the sump and a 20g high as a refugium. I’ve done the calculations and they will both fit, but being a “saltwater rookie” I didn’t realize how tight the space would be once both tanks were in place. I also thought I could sneak the 40g in through the back of the stand to work on temporarily but I was wrong.
I knew that once the stand was against the wall the sump could only go in from the top of the stand. Now I can fully appreciate what it would take to break this giant tank down in the future if the sump leaked or I changed my mind. It’s not the 65 or even 75 gallon tank I’ve had in the past. This tank is massive and it takes multiple people to do anything with it. I know myself it’s likely I’ll want to mix up the refugium / sump configuration in the future.
I’ve decided to try to build a custom stand for two reasons. #1 - I wanted easier access to service the equipment. The space is very tight which will discourage maintenance. Not good. #2 - I wanted to be able to pull the entire sump out without having to break down the tank. I might change my mind in the future or avoid total disaster if the sump were to leak. Both seem like solid long term reasons to put in the extra effort now.
The tank stand will be built out of 2x6 following the standard pattern in the “King of DIY” videos. I won’t bore you with the calculations but the design will support 8-10x the working weight of the tank. It’s a 6’ tank and spans greater than 48" need a support. By placing the support at 40" I can now pull the 40g in and out without going in through the top. (It’s the simple things in life.)
It’s a Marineland tank so the tank will only touch the outside edges of the stand. The supports across the top are there to keep the stand square. I added plywood on the top and bottom to ensure the stand stays nice and square. I was very aggressive with the screws as well.
I’ve had construction jobs for two summers but finish work is not my forte. The stand still needs to be painted and I need to figure out doors and access. The fact that I pulled this off without making 100 trips to Home Depot was a small miracle in itself. In other news I have a 180 gallon Marineland stand that I’m willing to sell cheap…