Finishing a stand

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Rhoads238

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Hey everyone!

I'm looking for some advice on how to finish the inside of my aquarium stand. I'm feeling like i'm having a hard time with figuring out what to do with this so please give me some ideas. My stand, photo below is a steel stand on leveling feet. There are no walls or floor on the stand, just an open metal frame. it has removable panels to access what is underneath.

I will have my sump down there and i need to be able to mount all of my electrical equipment. I am thinking about putting a back wall and a floor made out of plywood. Also probably a wall at the right end of the sump, perpendicular to the back wall for mounting equipment.

I've never done a project like this before so any feedback on how to do this would be really great. I'm also considering just buying a cabinet from ikea and putting all of my equipment in there next to the tank. My concern with this is i'm going to have a lot of wires and tubes running back and forth between the stand and electrical cabinet. I want it to look as neat as I can make it while still having it be possible to remove equipment for servicing.

Also as a side note. I'm concerned about the positioning of the electrical outlet, its a gfci, but the return plumbing will end up going directly above it. Should I consider moving the outlet that i just had put in?

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Weasel1960

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I can’t tell from the front picture for sure...is your sump sitting on the floor? If so that tells me you have no support under your sump. You should build a false floor out of 2x4 that would fit inside your stand a then put plywood on for sump to sit on
 

JCTReefer

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Reminds of my “yet to be finished stand”. Only difference is, I built mine to where the bottom was open. No horizontal brace on the bottom front. My sump is setting on a piece of HDPE. And then a foam mat ontop of that. With a concrete slab, I wasn’t worried about any deflection. And also porcelain tile. For my electrical stuff, I made a control panel made from HDPE also. It’s rigid and chemically inert. Holds up well to saltwater also. It’s attached with Neodymium magnets to the stand. Doesn’t look like there’s a lot of room for something like this on your setup. A custom cabinet would look great! One to match the stand!!! If your floor is level and flat, you could probably just put some sort of padding underneath your sump. This would help distribute any uneven pressure from your flooring if there are any imperfections in it. Kind of hard to tell what you have going on from the pictures. Looks nice though!!!
 

JCTReefer

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Here’s an example of what I did. The panel is about 36”x24”.. If I had to build a cabinet, I would frame it out in 80/20 and then skin it to match. Would make easy access that way also. Skies the limit though!!!
 

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Orphek OR3 reef aquarium LED lighting
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Rhoads238

Rhoads238

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I can’t tell from the front picture for sure...is your sump sitting on the floor? If so that tells me you have no support under your sump. You should build a false floor out of 2x4 that would fit inside your stand a then put plywood on for sump to sit on
I thought about this but I would lose a lot of headroom under the stand then. The sump is on top of a styrofoam board which is directly on the floor.
Yea you don't want your sump on the floor. I do like the ikea cabinet idea. Especially because you have a large sump. And having the drain right by the outlet is a no-no. But dam that's a nice looking stand
Thanks! I guess I will have to think about moving the outlet then.
Reminds of my “yet to be finished stand”. Only difference is, I built mine to where the bottom was open. No horizontal brace on the bottom front. My sump is setting on a piece of HDPE. And then a foam mat ontop of that. With a concrete slab, I wasn’t worried about any deflection. And also porcelain tile. For my electrical stuff, I made a control panel made from HDPE also. It’s rigid and chemically inert. Holds up well to saltwater also. It’s attached with Neodymium magnets to the stand. Doesn’t look like there’s a lot of room for something like this on your setup. A custom cabinet would look great! One to match the stand!!! If your floor is level and flat, you could probably just put some sort of padding underneath your sump. This would help distribute any uneven pressure from your flooring if there are any imperfections in it. Kind of hard to tell what you have going on from the pictures. Looks nice though!!!

I would have preferred the stand to not have the horizontal brace but at least i dont have any extra vertical ones which was something that I had asked for. Where did you buy the hpde sheets? They're not that easy to find. How thick were the sheets you used? I found this on home depot https://www.homedepot.com/p/1-2-in-x-48-in-x-8-ft-White-PVC-Trim-H120AWS6/205309788. It looks like it has a wood grain texture, i'm wondering if both sides have it or just one. And yeah I definitely dont have a ton of room down there.

Another thing that I am worried about is if i don't put a back wall on the stand, I wont be able to support my pvc plumbing with any pipe hangers.
 
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Rhoads238

Rhoads238

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Here’s an example of what I did. The panel is about 36”x24”.. If I had to build a cabinet, I would frame it out in 80/20 and then skin it to match. Would make easy access that way also. Skies the limit though!!!

That looks really good. If i was to do it again i think i would have went with 80/20 because of all the mounting options. I saw that Sam from Parkers Reef on youtube had done this and I thought it came out really nice.
 

JCTReefer

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I bought the HDPE from TAP plastics. By far the cheapest place I found online. It was cheaper to order from them than to buy it locally. Their shipping was really reasonable also. I think shipping was like 17$ all the way from California to Texas. The way they package and protect the sheet is impressive also. I used 1/4 inch on the floor. Floor was pretty flat so didn’t really need it to be super rigid. Used 1/2” on the panel. On my stand I went with 3”x3” by 1/4” square tubing. Way overkill, but like yourself didn’t want any vertical supports in the middle. So In order to avoid this I went with 3 inch square tubing at 1/4 inch wall thickness. From a point load in the middle stand point, going from 2“ inch to 3” Made a world of difference. Deflection wise that is.
 

JCTReefer

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That looks really good. If i was to do it again i think i would have went with 80/20 because of all the mounting options. I saw that Sam from Parkers Reef on youtube had done this and I thought it came out really nice.
Thanks!!! 80/20 would have been a lot lighter!! And a lot more expensive!!! It does help having a steel fabrication shop though. Not everyone has this at their disposal. Parker’s reef has a really nice stand! Got to love his canopy also!! This thing was over 300lbs!!! It’s not going anywhere that’s for sure.
 
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Rhoads238

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So I'm still trying to figure this thing out. I decided to see if the floor was level and it looks like the tile guy that did our floor did a pretty bad job. Some are higher and some are lower, I think the overall floor is level but the tile isn't even. Im thinking about just having the sump like it is in the previous photos, just on a piece of styrofoam, I'm thinking that the styrofoam will squish a bit to level off the imperfections in the floor. What do you guys think? Because of this I'm thinking its going to be way too difficult to build a floor inside of the stand as others have suggested. I am also thinking that building a raised floor in there will cause me to lose a bunch of headroom which is also not ideal.

Here are a few more photos of inside the stand so you can all have a look.

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Curiosity question, why the strong belief against having the sump directly on the floor? I purposely designed mine that way for the temperature buffering capacity of the tile floor. (Very similar tiles if not exactly the same.) Does this have to do with glass vs acrylic sumps? Cement slab vs supported wood floors? Just wondering.
As far as mounting stuff, have you thought of attaching 80/20 to the stand (inside or along the underside) and then using it for mounting plumbing/wiring/equipment supports? That nice wide open stand would make this an ideal solution.
 
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Rhoads238

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Curiosity question, why the strong belief against having the sump directly on the floor? I purposely designed mine that way for the temperature buffering capacity of the tile floor. (Very similar tiles if not exactly the same.) Does this have to do with glass vs acrylic sumps? Cement slab vs supported wood floors? Just wondering.
As far as mounting stuff, have you thought of attaching 80/20 to the stand (inside or along the underside) and then using it for mounting plumbing/wiring/equipment supports? That nice wide open stand would make this an ideal solution.

Fundamentally, I'm not opposed to having the sump directly on the floor but in my case, I've noticed that some tiles are higher than others. I'm afraid that this will stress the sump over time and possibly cause a crack down the road. I think I'm going to go with neoprene, i feel like if its soft it should squish a bit and allow for the sump to sit evenly on the floor.

If anyone has used this stuff let me know. I'm wondering about what hardness rubber to get

I also had someone in to move those outlets from in back of the tank. I'm really happy with the result I think it will be a lot safer having it that way.

Thanks for the feedback everyone
 

Weasel1960

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Curiosity question, why the strong belief against having the sump directly on the floor? I purposely designed mine that way for the temperature buffering capacity of the tile floor. (Very similar tiles if not exactly the same.) Does this have to do with glass vs acrylic sumps? Cement slab vs supported wood floors? Just wondering.
As far as mounting stuff, have you thought of attaching 80/20 to the stand (inside or along the underside) and then using it for mounting plumbing/wiring/equipment supports? That nice wide open stand would make this an ideal solution.
Generally speaking no floor is perfectly flat be it concrete, joists or tile. Was just suggesting that putting it on some form of surface would be better than straight on the floor. I understand OP has an equipment height issue and resolved with foam board.

Personally wouldn’t do it simply because the dust bunnies will collect under the cabinet.
 
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Rhoads238

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The stand is now finished. I decided to go with the rubber mat. I like the look. I also added a back to it and made a small cabinet section for all the electrical equipment. I'm really happy with how it came out.

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I also installed some lights under the stand which I think look great. Overall i think the stand looks great and should be really functional and be easy to work on. I'm not sure if there will be room for all of my equipment so I will have to probably do a side cabinet as well.

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