Modern DIY Stand

Sleepingtiger

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So I wanted to build a stand for a used 90g cube I acquired. I hated the original because the stand was a 24" tall. Add in the aquarium, it stood about 50". I don't like bending over to look at my aquarium. The build quality of the stand was decent, but it was just a plain stand with no features. I also hate many stands as many of the metal components tend to rust over time. So I set out plans to build a new stand. These are the features I would like
  • Must be tall (40")
  • Modern with straight and square edges. No curves
  • Ability display equipment like controllers and dosers
  • Has adjustable feet for leveling
  • Features a drawer for storage
  • All hardware must be stainless steel to slow down corrosion.
  • Main body is to be comprised of 3/4" furniture grade plywood.
So I set out drawing up my plans. What really saved me on this build was the aquarium dimensions of 30 x 30 x 24. At 30" in depth, I can do many things that a thinner aquarium stand can't. I seen many stand builds where the builder actually build a cabinet just to store and display the equipment. I didn't like that idea. Because of the height and the depth, I can do many things a normal stand can't.

Red Sea stands are some of the prettiest stands out there. They are modern, sleek and just gorgeous. My design would be very similar to theirs. However, I didn't realize they had an issue with their stand. More on that later.

I see so many hobbyist display their equipment like controllers and dosers. I would like that as well. I also see them displaying the DJ outlet switch. I need to have that. But I wanted the control panel in the stand and not outside of the stand. So the display panel will sit in front of the sump. The display panel will be on a hinge so I can gain access to sump for maintenance. During the build, I thought it would be a waste to hide the control panel behind the main door. So I scrapped the front door and made a new door with a glass insert to display the control panel.
One negative on the Red Sea stands is that you have to use shims to level the stand. Not good, I wanted adjustable feet. Not just for leveling, but to get the wood off the floor. I saw many stands that sit on the floor that will get wet because of water spilling. After time, you can see the bottom of the stand warping.

I always used the Red Sea stands as my standard for the structural strength and design. So if plywood works for them, it works for me. Of course, in the middle of my build I ran across a thread talking about how Red Sea stands were warping and bowing. what the heck. Now it was their longer tanks that were failing, not their cubes. I have already build the main body, so I had to incorporate ways to prevent warping and bowing just in case. I used red oak, ran on the sides and as a cross brace.

I really like the idea of a drawer to store stuff. I have never seen this before and think it would be a great idea. Because of the height of the stand, I can incorporate a drawer with little issue (so I thought). I understand why nobody ever had a drawer. What a PITA. The issue was further magnified because of the warping/bowing. Another issue was the main cabinet door. To make it sleek, the door had to use a full overlay hinge. I didn't realize the full overlay hinge would position the cabinet door to be inside of the face of the cabinet when the door was open. Now the drawer can't slide out. So I had to modify the drawer quite a bit to make it work.

I also saw many stands and Red Sea stands with rusting. So everything was to be stainless steel. Door handles, screws, hinges all had to be stainless steel. The only thing that wasn't stainless steel was the drawer slide. Around $70-100 for 304 stainless steel with anti corrosion features, it wasn't really in my budget. I have a bunch of drawer slides already from my DIY project that if they ever rusted, I would just replace them if I must.

On my other aquarium stands, sometimes the cabinet door will close to fast and send vibrations up to the aquarium scaring the fish. So the cabinet door must feature a soft close. Like the Blu Motion door hinges

Spilling of water in the sump section is something that happens. Over flows will happen in the sump will happen. Not a question of "if", but "when". So I wanted to do something to seal in the water in case of a leak or overflow. I added a 1" section to contain some water incase of a leak. Now, if your sump busted at the seems, the 1" depth wont do much. This is mainly for accidental spills and occasional over flow of a ATO container.

The build itself uses biscuit joints. I hate pocket holes. They are weak and ugly. I will caulk all seems to prevent water getting into the seems and warp the wood. A layer of Killz to seal in the wood. Rust-Oleum high gloss topcoat will be the paint of choice. It was designed for a marine environment.
 
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Sleepingtiger

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Here are some pictures
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dohc97

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Can we get pictures of current progress? Marine grade plywood is good for stands, particle board is not. I do not like leveling feet on larger tanks because it concentrates the load. I prefer to just shim a bottom. I'm very happy with my planet aquariums stand, made of plywood with pocket hole joinery which is close to what I would have done.
 

homer1475

Figuring out the hobby one coral at a time.
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Currently looking into building a new stand for my 80 cube. My old stand from the manufacturer is just 3/4 MDF panels with a 2x4 front brace so I was going to use just 3/4 marine grade ply. This build is right up my alley right now!

Nice build, and I like how the electronics sit in front of the sump. I might steal that idea as I was just going to make the stand longer and put the electronics in the length. Your idea is much sleaker and I will definitely have the front to back room.
 
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Sleepingtiger

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Can we get pictures of current progress? Marine grade plywood is good for stands, particle board is not. I do not like leveling feet on larger tanks because it concentrates the load. I prefer to just shim a bottom. I'm very happy with my planet aquariums stand, made of plywood with pocket hole joinery which is close to what I would have done.
marine grade plywood is a good idea, but not a must. Marine grade plywood is meant for boats where there is constant contact with water. I am not sure if Red Sea or planet aquarium uses marine grade plywood. My old 180g oceanic swelled like it was on steroids. It was made of osb and MDF. And that is for 180g tank. With caulking, prime and marine grade paint. I hope everything can stay nice and sealed.

Largest tanks use square metal tubes on adjustable feet. If my 700g system can sit 8 feet, I am quite sure my 120g cube can handle 4 feets with no issues. If u look at old aquarium stands, where are they most likely damaged? At the base of the stand. Where water is trapped between the flooring and the stand. You see swelling, discoloration and worse, rot. With feets, u avoid that all together. Also, these feets are for leveling, not height adjustment.

Pocket holes are good for this build. I just don’t like them. Manufacturers like them because it’s a simple jig, cheap and the joint is strong enough with the use of glue. Once u see better joinery like rabbits, finger or dovetail joiner, the price of the stand will increase quite a bit. I just bought a Festool domino, will definitely use that on my next build.
My oceanic 180g stand was held together by osb, MDF, butt joints, staples and wood screws. No joints were caulked and a simple paint job. The base had severe water damage. The inside was rotted. All metal parts were rusted. I would of scrapped the stand if it wasn’t for the nice glass doors. I just end up up replacing all the water damaged wood
 
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Sleepingtiger

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Currently looking into building a new stand for my 80 cube. My old stand from the manufacturer is just 3/4 MDF panels with a 2x4 front brace so I was going to use just 3/4 marine grade ply. This build is right up my alley right now!

Nice build, and I like how the electronics sit in front of the sump. I might steal that idea as I was just going to make the stand longer and put the electronics in the length. Your idea is much sleaker and I will definitely have the front to back room.
That is great. I am sure u have thought about this, but consider a hardwood for the center brace and sides. Plywood is notorious for warping under heavy weight. Please don’t use 2x4 for structural support. That are so ugly and take up too much real estate in the stand.
 

WHAT DOES THE TERM "GOOD WATER QUALITY" MEAN TO YOU?

  • Your aquarium water is in acceptable ranges measured by consumer level water tests

    Votes: 158 45.3%
  • Your aquarium water is in acceptable ranges measured by ICP type testing

    Votes: 55 15.8%
  • Your aquarium water is good based on how your corals are growing and look

    Votes: 208 59.6%
  • Your aquarium water is good based on how little nuisance algae is growing

    Votes: 62 17.8%
  • Your aquarium water is good based on how it looks to you

    Votes: 55 15.8%
  • Other (please explain in the thread)

    Votes: 7 2.0%
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