Opinions on MDF stand

Discussion in 'Reef Aquarium Discussion' started by frcarvajal, Nov 10, 2017.

  1. frcarvajal

    frcarvajal Well-Known Member

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    So I went and ordered a new 48x24x18 tank, with MDF stand... but just after I paid for it, I started to read a bunch of bad reviews on MDF, people not sleeping worried about their tanks... I want to read your experiences on MDF, I understand that any wood in contact with water is bad, but stands won't be submerged in the water!
     
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  2. Highgrade

    Highgrade Well-Known Member

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    Overall after a few years they can deteriorate if constant contact with water or humidity. Not to mention if the laminate is not sealed very well on the edges. This will allow for water to penetrate the MDF and expand. Overall my experience with any MDF stand after 2+ years is they become flimsy and either they're replaced with wood or the entire tank/stand is sold.
     
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  3. jsker

    jsker Reefing is all about the adventure R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    MDF is like using a dry sponge to build. As long as it stay completely dry one is fine. It all depends on the finish and if the finish does not get chipped, scratched.
     
  4. frcarvajal

    frcarvajal Well-Known Member

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    I understand it can deteriorate, but to the point that maybe one day I could find my tank in the floor?
     
  5. Highgrade

    Highgrade Well-Known Member

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    Keeping it dry is the main concern. If you notice the laminate is cracked or the edges separating you need to seal them ASAP.
     
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  6. wopadobop

    wopadobop Active Member

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    Not a fan. Mdf is and never was meant for structure. Doors and face plates, molding and trim. But never meant to take weight. Even using water based glues swells the stuff.
     
  7. Greybeard

    Greybeard Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    Eh. I wouldn't buy one... MDF holding up a very expensive glass box full of water doesn't seem like a good idea to me. BUT. I've seen many, many MDF (or worse, particle board) stands, even ones that were wavy and have obviously been wet, with tanks STILL STANDING on them. Typically, they're 'good enough'. If they weren't, the aquarium makers wouldn't keep selling them.

    My latest system, I had a small, local fab shop weld me up a stand, to my specs, out of 1.5" 11 gauge square steel tube. Took it over to the local powder coat company, had the mill scale sandblasted off of it, and coated in gloss black. Ended up with a STRONG stand that should last longer than I will. Has a much more 'open' design than you can accomplish with wood, and it still cost me less than the aquarium maker wanted for a stand.
     
  8. frcarvajal

    frcarvajal Well-Known Member

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    How do you seal it if cracked?

    I don't know why I didn't ask first... I can't cancel my order, I think I will need to do an upgrade with steel or solid wood to make it stronger.
     
  9. don_chuwish

    don_chuwish Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Good security (any kind of security) is layers of safeguards. If the MDF never gets wet it'll be fine - but it's sitting below a tank full of water. That assumption that you'll never spill, leak or slosh anything out of the tank is a very weak layer of security. A solid wood or metal stand saves the day when inevitably it gets wet - repeatedly.
     
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  10. hart24601

    hart24601 Well-Known Member

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    I have spent a good deal of time in the past searching the internet for stand failures, but found very few of them if any. With the tens and tens of thousands of stock stands being sold every year and how terribly some people treat their equipment it is really amazing we don't hear about stand failure more often. New tanks leaking seem to happen much, much more frequently and with what a catastrophic event stand failure would be hobbyists would post about those failures if they happened.

    Despite worrying, which I understand, if you take care of a MDF stand it seems that it will give you many years of great service.

    Can you imagine the lawsuits against aquarium companies if stands broke often??? Water damage would be a minor concern to direct personal physical damage.
     
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  11. don_chuwish

    don_chuwish Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    ^ fair point. I can still hate MDF & particle board stands tho. ;-)
     
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  12. Highgrade

    Highgrade Well-Known Member

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  13. frcarvajal

    frcarvajal Well-Known Member

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    Agree with you, if stand failure were that common, this forum would be full of posts talking about it.
     
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  14. mtraylor

    mtraylor Well-Known Member

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    When you get your first MDF stand overlaid with laminate you will learn quickly that after the first leak or spill that you don't notice right away that you will get a nice swell up in the stand. Kind of like the first time you get a leak under a sink that has mdf. ONe leak or spill might not destroy the stand but it will weaken it. My suggestion from experience would be to line the bottom of the aquarium with something. Maybe a custom pvc liner, or if you don't want to spend the money on that. Maybe some of those sprays they advertise on TV. I would not set it up until I did one or the other. I would prefer the pvc drip plan to be honest. Then you have nothing to worry about on the bottom. then you then except for moisture weakening the supports say every 3 to 6 months for that. I have only seen one really bad from that. Not sure what they did to get so much damager under there.
     
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  15. pingzing47

    pingzing47 Well-Known Member

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    MSG just seems to weigh a ton to me
     
  16. kalare

    kalare Well-Known Member Partner Member 2018

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    Taken well care of, they can last a very long time. I have one MDF stand that I built myself over 8 years old, one bought 2 years old. Painted and sealed. Just wipe up your spills and you'll be fine. Ply can warp just as MDF can swell. I would however not buy another one, not because I don't trust it structurally, but because they are so dang heavy. After moving two MDF stand tanks twice, and even though I never intend to move again...it's plywood for me from now on.
     
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  17. dowsetts101

    dowsetts101 Well-Known Member

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    I’d tend to agree with most of the comments. Absolutely true that MDF exposed to water will expand and weaken. But...I’ve had an MDF stand in my tank for over 10 Year’s and no problems at all. It was an AquaOne stand (fresh water ) and when I’ve dismantled it earlier this year as I’ve been changing my tank over to SW the MDF is still pristine.

    If you’ve already ordered it, I’d follow through with the order, and as others have suggested just clean up spills (which is probably a smart idea no matter what material your stand is made of)
     
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  18. frcarvajal

    frcarvajal Well-Known Member

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    Well, thank you everyone for the time and experiences, in a few months/year I will post mine!
     
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