Stand Framing Question

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sawdonkey

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I have a 220 tank on a 2x4 stand. I’m wondering, are the cross supports that sit under the tank that go across load bearing, or does all it the weight of the tank sit on the edges? Or....Does this just make the stand more sturdy?

I really want to move this 2X4 so I can get a taller skimmer. I’d just move it a few inches over. Actually I’d put the new one in place before moving this one. So, is it load bearing and is this a stupid idea?

D168919A-706B-40ED-8ABF-FA8459B2771F.jpeg
 

PBnJOnWheat

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I have a 220 tank on a 2x4 stand. I’m wondering, are the cross supports that sit under the tank that go across load bearing, or does all it the weight of the tank sit on the edges? Or....Does this just make the stand more sturdy?

I really want to move this 2X4 so I can get a taller skimmer. I’d just move it a few inches over. Actually I’d put the new one in place before moving this one. So, is it load bearing and is this a stupid idea?

D168919A-706B-40ED-8ABF-FA8459B2771F.jpeg
I’d definitely say load bearing. From my custom stand builds I’ve recently opted out of that middle brace on a 50 gal 2x4x4 tank (W,L,H). Obviously that’s less than a 1/4 your size so I’d be very nervous putting a stand up without a middle brace. Maybe do some 4x4 pillars on each corner and some 2x6 length and width to makeup for that gap. It’s hard to say the middle pillar is JUST load bearing, or ONLY for more sturdiness. It’s a combination of those IMO.

In short possible, but risky.
 
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sawdonkey

sawdonkey

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I’d definitely say load bearing. From my custom stand builds I’ve recently opted out of that middle brace on a 50 gal 2x4x4 tank (W,L,H). Obviously that’s less than a 1/4 your size so I’d be very nervous putting a stand up without a middle brace. Maybe do some 4x4 pillars on each corner and some 2x6 length and width to makeup for that gap. It’s hard to say the middle pillar is JUST load bearing, or ONLY for more sturdiness. It’s a combination of those IMO.

In short possible, but risky.

Thanks, this is a fully running tank so adding more support is not an option. And yes....I’m very nervous unless someone here tells me definitively that those braces are load bearing. I guess another way of asking is this...are these braces on the bottom of big aquariums load bearing?

3E81610C-6BB5-41FF-B5AA-31705DFE5B25.jpeg
 

mdb_talon

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Does the glass sit on that crossmember? Based off the what I can tell from picture I am guessing no weight directly rests on this 2x4 and that it is an aquarium with a bottom rim and all weight is on the edges of the aquarium (and thus on the other edge of the stand). If that is the case then that 2x4 may be necessary for the structural integrity of the stand, but moving it a few inches should be fine (basing this off the side I can see there is no 2x4 "leg" that is holding up the outer rim).

Take what I say with a grain of salt I only play a structural engineer on the internet.
 

mdb_talon

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Thanks, this is a fully running tank so adding more support is not an option. And yes....I’m very nervous unless someone here tells me definitively that those braces are load bearing. I guess another way of asking is this...are these braces on the bottom of big aquariums load bearing?

3E81610C-6BB5-41FF-B5AA-31705DFE5B25.jpeg

Again a reminder that I am only a structural engineer on the internet, but I have always known those crossbraces to be for preventing bowing of the glass and not a loadbearing component.
 
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PBnJOnWheat

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Thanks, this is a fully running tank so adding more support is not an option. And yes....I’m very nervous unless someone here tells me definitively that those braces are load bearing. I guess another way of asking is this...are these braces on the bottom of big aquariums load bearing?

3E81610C-6BB5-41FF-B5AA-31705DFE5B25.jpeg
I think those are more for the integrity of the plastic rim of the tank. That black plastic is what holds the glass panes together. The silicone is actually what seals it. I’ve been told they are there for the structure of the black plastic lining that holds those panes together. I went to install a drilled overflow on mine but forgot about the lip (black plastic) and I ended up shaving the inside part where I marked and everything was fine.
E64AA630-B6D0-4969-87AC-6632D76B893D.jpeg

Does the glass sit on that crossmember? Based off the what I can tell from picture I am guessing no weight directly rests on this 2x4 and that it is an aquarium with a bottom rim and all weight is on the edges of the aquarium (and thus on the other edge of the stand). If that is the case then that 2x4 may be necessary for the structural integrity of the stand, but moving it a few inches should be fine (basing this off the side I can see there is no 2x4 "leg" that is holding up the outer rim).

Take what I say with a grain of salt I only play a structural engineer on the internet.
Hahaha yeah I gotcha. I’m not sure on this but I believe that crossbar on the bottom does go against the glass. Which also tells us that the weight of the tank is distributed along those black plastic linings. I think if you put in a second middle brace a couple inches one way or another would be fine for the tank and stand.
 

mdb_talon

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That black plastic is what holds the glass panes together. The silicone is actually what seals it.

No. It is the silicone that holds the glass panels together. Trim simplifies assembly, prevents edge chipping, for aesthitics, etc. Before rimless tanks were readily available it was not uncommon for people to actually remove the trim on aquariums. Biggest issue run into is the silicone would sometimes stick to the trim and tearing it off could compromise the silicone joint.
 
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sawdonkey

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Thanks guys. I don’t think I’ll risk it. I’m doing a Lifereef skimmer and I’d like the 30 inch rather than the 24, but Jeff is going to make me a custom size of 27 and I’ll just leave the brace there.
 

Gtinnel

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It may not matter now but in my opinion those cross supports are made to help with the structural rigidity of the stand and not meant to help distribute the weight of the tank. If it were me and adding extra cross supports were possible I would just add one on either side to where the skimmer would sit in the middle of them and I would think that would be fine. This is also just based on my experience from building my own stands.

Maybe do some 4x4 pillars
Using 4x4s while building a stand is generally a bad idea. Due to the thickness of the wood and moisture differences in the wood 4x4s are much more likely to bow. If that dimension of lumber is need its better to use two 2x4 together.
 
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TheWalkingCoral

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If that cross member is held by nails or screws and not a bracket that transfers the weight to the ground it is not load bearing. The cross member adds structural integrity i.e. it keeps the outer bars from splaying apart and keeps the rectangle more, rectangle and less parallelogram =D

Experience: I build houses for a living.
 
Zoanthids

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Not load bearing at all LOL. As others have noted, the only reason for cross braces is to prevent the stand from bowing .... same reason for cross braces on the tank. All of the weight/mass of a rimmed tank sits on the four edges anyhow. I would have no problem removing that wooden brace as long as it can be easily screwed out. I would put a new one in before removing the old one however.
 
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sawdonkey

sawdonkey

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Yeah, you’ve med me feel ok about removing this. And no, there is nothing transferring the load to the ground.

Now I’m just not sure how to remove the screws from the back side since it’s up against the wall and I only have a few inches to work. Maybe one of those S-shaped screw drivers. Then I guess I’d have to toe-nail (screw) in the new brace.
 

Gtinnel

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Yeah, you’ve med me feel ok about removing this. And no, there is nothing transferring the load to the ground.

Now I’m just not sure how to remove the screws from the back side since it’s up against the wall and I only have a few inches to work. Maybe one of those S-shaped screw drivers. Then I guess I’d have to toe-nail (screw) in the new brace.
If you only have a few inches behind the stand the problem is even if you get any kind of screw driver back there by the time you add the length of the screw you probably won't have enough space. Cutting the screw would probably be your only choice, but you'd have to be careful to make sure you don't hit your tank with whatever you are using to cut with. I'd personally try an oscillating saw, but I'm guessing the blades will have a hard time making it through the screws.
As for installing the new support, I wonder if there would be any issue to using a joist hanger? If not toescrewing (is that even the correct word) would probably be your only option.
 

Gtinnel

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With the Sawzall just be really, really careful to know where the end of the blade is so you dont hit the tank. It would be easy to get at an angle and let the blade hit.
If not under a tank I'd agree completely that a Sawzall is the tool to use though.
 
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mdb_talon

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Yes being careful of tank if good

Another option that may be safer is those "door jamb" trimming blades that can attach to a dremel or other tools. I just am not sure if they make blades for those strong enough to cut screws.
 

mike550

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@sawdonkey just a couple of thoughts for you to consider. First, for the new brace consider doing pocket screws (Kreg jig) and pre-drill the cross brace. This will make installation (and later removal if necessary) much easier. Second, I'm wondering if a multi-tool would be a better way to cut the nails from the existing brace than a Sawzall
 

PBnJOnWheat

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No. It is the silicone that holds the glass panels together. Trim simplifies assembly, prevents edge chipping, for aesthitics, etc. Before rimless tanks were readily available it was not uncommon for people to actually remove the trim on aquariums. Biggest issue run into is the silicone would sometimes stick to the trim and tearing it off could compromise the silicone joint.
From what I’ve been told the silicone is to keep water in but the actual black framing holds the panes together. Silicone isn’t that strong from my experience. I’ve never seen anyone remove the black framing so I’ll have to check that out it seems I’m missing some knowledge here lol
It may not matter now but in my opinion those cross supports are made to help with the structural rigidity of the stand and not meant to help distribute the weight of the tank. If it were me and adding extra cross supports were possible I would just add one on either side to where the skimmer would sit in the middle of them and I would think that would be fine. This is also just based on my experience from building my own stands.


Using 4x4s while building a stand is generally a bad idea. Due to the thickness of the wood and moisture differences in the wood 4x4s are much more likely to bow. If that dimension of lumber is need its better to use two 2x4 together.
would sealing and treating the wood be a more effective way to consider using 4x4’s? Just curious I’ve never used them but
 

mdb_talon

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From what I’ve been told the silicone is to keep water in but the actual black framing holds the panes together. Silicone isn’t that strong from my experience. I’ve never seen anyone remove the black framing so I’ll have to check that out it seems I’m missing some knowledge here lol

Yes someone told you wrong I am afraid. This is why it is possible to have rimless tanks. Silicone is incredibly strong at holding glass together(again as evidenced by large rimless tanks). The flipside is also why silicone is not used in acrylic tanks....because it is incredibly weak bond to acrylic.
 
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