If you have just invested in a good sized aquarium along with all the equipment you will need to fill it, manage it and keep your new fish happy and healthy, you may wonder if you need to spend even more money to buy a special stand for your aquarium. While you will obviously need to put the aquarium on top of something, the decision of whether you will need specialized aquarium support will depend largely on your budget. Regardless of the size of the tank, it is important to have a solid support that is based not only on the size of the tank, but also on the full weight of the aquarium. The biggest mistake aquarium owners make is underestimating the weight of the tank once it is filled with water.
Aquarium support options
Best aquarium stands are essentially a large piece of furniture and strong enough to hold your aquarium and contain the equipment and supplies necessary to care for your fish and tank. The size, shape and materials used in the support will depend on the size and quality of the tank, your budget and the concern you have with the aesthetics. In essence, there are four options available:
- Use an existing or low-priced cabinet that is strong enough to hold your aquarium;
- Buy a dedicated aquarium stand at the right price for you;
- Build your own stand.
Obviously, a custom-made stand will be much more expensive than a redesigned desk or cabinet, but it can also be a better fit for your space and your needs.
What to consider when choosing an aquarium stand
An empty twenty-gallon glass aquarium weighs more than twenty-five pounds, while an acrylic tank weighs half. Regardless of the material the tank is made from, the real problem comes into play when it is filled with water.
Water is heavy
Water is a heavy material, which adds more than eight pounds per gallon to your aquarium. In addition to water, it will add a substrate for the bottom, which is also heavy. The weight of a twenty-gallon glass tank rises from twenty-five pounds to more than two hundred pounds when filled with water and gravel. Needless to say, that little bookshelf against the wall is probably not a good candidate as an aquarium stand for anything but a mini tank.
Full bottom support
Weight is not the only problem when selecting a support structure for your aquarium. Different aquarium materials require different types of support and should be taken into account when choosing a support.
Acrylic has the advantage of being lighter, but because it is flexible, it requires support along the entire bottom surface of the tank. Meanwhile, the glass is heavier, but does not bend. For that reason, a glass tank only requires support at the outer edges of the aquarium. That said when working with a very large tank, the full support is suitable for any type of aquarium. When choosing a best aquarium stands consider these differences and buy the right type of support.
Another factor to consider is the importance of the tank being level and evenly supported. If one of the edges of the tank protrudes from the support, or the entire tank is not level, the additional tension will focus on a specific seam. Over time, additional pressure can cause the seam to fail, leading to leaks. Always make sure the tank is level and that no part of the tank protrudes from the support.
If using a shelf, desk or bookcase, keep in mind that you will need a free space behind the tank for cables, filters, etc. If a container or other external equipment is used, there must be room for it. Typically, a stand has built-in space under the aquarium, which can be used to hide equipment and store accessories.
As a general rule, tanks of less than twenty gallons can be placed on a sturdy desk or on a well secured solid shelf. When configuring aquariums larger than that, it is advisable to consider a dedicated support for aquariums