Aquarium Stands
Discuss the role that aquarium stands have on the fish keeping hobby.
In this article, we'll discuss the role that aquarium stands have on the fish keeping hobby. We'll cover types of aquarium stands, nice features to look for in stands, and common materials used to build aquarium stands. Then we'll cover how to calculate weight requirements for aquarium stands, what the floor requirements are for your tank stands, and general tips for setting up your tank. At the end of this article we include a list of sources for buying your aquarium stand online.

Everybody Needs a Little Support

I suppose you could, if hard pressed, place your tank right on the floor but that doesn't seem like such a great idea, does it? I mean, you'd have to get down on the floor to enjoy your fish! You'd also spend a lot of time down there tending to your tank as well.

When people first started keeping fish as a hobby, they would first sit them on regular tables until they discovered that specialized stands can help make the hobby more enjoyable and convenient. Most people, however, think about the aquarium stand as an afterthought after picking the aquarium size and the fish or reef inhabitants that they'll put into their tanks. But take the time to work out exactly what type of aquarium stand you'll need - the time and research you spend now, before you fill that tank up with water and occupants, can make a big difference in your enjoyment of your tank later.

Besides your stand or cabinet, you should probably consider if you want to get a hood or canopy for your tank as well. Hoods help to minimize evaporation, keep jumping fish contained, and little fingers out! They can also hide your lighting fixtures.

When you go aquarium stand shopping, you'll soon see that we can divide the aquarium stand world into styles and materials. Let's first look at styles.

A Matter of Style

Aquarium styles usually fall into either your basic stand or the more elaborate cabinet style. Let's talk about them a little bit more:

  • Stands. The stand, your basic four legged piece of aquarium "furniture", works, especially for smaller aquariums. You're going to want something sturdier if you have a larger aquarium. Beginners usually go with simple stands because they're cheaper.
  • Cabinets. Cabinets, specialized aquarium furniture, provide more stability and storage space than basic stands.

Consider these tips when buying your aquarium stand:

  • For style purposes, it's nice to have the stand coordinate with the tank frame. So if you're buying a tank with dark wood accents, it makes sense to get a stand made out of the same material.
  • Consider the optimal height for viewing the tank when you buy your stand. Most stands come at the standard 30 inches in height. Many custom made stands are made between 32 inches and 46 inches in height.

Nice Features

When looking at various aquarium stands, consider the following features:

  • Storage. Storage to hold your supplies nearby makes a lot of sense. If you've got fancy filtration systems going on, you might want to use the cabinet space for that as well. Make sure you've got plenty of air circulation to prevent overheating within a cabinet.
  • Precut Holes. Precut holes in the back makes sense for power cords to go through as well as any additional "plumbing" you may have set up.

Let's look at your choices as far as what manufacturers make aquariums out of next.

Different Building Materials

When looking at aquarium stands today, you basically have three choices: wood, wood byproducts, and metal. Let's look at each one in detail:

  • Wood. The most expensive choice in terms of what your aquarium stand will be made of, wood is also the sturdiest. If an aquarium stand is made out of wood, it is usually hardwood like Oak. Compared to the other building materials, wood holds up well under weight and is usually not as easily water damaged as Wood Byproducts.
  • Wood Byproduct. Fiberboard or pressed board are common wood substitutes. While more expensive than metal, wood byproducts are cheaper than straight wood. When they don't come predrilled, cutting through them exposes the middle layers to moisture which causes them to swell and weaken. You don't want this situation.
  • Metal. Your basic aquarium stand will come in either Iron or Steel (painted or unpainted). Metal is not a feasible choice for a saltwater tank as it will rust. Metal tanks are usually your least expensive choice but also won't come in cabinet styles (obviously) to provide storage like the other two materials.

Determining your weight requirements may help you decide what type of material your aquarium stand should be made out of. Let's look at this next.

Weight Requirements

Most stands will tell you how much weight they will support based on the size of the tank (100 gallons for example). If the stand doesn't say how much it will support, you're taking your tank and its inhabitants into your own hands! A gallon of water will weight about 8.5 pounds so that should give you an idea of how much weight the stand will need to support.

Before you position your aquarium stand and tank, make sure you've considered your floor requirements.
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