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Is this aquarium cabinet strong enough?

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OscarG

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I'd like to get a new tank, torn between trying to build my own cabinet and buying one.

I like the design of this 5 ft (roughly 450 litres one) one, it's from a reputable company (tried to blur out company info)



but having opened up cabinets, one thing troubles me, look at those support struts at front, do they look a little wimpy to you?





They're not much more than an inch square, considering when filled with water this is going to be about 550kg load, do you think it's enough to stop it sagging in the middle?

Or am I worrying for nothing, I guess if the cabinets failed they wouldn't sell many of them?

Another thing, they use solid oak, do you think seasonal movement could be an issue?

Sorry if this is posted in wrong section, wasn't sure where to post it.
 

stuartpaul

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Oscar,

Yes, 550 kg does seem like a lot of weight but it is fairly evenly spread isn't it? Looking at the sizes of timber etc. I don't think you'd have a problem with that.

Point loading on the floor might need to be considered?

Seasonal movement, - it's a breadboard end so you'll get some but I wouldn't of though you'd get enough to cause you any problems.
 

will1983

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I think the fact they are selling them commercially suggests that they are indeed strong enough.
Hardwood (I think it is oak in this case) is incredibly strong in compression so even a relatively small cross section will be able to support a huge amount of load (as long as it is applied directly through the centre of the member).

However in this design I would be more concerned about the fact that the feet are not directly beneath those centre supports, this induces a shearing force in the base piece which may cause it to bend or even fail. If the base were to bend excessively then the rotational force transferred to the centre supports could make the load from the tank become eccentric, this would certainly result in failure.

If I was building this myself I would create a sub base assembly set back from the front edge and paint it matt black so that it is semi hidden. This sub assembly could be levelled perfectly to the floor and as it would cover almost the whole footprint of the tank would spread the load evenly rather than 6 point loads through the feet.
The feet could still be present but they would be purely decorative with no structural value.
 

MikeG.

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Yep, they're fine. There's two of them, and their load is taken to the floor fairly directly by the foot below. An aquarium is a uniformly distributed load, so the weight is being shared by all the other verticals. If you assume that the 4 corners and the 2 pieces we're talking about are taking the entire load, then they are taking about 90kg each, in very rough terms. That's the weight of an adult male on the chunky side......so picture a seat fixed to the top of one of those 1x1 pieces, and a big bloke sitting on it, balanced. Is the piece of wood going to fail? No....

I'd have more concern about the back of the cabinet, where I can't see any structural members.
 

ColeyS1

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I think you could make a better one. I'd expect it to cost more but you'll have piece of mind knowing it's up to the task.

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will1983

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stuartpaul":3jd5i00o said:
Seasonal movement, - it's a breadboard end so you'll get some but I wouldn't of though you'd get enough to cause you any problems.
StuartPaul - I don't think that will actually be a solid timber top, more likely an 18mm chipboard or plywood top hidden under the tank with a solid timber frame around the visible sides to give the impression of a solid top.
 

sunnybob

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Its plenty strong enough. That centre pole is merely a reference point for the doors to close to. It is NOT load bearing.
You have 4 solid walls holding that weight, which translates (even at 600 kgs) to 150 kgs per wall. There are 6 feet, meaning 100kgs per foot. I weigh just under a 100 kgs and could happily stand on one of those feet without any fear of solid oak compressing and breaking. It would be a very dodgy floor indeed that could not support that weight.
Just buy it.
But dont forget the external power filters that go in those cupboards, theyre going to double the cost. :shock: :shock: 8) 8) 8)
 

htf666

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I kept fish for many years and never did well on wood floors. The vibration when someone walked across the floor upset the fish and kept them in panic mode. Moved to a solid floor and they thrived.
 

Phil Pascoe

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I'd think so. I had a five foot tank that was on a (same make) KD cabinet of 15mm chipboard.
Whatever you end up doing, if you sit the tank on a sheet of polystyrene it'll allow for any slight movement or unevenness.
Personally, if I were going for something that size again I would be tempted to make a cabinet, as if you know what you're going to use in the way of filtration, air pumps etc. you can design it for easy maintenance rather than having to cut holes everywhere and invariably finding things in the way - which will happen if you choose to use different gear than the tank manufacture's.
I have a 180ltr corner tank waiting to be commissioned and I'm not sure which way to go - as it's in the kitchen it'll probably sit on top of a (reinforced) unit so I may be limited in the way of design, but I'm going to put a clear sheet on it and make and suspend a hood a foot over the top - I've ten adjustable LED downlighters ready to go - they were less than £30 for the ten. I shall put them on three circuits and time them, three to come on for a long day, three from a bit later in the morning til early evening and four from maybe 10am til 3pm. Much cheaper than buying the same lumens in aquarium lighting, but watch the colour temperature if you do this and want good plant growth.
 

OscarG

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Cheers guys!

I can confirm it is solid wood, they say they use European and North American Oak.

I took a sneaky pic of inside of cabinet looking up.

 

OscarG

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sunnybob":32lf5v1j said:
But dont forget the external power filters that go in those cupboards, theyre going to double the cost. :shock: :shock: 8) 8) 8)
Ha.. I was tempted by the idea of getting some acrylic and making my own sump type thing but having seen the damage that can occur if one leaks I'm not sure! Those canister filters that expensive?

This tank+cabinet is about £1400.
 

will1983

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The sump idea is a good one but the safety of the system really depends on the design of the overflow.

I think canister filters are much better option however with less faffing about and space needed. Just make sure you buy one with a good priming function as it can be quite awkward with some of them.
 

Phil Pascoe

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I've never primed mine. All I do is switch the two hoses off at the cannister, disconnect the cannister and wash it out. I then refill it and connect up again - switch it on, and the small airlock works its way out. Done.
 

ColeyS1

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phil.p":28ejbxmh said:
I've never primed mine. All I do is switch the two hoses off at the cannister, disconnect the cannister and wash it out. I then refill it and connect up again - switch it on, and the small airlock works its way out. Done.
You're making me feel guilty about not cleaning mine out now

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Simon_M

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OscarG":36io1to6 said:
They're not much more than an inch square, considering when filled with water this is going to be about 550kg load, do you think it's enough to stop it sagging in the middle? ... another thing, they use solid oak, do you think seasonal movement could be an issue?
No issues at all and the construction looks excellent. The frame around the tank provides a very rigid structure and the "wimpy" uprights are in fact very strong in compression. If you look at one in the shop with water and substrate etc. you will probably see that the doors open freely and there is a linear gap around the edges of the door frames, which would be a sign that all is OK.

At a much lower price point the materials used are chipboard and plastic veneers so have comparatively no strength, but not so this one. Even if the floor was veneered MDF it doesn't add strength because the frame transmits the weight through the legs. Here's an indication of just how strong wood can be in compression: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEUgNjT1nGU - skip to 24:30 for "the test".

The three most important (mechanical) things when setting up an aquarium are to put the tank on a layer of polystyrene, to keep the electrics away from water and have a means to isolate any of the external equipment e.g. filters with "taps/connectors".
 

sunnybob

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Back when I owned my aquatic centre, Eheim was the name that could not be beat and I used them exclusively in my own tanks. But that was 30 years ago now.

Filters on a tank are like dust collectors in the workshop, if you skimp on them then you'll be sooorrrrrryyyy (hammer) (hammer) (hammer) (hammer)
Lighting depends completely on what you want to keep. marines, fresh water tropical, cold water, plants, They all have different lighting needs. Again, just like dust collectors, most people cheap out on lighting and are rarely happy with the result.
 

OscarG

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It'll be for tropical. Actually only getting this for just one bloody fish, my common plec that's now outgrown my 180L tank. He's now 11 inches long, hoping a five footer will be big enough.

Apart from him, they'll be my dopey betta and a few cardinal tetras.
 

sunnybob

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Oscar, youre on a hiding to nowhere. Foist the pleco off to the local shop for a couple bags of flake, and make the tank nice.
That pleco will destroy EVERYTHING you put in the tank. it will hide as much as it can all day long, and turn the tank into something you will be ashamed to show your friends.
You realise it can go to 5 foot long? :roll: :roll: (hammer) (hammer)

A large tank, heavily planted with large bogwood and shoals of tetras and barbs no larger than 4" body size is a beauty to behold.
 

Simon_M

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sunnybob":36fo9ea1 said:
Oscar, you're on a hiding to nowhere... You realise it can go to 5 foot long?
Hmm, I thought a "common" length was up to 24". See https://pethelpful.com/fish-aquariums/C ... ight-Pleco (homer)

Even so, it's probably best to consider all your options "carefully" as Bob says.

The perfect example of a Pleco is, (of course, something else) a Cherry Barb is nice and can be kept in multiples - although I like Cichlids as well.
 

Phil Pascoe

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ColeyS1":1d1s4rc3 said:
phil.p":1d1s4rc3 said:
I've never primed mine. All I do is switch the two hoses off at the cannister, disconnect the cannister and wash it out. I then refill it and connect up again - switch it on, and the small airlock works its way out. Done.
You're making me feel guilty about not cleaning mine out now
They are more efficient when they are filthy, but the time comes that they slow down. I use the washing water to water all the house plants.
 
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