What Are the Best Tips for Making a DIY Aquarium Stand?

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  • Written By: Jeremy Laukkonen
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 09 August 2019
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Building a do-it-yourself (DIY) aquarium stand can save a lot of money, and allow for a great deal of control over the final project. It is possible to build a DIY aquarium stand with no woodworking skills and very few tools, though some level of experience in this area can allow for the use of a larger range of designs. An inexpensive DIY aquarium stand idea for an inexperienced builder is to attach a plywood top to some cinder blocks, though with a little knowledge of woodworking is also possible to use more complicated designs. The best way to go about this type of DIY project, regardless of skill level, is to design the stand to be both longer and wider than the aquarium that will rest on it.

An aquarium stand can be designed solely to provide reliable support for an aquarium, though some also function as a bookshelf, include drawers, or provide other useful functionality. For smaller aquariums, it is typically possible to use end tables, and other types of sturdy furniture, instead of purchasing a dedicated aquarium stand. This can become a problem for large aquariums, which are often too heavy to set on furniture that was not specifically designed for that purpose. Large aquarium stands can be very expensive though, which presents the opportunity for a money-saving DIY project.


The most important tip for building a DIY aquarium stand is to ensure that the finished product will be capable of supporting the necessary amount of weight. Aquariums can be deceptively heavy, due to the large volumes of water they contain, and using a flimsy stand can lead to disaster. There are a number of DIY aquarium stand plans on the internet, some of which are designed for specific aquarium sizes. One general tip is to make sure that the stand itself is wider and deeper than the tank. The usefulness of other tips can depend on the skill level of the person who is undertaking the project.

It is possible to build a sturdy base for an aquarium with very few tools, and little or no woodworking knowledge, though the options are typically more limited. One tip is to use plywood and cinder blocks. Two rows of cinder blocks can be used for smaller tanks, though large aquariums should have three or more rows for stability. In order to achieve an aesthetically pleasing look, the cinder blocks can be spray painted a variety of different colors, or covered with cloth. Another piece of plywood can even be glued to the front of the cinder blocks to create the appearance of a real cabinet, or to the rear in order to hide the power cables.

For people who have some experience working with wood and various tools, there are many other options for putting together a DIY aquarium stand. One good place to start is an online aquarium stand calculator, which will provide a number of different designs based on the size of the tank. These stands can typically be assembled for a minimal investment of time and money, and can often be built using a combination of L brackets, wood glue, and either nails or screws.


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Post 3

@pastanaga - I guess I think that anyone who is going to try and make a reef aquarium needs to plan it out carefully way ahead of time. A reef aquarium is extremely difficult to keep well and it's expensive too. It's very easy to kill everything in the tank by accident. If you aren't sure what a sump is or why you might need it in your aquarium stand, then you probably don't need a sump because you should stick to goldfish until you do some research.

Post 2

@clintflint - Another thing to bear in mind is that, if you are thinking about a really complex aquarium, you might want to build a second space into the back of the stand for your sump.

This is a secondary tank that is a necessity in a reef tank, but it is pretty helpful in other setups as well. It provides extra water and space to help maintain the conditions of the display tank without cluttering it up.

Generally you will want the sump to be out of sight, so most people tend to place it inside the stand, below the display tank. It's just something to consider if you're hoping to eventually expand your ambition in terms of your aquarium.

Post 1

If you are at all good with building things, I would try to make the stand portable in a way that won't disturb the fish. Putting wheels on it is a good idea, but only if you know you're capable of making wheels that are going to hold the weight of the stand and the aquarium without breaking. They should also be lockable, so that your stand doesn't try to get away from you once you've got it set up.

One of the worst things you can do with a large aquarium is try to move it when it is full, but sometimes there isn't any choice. If you can just wheel it around then you will make the whole thing a lot easier and safer.

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