Help: Gap between stand and bottom of rimless aquarium

Andrew Butler

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@zozo has quite a good suggestion but it depends on the look you're after.

In my opinion I'd say no to the Ikea cabinet personally, despite your research and effort just forget about that.

If you have the skills to trim and fix the Ikea panels along with drilling the holes then I'd say you would be able to construct a cabinet of a similar design to the one you had with a similar effort. ;)
The first legs you suggest are a 100% no as they are basically a screw in a piece of plastic - nothing more so forget about them. The second legs from Ikea could work - most importantly it depends what's under your floor, at first glance it seems an engineered wooden floor (real I think?) but what's more important is the floor below that (concrete or timber).
As for suitability if you click the + on product size with the Ikea legs it will tell you that maximum load per leg is 125kg (275lb 9oz) so one each corner gives you 500kg max load, better/alternate options if you still want the look you had - there's loads more to it than this but depends if you want/need to know it.

If you Google 'wood vertical panel saw' and look at the images you should see a machine that cuts sheets of wood, they have them all over the place at DIY stores in the UK and also at most timber merchants now, you may have to pay for a few cuts but this would bring your DIY skill needed right down - again loads more to it but brief details that I can expand on if you ask.

Finish could be whatever you wanted; paint just like you had before which again takes minimal DIY skills (and some sandpaper).

So you now have a very brief outline of how simple it could be to build a cabinet yourself assuming you want something similar to the ADA one you had before.
 

zozo

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You can build such a steel frame into an existing cabinet to reinforce it.. :) And it doesn't necessary need to be 1"pipe.. 3/4" probably is strong enough depending maybe 1/2" as well.

The couplings can slide up and down a couple of mm if you measure it correctly. essamble the frame into the cabinet a tad smaller. Than make sure each corner touches the top before you tighten the bolts. The bolds are M10 HEX Socket Set Grub Screws. If you thighten them enough they will eat into the pipe.. If you still don't trust it replace the bolts with Core Point version.
o45MiJiI6zplaJykmOz4K4DRTKVViep2-iExF8A0v&usqp=CAc.jpg

Thight it fit, than take all out again disessamle it. Where you have thightened the bolts there will be a centre point on the pipe. Drill a 6mm hole, then if you reassemble it again the pointed bolt will go into the hole you drilled. Making it more than twice as strong.

The top panel will only rest on the corner couplings with a gap in the centre. Measure that gap and place a strip of ply wood in the same ticknes all around. I've measured it a minute ago, in my case with 1"couplings its 6mm. Than with a 6mm strip of plywood in between it will rest on the complete steel construction.

The only thing you likely need to modify to fit afterwarts is the shelf(s) in it

Than you can still have a IKEA cabinet able to hold an elephant on top more or less. :)
 
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Chris Tinker

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hope you get this all sorted. sounds like a nightmare at the honeymoon... sorry to hear all this... watching for outcome from company though

good luck
 

Nathan G

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I think for my first DIY cabinet, the approach of using steel pipe frame and a solid wood block top is simplest and very effective at the same time (thanks for the idea @zozo!).I also like the piping approach because it gets me a stand quickly. And I can take the time to build something that wraps it to look nice. I think the DIY ADA could be my second stand.

For the wood block top, would something like this (1.5" birch butcher block) work?

So you now have a very brief outline of how simple it could be to build a cabinet yourself assuming you want something similar to the ADA one you had before.
Yep, I could do this. But I think I'll look at doing a DIY ADA style as my second cabinet when I have more time to work with. Kinda wanting to get my aquarium set up asap.

but what's more important is the floor below that (concrete or timber)
The floor is hardwood. Below the floor are timber beams. Can I assume this should be sufficient to hold this aquarium (I think our big fridge and its contents would weight about the same, which is on tile flooring)? With the steel pipe frame, there'd be 4 points of weight on the floor.
 
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Andrew Butler

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Kinda wanting to get my aquarium set up asap
I've learnt like I'm sure many others have just to take a step back and be patient; if you rush into things then you will do things you regret.
I think for my first DIY cabinet, the approach of using steel pipe frame and a solid wood block top is simplest and very effective at the same time
That's fair enough and it's your choice which look you go for, all I would say is read the next comment first.
The floor is hardwood. Below the floor are timber beams. Can I assume this should be sufficient to hold this aquarium (I think our big fridge and its contents would weight about the same, which is on tile flooring)? With the steel pipe frame, there'd be 4 points of weight on the floor.
Never assume! - I would be very weary about putting such a weight only spread over 4 quite direct points onto a suspended timber floor of any description and without knowing detail would also be weary using most cabinet construction types. Really you need to know what's under the flooring, which direction the joists run where they are supported, how and also where they are.
There are ways to spread the load of those 4 points but finding out details about support I would put as a priority.

I think you need to find out the details about the flooring first before you go any further I'm unsure if this is a saying you have in Canada?
"more haste, less speed"

All just my opinion of course ;)
 

zozo

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For the wood block top, would something like this (1.5" birch butcher block) work?
It is glued together from small pieces of wood.. Then it depends on the quality and it needs to protected never to soak up any water. If it ever does it can crack.. I once had a butcherblock like that in the kitchen crack one day after a few years. That's actualy why i decieded to go even cheaper and beter with the 4 pieces of 40 x 90 x 900mm Douglas timbers and not only glue but also screw them together. And than take it to the local saw mill to put it into the planing machine to flatten both sides out to the mm. The screw holes in the last timber are at the wall side never to be seen. Gave it a color and clear coating.

4 pieces 40mm thick timber put together like this, the long screws are actualy steel bar reinforcement in the block. This doesn't crack, not in a 1000 years.
Naamloos.jpg

Pre drill the holes and countersink the screws. Used Torq screws and a ratched wrench with a long torq bit..

I guess this can be made much cheaper than CAD $170
 
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Nathan G

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I've made a decision!

After thinking it through a bit more, I realized if I'm going the steel piping approach, it's not much more effort to do a full DIY cabinet. I just needed to build up the courage and realize I can do the DIY build :happy: Thanks @Jayefc1 and @alto for highlighting some DIY build threads here. My build will be based on https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/diy-ada-60cm-tank-and-stand-project.533/ as it's the same dimensions, and https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/diy-90cm-aquarium-cabinet-ada-style.52588/ for some specifics on the build process. I'm actually excited about it now. I'm planning to use 3/4" plywood (~18mm), and will likely use the Ikea Capita legs - though I'd be interested to know if anyone has other suggestions for levelling with other legs or another method that doesn't use legs. Aesthetics are important, which is one of the main reasons I'm going the full cabinet DIY route.

I think you need to find out the details about the flooring first before you go any further I'm unsure if this is a saying you have in Canada?
"more haste, less speed"
Have not heard of the saying, but it's a good one. I found a post that talks about everything you've mentioned and more - http://www.african-cichlid.com/Structure.htm. Dispelled myths that I had. In the conclusion at the bottom, it mentions how < 55 gallons is generally safe. But I'll still investigate and plan carefully how/where I put the aquarium.
 

Andrew Butler

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I found a post that talks about everything you've mentioned and more - http://www.african-cichlid.com/Structure.htm. Dispelled myths that I had. In the conclusion at the bottom, it mentions how < 55 gallons is generally safe. But I'll still investigate and plan carefully how/where I put the aquarium
I understand you're only putting around 100L / 100KG on the floor and I'm really not trying to shoot you down or ruin your plan here - just help. ;) I'd just hate for you to build things only for them to go wrong.
If you look at myth #5 you can see the rotten or insect damaged wood, this happens to floor boards too so if there is damage where one leg is there could be very little or no support.
In the UK newer flooring in general is made from moisture resistant tongue and grooved chipboard panels which without doubt are very strong but do fail. The biggest problem being moisture over time whether that's from above or below - extractor fans not installed correctly are maybe the biggest problem.
Really you need to know what's under the flooring, which direction the joists run where they are supported, how and also where they are.
There are ways to spread the load of those 4 points but finding out details about support I would put as a priority.
Myth #8 is essentially what you're doing so having an understanding of location and direction of your floor joists is what I was talking about before
I'm not going to go through any more of the myths or flooring concerns - that's down to you. (some suggestions/comments may relate to uneven floor etc)

Putting legs on the cabinet style you are planning regardless of the floor below relies upon them taking load directly down the side panels so would rely on the leg centre being aligned with centre of the side panels as that's where the load is so personally I'd avoid these solid flooring or not. There are types you can get but still incur a direct load

By making a few simple changes to the design you could extend the side panels down and simply scribe or shape them to the floor (see drawings below) when everything is sat perfectly level, this would do away with the legs and spread the load more evenly and in the right places with regard to cabinet design. If you look back to the design of your first cabinet there are elements of that you could take on board, mainly fitting the base within the cabinet sides and lifting it a little. There's no need to extend the back to the floor and If this kind of design interests you I can help explain it fully.

Picture1.jpg
Picture2.jpg
 

Nathan G

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If this kind of design interests you I can help explain it fully.
It does! Though it’s possible the location of the aquarium will change in a year or two where the floor would be slightly different. Would it be a matter of re-shaping it to the new location? Or is there another approach that would achieve even load distribution and levelness without shaping to the floor?
 

Andrew Butler

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It does! Though it’s possible the location of the aquarium will change in a year or two where the floor would be slightly different. Would it be a matter of re-shaping it to the new location? Or is there another approach that would achieve even load distribution and levelness without shaping to the floor?
This is all just my personal opinion, other people will have theirs too I'm sure.
If you are looking to change the location of the aquarium then I would personally not take the approach of shaping the aquarium to the floor and instead make the cabinet true and square, painted, all sealed up (including the bottom) assuming it's for a floor 100% flat and level, it would require a few design tweaks from the links you looked at but you then have a square cabinet to start with.
You now have the problem that your floor is not level and after just having a very quick look I think this product could be suitable which is on the Hafele Canada website. This product is just an example of an easily adjustable foot which transfers the weight of the side discretely and easily - if you ask how and why these differ from your Ikea idea then take a look at the first 2 pictures, there's a plate with a barb that goes under the side panel with barbs that hold it in place so these put the load on the side panels not the base. These are then essentially hidden away in a small plinth detail then are easily adjusted from above with a hex/Allen key through a small hole in the base. If that sounds complicated it really isn't. ;)
This design would now leave the base transferring the weight safely to a solid surface HOWEVER if the surface below is not sound/solid then it could cause problems, I'm just working on worst case or matter of principal here. The easiest way to try and distribute weight more evenly is to add something to spread the load below the legs, whether that's front/back or back/front - the opposite way to how the joist run. If you look at the third picture from @zozo it will show something solid underneath the feet (bearer) which if you don't want to use feet you are also able to fit to the floor and make a level base BUT this relies on the direction your joists run as with your cabinet design relies support along the sides.

A lot of reading but hopefully some makes sense :crazy:



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DSCF7426.JPG
 

Nathan G

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Thanks, it doesn’t make sense!

So I’ve made some plans for the aquarium build! It will be quite similar to the one I bought and returned. The plywood I’m using is a 5’ x 5’ (1524mm x 1524mm) sheet of Baltic birch plywood 3/4” (19mm) thick, which has a higher number of layers than most other 3/4” plywood. Instead of the ADA-type cut tubing holes, I’m going to make 3” circle holes for simplicity and use a 3” grommet to provide a finish for the holes. I’ll be using the heavy duty base leveler that Andrew Butler sourced. I’ve created a to-scale drawing of roughly how the plywood will be cut. And another to-scale drawing that shows various views of the cabinet, which is cross referenced by panel numbers to the plywood cuts drawing.


My intention is a design that works aesthetically, functionally, and most importantly structurally. One thing I’ll likely add is a pull out tray for the equipment, similar to the Evolution Aqua Aquascaper cabinets.


What can I use to seal the cabinet after it’s painted?
 

Jayefc1

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I'm not 100% sure but with enough layers of paint it should be water proof if using a high gloss finish either Matt or shine
 

Nathan G

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Plywood cut drawing:
08064E7D-243E-41EB-B77F-456CCBEC909D.jpeg


Various views of the cabinet:
BAE76F49-D28B-4EEC-8B0C-1913ED3EC8B0.jpeg


The space between the bottom of the front panel and the top of the doors is 10mm (for fingers to open the doors). And the space between the two doors when closed is 4mm. Is 4mm about right? With the two bottom horizontal supports (#’s 11 and 12), which I added for horizontal load distribution (I think these are helpful in this way?), it moves the base leveler feet inward - is it alright the base leveler feet are mounted a bit more inward?
 
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Andrew Butler

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Thanks, it doesn’t make sense!
doesn't? - if so which parts?

birch plywood
very wise choice, it generally has no gaps in the grain when you cut through it like most other ply can.
I’ll be using the heavy duty base leveler that Andrew Butler sourced
I'm not saying that's the exact one to use - was just one I can up with after a very quick look, if you do use that one you may find you need to pre-drill for the spikes a little bit.
If you do order from Hafele they are a very good resource for lots of quality things like 'push to open' catches, hinges and also the runners you would want for the pull out shelf - that's a Oase feature rather than an EA one. Depending upon which runners you look at a lot of the full extension purposely work to take weight the way you wouldn't think so laid flat instead of on the side of a drawer.
I'm not sure what Hafele Canada do the same but I can try to point you in the right directions if you ask.
One thing I’ll likely add is a pull out tray for the equipment, similar to the Evolution Aqua Aquascaper cabinets.
I’ve created a to-scale drawing of roughly how the plywood will be cut. And another to-scale drawing that shows various views of the cabinet, which is cross referenced by panel numbers to the plywood cuts drawing
why not save them and share them as a photo on here? :snaphappy:

Paint wise provided you prime and undercoat everything properly and use the correct paint to finish things then there should be no need to add anything else. The exact paint depends on what look you're going for and also what's available in Canada.

My intention is a design that works aesthetically, functionally, and most importantly structurally
If this is your aim you're going in exactly the right direction.
I'm sure earlier in this thread you were dead against DIY?! Taking that step back and not rushing things is hard I know but I'm sure you are making a good decision, just make sure you update how the cabinet build goes and also the aquarium when it's going. :)
 

Nathan G

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Hi all, just following up with the end result!

Thanks for everyone's input! I've learned a lot in the past few months as I've ventured deeper into the aquascaping hobby. The aquarium is up and running!

The cabinet build probably took me 30h. I at first didn't entertain the idea of building my own cabinet, but then as I thought about I realized I could, and that I could do it well.

Materials:
  • 3/4" 5' x 5' baltic birth plywood (the baltic birch as more layers of ply when compared to other plywood)
  • Hole saw (I used 2 3/8")
  • #8 2" wood screws
  • Water resistant wood glue (would recommend water proof as extra precaution if staining the wood)
  • Tools (Table saw, drill, bits, etc)
  • Primer and paint (I chose to use high quality latex primer and paint, and a high gloss for its water repelling abilities should a spill occur)
  • Wood filler
  • 120 and 220 grit sand paper
  • Four heavy duty levelling legs (I used these, which support 330lbs each)
  • Hinges (I used the Blum self-closing clip-top 107° full overlay, with soft close mechanism)
  • 35mm forstner bit for hole for hinges
  • Clear silicone
Process:

I first decided on a design based on my three main requirements: the cabinet needs to be able to support the weight of the aquarium (250+ lbs), must be able to be levelled off, and must look aesthetically pleasing to me (same footprint as the aquarium, understated design, etc). So I settled on the following design. I chose a one door design for its simplicity in build and aesthetics.

Cuts.png Design.png

Then, with the help of my father-in-law and his table saw, made all the cuts, generally cutting the bigger pieces first, then smaller ones. Once cut, we assembled the pieces for a dry fit. Then when that looked good, pulled it apart, glued each join, and screwed all the panels together. After this, I began the arduous task of filling and sanding the joins. Then filling, sanding, and more filling and sanding. I also sanded the faces of each panel to reduce the wood grain from showing through the paint. I Also softened all corners of the cabinet by lightly sanding them evenly Following the filling and sanding, I drilled the holes for the hinges in the door.

Once that was done, I primed and painted. Then sealed the bottom and side seams on the inside with clear waterproof silicone as an added safety measure against water. The latex paint actually didn't raise the wood grain that much, which was meant less sanding work for me. Lastly, I attached the heavy duty levelling legs. I chose not to drill four holes in the bottom of the cabinet to give access by allen key to adjust the height of each leg. Instead, I set the level by tilting the cabinet on a side, reaching under and turning each leg. This was tedious to set the level, but I was more concerned about having holes and having to figure out a good way to plug them for in case water spilled. Somewhere along the line, the door got warped, so it's not flush all the way around, but the adjustment of the hinges helped to compensate for this to it is flush on at least one side.

I learned many things over the course of this process (most the hard way, and most which are highlighted elsewhere in this forum)
  • Before buying the aquarium, be sure of where it will go, and that place can support its weight
  • Before buying any equipment, be sure of the aquarium size, and space available for the equipment
  • When buying a stand for a rimless aquarium, make sure the top is completely level (i.e. bring a straight edge to the store)
  • Overbuilding a stand is better than trying to make something questionable work
  • Majority of the load is down the sides of the cabinet
And lots about the building process itself (some of these are basic wood working things that I learned)
  • Double check measurements before cutting
  • Perform a dry fit before screwing the screws in all the way
  • Pilot hole must be as deep as the screw is going to go, otherwise the wood may split
  • Counter sink as shallow as possible
  • Stick to the design when cutting
  • Test the hardness of the wood filler by taping against it with a tool and against the wood to compare
  • Place the legs as close to the edges as possible
  • 3/4" plywood is not actually 19mm, but is 18mm
  • Better to cut the final pieces after retaking measurements of the partly assembled cabinet
  • Needed to use a 60 tooth table saw blade instead of 90 tooth to get a good balance between a smooth cut and not burning the wood
  • When in doubt, add a few extra screws
  • Probably a bunch of other things I can't remember at the moment...
Here are a few pics during the build process...
IMG_2845.JPG IMG_2846.JPG IMG_2847.JPG IMG_2851.JPG IMG_2866.JPG

And the final build...
IMG_2893.JPG IMG_2896.JPG Front View - Empty.JPG

It's not perfect, but it's more than good enough! I would encourage anyone who is on the fence to build their own cabinet that it is possible (I am by no means handy with tools). It just takes patience, some precision, and some determination. I feel quite accomplished!

And I'll start up another thread on the first aquascape in this aquarium :)
 

zozo

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Very nice build.. Congrats and compliments. :thumbup::clap:

One thing to take into account with aquarium cabinets and using levelling legs.
Four heavy duty levelling legs (I used these, which support 330lbs each)
Is the total weight and the floor it stands on. Now even if the legs can hold the weight it still divides all of it over only 4 pressure points in the size of the feet, ¼ of the total weight on 2 square inch?. Then if it all stands on a floor with a soft underlayment or in some cases a single floor tile per leg. That the floorboard, plank or tile under the leg bends or even cracks under the weight (Point pressure). After the tank is flooded, creating extra strain in the floor and obviously the cabinet and in the end maybe the aquarium too.

That's number one reason why most standard aquarium cabinets do not stand on legs, but have a flat bottom surface dividing all weight over this entire surface. Then if it stands on legs put an extra board in the same surface dimension of the cabinet on the floor under the legs to divide the weight over a larger surface.

Thus (Pressure) point of caution and tip, thoroughly inspect the floor, and make sure it can take the total weigth divided over 4 small legs surfaces.
 

Andrew Butler

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Already spoke with @Nathan G and he's proven that someone who thinks they have no chance of making something can; given a little time and patience.

That's number one reason why most standard aquarium cabinets do not stand on legs, but have a flat bottom surface dividing all weight over this entire surface. Then if it stands on legs put an extra board in the same surface dimension of the cabinet on the floor under the legs to divide the weight over a larger surface.
Hey Marcel, not trying to pick a fight and unsure if you've seen the aquascaper aquarium cabinets but I'd class this as a 'standard' aquarium cabinet on this forum. They have the top inset to the sides (which I don't think is best practice), it is also only those sides that fully support the weight of the aquarium and those sides rely on the floor being 100% supportive, true, level and flat for full contact to be made unless you are to scribe them to the floor which was suggested before too.

I completely agree with you about the 4 contact points needing to be fully load baring at that exact point so solid concrete is about the best and probably only surface in my opinion.
We did talk through the floorboard/suspended floor scenario earlier in the thread but you're absolutely right about tiled flooring; even if they are on a solid concrete floor the tile needs to be fully supported at those exact points to prevent cracking.

The style of leg used is a great option on account it supports the underneath of the side panels and allows you to adjust the levels through a hole using an allen key; I don't see any better option that gives you a minimal leg that is supportive and also allows adjustment with the aquarium in place - providing they are supported properly.
 

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