A DIY tank stand

Normally, I don’t have time to engage in time consuming DIY projects. Building tank stands is no exception. However, I’m always up for a challenge and I have a need for another stand. I’m running out of isolation tanks…well, at least stands to put them on. I’ve had a rash of cichlid pairings/spawnings lately, and the tanks I typically use for quarantine/separation are occupied. Thus, I decided several weeks ago to set up two new 20g longs to resolve that problem. I would typically just buy a stand but I have something specific in mind that I was confident I couldn’t find somewhere. I shopped around for stand options for dual 20g tanks but didn’t like what I found. Therefore I decided to build one myself.

Though my initial plan was for the stand to hold two 20g long tanks, I wanted the versatility to use it for multiple 10g tanks or some combination down the road. Thus I decided to make it wider and longer than a 20g long footprint (~30″ x 12″). I’ve never built a tank stand but I have built workbenches for workshops. I kicked around several build ideas and settled on something that would hold more than three times the weight it will need to. Since a glass 20g tank full of water weighs roughly 215 pounds, two such tanks will approach a quarter ton with glass canopies, substrate, filters, decorations, etc.

For my isolation/breeding tanks, I typically use HOB filters. However, I wanted the option to use external canisters if I choose. Add in that I’m pretty tall and that I wanted both the top tank and bottom tank to be higher off the floor than a retail stand would offer. Put all of the above together, and I decided to go with dimensions of 40″ long, 23″ wide, and 48″ tall. The top tank will obviously be 48″ off the floor, while the bottom tank will be 20″ off the floor. That leaves me just enough room around the base to store supplies or hold canister filters if I go that route.

I could have used 2 x 4s or even 2 x6s for the frame, but I decided to use 4 x 4s and lag screws for additional strength. In addition, the stand will have adjustable feet to ensure it’s level regardless of the floor. The adjustable feet are much easier to install on 4 x 4s also. You can see in the photos below that I counter-sunk the lag screws. This prevents the screw head from sticking out.

Will post again with photos of the finished product once it’s complete.

Unfinished, dual 20g long tank stand (top-side down). Photo courtesy of the author.


Lag screws connecting top of 20g long tank stand to 4 x 4 leg (stand is upside down on top of workbench). Photo courtesy of the author.

Leave a Comment