Aquarium Basics

Choosing an Aquarium Display

Smaller tanks such as this one can sit safely on a table or another piece of furniture.
Smaller tanks such as this one can sit safely on a table or another piece of furniture.
© Perfecto Manufacturing

In addition to picking the location, you must take time when choosing an aquarium display. The tank must sit on a sturdy support. A table or other piece of furniture is seldom suitable except for the smallest of tanks.

The weight of a typical aquarium is roughly 10 pounds per gallon, so a 10-gallon tank will weight about 100 pounds and a 30-gallon tank will weigh about 300 pounds. Most furniture is not designed to support that kind of weight. The furniture would also suffer from the effects of spilled and splashed water, which is a virtual certainty no matter how careful you are.

For these reasons, the best way to support an aquarium is with a stand designed specifically for this purpose. These are usually made from wood or wrought iron, sometimes with a second shelf for another aquarium or for supplies and equipment.

Even better are stands with doors to hide air pumps, filters, food, and other items. If you are willing to spend the money, custom-crafted aquarium furniture can make the aquarium fit perfectly into the decor of any room.

The floor itself must be level and capable of withstanding the total weight of the aquarium and support. The main reason for needing a level floor is to avoid uneven stresses on the tank that might cause a leak. It also looks better if the water line is even at the top of the tank. With most tanks, weight will not be a problem.

However, for very large aquariums, 100 gallons or more, some floors may have to be reinforced. One problem with most stands is that all of the weight is actually transmitted to the floor at only four points, where the legs are. It may help to distribute the weight more evenly by placing lengths of wood under the legs.

Go to the next page to find out about choosing the right size aquarium for your space.

To learn more about freshwater aquariums, see: