Skip to content

Blog

1

I built this DIY aquarium stand for a 100 gallon aquarium. This was a really simple build that just used 2x4s and a sheet of plywood.
100 Gallon Tank on DIY Stand
100 Gallon Tank on DIY Stand

I built this DIY aquarium stand for a 100 gallon aquarium I bought used and resealed. (You can read my post about how I resealed this aquarium here.) This was a really simple build that just used 2x4s and a sheet of plywood. I'm not much of a carpenter, so I didn't use a router or employ any fancy joinery. My main focus is always the fish and my ability to service the aquarium, so this stand is built with those things in mind.

Tools and Materials for this DIY Aquarium Stand

Tools:

  • Power drill
  • Measuring tape
  • Table saw
  • Miter saw
  • Sand paper
  • Level

Materials:

  • 1 - 2 8ft 2x4s
  • 1 - 4ft x 8ft sheet of 1/2 inch plywood
  • 2 - wood knobs
  • 1 - box of 2.5 inch screws
  • 2 - cans of black spray paint
  • 6 - magnetic cabinet catches

Building the Aquarium Stand

Step 1: Cut the 2x4s

First I cut the 2x4s to make all of the pieces for the frame of the stand. This design uses two rectangles just slightly larger than the dimensions of the aquarium. My aquarium is 48" long x 24" wide, so the frame is about 49" x 25". One of these rectangles is the base of the stand and the other is the surface the tank sits on.

Cut 2x4 Pieces
Cut 2x4 Pieces

Four 32" vertical "guide" pieces determine the height of the stand. Eight 25" upright supports hold the weight of the aquarium. There are two of these vertical supports on each corner. This is important because 100 gallons of water weighs 800 lbs. Add 100 lbs for the aquarium itself, plus 100 lbs of substrate and rocks, the full weight is around 1,000 pounds. Screws alone would not hold that much weight, so vertical 2x4s are needed to support it.

Not pictured above are the four horizontal brace pieces that go across the width of the stand front-to-back. These are the same ~23.5" length as the short ends of the frame. The assembled stand is shown below, which should give you a good idea of how everything fits together.

Step 2: Assemble the frame

Fully Assembled Stand Frame
Fully Assembled Stand Frame

The frame is screwed together with 2.5" construction screws. I pre-drilled all of the holes to avoid splitting the wood. There are two screws at each joint. This should be done using a level on a flat surface so the stand ends up level. Wood glue can be added for extra strength, but I didn't use it on this project.

Screws
Screws

Step 3: Wrap the stand

Assembled Stand
Assembled Stand

I cut down one 4x8 sheet of plywood on a table saw to wrap three sides of the stand. I decided to leave the back open since it sits against a wall. The side panels are screwed into the frame. The front panel is secured by magnetic cabinet catches, so it pops off for maintenance.

Magnetic Cabinet Catch
Magnetic Cabinet Catch

I added two wooden knobs to the front panel to make it easier to remove. This stand could be built using normal cabinet doors and hinges. But I wanted to be able to pull the whole sump out easily for maintenance. Consider your filtration and maintenance needs when designing and building an aquarium stand.

Step 4: Sand and paint

I sanded down and spray painted the stand after assembling it. I used black spray paint to match the trim of the aquarium.

Painted Stand
Painted Stand

Completed DIY Aquarium Stand

After painting, I added a wooden bottom inside the stand so the sump doesn't sit on the floor. This is an optional step. I probably wouldn't have added it if I were using a canister filter. Then I hung the power strip on the left and put a small storage shelf on the right side. Below you can see what the stand looks like with the front panel removed.

Completed Stand
Completed Stand

After a couple weeks I added an LED strip light to the inside of the stand. The lights also wrap up the back side of the aquarium. This lets me see inside the sump when I clean the tank. It also adds a cool back lighting when turned on.

LED Lighting Under Stand
LED Lighting Under Stand
RGB LED Backlight
RGB LED Backlight

Altogether this DIY aquarium stand cost me less than $200 to build. I think custom built wooden stands are the way to go for larger aquariums. You can make a custom stand for your aquarium that will cost less and hold up better than most stands you can buy.

2

I went through several central air pump setups before finding one that I think is perfect for any fish room with 10+ tanks.

The Perfect Central Air Pump for Fish Rooms With 10+ Aquariums

Jehmco LPH26 Linear Piston Air Pump
Jehmco LPH26 Linear Piston Air Pump

The majority of my aquariums run on sponge filters. A central air driven sponge filter system becomes a necessity when you start keeping double digit numbers of aquariums. Sponge filters require less maintenance than other forms of filtration, and a linear piston central air pump uses less electricity than running a hang on back filter on 10+ tanks. I went through several air pump setups before finding one that I think is perfect for any fish room with 10+ tanks.

Fry Tanks with Air-Driven Matten Filters
Fry Tanks with Air-Driven Matten Filters

The air pump driving my central air system is a Jehmco LPH26, the smallest in Jehmco.com's line of linear piston central air pumps.

(I do not make any commission from Jehmco for recommending their products - I genuinely believe they are the best source for your central air system. Their website isn't very good by modern standards, but you can call and speak to a real human person right away.)

Linear piston air pumps are pricey - they start at almost $200 - but they're one of the best investments you can make in your fish room. Compare the cost of a central air pump and several sponge filters to buying the same number of hang on back filters. For 10 aquariums around 20 gallons each you would spend well over $300 on Aquaclear filters. The more aquariums you have, the more efficient a central air system becomes.

Super Quiet Air Pump

Before I got the LPH26, I bought a cheaper ($70) generic brand diaphragm air pump. It put out enough air for my needs, but it ran very loud and very hot. Over time it got louder and the output was less consistent. After about 6 months the noise coming from this cheap pump got so loud it was unbearable to stand near it. I never wanted to hang out in my fish room because of the constant noise.

My Jehmco LPH26 runs SILENT. Even standing with your head a couple feet away from it, you can barely tell its running. The sound of the bubbles hitting the surface in the aquariums is actually louder than the pump itself. My fish room is so much quieter, which makes it so much more enjoyable to spend time in there.

Sponge Filter
Sponge Filter

Planning a Central Fish Room Air System

I highly recommend calling Jehmco and talking to them about what you need to setup your air system. I went with one of their pre-assembled air manifolds so that I wouldn't have to spend any time drilling PVC and leak-testing valves. They sent me a pre-cut length of braided tubing with all of the fittings included to connect the pump to the manifold. I didn't have to make any trips to the hardware store to get this system installed.

Air Manifold
Air Manifold With Bleed Valve and Silencer

I used a label maker to label each output valve on my manifold. This isn't a necessary step but it makes adjusting the flow to each aquarium much easier.

Right now I'm using 11 out of 12 outputs on the manifold. The LPH26 is rated for around 20 outputs, depending on water depth, how you set your valves, etc. A bleed valve with a silencer lets me bleed off the extra air output to avoid burning up the pump. This leaves extra capacity to potentially add another rack of tanks to the same air system at a later date.

If you need your air outlets spaced further apart, you can simply run a PVC loop around the perimeter of the room. You can then drill holes in the PVC and press in an air valve wherever you need one.

In addition to a central air pump and manifold, you'll probably want to have a few other supplies in bulk. Obviously this project will require a good size roll of airline tubing. And it doesn't hurt to have some air valves mounted closer to the output of each line for fine adjustments. It might make sense to buy a bulk pack of air stones and/or sponge filters as well.

Placement for a Central Fish Room Air Pump

The air pump and manifold should be mounted above the water level of your aquariums. I've seen some people build a small shelf up in a corner for their linear piston pump. I was able to place mine in a space above the ceiling of an adjoining room's storage area. The manifold is mounted to the floor joist above my middle rack of tanks.

With the whole air system mounted above the highest water level, there is no need for airline check valves. Even if the pump dies or power goes out, water can't siphon higher than the level of the aquariums.

Manifold Mounted Above Aquariums
Manifold Mounted Above Aquariums

If you are planning a fish room build or already run 10 or more aquariums, the investment in a Jehmco linear piston central air pump is well worth the cost.

How to make your own DIY hinged glass lids for your aquarium.
DIY Hinged Aquarium Lids
DIY Hinged Aquarium Lids

I've previously written about how to make some very inexpensive DIY glass aquarium lids. But that design uses a single piece of glass that needs to be lifted off the aquarium for maintenance. For larger aquariums, a hinged design with thicker, tempered glass is more convenient and reliable.

You can buy hinged glass aquarium lids for many standard sized aquariums, but they can be harder to find for some larger tanks. Additionally, the lids available commercially almost all have a dark plastic hinge running across the whole lid. This thick plastic strip blocks light and can create shadows in your aquarium. For my 100 gallon aquarium, which is not a standard dimension because it used to be a reef tank, I made my own hinged glass lids.

Materials Needed to Build Your Own Hinged Glass Aquarium Lids

For this project all you need is:

How to Make Hinged Aquarium Lids

I used a sheet of cardboard as a working surface to glue my lids together. The hardest part about assembling these DIY glass aquarium lids will be aligning the hinges so that they function properly. I recommend using a business card or shim to keep the two pieces of glass evenly spaced while gluing the hinges in place. A small gap should be sufficient.

Since my lids are almost 2 feet wide, I used two 6 inch hinges on each lid. For smaller lids you could use smaller hinges. This is one of the benefits of these DIY glass hinged lids, you can customize their design to fit your setup.

Gluing Hinges in Place
Gluing Hinges in Place

Let the glue cure for a few hours before you attempt to move the lids or bend the hinges. The good news is if you screw up during this process, any stray glue can be removed from the glass with a razor blade scraper once it dries. I used some cheap wooden knobs that I had leftover from other projects as the handles on these lids. A glob of super glue is all you need to attach these to the glass.

Knob Handle
Knob Handle

Once the glue cures your lids are ready to go!

Finished DIY Hinged Glass Lids
Finished DIY Hinged Glass Lids

Check out some of my other DIY Aquarium Lid designs: