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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.

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:

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I recently bought a used 100 gallon aquarium on craigslist. But before I can fill it with water, I'm going to have to clean and reseal it.

I recently bought a used 100 gallon aquarium on craigslist. This tank is drilled with an overflow for a sump, and was previously used as a saltwater reef tank. I like running a sump on my larger freshwater aquariums, so this tank will be a planted freshwater rainbowfish display. But before I can fill it with water, I'm going to have to clean and reseal it.

Dirty Used Tank
Dirty Used Tank

Why reseal an aquarium?

You would want to reseal your aquarium if either: 1) it leaks or 2) you suspect it may leak

When buying a used aquarium, you can't be sure how long the aquarium has been in use, or how it was stored. Even if a pre-owned aquarium does hold water, silicone seals don't last forever. After 10+ years, silicone will harden and shrink. Eventually, the tank will leak. Storing an aquarium outside or in a garage where it is subject to a wide range of temperatures will also weaken the silicone. Unless you're getting a gently used aquarium from a hobbyist you know, its wise to assume you'll need to reseal large secondhand tanks.

Can I just reseal one edge of my aquarium?

No. New silicone won't adhere to old silicone. The only way to properly reseal a tank is to remove all of the old seal and replace it.

Resealing an Aquarium

The process of resealing a used aquarium is simple, though it is very labor intensive. Expect this whole process to take you several hours. The supplies you'll need are:

1. Clean the aquarium and remove the old silicone

You need the aquarium to be completely clean to ensure a good seal. Vacuum it out, wipe all the gunk off the glass, and then start scraping off the old silicone. Be careful when scraping not to cut the silicone bead that holds the panes of glass together. You are just removing the seal on the inside of the tank, not cutting the panes of glass apart. In the photo below, the old seal has been completely removed.

Cleaned Out Tank
Cleaned Out Tank

2. Tape off the seams

After all the old silicone is removed, wipe the glass clean with some rubbing alcohol. Once it dries, apply tape around all of the seams. This will determine the outcome of your new seal, so take your time applying the tape. You should leave enough space so that your silicone bead will be at least as wide as the thickness of the glass. Use a razor blade to cut the tape at the corners so you get clean lines.

Taped Off Tank
Taped Off Tank

3. Apply silicone

Once the tape is applied, prepare your silicone and have rags ready. The silicone will begin to "skin" in about 10 minutes, so timing is important. Once you apply a bead of silicone, smooth it out using your finger or a tool for smoothing caulk. Then remove the tape before the silicone begins to set. In my case I worked my way across the tank in sections. I did one side panel, then removed the tape from that section before continuing. I recommend this approach on larger aquariums. The whole tank must be resealed in one shot. Once silicone dries, new silicone will not adhere to it.

In my case, this was a 2 step process. I resealed the aquarium itself, allowed the seal to cure, then added in the overflow. The photo below shows the finished tank.

Resealed tank
Resealed tank

Things to keep in mind when resealing an aquarium:

  • Silicone has a strong vinegar smell - make sure you work in a ventilated area
  • Wear gloves to keep the silicone off your skin, have rags handy to wipe excess off your hands
  • Don't worry about stray drops of silicone that get on the glass where you don't want them - these can be easily scraped off later, just let it dry

4. Allow the new seal to cure

Follow the instructions on the tube of silicone you're using. I recommend waiting at least 48 hours before attempting to fill the aquarium with water. You have nothing to lose by giving the silicone an extra day to cure. If it still smells like vinegar, its probably not cured yet.

5. Enjoy

Once the silicone is fully cured you can start the fun part: setting up your tank!

Newly scaped aquarium
Newly scaped aquarium