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How to pick the best stand for your fish tank

Pairing your fish tank with the appropriate stand is crucial as you aquarium can crack, or even break, if it is not properly supported when completely filled with water. This guide at Aquarium Blueprints will help you find an appropriate stand for your tank.

Glass vs. Acrylic

If you haven’t read our previous guide, then you might want to know that glass and acrylic aquariums require different support at the bottom. With glass fish tanks, you only have to support the bottom edges (although having a beam that support the middle is also not a bad idea). For acrylic tanks, you must support the entire bottom panel or you risk your tank possibly bowing out, and eventually bursting, from its base.

In other words, you can place a glass aquarium on a surface that either supports the entire bottom panel or just the edges. With an acrylic tank, you can only use stands that support the entire bottom panel.

Tank Weight

Before looking for a stand, you must first calculate the theoretical weight of your tank when it is filled with water. 1 gallon of water is equivalent of 8.35 pounds (for calculations of the most common tank size, you can check out our guide for picking the best aquarium size).

Needless to say, the bigger the fish tank, the more cautious you have to be when it comes to finding the right stand. Otherwise, you will not only risk breaking your tank, but also damaging your floor, electronics, furniture and anything else you  put close to your tank due to the huge amounts of water that will come bursting through the panels.

Household Shelves, Tables And Stands

For smaller aquariums, say up to 20 gallons, most of your household shelves made of strong wood or metal should provide enough support. A 20 gallon tank weighs 167 pounds when completely filled with water. So you can easily test if your shelf, table or other stands can support your tank by putting some weight (like using your own body weight) to see how it holds up.

One thing that you want to make sure of is that the shelf, table or other is balanced to distribute the weight evenly. For instance, if your table has legs one only one side, then you run the risk of your table and tank being off balance as the side with no legs may not be able to support the added weight of a water-filled aquarium.

For bigger aquariums, look for sturdier stands. In general, denser wood and thicker metal should hold more weight than thinner wood and metals. Of course, you never know unless you try performing a stress test.

Commercial Fish Tank Stands

Because of how much damage large volumes of water flooding your home could cause, we recommend purchasing a dedicated stand made just for fish tanks to remove the trial and error aspects of using household shelf, table and/or stand. For standard rectangle tanks, we recommend checking out the Aquatic Fundamentals and Imagitarium brands. You can find the stands on Amazon with the following links:

Do It Yourself Aquarium Stands

If you have some carpentry skills, then you might want to consider building your own aquarium stand. A lot of fish keepers like to use two-by-four lumbers as the materials are strong enough to hold large aquariums if the stand is built to correctly to evenly support the weight. You can find a video series from The King of DIY on how to build wooden aquarium stand below:

If you don’t have any carpentry skills, as well as don’t care how your stand looks, then you can also use cinder blocks along with the aforementioned two-by-four lumbers. The blocks can be used as legs while the lumbers can be put on top of the blocks to provide a smooth surface for your tanks to sit. You can find a lengthy video by Aquarium Co-Op on how to build a fish tank stand using cinder blocks and two-by-four lumbers below:

Being able to build your own stand is likely less expensive than buying a commercially made one. Not to mention that you will be able to customize the dimensions to your liking. If you have multiple tanks, aquariums that are larger than 55 gallons and/or non-rectangular tanks, then building your own stand may be your best option.


When it comes to placing your fish tank, you should be extra cautious as your household shelves, tables and/or stands may not be able to hold the weight when it is filled up with water.

If you are looking for a commercially made stand, we recommend taking a look at the products made by either Aquatic Fundamentals or Imagitarium.

If you want to save cash and/or want to customize the size of your aquarium stand, you can try building one. You can do so with strong wood and/or cinder blocks.

We recommend checking out the YouTube videos we posted above so that you will be able to build a stand that is strong enough to hold your fish tank when it is completely filled with water.