Novice and seasoned aquarium enthusiasts alike frequently do not think about the important role that an aquarium stand plays as part of the overall aquarium setup. First and foremost, an aquarium stand provides a sturdy and even foundation for your aquarium to rest on. Moving on from its primary function, an aquarium stand can also provide a practical place to conceal support equipment for the aquarium, such as air pumps, maintenance gear, food and other supplies. It can even be used as an aesthetic means to incorporate the aquarium into its surrounding décor. Although there are many reliable aquarium stands available commercially, for the person that is good with their hands and adept with tools, they can adequately build a stand for their aquarium.
The undertaking of a project such as this can take on two distinct forms. One would be to completely build one from scratch. The other would be to take a bare bones aquarium stand and build upon it to make it more aesthetically pleasing or functional for your purposes.
A DIY aquarium stand from scratch can be built out of natural wood or metal. Particle board, even if coated, should be avoided due to its reduced strength, high levels of moisture absorption and reliance on adhesives rather than fasteners to secure the pieces together. The union and jointing process between the pieces is very important when building your stand. If using wood, proper wood screws are recommend in combination with wood glue. Notched jointing can also provide added strength to the structure.
If using metal, aluminum beams and tubular modular units can also be used to build a sturdy aquarium stand. For those of you knowledgeable in arc welding, wrought iron can also be used. When using iron, of course, rust can become an issue further down the road.
Regardless of the primary building material selected, your stand must have a surface area that fully accommodates the base of the tank and that is level. Leveling is paramount in building an aquarium stand. Even being out of level by a minor degree can cause uneven weight and pressure to be applied to your tank resulting in cracks and leaks. Adding sturdy adjustable legs can help you in achieving a balanced surface, regardless of your placement location. Once you have selected the location for your stand, ALWAYS test for leveling again immediately prior to setting up the tank. Many times you will get a level reading on the unit itself in the workshop, but differences in the flooring in its final location can throw that askew.
As was mentioned earlier, another option is one in which you take a preexisting, sturdy and fully functional aquarium stand and make it more aesthetic or practical. This frees you from the burden of "engineering" the unit, and allows you to concentrate on its appearance. Some things which you can do include adding your preferred finish to natural wood finished stands. Adding cabinet doors, shelving, adding hoods over the stand- these are some of the other possibilities for supplementing an existing aquarium stand. Most of these enhancements do not require as much knowledge or skills in wood working as building one from scratch. Honestly, almost anyone can perform these enhancements with relative ease.
Building your own DIY aquarium stand is not mandatory to derive the full pleasure from your aquarium; however, for those manually inclined, it can add to your sense of involvement and accomplishment with your tank set up.