View Full Version : Building a tank rack

03-04-2015, 09:02 PM
I'm wanting to make a 3 tier rack for 20 gallon long aquariums but I'm struggling. After reading up a little it seems that connecting 2x4 with a Dado notch is what most do because all the weight is on the legs. I do not own a circular saw and was wondering if there is another way to make a rack safe without relying on just the screws to hold up the weight. Any pictures of the joints, bracing etc etc would be a huge help.

03-04-2015, 09:18 PM
I've seen people use extra heavy duty steel shelving units for this purpose, just put a coat of waterproof paint on the plywood. Use the 4" titanium deck screws and they will hold.

03-04-2015, 09:25 PM
How many 20 longs per shelf ?

03-04-2015, 09:36 PM
I have a steel shelf that I bought originally for this room but I'm wanting to view the tanks length ways and the commercial racks are all 18" or 24" so that would be no good.
I'm wanting a total of 6x20 gallon longs so it will actually only be 2 tier, I plan on 3 above 3.

03-04-2015, 10:09 PM
Would have to agree with a steel rack

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03-04-2015, 10:35 PM
It's not too expensive to rent a saw from a local hardware store. Even buy a used one on craigslist. Dado is key with wooden stands in my opinion.

03-05-2015, 06:59 AM
Ever consider cinder blocks? 4 stacks of cinder blocks - at the ends and in the middle, coupled with 3/4 inch ply, is more than sturdy enough for what you are planning. Also - a simple 2x4 frame/post setup will do the trick. Two rectangles using drywall screws, and then some 2x4s vertically in the corners and in the middle, with the vertical pieces attached to the rectangle with 1/4 inch carriage bolts drilled thru and fastened with 2 washers and a nut(although screws will hold just as well). To prevent any lateral movement, you can screw a piece of 1/4 inch ply on the backside of the top & bottom frames. I can send you a pic of a 4-tier rack I did for several 20s and 10s, using 2x3s and 1/2 inch ply, fastened with drywall screws.

Mark V.

03-05-2015, 08:53 AM
You can use cinder blocks with 4x4 s or the similar size landscape ties--no nails required .You can use a combination of full and half size cinder blocks to get height needed.Use Styrofoam on the wood rails to level out any unevenness in the wood so the tank stay level .Cider blocks are only required at each end no support is required in the middle for the size tanks you are using

Mog Carns
03-05-2015, 09:53 AM
http://www.globalindustrial.com/p/storage/bulk-rack/heavy-duty/wide-span-rack-96x24x60-with-3-shelves-no-deck-600-lb-capacity-per-level?infoParam.campaignId=T9F&gclid=CjwKEAiAmuCnBRCLj4D7nMWqp1USJABcT4df7vKPyoAW 13gG6HZveg7bRbm2Y7-on02C2rZzRCivpRoCNanw_wcB

03-05-2015, 10:13 AM
Just a word of caution - stay away from treated lumber, as a splash contact with that stuff will poison your fish.

03-05-2015, 08:17 PM
I have a commercial rack already that holds 2000lb per shelf but i do not want to have the tanks faxing me with the sides. I want to be able to see the whole tank and with the rack being 24" in depth, it's not going to work. I also want the stained wood look so steel is a no go.
I bought a circular saw in the end and had a go at making a dado cut.... Didn't account for the size of the blade which is bigger than my pencil marks so it was not a snug fit arghhhh! I will try again tomorrow.

03-05-2015, 10:10 PM
Get the Teflon coated screws with the star bit. They go in much faster.

Mog Carns
03-06-2015, 07:08 AM
"I'm wanting to view the tanks length ways"

Do you mean width ways, meaning that you want see the short "side" of the tank toward the front?

So the shelf needs to be as deep as the tank is wide?

03-06-2015, 07:50 AM
No sorry, I explained that terribly after reading it back lol
I want to view the tank width ways so on a 20 gallon long I want to view the entire 30" of glass meaning the rack needs to be around 12" deep front to back.

03-06-2015, 08:30 AM
More footprint on the rack will make it a bit more stable and I would still probably anchor it to the wall. Make your uprights out of 2x4's and add a cleat to go from floor to bottom of first shelf and run horizontal braces add 1/2 inch plywood shelf and go from that shelf to top of where next shelf will be and add more cleats....This way everything sits on top of each other and takes all weight to floor...Donny