Will an unlevel tank bow or loosen seals at the sides?

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thebeasle

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Nov 12, 2012
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Hi I'm not sure if this is the right forum but it's about equipment so here goes.

I recently upgraded my 29 gallon goldfish tank to a 75 gallon. I put it on top of a dresser. Everybody says not to do that I know but the dresser supported the 29G + 150 pounds worth of dumbbells and now is supporting the 75G just fine.

Just like the 29G, the 75G tank is level front to back but it isn't level side to side. Water on the right side is about 1/2 inch higher than the left side. Because I'm pushing the weight limits of my stand (the dresser), I don't want to add shims under the stand and I think putting shims under the the tank will hurt more than it will help.

Not just scary hypotheticals, but has anyone had actual issues with bowing or seals coming loose when their tank was not level side to side? Especially when the difference was in the 1/4" to 1/2" range? If so any advice on how to level my tank? I'm in an apartment right now and don't have space for a separate stand.
 

authmal

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Aug 4, 2011
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Well, first issue is that 29 gallon tank, with all the associated stuff, plus 150 pounds of dumbbells is going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 450 pounds. 75 gallon tank? Somewhere in the neighborhood of 750. You're probably going to have more issues with the dresser failing than the tank failing. Even old school and sturdily built dressers really aren't made for that.
 

Bushkill

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Dec 1, 2011
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I know it sounds like I'm piling on, but that really is pushing your luck, especially in an apartment.

To answer your question, the dresser being out of level on one plane shouldn't cause an issue and you could shim the dresser on the low end. Although with the tank set on it I would just let it be unless you want drain and refill it. Don't try it with the tank partially or completely full of water.

The only concern would be if opposing legs were out of balance so that if on a flat surface the dresser would rock diagonally between opposing corners. Tanks are designed to be supported evenly and equally along the entire bottom perimeter.
 

Narwhal72

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Aug 13, 2009
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Yeah I would be more concerned with the dresser collapsing. Most furniture is not meant to hold nearly half a ton of weight on it.
 

greech

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One of 2 things will eventually happen. The dresser will give way OR one or more of the glass panes will crack (that will happen quickly with no warning). The longer and wider a tank is, the more stress is forced on the longer panes. You may get lucky and the center brace will snap before the glass cracks but I wouldn't count on that happening.
 

Rbishop

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One of 2 things will eventually happen. The dresser will give way OR one or more of the glass panes will crack (that will happen quickly with no warning). The longer and wider a tank is, the more stress is forced on the longer panes. You may get lucky and the center brace will snap before the glass cracks but I wouldn't count on that happening.
:thm:
 

Khemul

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Oct 14, 2010
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One of 2 things will eventually happen. The dresser will give way OR one or more of the glass panes will crack (that will happen quickly with no warning). The longer and wider a tank is, the more stress is forced on the longer panes. You may get lucky and the center brace will snap before the glass cracks but I wouldn't count on that happening.
^ This ^

I wouldn't do above 50 gallons on a dresser. At the very least it needs to be level. 1/2" is quite a bit to be off level. You are already stressing that dresser as it is. The added stress of the unevenness on both the dresser and tank won't help in the slightest.
 

thebeasle

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Nov 12, 2012
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Thank you everyone for your replies. What I'm hearing is that the 1/4" to 1/2" water difference side to side isn't a big deal. Everybody's concerned about the dresser, understandably so.

I looked at the dresser with a contractor friend of mine before I bought the tank. Dresser has 3 supports (2 side and 1 in the middle) and six drawers inside it. Contractor told me to be careful of side, front and back impacts. But the force straight downward from the top would have to absolutely incredible to break the dresser and the top piece would probably bow first. I'm watching for bowing in between the center support and the side supports because I figure a break or leak will soon follow significant bowing in the wood.

One of 2 things will eventually happen. The dresser will give way OR one or more of the glass panes will crack (that will happen quickly with no warning). The longer and wider a tank is, the more stress is forced on the longer panes. You may get lucky and the center brace will snap before the glass cracks but I wouldn't count on that happening.
If the tank is flush with the top of the dresser and the dresser isn't bowing, then why would the tank be more likely to crack on a dresser instead of a stand? "Eventually" you may be right but I'm just trying to get by a year or two until I move. I'm in an industrial loft style apartment so I'm not worried about water damage. And I'm not just being a cheapskate on the stand, I really don't have a good place for a separate stand in my apartment.
 

greech

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The 1/4" to 1/2" water difference is in fact a big deal. Remember we are not talking about a solid object like a dumbbell. That water wants to get out of that glass box.

Equal weight distribution and transfer is the key to a correctly built stand. Vertical supports should be directly beneath the four corners of the tank and those need to be level. The weight is transfered to the bottom frame and then to the floor via these supports. I understand that your dresser has supports but the chances of those supports being level and where they need to be is not likely.

If your dresser had a welded steal frame, I might be less concerned about where the supports were but even that kind of stand would need to be level.

I fully understand the space constraints and I hope that you are fortunate enough to not have a failure. I just don't want to see anyone lose their tank and end up with damaged floors, etc.
 

thebeasle

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Nov 12, 2012
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Hey Greech thank you. I didn't really believe how quickly my goldfish would grow, but they did, and now here I am upgrading to a 75 gallon less than a year later. Maybe you experienced fishkeepers are onto something. I'll start thinking about how to feng shui my apartment to include an aquarium stand. And maybe I can find a proper aquarium stand that has drawers like a dresser so I can use that same space in the apartment. Thank you everyone.
 
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