I like to overthink everything. Every now and then, I spend more time staring at the project then I probably should. Last weekend was definitely one of those times. I measured the inside of the aquarium stand and it was the right size for me to fit my new sump. I even purchased a sump that would allow me to keep the current duo canister filters underneath. So when I started to place the aquarium in the stand, I had a oops moment of “it can’t make it through the door.” In these situations, I always think of Douglas Adams and the stuck couch. I tried 42 times to maneuver it, but to no avail. I have now been staring at the situation for a week and here is what I have found.
Puzzling Out the Plan to Place the Sump in the Stand
My first thought was to cut the front facing wood in the front of the stand that is visible between the two doors. I started looking at the inside. I thought hey, it is supported on ends and in the rear middle, no problem removing what should just be visually decorative. Got out the Dremel and started to cut. I figured the Dremel would leave less of a space between the cuts and would be easy to glue and patch it back in after placing the sump. I stopped because I noticed something on the opposite wood brace. The vertical piece of wood was holding up a horizontal piece of wood that comes to the front of the stand and is propped up by the piece of wood I am about to cut. Sure enough, the piece of wood I am about to cut is a load bearing column. Oh crap!
Only Six Points of Contact
I was always under the impression that the rim of an aquarium should be supported everywhere otherwise the integrity of the tank could be compromised. My tank stand contradicts this statement. There are only six points of contact where the tank rim touches wood. In each spot it is only about 4 inches of wood. To put that in perspective, of the 132 inches of tank rim, only 40 inches of the rim is actually being supported. That is eight inches for each corner plus 8 for the two center points. There is a 3/4 inch gap between the tank bottom rim and the wood underneath. When I built my first stand, I was absolutely concerned about the structure being able to hold the aquariums weight. I was absolutely worried about the rim touching all around. Not anymore! I have been reading through forum posts about tanks being held by just the corners. I think that for smaller aquariums, this might be viable based on what I see in this 75 gallon stand. Do not try it, unless you want to possibly destroy your tank and have to clean the mess it may cause.
After a week of contemplating my choices, I decided on the original plan, just modified. I am going to cut out only a portion of the load bearing facade. It should maintain integrity long enough for be to back brace the board after the sump has been placed. The plan is to cut just enough of the center piece that the sump can make the appropriate turn to place the sump. After the back brace is in place, I will add another piece of wood in the front to match the color and size depth of the doors. It will either look totally cool or will be a miserable fail. I am hoping for cool.
I Did Get Some Work Done
Even with being lost in thought, I was able to accomplish some items. I started on the tubing for the drain line and putting together the pvc overflow. I only dry fitted the pieces, I still have to glue them and test the overflow before I will be comfortable with the setup. This is making me nervous as well. I keep reading that most people have had no issues with this type of overflow. I then read that some have. Based on my last project, i am a little concerned that I end up on the disastrous side of the debate. I destroyed my roof, broke the air conditioner and flooded the living room in the last project. I will write up more details in the next post on the build pieces.