So I'm planning on adding a new aquarium to my collection and I'd like to put it over my television on my entertainment center. However, when the tank is filled it will weight between 350-400 pounds and I am not sure the furniture can support that.

My idea is to purchase some 2x12's and have them extend the platform the aquarium sits on to the posts on either end. Will this be enough to safely transfer weight to the support beams? I'm concerned that even if I do sucessfully build the platform it will still be unsafe.

Would definitely love some opinions on whether or not this is a good idea and is achievable in a reliable way. Here are some photos of what I'm dealing with.

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  • 1
    The 2x12s are the beams. What I'm concerned about here is what is effectively going to become the posts. Is that cabinetry solid wood, or particle board, or what? Are they anchored to the wall?
    – isherwood
    Nov 5, 2017 at 16:06
  • 3
    How are you going to maintain that aquarium without risking your electronics? (I've been an aquarist for 20 years and would not do this.)
    – isherwood
    Nov 5, 2017 at 16:07
  • the wood is pretty solid, not particle board. I got it from a pottery barn years ago, so that might tell you something about the build quality. I was going to build two hooks to anchor the back to the wall. But the electronics is definitely another issue entirely.
    – Fishguy
    Nov 5, 2017 at 16:15
  • it would be stabler to the left, on top of three vertical boards instead of straddling two boards above the TV. also, being in the corner makes it stronger and less likely to tip, and offer anchoring on 2 sides. It would look less obtrusive in the corner as well: heavy things go in the corner according to most designers...
    – dandavis
    Nov 7, 2017 at 2:50

2 Answers 2


It may be strong enough to put that aquarium up there but there are a raft of factors that would seem, when taken all together, to discourage you from pursuing this idea.

  1. Aquariums require regular servicing and having it up so high will be a total pain in the tush when it comes to cleaning and adding water and so forth.
  2. Cleaning aquariums is usually a wet and messy job. The possibility of spilling water down over electronics or water damage to the "decent" looking furniture is a high risk.
  3. The backer board in that shelving unit may very well be made of a thin cardboard material that has a nice wood grain printed surface. Such material would not stand up to providing side to side stiffening of the unit with all that weight on top even if you laid flat 2x12's across the top of the unit.
  4. The upper shelving unit is not built into the lower unit as an integral structure. This leads to concern the unit could buckle out the middle under possible earth quake conditions even if the top of the upper unit were to be secured to the wall.
  5. If you have kids in the house, or ever plan, to be aware that they can and will attempt to climb up on shelves. An aquarium up there is bound to capture attention or curiosity. It would be extremely unfortunate if a child were attempting to climb and the very top heavy shelf and aquarium were to collapse, fall or be pulled down with said child underneath.
  6. From a pure aesthetics standpoint even the empty aquarium looks very top heavy up there to the point of being almost ugly in this observer's opinion.

The stiffness is most important. The glass itself provides a lot. It does not look like particale board / OSB , which can hardly hold itself up , much less an aquarium, so I think it will work. Some steel angle ( out of sight) under the front and rear length would stiffen it. Also , make sure the back of the bookcase is solidly attached as it provides diagonal strength ( to resist sideways movement). I built a unit similar to this but had the electronics above the aquarium. I found I am not neat enough to maintain a set-up like this.

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