I just moved into a new apartment, and I'd like to get an aquarium. Space is tight so I'd like to use this entertainment stand:

entertainment stand

I would like a 20 gallon aquarium (I'm told 10 gallon ones are too small, and hard to maintain for beginners).

Weight = aquarium + water (20 gal) + rocks = 85 kg (190 lbs).

I would like to reinforce this stand so I don't face $$ in damage charges :). I am thinking of using metal rods going from just under the main shelf where the aquarium would stand, going all the way down to the floor. This would mean drilling through the 3 shelves below it.

I understand that aquariums hold most of their weight on their corners, thus four rods would be positioned just under the corners. I also want to protect from the shelf buckling, so I will want to double it up, and reinforce the diagonals. I am thinking sheet metal + more square rods.

Any thoughts? Am I missing anything or doing anything wrong? Any help appreciated! First DIY home-improvement project.

  • 1
    Don't even bother. Not worth the effort. Just get a proper aquarium stand and put two ikea Expedit shelf things on the sides and call it good. It will likely be less hassle and far less likely to catastrophically fail. Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 19:28

1 Answer 1


Disagree, aquariums do not hold most of their weight under the corners. The weight is almost uniformly distributed on portions that are in contact with the supporting surface. If it is an acrylic tank with no frame, then all that weight is distributed across the whole bottom surface (assuming it is resting on a shelf like you illustrate). If it is a glass tank with a frame, then the weight is around the perimeter wherever the frame contacts the surface.

The rod under the corners are good, and your idea about diagonal members will prevent sagging. But that is probably overkill and also adds complexity to the fabrication. I would just run lengths of angle iron between the rods along the long length. I don't think sag would be an issue on the short length.

You didn't ask, but spend the extra money and get an acrylic tank (not just any plastic tank though, acrylic). A glass tank will eventually leak especially if it is not on a perfectly flat surface (flat, not necessarily level), and sometimes even then.

Lastly, that entertainment center is probably made of MDF or a similar material. It will swell like mad if left in contact with water long enough. No matter what you do, you will end up with some water outside the tank at some point. So, this is not the best material overall so do take care.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.