DIY Aquarium Stand and Canopy: After shopping around for new and used aquarium stands at pet stores, Craigslist, ebay and other online stores, we decided to build our own. This way we could customize it to our liking for less than a purchased stand. We knew that doing so would slow the process of getting the aquarium up and running, but felt it was worth the wait.
It is typical of stands to be quite short, so that when you walk up to the aquarium you have to bend down a little to see everything. This was the main reason we decided a custom stand was a better option for us. We wanted to be able to walk up to the aquarium without stooping and see everything at eye level. Another reason is that many aquariums have a vertical center support in the bottom of the stand, in between the cupboard doors. We wanted this to be removed, without compromising structural stability. This would allow us to move freely within the cupboard space without any obstacles. Also, most of the stands in our price range ($400-$500) are made of pine and usually not in colors we like. You either get painted black, or a light pine colored stand. Darker stains, such as walnut or cherry are reserved for the more expensive stands made from hard wood. This is the first piece of furniture Andy has ever built and it turned out beautifully. He learned a lot and had fun with it, but I don’t think he will be making another one any time soon.
The stand is built with 2×4’s. This is probably overkill, but better to be safe than sorry with 75 gallons of water perched on top. He used 1/2 inch maple plywood stained in dark walnut and simple yet elegant trim to accent. Over all, the stand is 36 inches high (about the height of a kitchen island), 48.5 inches wide, and 18.5 inches deep. The 75 gallon tank will sit perfectly into the top recess, hiding the black plastic trim at the bottom of the aquarium. In the recess on top of the stand we placed 1/4 inch plywood, and on top of that 1/2 inch extruded styrofoam. The styrofoam will help the tank to self-level once filled with water.
I am ecstatic with the results! The canopy is yet to be built, but we have a couple of weeks before we really need it. More on that later.