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Fazor
2008-Aug-14, 12:29 PM
Okay, so I got a little money recently that will almost all go to bills, but I decided to use a chunk of it to get a piece of needed furnature for next to my fireplace (TV mounted on wall/fireplace, boxes on mantle, but the power strip and chords just dangle ugly-ly (thats a word) next to the fireplace). And atop this new furnature piece I thought I'd put an aquarium.

Got a pretty nice 29 gal tank and headed home. It was late by the time we got home and unpacked the new goodies + groceries, so at 10:30 finally got started putting the furnature together. Between it being a million degrees in our house (no AC) and it being late, it was exhausting. By about a quarter after midnight I finally got the last do-hickies and thing'a'ma'jigs installed in the furnature. Flip to the last page and find... a big sticker that says "Warning! Max weight for tabletop is 95 lbs!". Crap.

I figure the fully loaded aquarium + water will weight about 260-280 lbs. I usually don't worry if it's close, 'caus I know they leave "Just in case" coushin when they come up with max weights. But 95 isn't close to 280.

Here's the question part: the furnature is quite sturdy, but it's made of the standard "build it yourself" MDF wood. I've included a rough diagram of the piece. How much weight can MDF wood handle? I'm wondering if the max weight on the furnature is structual, or to avoid "tipping hazard".



Diagram [A] shows the contact points with the floor.

Diagram [B] shows the shelves. Manual's corrosponding max wieghts as follows: [B][1] 95lbs. [B][2] 2 Seperate shelves, 25lbs ea. [B][3] A single piece of wood (bottom) 50lbs.

This tells me the "feet" (diagram [A]) can at least handle a totle of 195lbs.

Diagram [C] just shows the center divider.

I'm wondering if I add a piece of wood to the bottom of the unit, to make [C] an actual support structure, that it might help. As it stands, It seems fairly sturdy... just worried about the structure bowing then breaking in the middle. Perhaps the support in the middle would make it sturdy enough...

...but 260+lbs is a lot of weight, and almost 30 gallons of water is something I don't particularly want coming crashing down on my living room floor.

So what do the experts think?

edit: Oops forgot to attach diagram. Fixed

Neverfly
2008-Aug-14, 12:37 PM
I wouldn't.

The MDF can handle the weight for a while, but after that while the weight will squish the table.

Aquariums always belong on Sold Wood. Sorry, Fazor... I'm not trying to umm
bust your bubble...
But this is just one of those times when MDF simply won't cut it.

The tensile strength can hold the aquarium up a bit. Don't jostle it,

Imagine putting a Big Heavy T.V. on that table. We've all done that at one point or another. After a while, the table looks like a jello table where an elephant sat.
It should last a little while until you can either build a proper stand for the aquarium or buy something better.

Now here's the funny thing about furniture... It's expensive for cheap easy work. Truth is, you should be able to construct a Nice Solid wood table yourself, at a third of the cost easily.

Fazor
2008-Aug-14, 01:08 PM
Now here's the funny thing about furniture... It's expensive for cheap easy work. Truth is, you should be able to construct a Nice Solid wood table yourself, at a third of the cost easily.

That's what my "Plan B" was. I downloaded my 3d program at work (It's a free one), so I'll upload rough sketch of "Plan B" in a bit.

Just a shame 'caus the peice we bought looks nice. I dont know why I never even considered the weight of a full aquarium.

Neverfly
2008-Aug-14, 01:19 PM
That's what my "Plan B" was. I downloaded my 3d program at work (It's a free one), so I'll upload rough sketch of "Plan B" in a bit.

Just a shame 'caus the peice we bought looks nice. I dont know why I never even considered the weight of a full aquarium.

That's actually normal, unless you do it for a living. I wouldn't sweat it;)
That's how come we have all overloaded furniture at one time or another;)

You have no idea how many houses I've been in on plumbing calls to see furniture bowed in the middle.
Or shelves warped, and toilet paper dispensers that have been knocked off and remounted three times or more...:p

Maybe you can find another use for the table you got. You can put a fish bowl on it.

Fazor
2008-Aug-14, 01:27 PM
And here it is: Combined aquarium cabinet and sitting area.

I'm not completely unskilled with tools, but I think I'll be bringing my contractor-brother into the project :)

Neverfly
2008-Aug-14, 01:31 PM
And here it is: Combined aquarium cabinet and sitting area.

I'm not completely unskilled with tools, but I think I'll be bringing my contractor-brother into the project :)

Now that's a nice set up.
It has a drawer for aquarium cleaning supplies and other necessities...
A cabinet for larger items, fish food and bottles...
And a Cat Perch with a cushion where the cat goes.

Fazor
2008-Aug-14, 01:37 PM
And a Cat Perch with a cushion where the cat goes.

Dogs, but same general idea. :)

Neverfly
2008-Aug-14, 01:53 PM
Dogs, but same general idea. :)

Oh, so you're getting catfish for the tank, then?

sabianq
2008-Aug-14, 02:16 PM
i gotta ask
salt or fresh?

Fazor
2008-Aug-14, 02:26 PM
i gotta ask
salt or fresh?
Haven't decided. G/f likes salt, but as a beginner probably better to go fresh. Though I'd love to have some shrimp.

BigDon
2008-Aug-14, 03:16 PM
Hey Fazor, they make several species of fresh water shrimp. Including one kind whose "pinchers" have evolved into filter feeding pom-poms.

But to check out whether or not your table will suffice all you have to do is what Ralph Malph always told Potsy to do.

Fazor
2008-Aug-14, 03:32 PM
But to check out whether or not your table will suffice all you have to do is what Ralph Malph always told Potsy to do.
"Sit on it"?

Tog
2008-Aug-14, 03:42 PM
I'd not trust it either. The woodlike substance might be strong enough to hand the weight, but I'd be concerned with the sides of the think blowing out where the screws/pegs go in.

Maybe with a large sheet of plywood nailed to the back to keep the shape, but that's still a bit much, even for racing tolerances. If it were me, and I had no choice, I'd also add another board to the top to help get the weight centered over the legs, rather than over the void in the middle of the bottom.

Plan B looks really good though.

Fazor
2008-Aug-14, 03:51 PM
I'd not trust it either. The woodlike substance might be strong enough to hand the weight, but I'd be concerned with the sides of the think blowing out where the screws/pegs go in.

Maybe with a large sheet of plywood nailed to the back to keep the shape, but that's still a bit much, even for racing tolerances. If it were me, and I had no choice, I'd also add another board to the top to help get the weight centered over the legs, rather than over the void in the middle of the bottom.

Plan B looks really good though.

Plan B's advantage is that it would result in a very nice sitting area to kick back with a glass of whiskey and a good book, or my laptop. It's disadvantage (other than giving the dogs easier access to a mid-day treat) is that I don't have all the tools I need, and between cost of lumber and cost of tools, it's just... well, awful costly.

I've been sketching some ideas for reinforcing the current piece. Replacing the center divider with solid wood that runs all the way to the floor (or, more likely, is bolted to a piece that is attached to the bottom ofthe unit); adding solid wood support panels to the outer sides that also run all the way to the floor where possible; and a solid wood piece that runs the length of the top to support the upper peice aswell as keep the verticle supports in place.

That'll probably be the route I take.

Fazor
2008-Aug-14, 04:08 PM
Just 'caus I was bored, here's what it'd look like in my living room. I wish I had my rendering program and photoshop at work; then I'd throw textures on everything and make it look spiffy :)

Trebuchet
2008-Aug-14, 07:16 PM
Is that window going to be behind the aquarium? Sounds like an invitation for excessive algae growth.

In addition to all the other concerns, I'd be worried about MDF in the inevitably wet vicinity of a fish tank. It tends to swell up and fall apart.

Fazor
2008-Aug-14, 07:29 PM
Is that window going to be behind the aquarium? Sounds like an invitation for excessive algae growth.

In addition to all the other concerns, I'd be worried about MDF in the inevitably wet vicinity of a fish tank. It tends to swell up and fall apart.

Ah, algae. My arch Nemesis (grew up with a bond that was standing water, not fed by a creek or stream). I didn't think of that, though I did consider the window. And yes, that's the target area. Some good things are that A) the window faces dead south, so there's never direct sunlight though it. B) There's a large pine tree that shades the side of the house. and C) there's no "c" but I prefer three part lists over two part lists.

I was worried about temperature control there though; we don't have AC, so any sunlight may heat the water too much.

I'm fairly sure the top piece of the existing furniture is not MDF, though it could be, with a heavy veneer...I'll have to look closer at it tonight.

SeanF
2008-Aug-14, 07:38 PM
A) the window faces dead south, so there's never direct sunlight though it.
Okay, I'm confused.

Fazor
2008-Aug-14, 07:45 PM
Okay, I'm confused.

Well, obviously the angle of the sun changes throughout the year, but what I mean is sun-rise and sun-set are not through the window; that combined with the positioning of the pine-tree keeps the sun from directly shining in the window.

In otherwords; you can sit by it all year long and never have to sheild your eyes. :)

SeanF
2008-Aug-14, 07:48 PM
Well, obviously the angle of the sun changes throughout the year, but what I mean is sun-rise and sun-set are not through the window; that combined with the positioning of the pine-tree keeps the sun from directly shining in the window.

In otherwords; you can sit by it all year long and never have to sheild your eyes. :)
So you misspelled "There's a tree in front of the window" as "The window faces dead south."

Been there, done that.

:)

Fazor
2008-Aug-14, 07:53 PM
So you misspelled "There's a tree in front of the window" as "The window faces dead south."

Been there, done that.

:)

No, I listed the first time. I just made the obvious assumption that pointing out that the window doesn't face sun rise/set, and there's a tree, would (again) obviously Mean that the sun is never in direct line-of-sight of the window. Duh. ;)

But I also have bamboo blinds that I just need to put up. Had them for the past 2 years, but never got around to putting them up on that particular window. As I've (so clearly ;)) said, there's not much light to block. Additionally, the neighbor's house is only a few feet away, but they have no windows facing that window, and our window is well above eye level to anyone in their yard.

Tobin Dax
2008-Aug-14, 08:18 PM
No, I listed the first time. I just made the obvious assumption that pointing out that the window doesn't face sun rise/set, and there's a tree, would (again) obviously Mean that the sun is never in direct line-of-sight of the window. Duh. ;)
Dude, there's this called "noon." It happens when the sun is high in the southern sky. :lol:

(Forgive my mood, Fazor, but school just started. I can't talk to students like this. :) )

captain swoop
2008-Aug-14, 08:31 PM
My big Marine tank was on brick pillars, it was built into a room divider so that it was visible from both sides.

Fazor
2008-Aug-14, 08:35 PM
Dude, there's this called "noon." It happens when the sun is high in the southern sky. :lol:

(Forgive my mood, Fazor, but school just started. I can't talk to students like this. :) )

Is this your first or second year there? I vaguely remember your post about getting the job... or vaguely mis-remember something else and think you posted about getting the job.

Either way...my studential status never stopped my teachers from talking to me like that... that that might have just been me. ;)

jj_0001
2008-Aug-14, 08:51 PM
Well, one of the biggest risks is having the MDF bow, and then have the aquarium stress crack.

This is a bad thing. One preventitive method for that is to put the aquarium on a thin sheet of the heavy-duty solid foam insulation you can get at home despot, say the 1/2" thick kind that is ultra-dense. This will help spread the load, and to some extent avoid pressure points. NOTE: TO SOME EXTENT!

The center post on the bottom would do well, as well. We did a similar thing with a 55 long tank and a chest of drawers, mostly supporting the back in that case (different structure) and had no problems. This was an MDF constructed chest with cherry veneer. (Which my mom bought as solid cherrywood, gotta love it, eh?)

Water WILL get on the top of the furniture. Either put something there to cope with it, or expect to ruin the surface completely.

The light issue is also something important to consider, unless you may be considering some aquarium plants. Of course, you can get "back decorations" that go outside the tank on the back that will block light, too, but they usually have some kind of cheesy "under the sea" or "pirate, arrr" theme to them. From some of the big places you can get basic black or blue. Those are better. You want the thick paper backed ones, they are water-sensitive but also block light. The all-plastic ones usually let half the back-light through in a spectacularly ugly way. But they are waterproof.

As to fish and stuff... FIRST get yourself a pH test kit, a total hardness test kit, and a carbonate test kit (n.b. the last exists and is cheap, but a lot of pet stores are freakin' clueless about its existance). Find out what your tap water is like, and choose fish accordingly. Many pet stores are clueless about what fish should go where, find a Baensch atlas or something of the sort, and read up yourself. Great browsing anyhow.

If you have well water (no chlorine) there are additional really handy things you can do that make your life a lot easier and your fish a lot happier. If you have commercial cholorinated or (worse) chloraminated city water, you MUST dechlorinate. This pretty much excludes any shot at really soft-water fish, because you will harden the water to some extent just with the dechlorinator, which you MUST use (otherwise you kill your filter dead, see below).

One final question, is htis a tall or a wide tank? For the fish's sake, you always want a WIDE tank, not a tall tank. Despite the various silly rules of 1" per gallon, etc, the real limit to fish tanks is the surface area. This is why things like airstones help, they turn over the water surface. I used aquaclear filters instead, they move the water without bubbles, but have the same effect.

AS to filters, you do not, repeat NOT NOT NOT want filters with "have to be replaced media". The sponge you see in the cheap sponge filters is actually better, and you clean it by washing it in the vacuumed out tank water. That's because the bacterial bed in the filter is what keeps your fish alive. The silly "take it out and forget" filters JUST DO NOT WORK LIKE THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO. You have to keep carbon in them, the water chemistry goes hither and yon, and the fish don't like that.

For heaters. Ebo-Jaegers are the only ones taht acted consistant in my experience. Yours may vary. Cheap heaters often will eventually short ON. This is bad. Cold fish might die. 120 degree fish are also known as "poached". :(

While I had well water I had 3 tanks, 20l, 30l and 125, the last two planted and fully of happy, breeding fish. Used to have a lot of practice doing this, but since I've moved to a place they use a load of chlorine, and furthermore the water changes twice a year from soft snow runoff to hard well water, I've not bothered to try. (moving 125 gallon tanks NJ to Wa, err, no, not gonna try that)

Filters: The real effect of filters is to convert ammonia (fish pee) into nitrite into nitrate. Ammonia is toxic to fish, nitrite MORE so, but nitrate does little but slowly acidify the water. This happens via a variety of bacteria in the filter sponge/media/etc. When you throw away the media, you throw away your precious bacteria, and even if you think they are black and ugly, your fish depend on them.

The power filters that use sponges have always been my best performer, you put two sponges in (it allows for two media, usually they suggest carbon and sponge, but never use carbon unless you're having to treat the tank, and always change it often if you DO, but yoiu can put in two sponges). That way, the bottom one gets cruddier, you take it out, push the top one down, and wash out the bottom one in siphoned-out tank water, then put it in as the top one. Presto, no big loss in bacterial bed, all the other stuff is now in the bucket.

I know of at least one good mail-order supplier, but I hesitate as a newbie here to be seen as promoting anyone's business. You can PM me if you want.

SeanF
2008-Aug-14, 09:20 PM
No, I listed the first time. I just made the obvious assumption that pointing out that the window doesn't face sun rise/set, and there's a tree, would (again) obviously Mean that the sun is never in direct line-of-sight of the window. Duh. ;)
Oh, see, I would've realized that A and B were a combined reason instead of two separate reasons if I had, you know, not stopped reading after A. :whistle:

Neverfly
2008-Aug-14, 09:25 PM
Oh, see, I would've realized that A and B were a combined reason instead of two separate reasons if I had, you know, not stopped reading after A. :whistle:

SeanF, not to be rude, But I understood what Fazor was talking about immediately from both a and b.

See, My house also has windows that face various directions.

HenrikOlsen
2008-Aug-14, 11:24 PM
Looking at the first draft, I'd put legs in the middle, just under the vertical separator.
That would result in a massive reduction in the strength needed by the top board and go a long way towards avoiding the bendy look neverfly talked about.

And no MDF where it can get wet unless you're going to give it lots of layers of paint.

Tobin Dax
2008-Aug-15, 12:37 AM
Is this your first or second year there? I vaguely remember your post about getting the job... or vaguely mis-remember something else and think you posted about getting the job.

Either way...my studential status never stopped my teachers from talking to me like that... that that might have just been me. ;)
It's my second year. You'll enjoy this, in light of your post:

The computer and projector for my astro classroom are on a cart, and I had to move it into place and move a couple tables today at the beginning of class. This was right up next to where one student had set her stuff down, and the cart was now in her way. I let slip with a "I don't know who thought they were sitting here . . . ," just as she walks up to the front of the room.:eek::o She wasn't too thrilled with comment. I did manage to keep my other foot out of my mouth during lecture. :)

Tobin Dax
2008-Aug-15, 12:43 AM
See, My house also has windows that face various directions.

Fancy houses. The windows in my apartment only face one direction (which is north :) ).

Neverfly
2008-Aug-15, 12:48 AM
Fancy houses. The windows in my apartment only face one direction (which is north :) ).

Oh, my bad.
I didn't realize that you were Lower middle class.





Swish!!!

Tobin Dax
2008-Aug-15, 03:19 AM
Oh, my bad.
I didn't realize that you were Lower middle class.
You want to start something, plumber? :eh:

Neverfly
2008-Aug-15, 03:46 AM
You want to start something, plumber? :eh:

http://us.i1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/i/mesg/emoticons7/70.gif Bring it on Trekkie Teacher...http://us.i1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/i/mesg/emoticons7/70.gif

Tobin Dax
2008-Aug-15, 04:58 AM
http://us.i1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/i/mesg/emoticons7/70.gif Bring it on Trekkie Teacher...http://us.i1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/i/mesg/emoticons7/70.gif
Sure. But I've got to sleep before I can think of a good come back. I'll be back tomorrow. :)

SeanF
2008-Aug-15, 01:14 PM
SeanF, not to be rude, But I understood what Fazor was talking about immediately from both a and b.
I think you misunderstood my post you quoted. I was accepting responsibility for the error - I read A), thought "That doesn't make any sense," and responded without reading B). It was entirely my fault.


See, My house also has windows that face various directions.
That's cool. My house has some windows that face each direction, but I don't have any windows that face various directions. :surprised

Neverfly
2008-Aug-15, 03:05 PM
I think you misunderstood my post you quoted. I was accepting responsibility for the error - I read A), thought "That doesn't make any sense," and responded without reading B). It was entirely my fault.
oops...http://us.i1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/i/mesg/emoticons7/9.gif


That's cool. My house has some windows that face each direction, but I don't have any windows that face various directions. :surprised
<chuckle>
Actually, though I hadn't intended it this way at the start, I really do have two different windows that face various directions:p
The breakfast nook type thing off from the kitchen. You know the thing I mean, where the sill is a bench and the window is kinda domed outward? Wraps around the whole breakfast nook...

Fazor
2008-Aug-15, 04:44 PM
Here's how I think I've decided I'll attempt to support the structure. I may also decide to add hidden "legs" at the quart-lengths, but I don't know that that's necessary.

Neverfly
2008-Aug-15, 04:48 PM
Here's how I think I've decided I'll attempt to support the structure. I may also decide to add hidden "legs" at the quart-lengths, but I don't know that that's necessary.

The green squares are Steel Plates?:p

Fazor
2008-Aug-15, 04:52 PM
Oh and as a post-script, they have one of those god-awful cardboard backings, so I"ll probably replace that with actual wood aswell, going down to the floor

Fazor
2008-Aug-15, 04:54 PM
The green squares are Steel Plates?:p

Oh come now, 260lbs isn't *that* heavy :)

But my brother is a welder, when I talked to him he seemed to really want to build a metal skeleton instead. Probably a better solution; but he'd probably never get around to it and I certianly cannot weld.

Neverfly
2008-Aug-15, 05:01 PM
Oh come now, 260lbs isn't *that* heavy :)

But my brother is a welder, when I talked to him he seemed to really want to build a metal skeleton instead. Probably a better solution; but he'd probably never get around to it and I certianly cannot weld.

Green!
Gotcha
Kryptonite then.:neutral:

mugaliens
2008-Aug-17, 11:36 AM
Here's the question part: the furnature is quite sturdy, but it's made of the standard "build it yourself" MDF wood. I've included a rough diagram of the piece. How much weight can MDF wood handle? I'm wondering if the max weight on the furnature is structual, or to avoid "tipping hazard".

Brand new it'll probably hold it. Barely. Perhaps not!

The low weight limit factors in the tendandy of MDF to degrade over time when wetted. If you're planning on using it to support an aquarium, even if it can support it now, out of the box, all it will take is a pinhole in whatever tablecloth or plastic sheet you attempt to use as a barrier before your hard earned cash cum fish are now swimming through your carpet.

On the other hand, for $100 of wood, some screws, and a waterproof glue, you can build a nice-looking platform of the same dimensions which will hold 1,000 lbs.

Even when wet.

Fazor
2008-Aug-17, 11:49 AM
I solved the problem by buying a piece of furniture that is solid wood, and putting the aquarium on the opposite side of the room. Took the lazy way out, but it worked out much better (room looks great, plus while looking for the shelve we found a slipcover to cover our torn, hand-me-down plaid couch.)

mugaliens
2008-Aug-17, 03:54 PM
...our torn, hand-me-down plaid couch.)

Those are the best kind! I had one for a couple years in college, and another couple years when I was first getting started.

Fazor
2008-Aug-18, 01:50 AM
Those are the best kind! I had one for a couple years in college, and another couple years when I was first getting started.

oh, it's awsome but the stuffing was coming out and it doesn't match our living room. So now we get all the comfort, with asthetics and cleanability. Woot!