Aquarium Stand

I was considering building a stand for a new 75 gallon tank and I've got a few questions. I'm not so concerned about the support, as I am about making it look pretty and doing it economically. I'd hate to pay a bundlee for the wood and have it look like crap. I've done some woodworking, but no cabinetry. So your cabinetry advice would be appreciated.
Most of the designs I've seen have a top and bottom frame made out of 2*4s, sitting on top of 2*4s for support. The problem with this is that they don't have a bottom shelf like a kitchen cabinet. I was thinking of removing the bottom frame and rabbeting the legs so they could be joined front to back, rather than side to side. This would distribute the weight across the floor, not just on the pots. I would then attach this to a plywood base (3/4) to distribute the weight across the floor. This is similar to my prebuilt stand, except that it's made out of MDF and not 2*4s.
I was also going to notch the support posts and set the top frame into this, so that the top frame had better protection against racking. But would this weaken the support of the top frame too much?
Finally, what's the best way to face the front? How do I go about concealing the 2*4s behind the doors? I could cover it with plywood (veneer) and cut door holes, but that seems pricey. I was thinking about using 1*4 pine to do this, but I'm not sure if it would look funny against the stained venner?
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making
the
2*4s,
don't
floor,
this,
this
concealing
do
build the stand out of 2x4s. don't notch anything. in order to face it (and if the back is against the wall), build a 3 sided face frame and attach the doors to the face frame. you can screw through the inside or use brackets to attach the outside face frame.
doing it this way will allow you to take it apart very easily, or get to the entire insides if you need to move/dismantle it. if you're doing a salt water tank and have a refuge or large wet/dry inside, this will allow you to get a larger one into the bottom than can fit through the door holes.
regards, charlie cave creek, az
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Matt,
I built a really easy/strong stand ( for my 90gal tank ) out of skids from work, but it's easier to send you a pic than describe it here. Send me an e mail and I'll shoot you a couple of pictures so you can see if you like the design.
Todd
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alt.binaries.pictures.woodworking
On 9 Aug 2004 23:05:51 -0700, gear snipped-for-privacy@sympatico.ca (Todd) wrote:

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I built a stand for a 90 gal tank. This was originally a TV stand with a shelf for a VCR. This has worked great but tool some time to "retrofit" the stand mostly for the extra depth.
I added 1x6 in oak "wings at right angles to the 3/4in plywood ends. I then used two 1x6in oak horizontal boards as the top. The wings are taller than the stand and dadoed into the board. To finished I screwed 1x3 boards at the ends of the horizontal boards.
Since this is a non-binary group I cannot post the image.
This stand has now been supporting the tank for 2-1/2 years,
Dave Paine.

making
the
2*4s,
don't
floor,
this,
this
concealing
do
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making
the
I built myself a stand once for a 125 gallon aquarium. Can't remember the exact size, but I believe it was 6' L x 24" H x 18" W.
What I did was build a solid base out of 2x4's and a plywood top. Then with the aquarium on it, I built a finished shell around the aquarium. There were two advantages to this. The first is that I could easily remove the shell (lift it off with help) if necessary for full maintenance on the aquarium and the second is that a full aquarium is definitely wider at the top of the glass then it is empty. The shell was able to move with the expanding glass as the aquarium filled, not restricting it in any way.
My 125 gallon aquarium bowed out in the middle about 1.5 inches. A 75 gallon rectangular aquarium would likely bow out close to an inch. I suggest when you're making your design plans, you allow for this.
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a
with
were
the
glass
gallon
well, it's supposed to have a center brace to prevent that. a braced tank won't bow at all. an unbraced tank is one waiting for a blowout.
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It had two centre braces. Was in operation for at least five years. No blow out. Maybe you might consider me lucky, but the way I understood it, they're going to bow out no matter what you do. As I was told, it's more important to assist it from not bowing out too much instead of preventing any expansion.
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a
with
were
the
glass
gallon
Yeah, I might have to go this way too. I think I'll go the standard 2*4 route and notch a shelf on top of the bottom frame, ala kitchen cabinets. Other than adding a back and a top, what else did you do to prevent racking? I probably won't add the sides and facing until later, $$$.
I see you used plywood, 3/4" Birch? What about finishing, Linseed oil first, then Marine varnish?
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racking?
It was a really solid base. No racking at all.

first,
I was a beginning woodworker back then. Didn't know about fancy veneered plywood. I used plain good one side 3/4" plywood, simple pine trim and finished it with two coats of Varathane with the inside painted light blue to complement the salt water fish. If I was to build a stand-alone unit these days, the base would have cupboards in it and I'd likely use cherry veneered plywood. Other than that I'd build it almost exactly the same, just with better finish and more ornamatation.
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cabinets.
just
I'm still a woodwrecker, so waterproof is more of a concern than pretty. I think I'll use MDF (might have some in the junk pile) for the back and maybe some veneer for the top and sides. Although I might have to invest in a plywood blade before I tackle it. I'm a bit concerned about the veneer chipping, especially with BORG wood.
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