I got this stand from a friend of mine years ago. Its unbranded. I want to use it to hold a 55 gallon fish tank which can weigh about 456 pounds to 622.5 pounds.

How can i calculate a estimate of how much weight this stand will hold ?

The wood is 61 in by 17 in and about 3/4 in thick. The metal underneath it is 2 inches. The metal legs are 28 inches high and 1 inch on each side.

If not, then is there any way i can easily modify the stand for more support? Perhaps stick some 2x4s or cinderblocks under it?

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Your best bet is to use those cinderblocks to load up the table for a while. If it breaks, it wasn't strong enough. I'd choose more cinderblocks than the tank weighs. Other than that, it is almost impossible to tell. $\endgroup$
    – hazzey
    Jan 9, 2017 at 13:53
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Compare it with some pictures of commercial 55 or 60 gallon tank stands, which are designed to support a similar weight. You will probably find that it looks rather wimpy by comparison. Also, apply the "common sense test" - would you be happy to be one of three people, each weighing 200 pounds, standing on top of it? $\endgroup$
    – alephzero
    Jan 9, 2017 at 14:21
  • $\begingroup$ a big concern that jumps out at me are the single screws in each corner. Are they machine screws with a nut welded inside the leg or self tapping? In any case corner bracing would be easy to add and would strengthen the design considerably (Not saying its adequate but better). Also be aware that top looks like chip board that will fail if it gets wet. $\endgroup$
    – agentp
    Jan 9, 2017 at 15:41
  • $\begingroup$ A key point that no-one's mentioned so far: we don't know the wall thickness of those steel hollow sections. The thickness (and hence amount of steel) is incredibly important in calculating the strength! This is why we can only guess on the information provided so far. $\endgroup$
    – AndyT
    Jan 9, 2017 at 16:21

1 Answer 1


If you look carefully at most fish tanks, the bottom glass is actually not touching the table underneath. Disclaimer: I've only dealt with tanks up to about 30 gal. The bottom is held up a small distance because it sits inside the bottom rectangle of the frame.
Assuming your tanks are built similarly, you can easily see that the only thing which matters for the table is the strength of the outer frame, not the top itself. Despite what some comments say, I'd be surprised if those two-inch frame parts could not handle considerable load. The legs are fine, since they only take a compressive load.

Running a test load w/ cinderblocks or pig iron will always outrank theoretical analysis, of course. Alternatively, take a look at aquarium stands designed for such tanks and see what the dimensions of the metal parts are (and look at the L- or I- shape of the beams).

  • $\begingroup$ "The legs are fine, since they only take a compressive load." this ignores the rather important issue of column buckling, which would almost surely be the failure mode if the table does fail. $\endgroup$
    – Ethan48
    Jan 9, 2017 at 18:55
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    $\begingroup$ "The bottom glass is actually not touching the table underneath" - That is OK for a glass tank, but not for acrylic, which does need to be supported over the whole area of the base, unless you have an acrylic tank with an extra-thick base. $\endgroup$
    – alephzero
    Jan 10, 2017 at 3:21
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    $\begingroup$ "The legs are fine, since they only take a compressive load." Compressive load is not the issue - four 1-inch solid metal legs would support 20 or 30 TONS load in compression. I would be much more concerned about stability - with no significant corner bracing, the frame could just "fold over" to one side by going out-of-square. $\endgroup$
    – alephzero
    Jan 10, 2017 at 3:25
  • $\begingroup$ This is a terrible answer. As others have commented, compressive failure of the legs isn't the issue, it's buckling. Perhaps if there were some diagonal bracing, you'd be OK, but my instinct says this is marginal at best. $\endgroup$
    – Eric S
    Jan 10, 2017 at 19:23
  • $\begingroup$ By implication, the OP is asking if this is going to "break", not if is a good design. Structurally the load is carried from the points where the tank bottom contacts the table frame and all of that load is transferred into the floor. For legs carrying 150lbs in pure compression it is not going to be a problem. The real issue is stability and deflection/bucking/twisting in the table structure. With a 600lb load on that table, it wouldn't take too much of a bump to cause a problem IMHO. $\endgroup$ Jan 13, 2017 at 8:33

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