Any serious aquarium enthusiast knows the struggle of getting a good aquarium setup. Once you move beyond small desk tanks, aquariums start to get heavy fast—and finding a stand that can support your tank can be expensive.
Luckily, DIY options can help bring a stable, high-quality stand within reach of any aquarium owner. With some creativity and the right materials, your tank stand will hold up to a heavy tank with ease. Building your own stand also lets you decide the style that’s right for you, with tons of options for every level of work.
The 10 DIY Aquarium Stands
1. DIY Aquarium Cinder Block Stand (55-Gallon) by Pink Aspen Projects
|Materials:||Cinder blocks, plywood, 2×8 boards, sandpaper, latex paint|
|Tools:||Measuring tape, yardstick, level|
If woodworking isn’t your jam, there are still options for building a sturdy aquarium stand. This tutorial shows how to build an easy stand for a 55-gallon aquarium out of cinder blocks and wood without the hassle of complicated tools for woodworking. (Just make sure to have the store cut your wood to length when you buy it.) The cinder blocks will stand up to hundreds of pounds of weight, making it perfect for a 55-gallon tank. This stand also gives you a simple shelf for storage underneath.
2. Adjustable Aquarium Stand (75-gallon) by Instructables
|Materials:||Plywood, pine boards, wood glue, paint, conditioner, stain, polyurethane, LED lights, power supply, clips, cabinet door micro switch, screws, flush hinges, cabinet knob, dowel|
|Tools:||Planer/Caliper, table saw, sander, biscuit jointer, miter saw, cordless drill, clamps, measuring tapes, painting supplies, crimper|
If you’ve already got your shop of tools and have worked with wood in the past, this detailed article walks you through the process of making a true work of art. It has an innovative design that lets the weight of the aquarium be distributed on an inner shell so that the beautiful outer cabinet can be customized as needed. Although the downloadable plans are for a 75-gallon aquarium, the tutorial shows you the whole process from design to completion so that you can adapt it to any size of the tank. The finished product is attractive from all angles, with built-in lights, a storage cabinet, and a covered power strip.
3. 30-gallon Aquarium Cabinet Stand from Woodshop Diaries
|Materials:||Plywood, wood boards, cove molding, crown molding, base molding, hinges, knobs, pocket hole screws, brad nails, wood glue, wood putty|
|Tools:||miter saw, kreg jig, drill, circular saw, nail gun|
These detailed plans are designed for a 30-gallon aquarium, making it perfect if you’re moving up from a desk-sized aquarium but not quite up for a huge tank. The finished product is just beautiful—a solid wood piece of furniture with a spacious interior cabinet for storage.
Although you’ll definitely want some experience to make this stand, the instructions are detailed and helpful, with both schematics and photos of every step of the process and a detailed material list with all the measurements you’ll need.
4. Cheap Rack for Multiple Tanks (Up to 30 Gallons) by The King of DIY
|Materials:||2×4 boards, #8 wood screws, wood glue|
If you have several small aquarium tanks, this YouTube tutorial might be right for you. Building a multi-level stand will help you care for several tanks of fish with less floor space, and a simple construction of 2x4s and screws will help your stand take the weight. This tutorial is a little more freeform, without specific measurements given, so you can adapt it to any size of tank up to 30 gallons.
5. Hexagonal Tank Stand with Built-in Pump by Reef Central
|Materials:||2x4s, 2x2s, sheeting wood, screws, premade cabinet doors, trim, PVC pipes, return pump|
|Tools:||angle cutter, saw, drill, measuring tools|
Although there aren’t detailed plans or instructions, this photo tutorial is a huge help in designing an unusual and creative tank stand. Starting with a unique hexagon-shaped 75-gallon tank, the writer of the tutorial walks through how he designs a beautiful old-fashioned stand around his aquarium, including building a pump system into the base so that he could minimize exposed electronics. If you plan to design your own aquarium stand, this is an incredible resource no matter what your specs are.
6. Multi-Size Aquarium Stand from Central Florida Aquarium Society
|Materials:||2x4s, plywood, wood glue, deck screws, paint/stain, hinges (optional), drawer pulls (optional)|
|Tools:||Drill, measuring tools, paintbrush|
This basic stand tutorial is perfect if you have an oddly shaped tank, since it gives you all the formulas to adjust to your own stand size. It’s a relatively easy build, making it suitable for someone with a moderate amount of experience, and the clear plans show how to build a sturdy stand that will put all the weight on the vertical supports. The example stand is for a tank that is 75 gallons, so this plan can hold a pretty hefty tank without modification.
7. Herringbone Aquarium Cabinet by The Sociable Home
|Materials:||2x4s, plywood sheets, stir sticks, stains, wood glue, polyurethane, pocket hole screws, bun feet, hinges, handles, epoxy, molding|
|Tools:||Paint bucket, pocket hole jig, drill, level, table saw, straight edge guide, miter saw, planer, jointer, jig saw|
This gorgeous stand is an advanced project, but the work is well worth it. The detailed instructions include basic plan diagrams and a full walkthrough, with a full PDF plan available to purchase. The tools and materials are described in detail, including each color of stain needed, so that you can recreate it perfectly or adjust to your own needs. This stand also incorporates some really clever design tricks, like using paint stirrers to make the herringbone design on the doors and sides of the stand.
8. DIY Aquarium Stand with Sheeting from wikiHow
|Materials:||2x4s, screws, wood glue, wood sheeting|
Building a simple aquarium stand to measure is easy with this tutorial. Although it requires some basic math to calculate the dimension of your stand, it has clear diagrams and easy step-by-step instructions that make it less intimidating than it looks! Each step is clearly detailed so that even an ambitious beginner can follow along. This isn’t sized for any tank in particular, so it can be adapted to the size and height you need.
9. Cinder Block Multi-level Rack by Aquarium Co-Op
|Materials:||Cinder blocks, 2x4s|
This multi-level rack is perfect for a big setup. With no tools needed except for a measuring tape, this rack comes together quickly and easily, at a much lower cost than a commercial rack. The rack in the example has two levels that hold eight 20-gallon tanks or four 55-gallon tanks. If you have multiple fish tanks and need an easy option that can hold a lot of weight, this is the tutorial for you.
10. Concrete Block/Wood Frame Stand by The Fish Beast
|Materials:||Cinder blocks, 2x4s, spray paint, wood glue, plywood, screws, foam|
A happy medium between a basic cinder block stand and a full woodworking project, this tutorial shows you how to build a solid wood frame to rest on top of a cinder block base. The finished stand is professional-looking and solid, with only half the work of building a basic wooden stand from scratch. It is perfect for a first woodworking project, and if you get your 2x4s cut to length at the shop, the only tool you really need is a drill.
Aquarium setups can be intimidating, but they don’t have to be. And while it’s important to have a stand that supports your tank’s weight, that doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune on a store-bought stand.
Whether you put in dozens of hours building a gorgeous aquarium cabinet from scratch or you just want to build a basic stand from wood and cinder blocks, there’s a perfect DIY plan out there for you.
Featured Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock