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Thread: Aquarium too heavy for drawers?

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    Question Aquarium too heavy for drawers?

    Hi folks. I am setting up my 38-litre nano aquarium again.

    I have the following drawers in my study - https://www.ikea.com/gb/en/products/...-art-10278342/

    My tank has the following measurements:

    Width = 12 inches – 30
    Height = 14 inches - 34.5
    Length = 15 inches - 37
    Volume = Approx – 38 Ltrs

    Would this be too heavy to put on top? Would putting a thicker piece of wood on top (to use the sides and back more equally) help?

    I assumed it would be fine. But, though I would check ...

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    Re: Aquarium too heavy for drawers?

    Isn't 1 litre equal to 1 KG?

    So 38KG, doesn't seem too bad if the drawers are as sturdy as they look!

    Bearing in mind I am talking water volume only, not including the weight of the tank/sand/rocks etc
    Jon

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    Re: Aquarium too heavy for drawers?

    Yea, thats what I thought. I even got up on it and there was no bowing (I'm over 100KG!). So think it should be okay... Just needed others to agree with me
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    Re: Aquarium too heavy for drawers?

    Sounds sturdy enough
    Jon

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    Re: Aquarium too heavy for drawers?

    Weigh the tank empty and add 38 to get the total weight. I assume that will be less than your weight - can you sit on the drawers safely?

    If it takes your weight it should be fine!

    (Disclaimer - all experimentation is done at your risk. You should carry out a risk assessment concerning the generation of splinters should the drawers break, the risk of injury from a fall, and the risk to your sexual health should you break a significant others favourite drawers. That may be offset by any amusement value if it all goes wrong)
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    Re: Aquarium too heavy for drawers?

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    Weigh the tank empty and add 38 to get the total weight. I assume that will be less than your weight - can you sit on the drawers safely?

    If it takes your weight it should be fine!

    (Disclaimer - all experimentation is done at your risk. You should carry out a risk assessment concerning the generation of splinters should the drawers break, the risk of injury from a fall, and the risk to your sexual health should you break a significant others favourite drawers. That may be offset by any amusement value if it all goes wrong)

    AHAHA! Very good

    ON another note. I also have a 400-litre tank with its own stand. Unsure about the floor though (newish build). I think it would be fine but...
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    Re: Aquarium too heavy for drawers?

    Quote Originally Posted by neonplanet40 View Post
    AHAHA! Very good

    ON another note. I also have a 400-litre tank with its own stand. Unsure about the floor though (newish build). I think it would be fine but...
    Depends on the shape of the tank. A 400kg water tank is a 4kN load. Most domestic properties are designed for 1.5kN/m2 or a 1.4kN point load. Modern ones might be designed for 1.5kN/m2 or a 2kN point load. Older domestic properties (victorian etc) won't necessarily have been designed even for that. You will probably need significant spreaders to avoid overloading the floor.

    To put it in perspective the heaviest things in a domestic house tend to be a) the washing machine weighing 75-100kg. b) A bathfull of water (80 litres) is approx 80kg You don't normally add the full weight of the person on top, since they displace water when they get in. I suppose they could stand in a completely full bath for a time. That would be what? 180kg? Still half of what you're proposing and over a significant area of floor, bringing it well below 150kg/m2

    If your house is old I suggest trying to keep it to 100kg/m2 unless you have reason to be confident it can handle more.

    Good rules of thumb -
    keep the big weights to the sides of rooms where they are near to loadbearing walls/beams below.
    It is also best to put them on the joist ends ie where they bear into the wall, rather than on walls where the joists run parallel to the wall.
    Try and put them on shorter walls than longer ones if the joists run parallel to the wall.
    Ideally keep them away from the middle of rooms altogether, particularly large rooms with long spans.
    If the room has a noticeably lively/bouncy floor be even more careful. A heavy dead weight at midspan can push the natural frequency down and make the floor more susceptible to footfall induced vibration. (discounting damping effects, but that is a bit more complicated.)
    Last edited by ik9000; 04-02-2019 at 10:04 PM.

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    Re: Aquarium too heavy for drawers?

    Its 91cm length x 2ft w x 2ft h (plus a smaller sump (smaller tank)) underneath. I guess there is no easy fox for this other than having someone come out, rip up the floor, reinforce etc?
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    Re: Aquarium too heavy for drawers?

    and on the OP re shelves - bare in mind creep over time. MDF, chipboard etc are beggars for creep. They bow and sag like mad, even under modest weights that a shelf ought to be expected to handle. Another reason I make all mine out of solid pine wherever possible. Even that creeps, but far far less.

    Then there is the flat pack furniture limitations to consider. EG thin dowels. What you get away with short term standing on a bookcase for 2 mins does not equate to long term performance where dowel crippling at the bearing might be the governing failure mode. Be cautious and stick some gym weights on it for a month. Move anything valuable out of the danger zone and keep a gym mat on the floor to prevent dents. If it lasts a month, then, and only then, would I even consider putting a tank full of water on it.

    edit, looking at those units in the image in the OP, you're probably ok tbh. So long as it is well braced across the back to prevent the thing going parallelogram on you in sideways shear my gut feel is probably fine for 38kg short term at least. However it entirely depends how it is all jointed and assembled, so YMMV. And I wouldn't want to guarantee how long it will be good for either. My guitar amp is 20kg. I probably wouldn't put that on it for long periods if I'm honest.

    2nd edit - it has crappy little bobbly feet. What kind of floor is it sitting on? You might want to consider putting something below those, foot coasters or a bit of ply or something if you care about the carpet/laminate surface.
    Last edited by ik9000; 04-02-2019 at 10:24 PM.

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    Re: Aquarium too heavy for drawers?

    Quote Originally Posted by neonplanet40 View Post
    Its 91cm length x 2ft w x 2ft h (plus a smaller sump (smaller tank)) underneath. I guess there is no easy fox for this other than having someone come out, rip up the floor, reinforce etc?
    Well it's basic maths. pressure = force/area. So 4kN/(0.91*0.67) = 6.6kN/m2. Yup, you might want to think about what you're doing. What kind of floor? What kind of property?

    edit: e.g. If you're lucky and have a solid concrete floor you might be fine.
    Last edited by ik9000; 04-02-2019 at 10:22 PM.

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    Re: Aquarium too heavy for drawers?

    Quote Originally Posted by ik9000 View Post
    Well it's basic maths. pressure = force/area. So 4kN/(0.91*0.67) = 6.6kN/m2. Yup, you might want to think about what you're doing. What kind of floor? What kind of property?

    edit: e.g. If you're lucky and have a solid concrete floor you might be fine.
    2nd edit. NB most domestic properties rarely hit a full 1.5kN/m2 over the whole room. You want to bring the average down to within the limit without locally overloading any particular area/structural element.

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    Re: Aquarium too heavy for drawers?

    Hi mate, the property was built in 2004. The room measures 9'4" (2.84m) x 9'9" (2.97m) and is linked to our garage. I have found the joists move from wall to window. The floor is joists with a chipboard-type flooring board. These boards are just over an inch thick. I will be putting the tank on the wall opposite window (this wall is linked to the garage but is a stud wall). I am sure the house is timber-framed with brick outlay.

    The tank stand has 4 'feet'. I was thinking of getting something thick to put underneath and spread the weight more evenly across the joists.
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    Re: Aquarium too heavy for drawers?

    I have those drawers but in black. I can't see you having any issue with 45kg~ish, giving 7kg for the tank itself.

    Just mind the fish aren't made of uranium or something

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    Re: Aquarium too heavy for drawers?

    Quote Originally Posted by neonplanet40 View Post
    Hi mate, the property was built in 2004. The room measures 9'4" (2.84m) x 9'9" (2.97m) and is linked to our garage. I have found the joists move from wall to window. The floor is joists with a chipboard-type flooring board. These boards are just over an inch thick. I will be putting the tank on the wall opposite window (this wall is linked to the garage but is a stud wall). I am sure the house is timber-framed with brick outlay.

    The tank stand has 4 'feet'. I was thinking of getting something thick to put underneath and spread the weight more evenly across the joists.
    What storey? And if ground is there a sub-void or basement below i.e is it a suspended floor?

    That chipboard is hopefully at least OSB and not chipboard. If it is get it replaced. Some muppet put true chipboard in our place and it is going mushy. Not cool.

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    Re: Aquarium too heavy for drawers?

    Quote Originally Posted by neonplanet40 View Post
    Hi mate, the property was built in 2004. The room measures 9'4" (2.84m) x 9'9" (2.97m) and is linked to our garage. I have found the joists move from wall to window. The floor is joists with a chipboard-type flooring board. These boards are just over an inch thick. I will be putting the tank on the wall opposite window (this wall is linked to the garage but is a stud wall). I am sure the house is timber-framed with brick outlay.

    The tank stand has 4 'feet'. I was thinking of getting something thick to put underneath and spread the weight more evenly across the joists.
    Timber framing is unusual for a UK house. Normally they're brick and block outer walls with timer stud internal walls. Not that it makes much odds for you as it's the floor you need to worry about.

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    Re: Aquarium too heavy for drawers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Butcher View Post
    Timber framing is unusual for a UK house. Normally they're brick and block outer walls with timer stud internal walls. Not that it makes much odds for you as it's the floor you need to worry about.
    Timber frame more common than you think, and the latest NHBC reintroduced "deemed to satisfy" criteria for timber framed houses which is siginifcant as for a long time they demanded full design reviews up-front. Timber frame had a bad rap following some botch jobs that got mass publicity in the 1970s. They have still been used however, particularly in Scotland, which IIRC is where the OP now lives. Even buildings that look like brick outside can have timber framing supporting the bricks, on the inside skin of the cavity. For reduced weight (and therefore cheaper foundations) and speed of build some use cladding panels of brick slips (thin tiles of a ply sheet that look like brick outside).

    You can also get metal-stud (SFS) that does a similar job, but using thin galv steel rather than timber. That is even more common and beloved of large-scale housing stock (Taylor Wimpey, Barrat homes et al).

    So no, I have to disagree, timber frame is entirely plausible. Especially in that part of the world in a building of that age.

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