Need Tank Leveling Advice - Please. - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 9 Old 11-26-2013, 05:24 PM Thread Starter
Need Tank Leveling Advice - Please.

I am having a 180 gallon tank delivered Saturday. It is going in the same spot my 55 gallon is now. There is no other place for it in the whole house. There is about a 1/4 in gap of water from 1 side of the tank to the other.

I called Marineland for leveling advice and they said to fix the floor No chance it's carpet over concrete. Fix the floor?? Gee thanks for the help!!

Does simple wood shimming work or am I just asking for trouble? Seems like wood shimming would always be slightly uneven and leave some twisting gaps somewhere along the base.

That being said there must be millions of tanks out there that are not even. How many homes are absolutely level after years of settling??

My local pet store has some unlevel tanks but the bases they use are custom and made from 4x4s nothing would break them. the marine land 180 gallon bases look a little thin.

Any thoughts?
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post #2 of 9 Old 11-26-2013, 06:57 PM
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What are you using for a stand?
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post #3 of 9 Old 11-26-2013, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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What are you using for a stand?
A Marineland stand purchased with the tank. Wood.
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Last edited by steelersx; 11-26-2013 at 07:18 PM.
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post #4 of 9 Old 11-26-2013, 07:23 PM
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Shim between the floor & the bottom of the stand. Don't shim between the tank & stand.
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post #5 of 9 Old 11-26-2013, 07:34 PM Thread Starter
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Shim between the floor & the bottom of the stand. Don't shim between the tank & stand.
How do you get the back when the tank is against a wall?
Would a thin carpet 1/2 way across the tank work?
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post #6 of 9 Old 11-26-2013, 07:57 PM
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First, level the top of the stand, no tank. Shimming under an empty stand is pretty easy. Next add the tank, check again. Since you are dealing with a carpeted surface with concrete underneath there may be a bit of give to the carpeting as you fill, but probably not much. Keep checking level as you fill, if it gets way crazy out of level you've got a back & forth guesstimate situation as far as how much to shim it once filled. Make sure the back of the stand is far enough away from the wall to not be resting on the tack strip under the carpeting.

You want something that doesn't easily compress for shimming, carpet is not one of those things. Shims used for window & door installs are ideal for this, cost about a buck a bundle at places like Home Depot.
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post #7 of 9 Old 11-26-2013, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Tolak View Post
Shim between the floor & the bottom of the stand. Don't shim between the tank & stand.
How do you get the back when the tank is against a wall?
Would a thin carpet 1/2 way across the tank work?
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post #8 of 9 Old 11-26-2013, 09:22 PM
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Tip the stand forward, put shims where the feet go. If you want lay them next to the stand, tip it & slide them in the width of the shim. A carpet will compress, either now or later, won't be real long with 180 gallons of water & gear on top. When it does you will be out of level again. You don't want anything between the tank & stand with a floating base designed tank.
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post #9 of 9 Old 11-26-2013, 10:29 PM
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Agree with the shims. Had to do that with my 125, no problems. One observation, stands are sometimes really lousy quality (poorly engineered particleboard or fiberboard). In that case, they may warp over time if a) the shims are not located under a vertical structural part of the stand - a section that transfers weight to the stands base, or b) you don't get the shims in properly and the stand flexes/torques over time due to uneven pressure - not likely unless you really goof up. I have a stand for my 125 that's actually been beefed up around the bottom with supporting 2"x6" framing. Made it very easy to level as the 2x6's made the bottom the equivalent of a very solid square so I got away using only 6 shim points along the entire 6' tank length (3 front, 3 back). The framing also raised my tank and stand about 6" which gave it more height, something I liked also.

Ok, what about shimming the back?
You do not want the tank too close to the wall. I agree, it looks better, but.... What about replacing a background (mine's a simple piece of black cloth), running electrical cords, filter lines, adding a HOB filter, running an overflow box, a H.O.T. filter, airlines, etc. AND you want to avoid, as mentioned, that carpet strip as well as the base moulding. I recommend finding the largest HOB filter you are ever likely to add, figure how much space you'd need to hang it on your tank and add another 1" for working room and leave the tank out that far from the wall. That allows you to get the shims in (depending on the stand, you can simply reach through the stand to get to the back side bottom) and you'll be able to run/hang equipment easily. The separation from the wall also has the virtue of protecting the wall from splashes and salt/mineral build-ups.

IF you decide to level the floor, it's actually not hard to level a concrete floor. The big-box home improvement stores sell a self-leveling (floor-leveling) compound. Basically, it acts like a very runny high-strength cement. You pour, it levels. You let the compound dry, glue the carpet and padding down if you are lazy like me or replace the tack strips and DONE - level floor. Caution - you'd need to pull up a lot of carpet to allow the compound to feather out/spread over the area to keep the floor under the carpet smooth, so a trowel comes in handy for the edges. My garage floor was 3" out of level from side to side, a huge pain.
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18 species/varieties of fish, 15 species/varieties of plants - The fish are finally ahead of the plants!
*560 gallons (2120 liters) in 5 tanks -> you do the math.

Last edited by DKRST; 11-26-2013 at 10:34 PM.
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