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Old 08-31-2011, 08:13 PM   #1
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Framing for 3000lbs+ Aquarium


Hi all,

New to the forum, and looking for some advice.

I'm in the planning stages of installing a 270gal (6'x3'x2' high) aquarium in my home, but before I go too far I have a question that has been asked quite frequently.

Can my floor support the weight of the aquarium safely?

I've put together a few sketches if the plans, and was hoping that someone would be able to calculate, or provide the calculations for the maximum weight that the floor will support.

I'm hoping to use LVL beams on either side of the existing floor joist and support them at either end.

I hope the pictures will explain a bit better.

Existing Framing (Unfinished Basement):












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Old 08-31-2011, 08:16 PM   #2
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Framing for 3000lbs+ Aquarium


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Old 08-31-2011, 08:46 PM   #3
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Framing for 3000lbs+ Aquarium


Is this an engineered solution or a best guess scenario?
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:55 PM   #4
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Is this an engineered solution or a best guess scenario?
Hi Ron, this is my best guess.
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Old 08-31-2011, 11:22 PM   #5
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Framing for 3000lbs+ Aquarium


I doubt you'll find any wood product 5 1/2" thick is going to support the load. I'd suggest going to a steel supplier and ask for an engineer to give you the calcs on a flitch plate system. I'm going to assume either 3/8" or a 1/2" plate in 3 locations would probably do it. You will however, have major compression of the components in the wall. Normal construction methods would have quad studs at each location. Then you have the load on the existing foundation- is it up to the task? You may be stressing things that are going to cause major issues down the line.
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Old 09-01-2011, 06:35 AM   #6
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Framing for 3000lbs+ Aquarium


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Originally Posted by bioload View Post
Hi Ron, this is my best guess.
I would think you'd need vertical support poles under the unit, placed in footings.
Just another guess, though.
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Old 09-01-2011, 07:51 AM   #7
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Framing for 3000lbs+ Aquarium


First, that is 2232 pounds of water, plus the weight of the tank. The footprint is 48 Sq Ft or 6912 Sq In, so the dead load is around .43 pounds per Sq In. A fridge is .3-4 pounds per Sq In. A normal floor should hold it just fine.
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Old 09-01-2011, 08:04 AM   #8
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First, that is 2232 pounds of water, plus the weight of the tank. The footprint is 48 Sq Ft or 6912 Sq In, so the dead load is around .43 pounds per Sq In. A fridge is .3-4 pounds per Sq In. A normal floor should hold it just fine.
Hi Tscarborough. How did you get the 48ft^2. The tank is 6' x 3' = 18ft^2 = 2,592 in^2

Accounting for the stand and tank etc......I get 3000lbs / 2,592 in^2 = 1.157 lbs/in^2
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Old 09-01-2011, 09:08 AM   #9
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Framing for 3000lbs+ Aquarium


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Originally Posted by Ron6519 View Post
I would think you'd need vertical support poles under the unit, placed in footings.
Just another guess, though.
With plans for the basement space I would like to avoid having support columns in the center of the room. I was hoping that there would be a solution that would keep an open concept in the basement as well.

Last edited by bioload; 09-01-2011 at 09:15 AM.
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Old 09-01-2011, 09:14 AM   #10
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Framing for 3000lbs+ Aquarium


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Originally Posted by TrapperL View Post
I doubt you'll find any wood product 5 1/2" thick is going to support the load. I'd suggest going to a steel supplier and ask for an engineer to give you the calcs on a flitch plate system. I'm going to assume either 3/8" or a 1/2" plate in 3 locations would probably do it. You will however, have major compression of the components in the wall. Normal construction methods would have quad studs at each location. Then you have the load on the existing foundation- is it up to the task? You may be stressing things that are going to cause major issues down the line.
Thanks TrapperL, flitch plate system looks interesting, or maybe just replace with steel I-beams (overkill??)?

I never thought that the foundation would not be able to support the weight. I was more concerned with the width of the existing footing and if there was enough bearing for the supporting wall on the footing......something else to confirm, but better do it now.
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Old 09-01-2011, 09:35 AM   #11
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Framing for 3000lbs+ Aquarium


This is nothing more than a load that needs to be added to a beam calculation. Head down to you local lumber yard with your tank specs, they will be able to spec the beams that you need. You'll probably be adding a sump as well at some point. I would spec for 5000 lbs.
My swag is that plans will be adequate.

Edit: one more thought if LVL by itself won't work check out:
http://www.betterheader.com/

Edit2:
Why do you have a header on the exterior wall. The joists are bearing on the foundation, right?
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Last edited by Clutchcargo; 09-01-2011 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 09-01-2011, 11:18 AM   #12
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Framing for 3000lbs+ Aquarium


I can't comment on the merits of the plan as presented, but I must say I am impressed with the quality of the computer drawings. Wish I could do that.
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Old 09-13-2011, 09:35 PM   #13
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Below is an "Engineered" recommendation that I received today. Which has put some of my OCD concerns at ease for the time being. Still a ways out before I start though, but doing what I can in terms of research and questions up front.


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