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Old 01-17-2008, 11:03 AM   #1
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Strengthen floor for aquarium


I am in the process of buying a new home and want to get a 360 gallon aquarium. The Home is a 1 level on a crawl space. In addition to this aquarium we will have a 120 gallon, an 80 gallon, and a 10 gallon. We will use a 55 gallon sump with the 360. I would guess that with water, stands, rocks, etc. total weight for the aquariums would be about 7000 lbs.

I have not had a chance to get below the house too see the joists and such. I am not familiar with how the whole flooring works, though I have learned quite a bit over the last week of researching, so I don't know what to look for exactly when I do get to take a look, I am hoping that I can check it out this weekend.

I am looking for any advice on what to check while I am below the house, and then what would be some good options to reinforce the floor to hold the weight. I am planning on putting all the tanks in the same room, except maybe the 10 gallon, so I will only have to worry about reinforcing the floors for the one room.

Thank you for any help.

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Old 01-17-2008, 02:50 PM   #2
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Strengthen floor for aquarium


You need to hire a structural engineer to advise you and to come inspect the present structure. You'll need to tell them where exactly the tanks will be along with everything else.

Standard residential construction is usually built to meet 40/10 loads. That is 40 lb. sq. ft. live and 10 lb. sq. ft. dead loads. You're tanks will be a bit more than that... Maybe an addition on a slab?

Jaz

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Old 01-17-2008, 03:26 PM   #3
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Strengthen floor for aquarium


You can't mean 40#/square foot live load. If so I'd fall through the floor every time I walked across the room. My shoe exerts about 400 pounds per square foot when I'm standing still!

Maybe I'm missing what this 40/10 standard means though. That just sounds whimpy to me though.

FWIW, people don't worry much about 120g tanks, as long as they're installed against a load-bearing wall, and preferably perpendicular to the floor joists.

Same with the smaller tanks.

However, that 360 is going to take some engineering. Is that an 8'x2'x2'?

I know a couple people with tanks that size, and they built additions that were specifically designed for that load. You should talk to an engineer or an architect, and see what they recommend for reinforcing your floor.

Are those saltwater or freshwater tanks? Reef?
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Old 01-17-2008, 03:57 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies.

It is an 8x3x2 tank, they are all fresh water.

I have some african cichilds currently in the 80, going in to the 120 when we get this all done, I have an Oscar, some violet blushing sharks, pictus cats, and a clown loach currently in the 120, going in the big tank, with probably some more clown loaches. And I will consolidate my 55gal and 29gal community tanks into the 80.

I want such a big tank because the sharks get 12-16in each and they like to swim so providing the space for them to swim would be good. The biggest one is about 8in so far and the 4ft tank just isn't enough for him to move like he wants.

I guess I'll have to check with a structural engineer.

Thanks for the help, and if there are any other suggestions I am willing to hear them.
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Old 01-18-2008, 01:11 PM   #5
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and 8x2x2 is 240 gallons. It was my dream tank when I was into saltwater.

Instead I had two 120g tanks framing my entertainment center. Now one tank is at work and one tank is empty in my garage. lol
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Old 05-20-2008, 10:52 AM   #6
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I'm doing the same aquarium layout as well but I'm building from scratch so I'm putting engineered beams for joists under 1" marine grade plywood floor to handle 5000lbs and I may add a few floor jacks (see link) so I can sleep at night.

http://www.vestilmfg.com/products/mh...ment_jacks.htm

I use these jacks now under three big floor safes at my business too.....Dennis

Last edited by canada55; 05-20-2008 at 10:27 PM.
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Old 05-20-2008, 09:56 PM   #7
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If you like you could check this thread out to see what I did and all the tips that I got from the other board. Towards the beginning is a good suggestion of what to do if you are starting from scratch.

Good luck.

Last edited by theboomboomcars; 05-21-2008 at 12:35 AM.
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Old 05-20-2008, 10:33 PM   #8
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Sorry, not really understanding what you mean "other board" & and "this" thread goes no where...pls clarify, I'd like to hear what others have done too...Dennis

Quote:
Originally Posted by theboomboomcars View Post
If you like you could check this thread out to see what I did and all the tips that I got from the other board. Towards the beginning is a good suggestion of what to do if you are starting from scratch.

Good luck.
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Old 05-20-2008, 11:27 PM   #9
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I have a brother in law who is planning on dragging a couple of railroad ties into his crawl space and use some screw jacks to hold his up. I don't know how he is going to span the joists yet though. He should probably tie them together at least with sideways bracing in between the joists. I think his setup is going to run Parallel with his joists, which complicates things a bit.
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Old 05-21-2008, 12:41 AM   #10
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Evidently the forum blocks links to other forums. The thread is on houserepairtalk dot com (replace the dot with a . the forum wont let post the web address of a different DIY forum) under framing and foundation and strengthening floor for aquarium. It is 7 pages long and has some pictures, but I feel there was some good info in there.
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Old 05-21-2008, 12:44 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sevver View Post
I have a brother in law who is planning on dragging a couple of railroad ties into his crawl space and use some screw jacks to hold his up. I don't know how he is going to span the joists yet though. He should probably tie them together at least with sideways bracing in between the joists. I think his setup is going to run Parallel with his joists, which complicates things a bit.
If He puts some beams running perpendicular to the joists, the number would depend on the size of the tank, it should be okay. But yes parallel does add complications.
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Old 05-21-2008, 09:34 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NateHanson View Post
You can't mean 40#/square foot live load. If so I'd fall through the floor every time I walked across the room. My shoe exerts about 400 pounds per square foot when I'm standing still!
40#/sf live load does mean exactly what it says...The floor is designed for 40# of live load per sqare foot....On each square foot of the floor at the same time! Added up, that is considerable weight. Imagine covering your entire floor in 12x12" cubes that weigh 40# each!

A 7000# aquarium is a SIGNIFICANT point load, and will require structural modifications to any house, with few or no exceptions. Additionally, adding posts from the floor system to the slab is not a good idea, because the slab itself is not capable of taking a concentrated load (at the posts' bearing) of that size without pad footings underneath.

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