Crabtopia build journal

For presenting do-it-yourself projects for your crabitat and for discussing and displaying custom built crabitats. Also for questions and reviews on equipment and products. *Stores and their reviews now have their own section in Classifieds*

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Moe2076
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Location: West TN

Crabtopia build journal

Post by Moe2076 » Mon Nov 04, 2019 12:54 am

I'm preparing to build a tank stand that will be able to hold the 75 G Aqueon that I plan to buy. It is 48.5" long 18.5" high and 21.25" tall. I found a good DIY video that seems simple and sufficient to take the weight. The guy in the video has used the same basic design using layered 2 by 4s for very large aquariums much bigger than what I am getting and his build design can hold much more weight that he intends to have on the stands he builds. I have my materials bought. I feel ready to start the project when I get some free time.

I've given a lot of thought to it and I think I plan to use my 40 g as a topper. The 40 is 36.25" Long x 18.25" wide x 17 tall" My only hesitation is that I will likely have to take it off frequently to have good access to the lower tank. The 75 is only a foot longer than the 40. I suppose if I put the dishes all on the end where I would have the 12" access that would make it easier to manage.

I plan to build the stand 50" long 21" wide and 28" tall to match the desk I currently have my 40 gal breeder on. I have my desk reinforced with 2 sets of 2 by 6 braces that I built. My plan and hopes are to build the stand and put it up next to my desk and put the 75 tank where the 40 is now.
For those of you who have gone before me is there anything I need to be mindful of going forward? Anything you might have done differently or wisdom learned from things you learned the hard way that you would do differently?

For example... I bought a lot of extra 2 by 6's for my braces for my desk both to be extra safe and sure and because there were a couple other projects I had in mind I might be able to use them for. Sure enough even after I measured them a few times I came to discover after I had my pieces cut that the floor was not exactly even or level and that the 2 by 6's weren't actually 2 by 6 so there I was with one side too big and 1 too small and measuring and cutting a second time.

I plan to try and fill it with 12 in of substrate so that it can accommodate any size crab in the future. I'm realizing that the planning phase needs to be right and well though out because I know once I start mixing sub and adding it, the tank will not be able to moved without taking sub out and that may be hard/risky if crabs are buried in the future so I feel like I am planning for what will become a long term permanent structure to the room.
7 PP: 1 small Gumbo; 1 small/med shell diva; 3 med: Evil Kenival 2 med/large
3 dogs: Maltipoo Tosh Pomeranian/Spitz Kaylee: Rotwieler/hound Bear
4 cats: Dottie calico Luna: DSH grey and white Moxie:kitten with spunk Ellis:Big lovey orange tabby


Topic author
Moe2076
Posts: 86
Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:06 pm
Location: West TN

Re: Crabtopia build journal

Post by Moe2076 » Mon Nov 04, 2019 12:58 am

Here's a picture of my braces:ImageImage

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7 PP: 1 small Gumbo; 1 small/med shell diva; 3 med: Evil Kenival 2 med/large
3 dogs: Maltipoo Tosh Pomeranian/Spitz Kaylee: Rotwieler/hound Bear
4 cats: Dottie calico Luna: DSH grey and white Moxie:kitten with spunk Ellis:Big lovey orange tabby

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aussieJJDude
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Re: Crabtopia build journal

Post by aussieJJDude » Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:04 am

If you're up for the challenge, you could try popping out the bottom of the 40g and making it a lot easier to access the tank below - most likely, with a step stool! :D
Crabs || Fish || Shrimp || Snails || Plants || Insects

25G Nano Freshwater || 64G Freshwater Community || 90G Fancy Goldie Pond || 64G Crabitat
I've never had any problems with 'Impulse Buying'... They're just things I forgot I had planned to get || Self Designated 'HCA Pic Fan' 2012+


Scarletfire
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Re: Crabtopia build journal

Post by Scarletfire » Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:06 am

If you follow any aquarium tank stand builds, you're in good hands. Sand is 1.6x heavier than water, but you're not filing the entire setup with it. In aquariums, the entire tank is filled with water, plus hanging filter, large rocks, etc. Going 2x6 would be over kill. Since you already bought the lumber, I guess it doesn't matter.

Have you considered what you are doing below the tank? If you want to put a tank under your display tank, you'll need to ensure accessibility, meaning access from all sides, and ensuring you can add sand/remove without needing to remove your display tank first.

If not a tank under... How will you do storage? Open shelving, sliding drawers, cabinet doors, the possibilities are endless.

How are you you doing the back? Depending on how much you plan on automating, you may consider access down the back to the storage on the bottom for things like air pumps, or even automating water changes if you are doing in-tank tanks.

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Scarletfire
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Re: Crabtopia build journal

Post by Scarletfire » Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:09 am

Another thing, where do you plan to build it? If not directly in your room, you should consider if it'll fit around corners and through your doorway. There's a tank stand build somewhere on The Planted Tank forums where they built it Ikea style with bolts and stuff as it was too big to move through the house.

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Topic author
Moe2076
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Location: West TN

Re: Crabtopia build journal

Post by Moe2076 » Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:27 am

aussieJJDude wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:04 am
If you're up for the challenge, you could try popping out the bottom of the 40g and making it a lot easier to access the tank below - most likely, with a step stool! :D
It will be over 6 feet high when I'm done. Just the 2 tanks together are over 3 feet. I hadn't thought of busting the glass out I figured I'd just flip it upside down like I've seen some others do. I don't think I would have good access to the bottom without taking the topper off anyhow. I cant' reach down into the lower tank even with long arms. :clap:
7 PP: 1 small Gumbo; 1 small/med shell diva; 3 med: Evil Kenival 2 med/large
3 dogs: Maltipoo Tosh Pomeranian/Spitz Kaylee: Rotwieler/hound Bear
4 cats: Dottie calico Luna: DSH grey and white Moxie:kitten with spunk Ellis:Big lovey orange tabby


Topic author
Moe2076
Posts: 86
Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:06 pm
Location: West TN

Re: Crabtopia build journal

Post by Moe2076 » Mon Nov 04, 2019 2:09 am

Scarletfire wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:06 am
If you follow any aquarium tank stand builds, you're in good hands. Sand is 1.6x heavier than water, but you're not filing the entire setup with it. In aquariums, the entire tank is filled with water, plus hanging filter, large rocks, etc. Going 2x6 would be over kill. Since you already bought the lumber, I guess it doesn't matter.

Have you considered what you are doing below the tank? If you want to put a tank under your display tank, you'll need to ensure accessibility, meaning access from all sides, and ensuring you can add sand/remove without needing to remove your display tank first.

If not a tank under... How will you do storage? Open shelving, sliding drawers, cabinet doors, the possibilities are endless.

How are you you doing the back? Depending on how much you plan on automating, you may consider access down the back to the storage on the bottom for things like air pumps, or even automating water changes if you are doing in-tank tanks.

Sent from my ONEPLUS A5010 using Tapatalk
Thank you soo much! Oh my... my head is starting to hurt, but it's late and I'm tired and my brain power ran out a while back. The lumber I just bought was 2 by 4's. The 2 by 6's were for what I had already built to support my desk. They are indeed overkill, but I have full confidence that my desk will hold whatever I put on top of it in the future! I haven't really thought about under the stand. Storage I suppose, I need to get it more organized. This room used to be a cluttered random mess, I cleaned it up to make room to work and set up my tank(s). Now is it a cluttered crab supply mess! :crabbigsmile: I'm not very concerned with looks as much as functionality, but maybe I should be thinking more long term and less "I want it done by the end of the week so I can go get the tank." I had envisioned having the stand built before I brought the tank home, but I can always get the tank and set it aside. I won't have a good sense of how much space I'll have under until it's built. Slide out shelves/drawers are very appealing, I would just need to buy the sliding brackets, I have half a sheet of plywood already I could make shelves with... Half the reason I don't just take the L piece off my desk is because I want more open shelf space, at the very least a place to put the 40 when I inevitably will take it off to rearrange and gain access to the 75. If I like it well enough once it is built I may just decide to build a second one and take the L off anyhow before I set everything up.... which would have to be after I tear the 40 down... I could empty my totes with crab stuff into the shelves and then all them totes I have could hold substrate while I make the switch...
I'm not sure what you mean by tank under my display tank. I'm trying to just have 1 main tank (a 75 on the bottom and the 40 flipped upside down on top of it so that I can put in some larger pieces of driftwood and perhaps some shelving so they have room to climb.

I had not thought about automation... I definitely do not want water tanks inside of the big tank nor the drama of cycling an aquarium... my wife just got hers stable it was a nightmare. Just an aerator and a small stone to blow bubbles in the dishes I already have might not be too much more project and it's fairly inexpensive tho.

Access is definitely on my mind. It's going against the wall so there isn't going to be much rear access. I have a love seat in here that never gets used since I bought this fancy gaming chair. I could get rid of the couch and just make the aquarium stand be the center piece of the room where I would have access all around it.... There's a fairly large dog kennel in the corner that could go live in the spare bedroom to make more space for my ever growing supply of crab stuff.... I have some big decisions to make! Thank you again for your input and patience with my ramblings.
7 PP: 1 small Gumbo; 1 small/med shell diva; 3 med: Evil Kenival 2 med/large
3 dogs: Maltipoo Tosh Pomeranian/Spitz Kaylee: Rotwieler/hound Bear
4 cats: Dottie calico Luna: DSH grey and white Moxie:kitten with spunk Ellis:Big lovey orange tabby


Topic author
Moe2076
Posts: 86
Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:06 pm
Location: West TN

Re: Crabtopia build journal

Post by Moe2076 » Mon Nov 04, 2019 2:18 am

Scarletfire wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:09 am
Another thing, where do you plan to build it? If not directly in your room, you should consider if it'll fit around corners and through your doorway. There's a tank stand build somewhere on The Planted Tank forums where they built it Ikea style with bolts and stuff as it was too big to move through the house.

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The aquarium DIY guy mentioned this and I measured the doorway. If I stick to the design I have it will fit in. If I go nuts and decide I need a much bigger stand then I'll clear out my room and build it inside here, it's never going to leave that's for sure. I'll probably build it out in the workshop because there is a lot of space out there and then carry it in.

I just pieced together that you are building that huge build right now, I've been watching that, it's looking great!
7 PP: 1 small Gumbo; 1 small/med shell diva; 3 med: Evil Kenival 2 med/large
3 dogs: Maltipoo Tosh Pomeranian/Spitz Kaylee: Rotwieler/hound Bear
4 cats: Dottie calico Luna: DSH grey and white Moxie:kitten with spunk Ellis:Big lovey orange tabby


Scarletfire
Posts: 254
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Location: ON

Re: Crabtopia build journal

Post by Scarletfire » Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:17 pm


Moe2076 wrote: I just pieced together that you are building that huge build right now, I've been watching that, it's looking great!
Haha thanks, yours looks like it'll turn out awesome too!

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Topic author
Moe2076
Posts: 86
Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:06 pm
Location: West TN

Re: Crabtopia build journal

Post by Moe2076 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 11:18 am

I've been thinking a bunch and researching a little more. I found a place close to here that makes aquariums but I noticed that the sizing was really not all that different for larger aquariums (most of them are the same width and just go taller) and while the thought of getting one custom made is exciting the high price tag is not. It helped me not have buyer's remorse for the 75 that I got on sale for $99 at Petco.

I have my room mostly cleaned out. After reading and pondering Scarletfire's informative/inquisitive post, I decided that up against the wall is probably not the best idea and that it would be much better if I put it in the middle of the room allowing me access from all sides. If it's in the middle of the room I can make the stand a little shorter so access will be easier (takes time out to start measuring before deciding on 14 inches high vs 28 then finally decides on 24in high.)

I think I'm going to make it longer than I had originally planned, I'd like to have some extra shelf room right next to the tank. I'm gonna go with 70in long 21 wide and 14 tall. I've measured the car and I can fit that length of wood in and I'll need to go get a couple more 2by 4's

The new cat Ellis who is a DSH orange tabby just came to help me type... LOL The dog kennel definitely is getting moved the closet has double pull out doors and I don't want to block my chair in too badly so I'll have to set it more rear side of the room.

I started this post thinking I had a question but I have digressed and lost my train of thought. Oh! I was just going to build the stand the way it was in the video I've seen and be done with it.

I've thought about staining the stand but I'm worried about the time it might take to fully dry so that it will be safe to bring in and set up. I'm leaning against it both for time and for risk of fumes to crabs. Is it safe to stain the wood? What should I use? How long does it need to dry before it is safe to move in the room and set up the tank?

I'n my mind I always think that I'll be done this or next weekend and then it's 4-6 weeks later before it really is. For a permanent piece of furniture that is never getting moved, doing it right the first time and taking the extra time to get it the way I want is worth it.

Thanks for listening to me ramble
7 PP: 1 small Gumbo; 1 small/med shell diva; 3 med: Evil Kenival 2 med/large
3 dogs: Maltipoo Tosh Pomeranian/Spitz Kaylee: Rotwieler/hound Bear
4 cats: Dottie calico Luna: DSH grey and white Moxie:kitten with spunk Ellis:Big lovey orange tabby


Scarletfire
Posts: 254
Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:44 am
Location: ON

Re: Crabtopia build journal

Post by Scarletfire » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:04 am


Moe2076 wrote:I've been thinking a bunch and researching a little more. I found a place close to here that makes aquariums but I noticed that the sizing was really not all that different for larger aquariums (most of them are the same width and just go taller) and while the thought of getting one custom made is exciting the high price tag is not. It helped me not have buyer's remorse for the 75 that I got on sale for $99 at Petco.

I have my room mostly cleaned out. After reading and pondering Scarletfire's informative/inquisitive post, I decided that up against the wall is probably not the best idea and that it would be much better if I put it in the middle of the room allowing me access from all sides. If it's in the middle of the room I can make the stand a little shorter so access will be easier (takes time out to start measuring before deciding on 14 inches high vs 28 then finally decides on 24in high.)

I think I'm going to make it longer than I had originally planned, I'd like to have some extra shelf room right next to the tank. I'm gonna go with 70in long 21 wide and 14 tall. I've measured the car and I can fit that length of wood in and I'll need to go get a couple more 2by 4's

The new cat Ellis who is a DSH orange tabby just came to help me type... LOL The dog kennel definitely is getting moved the closet has double pull out doors and I don't want to block my chair in too badly so I'll have to set it more rear side of the room.

I started this post thinking I had a question but I have digressed and lost my train of thought. Oh! I was just going to build the stand the way it was in the video I've seen and be done with it.

I've thought about staining the stand but I'm worried about the time it might take to fully dry so that it will be safe to bring in and set up. I'm leaning against it both for time and for risk of fumes to crabs. Is it safe to stain the wood? What should I use? How long does it need to dry before it is safe to move in the room and set up the tank?

I'n my mind I always think that I'll be done this or next weekend and then it's 4-6 weeks later before it really is. For a permanent piece of furniture that is never getting moved, doing it right the first time and taking the extra time to get it the way I want is worth it.

Thanks for listening to me ramble
I hope it's not literally in the middle of the room haha. I just left a 5" gap from the wall so my hand can still fit behind, main thing is that it's not flush against the wall so you can run things behind or fix your heat mat or something. Some tanks in the dead center of a room actually looks beautiful, but you need to be creative to hide wires, tubes, and all. Some of the best are from reefers.

If you plan on staining the wood, it's better to do it now rather than ponder it. After you stain / varnish it, just make sure to let it dry in your garage or outdoor (weather permitting, unlike me where there's heavy snowfall now haha). It's not going inside your tank, just outside, so just make sure it's completely dry and odorless before you bring it in, for the purpose of health of the crabs and for yourself. I've never actually stained wood myself, just read posts when I was considering my build before, so I can't tell you how long to leave it out for. If you look up the varnish's tds (technical data sheet), that should give you insight.

If it's not urgent to get it set up immediately and you are seriously considering a varnish, I would do it. It makes it 100000x look better.

If you want a shelf next to you tank, I highly highly suggest making it a separate piece of furniture. Bookshelves should have flexibility to move, but your crabitat isn't going anywhere no matter how you re-decorate. Also, you want your tank to be centered on your stand, not slightly off centered for books.

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Topic author
Moe2076
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:06 pm
Location: West TN

Re: Crabtopia build journal

Post by Moe2076 » Fri Nov 15, 2019 1:52 pm

A work of art is never really completed, just finished when we run out of time or resources...

I was considering putting it in the middle of the room for good access, but the wire management would be an issue I think. I don't really want it on the opposite side of my desk... it's too far away form where I spend most of my time. I think I'm going to rearrange my room. The window that is close to my desk is fairly large... it's only a foot of the floor and goes to a foot from the ceiling. A lot of people might love it, but it's totally in the way with the setup I have now LOL, plus no outlets on that wall.

I can put my desk in the opposite corner and them put the tank stand against the wall (I do plan to leave enough room to get access behind it, the thought of a place I can't easily reach just bother's me. ) There's also a couple outlets on that wall so I don't have to worry about getting power to UTH's and thermometers and whatever else I might need to put in there.

Thankfully I haven't cut any of the wood yet and I won't until I really for definitely and for certain have made up my mind and don't change it again... you get the idea. I'm gonna do a floor layout plan with measurements next, I'll post a pic of that sometime hopefully soon. The weather is supposed to be nicer this weekend and I don't have any other plans so with any luck I can at least get my plan in place and start building the stand.

3 of my crabs have not been seen all week so the topper part will have to wait until they surface anyhow. That leaves me plenty of time to tweak and work out any kinks.
7 PP: 1 small Gumbo; 1 small/med shell diva; 3 med: Evil Kenival 2 med/large
3 dogs: Maltipoo Tosh Pomeranian/Spitz Kaylee: Rotwieler/hound Bear
4 cats: Dottie calico Luna: DSH grey and white Moxie:kitten with spunk Ellis:Big lovey orange tabby


Topic author
Moe2076
Posts: 86
Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:06 pm
Location: West TN

Re: Crabtopia build journal

Post by Moe2076 » Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:47 pm

I've got half my room cleaned out! In my head I planned to move my desk across the room and put the stand over there to keep it away from the window, but there just won't be very much room to enter/exit the room if I do that. I also had the revelation that I can't move my desk because the 40 gal tank is on it now and 3 crabs are down. I have a shelving /bookcase like piece of furniture that I use as an entertainment center to the left of my desk and it's going to get moved to the space I just cleaned to make room for where the tank stand is going to be. After about 3 different revisions of this project, I've worked out there's really only 1 place it can fit well with everything else that's in here.

There's enough room and moving the entertainment center is easier and possible at this moment vs moving my desk. I think I may also plan to build a second smaller stand with wheels to hold crab stuff and the topper when I need to take it off. I moved a smaller end-table with wheels up from the basement and it's been working well so far, a bigger one will be great.

I'm gonna build it 50" long, 20" wide and 24" tall. It will be just big enough for the aquarium and then I cam build another stand later to hold stuff.
7 PP: 1 small Gumbo; 1 small/med shell diva; 3 med: Evil Kenival 2 med/large
3 dogs: Maltipoo Tosh Pomeranian/Spitz Kaylee: Rotwieler/hound Bear
4 cats: Dottie calico Luna: DSH grey and white Moxie:kitten with spunk Ellis:Big lovey orange tabby


Topic author
Moe2076
Posts: 86
Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:06 pm
Location: West TN

Re: Crabtopia build journal

Post by Moe2076 » Fri Nov 22, 2019 7:20 pm

I started cleaning out a space in the workshop to work and laid out a dropcloth and set up the saw and cut about 4 boards when my side hustle work called and I had to give the tank stand a break last weekend. I found myself back in the Lowes for stain, gloss paint brush hinges and handles. I've got the weekend free and extra time off near Thanksgiving next week so I'm hoping to finish building and staining this weekend and setting up next week.

Soo maybe by the new year it will be done LOL!

I'm going to try and remember to snap some pictures throughout the process.
7 PP: 1 small Gumbo; 1 small/med shell diva; 3 med: Evil Kenival 2 med/large
3 dogs: Maltipoo Tosh Pomeranian/Spitz Kaylee: Rotwieler/hound Bear
4 cats: Dottie calico Luna: DSH grey and white Moxie:kitten with spunk Ellis:Big lovey orange tabby


Topic author
Moe2076
Posts: 86
Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:06 pm
Location: West TN

Re: Crabtopia build journal

Post by Moe2076 » Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:37 pm

Made some good progress this past weekend. A few more pieces then ready to cut and stain the sides.ImageImageImageImageImageImage

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7 PP: 1 small Gumbo; 1 small/med shell diva; 3 med: Evil Kenival 2 med/large
3 dogs: Maltipoo Tosh Pomeranian/Spitz Kaylee: Rotwieler/hound Bear
4 cats: Dottie calico Luna: DSH grey and white Moxie:kitten with spunk Ellis:Big lovey orange tabby

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