Custom Aquarium Stand – Finding the Right Furniture

This is a picture of three of our aquariums in our living room sitting on custom aquarium stands

*Disclosure: We only recommend products we would use ourselves and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, we may earn a small commission. You can read the full disclosure here.

If your reading this article, chances are you are trying to make this decision – Where am I going to put a new aquarium? For some of us, the answer is quite simple, purchase a tank that comes with an aquarium stand. The problem is, not all nice aquariums come with a stand to set it on. Keep reading to examine a couple of custom aquarium stands that we have created.

You can purchase an aquarium kit

Some aquarium manufactures have those options. If you decide to purchase an ADA setup, some of their aquariums have a custom aquarium stand that is made to fit a specific tank size. As nice and well-made as they are, the wood color choices are limited to only a few colors and styles. Don’t mistake me though, if you can find an ADA setup that you can make work with your décor, I encourage you to do so. They are beautiful setups.

For some of the more inexpensive setups that you find in the Big Box pet stores, the option to purchase an aquarium stand that fits the tank is readily available. Once more, the problem is the limited choice of color and style.

What if my aquarium does not come with a stand?

For most of us that purchase Mr. Aqua, Aqua Japan, or other rimless tanks of various shapes and sizes, the decision on how we display the tank gets a little more complex. This is where a custom aquarium stand starts to become a necessity.

We have 5 aquariums in our home. Each setup has a unique shape and as you can guess, a different theme. Here is where the creativity comes into play. For us, having a smaller home, we have had to make decisions based on where we were going to place the aquarium as well as the theme for the size of the tank.

If you purchase a three to 5 gallon setup like some of the Fluval or other rimless tanks currently available, your options are open.  For example, we have our Fluval Chi sitting in the corner of our living room on a decorative pedestal that I swiped from my mom when they downsized their home.

So, now what?

What do we do with the 12 long, the 8 gallon, or all the other odd sizes of aquariums we are looking for? We have spent endless hours on Bed, Bath & Beyond, Amazon, and perusing antique furniture stores looking for just the right piece of furniture to use for a custom aquarium stand.

Thanks to the internet, eventually we come across something that works. All the hours spent looking for just the right piece and all the trips to Home Depot for hardware and material to customize the furniture pays off.  We have modified our furniture so creatively at times that I thoroughly impressed myself.

Our 8 gallon

This is a picture of our Mr Aqua 8 gallon aquarium on the custom aquarium stand that we made

This is the design we came up with for our 8 gallon. We purchased the table at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for about 130 dollars. The stand is just the right width, depth, and height, and easily holds the weight of the aquarium full of water.

We purchased the wood crate on the bottom shelf at Michaels and stained it to match the color of the table. I think we paid 10 bucks for it. It houses the filter and power strip, and helps to hide the hoses and cords.

This is a picture of the crate that matches the custom aquarium stand that we purchased

The light is mounted on a bracket made out of 1/2 inch electrical conduit that my wife and I designed to slide up and down, allowing us to raise and lower the light. At the bottom of the conduit, I attached two pieces of flat metal stock to stabilize the lights and give me a place to mount my heater and CO2 diffuser. I got the conduit for free from an electrician I know, and the screws and other parts were under 20 dollars.

This is the light setup for the custom aquarium stand that we made This is the back of the custom aquarium stand we made for all the equipment

We assembled everything to ensure that it was functional, then took it all apart and painted it black. This works great, and looks professionally done.

Always a new project

Due to our obsession with planted tanks, we are always looking for a new place to set up a new micro-environment. A little over a year ago, while talking to my wife in the kitchen, I noticed a small empty spot on our counter that would be the perfect spot for a 3 or 4 gallon tank. It was around the time of her birthday, so what better excuse to splurge?

Our 3 gallon JBJ Picotope

Our next challenge was a 3 gallon JBJ Picotope sitting on the breakfast bar in our kitchen. It’s in a great spot because we can view our Dwarf Puffer while eating breakfast, cooking dinner, or socializing in the kitchen.

We ended up ditching all the cheap equipment that came with the kit and purchasing CO2, glassware, etc. You can read about the equipment we purchased in our article Dwarf Puffer Near Death Experience – Small Change, Big Impact. The challenge with this setup is figuring out how to hide the equipment.  Here is a picture showing why the right piece of furniture will make a big difference.

This is a picture of the equipment that we use for our 3 gallon aquariumAll of the equipment is exposed under the breakfast bar along with a tangle of electrical cords, hoses and a dangling power strip.

I love having the equipment that make the tank happy and healthy, but it is unsightly. I want my house to look like a home, not the LFS. Initially, I drilled a hole in the wall under the counter and was going to run all the equipment under the kitchen sink, but that was an epic fail and a future article on why you can’t store your CO2 cylinder on its side.

Anyway, with this setup, we are not looking for a custom aquarium stand exactly, but a small cabinet that will tuck nicely under the counter top that houses the stuff you see sitting there. As of the writing of this article, we are still searching. Luckily, I just discovered the vast selection of small cabinets and tables on the website OfferUp. I believe we will find something soon.

Our Mr. Aqua 12 Long

We have a couch table that sits below our window in our living room that is approximately 4 feet long. It is made from a beautiful piece of birch with two glass shelves. If I’m not mistaken, while watching one of the many YouTube videos that the Green Machine publishes, I was intrigued by one of Findley’s creations in an abnormally long and odd shaped aquarium, which lead me to search for a tank that would fit on the custom aquarium stand that we already owned. I wrote a detailed article on this setup build called Mr. Aqua 12 Long Aquascape – From Conception to Completion.

This is a picture of our 12 gallon long custom aquarium stand This is a picture of our 12 gallon long custom aquarium stand

The process of converting this piece of furniture into a custom aquarium stand was a bit of a challenge since my wife would not let me drill holes in the back of this table. After examining all of my options while spending some time in the nearest Home Depot, I was able to conceptualize and build a mechanism that I was able to anchor all of the equipment on.

It hides everything for the most part, but the dilemma we face is the same that we experienced with the 8 gallon, it is open on the bottom. We are kicking around the idea of building a miniature Chinese room divider or some kind of a folding screen that we can incorporate a nice picture in, like a picture of the vacation we took in Welches, Oregon that was the inspiration for this layout. As you can see from the picture above, something needs to happen here.

This is a picture of our Mr.Aqua 12 Long aquarium on a custom aquarium stand


We have almost had as much fun creating furniture and finding a means to support lighting and equipment as we have scaping the tanks and watching them mature. With each custom aquarium stand that we have made, we have found ways to get a little more creative every time.

Share This!

Subscribe to receive our latest posts!