Aquarium Setup • Question about Shims

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Question about Shims

Postby SoccerMbunaAndShak » Wed Apr 15, 2020 10:47 pm

My buddy is really testing my knowledge lol. He said three of the bottom corners of the 125 he's setting up have a gap big enough for three pieces of paper to slide underneath. He said it's just the corners, and as soon as he goes two inches from each corner, he can no longer slide even a single sheet underneath, which is obviously a good thing. I told him to just buy a pack of wood shims, but he is in the Bay Area and he can't go outside to buy a pack. It made me feel really spoiled lol, as I'm not in an area that's in a lock down. Anyways, I think it's a good question that I also want to know the answer to as well. Any advice and/or solutions?
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Re: Question about Shims

Postby cyclonecichlids » Thu Apr 16, 2020 12:52 am

SoccerMbunaAndShak wrote:My buddy is really testing my knowledge lol. He said three of the bottom corners of the 125 he's setting up have a gap big enough for three pieces of paper to slide underneath. He said it's just the corners, and as soon as he goes two inches from each corner, he can no longer slide even a single sheet underneath, which is obviously a good thing. I told him to just buy a pack of wood shims, but he is in the Bay Area and he can't go outside to buy a pack. It made me feel really spoiled lol, as I'm not in an area that's in a lock down. Anyways, I think it's a good question that I also want to know the answer to as well. Any advice and/or solutions?


I wouldn't worry about it at all.
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Re: Question about Shims

Postby Cosi » Thu Apr 16, 2020 9:25 am

cyclonecichlids wrote:
SoccerMbunaAndShak wrote:My buddy is really testing my knowledge lol. He said three of the bottom corners of the 125 he's setting up have a gap big enough for three pieces of paper to slide underneath. He said it's just the corners, and as soon as he goes two inches from each corner, he can no longer slide even a single sheet underneath, which is obviously a good thing. I told him to just buy a pack of wood shims, but he is in the Bay Area and he can't go outside to buy a pack. It made me feel really spoiled lol, as I'm not in an area that's in a lock down. Anyways, I think it's a good question that I also want to know the answer to as well. Any advice and/or solutions?


I wouldn't worry about it at all.


I agree
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Re: Question about Shims

Postby Deeda » Thu Apr 16, 2020 11:36 am

Is this a home made stand or a metal or aquarium stand? Is he using plywood, styrofoam or rubber mat between the tank and the top of the stand? Acrylic or glass tank?
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Re: Question about Shims

Postby DJRansome » Thu Apr 16, 2020 11:45 am

For me first question is whether the tank is level without shims?
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Re: Question about Shims

Postby Cosi » Thu Apr 16, 2020 12:34 pm

Sorry I just re-read the original post. For some reason I was under the impression the corner gaps were under the stand. Are the gaps under the aquarium? If so that is not a leveling issue; its a flatness issue which could be more serious.
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Re: Question about Shims

Postby DJRansome » Thu Apr 16, 2020 4:54 pm

Agree I also thought the space was under the corners of the stand and not the aquarium.
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Re: Question about Shims

Postby cyclonecichlids » Fri Apr 17, 2020 3:52 am

I also thought OP was talking about the base of the stand. If the gaps are under the base of the tank, that is concerning.

You can solve it by buying self-adhesive weather stripping foam from the hardware store.

Remove the tank from the stand and attach the weather stripping to where the corners of the tank meet the stand. Then put the tank back on.

Shims should be used to level the tank by placing them under the base (or legs) of the stand. Don't put them under the tank itself. That might damage the tank.
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Re: Question about Shims

Postby SoccerMbunaAndShak » Fri Apr 17, 2020 12:38 pm

Sorry. Forgot to specify. You are right. It is under the tank. It is a store bought stand and he said there were screw heads exposed, so he put 1/4 inch plywood under the tank. Thanks for the advice cyclonecichlids.
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Re: Question about Shims

Postby SoccerMbunaAndShak » Fri Apr 17, 2020 12:43 pm

Deeda wrote:Is this a home made stand or a metal or aquarium stand? Is he using plywood, styrofoam or rubber mat between the tank and the top of the stand? Acrylic or glass tank?


It is a standard, rimmed glass tank. Because of this, would it still be safe to put the weather stripping, or anything else under the tank? I heard that you shouldn't place rubber mats/self leveling mats under a rimmed glass tank.
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Re: Question about Shims

Postby SoccerMbunaAndShak » Fri Apr 17, 2020 12:58 pm

DJRansome wrote:For me first question is whether the tank is level without shims?


He said the tank is level without shims. However, the bubble on the level is slightly to the right side, but not crossing the line. Could that be the cause or effect of the gaps under the corners of the tank?
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Re: Question about Shims

Postby DJRansome » Fri Apr 17, 2020 5:25 pm

If the bubble is not centered it is not level.

Why not remove the tank and drive in the screw heads?

A stand that does not support the corners of the tank directly on the legs could be an issue.
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Re: Question about Shims

Postby Cosi » Fri Apr 17, 2020 10:34 pm

3 sheets of standard paper is approx. 0.012". It doesn't sound like much but the frame isn't being fully supported around the perimeter and 125 gallons is a lot of water. A store bought stand should have been designed, built, and QC'd with the correct flatness tolerance to properly support the tank. If I was in that situation I would take that sheet of plywood out. Then I would drive any screws above flush until they were slightly recessed. If that doesn't work then the stand is likely defective and I would return it. Or at least call the stand and tank manufacturers to see if they think that is acceptable.
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Re: Question about Shims

Postby SoccerMbunaAndShak » Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:44 pm

Cosi wrote:3 sheets of standard paper is approx. 0.012". It doesn't sound like much but the frame isn't being fully supported around the perimeter and 125 gallons is a lot of water. A store bought stand should have been designed, built, and QC'd with the correct flatness tolerance to properly support the tank. If I was in that situation I would take that sheet of plywood out. Then I would drive any screws above flush until they were slightly recessed. If that doesn't work then the stand is likely defective and I would return it. Or at least call the stand and tank manufacturers to see if they think that is acceptable.


He just removed the tank, took out the screws, and used a countersink bit and drove the screws in good. However, this did not solve the problem. I asked him where he bought the stand. He said it came with the 125, and it was the aqueon brand. I always thought aqueon made good products, I guess there's always a first huh. He gave them a call, and they said that they would replace the stand. Hopefully, that solves it.
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Re: Question about Shims

Postby DJRansome » Sat Apr 18, 2020 3:44 pm

They do make good products...I have 2 stands and all my aquariums are aqueon.
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