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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, as I have been barred from using tools by various fire departments, EMT's, and hospitals in several western states and one Canadian province but want a double stand ... I figured of going with the cinder blocks with 2x4 railing. I've read mention of these in a few threads, but couldn't find much in the 15 plus pages of the search function I tried.

The questions: A local breeder uses 4x4 as railings instead of 2x4's due to our occasional medium sized earthquakes (6.4-6.8 every few years). He said while the large tanks weight prevented the 2x4's from shifting, he lost a few smaller tanks (50 gallon and under) during our last 6.8. Appearantly the 2x4's worked loose and fell flat, toppling the tanks.

As I've read 2x4's on end are stronger, wouldn't screwing a sheet of plywood into them prevent that? I was thinking of using the plywood to put foam down under the tanks in case I need help keeping them level. Or as long as they are level, can they just sit on the railings?

If just using the 2x4's, what would be a good way to make sure they don't move at all? And do the sides (width length of tanks) of the tanks need supports too? These are a 50 breeder and 40 breeder glass tanks (36"x18").

My current thought is to stack the cinder blocks on the sides, lodge the railings between for the double effect. Unfortunately, living in an apt as well as lack of tools limits my options, hence the easist route with the cinder block type instead of building a wood stand and providing the world with emense entertainment should someone secertly video tape it.

Any/all suggestions welcome. Danke.
 

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dwarfpike said:
Okay, as I have been barred from using tools by various fire departments, EMT's, and hospitals in several western states and one Canadian province .
sorry to go off topic but WHAT? details plz
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Just my odd sense of humor way of saying I am horrid with tools is all. :p

I'm one of those types that need to go to the doctor after trying to hang curtains or put up blinds (don't ask!!! :lol: ). If it involves tools and anything other than computers, I'm hopeless with said tools.
 

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If you build shelves with the 2 x 4s and set them on the blocks, you should not have any problems. The blocks can be glued together with butyl rubber caulk (should be available wherever interlocking stone products are sold.)
Styro will not help in leveling, but will absorb minor differences in flatness.
 

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If you are worried about the 2x4's tipping, the plywood idea would work to keep them in place. Another option would be to use those cheap metal "L" angles that Simpson makes. You can get them from most any hardware store and they are pretty cheap. Then buy a box of Tapcons and some deck screws. Secure one leg of the angle to the cinder block with the Tapcons and the other leg of the angle to the 2x4 with the deck screws. One angle per connection should be more than enough and the bonus to this method may be cost unless you already have the plywood. The angles are G90 galvanized and the Tapcons are coated so all you need is a ceramic coated deck screw and there will be no worry about rust. Oh, and the screws only need to be 1" long. The other bonus is the only power tool you need is a drill. I assume that you were already planning to cut the 2x4's with a hand saw and ripping plywood with a hand saw is difficult to say the least; a circular saw would be better, but it is hard to type a reply of your progress with nubs. I would avoid the plyowwd/circular saw idea if I were you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I do have a drill, indeed it was the drill that sent me to the doctor's previously. :lol:

Actually, I was going to have the local lumber store cut the lengths I needed, several of our smaller mom and pop type stores will cut for free luckily though of course the wood is a bit more expensive than the box type stores. Don't have any of the wood yet.

Cool idea with the metal angles, cheaper is always good. Can the drill fit inbetween the cinder blocks to screw the angles down though? Perhaps becuase I don't have any handy, but I would think the centers are too small ... hopefully not though, I really like this idea.
 

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Can the drill fit inbetween the cinder blocks to screw the angles down though?
:-? Are you thinking to turn the block so that the 2x4 fits into the hole?

I had figured that you would stack the blocks so that the holes ran top to bottom and then lay the 2x4 on edge spanning between the 2 stacks and then run another 2x4 across the length of the block which would be the side of the tank. Then attach the angles to the inside of the 2x4 frame and the top of the block.

If you are planning to run the 2x4 through the block then the angles are not necessary. To prevent the 2x4 from rotating just drill through the block and the 2x4 and then run a bolt through. Use the 'fender' type washers at the head of the bolt and at the nut so that the bolt won't pull through and you are good to go. I'd drill a 1/4" hole and use a 3/16" bolt. One per end per 2x4 will do.

It wouldn't be a bad idea to run a 2x4 across the stand under where the sides of the tank will be so that there is a 2x4 on end under the entire perimeter of the tank. I'd attach the cross 2x4 to the main 2x4 with (3) - #8x3" coarse thread ceramic coated deck screws.
 

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To deal with the anticipated rumbling, I would lay the 2 by 4's flat, whether through cement block holes set on sideways or between two layers of block. I would screw a shorter 2 by 4 vertically under the flat ones to make a "T". Plywood "wings" hanging down would also work. Unless the blocks actually collapse, the shorter board would wedge against the insides of the blocks, preventing the longer 2 by 4'as from sliding out. I would also drop some 2 by 2's or other dimensions that would work in the block holes from one layer to another, so that if the block do start to jitter, the wood will keep them from rumbling apart.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well, I assumed sliding the railings through the openings would be the easiest way to create a double (top and bottom) stand with the same footprint tanks top and bottom. I mean, I could always stick a 20 long or something underneath, giving the top tank a almost full base of blocks ... but I only have one usable load bearing wall, so if I can double up my 50 and 40 breeders in one spot, I'd love to do it.

Unless there is an easier way I am just not visualizing?

The last earthquake was in 2001 (6.8), so I might just be over worrying I guess. But I can just visualize the toppling tanks. *shudders*
 

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There are many ways to do it. I would be happy to sketch up my idea to give you something to visualize. Just let me know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Sure ... due to my ineptness with tools, and many people saying all you need is the 2x4's on end through the cinder holes on the levels you need, I figured that was easy enough to handle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So I was thinking, if I add the side lengths to support the 18" front to back sides like it was suggested, that would prevent the railings from falling flat. Would it really be that simple? Just the cinder blocks ( except the ones needed for the railings, all would be with the openings facing up/down for strength) and 2x4's with a few deck screws to connect the side rails to the main rails?
 

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Would it really be that simple?
YES! :thumb:
That is one option that I was going to sketch up. The end rails would have 3 purposes: 1) Support some weight at the end of the tank. 2) Act as a spacer to keep the side rails the appropriate width apart. 3) Keep entire "frame" from racking inside the blocks.

I would use something to make sure that the blocks don't shift, like a spot of butyl caulk between each block and then I would also use some caulk to attach the rails to the blocks. Just as extra insurance that nothing will move.
 
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