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So you’ve got your aquarium, and you’ve filled it with beautiful fish and decoration. Job done, right?

Unfortunately not. You need somewhere safe to keep your aquarium so that your pets don’t become, well, fish out of water.

Aquarium stands are super important because they give your aquarium a level, stable, and secure base. But aquarium stands are also a great way to add a bit of style to your aquarium.

We’ve collected a selection of stylish and functional stands for you to peruse. You might find the perfect plinth for your aquarium here, or perhaps you’ll find some inspiration.

Before you buy an aquarium stand, make sure to check out our buyer’s guide for helpful information and tips.

We want you to get the most out of your stand, so we’ve put together some things you should consider when buying an aquarium stand.

Quick List Best Aquarium Stands

  1. Flipper 10/20 Gallon Aquarium Stand, Rustic Oak
  2. Imagitarium Brooklyn Metal Tank Stand, 40 Gallons
  3. Coralife Designer Biocube Stand
  4. Imagitarium Newport Wooden Tank Stand – for 20 Gallon Aquariums
  5. Aquatic Fundamentals Metal Aquarium Stand

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Top Pick: Flipper 10/20 Gallon Aquarium Stand, Rustic Oak

Flipper 10/20 Gallon Aquarium Stand, Rustic Oak

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The main selling point of this stand is the ability to flip it over to accommodate a larger aquarium.

The plinth on which the tank rests becomes the base that rests on the ground when you flip it. So one side has a larger plinth suitable for 20-gallon tanks weighing up to 240lbs while the other side can hold 10-gallon tanks up to 120lbs.

Again, this stand is made from MDF and laminated wood, so it will not be suitable for salt-water aquariums that need a sump.

It is a sturdy stand for freshwater aquariums. The wide solid base stops it tipping over easily and gives it a nice heavy bottom.

The cupboard in the middle is great for storage. It has a long open channel running down the back, which means you can easily route wires and tubes.

You can store things above and below the cupboard, too, which is amazing! Some customers have used LED lighting in these areas to give the stand a more interesting finish.

Pros
● Sturdy, sleek construction
● Can be flipped to accommodate a tank of a different size
● Plenty of storage solutions
● Open backchannel for wires and cables

Cons
● MDF construction means it’s unsuitable for tanks needing a sump
● Not the easiest thing to assemble

 

Second Pick: Imagitarium Brooklyn Metal Tank Stand, 40 Gallons

Imagitarium Brooklyn Metal Tank Stand - for 40 Gallon Tanks

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This stand is suitable for larger tanks up to 40-gallons. Its metal construction gives it a lot of strength and a sleek, modern aesthetic.

The stand is made from steel, and the welds are strong and sturdy. However, the metal parts do make it quite heavy at 35lbs. You might want to make sure you have someone to help you move it.

The top is open, perfect for laying through tubes and wires, but it does mean that it is unsuitable for acrylic tanks.

You could add a board to the top and use a leveling mat if you do want to put an acrylic tank on this stand.

There is lots of room for storage underneath, although the lack of shelving means you will have to keep things on the floor.

Some customers have built their own shelves underneath, and it seems like a pretty easy job.

What I love about this stand is the fact that you have personalization options. You could add magnetic panels, fabric curtains, or paint the metal to make it suit your style.

Pros
● Large size suitable for 40-gallon tanks
● Strong and stable metal construction
● Quick and easy assembly
● Open top for easy access to pipes and electricals
● Can be personalized by the customer

Cons
● No storage shelves included
● Heavy to move
● Not suitable for acrylic tanks.

 

Third Pick: Coralife Designer Biocube Stand

Coralife Designer Biocube Stand, 23/32

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Although designed to be used with a Coralife aquarium, this stand works well with other tanks too.

It comes in two size options; the smallest can support a tank that measures 15.5” x 16”. The larger size can support a tank that measures 20.5” x 20.75” or less.

Several customers have used this stand for 20-gallon tanks with no issue, but do check your aquarium’s dimensions first.

The stand has a cupboard below the plinth for storing equipment and supplies. In the larger size, the cupboard has two doors.

The doors have a tinted acrylic panel which sort of mimics a window except you can’t really see through it. It looks pretty cool and gives the unit a modern feel.

The cupboard has one shelf inside and offers a surprising amount of storage space. The tinted acrylic windows in the door mean that you can’t really see all the equipment that is great for those who like a clean display.

This stand has precut holes for wires and tubes, which will save you time and effort.

You could feasibly fit a sump inside the larger unit, but it does seem to be made of MDF, which doesn’t cope well with the humidity produced by a sump.

Pros
● 2 sizes available
● Sturdy and durable construction
● Sleek modern design
● Handy and spacious storage options
● Precut holes for wires and tubes
● Easy to assemble

Cons
● Seems to be some shipping issues that mean parts sometimes arrive damaged
● MDF construction is not suitable for tanks requiring a sump

Easy Aquarium Maintenance
Aquarium Log Book

This Aquarium Log Book is the best way to make note of all the steps you take when caring for your aquarium. Easily keep all your aquarium tasks, schedules & plans all in one place.

 

Fourth Pick: Imagitarium Newport Wooden Tank Stand – for 20 Gallon Aquariums

Imagitarium Newport Wooden Tank Stand - for 20 Gallon Aquariums, 24.75 in

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This looks like a set of open shelves but it is a dedicated aquarium stand.

The open style allows you to route wires and tubes from your tank to your equipment super easily. The issue is that it can look messy as there are no doors to hide all those wires.

If you like to have a clean looking display, you might want to choose a different stand. You could always add fabric curtains to the stand to cover the storage areas.

Many customers have chosen this stand as it allows them to have multiple aquariums. The load-bearing of this tank is about 260lbs so it can hold two small, 10 gallon tanks or a few 5-gallon tanks.

The stand is advertised as a wooden stand, but reviewers suggest that it is actually particle board or MDF. This means that it will not be suitable for reef aquariums that use a sump unless you house the sump elsewhere.

This stand has a solid panel as a base for your tank, which means it can be used with acrylic aquariums and glass.
Customers are generally happy with this stand. It is a simple and cost-effective stand that gives you options to position and house your tank or tanks.

The biggest issue is that the height of the stand is a little too much for the width. This can make it a bit wobbly on carpets.

The manufacturer recommends that you use a wall bracket to keep the stand upright and secure at all times. This is good advice for any piece of furniture, but probably essential for this stand.

Pros
● The open style allows lots of access
● Multiple shelves for storage or other tanks
● Weight capacity of 260lbs
● Adjustable nylon feet to help level the stand
● Decent height makes tanks easy to clean
● Designed for 20-gallon tanks but can hold multiple smaller tanks.

Cons
● Can be rather wobbly on carpets
● No doors to hide equipment
● Not suitable for saltwater aquariums using a sump

 

Final Pick: Aquatic Fundamentals Metal Aquarium Stand

Aquatic Fundamentals Metal Aquarium Stand (29 Gallon- Black) 102291-AMA

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This is an ultra-stylish aquarium stand that will look good in any room!

It has a small footprint but is sturdy. The metal construction offers a lot of strength and can hold tanks from 10-gallons to 55-gallons.

The powder coating on the metal prevents it from scratching and rusting easily, which is always appreciated in an aquarium stand.

The top base where the tank sits is an open frame design, so it is not suitable for acrylic tanks. You can add your own board to the top to adapt it for acrylic tanks if you wish.

There are no built-in storage options with this stand, which is a bit disappointing. You can store things underneath on the floor, but they would be in plain view. You could add a shelf to the bottom braces if you are handy.

The stand is only 2.9’ tall, so it’s quite low compared to other stands. It’s not uncomfortably low, however. You can easily clean any tank placed on this stand, and feeding will be a breeze.

The elegant design of the side panels sets this stand apart from others. It looks and feels classy.

Pros
● Large weight capacity
● Elegant, modern design
● Made from sturdy metal
● Accessible from below
● Easy to assemble

Cons
● The open-frame design is not suitable for acrylic tanks
● Limited storage options

 

Best Aquarium Stands Buyers Guide

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If you’ve already started browsing aquarium stands, you might have realized that pretty much any solid piece of furniture can act as a stand for your tank.

You can buy dedicated stands; you can even make one yourself or have one built for you.

At first, this knowledge might seem to make your purchase easier. You’re probably thinking: “Excellent. I’ll get a desk or table and use that.”

And you absolutely can do that. But before you rush off to buy a new desk for your fish, make sure you consider the following things.

Size

The size of your stand needs to match or exceed the size of your aquarium. This is the single most important rule!

If parts of your aquarium hang over the edge of your stand, these areas will take more stress. Over time the stress will cause seams and joints to burst, and you do not want that to happen!

When you are looking for a stand, make sure to measure your tank’s width and depth. Often people forget to measure the depth and end up with a tank that overhangs the back of the stand.

Another thing to think about in terms of size is the height of your stand.

Too low and you’ll be forever bending over to feed your fish and clean out the tank. It isn’t enjoyable, to say the least.

Also, a low aquarium is more at risk of being pushed or bumped by other pets or little children. You want a stand that will keep your aquarium out of harm’s way.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have stands that are far too tall.

It might look cool to have your fish at eye level, but that means you will need a step stool or ladder to feed them.

Cleaning an eye-level tank is an absolutely infuriating task that leads to damage to the aquarium or yourself more often than not.

Go for a happy medium. A stand that puts your aquarium at the chest level is perfect. You can reach in easily enough to clean the aquarium, and feeding your fish will be a breeze.

Material

What you need to remember is that water is heavy. Your aquarium might be lightweight, particularly if it’s acrylic, but once you put 10, 12, 20 gallons of water in it, that thing weighs a lot!

You need to make sure that your stand is made from a strong material. Something that can hold the weight of your filled aquarium.

You have lots of options when it comes to the material of your stand. One thing to remember is that general household furniture like coffee tables, desks, or cupboards aren’t always made from strong stuff.

Often cheap household furniture is made from MDF, which is a low-cost wood-based material.

MDF is great for some furniture items because it can resemble wood, but it is a risky choice for an aquarium stand.

MDF isn’t very strong, and it warps in damp or humid conditions. If you have a small, freshwater tank, you can get away with using an MDF stand.

A saltwater aquarium will cause the stand to warp because of the humidity from the sump. Avoid MDF if you have a saltwater tank or large aquarium.

Plywood is generally used in a lot of dedicated aquarium stands. It is better than MDF as it doesn’t warp or damage as easily and can be stained, varnished, or veneered to give it a custom look.

Plywood is also an excellent choice if you want to build your own aquarium stand. You can pick it up in any DIY or hardware store, and it is easy to use.

Solid wood is used in some high-end aquarium stands. Usually, these stands will use hardwoods like oak because they are solid.

As long as they have been finished and sealed appropriately, solid wood stands will be almost impervious to water and humidity damage.

Finally, there are metal stands. These are excellent for large, heavy tanks. Metal stands are strong, durable, and easy to paint as you want.

You do need to make sure that metal stands have a rust-resistant coating on them. For saltwater aquariums, metal might not be the best option because it can corrode.

The thing to watch out for with metal stands is the base that your tank will rest on. Often metal stands have a frame rather than a solid platform. For glass aquariums, this is ok because they don’t bulge.

Acrylic aquariums are weaker than glass and can bow outwards if the supports only rest on the tank’s edge.

Storage and Access

Aquariums, particularly reef and marine aquariums, have a lot of associated equipment. You have your filters, your pumps, your sumps, your heaters, and all the other unsightly little bits and pieces that keep your fish alive and well.

You don’t often see this equipment because it is stored out of view, usually within the stand.

If you want to have a clean viewing aquarium where all the equipment is hidden, you will need a stand with storage options.

Often stands have cupboards where you can keep all your bits and pieces. These cupboards can be used to house your sump and other equipment as well.

If you want to keep your sump inside the cupboard, you need to make sure the cupboard is large enough to hold the sump and access it.

Speaking of access, you should think carefully about how you will access the tank and equipment.

Most dedicated stands have holes cut in the top or back for tubes and wires so that they can reach the tank. If you are using a piece of household furniture, you will need to cut these holes yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to use an aquarium stand?

Not if you don’t want to. You’re free to put your tank on the floor if you want.

Aquarium stands give your tank and your fish a safer home because they keep them out of harm’s way.

You don’t have to buy a dedicated aquarium stand. You can use a sturdy desk or cupboard. The only issue is that they may not have storage suitable for aquarium equipment.

If you are DIY minded, nothing is stopping you from making your own stand. This is a great way to make sure you have exactly the right space and storage for your aquarium.

Just be sure to use quality building materials that can take your tank’s weight and won’t be damaged by water and humidity.

How heavy is a 20-gallon fish tank?

There will be some variation depending on whether the tank is made from glass or acrylic but a rough, ballpark figure is around 225lbs when filled.

If you are trying to work out how much your aquarium will weigh when filled, water weighs around 8.3lb a gallon.

Don’t forget you’ll need to add in the weight of any sand, plants, and fish too!

Do I need a mat under my aquarium?

Leveling mats are often supplied with aquariums. These are soft, spongy mats designed to sit between your aquarium and the stand.

Leveling mats prevent any surface bumps like screws or knots in the wood from pressing against your aquarium and causing cracks.

It would help if you always used the leveling mat. Even if the stand surface looks smooth, there can be small imperfections that damage your tank over time.

Rimless aquariums are particularly vulnerable to cracks and should always be used with a leveling mat.

It’s best to put your mat down and then fill your aquarium while it stands on the mat. Lifting your filled tank will be a nightmare.