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Reinforcing Shelf to Support 500+ Pounds (for Fish Tank)

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Topic by ZMonet posted 12-18-2013 04:47 PM 4662 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ZMonet

3 posts in 2534 days

12-18-2013 04:47 PM

I want to make my best effort to support a shelf in my family room so that it can hold a fish tank, total weight around 500 pounds. I have one of those wall nooks where someone once thought a TV would go, but is now largely useless. I want to put a fish tank there. The dimensions are 52” wide x 30.5” high x 26” depth. I removed the 1/4” plywood shelf to reveal 2×4 frame screwed (3” screws) to studs on three sides. The 2×4 frame does not have anything supporting it from underneath (in the pics below, that is some cement board about 7/8” down to insulate from the fireplace). There are 2×4 studs running on 3 sides, but obviously not the front side.

The fish tanks dimensions are 48” wide by 13” deep, so basically it will sit across the entirely of the width, but will only go half-way back. Unfortunately I want to place the fish tank towards the front.

MY QUESTION: What is the best way to shore this up so that it will support the 500 pounds of weight? I was planning on using Simpson Strong-Ties to strengthen the framing. I was also going to add some 2×4 cross sections. I would think the point of potential failure though is connecting the frame to the studs. I was planning on using 3/8” lag screws and washers (pre-drill the holes to avoid splitting) everywhere I can to better attach the framing to the existing studs.

Anything else I can do? Everything inside the nook will be obscured when I am done (plan on putting picture molding around the entire thing, with a board for access too). Thanks in advance for any help.



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Greg

32 posts in 2547 days

12-20-2013 04:22 AM

You can use ledger lock bolts. They hold like a dog. No predrilling required either. Headlock bolts have a big washer head on them and will help it not pull through. They actually work out cheaper then lags and hold better. Fastenmaster makes them

-- Ferdinand and Son Construction. Do it right the first time. Like us on Facebook

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ZMonet

3 posts in 2534 days

12-20-2013 09:52 AM

Thanks so much Greg! I have been inquiring all over and nobody had mentioned these. I had concerns about pre-drilling and splitting, but this resolves that. I’ll return the lags and washers and buy these. Also, to update, I decided to rip out the 2×4s that were there originally and go with 2×6s.

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Greg

32 posts in 2547 days

12-20-2013 06:59 PM

Good thinking. I responded over on lumberjocks too. Post a picture when you’re all done. I’ll add this to my watch list.

-- Ferdinand and Son Construction. Do it right the first time. Like us on Facebook

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ZMonet

3 posts in 2534 days

12-21-2015 09:21 AM

Someone spammed this post and I realized that I had never provided a final update. Two years later, but better late than never and better proof that it actually worked as the fish tank still stands and, thankfully, I haven’t had any problems. Access is a little difficult and, at 5’8”, I need to use a small step stool to reach up and feed the fish or do any maintenance, but overall I love the tank. Would I do it again? In a second. Thanks for everyone’s help—really appreciate it.

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johnwayne11

5 posts in 1236 days

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