What Can I Use As a Fish Tank Stand?

Setting up a new fish tank is an exciting time for families. But given that water is so much heavier than air because of its density, you can’t toss your fish tank on any ‘ole shelf and call it a day.  

New fish tank stands are expensive. So, read on for alternatives if you’re wondering, “What can I use as a fish tank stand that won’t break the bank (or anything else)?”

What Can I Use As a Fish Tank Stand – 4 Good Options

1. Table

A sturdy table makes an excellent option for a fish tank stand. You can choose something as short as a coffee table, although many prefer higher tables so that their fish tanks are closer to eye level.

Choosing a table made of thick wood is essential. We recommend testing that your table can hold your tank by filling the tank with water and letting it sit on the table for a week or so without fish.

If the table doesn’t show signs of buckling, it’s a good sign that it can hold your tank in the long term.

2. Cabinet

If you’re wondering, “What can I use as a fish tank stand?” and you’ve remodeled your home, an old cabinet can be a great fit. 

The benefit of cabinets is that they’re often a good height for seeing your fish. They also come with doors so that you can store your fish food and equipment behind them, keeping your fish setup looking clean and organized.

Using a cabinet as a fish tank stand is ideal for smaller tanks. Your average cabinets often can’t hold as much weight as a thick table, so be mindful of the size of your tank when choosing the best makeshift stand.

3. Dresser

Wooden dressers make excellent fish tank stands. Dressers come in many sizes, most of which are high enough to prevent dogs and young children from disturbing your fish. They also often have a wide, long shelf for holding heavier tanks.

When contemplating whether your dresser will be a good fit for your fish tank, consider the type of wood it contains.

4. Build Your Own Tank Stand

Building your own fish tank stand is an excellent choice if you love being handy. You’ll have control over the size, height, and style. Plus, you can add features like a storage area with shelves to keep your fish supplies.

We won’t get into the nitty-gritty of how to build a fish tank stand. But keep in mind that you should select cabinet-grade wood. 

Not only will cabinet-grade wood provide durability for heavy tanks, but it also has water-resistant properties.

A Tank Weight’s Role in Choosing a Stand

It’s common for new fish owners-to-be to underestimate how much their tank will weigh. And, therefore, the strength of the tank stand they need.

Generally, a 25-gallon aquarium weighs approximately 290 pounds when filled with water, gravel, and decorations. Bumping your tank size to 40 gallons will run you around 455 pounds. 

For this reason, you should consider the following when choosing your makeshift fish tank stand:

  • Floor strength
  • The tank structure’s weight capacity 
  • Width of the tank structure

If you live in an old home or have had issues with termites or other structural problems in the past, be mindful of your tank’s weight. While it’s uncommon, the weight of a fish tank and its stand can cause a floor to sink.

Furthermore, placing lots of weight on floors in your home with grouting, such as tile, can cause the grout to crack or become loose.

Considerations When Choosing a Fish Tank Stand

When you and your family are narrowing down your options for a fish tank stand, it’s crucial to consider the features of the stand itself and the location where you put it.

Some of the most important factors to weigh include:

  • Level surface
  • Near an outlet
  • Height of the stand
  • Ability to store fish supplies

An even surface is a two-way street—the floor must be level, and the makeshift tank stand must have an even bottom. That way, you won’t have to worry about your fish tank looking tilted on its stand.

Almost all aquarium fish require a heater and lighting. So, if that’s the case for your fish, be sure that the tank stand you choose fits in an area of your home where you’ll have access to an outlet. And, as a safety precaution, you’ll want to be able to access the outlet without the use of a long extension cord.

The height of your stand is also crucial to keep young kids and dogs from disturbing your fish. It also impacts the quality of your fish-watching experience. 

Finally, choosing a tank stand with drawers or doors is ideal for storing your fish food and supplies.

A Note on Used Tank Stands

If you’re still asking yourself, “What can I use as a fish tank stand?” and none of the options above appeal to you, consider purchasing a used tank stand. 

It’s common to encounter people selling fish tank supplies on places like Facebook, NextDoor, and Craigslist. You might even be able to get a fish tank stand for free if you find someone who wants to give away unwanted pet fish.

What Can I Use As a Fish Tank Stand

On a similar note, you can also purchase used tables, cabinets, and dressers via these online platforms. Just be sure to thoroughly check whatever makeshift tank stand you want to bring home; cracks and signs of weakness in the wood aren’t worth the money you’d save.

Can I Put My Fish Tank on the Floor?

You can technically put your fish tank on the floor, but it isn’t ideal. That’s because, aside from your crawling baby, it’ll be challenging for your family to enjoy watching your fish.

Furthermore, it’s easier to knock into fish tanks that sit on the floor. And if your children are young, you’ll have to worry about their curious hands opening the tank cover and disturbing your fish.


We get it, costs can add up when starting a fish tank, so you may be looking for ways to save and not want to invest in a fish tank stand right away. Luckily there are many viable options.

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