Modifying Stand/DIY Sump Project!


New member
Hey, all!

Just wanted to drop this here to get your input.

I've decided to try building a sump for the first time, mainly due to the fact that my water comes out chock-full of nitrate, so I'd like to create an algae scrubber, for which a sump seems to be ideal. After measuring, I went out and bought a 20 gallon long to go under my 55 (I know sumps don't often go under tanks so small, but again, algae scrubber), but when I came back I found that I failed to account for the center brace while measuring. The back center brace for the stand throws the measurement by about three quarters of an inch, leaving the space under my stand too narrow to fit a 121/2" tank.

Upon further inspection, however, I found that the bracing isn't even touching the tank! In fact, the tank is resting solely on its outermost edges, supported by the corner beams, and the rest of the bottom rim is floating on nothing. (See pictures below.)

What I'm wondering is:

A) Whether I should be able to take out the brace without compromising the integrity of the stand (something tells me it's there for a reason, even if it's not touching anything),

B) Whether I should reinforce the stand anyway. (Is this a faulty stand, asking to fail? Or is its construction sufficient to support a 55 with plenty of sand and rock? I've heard some say that the 4 corners are all that is necessary....)

C) Whether a combination of those two things would suffice (I.e. Adding extra bracing to the corners and along the front and back, but not necessarily in the center)

Any tank stand gurus willing to give your advice would be much appreciated!

Basically, it appears the center brace can go, but I'm still skeptical about it. :) Here are some pictures for reference.

Stand from the outside.

The center brace in question:

Picture demonstrating how, despite its central position, the brace in fact doesn't touch the tank or any tank-supporting beam in any way.

Pictures of the edge supports, where it is clear that the full weight of the tank is borne by the corner braces, suggesting that the center brace is not so much weight-bearing as shape-maintaining.

My plan, if reinforcing, would be to add further supports to the corners, then further inside supports along the front, back, and sides. Or, if the stand is sufficient as-is, I may simply drill a new center beam in behind the current one (on the outside of the stand), then remove the existing support beam from inside.

Has anyone modified an existing stand like this before? What would you advise?

Many thanks!



New member
I ended up deciding to reinforce the existing stand, as it will be cheaper and easier than building an entire new one DIY. (Not that that would be expensive, it's just that I don't mind the look of the current stand, and I'm not confident mine would look any better. 😝 Plus no need to move the tank!)

A new brace, installed off-center, helps keep the stand from racking, and since the rest of the vertical panelling does the same, I'm not too concerned about the tank twisting or turning. With new 2X4s installed snugly in the corners to help take the weight, I feel pretty good about the improved stand. :)

I also ended up building a small rack underneath for the 20 gallon sump to sit on. More pics of that construction to come! :)

Snug 2x4s reinforce the existing stand under the tank corners.

An off-center 1X4 takes the place of the previous (non-weight-bearing) beam, and a rack now sits where the future sump will go.