Can You Use a TV Stand for an Aquarium?

When a new aquarium owner begins building their tank, they often overlook one thing. It isn’t only where you will be locating your aquarium because this does come with a host of suitable areas and unsuitable areas.

However, it is what to use as a base. One of the most accessible things around the home is an old stand that the TV used to sit on before the TV was fixed to the wall.

So, can you use a TV stand for an aquarium? The answer for this has a few variables and the main one being how heavy is your tank once filled with water? It is possible to use a TV stand for your aquarium, but it is advisable not to do so.

Because there is so much to understand about aquariums, and how you can seat them safely, we take an in-depth look into all you need to know of whether a TV stand is the right option or an option you need to forget about very quickly.

Aquarium Stand Basics

In the most basic description, an aquarium stand is any large piece of furniture that is strong enough to hold the weight of your tank once full of water. Besides, they should be suitable for keeping all your other equipment, fish food, and any other supplies you may have.

It is here where many tank owners make a mistake. Rather than finding a large piece of furniture that is strong enough to hold a tank full of water. It can be the shape and the materials used in the construction of the stand, which dictates the tank you can ultimately end up with.

There are some factors, which can be affected, such as the quality of your tank, how it looks and what you can spend on it.

In summary, you can find four paths to find the right stand for your tank:

  • Commission a custom stand to fit in your designated area
  • Buy a tank stand that is affordable and made for your tank
  • Use a piece of furniture, such as a sturdy TV stand to hold your tank
  • Make your own

These run in cost order with the most expensive option at the top of the list. Unless you are an experienced woodworker or work with metals and welding, making your aquarium stand could be a recipe for disaster.

Next, we will look at a few things, which can be the deciding factors in your aquarium stand.

How Big is Your Tank?

Aquariums come in all shapes and sizes, and of course, there are different weights. An aquarium may not be large, yet once you see which materials are in use, then they do add some considerable weight.

If you choose glass over acrylic, you will find it can be nearly double the weight. As an example, if you have a tank that can hold around twenty gallons, this could weight in the region of twenty-five pounds when empty.

Once you begin, adding things inside, this weight will be considerably more substantial.

How Many Gallons Does Your Tank Hold?

When you start adding gravel, plants and most of all water, the weight of your aquarium can jump up considerably. One gallon weighs a tad over eight pounds. If you have a 20-gallon tank, this means you have around 160 pounds of water on top of your tank and substrate weight.

If you think that a TV stand can support this, then you do need to keep reading. If you have a much smaller tank, then by all means, dig out and dust off your old furniture.

Have You Considered Tank Support?

Support for aquariums comes in two areas. A tank must have even support, and tank materials require different kinds of support.

An aquarium made from acrylic is much lighter than one made of glass, yet this material can flex when filled with water. Because of this, it does require support along the full length of the bottom surface.

While glass is more substantial, it is less prone to buckling under weight, and it can cope with support on the outer perimeter edges of the tank rather than the entire bottom surface having support. However, if you have a large tank, it is advisable not to test this theory, and make sure you have extra support points on the underside.

Once you begin looking at support, an aquarium requires even support. If they are not level, or any area overhangs the stand, this places additional stress on the joins of the tank bottom and the sides. You can find this is the primary cause of leaking in aquariums.

In general, if you have tanks of twenty gallons or less, then you can use a good solid piece of furniture such as your old TV stand. About this, be sure it is solid wood and not the fiberboards many modern cabinets are made.

Because of this, either you will need to reconsider your tank size, or you will require a purpose-built stand.

Tank Accessibility

You can have many things to keep near your aquarium. You will have cables, the back of the filter, and all manner of items that you use for its upkeep. Aside from just the area where to keep these, you need to think of the space these components need once your aquarium is in place.

Sitting flush against a wall can be difficult, and it may mean your furniture sticks out into the room too far.

Materials Used in Aquarium Stands

When choosing an aquarium stand, the materials used are often an oversight. An aquarium may never leak, yet it doesn’t mean the stand will never get wet. Over time, cheaper materials can warp and begin to rot when they are repeatedly wet.

Many stands you can purchase, are made cheap, and once you see, there is warping, this can’t be reversed, and over time you will need a new one.

Once you move into another budget bracket, you find a better quality of construction, which is more durable. In some instances, you can find metal frames of stainless steel, or aluminum, which is a recommendation.

If you are thinking of having one custom made, you need to understand how the materials react in an environment that contains water.

Particleboard or MDF are the cheapest materials. If you understand how to seal and paint these woods waterproof them, and then they can suffice for smaller tanks.

Once you move to plywood, this is what you find in more upmarket aquarium stands. You can purchase marine ply, which is suited for use around water. This material; is often found in kitchen cabinets because of the reliability.

To be sure, you have the right strength; a mixture of wood and metal is the best recommendation. Aluminum is lightweight and can fend off water better than stainless steel. The most significant downside is the size of the budget needed.

Calculating Aquarium Weight

Most new aquariums will give the size in gallons they can hold. This doesn’t help in knowing the weight. You can, however, calculate this by multiplying the number of gallons by 8.3 and adding the weight of the tank and any substrate and plants. That will be your total weight, and you can use this to find the ideal stand.

If you purchase a used aquarium or given one, you can calculate the number of gallons from the dimensions.

To begin with, one gallon of water is equal to 231 cubic inches.

To find this, multiply the tank length by the width, and then multiply by the height in inches. Once you have this total, you have total inches cubed.

Now, divide this by 231. You currently have the gallon capacity for that tank. For the weight, you can multiply this by 8.3 to give you the weight of the water.


Unless you have a small aquarium, it is better not to rely on furniture you have to hold your aquarium. You can see the weights are through the roof when you add water and fish.

Add to this, a proper aquarium stand sets your tank off and makes it look more of a center point than your old TV stand. They are purpose-built for a reason, and your tank will sit higher up where it is on full view than sitting closer to the floor.