Using a Coffee Table as a Fish Tank Stand

Coffee Table as a Fish Tank Stand

If you found the perfect fish tank and you are now wondering if your coffee table can be used as a fish tank stand, you came to the right place. We will discuss how and what can be used for a fish tank stand in this article.

A very well-built coffee table can easily hold up to 300 pounds. A twenty-five-gallon fish tank will weigh 290 pounds when filled. So long as the fish tank is not too large, a coffee table will hold it.

If you are trying to decide what to display your fish tank on, a coffee table may do the trick.

Done correctly, you will have an eye-catching aquarium exhibit that will surely be a conversational item. The following article has everything you need to know!

Using a Coffee Table as a Fish Tank Stand

There are a few benefits to using the coffee table as an aquarium stand. For example, it is often cheaper than buying a standalone fish tank stand. It also provides more room under the table for storage.

Using A Coffee Table for a Fish Tank Stand: What to Know

It’s a common misconception that coffee tables are not sturdy enough to be used as aquarium stands. However, this is simply not the case! If you have a sturdy coffee table at home and want to use it for your fish tank, there are some things you should know before making a decision. 

First of all, make sure that your furniture is strong enough to hold up an aquarium full of water. A well-constructed aquarium stand will usually support anything less than 200 pounds without any problems. Of course, the heavier your table is, the better it will hold up to the weight of a full aquarium.

If your table does not feel secure or seems too light when you try to move it around with your hands, it probably won’t work as an aquarium stand. You must also consider where you will put your table with the aquarium. It will need to be close to an outlet in order for electricity to reach the tank.

Choosing a Coffee Table

When choosing a coffee table for your fish tank to sit on, you need to take into consideration how strong the table is and how much the aquarium will weigh once it is filled with

  • Water
  • Fish 
  • Accessories.

Fish tanks can be very heavy, and a coffee table may need reinforcements. The bigger the tank, generally speaking, the heavier it is going to get once there are fish inside of it. So it is very important to make sure the furniture you choose for your stand will hold up.

If you have pets or children, you need to think about their safety and the safety of the fish. A coffee table may be too low to the ground and allow a child or a pet to climb or fall inside of the aquarium. A child or a pet may also try to catch the fish, or they may stress the fish by tapping on the glass.

Where you plan on putting the coffee table should also be considered because you will need electrical outlets. If you are planning on having the aquarium on the coffee table in front of your couch, you will need to add outlets near the coffee table.

How easy is it going to be for you to open the aquarium? You need to keep in mind how often you will feed and clean the aquarium. If it is difficult for you to get into the aquarium, you may not care for your fish properly.

Steps to Using a Coffee Table as a Fish Stand

Fish Tank
Fish Tank

Before you plop the tank on top of your coffee table and fill it up, you should take some steps to ensure it will work for you. 

  • To begin with, you will need to find the right coffee table.
  • Next, sketch out what you are envisioning. Draw what you think the fish tank will look like on the coffee table. You should also sketch what you think it will look like in the room.
  • Observe the area. Will an aquarium on a coffee table end up being an obstacle? Where will it look best in the room while still being out of the way?
  • Measure your fish tank and do the math to find out how heavy it will be. 
  • Measure and check your coffee table for solidity to make sure it will be able to hold the tank.
  • Re-enforce the coffee table
  • Waterproof the coffee table

These will help you visualize how the coffee table made fish tank stand will look in your room. Taking down necessary measurements will help you determine if a coffee table you like will be an adequate aquarium stand. 

Finding the Right Coffee Table to Use as a Fish Tank Stand

If you already have your fish tank, you will want to measure it to make sure it will fit on the coffee table you choose. To measure your tank, you will need:

  • A pen
  • A notebook
  • A tape measure

Use the tape measure to determine the length, width, and depth of the fish tank. The length will be the longest outside edge, and the width will be the shortest outside edge. You will also want to measure the depth of the tank.  

This is so you will be able to see how tall it will be when sitting on the coffee table. Write your measurements down in your notebook. 

When you go looking for your perfect coffee table, take the list of measurements and the tape measure with you. When you find a coffee table you believe might work, measure it to see if your tank will fit on top of it. 

The table should be very well made. It should have four legs, one on each corner or a single wall-type leg on each end of the table. There should be room underneath the table for you to add reinforcing structure to the table.

After measuring the space of the tabletop, determine how high the tank will sit on top of it. To do this, measure from the floor to the top edge of the table. Next, add the depth of the fish tank to this number and adjust the tape measure to reflect the new number. This will help you visualize how tall the setup will be.

If this table looks like a match for your aquarium, you will want to inspect it more closely. Is it already very sturdy? If it is, then you have found your stand. If not, keep looking. You do not want to jeopardize the lives of your fish or the investment of the aquarium. 

Take into consideration that an average, well built wooden table will be able to hold 300 pounds.

Knowing how much your fish tank will weigh when it is full is an important part of choosing the right coffee table for your aquarium stand. The simplest way to begin is to use an online calculator. This Aquarium Tank Calculator will help you.

It gives you choices in aquarium design, such as:

  • Bow front
  • Cylinder
  • Flat back hexagon
  • And more.

All you need to do is type in the length, width, and height of your aquarium, then press the calculate button. It will give you an estimated volume in gallons and liters.

For example, by typing in 24 inches in length, 18 inches in width, and 12 inches in height, we know the tank will hold about 23 gallons of water. Now, that doesn’t tell us how much it will weigh, but it will help us in our next step.

According to Study, one gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds. Now, all we need to do is multiply 8.34 by 23. This example tank will weigh at least 191.82 pounds when filled with water. That’s heavy, and exactly why your stand needs to be strong enough to hold it up.

How Do You Reinforce A Coffee Table?

Some people recommend using a piece of plywood, which is much more sturdy and won’t bend. Others will use crates or blocks to help the table hold up weight better. If you want it to last, you need to do it right and use the correct style of bracing.

A lot of weight will be bearing down on the table. Some tables have been known to crack near the center because they are not reinforced enough for glass tanks and heavy equipment like filter systems. 

The strongest bracing is the cross brace or X brace. To reinforce your coffee table to make it extra strong, you should have cross bracing on the underneath of the tabletop and on the legs of the coffee table. The cross bracing will also help make your table much more stable and prevent wobbling.

Cross Bracing the Table Legs

In order to reinforce your table, you will need to add extra bracing to the legs and to the center of the tabletop. If your table has four legs, you should use cross bracing to help with stability. 

 To begin, you will want to have 

  • Level
  • Lumber
  • A saw
  • Drill/screwdriver
  • Wood glue
  • Wood screws
  • L square

Make sure your tabletop is level before beginning. Do this by setting your level on the tabletop and looking through the indicator. The air bubble will center between the two lines of the window.

  • Measure the tabletop with an L-square, 
  • Measure for the center point on each side of the table, 
  • Then divide that number by two. This is how many inches away you will want to place these braces.  
  • Use your tape measure and measure from the top of one leg diagonally to the bottom of the other leg.  
  • Measure the same way from the other leg and cut two pieces of wood to that length. 
  • Attach these boards with screws and glue, making sure they are tightly touching both legs at a perpendicular angle. 

Repeat this process for each set of cross braces you are planning on using. At the least, two sides of your coffee table should be reinforced with the bracing. If you want, you can do three sides or all four to give it even more strength.

Cross Bracing the Table Top

The tabletop itself must be reinforced to prevent sagging or breaking. The best way to give the table added support is to put cross bracing on the underside of the tabletop.

To reinforce the tabletop itself, you will use the same method for cross bracing. 

  • Turn the table upside down on a level surface. Using your L square measure to find the middle of each edge of the tabletop and mark them with a pencil.
  • After you have found the center of your table, measure from one corner diagonally to the far corner, write your measurement down and repeat with the opposite corners. These measurements should be the same.
  • Mark your measurements on your one-by-two lumber using your tape and pencil. Set your miter saw to the correct 45-degree angle and cut the two boards along your marks. Now, take these boards and lay them down on the underside of your tabletop.
  • Where the top board crosses the bottom board, use your pencil and mark the bottom board on either side of where the top board is. Take the boards off the tabletop, and cut the marked board so that you have two shorter ones, that will fit snugly against the longest board.
  • Again, place the long board and the two short boards on the underside of the tabletop. Mark where the short boards contact the long board.
  • Run some wood glue along the edges of your short boards and place them between the marks of your long board. Use clamps to secure the boards together. Use a drill and bore into the boards, secure them completely using woodscrews.
  • Once your cross brace has set up, spread some glue where the cross brace will fit on the table. Place the cross brace on the upside down table top, and weigh it down or clamp it in place.
  • When the glue is dry, drill through the table leg until you just start drilling into the brace. Using a wood screw and screwdriver, secure the brace to the table. Do this to each leg. Turn your table over.

Your coffee table has now been reinforced and will be able to hold your fish tank without fear of collapsing.

How Do You Waterproof a Coffee Table?

Your coffee table must also withstand water spills and condensation caused by having a tank of water sitting on it. To do this we will seal the coffee table using a waterproof sealant. 

Use a waterproof sealant to waterproof the tabletop by applying it evenly with a paintbrush and working from one end of the board to the other, making sure you get any cracks or crevices, as well as the underside of the table.

Epoxy resin is another way to seal and finish your table. Epoxy resin is the same thing used on surfboards to keep the water out, while giving the board a nice finish. Epoxy is also very easy to get these days, as more people have discovered its usefulness in crafts and art.

To do an epoxy pour tabletop, you will need:

Calculate how much epoxy you will need for the entire pour. To do this you will use online calculators to help you figure out the exact amount in ounces that you will need.

  • First, measure the length and width of your coffee table. Go to this calculator from Ginifab and type in the length in inches, times the width in inches, times 1/16 inch. Write this number down and title it “seal coat.”

Next plug in the same length and width measurements plus 1/8th inch for the second pour. This will give you the cubic inch needed for the second pour. Write this down as well, and title it “flood coat.” You will be using both measurements when you are pouring.

  • Your next step is to convert cubic inches to ounces. This calculator from Google will help you with this task. All you need to do is type in the calculated cubic inches. 

Do this with the results from your “seal coat” and then with the results from your “flood coat.” Write out the conversions on your paper. Add these together for the total amount of ounces you will need to cover your table.

Round this number up to the next fluid ounce to be certain you will have enough.

  • The resin comes in two parts, that you will need equal amounts of. In order to find out how much epoxy and hardener you should order, you need to divide the total fluid ounces in half.

Once you have your epoxy resin kit, place your coffee table on the drop cloth. Inspect the table and make sure it is free of dust and dirt. 

Mix your epoxy and hardener for the seal pour. To do this you will 

  • Divide the seal pour values in half. 
  • Take the right size buckets for your needs. 
  • Pour the needed amount of epoxy resin in one bucket and the needed amount of hardener in the other, same sized, bucket. 

Now pour your measured epoxy resin in a larger bucket and begin mixing in the hardener as it is being poured into the epoxy resin. Mix the epoxy and hardener together by hand very well for at least 6 to 7 minutes. 

Be sure not to whip it as this will add air bubbles you do not want. Just mix, scraping the sides and bottom of your bucket from time to time until the mixture becomes clear again.

Pour your epoxy mix directly on the tabletop, and then use the rubber scraper that came with the kit to completely and evenly cover the surface and sides of the table. Do not worry too much about deeper areas of resin, as it will even out. Just make certain that the resin covers the edges and sides of the table.

Next, grab your v notch trowel and go over the epoxy surface again, just to make it a bit more level. Use the foam brush and go over the drips along the edges of the table. Be sure to go underneath the edge of the tabletop once you have completed the edges so there are not any drips.

Clean your tools with a terry or jersey cloth before applying the flood coat. If you are seeing surface bubbles, you can use a heat gun to help make sure the pour stays flat. Let the epoxy dry completely. 

Once it is dry, inspect the table. If there are not any air bubbles and the epoxy is smooth and even, you probably do not need to do the flood coat. If you feel you need the flood coat, follow the above steps again with the measured amounts of epoxy resin and hardener. 

Let the second coat dry. Flip the table over on a soft surface with a drop cloth. Apply sealant to the bottom of the tabletop to ensure it is completely sealed and water tight. Let the sealant dry completely before turning your table right side up.

Design the Room for Your Aquarium

Once you have your coffee table, it is time to visualize where you will set it up as an aquarium stand. There are a few ways to do this:

  • Hand sketch your vision
  • Use a cad program
  • Physically move furniture around in your room.

Hand sketching is very convenient and cheap, however, your perspective may be completely off in comparison to the reality of your room. To help with the sketch, you should know the dimensions of the room, and the furniture within it.

You can also use a cad program. This type of software allows you to enter the 

  • Dimensions of the room
  • Doorways and windows
  • Other furnishings

Design a room by Armstrong flooring allows you to upload a photo of your room and then redesign it with furnishings and more.

Setting up Your Fish Tank on the Coffee Table

Take your reinforced and sealed coffee table to the place you wish to use it as a fish tank stand. Bring your empty fish tank to the table and decide where you want it set on the tabletop if it is smaller than the table. For example, do you want it centered or off centered?

Add your 

  • Aquarium gravel
  • Decorations
  • Water, note, be sure to let your water sit for 24 hours before adding fish to prevent chemicals from tap water or water temperature from affecting them.
  • Fish

Once your aquarium is set up on its coffee table stand, sit back and relax with your new roommates.

What Else Can Be Used as a Fish Tank Stand?

There are many things you can use as a fish tank stand. Let your creativity flow. 

  • Bookshelves- If you have a strong bookshelf, it can work as a stand for your fish tank. The tank can be put on the top of the bookshelf or on an inside shelf, So long as it will hold without bowing or breaking.
  • A strong dresser with a sturdy base can also work well as a fish tank stand. You should always make sure that the weight is evenly distributed and the legs are in good shape to support it, so you don’t end up having an accident on your hands.
  • A nightstand or a side table could also be used to display your aquarium.
  • You can also use a large piece of furniture like an armoire.

No matter what you might choose it must be built well and not wobble. Taller pieces of furniture will need to be secured by strap to a wall to prevent them from falling over should a curious child decide to climb it, or an earthquake happens.

You should also make sure that the furniture is protected from water damage. This can be done simply by buying a waterproof sheet of clear pvc and cutting it to fit the furniture you will be using as a stand.

Keep in mind that you can’t use just any old furniture. It must be sturdy.

Where Can You Find Furniture to Use as a Fish Tank Stand?

Now comes the fun part. Searching for the perfect stand. The possibilities are endless. You can buy brand new furniture, but it isn’t necessary. People are selling used furniture all the time. Here are some places you can look for used furniture:

  • Thrift stores 
  • Used furniture stores
  • On buy and sell forums of social media
  • Yard sales and garage sales

Keep an eye out while driving around, as many people will put free furniture at the curb that they no longer need. In the social media forums, people may post really nice furniture for free under “Free” or “Curb Alert.” 

You will find that perfect piece of furniture for your fish tank before you know it, and maybe a few other items too.

A Coffee Table Can Make a Good Fish Tank Stand

There is no need to buy a brand new stand for your fish tank. It is possible to use a coffee table as well as many other types of furniture. The biggest issue is to make sure that whatever you choose to use will be strong enough to hold your fish tank when it is full.



Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

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