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Can I Put an Aquarium on a Dresser?

If you want to put an aquarium in your bedroom, you might be having a tough time finding a place for it. Typically, a bedroom has a bed, a dresser or two and one or two nightstands. Unless you have an overly large bedroom, yours will have the same pieces of furniture. Now, the problem is if you want to add an aquarium to your bedroom where can you place it? If your bedroom isn’t large enough for an aquarium stand, can you put an aquarium on a dresser?

An aquarium can be placed on a dresser if; the aquarium is not too large, and the dresser is structurally strong enough to hold the weight of an aquarium filled with water. The base of the dresser should not have legs that can detach easily, as they will not provide the solid base necessary to be safe. 

It’s easy for me to say ‘don’t place a large fish tank on a dresser’ but if you do, make sure the dresser is strong enough to safely hold the aquarium. I think those suggestions are obvious to most people. So, we let’s dive into this topic a bit more and discuss how big of a tank you could possibly put on a dresser as well as what to look for that makes a dresser safe for this.

Okay, let’s begin.

 

How to Determine if You Can Put a Fish Tank on Your Dresser

There is no scientific process for figuring this out. From my own experience, it appears the important things to consider are the size of the aquarium and the structure of the dresser.

Let’s Talk about Fish Tanks

The size of an aquarium should be considered, if the only place for you to put one in a bedroom is your dresser. Without knowing the size of your dresser, I still would never think that placing a 100-gallon tank on it would be okay. There is just a tipping point in my mind when it comes to the size of an aquarium and if it is okay to be situated on a dresser.

Of course, the choice is yours on what size of tank you put on a dresser. I will, however, give you my thoughts on what the recommended sizes of tanks should be in my mind. The weight should always be considered along with the size of the tank.

I have a 10-gallon tank that has a base of approximately 22” long by 12” deep. I don’t think the height matters but if it does to you it is about 13” or 14” high.  This tank filled with water fish and decorations weighs right around the 100-pound mark. That is a lot of weight in a small space. This tank sits on a sturdy console table that has a surface area about the same size as a triple dresser.

Based on the size of my tank and the table it sits on, I wouldn’t pick a tank much larger. If I did, I would never go any larger than a 20-gallon tank. If you do want to go larger than a 10-gallon aquarium, I would highly recommend you get yourself a tank that has a lower profile. A high tank will place all its weight in a smaller space on your dresser which means more pressure on that location causing more opportunities for instability.

A tank that is not so high but has a larger width and depth spreads out the weight on the dresser and will be less problematic than a tall tank. But, if you stick to a smaller aquarium, you won’t have to worry about that as much.

Let’s Talk about Dressers

I do have years of construction experience and completely understand the strengths of different types of woods and other materials. I also know about reinforcement and whether an object can hold heavy weights successfully or not. Here are my thoughts on what types of dressers might be suitable for an aquarium.

 

  • Any dresser that has legs (instead of a cabinet that extends from the body of the piece of furniture to the floor) is not suitable in my mind. I am thinking about the 4” or so rounded style legs that screw into the bottom of the dresser, like how legs are screwed into a box spring for a bed.
    • If there is any movement from the tank, the dresser could topple and there will be movement when you clean the tank. Or, if your floor is not solid when someone walks by the dresser it will cause the tank’s water to move, which can end up being a problem.

 

  • Tall single style dressers are probably not okay for an aquarium. Try to only put a tank on a triple dresser or if you are setting up a very small tank, possibly a nightstand will be suitable. Taller dressers are not suitable because of the weight you would be placing higher up. Just remember that gravity and the weight of the tank will not mix well with this type of dresser.

 

  • If you do place an aquarium on a triple dresser, try to place it on one side or the other versus right in the middle. You will have much more support from the walls of the dresser than if you placed it in the middle. The weight might even cause the drawers to stick a bit when trying to open if the tank is in the middle, as the material could bow downward.

 

How to Test if Your Dresser Can Hold up a Fish Tank

Before you commit to setting up a fish tank on your dresser, you might want to try and simulate having the weight in a similar size container to see how the dresser will hold up. My recommendation is to grab a plastic tote that you would normally store items in and place it on a weight scale. Fill the tote up with books or if you have weights at home, use some weight plates.

If you plan on having a 10-gallon or larger tank, aim to get 100-pounds in the tote. Of course, you might have to empty the tote a bit to move it over to your dresser. By filling the tote up on your weight scale, you will have a very good simulation of what will be eventually sitting on your dresser.

Once the filled tote is on your dresser, leave it there for a day and see what happens. Can you open doors and drawers without any sticking? If so, then great. If not, then you know you have just saved yourself the headache of setting up a tank in this location.

 

Conclusion

It’s very important to know that setting up an aquarium in a specific location is a very long-time commitment. That’s why you must be certain that placing an aquarium on a dresser is going to work out for you. Of course, the safety of you and your family is important as is keeping your furniture from any damage.

The other extremely important part of this whole situation is the fish. They are pets and deserve the best care possible once you commit to taking them home from the local fish store.  Having to move an aquarium after it’s been set up with fish added can add undue stress on the fish. Stress can kill fish and I know that’s not something you want to happen.

So, it just makes sense to know your tank will be staying where it sits for a long period of time. It doesn’t mean you can’t move it some day because people do it all the time. You just want to limit how much you move fish, if possible.

Thank you for reading and good luck with setting up your aquarium on your dresser.

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