Article ~ How To - Build an ADA Style Aquarium Stand

As I will say over and over, ADA makes some amazing aquariums. Again, ADA aquariums are worth every penny. Unfortunately, as all of us people in the US find out quickly, they just don't fit quite right into the American standard stands. ADA aquariums are measured using metric. I picked up an ADA 120H in 2007 and after some immediate searching, it was clear that I would have to get a stand that was made to handle metric measured aquariums like ADA aquariums. While the prices of the ADA aquariums are worth it, I do believe the stands are like most of the ADA line, over-priced. I was left with having to build an ADA style aquarium stand.

Here I will go through the steps I went through to create this ADA style aquarium stand. It took me about 40 hours to build this ADA style aquarium stand. I think the final product ended up much better then I envisioned, and I may be so bold to say that it is even nicer then the true ADA equivalent. Each picture below can be clicked to view a larger version.


Dimensions: 122x80x47cm

Cost: Just over 300 US dollars in materials

- 3 pieces of 3/4" Plywood - get the best quality you can find
- 1 2x2 stud for inside corner support
  - 2 pieces were glued and screwed together to create the main frame
  - The remaining piece of 3/4" was used for the doors and riser.
- 2 pieces of 8x4' Formica - so many colors to choose from!!

- Table saw (cheap one):
- Circular Saw (good one):
- Power Drill
- Router
- Laminate Cutting Router bit

- Contact Cement (Gel variety)
- Wood Putty
- Plastic Oval Grommets from
- Euro Hinges

NOTE: Formica is VERY SHARP when it is first trimmed. I cut myself more then I would like to admit. Be careful!!


Glue and Screw - Use the 1.5" pieces of wood to create all the sides and the center support. Glue and screw all the joins. I used the 2x2 studs to give strength. The dividing support in the stand will be cut out before glued into place.
Mesh Unraveled
Ready for Putty and Formica - This is the stand after all gluing was complete. Notice the center brace has been cut to allow equipment in the stand.
Riccia Stone
Putty and Stain - Here I puttied the seams and stained the inside for look and protection.
Zip Ties
Formica - Here is a picture of the two sheets of Formica when I brought them home. The sheets are considered 4x8' but they give you an extra 1/2" on each side in case of chipping. You can pick up Formica at any larger hardware store.
Zip Ties
Adding Formica - I added the first piece of Formica by gluing and letting adhere with some weight on top. I then trimmed it with the router. Formica is glued using contact cement. There are a few methods but they all have the same basic approach. I used this tutorial to help me.
Riccia on Rock
Formica on the back - The next side glued and trimmed.
Mesh over Riccia
Formica on the Front - I used one piece to do this. I glued it to the front and then trimmed it out. This allowed for no seams in the front adding to the smoothness of design.
Last Piece - One last piece to complete the cabinet!!
Cabinet Complete - Now time to drill holes for the hoses.
Drill Portals - Use a hole saw bit for this. It was very challenging to not chip the Formica. Some people use tape and drill through the tape, but this didn't seem to work for me.
Finished Stone
Doors Added - Here the stand is complete!!
Finished Riccia Stone - Front
Doors Open with Tank - I was very proud!!
Riccia Stone - Complete
Close Up of Seams
Riccia Stone - Complete
Equipment Added - Here is a shot of the stand in use. As you can see, there is plenty of room.

Conclusion - Overall I couldn't be more pleased with the results of this project. My tank has been standing on it for almost a year now with no problems!! I will build more in the future for more ADA aquariums. I am looking forward to that. I hope this article on how to build an ADA Style Aquarium Stand was helpful for you. If you have any questions, please contact me at

Have fun!!





If you find this as helpful as a book you might have had to buy or a workshop you may have had to take, feel free to Help me continue helping everyone.

Project Aquarium on Facebook

Home | Sitemap | Aquascape Gallery | Articles | Journals | Reviews | Workshops | About | DVAGA | Contact