Refurbish Aquarium Stand

Hello all!

Really missing the 'Space here. I need some thoughts / suggestions.

My girlfriend and I found a great deal on an aquarium and stand but the stand needs some work. The coated particle-board “plate” at the top has severe water damage and we’re trying to determine the best fix. I’ve uploaded photos available at the link at the bottom of this post. The rest is in great condition so we’d like to salvage it if possible.

We’ve considered a couple of options:

  1. Sanding down the coating and water damage and recoating.
  2. Starting over with fresh MDF or or other wood and applying a waterproof coating after cutting it to the same dimensions, countersunk drilled holes, etc.
  3. Cutting a black acrylic top in a similar fashion like the previous option. Pricier but better water resistance.

We’re debating it if it’s worth the trouble, but both enjoy projects. Also without access to the facility and no home shop / equipment, I’m not sure how to proceed or if we should just buy a new stand.

A photo of the full stand (from catalog) for reference:

Here’s a link to the photos of the stand we bought and are considering fixing:

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So funny enough, I actually worked in the aquarium industry and do woodworking, so basiacally what that is a pressed fiver board with a vinyl veneer, so once you sand through that black you’re just going to get a very rough almost impossible to smooth surface. It can be done but you’d honestly be better off just buying a piece of wood the size you want and buy stick on veneer( basically a big sheet sticker peel and stick) and basically make your own, keep the old on as a template for the screw holes and I’d be a lot better cause once fiber board gets wet is useless and supporting a load, and if That’s for what tank I think it is, that’s things gonna weight close to 300lbs when full

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Another option might be to just get a thing of melamine, and then put a sheet of plastic from Home Depot on top. You can get them in 4x4 sheets there and cut them with a skill saw

Lol you must have missed the part about no tools or facilities

You’re right, I did miss that part. But you can get a generic skill saw for 40 bucks at a pawn shop. Boom! Problem and solution (mic drop)


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This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

Let me rephrase, I don’t care about the prices of circular saws

That doesn’t really need stating since it is well known you don’t generally care about anything other than yourself and your own immediate want and needs. And it doesn’t matter if you rephrase…the issue remains the same, which is you are an ass.

1) Your 1st post seems well-intended and helpful…maybe you should have quit there.

2) Your 2nd post is pure CF: arrogant, unhelpful, and more to the real point, misguided: in fact the OP in his 2nd bullet point made it clear tools of some sort are an option, since he refers to “cutting it to the same dimensions, countersunk drilled holes, etc.” He is just seeking possible options. So who, exactly, wasn’t reading or understanding, smart guy?

3) In your 3rd post you suggest Zach is trying to inform you about circular saws, etc. Did you really think he was mentioning it for your benefit? Or simply trying to make clear to the OP via a reply to you, that in fact, yes, there are potential tool solutions available.

4) In your 4th post, you do it again, as if Zach’s goal/point was actually to inform you about circular saw prices. He clearly couldn’t care less if you have a circular saw or are interested in getting one. In fact, given the mocking tone of your responses to him, at this point I doubt he would offer too much help to you for anything, and rightly so.

5) You even took the time to crow about having (access to) a shop in which you can do woodworking. If that’s the case, why not act like a real DMS member and extend an offer to OP to either let him come over and make (or help him make) what he needs, or offer to make it for him, instead of crapping on others trying to help out with suggestions?

Which reminds me…@Burgerro, I live in far northeast DFW. I have a table saw and other items you might need to fix or make a new one. You are welcome to come over if it is not too far out of the way for you, or if you can be very specific, I can make it for you. PM me with any details. Thanks…


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@Chris_Fazio, @mblatz can both of you please calm down, and not hijack this thread with your argument? If you absolutely have to argue with each other, please take it to private messages.


Hi all!

I appreciate everyone weighing in; certainly didn’t intend for it to become contentious.

@Chris_Fazio - accurate callout. It’s a 29 gallon so it’ll be right around the 300. Judging from the water-damaged area and material I agree that sanding and trying to make this piece work would probably be a poor choice. I would have thought that the weight of the tank would be distributed enough that the existing damage wouldn’t affect the integrity but woodwork isn’t my forte (and it’s a disaster if it breaks) so I appreciate the insight!

I have a couple questions regarding options listed above. @zacharymarkson for the melamine, I assume you’re referring to the coated MDF? What’s the plastic you’re referring to? I’m much more comfortable in the metal shop so pardon my ignorance of carpentry! I do, in fact, have a skill saw. Other than a power drill, however, that’s the limits to my woodworking equipment. I could probably make something serviceable between the two but I doubt I could make it pretty enough for a display tank in the living room.

@mblatz, thank you so much for the offer to assist and/or use your workshop. I believe extending help to others is what makes the DMS community amazing (I’m not usually on the requesting side), however I have no qualms paying for your time and use of your machinery. I’ll send over a PM to discuss the best option there.

Again, thank you all for your input.


It’s hard plastic sheeting. It can be found usually in the back of Home depots, near where they sell glass

And the melamine more akin to resin coated particle board. It’s not completely waterproof, but it is very resistant. Or at least the face is

Under that weight over time melamine will be very prone to bowing but if you put a small piece of plywood or something less flexible under it it should work fine