Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Please HELP Can 2x4 studs support this weight?

  1. Apr 28, 2006 #1
    Please HELP!!! Can 2x4 studs support this weight?

    Hi All,
    New to the Forum and have a question. I want to put an aquarium (220Gallon) on a loft in the third floor Condo I will be purchasing. My guess of the total weight of the tank is close to 3000lbs filled. The Tank is 72"Length x 24" Deep x 30" tall. I do not own the First floor but i do know they have a concrete foundation. The loft is 22'x15'

    My Plan:
    Place the aquarium against an outside wall (Load Bearing) therefore i will catch at least 4 floor joist (2x6) that has a span of 12ft. Each end on a load bearing wall. The outside walls are very likely using 2x4x8 on both the first and second floor studs.

    Should I?:
    * Add additonal Floor joist and if so how many? I figured double up.
    * Add 4x4 inside the wall below since there is a window under there also.

    Additional Info:
    The tank stand will have 6 - 8 legs resting on a 2x4 or 4x4 to spread the weight out evenly. In addition I was going to set the tank 6"-10" away from the wall to shift some of the weight to the other load bearing wall.

    BTW - Do I need to support the walls in the first floor also. I figured the weight will be distributed over a longer span by the time it gets down there. I hope not since I do not own that floor.

    Is my calculation correct? 3000/12(sq feet) = 250lbs/sqft.

    Open to any suggestion.

    Thank you for all you assistance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 28, 2006 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I highly doubt that you will get a person to stick their neck out with the information you have given. There is no way to answer your question just on the assumptions you've made.

    Honestly, I would have a consultant look at it. You are adding a 3000 Lbf load, granted, over a rather large surface area, to an existing floor. If your condo is anything like the ones I have seen though, I would not trust it from the get go. You have neglected one very large issue in your reasoning and that is that the load bearing walls are also taking the load of other things, i.e. the roof, snow loads, wind loads, etc...All of those loads are on top of what you want to add. There are a lot of things that need to be looked at, not just the load per square foot.

    The only way to be certain is to walk through the structure and do a detailed load analysis. Don't regret cheapening out on this. Get a professional in your area to look at it.
  4. Apr 28, 2006 #3


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Sorry to be captain obvious here, but since you have not purchased the condo yet, why not get one that has a ground floor with a concrete slab underneath? I guess you still have to worry a bit about cracking the slab....
  5. Apr 28, 2006 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    If it was on the concrete slab, it would be easy sailing. Then you could look at simply the compressive load and go about your business. Granted, you would have to know what the thickness of the slab is. 250 Lbf/ft^2 is pushing it, but it would probably be ok there. My hot tub is around 150 Lbf/ft^2 loading on my patio.
  6. Apr 28, 2006 #5
    Who do I call on? ...

    I had a building inspector look at the condo to look for termites and check the building condition and structure. I asked him about the aquarium and he was not able to give an answer. What is the specific type of inspector or engineer do I look for.
    BTW I am in Staten Island NY so if anyone can recommend a place or person it would be great.

    Thank all.
  7. Apr 29, 2006 #6
  8. Apr 29, 2006 #7
    Thank you. I will try that.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook