Can You Put A Fish Tank On A Dresser? [Explained]

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We have been keeping one of our home aquariums on a dresser, for quite some time now. Here’s an image of that fish tank:

One of our home fish tanks kept on the top of a dresser

In this post, we’ll explore whether or not your dresser can support the fish tank, including the advantages and disadvantages, to help you determine if it’s a suitable setup for you. So, stay tuned to learn more!

Can You Keep Your Fish Tank On A Dresser?

Yes, it is possible to keep a fish tank on a dresser. However, there are a few factors to consider before doing so.

Firstly, the size of the tank should be small enough to fit on the dresser and not weigh it down excessively. Secondly, the dresser should be sturdy enough to support the weight of the tank and any equipment that comes with it.

Additionally, it is important to be mindful of the potential for water damage to the dresser.

With regular tank maintenance, some water is bound to spill onto the wooden parts of the dresser, which can cause the plywood to swell and affect its structural integrity. This can also result in the dresser looking unsightly due to the swelled up wooden parts.

Slightly damaged dresser drawer due to water spillage from the fish tank kept on the top

Therefore, it is recommended to take precautions to minimize the risk of water damage to the dresser, such as using a water-resistant acrylic sheet.

If you don’t mind the damage to the dresser or it is already old and you want to reuse it, then keeping a fish tank on a dresser can be a good option. But the biggest question comes – will your dresser be able to hold the fish tank? Let’s explore that in detail in the section.

How Heavy Of An Aquarium Can A Dresser Hold?

As a general rule, regular dressers can typically hold 10-20 gallons of aquariums pretty easily. For anything beyond that size, you’d want to be sure that the dresser is sturdy enough to support the tank’s weight.

A gallon of water weighs roughly around 8 pounds. Of course, you’d want to also include the weight of sand, gravel, and all the equipment along with the tank itself.

So now, approximately the filled weight of a 5 gallon tank is around 60 pounds (27 Kg). So considering the tank filled weight to be 60 pounds per 5 gallon as a rule, the weight of various fish tanks will be something along these lines:

  • 10 gallon tank filled weight ~ 120 pounds 
  • 20 gallon tank filled weight ~ 240 pounds 
  • 30 gallon tank filled weight ~ 360 pounds
  • 50 gallon tank filled weight ~ 600 pounds
  • 75 gallon tank filled weight ~ 900 pounds
  • 150 gallon tank filled weight ~ 1800 pounds

Once again, I would like to highlight that the above data points are just the approximate versions so that you can practically calculate and decide the tank weight by yourself.

For more precise calculations, you will have to take the help of a fish tank weight calculator. In that you’d have to fill in the details like the dimensions of your tank and the calculator would give you the accurate results.

You can use a measuring tape to easily measure the length, width and depth of your fish tank. 

How To Know Your Dresser Can Hold The Fish Tank?

Determining whether or not your dresser can hold a fish tank is an important step to ensure the safety of your aquatic pets.

One way to test the stability of your dresser is to fill the drawers with items as you would normally do and then gently sit on the top to see if it wobbles. This is a good indicator if the weight of your fish tank is similar or less than your own weight.

However, if you’re concerned about a heavy fish tank, you can perform a trial run by placing other similarly heavy objects on the dresser for a few days and observe its stability.

If it holds up well, then it should be able to support the weight of the fish tank.

Which Furniture Is Suitable For Keeping Fish Tanks?

What kind of furniture is good for fish tanks? Any sturdy, level, and stable piece of furniture can be used as a platform for a fish tank. In my earlier post about why fish tanks crack, I talked about how important it is to put your tank on a flat surface.

If the platform where the fish tank is kept is not level, cracks can form in the tank, which can lead to leaks. So it’s important to think about this.

As for which furniture would work, I’ve put aquariums on desks that were made for PC computers. I have also put small tanks on study tables without any problems. So, you can use any of these kinds of furniture, especially old or unused ones.

For example, we’ve used two computer desks and put them next to each other. I bought a thick piece of wood plywood that was the right size and put it over the two tables to make a continuous surface for the tank. We also put down a foam sheet to help get rid of the small bumps in the surface.

In short, tables, office desks, computer desks, and stands that are sturdy and level can all be used to keep fish tanks.

Pros And Cons Of Keeping A Fish Tank On A Dresser

Easy and Convenient to Set UpRisk of Damaging The Dresser
Saves Money and Space
Unused or Old Dresser Gets a New Purpose

One of the biggest advantages of keeping a fish tank on a dresser is the ease and convenience of setting it up. Unlike purchasing a separate stand, all you have to do is place the tank on top of the dresser and add some padding material underneath to protect the surface.

This eliminates the need to spend extra money on a stand and also saves valuable floor space. With the tank elevated on the dresser, it becomes a beautiful focal point in your room without taking up valuable floor space.

Another advantage of using a dresser, especially an old or unused one, as a platform for your fish tank is that you can put it to good use.

Setting up a fish tank on a dresser is a simple and cost-effective solution that provides both ease and practicality.

One of the potential drawbacks of keeping a fish tank on a dresser is the risk of damaging the wooden structure.

Over time, the constant exposure to water can cause the plywood to weaken, or swell. This is why it’s essential to choose a dresser made of materials that can withstand the weight and exposure to water.

Additionally, it’s important to take preventive measures such as adding a waterproof barrier between the fish tank bottom and the surface of the dresser to protect it from water damage.

Careful maintenance and monitoring of the condition of the dresser is also crucial to avoid any structural issues that may arise from long-term exposure to water.

Suggested Read: Can You Keep A Fish Tank Near A Window?

Should You Buy A Dedicated Aquarium Stand?

When setting up your aquarium, it’s always a good idea to consider investing in a dedicated aquarium stand.

Check Current Price Here (On Amazon)

The aquarium stands are designed specifically to support the weight of an aquarium, ensuring that it’s evenly distributed across the base. This helps to prevent any potential accidents, and gives you peace of mind that your fish and equipment are safe.

However, if your aquarium is relatively small (20 gallons or less), and you have a sturdy piece of furniture like an old dresser or desk that you’d like to use instead, that’s okay too. Just make sure that the furniture is strong enough to support the weight of the tank.

If you have a high-quality dresser that you really like, it may be wise to choose a dedicated aquarium stand instead. This will protect your furniture from any potential damage and give you the confidence that your aquarium is securely supported.

Recommended Read: Can You Put A Fish Tank Below TV?

Wrapping Up

In short, while keeping a fish tank on a dresser can be a practical solution, it’s essential to be mindful of the potential risks and take the necessary precautions to protect both the dresser and your fish tank.

Regular inspections, maintenance, and protection measures can help ensure the longevity and safety of your setup. And for larger tanks – we recommend you get a good quality aquarium stand for ensuring the safety of the tank.

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By Praveen Ghoshal

Hi! I'm Praveen Ghoshal, the founder of Inspired by my Dad, I got interested in fishkeeping when I was a kid. Since then, I have been involved with this hobby. Currently, I have 3 fish tanks at our home, where I enjoy this hobby with my Mom, Dad, and Younger Sister. Read more about me here.