Bow front aquariums have gained immense popularity over the years due to their unique and aesthetically pleasing curved glass design. This panoramic curvature offers a stunning 180-degree view of your aquatic life and decorations. But a gorgeous aquarium needs an equally gorgeous stand to support it and complete the look.
Selecting the right aquarium stand is crucial not just for aesthetics but for functionality as well. The stand must be sturdy enough to bear the weight of a filled aquarium, which can weigh hundreds of pounds. This guide will explore everything you need about bow-front aquarium stands, from dimensions and setup to DIY options and top brands.
What is the Benefit of a Bow Front Aquarium?
Before diving into stands, let’s first understand why bow front aquariums are so popular in the first place. What makes their curved glass design so advantageous?
The front curvature provides a stunning 180-degree panoramic view of your aquascape. You can admire schools of fish and decorations from multiple angles. This adds greater depth and dimension to the underwater environment.
The sleek bow front design is undeniably beautiful and adds a stylish focal point to any room. The curved glass has a very clean, modern aesthetic that stands out from traditional rectangular aquariums.
Ease of Cleaning
The extra surface area makes it easier to scrub algae off the front glass. And you can access the entire tank for maintenance by working your way around the curved perimeter.
Healthier for Fish
The panoramic screen alleviates feelings of confinement and vulnerability in fish. This prevents stress behaviors like glass surfing, letting fish feel more secure.
Light refracts and reflects off the curved glass to illuminate the entire tank. This allows plants to photosynthesize better and brings out the natural colors of fish.
Better Oxygen Exchange
The additional water surface area improves gas exchange. This increases oxygenation and carbon dioxide diffusion for a healthy aquatic environment.
As you can see, bow front aquariums provide many advantages over standard rectangular designs. Now let’s discuss selecting the perfect stand to display these stunning aquascapes.
Bow Front Aquarium Stand Sizes and Types
Bow front aquarium stands come in various sizes to accommodate tanks from 20 to 72+ gallons. The stand must properly fit the tank’s dimensions to provide adequate support. Here are some of the most common stand sizes:
26 Gallon Bow Front Stands
Designed for the Marineland 26 gallon bow front aquarium with dimensions of 30”x15”x20”. These stands are compact enough for small spaces.
36 Gallon Bow Front Stands
Fits popular models like the Aqueon 36 gallon bowfront measuring 36”x18”x21”. These medium stands balance stability and smaller footprint.
46 Gallon Bow Front Stands
Accommodates 46 gallon bowfronts around 45”x18”x24”. Great for larger mid-sized tanks up to 4 feet long.
55 Gallon Bow Front Stands
Made for 55 gallon bowfront aquariums approximately 48”x18”x21”. This size provides generous aquatic space.
72 Gallon Bow Front Stands
Houses extra large 72 gallon bowfronts measuring 60”x18”x25”. For avid aquarists wanting maximum capacity.
Types of Stands
Now let’s explore the different types of stands available for these various sizes:
- Metal stands: Economical option constructed from steel or aluminum. Tend to have an open frame design.
- Wood stands: Offer a wide range of styles from modern to traditional. Made of durable hardwoods like oak or pine.
- Acrylic stands: Feature a transparent or colored acrylic body. Allows light to pass through for illumination underneath.
- Cabinet stands: Come with enclosed cabinet storage to conceal equipment and supplies. Made of wood or laminate.
- Custom-built stands: Allow you full creative freedom to match your décor. Can be DIY or professionally built.
Consider where the aquarium will be placed, aesthetics, and your budget when choosing a stand type. Cabinets stands are popular for concealing equipment in living spaces, while open-frame metal stands work well in basement fish rooms.
Bow Front Aquarium Dimensions
When selecting an aquarium stand, you need accurate dimensions of your bowfront tank. Even an inch or two size difference can lead to instability. Here are the typical dimensions for two of the most popular bow front sizes:
36 Gallon Bow Front Aquarium Dimensions
- Length: 36 inches
- Height/Depth: 18 inches
- Width: 21 inches
40 Gallon Breeder Bow Front Aquarium Dimensions
- Length: 36 inches
- Height/Depth: 18 inches
- Width: 16 inches
Always measure the exact dimensions of your tank before purchasing a stand. Even aquariums labelled as the same volume can vary slightly in size between manufacturers.
Bow Front Aquarium Setup
Setting up a new bow front aquarium involves getting the tank level on its stand, installing equipment, adding substrate and decorations, cycling the tank, acclimating fish, and maintaining water parameters. Here is an overview of the setup process using a 36-gallon bowfront as an example:
Stand Assembly and Placement
Assemble the stand if required and place it in the desired location, ensuring it’s level. Leave ample space behind for equipment.
Gently place the empty 36″ x 18″ x 21″ bowfront tank directly in the center of the stand. Check that it’s completely level on all sides.
Filtration and Equipment
Install the external canister filter, hang-on-back filter, or sump filtration outside the tank. Set up the heater, LED light, and any other equipment.
Hardscape and Substrate
Add 2-3 inches of aquarium-safe substrate like gravel or sand. Arrange hardscape materials like rocks, driftwood, and artificial decor. Slope substrate towards the back for depth.
Filling and Cycling
Fill the tank with treated tap water or pre-mixed saltwater. Add conditioners like dechlorinator and biological supplements. Run tank lighting on a schedule to start the cycling process.
Plants and Décor
At this stage, you can add live plants and any final decorations. Ensure your hardscape creates clear swimming space for fish.
Acclimate and Add Fish
Once the tank is fully cycled after 4-8 weeks, begin slowly acclimating hardy fish by floating bags and adding small amounts of tank water.
Maintain Water Quality
Check water parameters like pH, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. Perform partial water changes and filter maintenance routinely. Add chemical media like activated carbon as needed.
DIY Bow Front Aquarium Stand
For hobbyists who enjoy woodworking, building your own custom bowfront stand can be a fun and rewarding DIY project. Here is an overview of constructing a 36 gallon stand:
Tools and Materials
You’ll need power tools, lumber, plywood, screws, wood glue, sandpaper, wood filler, and stain or paint. Use kiln-dried, non-toxic wood without resins.
Cutting the Wood
Cut four legs to 36″, two side panels at 21″ x 35″, two front/back panels at 18″ x 35″, and plywood for the base and trim boards.
Assembling the Legs
Attach the four legs together at the corners using wood screws and glue. Ensure the leg assembly is perfectly square.
Attaching Side Panels
Attach the 21″ x 35″ side panels to the legs flush with the edges using wood screws driven from the leg side.
Glue and screw the 18″ x 35″ front and back panels between the legs and side panels. Make sure corners and edges are square.
Base and Trim
Cut plywood to create the base that the tank will sit on. Attach trim boards around the top edges to finish the stand.
Sanding and Filling
Thoroughly sand any rough edges. Fill any imperfections with wood filler and re-sand once dry for an ultra smooth surface.
Apply several coats of water-resistant paint or stain for protection and your choice of color. Allow ample drying time between coats.
Once assembled, place your 36 gallon bow front aquarium directly onto the center of the stand. Enjoy your custom, hand-built stand!
Brands and Types of Bow Front Aquarium Stands
Many excellent aquarium stand brands produce models specifically sized for bow front tanks. Here are some top options:
Aqueon Versa-Style Bowfront Stands
Aqueon’s stands come in black or white finishes with open bottom storage. Sleek, modern styling suits most décor. Available for the 36 and 40 breeder bowfront sizes.
Seapora New York Bowfront Stands
Seapora’s beautiful cherry stands feature cabinet doors and drawers for concealed storage. Contoured shape matches bowfront tanks. Suits 48″ tanks.
Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum Cabinets
Fluval’s cabinet stands provide hidden storage under dual doors. Made of weathered oak laminate with black accents. Fits Fluval 37 gallon bowfronts.
Imagitarium Danya Bowfront Stand
Imagitarium’s affordable combo includes the tank and black laminate stand together. Matches 36″ tanks. Open bottom leaves space for equipment.
Aquatic Fundamentals Bowfront Stands
Aquatic Fundamentals metal stands come in black or silver finish. Open bottom stand accommodates canister filters. Fits standard 36″ tanks.
Top Fin Essential Black Stand
Top Fin’s budget-friendly black stand features an open metal frame. It comes in 36, 48, and 60 inch sizes for all bowfronts.
DIY Concrete Bowfront Stands
You can build a bowfront stand from decorative concrete for a contemporary look. Requires melamine forms and concrete sealer.
Making a Custom Stand
Work with a carpenter to make a fully custom stand to your specifications. Choose from wood species like oak or maple.
Used Bowfront Stands
Check classified ads or sites like Craigslist for quality used stands. Have an experienced aquarist ensure structural integrity before purchasing.
Matching Media Consoles
Use a media console that aligns with your bowfront’s length if unable to find an exact aquarium stand. Be sure it can bear the weight.
General Questions About Bow Front Aquariums and Stands
Let’s conclude by answering some commonly asked questions aquarists have about bow front aquariums and stands:
Are bow front aquariums good?
Yes, bowfront aquariums are excellent choices. Their curved panoramic viewing pane provides a stunning underwater view. The extra surface area improves gas exchange and lighting penetration too. Just be sure to buy a properly sized stand.
Do you really need an aquarium stand?
Using a proper stand is highly advisable, especially for larger tanks. Stands are engineered to bear the hundreds of pounds of weight. Improper support risks cracked glass and flooding damage. Always use a stand.
What is the best stand for a fish tank?
The “best” stand depends on your tank size, style preferences, and budget. But high-quality plywood or cabinet stands tend to provide the most stable support. Metal stands work too but are prone to rocking.
What size is a bowfront aquarium?
While they range from 20 to 125+ gallons, the most common bowfront sizes are the 36, 40 breeder, 46, and 60 gallon models. Measure the tank’s length, height, and width rather than relying on gallon size alone.
How to measure bow front aquarium dimensions?
Use a soft measuring tape to accurately measure your bowfront tank’s full length, height, and width in inches. Compare to manufacturer specs online and when purchasing stands. Even small measurement differences matter.
From compact 26 gallon stands to sprawling 72 gallon models, bow front aquarium stands come in all sizes and styles. Carefully measure your tank, consider the stand type, and choose a reputable brand for optimal support and aesthetics. You can beautifully showcase your underwater world with the right aquarium stand matched to your bowfront’s dimensions.