How much weight can PVC Pipe take?


Old 08-06-09, 09:43 AM
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How much weight can PVC Pipe take?

Currently revamping my Malawi Aquarium.

Malawi Mbuna fish require a lot of rock.

When the rock is put on the bottom of the tank, a lot of detritus builds up in the rock which negatively affects the water quality.

As such, I am designing a rack for my tank made out of pvc pipe and polypropylene egg crate.

My design will look similiar to this, but I want it a bit higher:

On top of that will be roughly 100kg - 125kg of ocean rock.

How much can pvc pipe safely hold, and what size pvc pipe would be best?

Where should the PVC pipe supports be placed for maxium support under the egg crate to prevent any kind of sagging in the egg crate?


Weird one, I know.

Link to Egg Crate:

Current tank:


Edit: Seems my images aren't working for some is a direct link to the picture of the rack similiar to what I want to build to give you an idea:
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Old 08-06-09, 11:24 AM
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The only link that you posted that works is the egg crate.
Old 08-06-09, 11:56 AM
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Yeah, it's weird.

The forum stars out real links like it is blocking them or something?
Old 08-06-09, 11:58 AM
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Like so?!

This is the pic:

http://i28.tiny (REMOVE THIS SPACE)
Old 08-06-09, 12:29 PM
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I don't have a precise number, but as with most materials, PVC pipe is very strong in lateral compression. a 1.5" PVC Sched 40 pipe (standard plumbing pipe) can easily support over 200 lbs. I can stand on the end of a short (4") piece and not worry about it breaking. It's less strong when it is flexed, but that doesn't affect what you have planned.

More of your issue will be the plastic grate. I doubt you'll get any real specification on how much weight it will carry, but I would start with a pipe every 8-12" in a diamond pattern to support the grate. I'd imagine that would be fine to support the rock.

How high do you want it? The higher you go, the larger the pipe. Basically you're looking for stability (picture yourself standing on it. I would be comfortable standing on a 4" length of 1.5" pipe, but I certainly wouldn't try to balance on a 12" length.
Old 08-06-09, 12:36 PM
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Just for info..tinypic url's are deleted due to past problems with the site.
Old 08-06-09, 01:19 PM
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Hey stanley I build lawn furniture out of pvc pipe and I use short pieces 0f pvc pipe with spray foam insulation available at most any hardware or walmarts ,for added support works well for me after foam dries and is coming out ends simply cut foam even with hacksaw or most any saw or good sharp knife oh also can add small rebar in pipe before foam is added for even stronger!! support hope this helps ya Todd
Old 08-06-09, 03:30 PM
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Thanks for the info. It is much appreciated.

I was hoping to have the pvc pipes at the very most 6" tall. Probably less if necessary. If it is a question of safety though, I will indeed lessen it.

I think the best thing to do would be to build it, stand on it, and then set it up outside the tank and leave it for a while just to make sure and see if I notice any weak points or sags in the egg crate - then adjust legs accordingly.

Thanks again, this has helped me a lot.

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