Can You Have A Fish Tank in A Mobile Home?


Fish Tank

Living in a mobile home can put a limit on certain home decor for aquatic lovers such as the size of a fish tank in the home. No homeowner and fish fanatic would want to see a tank go crashing through the floor. 

It is okay to have a fish tank in your mobile or manufactured home. But there may be weight limits due to the type of floor support. However, there are options to strengthen your floors and tank support.

In order to determine the weight of fish tank allowable in a mobile home it is imperative to look into what the typical mobile home floor is made out of and how much weight they can hold, as well as ways to reinforce your tank support. We will look at these options in this article. 

Can You Have a Fish Tank in a Mobile Home

Owning a fish tank is a rewarding hobby for the fish lover and collector. Fish are not only for eating! They have been put on display for centuries adding to the calmness and fluidity of a room. You will often find fish tanks in doctors offices because they are known to lower stress levels. It would make sense to have a tank in the home to have the same effect. 

As there are many different fish in the sea, there are many types of homes one would want to have a fish tank in. Stick built homes are the most common, but what about the less common homes such as mobile or manufactured homes? Is there a size limit to tanks in these types of homes? Mobile homes can be more narrow than stick built homes unless the trailer is a double wide which leaves more room for bigger tanks. 

It is recommended to reinforce the floors under your tank with:

  • A Jack
  • Cement Blocks
  • 4X4’s

You should also have your tank on a lower level floor to prevent sagging in a second level floor, as well as placing the tank, when possible, above supporting beams. 

Can a Mobile Home Hold a 55 Gallon Tank?

Once you have inspected your floors and support system it is time to look at fish tanks. Tanks come in all different shapes and sizes from tabletop tanks to large TV sized aquariums. Fish tanks can be made of sturdy plastic or glass.

If a mobile home floor can hold 200 pounds per square foot, you would want to take the weight and square footage of the tank into consideration. Below are a few examples. These are approximate calculations.

Rectangular Tank Sizes by GallonWeight of Tank Filled with Water in PoundsTypical Tank Dimensions L x W x HSafe for Mobile Home
10 Gallon111 LBS20” x 12” x 10”yes
20 Gallon225 LBS24.2” x 12.4” x 16.7”yes
30 Gallon348 LBS36” x 12” x 16”yes
40 Gallon458 LBS36” x 15” x 16”yes
50 Gallon600 LBS36” x 15” x 20”yes
55 Gallon625 LBS48” x 18” x24”yes

Tank Stands for Larger Tanks

Placing your tank on a sturdy stand made just for large tanks is a good idea. The right stand for your tank will provide a level resting place and firm support.  There are a few different options, according to your tank’s size and weight. The stand will also add a level of appeal to the area. Consider:

  • Tank’s weight with water
    Glass tanks weigh more than acrylic tanks. Tanks weigh more filled with water and decorations. Adequate support is crucial. 
  • Substrate system
    The substrate is the filtration system for your tank. This often consists of the rock or sand on the bottom of the tank to provide natural filtration. Add this weight to the overall weight of your tank.
  • Storage for accessories
    Storage is essential for a flawless tank. Stands with extra drawers or cabinets provide concealed storage needed for your food and accessories.
  • Space for Tank
    Measure Measure Measure! Leave adequate space for walking around your tank for ease of access and mobility around your home. Use painters tape to visualize where your tank will be. 

Wooden 55 Gallon Fish Tank Stand with Cabinets

This fish tank stand can be used for tanks 55 Gallons and smaller. Made with a sturdy cherry wood design and double cabinet doors for storage. This manufacturer also offers a lifetime guarantee! The Stand measures 14.25″L x 48.75″W x 27.75″ H.

Pine Cabinet Aquarium Stand

This Pine cabinet aquarium stand is on Amazon’s top 100 list in pet supplies. Painted with a waterproof sealant for added water protection. This stand has a cabinet door for storage. For tanks 30 inches in length or smaller. This stand measures 32 x 14 x 30 inches.

A Slim and Sturdy Entertainment Stand Aquarium Display

A solid entertainment stand will also suffice to hold a large tank or aquarium. Entertainment centers come in many different design options, often with storage. ‘’

Whatever option you chose as a tank stand or support, pick the right fit for your home.

What to Look for Before Placing a Large Fish Tank In A Manufactured Home (Mobile Home)

Before placing a large fish tank, or any large item in a mobile home, it is important to take the integrity of the house into consideration. Looking into these three areas can save a great deal of trouble in the future such as avoiding a sunken floor. 

  • Evaluate Your Space
  • Supporting Beams
  • Level Floorboards
  • Water Damage

Measure the Area You Want Your Tank to Sit

To Evaluate the best spatial arrangement, it is important to assess the area the tank will go. 

How big is the tank? What are the measurements? Will the tank sit on a stand? 

Before making the initial purchase measure the area in your home and align with the measurements of the tank and tank stand. Keep in mind water will drip often as you clean the tank.  If the area is carpeted, it may be a good idea to make that area water resistant with a mat for the tank to sit on. 

Support Beams or Joist Placements Provide Extra Stability 

The Joist is the horizontal column-like structure in your floorboard framing. These single boards function to evenly distribute weight throughout the complex. These are spaced 12 to 16 inches apart and are attached to plywood sheathing and then the flooring or tile you see every day. 

Knowing where these lay in your floors will help in successfully positioning a large fish tank in an area where the weight will be even and supported. Position your tank or tank stand to sit atop these and not in-between open spaces between the joists.

Level Floors Mean Even Weight Distribution

No one wants to go through the process of finding the perfect tank and stand only to find out later their floorboards are uneven and the tank is putting more pressure on an already weakened floor. 

You could hire a professional to evaluate your floors and reinforce them if they are not level. Or you could try these at DIY tips when checking for even floorboards. 

  • Use an Eight Foot Level
    A level is a quick way to check flat surfaces to see if they are really flat. A level has a small glass tube filled with liquid and a magical little bubble. The bubble will fall directly in the center of the tube, typically between a couple of lines when the surface is flat. Using an 8FT level is recommended as that is what carpenters use for predicaments such as these. 
  • Look For gaps or uneven floorboards
    This could mean that the boards are pulling apart from each other or could signal potential water damage.
  • The Marble Method is cheap and entertaining
    That’s right! Marbles! This is one of the easiest methods to check for even flooring, if not the easiest, it is certainly fun to have a reason to throw marbles on the floor. This method you simply drop some marbles on the floor and see where they go. If your floor is uneven, they will tend to collect in the area that is lower than the rest of the floor. If your floor is even, they will sprawl out in any given direction. Try this a few times in different areas of the floor. 

Water Damage Weakens Floorboards

As a homeowner or renter of a mobile or manufactured home, knowing how to check for water damage can keep repair bills down the road much lower. Routinely checking for water damage is usually simple to spot with even the untrained eye. 

Where to Look for Water Damage Before Placing a Tank

  • Door Frames
  • Windows
  • Floorboards and Framing

What to look for when searching for water damage includes but is not limited to

  • Check for Rotten Wood Joists and Beams
    This means getting under your mobile home, preferably with a bright flashlight and checking wood for signs of water damage. This can simply be wood that appears wet or damp. Or it can mean rotting wood or wood rot fungus. 
  • Termites Love Wood
    Check for termite damage in any wooden beams or joists. Termite damage will ultimately eat away at your home’s support and leave it vulnerable to bigger issues later. Call an exterminator if you notice this. 
  • If any of these areas mentioned raise a red flag, be sure to contact a structural engineer to have a closer look and put your mind at ease.  

How Much Weight Can The Floor Hold In A Manufactured Home?

There seems to be the notion that a manufactured or mobile home is weak compared to your typical stick-built house.

Manufactured homes are becoming more common and are just as beautiful as your stick-built style home. The manufactured mobile home is premade in a factory and pieced together on site. There are still very strict building codes and regulations in place to ensure a safe and sturdy home.

According to Cornell Law School, the HUD law states that manufactured homes will meet a certain standard. When it comes to the flooring, the minimum weight a floor must be able to withstand is 40 pounds per square foot and a 200-pound concentrated load.

Wooden floors and any areas in the home that are exposed to water on a daily basis will be treated with water-resistant material or sealant. 

Conclusion

With these weight limits in mind, it is safe to say a mobile home can typically support a tank up to 55 gallons without any complications.

Tanks 55 gallons and up could use extra reinforcements to add safety and security to your home environment.

Rasmus

Hi, my name is Rasmus. I'm a huge fan of alternative living arrangements and the many ways people are escaping the 9 to 5 grind. Whether it's van dwelling or homesteading, if it allows for more freedom in your life then I'm all ears! I've been exploring different aspects of this lifestyle for over three years now and have learned so much. From solar power to worm farming, if there's something out there that helps us live differently - I want to know about it!

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