Constructing and building a Cabinet for a Marine tank.
This article is primarily about marine setups, but could also be used for a freshwater setup.

Start. Example 1 Example 2
For many Marine aquarists, the first challenge often arises, even before They have poured water in the tank. The selection of decent looking and practical stands, that caters for the special demands, that the technical installations of an advanced marine tank, are extremely limited, and those available, prohibitively expensive to most people. This is especially the case if You need/want to use metal halide light, without getting not only the tank, but also it`s close surroundings flooded with bright light.
Here You are left to rely on Your own skills as constructor/carpenter. I have faced this dilemma several times over the years, and have come up with a number of more or less successful creations, which has been improved on from generation to generation.
I will in this article try to go through the considerations You should do, before You start, and then show two examples of the solutions I have come up with Myself.

Before You start...
...it is necessary to have a clear picture in Your head, of what demands the future cabinet has to meet. There are a number of different things to consider, and even if some of them could be added as "afterthoughts", the solution is usually both more elegant and functional, if everything is included from the outset. The demands can roughly be split in two groups; Group 1: Those posed from aquaristic functions. Group 2: Those posed from the surroundings.

Examples of demands to consider from group 1:
Aquarium size. Both dimensions and weight need to be taken into account. The tank is typically going to weigh between 20 and 30% more, measured in kg. than the number of liter, it contains. It is often practical, to build the cabinet, so that there is a little room around the tank, inside it.

Light. Size, type, mount, heat emission. There is a big difference in the demands posed from a powerful metal halide lamp, and those from a few actinic tubes. Actually it would seem, that the mounting height over the tank, of a metal halide lamp, which often leads to a very tall cabinet, is one of the obstacles that deter most of the commercial constructors.

Sump or not?
If You want to include a sump to the system, accounts must be made for a number of tubes, leading from the tank to the sump and back, and room must be provided inside the cabinet, where the sump should be. This room should also be sufficient for the various technical installations and reasonably comfortable servicing of these. In some cases, this has led to tanks with sumps  under them, being positioned unreasonably high, causing the angle of view to be less than optimal, when viewed from a normal chair. Omitting the sump would in My opinion have been better.

Electrical installations. There are a plethora of technical equipment in a marine tank, most of which, need power, so a number of sockets, preferably with an on/off switch, placed where they are needed, would be nice.

There are some legal requirements to consider, as well as some practical considerations about the physical relationship between saltwater and electrical power, that You would do well to have the utmost respect for!

Accessibility. The tank needs daily servicing, if not for something else, then at least feeding.

This should not cause any inconvenience from the cabinet. Also remember to cater for the more infrequent servicing. This may not be too much of a problem, if it takes a little time to do, but it should not become a physical challenge...

Ventilation. A good deal of evaporation will come from the open surfaces of the tank, as well as form the sump, and this moisture should be able to exit the cabinet, to avoid everything getting soaked, which would be bad for the electrical installations, as well as the cabinet itself.

From  group 2:
The nature of the foundation. Is the floor level? Is it still level, when You have loaded the weight of the whole system on it? It is so much easier, to build a cabinet, if adjustable feet and stabilizing plate can be avoided.

Moisture. A marine tank gives off  a some moisture through evaporation, which in some cases could be a problem. In most cases it is not necessary to do anything about it, but if the tank is very large, or the room very small, it should be taken into account.

Room around the cabinet. Make sure, that the doors to all access points can be opened, and that You can work around and through them.

The cabinet should complement the rest of the room. The whole idea of a large tank in the living room, is probably an easier sell, if You can convince the rest of the family, that it will not work against the impression that You all have tried to create in the first place.
If the room is furnished e.g. in Victorian style, the cabinet should probably look different than if placed in a super modern environment...
When the above mentioned demands have been identified, and it is time to devise the solutions, it is very important to have a realistic idea about how high the level of technical skill and craftsmanship can be! This is off course dependent of the assigned builder. Is He/She an accomplished handyman, or are both arms screwed on the wrong way? Also the available tools, and not least space should be considered. Naturally, cost is also a factor. This leads Us to the...
...Choice of materials:

 Most of Us have very limited knowledge, about working with metal, just as very few households have the necessary tools readily available. This put a natural limit to the use, beyond prefabricated items, such as handles. fittings and mountings. Sometimes it can be beneficial, to have the stand itself made by a professional, not least if You need adjustable feet on Your cabinet, since the readymade solution here, are more elegant than what most people can make on their own.

 Large parts of the cabinet, will usually be made from wooden sheets.  Usually Particle board, MDF board or Plywood board will be the natural choice. Regardless of material, tit is best to purchase the pieces You want, pre-cut from the Vendor, so that they are already the right size, ready to be assembled. This will also ascertain, that the cuts are straight and in exactly 90 deg. angles. Small variations from the ordered measurements should be expected though, and the sheets themselves, may not be totally straight. This is something to consider when deciding how they should be assembled.

Which type of sheet?
Particle board: The cheapest alternative, and a good choice, if it is certain that it will not be exposed to high humidity or regularly soaked. The biggest disadvantage is that the edges are pretty ugly, and requires some kind of cover, if exposed to view. The surface is slick, with a characteristic pattern, that most people would probably want to paint over, with a full-covering colour.

MDF board: A little more costly than particle board, but also stronger. Just like particle board, it does not stand up very well, if exposed to a lot of moisture. The edges are very good, and are, after a little sanding, quite usable without any kind of cover.  The surface is slick, more or less monocolour grey/brown. Nevertheless, most people would probably want to paint it over with a full-covering colour.

Plywood: Fairly expensive, compared to the alternatives. Plywood comes in various qualities and finishing, with corresponding prices, including some that are water resistant. The surface is a little rough, and need some sanding. It is very strong, but not always as straight as MDF or Particle board. The biggest advantage though, is the natural wooden surface, which makes it the obvious choice, if a natural wooden furniture look is what You are aiming for. If that is the case, You can either rub it in oil, or apply varnish. The edges have a very characteristic look. Most people would probably want to cover them, but it is a matter of taste.

It is mostly PVC that is relevant. Tubes an rails are almost always made from this. There is not so much to say, other than that it can be difficult to acquire in the right dimensions. Well stocked aquarium dealers will however, often have a decent selection, or at least be able to get the things You need.

Screws, fittings, nails:
Most fittings/screws/nails are made from steel. It is advisable to consider, if any of these will be exposed to moisture, or maybe even soaked with water. Is that the case, corrosion could be a problem, which must be remedied by using stainless steel, aluminum or titanium, but otherwise, normal screws/nails will do fine. It is most practical, if all screws use the same size and type of Bits (e.g. Pozi-drive), so that you won`t have to constantly change bit/screwdriver.

Liquid materials: This is glue, filler and paint/varnish.
Glue: Most important is wood glue. It comes for indoors and outdoors use, but frankly, it is not important which one You choose, since the cabinet should not be soaked with water anyway. For gluing anything else, a 2-component epoxy glue is very effective. For gluing PVC together, a special PVC glue is available, and should be used (Tangit is probably the most widespread brand).

Used to level-out rough patches/holes/cracks. Cracks will often appear between two pieces of board, if the cutting have not been 100% precise, and must be covered, to avoid unwanted light emissions from the cabinet. Holes are most often caused by faulty drilling... rough patches can be the result of faulty fabrication or transport damages. They can all be covered very easily, with a common filler. The important thing, is that the filler should be easily sanded down, and painted over. It is applied with a spatula, and the excessive material is sanded down.

Lacquer/Varnish: Is used when the underlying material (typically Plywood) should be seen through the applied layers. Other than that, it is the same as paint.

Paint: Two strategies are open her; You can try to waterproof the cabinet with paint, or just aim for decoration.
The first way has the advantage of protecting the cabinet from water damage, that might arise from excessive contact with water.
This is obviously the right choice! So why does so few opt for it? The answer is, that it is actually not as necessary as One might think, and also fairly difficult to accomplish. To make matters worse, an unsuccessful attempt, might even do more damage than good, because it may prevent water that has passed the barrier, from getting away again, like it would otherwise.
Also take into account, that waterproof paint are almost always oil-, alcohol- or turpentine based, making it potentially dangerous to work with, especially if You are confined to Your living quarters doing it.
The alternative, that the paint should mainly be decorative, with a modest ability to protect the wood from occasional water splash, is a lot easier, and actually also more in line with the real-world threats to the cabinet.
Any good water based paint, preferably with some degree of shine to it, can do the job. Brush and paint roller are needed to apply the paint.

... are unfortunately unavoidable. Without these, it will be impossible to determine the measurements of the various pieces of board, or get a clear overview of how the whole thing should fit together. Fortunately it is not necessary to be a graphic designer, or anything like that, since the draft  only needs to be understood by the builder. A couple of pencil drawings from various angles, will usually do the trick, as seen on the examples below.

For the shown examples, only tools readily available in most households have been used. ; A lot of screws are used, for which pre-drilling is advisable, so a drill-driver is very handy, but in a pinch, a drill and some screwdrivers will do.
In order to make the wooden glue hold solidly, it is necessary to hold them together under pressure for about an hour, so a number of clamps will be needed.
A yardstick or measure-tape is necessary.
A couple of cuttings will probably also be called for, so a jigsaw should also be at hand.
If a sander is already in the inventory, it can off course be used, but otherwise, sandpaper will do fine.

Here are two examples of My own designs.

Example 1.
The documentation on this cabinet is very limited, as it is well over a decade since it was built, which means that the photo material are prints from negative film. The drafts are missing too. The reason for inclusion here is primarily meant as an illustration of how the variable requirements from technical installations and surroundings, can result in very different solutions to something that basically serves the same purpose.

The cabinet have been constructed to meet these demands (referring to THIS list):

200 L aquarium (100x45x45 cm)

1 x 70 Watt Metal Halide lamp + 2 x 18 Watt fluorescents

No sump.

The electrical installations has to be multi-way sockets.

All maintenance will be done through large doors, which allows for easy access. Technical equipment is installed in a room beside the tank, integrated to the cabinet.

3 pcs. of 15x15 cm. ventilation grates are built into the cabinet. 1 in the right side, over the tank, and 2 in the cabinet ceiling.

The demands from the surroundings were pretty simple; The floor was level and very strong, eliminating the need for adjustable feet.
There was plenty of room in front of the cabinet, making normal hinged doors the obvious choice, so only taste dictated the look. To get a complete fit to the living room, I built a similar cabinet (unfortunately not in the pictures), working as a TV stand and book rack!

General construction.
As it was unnecessary to make any accommodation for leveling, the stand was built very simple; 2 vertical boards (1), with a top plate (2), was the loaded elements, and a board, fitted and fastened between the three, doubling as a back wall, stabilized the construction sideways. Narrow boards (3) acted as both extra support and cover at the front, and doors were fitted. The resulting room under the tank, was not used for anything but storage.

The room for technics, were built separately. Except for the dimensions, and the top plate, the construction was similar to the stand. A large rectangular hole (50x40 cm) was cut in the right side, enabling access for the various tubes/hoses/electrical cords to and from the tank. All multi way sockets were mounted on the back wall  (4). As evident from the picture, it was standard multi way sockets. Those are really not that good, since they are next to impossible to mount firmly on the wall, and have no on/off switch. A number of shelves were also mounted, for storage of various accessories, needed to maintain the tank, but mainly, the room was arranged around the tall skimmer (5), a standard feature of marine tanks at that time.

The room was attached to the left side of the stand, a board of corresponding height put on the opposite side (6), and a shared roof plate placed on top.
All doors were made with hinges on one side, a system that works great, if there is room for the swinging doors. The hinges were piano hinges, which turned out to be a poor choice, as they are impossible to adjust (as evident in the image).

The lighting was actually the main cause for creative solutions in the cabinet.

The lighting was split in three units, each mounted under it`s own shelf (5), which in turn rested on 2 rails on each side of the cabinet in different levels (3 and 4). The main unit was a 70W metal halide lamp, using the top level rails (4), was supported by 2 x 18W T8 fluorescents (2) mounted each on 1 shelf, running on the lower level rails.

The system allowed a fairly high degree of freedom regarding positioning of the lamps, as long as the fluorescents did not block the light from the metal halide unit.
For heavy maintenance in the tank, all units could be pushed back to the wall.

The used aquarium came with it`s own "frame" in the form of black tape, running the length of both top and bottom of the tank, so I did not make any kind of front cover. Unfortunately, this left the 10 mm. polystyrene sheet, placed between the stand and the tank, fully visible.

Example 2

This example has, in contrast to the first, from the outset been thoroughly photo-documented, and all drafts have
been scanned into a computer. This makes a detailed account of the methods and ideas possible.

The cabinet have been constructed to meet these demands (referring to THIS list):


  • 350 L aquarium (130x55x50 cm)


  • Giesemann Infiniti lamp med 2x150W metal halide / 4x54W T5.


  • Sump under the tank (120x40x30 cm.)


  • The electrical installations will be multi-way sockets.


  • All maintenance will be done through large doors, which allows for easy access. It is necessary to have access to the lamp from at least one of the side panels, to avoid taking the lamp out of the cabinet, when replacing bulbs or tubes.


  • 2 pcs. of 15x15 cm. ventilation grates are built into the cabinet, both on the right side. 1 over the tank, and 1 over the sump. A large gap in the cabinet ceiling, lets hot air rise from the lamp.
Fitting the cabinet to it`s allotted place, poses a number of challenges;
State of the floor. The floor is not level, and fairly unstable, which means that adjustable feet, and a stabilizing plate, both are necessary. Through a good contact from an aquarium forum, I get a stand, made from steel, with the needed adjustable feet, mounted in the frame, so that only the height of the feet themselves, add to the height of the frame (see pictures below). Under the cabinet, a  16mm MDF board will distribute the weight, to ease the pressure on the floor.

Styling the cabinet, to fit the rest of the room. Not a great concern, since it is placed in a room, where only I and the more privileged guests ever come. Off course a decent design is still wanted, since the cabinet could one day be used elsewhere.

Space around the cabinet. There is not enough room in front of the cabinet, to allow for hinged doors. Instead a combination of different sliding doors will be utilized. Over the tank a vertical sliding door will be used. To hold the door in open position, a counterweight system is implemented (see details later). Under the tank accessing the sump, normal horizontally sliding doors will suffice. The vertical moving door is a somewhat experimental solution, but it is the only way I can see, to get access to the full length of the tank at one time.

Moisture from evaporation. For a start, 2 openings, each 15x15 cm, with grates will be provided (one over the tank, and one over the sump) in the right side (the openings are placed on the detachable part of the side-board, which can be interchanged with it`s left counterpart), and a 7 cm. wide opening in the ceiling, running the whole with of the cabinet.
Execution of the project....
First all the great (or not so great) ideas, have to be transferred to paper, and checked for compatibility with each other. dimensions must be measured out or calculated, so that the pieces of board, can be ordered in correct sizes. All boards are cut by a professional at the woodshop, to guarantee that all cuts are absolutely straight and in a right angle. Regrettably, small inaccuracies in measurement still exists. As mentioned before, the drafts do not have to be very advanced, as long as You, or in this case I, can make out what they mean. Shown here, are the drafts I made to build this cabinet. I would be more than a little surprised, i anyone else could get much out of them, but here goes...
It surpasses My artistic abilities, to draw the mechanism of the vertical sliding door, so I confined Myself to just draw the needed boards. Up until the actual making, this door was only visible to My inner eye...

The front cover is made from pieces, assembled in two layers. Front cover 1 is the outer layer, and front cover 2 the inner. This arrangement, will make sure, that the glued surfaces, holding the cover together, are large enough, to withstand the stress they are exposed to.

from the front

from above

from the side
A click on an image, produces a larger version in a new window

boards for the door

front cover 1

front cover 2
The boards are mainly made from 16 mm. MDF sheet. The board supporting the tank is also made from MDF, but 22 mm thick. The front cover is made from a double layer of 10 mm. MDF. In order to be able to make various rails and supports, 2 meter long and 50 mm. wide pieces of 16 and 22 mm MDF board are also ordered. They are cut to suitable lengths as need arises.
The general method of assembly, are gluing with wood-glue, where the glued parts are held in position and under pressure by clamps for about an hour after gluing. Where extra load is expected, the gluing is reinforced with screws.

The Stand
After considering wood or the pre-cut aluminum tubes from the Termo-tex system, which are the materials I am able to work with Myself, I opted for a stand made from steel, mainly because of the necessity for adjustable feet. In order to get the sump acceptably easy in and out of the cabinet, the lower front tube has to be as close to the floor as possible, which is best achieved, if the stand is constructed like shown below:

The dimensions are 135x57x70 cm (LxWxH)

Closeup of one of the adjustable feet
Side panels
First the side panels must be assembled. In order to secure access to the lamp (which must be opened from one side, to allow replacement of bulbs or tubes), there have to be a large opening in at least one of the panels. I choose to construct the cabinet with an access from both sides, even though only the right side will be accessible as the cabinet is placed in a corner, which leaves the left side blocked by a wall. That way, the cabinet can still be used, even if it is placed somewhere else. This means that the two panels are totally alike but mirrored.
Since the opening will only be used very rarely, I choose not to use any hinges as they will only complicate the assembly unnecessarily. It will be an opening from top to bottom, into which, a piece of board will fit The board is held in place  in a lining, made by gluing a length of 8x15 mm strip wood to the edges of the boards (2), by window screen clips (1) on the inside. The  two boards, that together forms the permanent part of the side panel, are interconnected with pieces of board, cut from a 22 mm. MDF sheet (3)
. The lower pieces (7), one to each side, are supporting the combined weight of the side panels, ceiling and lamp, so they must be fairly sturdy! To ensure that, extra pieces of board are attached as support (4). Two blocks, made in the same fashion (8) are mounted, to carry the load of the detachable part of the panel, and guide it into place, when needed.
A piece of 22 mm. board, which will be a part of the track, that will guide the main door over the tank (5) is glued on, and a 50 mm. wide board of 16 mm MDF, is likewise set in place (6), ready to support the dowel for the lamp. Directly above it, another piece is mounted, as support. This piece doubles as support for the ceiling.

Right side panel, before mounting. The left counterpart is mirrored.
The image to the right, illustrates how one of the side panels is attached to the stand. Furthermore, 4 holes in the stand (not visible in the image, due to lack of light) allows screws to secure the panels from the inside.
Ceiling, tank support and back wall

The ceiling is fairly simple. Two boards, which together covers the top, except for a 7 cm. wide opening, running the length of the cabinet, close to the back wall, is essentially it! The opening is there to let hot air and moisture out.
Each of these boards, have a vertical board mounted to  their downside (5), to prevent them from bending under the weight of the front door and it`s counterweight. To ensure durability, the supporting boards are attached with glue, reinforced with screws down through the ceiling.
On the picture directly above, the two pulleys (1) which forms the fixture of the main door, is seen. Also visible , is the way the ceiling is fitted inside the cabinet (3) on top of a board, fastened to the
side panels. The dowel, from which the lamp will hang (2) is in place. It will not have a fixed position, making the lighting arrangement very flexible.
The board supporting the tank, is not fastened either, but rely on the weight of itself and the tank to keep it in place (in the picture to the right, the hole for the tubes from the tank, has not yet been cut).  A 10 mm. polystyrene sheet will take up any minor tensions between the tank and the stand.

The image to the left, shows the full interior of the cabinet, as seen from the front. You can see how the lower half of the back wall is attached to the stand in much the same way as the side panels. At the bottom of the sheet, the two pieces of board, carrying the considerable weight of the the back wall. The sheet fits inside the side panels, stabilizing the cabinet sideways. At the same time, it protects the wall behind the cabinet from moisture, and provide a place to fasten various installations to.

Below: Close up of the detail in the fixture for the lamp, and positioning of the cabinet roof.

The main service door.
These pictures illustrates the relative movements, of the two boards, that together makes up the main service door, and it`s counterweight.

The basic principle is, that the two boards, the door (1) and the counterweight (2), have the same weight, and thus create equilibrium in their fixture. This makes the door independent of gravity, and enable it to stay in any position, until somebody actively moves it. In this way, the need for clutches, hooks or other mechanisms for keeping the door open, is elegantly bypassed.

Minor inaccuracies in the equilibrium, is evened out by the natural resistance from the rope and the pulleys.

The left image shows the boards in the closed door position. The opening above the door (4), will be covered, when the front cover is mounted. This front cover will also guide the door (1) into place, as it forms the other part of the track (3) in which the door moves. When the door is open (right) it will slide up behind this same cover, and a large opening over the tank (5) will make service easy and comfortable.

In the image below left, the wheels, mounted on each side of the door to make it slide easier, are visible. These wheels also make sure, that there is a gap between the door and the side panel, which is  necessary to attach the front cover. More about this later.

The door in closed position without cover

The door in closed position with cover

The door in open position with cover
The front cover.
The primary function of the front cover, is to make the cabinet visually appealing, as well as functional. It is by far the most important feature, regarding design. Thus, it should ideally look nice, keep unwanted light inside the cabinet and support (or at least not get in the way of) the technical functions of the tank and cabinet. It should also be completely removable, so that it is possible to get the tank in and out of the cabinet, should this be needed. Even better, is it, if the front cover is not directly tied to any functions of the tank, and thus can be replaced entirely, without any disruptions.
The images below, may appear as a before/after paintjob illustration, but in fact, they show two very different constructions!
The left front cover, is built according to 
this draft. The front are assembled by gluing the boards together, edge to edge, which does not give a lot of real estate for the glue. This is made worse by the fact, that it is very difficult to put enough pressure on the surfaces during the gluing, as most households do not have clamps, that can reach the 138 cm. this front requires. The result is a very fragile construction, which actually disintegrated under the preliminary tests...

The right front cover, is built in two layers, according to the two drafts shown
HERE, as Front 1 and Front 2. Compare the two drafts, and You can see, that the assembling is different. This means, that when they are combined in layers, no connections will be directly aligned, and present a weak point. It also means, that only very short clamps are needed, as the pressure now should be from front to back. (The front is made from 10 mm MDF, making it 2 cm. in total).
The downside of this construction, is that it requires a great deal of precision, both when cutting the sheets to size, and at the assembly  (this front is made from 16 pieces!). It is also very time consuming, as it takes at least 30 minutes between gluing, and only 1-2 gluings can be made at one time. Reality is, that You will have to accept, that the sheets are not cut with absolute accuracy, to make everything fit exactly, so You must decide which sides You give priority, and which is acceptable to compromise a bit. In this case, the cabinet is placed in a corner, where the left side will be impossible to see, so the right side got priority. Alternatively, decorative strips can be fitted to the edges (don`t forget to calculate the strips in, determining the measurements of the boards!), and spackle out the resulting holes, or the front cover could be fitted inside the frame of the cabinet (which has other disadvantages).
One last solution could be, to simply acquire a board in the required size (this case 138x200 cm.), and cut the desired openings with a jigsaw, but this would require a lot more skill than I have (I want the edges to be completely straight), and it is difficult to get a sheet that is large enough.
When the front cover is finished, it must off course be mounted to the cabinet. In this case, I have opted for a fit, that mounts the front outside the frame of the cabinet. This has some obvious advantages; It presents the cabinet as one single piece, covers the edges of the side- and top panels and eliminates the risk of getting visible light out between the front and the cabinet, when looking at the tank. The downsides are, that the edges of the front cover are visible from the sides of the cabinet (with the problems mentioned above) and that it may be possible to see light between the cover and the cabinet when viewed from one of the sides. To Me, the most important is how it looks when viewed from the front.
The easiest way to attach the front cover to the cabinet, is to use screws through the cover, into the edge of the cabinet, but unfortunately this also entails a couple of serious downsides: All the materials suggested here, are very prone to cracking, when screws are inserted from the edge, so very careful pre-drilling is required, and even then, the fastening is fragile.

The front cover will only be removable using tools.

The holes for the screws will deteriorate every time a screw have been removed and put back in, limiting the times the cover can be removed and put back.

The screws will be visible from the outside, no matter how the front cover is fitted. This is off course only important, if You don`t like the look. In this case, I have chosen a look, where no screws/bolts/nut may be visible from the outside.

In order to avoid the mentioned downsides, I have chosen to glue fitting pieces of board to the backside of the front cover,
 which allows it to be attached in much the same way as the side panels.
The front has 6 points of attachment (3 on each side). The images below, shows how:

1. right side, floor level

2. right side, just over the tank

3. left side, just over the tank
  1. The front cover
  2. The piece of board, that is glued to the backside of the cover
  3. The window screen clip, that holds the cover pressed to the cabinet
  4. misplaced window screen clip, forget it!
  5. window screen clip that holds the side panel (no relevance here)
  6. The inside of the vertical sliding door
  7. The stand
  8. Tracks for the lower sliding doors (no relevance here)
The images above, each show one side of the cabinet. Off course there is a mirrored counterpart to each of them.
Image 1 shows how the front cover (1) is attached to the stand itself (7). The board (2), stretching the inside of the frame of the stand, carries the weight of the front cover. The  window screen clips (3), are thus only tasked with keeping the front cover firmly pressed against the cabinet.
Image 2 shows how the front cover (1), in the absence of the stand, have a piece of board (2) mounted, enabling a window screen clip (3) to get a grip behind the rail for the vertical door. The dimensions of this piece, is dictated by the space left, when said door is closed (Image 3).
Just below the cabinet ceiling, another piece of board, similar to the one in Image 2, is attached. It fits the other end of the illustrated rail.

This mount allows the removal and replacing of the front cover, without the use of any tools, and as often as desired, without risking damage to the cabinet. The biggest problem is actually the weight of the front!
The doors to the sump, and the floorplate.
The doors to the room under the tank, have the same restrictions at the large door above, regarding space in front of the cabinet. There is no room for swinging doors.
On the other hand, one big opening in the whole width of the cabinet, is of less importance, so common horizontal sliding doors, as known from many aquarium racks, or normal furniture, will do just fine.
The rails are made from PVC, with 4 mm. wide tracks. The doors are made from 4 mm. plywood.

In this picture the 16 mm. MDF plate, that the cabinet is standing on to relieve point pressure from the floor, is visible on the image to the right. The only finishing done, is a little sanding to the edge, and painting.
Electrical installations and lamp fixture.

The room under the tank, where the sump will be installed. The 6 sockets should be enough for whatever appliances expected here The cord is long enough to reach under the cabinet wall, to the multi way socket, placed on the ceiling of the cabinet (2)

On top of the cabinet, two multi way sockets are placed. No. 1 is a 4-way socket, which is the only one connected to a wall plug. From here, all the other sockets draw their power.  No. 2, a 6-way, supplies power to the lamp,  via 3 timers, that takes up all available space on the socket.

Placed behind the lamp, a 6-way socket supplies power to appliances in or above the tank. This socket is connected to the socket on top of the ceiling, through the ventilation opening.

Multi way socket from Brennenstuhl
Since wall-plugs are too costly, and (in Denmark) require an authorized installer,  I reluctantly abstain from that solution. It would have been nice, to have plugs with individual on/off switches! Instead I will rely on multi way sockets. Unfortunately, good sockets, meeting My demands, are hard to find; They must be able to take round sockets, have an on/off switch, and should be possible to to attach firmly, so that there is no risk of them coming loose, when pulled hard. Especially the last requirement leaves a lot of socket out of the running, as their means of fixture (if they have one at all) are way too fragile. I choose sockets from a company called  Brennenstuhl (image to the right), which is shaped to allow My own way of fixture, which is a piece of flat iron to each end (see 2, 3 and 6).
The lamp fixture allows free positioning of the lamp, front to back.

The fixture, which is a 40 mm. dowel, shown with the supplied wire hang to the lamp mounted

4 screws (4), creates 3 fixed positions for
 the lamp fixture

The fixture is her shown in center position