While you are smart to use a special stand for a large aquarium, some people place small tanks that are ten gallons or under on a regular table, desk or shelf. That’s fine for many small tanks.
However, it is extremely important that you understand the real weight of an aquarium before making this decision.
A gallon of water weighs a bit less than 8.5 pounds. This means you can expect your fully-decorated 10-gallon tank, with hood, lights, filter, gravel and everything else that comes with it, to weigh around 100 pounds.
That’s way too heavy for some shelves, desks, and tables. Remember, the stand you choose for your aquarium must hold that weight all day, every day.
Unless you are absolutely sure the place you choose for your tank can safely support its weight, you may feel better using one of the special stands designed for aquariums.