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James Purchase and Erik Olson wrote respectively,

	<<<One brand - Flecto
	> Varathane Elite Diamond Outdoor Finish is a water based
coating which
	> _claims_ to last twice as long as an oil based finish (i.e. a
spar varnish).
	> It also claims superior UV resistance. Being water based, it
would cause a
	> lot less smell during application and it also dries faster.
Don't know if I
	> believe all of the claims, but the label does discuss the fact
that a lot of
	> chemical engineering went into the formulation. YMMV.

This is an EXCELLENT finish for tank stands or canopies.  Extremely
water resistant, very little smell, easy clean-up.  The only downside is
that for "wood purists" it tends to look like the stand has been dipped
in plastic.  I've used this for nearly all my aquarium cabinetry.>>>
I second Erik's recommendation.  I have used this product on just about
every surface in my house except my aquarium stands (which were already
finished<g>).  The stuff is just tough as nails-my kids can't even bang
or chew their way through the stuff on the window sills!  Heck, the base
molding even remains in pretty good shape.  
Here's my solution to the 'plastic' look problem Erik mentioned.  Use an
oil based sealer and stain for the first couple of coats before using
the Varathane Elite Diamond finish.  Of course you must let the oil
based finishes dry completely before using the water based finish.  This
gives the final finish more depth and texture and reduces the plastic
look considerably.  I'm pretty sure I'm the only one in my house who
still notices the still-slightly-plasticky look.
Regards, Steve Dixon