Can I make a suggestion if you go the "home made divider" route?
I did this route and it works well. Filter on 1 side, and heater on the other..
If you can do them both in the center and do 2 dividers I'd suggest that. I never could do that, but I know the water on the filter side was much clearer than the other.
One of my fish could always see the shadow of the other, so having both in the center creates more of a barrier for stress. The other fish didn't care about who was on the other side.
Use a spine on the bottom too.. it creates rigidity and you can cover it with gravel
Cut big and then trim down row by row of the craft mesh till you get the right size. Buy extra mesh .. it never goes bad and you'll find lots of use for it.
Keep the water level about 1 inch below the top of the mesh so no one jumps the barrier. If you do the double divider, the fish will just jump into the center. This way also with the double divider you can get larger hole mesh for better water flow and no one sees their partner.
Just some stuff I learned in my expierence. The whole project will cost you at most like $15 (spines were 2.99x2, 5 sheets of mesh @ 89 cents a piece and other assorted stuff)
Also in the center you can put some tall plants in the front and hide the equipment in the back
I put a strip of electrical tape down the front of my spine, it makes it have more of a professional look and leaves no residue if you need to remove it and it's cheap :)
Here is a picture of my old tank. The fish on the right now has the whole thing to himself since the fish in my avatar jumped out of the 5.5 and the left fish is in the 5.5. The fish on the right was the mad one that got mad at shadows