I'm thinking about getting a 10 gallon and dividing it for my two boys. Just because it seems a bit easier to do weekly water changes/cleanings. I have found that I just don't have time in my week between school, work, and my extracurricular activities to do 3-4 water changes a week. It just takes to much time. So my questions are...Are there any pros and cons to dividing a 10 gallon? Is a 10 gallon easier to maintain than the smaller tanks? Any people wish that they had not gotten a 10 and had gone smaller? If so, why?
I've been on the fence about this for several weeks now, because I really like my two current tanks but I just don't have the time to maintain both of them. Anyway, I would greatly appreciate any and all feedback. :)
I have had a divided tank in the past. I personally would not do it again unless I did a more permanent divide instead of the craft mesh/binder method that is so frequently seen on this site. As in I would use something like plexi with holes drilled in it. And then silicone it in so it doesn't move. But that's just me.
As for the size, I have a 10 gallon and I love it. The only thing I hate about it is moving it, but I hate moving any tank, so don't factor that in. lol. And in a normal setting most people don't move tanks 3 times a year or more. :P
Though it should also be noted that I only keep short finned fish (females, plakat and the like) in my 5 gallon tanks and up. My long finned fish is in 2 gallons. But if your fish are already in 5 gallons and doing well then the 10 gallons would suit you fine. I just prefer to keep long finned males in smaller tanks to prevent them from tearing their fins.
I also don't use filters much any more, but I also go with naturally planted, so again, that is more of a personal thing, but I think that a divided tank is helped by lots of plants, like LOTs of plant so that no one gets stressed, it matches their environment more, etc. Even if you use fake, just shove as many in as you can afford/fit.
^^^ I agree regarding the mesh. I have three divided 10g tanks and while the mesh idea works, it's not very convenient if you ever have to drain the tanks to move them. They stay in place just fine for water changes though and they do allow you to have more than one boy in a tank, so if you don't plan on moving or if you want a short term solution, it works great.
My tanks are divided into three sections and everyone seems happy enough. At first there was some squabbling and some flaring, but now they hardly seem to notice each other. Another way to help with that is to put plants in near the dividers, so it's more difficult for them to see each other. Just make sure to keep a close eye on them for a while after you've placed the dividers to make sure one isn't able to find a hole.
I find the 10g tanks a lot easier to take care of if you perform your water changes, condition the water and use a turkey baster to get any debris or uneaten food out. Some say the side furthest from the filter is not as clean, but I haven't really noticed that. I will say you'll probably need a good heater. I got an aquarium starter kit from Petco (it was marked down to $39.99) and it only had a 50w heater with it. That didn't keep the tank warm enough, so I bought 100w heaters and they do just fine. I have a thermometer that sits in the water that I will move occasionally to check and make sure the temp is stable in each section.
I'm an aquarium and betta "newbie" and this has worked out well for me. All my boys seem happy and healthy. My biggest issue is when to stop!
I have never had a divided tank, for many reasons... One being that many bettas are able to find ways to get across the dividers, another being that if one fish became sick, the other one would likely catch it, too. There is also the issue with heating and filtering the tank... I'm assuming you don't have filters though if you are doing water changes that often? I've seen some ways to divide the heat and filtration, but it requires putting more work into making the divider...
Live plants and filters would also help cut down the number of water changes you need to do. However, when I do my water changes in both my 5 gallons, it only takes me about 20 minutes and once the tanks are cycled, I will only need one water change per week...