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Old 06-02-2013, 05:37 PM   #1 
Lost Eventide
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Perils of Divided Tanks? Reducing Energy Consumption?

Hi all! So, just to give some background, I have this dream fish room that I'm currently planning. It's not going to be a reality for some years yet (I need to get a house and such first because this is going to be a pretty much permanent fixture) but I'm planning for it now so that, when the time comes, I can jump straight to it.

Basically, this will be a display fish room, so I'm trying to keep things looking aesthetically pleasing while still accommodating the fish. If the exact idea becomes a reality, the room itself is going to be either Atlantis or Nautilus sub (from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) themed with steampunk undercurrents. I want the only lighting for the room to be from the fish tanks and maybe some blue ripple lights on the ceilings with no windows so when you step into it it literally looks like you just stepped into an underwater world.

Now, as bettas are my favourite fish, I really want to have a "betta wall" be part of this setup. My current plan is to build three-layer stands on three of the walls with custom-built acrylic tanks (which I'm looking into building myself because in the long run I feel it'll be a ton cheaper and I can customize them to my specifications).

Basically, picture your typical Petco tank setup, but with larger tanks and better care as these are going to be permanent homes rather than temporary holding tanks.

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Now, on to the actual question.

For the bettas, my current plan is to create large tanks and then divide them so that each betta will get roughly 5 gallons of space to himself. Some of these bettas will be my pets, of course, but a friend and myself are also looking into hopefully starting a betta rescue sometime in the future, so these tanks may also hopefully hold fully recovered individuals ready to find their forever homes.

However, what are the issues some people have encountered with divided tanks? I know falling dividers and jumping are some (which is why these dividers are going to be siliconed in place and well above the water line as they are going to be custom made for bettas), but has there ever been issues with a disease outbreak wiping out the entire divided tank despite adequate quarantining? That's the main thing I'm concerned about seeing ideally there will be maybe two large tanks per row to a wall (so six tanks to this wall, and depending on the size of the wall available there may be up to 10 compartments if we say each tank is roughly a 55g -- though seeing I'd be custom making these for bettas they'd probably be a lot longer with less height), with these tanks divided and connected to cut down on heating and filtration costs (which, with a ton of individual heaters, would probably get super expensive as far as electricity... with that rough estimate I'd need about 60 heaters), with a central airline and large pump powering multiple sponge filters.

Ideally, these tanks would just be separated completely, but with the cost of heating (and the fact that I can't just keep the room 80F constantly) that's just likely not possible. Not to mention how many outlets I'd need.

Basically, I suppose these would be suped-up betta barracks to be honest. Except each compartment would have substrate and be fully planted like mini display tanks.

Would there be any alternatives I could possibly look in to that would still save energy-wise, or will proper quarantining and quick removal to a quarantine tank if necessary prevent any full barrack crashes? I know stress could possibly be an issue because the males could see each other, but I'm considering blacking out the dividers themselves and cutting slits for water flow so that the males can't see each other.
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Old 06-02-2013, 10:09 PM   #2 
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There are problems with disease. I would suggest quarantining for at least 30 days. You want to be sure your dividers are very secure vertically and I'd suggest sewing and extra horizontal peice to the base of your craft mesh so it gets buried under the gravel. We actually had member with an extra aggressive that dug under the gravel to attack the fish next door. You also want to seal the top so they can't jump the divider. Some people put craft mesh on top others use plastic wrap.
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Old 06-02-2013, 10:39 PM   #3 
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Yeah, I definitely know about the security of the dividers. That's why I'm planning on likely not using craft mesh at all and seal in acrylic dividers with slits/drilled holes for circulation seeing these are likely going to be custom DIY tanks anyway.

Or if I do use mesh, I'll put it in an acrylic frame around it to seal in, but I'll likely just go the first way so I won't have to worry about potential holes/it'll be easier to clean.
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Old 06-02-2013, 10:45 PM   #4 
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If you silicone it in place (or even if you don't) mesh works great. Make sure the divider is at least three inches above the water line for jumpers. Disease can be bad... Especially if you have ten fish in a divided tank. To avoid it, buy from reputable breeders (not petstores), quarantine for at least two weeks (since so much is at stake i would go with at least four), and keep general stress down and water quality up.

If it is going to be a fish room you should just get an adjustable room heater.
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Old 06-02-2013, 11:04 PM   #5 
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What would be the best way to account for fish that don't need such warm temperatures though? I could get a room heater and a dehumidifier I suppose to combat any moisture build up (though this really isn't a traditional fish room - I'm planning on it actually be in the living space of the house rather than a basement or a garage, which is why I was trying to avoid space/room heaters), though I'd like to keep both bettas and cooler water fish like tetras and such.

Though I suppose if I heated the room to make it acceptable for fish in the 73-75F range, I'd only need to get heaters for the "betta wall" and it would still be tolerable enough that people won't think the room is a sauna.

Though my dad and I were talking about a heated sump system to service the warm water tanks (so you'd just need to heat the sump and that's it), but then multiple tanks would all be exposed rather than just the bettas in each compartmentalized system, which I'm not sure if I want to do that even with long-term quarantines.
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Old 06-02-2013, 11:58 PM   #6 
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You might want to do some sort of tank stand for your quarantines away from the rest of your fish with 2.5 gallons. Petsmart for example has some nice small 2.5's. If you want to get inventive you could do some sort of coiling system under those tanks that needs just one plug. A 48 inch would probably hold 8-10 fish. You'd probably want to keep the bettas at at least 78 degress so you will have to work that out if you want cool water fish.
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