I thought I'd do a little journal on my upgraded divided tank. I currently have a 20g long divided in 3 with 3 bettas, and I scored a 30g long which I will divide in either 5 or 6 - haven't decided yet. THe new tank will house either 4 or 5 bettas and one section of nano fish - I'm thinking pygmy cories and chili rasboras.
I like to make a lot of things myself because I'm cheap, and I like little projects. So I thought we could all learn from each other during this project!
Tonight, I cleaned the 30g tank, assembled and painted the housing for the light fixture, made some dividers, and made my own sliding glass top.
The 30 long dimensions are 12 x 12 x 48. I am going to recycle one light strip from my 20g, and I already have a spare. They are 24 inch T8 "undercabinet" lights from Walmart - got them for $7 each. For the housing, I used a section of vinyl rain gutter (had it left from when I made the light fixture for the 20G) which cost $6 at Home Depot, plus $5 for end caps. I spray painted it with Rustoleum hammered black color.
Light fixture housing:
I made the sliding glass top by cutting down glass from a couple of old picture frames using a $5 glass cutter from Home Depot. For the slides, I used "outside corner molding" which is kind of like an F shape molding that can be found in the trim department at Home Depot. It's $2.68 for like 6 feet of it. It only comes in white vinyl, so I spray painted it black so it would blend in with the tank.
Glass and molding:
I made the dividers out of corrugated plastic, which is found in the signs section of Home Depot (like for sale signs), and it was $4 each for two 14x18 pieces. I used report cover thingies for the edges, and I drilled holes for water circulation.
I have a bag of black sand, a whole box of multicolored stones/lava rock, and the substrate that's currently in the 20g, which is floramax, white gravel, and white and black sand. That should be plenty of substrate. I plan on filtering each section separately, and I think I will do 3 50W heaters. I already have the filters and heaters.
The shelving unit the 20g is on is an Expedit from Ikea. I do have the shelves reinforced with L brackets, but in order to put 10 more gallons' worth of weight on it, I'm going to secure a particle board panel to the back for side to side stability as well as place a piece of mdf (which I bought and had cut at Home Depot for $12) on the top to distribute the weight evenly. I know Ikea furniture isn't known for its weight-bearing capacity, but I know it will hold the weight with the added reinforcements. I've seen people with 55 gallon tanks on this shelf, so I feel good about it. I do plan on building a custom stand at some point, but it's going to have to wait until the next time I have some extra money :)