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Old 07-15-2014, 09:32 PM   #1 
givemethatfish
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20g to 30g divided upgrade

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.

Old tank:


New tank:


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.

Dividers:


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 :)
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Old 07-15-2014, 09:52 PM   #2 
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Sounds Great, I made my dividers out of plastic black mesh from Michael's and used poster hangers for the side strips. For substrate I used CaribSea EcoComplete Black Planted Aquarium Substrate. And I'm using a variety of fully submersible live plants with a fluorescent light that I bought seperate from the hood, which is a glass top I got that was on sale because it was missing the handle but I bought some small suction cup things and they work perfectly.My heater is a Tetra 50 Watt and the filter is Aqueon QuietFlow 10.
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Old 07-15-2014, 09:57 PM   #3 
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Ok, I'm definitely subscribing to this! All these little projects you did by yourself look great and I can't wait to see the finishing touches! Do you think it would be possible to eventually post a photo by photo guide on the light fixture at some point? I would be really interested in seeing on how you did it and possibly making myself one sometime in the future if I ever get a 40g tank.
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Old 07-16-2014, 10:19 AM   #4 
givemethatfish
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I wish I had taken more pictures when I was doing everything, but I didn't think to do a journal about it until I was already done!

For the light fixture, I used:
Pictures:


You can only buy the gutter in 10 foot sections, so if you don't have a long car, bring a hack saw :) I cut it to size with a fine-toothed hack saw. It worked great and only took a couple of minutes. It's ok if the cut isn't perfect because the endcap will cover up any jagged edges. Then I slid the endcaps on. No need to glue them on or anything because they have rubber/foam gaskets to keep them in place. They just pop on. Then I took the whole thing outside and spray painted it. I used Rustoleum's version of Krylon Fusion and did 3 coats about 30 minutes apart. You want to just paint the outside because the white on the inside serves as the reflector for the lights.

I'm going to attach the light strips and drill cord and ventilation holes tonight, so I'll take pictures while I do it and do an update.
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Old 07-17-2014, 10:15 AM   #5 
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Thanks so much! I'll definitely have to keep this in mind when I get my 40 gallon and there is no problem about car space, I own a truck! Can't wait to see your tank all put together! I'm sure it is going to look amazing!
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Old 07-17-2014, 10:20 AM   #6 
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I didn't get around to putting the lights in last night, but I did add a background to the tank. I was going to just buy one of those typical plastic pre-printed backgrounds because it really isn't going to be that visible since I'm planting the tank. But then I got an idea from another site. Got this roll of self-adhesive cork and just attached it to the outside back of the tank. It'll give a nice natural look, it sticks by itself, and it's outside the tank so I don't have to worry about wiping gunk off of it all the time. Woo!
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Con-Tact-...06VP/100388887
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Old 07-17-2014, 06:55 PM   #7 
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Oh that is a neat idea! I also heard that if you paint the outside of the tank with latex paint that it is easy to use and replace if you get tired of it.
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