Betta Fish Forum banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I decided to acquire and divide a 20 gallon tank in order to properly house my 3 male bettas, because taking care of their individual tanks is really becoming a pain. This will provide each of them with more overall space, and help me retain my sanity, plus be more compact for when I move into my apartment next fall. I made eight of each divider, because I intend to make little partition areas in between each fish-holding section to be extra-safe and house the filters, heaters, and any extra stuff. This will also make it harder for the fish to see each other. This is a work in progress, just thought I'd post what I've done so far!

Step 1. Tank
I had hoped to get a 20 gallon long tank, but this was the only one I could find locally for a reasonable price. It came with two very powerful Penguin filters, plus the hood with light, for only $40, so I can't really complain. Excuse the mess, I was already halfway through the process when I started taking pics.


Step 2. Materials
Since I'm working with a 20g tall, I had to splice together multiple pieces of craft mesh and report cover spines. I used:
-10x Craft mesh (needlepoint, sometimes called plastic canvas, got from Michael's) - $6.00
- 18x Report covers (used just the spines, got from Staples, bought 4 packs of 6) - $10.00
- Tube of aquarium silicone sealant - $8 on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Marineland-31...=1396299934&sr=8-8&keywords=aquarium+silicone)
- Scissors ($4, Wal-Mart)
- Clear fishing line ($2, Wal-Mart)



Step 3. Putting together the dividers

I didn't really measure my tank, I just inserted the craft mesh to see how big my pieces needed to be. This is when I discovered that I'd need to put together multiple pieces, because my tank is too tall, and I couldn't find any larger pieces of craft mesh. I cut one up and made a smaller piece that would reach the top of the tank, and measured the side of it to cut the report cover spine into tinier pieces. I used my originals to cut all of the craft mesh and spines like this:



I then glued the pieces together with aquarium silicone sealant, which I will later use to glue all of these to the sides of the tank. They are currently lying on the floor, drying.



Close-up:



I am waiting for them to dry before I take any more steps. I will see if I need to seal the other side of them, and I intend to use clear fishing line to sew the two pieces together once the sealant is dry, just to be extra-safe and make sure nobody can slip through. Even if they do, it will be into a partition, but I am taking NO CHANCES with my boys. Here is Aristotle, the biggest beneficiary of all this effort :p His 3-gallon cylindrical tank is pretty much impossible to keep ammonia-free, and it shows, poor guy. I want each of my bettas to have at least a 5-gallon swim space, and in a 20 gallon tank, that should not be a problem.

More pictures and updates tomorrow, when my sealant is dry and I can move forward!

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,653 Posts
Looks good! :) That's a 20 tall, just in case you were interested. :) I had one divided in half for awhile until I switched over to a 20 long. :) It's just personal preference, I like the longs for live plants. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Update: stitching them together while watching stuff. Kind of a pain, and I'm not sure how to tie them off at the end. I think maybe melting them with a lighter will work...?

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,653 Posts
Do you have a sewing machine/can you use it? If so, the easiest way in the world to put peices of the mesh together is to do a large zigzag all the way across just like you would a peice of fabric. It takes seconds and will last for at least a couple of years (that's how long mine have held up thus far, no complaints and no signs of needing any repair).

Otherwise, if the fishing line is difficult (and yes, tying it off is a royal pain) you can use unflavored white dental floss, or even just plain white cotton thread. (If you want thicker thread you can get waxed thread or upholstery thread and either will be much thicker than regular sewing thread.) Both will work and will be much, much easier to deal with. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The burning thing didn't work, I just looped them around themselves and then back through the mesh. They are all siliconed into the tank anyway, with the fishing line up against the glass, so there's no reason that they should come unraveled (and I suppose I'll deal with that when it happens if it does). I do have a sewing machine in the house (barely know how to use it though) and that would have been a great idea had I checked back here before hand stitching everything. :p Also I made twice as many dividers as I actually need, which I guess is good if I need them in the future...

Waiting for the silicone to dry. Decided not to do middle partitions, really doesn't leave enough space for the fish, I just doubled up on the ones that are there and will be making sure they are as tight as I can get them. Thinking about putting something like tetras or African dwarf frogs in the middle so that if one of the two I plan to put in here DOES get through, it won't be a fight to the death with the other male betta. >.>

Also learned something: denatured alcohol miraculously removed aquarium silicone from where I smeared it on the glass. Woohoo!

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,653 Posts
Oh cool, good to know about the alcohol. :)

My guys have only escaped a couple of times...once I had a snail push a divider over because he wanted to be with the OTHER snail...and once when I filled the water too high the water level and the divider were almost even. Only in the snail case did anyone have any issues and those were only torn fins. Nothing major. The other time the two boys were in the same section but because they'd been neighbors for so long they were just avoiding one another just as if they were still divided. One was on one end of the section and the other was on the other side.

I think they get a lot of their aggression out through the divider after a fairly short period so it's not usually as horrible as might seem if they DO get together. If you leave a good inch of divider at the top of the water level and you have a hood/versa top/canopy/whatever that is flush with the top of the divider, they cannot get to one another since you've siliconed them in place. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well, it's finally done. Thank you, I will remember to keep the water level several inches below the dividers so that won't happen. I'm worried that the top and bottom pieces will slide up and out of the dividers at some point, it happened when I was putting water in, but the odds of it happening to FOUR dividers at the same time are incredibly low. Good to know that hopefully they will just ignore each other.

I followed some hint I heard around here about using electrical tape in between the dividers, but I had to cut a wide piece in half and the edges are slightly jagged, so I need to just get regular electrical tape and do it again at some point.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My happy little Aristotle! I drip-acclimated him over 3 hours to this, and he seems to be doing alright so far. 20 gallons is so much more than his little 3 gallon cylinder!! He will be my guinea pig to see if anybody can get out.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,533 Posts
good luck, looking good
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,178 Posts
FYI, I did mine with a larger piece of craft mesh found at the craft stores. They have them up to 24 inches I think (mine was 18). Walmart also sells poster hangers in their poster display that look like those report things on steroids. 24 inches, a 2 pack for $3. I had the shorter ones in mine, but I was paranoid one would push through the split. I think each divider cost under $5, which is more than it would have cost the first way, but less than a store bought. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,653 Posts
Looks good! I've never had them slide up in the binder holders so you're probably good there. :) If you want some additional plant cover at the top of the tank (also gives him a place to hide/sleep close to the surface) you can put plants in upside down, just clip them to the sides or back of the tank, and then let the leaves fall into the water. When I had the taller tanks my guys loved this, spent all their time up there. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Here are my beautiful boys, Adonis & Aristotle, acclimated a few days apart and both seem very happy with their new home. Need to figure out a new heater because two 50ws doesn't seem to be doing anything. Still debating putting my third boy in the middle or just leaving it, he has lymphocystis and is very aggressive so I'm thinking that's a no. I like the area in the middle being there in case one of them gets through one of their dividers. Might decorate it more though.

My mother water sprite plant exploded in Adonis' old 5 gallon and I didn't realize how much it had done so, it was enough to cover the surface for all 3 sections O_O

 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top