How to make a DIY divided tank for Bettas.
I don't really have a lot of pictures for this tutorial, so I'll try to explain everything really well so there is no confusion.
I've tried the store bought dividers, and have found that the DYI dividers work better (for water flow for filtration purposes,) and look a lot better.
Plus it is a little bit cheaper if your doing more than one. The only issue you might run into is when using the plastic canvas the Bettas will be able to see each other and over time will become desensitized.
1. The spines from the slide binders.($5)
Office Max has a pack of 15 black ones for $5. At Walmart they have poster holders by the posters that will work too.
But the backs of the poster holders aren't squared so it may be a little more difficult.
2. Plastic canvas. AKA Cross stitching mesh. (60¢ EA)
You should be able to find this at your local craft store. And they come in different colors.
I prefer the #5 (5 holes per inch) because it allows better water flow. Even if you go with the #7 or #10 the Bettas will still be able to see through it, and your water flow might be restricted.
3. Aquarium Sealant. ($6.50)
Make sure it's adhesive.
4. Electrical tape ($1 optional)
You should be able to find this at your local dollar store.
The first thing you want to do is empty your tank and remove as much substrate as you can.
Clean the inside of the aquarium and make sure it's dry before you adhere anything.
If your using a 10gal leader then the spines from the slide bars should fit between the bottom and the top lip perfectly.
The next step involves a little math. You will want to find out where you need to place the spines for the dividers.
If your using a 10gal leader and only want one divider then the center is 10" on center. If your using a 10gal leader and want
3 divisions then each division is 6.66" (or about 6 5/8") apart.
What I did is take a dry erase marker and marked the outside of the tank for guide lines. Measure twice so you get it right.
Make a mark at the top and bottom of the tank so you can draw a straight line from the top to the bottom.
Before you adhere your spines you will want to cut a 45 degree notch in the top of them. Just a little one. This is so the dividers themselves are
easier to slide in. You may also want to cut little notches (with a razor knife) in the lip of the rim so the divider can slide in easier.
Next you will want to take the spine and put a thin bead of sealant down the middle of the spine. It really doesn't take much. Then place the spine inside of the tank and holding the top and bottom, line it up with the marker line as best you can and push it the the inside wall of the aquarium.
Push and wiggle a little and it will create a good seal. You may want to keep some paper towels and Q-tips on hand to clean up the excess that squeezes out.
Once you get both spines (or all 4 spines in if your dividing 3 ways) let it set. Next you will want to measure the inside of the tank from front to back. Instead of trying to go off of known dimensions I found this was the easiest way. Once you have your measurement subtract 1/8" inch and this will be the dividers width. (Should be about 9 5/8".) And it should be the same height as the spine which is 11 1/4".
After you get the divider(s) cut out, it is a good idea to use the left over spines for top and bottom supports. It's not necessary, but I find that it adds a good amount of rigidity to the divider. Measure the inside from one spine to the other (should be about 8 3/4") and that will be the length of your top and bottom supports. Use a sharp pair of scissors cut the spines for the top and bottom supports and slide them on. Once you get your divider put together with the supports on, it's time to slide it in. It may be tricky at first but take your time. The further you get it in the spines the easier it will be to slide down.
You should have a perfect fit like this.
You can also use the electrical tape to run a strip down the front to cover up where the spine is adhered to the tank. This makes for a more professional look.
Let the sealant cure for 24 hours and then it's ready to go.
Once again I'm sorry I didn't have a lot of pictures for this tutorial. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.