Dividing a tank for bettas..fun and low cost

Shawnie

Member
Heres how I divide my betta tanks....

I purchase mesh/plastic dividers that people use for needlepoint ..you can get them at most craft stores and walmart and mine came in a pack of 10 different colors for approx $6-7 ..also purchase plastic binder holders for notebooks (that's the blue strip) and you can get them just about anywhere also..I got mine at staples for approx 5 in a package for $4-5



you cut the mesh to the size of the tank...allowing minimal space for the plastic binders to go on all 4 sides....when putting them into the tank, it should be done with bare bottom with no subtrate underneath it because these bettas will dig under if they can..once you have them in tightly, no room on sides or bottom, you can put in your subtrate of choice and build it up a little bit on the bottom of the divider...this is very important that you don't cut it too small where they can slide through the sides, or too long so the divider bends at all..you want it totally straight and tight.....

when filling the tank, leave about 2-3 inches below the divider at the top because they will jump over the divider as well.....

heres a few of my tanks with them in there










remember when dividing any bettas, that after 2 weeks they are still stressed/flaring, they are not going to work in a divided tank without being not able to see one another..that's very important ....but some of the mesh comes with very dark colors and I also double up the mesh for the nawty boys/girls who don't relax
 

Leigh

Member
We are just about ready to add our betta's to our divided tank...ala Shawnie! We have a few things to tweak and hopefully in the next couple days my boys will be in there!

Shawnie...in the full tank pic, what is the blue tube thing on the bottom in that runs through the 2 right sections??
 
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Shawnie

Member
Leigh said:
We are just about ready to add our betta's to our divided tank...ala Shawnie! We have a few things to tweak and hopefully in the next couple days my boys will be in there!

Shawnie...in the full tank pic, what is the blue tube thing on the bottom in that runs through the 2 right sections??
that long blue thing is a bubble wand that goes in both compartments...but I have extra subtrate and marbles built well around the bottom as it leaves a space for the wand to go thru both sides....
 

Leigh

Member
Thanks! I was curious. We have ours divided into 3 sections with 2 bubblers on the ends and an air stone in the middle. I'm glad I got 2 big pieces of mesh, we cut the first too small, $1.29 a sheet, no biggie! I'm fitting them back in now to make sure they are very tight!

When I get it all done I will post pics. It's not quite as colorful as yours, lol! But you did inspire me to pick up some sparkly stuff for them.
 
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Shawnie

Member
the notebook binders are very important too..did you get some of those? I'm glad you are learning from trial and error as these kids are tricky and will find a ton of spaces that you don't always see...I learned that the hard way can't wait to see pics!!!!!!!
 

Leigh

Member
I did find the binders, at Staples, they had a pack of 6 for $2.50 so we got 2 packs. WalMart had the mesh, wish I'd waited, it was a 6 pack for $.99! sigh...I know where to get it next time.

I've built up the gravel quite a bit so if they are going to dig, they are going to have to do some serious digging!! I've got about 2-3 inches in there and then some nice pebbles on top of that. WM had little bags of jewels/gems for $1.50 a bag and I got 3 different color combo's to go with the coloring of each betta. Just have to work on plants.

thanks for ALL your help!
 

angelfish220

Member
I find the color canvas works better than the white/clear. they can't see though it as easily so there is less stress.
 
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Shawnie

Member
bettas like more longer tanks than taller ..they need that surface and don't always have the strength to get to the top of the taller tanks...so the 20 gal long will be perfect! and if you decided to divide a taller tank, you just don't fill it all the way to the top
 

mcub

Member
Exactly what I was lookin' for. thanks. just curious how much did the 20gal long run you. I been lookin' for one but not sure what's a good price range. what kind of lid do you have on that. and do you just cut the mesh exactly the width so it fits snuggly? and could I stick corries or otos in there with a betta

college student that loves bettas= I wanna maximize the amount of bettas with the least amount of money. thanks for sharing!
 
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Shawnie

Member
my 20gal long was given to me...but used, I wouldnt pay more than 1-2 dollars a gallon...I have the mesh on top for a lid as I move their bubble wands around to different compartments ever week...you cut the mesh so its a tight fit with the blue plastic pices on it...you want no spaces or bends in the mesh or you will have escape artists...as far as putting cories or ottos in there, each betta is different...so if you choose to attempt that, have a back up plan (another tank) if your bettas are nawty...good luck!
 

mcub

Member
heyy, when I fitted my dividers. they were Perfect. but when I put the gravel and water in. the tank bowed a little making them a little loose. I used paper clips similiar to the ones they use in the store bought ones. to clip it.works Great tho
 
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Shawnie

Member
careful that the paper clips don't get wet mcub..they will rust in the tank and water
 

chickadee

Member
For those who want to fill their tanks to the top a piece of the plastic canvas on the top to form a T shaped divider (about 4 inches wide the width of the tank) will keep them from being able to go over the top and still allow the light to come through.

The idea is great and well worth trying if you want to do this. I put the binder edges in with silicone when I did it and it really helped to stabilize the whole thing.

Rose

If you get brass paper clips they will not rust in the water or cause a problem. I had brass in my tank for years and it was fine.

Rose
 
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Shawnie

Member
you shouldnt need paper clips at all if its cut and fitted correctly...ive never used them in the few years ive had them divided...I think the cutting and placing is almost as important as making sure they can't jump over or under the divider....the slightest fraction of too short, or too long of a cut, will allow them to get through and that's trouble
 

momiji345

Member
hI do you think you could put this on a video I keep on failing lol so it would help me so much.
 

chickadee

Member
Wish I did have it on a video

I wish I did have it on a video but I quit dividing my tanks a long time ago and no longer have the tank I divided. I used that method and it works but do not have any bettas in divided tanks anymore. I hope someone can help you though as if you want to do it the method is easier than any I have ever used.

Rose
 

Robin4

Member
Shawnie, your tank looks awesome.... What does the "bathtub" in the third picture do, is it a "bubbler"?

Robin
 
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Shawnie

Member
momiji345 said:
hI do you think you could put this on a video I keep on failing lol so it would help me so much.

Robin4 said:
Shawnie, your tank looks awesome.... What does the "bathtub" in the third picture do, is it a "bubbler"?

Robin
the tubbie is a plastic doll house piece that has the bubble wand going up behind it lol ...dont tell my granddaughter I took it from her dollhouse tho
 
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Lucy

Moderator
Member
Great video Shawnie. Looks like your boys are enjoying their condo. lol
Is that a 20 long?
 
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Shawnie

Member
lol @ condo..and yes 20 gallon long
 

Molly11

Member
so you used no silicone whatsoever for the dividers?? We just rescued a Betta from my cousin(a teen who has no desire to actually care for a fish). So now we're transforming our 5.5 gallon into two for Scrooge and Mr. Fishie.
 
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Shawnie

Member
Molly11 said:
so you used no silicone whatsoever for the dividers?? We just rescued a Betta from my cousin(a teen who has no desire to actually care for a fish). So now we're transforming our 5.5 gallon into two for Scrooge and Mr. Fishie.
silicone can be used...but you don't need it if you cut it properly, and use the blue plastic binder holders...bettas can dig under , jump over, and squeeze through the sides..so make sure its secure
 

redlessi

Member
how do you decide where to put the heater and filter once the tank is divided?
 
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Shawnie

Member
redlessi said:
how do you decide where to put the heater and filter once the tank is divided?
my heater and filter goes in the middle..and air stones in each compartment besides...
 

redlessi

Member
Sorry, I meant if you divide a 10 gallon tank into 2.
 
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Shawnie

Member
I always keep the heater near the filter outtake...and put the air stone on the other side..
 

bassbonediva

Member
I have a question. Is there something you can use in lieu of the report binder clip things? I have looked EVERYWHERE (Walmart, K-Mart, Target, Office Max, and Staples...which are pretty much all my choices) and can't find anything even remotely similar to them. I know what they are because I've used them before ages ago, but for some reason I can't find them. I need to divide one of my 10gals soon and need to temporarily divide my 29gal (until my 55gal gets up and cycled), but I don't want to pay $7-10+ for a divider. Thanks!
 

cajunfiberco

Member
read this a few days ago, thanks so much! I couldn't find any blue binder clips so I just siliconed a canvas into the tank. I was worried it wouldn't stay put but it's in there solidly. I also wanted my tank water level to the top, and not 2-3 inches below the top for jumpers, so I cut and custom fit canvas to the top of the tank to prevent jumpers. I don't have any bettas in there yet but should in about a week or so
 

spoiledbetta

Member
cajunfiberco said:
read this a few days ago, thanks so much! I couldn't find any blue binder clips so I just siliconed a canvas into the tank. I was worried it wouldn't stay put but it's in there solidly. I also wanted my tank water level to the top, and not 2-3 inches below the top for jumpers, so I cut and custom fit canvas to the top of the tank to prevent jumpers. I don't have any bettas in there yet but should in about a week or so
why didnt you jsut end up buying jsut 2 binder things?
 

Je55*e

Member
This looks great! Exactly what I'm going to do. I have a male and a female that I want to put in a divided tank to save on power. So, I should just have the heater on one side, and the filter on another, and that will be okay for both of them?
 
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Shawnie

Member
keep the heater and filter in the middle of the tank and add a small air stone on the side without the filter...that way you have water movement on both sides and residue won't build up
 

Je55*e

Member
so, one on either side of the divider, just very close to it? (forgive me, sometimes I need things kinda spelled out >< haha I'm so neurotic with my animal children.) Thank you for answering so quickly! =)
 
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Shawnie

Member
Je55*e said:
so, one on either side of the divider, just very close to it? (forgive me, sometimes I need things kinda spelled out >< haha I'm so neurotic with my animal children.) Thank you for answering so quickly! =)
dont be sorry and yes that can work ..I like to keep my heaters where water circulates around them ...just don't put it too close to the plastic mesh
 

bassbonediva

Member
Is there a way to get the dividers to stay firmly in place without siliconing them? I want to eventually get a 20gL and divide it for the boys, but until then I have the 10gals for them (two of them). I would like to either be able to sell the 10gal I have these DIY dividers in or use the tank for something else once I get the 20gL, and I can't really do that if I have six binder clips siliconed in place. lol I really only have one that moves and already I've had the boys get in with each other because the divider fell (my new red male with the rayed anal and dorsal fins, Edward, got part of his tail savaged by Gordon, my son's betta who is half Edward's size). I've tried shoring the gravel up on either side of it, but it doesn't seem to help. Thanks!
 
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Shawnie

Member
bassbonediva said:
Is there a way to get the dividers to stay firmly in place without siliconing them? I want to eventually get a 20gL and divide it for the boys, but until then I have the 10gals for them (two of them). I would like to either be able to sell the 10gal I have these DIY dividers in or use the tank for something else once I get the 20gL, and I can't really do that if I have six binder clips siliconed in place. lol I really only have one that moves and already I've had the boys get in with each other because the divider fell (my new red male with the rayed anal and dorsal fins, Edward, got part of his tail savaged by Gordon, my son's betta who is half Edward's size). I've tried shoring the gravel up on either side of it, but it doesn't seem to help. Thanks!
if they are cut properly for a snug fit, and cut the binders as well, you shouldnt have slippage....putting them in with a bare bottom tank and then adding the subtrate of choice, makes them much more sturdy as well ...mine are not siliconed either
 

Dolphini

Member
I had the same problem with them somehow (MAGICALLY) completely switching sides twice! And then Opal got in with Bleu twice after that. So I had to adjust the binder clips and make sure they're right up against the wall. There were a couple places where they might squeeze through, so I took some squares of the mesh I had cut off, cut them to size, and them 'sewed' them onto the existing mesh with plastic twist ties (just thread them through). I also did this to fill a gap in the top where the lid is so they can't jump that either. So far no mishaps.
 
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Shawnie

Member
bassbonediva said:
I re-adjusted it yesterday after the it appears to be holding really well. Unfortunately, the tank was already set up and established, so removing the substrate wasn't an option. Anyway, everyone is happy where they are (Edward even built a bubble nest!! My first one ever from any of my boys!), so there they will stay. Thanks, guys!
I'm glad its working better! but you can move the subtrate with your fingers to make sure the dividers are sitting on bare tank then move the subtrate back against the dividers...many bettas can dig under and find spaces like its no tomorrow
 

bassbonediva

Member
That's what I ended up doing this time. I had pushed the divider down into the substrate before, but when I redid it, I actually moved the gravel away, then put it back after the canvas was touching the glass bottom of the tank.
 

midthought

Member
I just did this to divide my 10g! So economical. I spent:

.89 jumbo paper clip
.89 jumbo paper clip
.49 binder
.49 binder
.39 quickcount plastic mesh

for a grand total of $3.15!

I straightened out the jumbo paper clips (originally about 1" across and maybe 4" tall) to attach the binders to the side. It worked out beautifully actually. And by that I mean it worked out well, not that it was aesthetically pleasing...

I got everything but the plastic mesh from an office supply store, and the plastic mesh from Michael's (a craft/hobby store).
 

damprye

Member
Would dividing a 6ft tank work? Does anyone have any idea roughly how many gallons that is ???
 
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Lucy

Moderator
Member
damprye said:
Would dividing a 6ft tank work? Does anyone have any idea roughly how many gallons that is ???
Sorry, don't know if it would work for a 6 ft tank or not.
To figure out how many gallons it is, measure the tank and use this:
Aquarium Calculator or you should have a calculator at the bottom of this page.
 

BethanyJupiter

Member
Thanks so much! I've been looking for a good way to divide my tank.
I'm wondering how you keep them secure to the side of the tank? Are they just in tight enough that they can't be moved..?
 
  • Moderator

Lucy

Moderator
Member
HI Bethany welcome to FishLore!!
Shawnie or one of the other members who have divided a tank can probably answer this better, but I believe it's cut so it's tight enough that it doesn't move and the binders help to hold it securely in place.
 

Heather M

Member
How close can you put bare plastic canvas to a florescent light (with glass and plastic hood) before it melts? If I ever get around to setting up my 20g, I'm going to try to elongate the dividers and shape them at the top so they fit as snugly as possible out of the water so the fish can't jump, but I can fill the tank all the way.

Looks like you can get 50 report covers and sliding bar spines for USD $8.00 on Walmart's website. Here's a link.
 

stefjane

Member
Thanks for this thread Shawnie! It's giving me ideas on how to divide my 7g tank. The only problems are that it has a bowed front and I'm in Australia...but I should be able to do something similar
 

Paigee

Member
Hmmm... Just a thought, but if I did this and doubled up the mesh divider so that the holes weren't so big (hopefully), does anyone think this could work to temporarily divide a betta tank so that a portion of it could be a fry tank?

I'm thinking it probably wouldn't because the holes would still be too big and the fry could fit through them...
 

Heather M

Member
Paigee said:
Hmmm... Just a thought, but if I did this and doubled up the mesh divider so that the holes weren't so big (hopefully), does anyone think this could work to temporarily divide a betta tank so that a portion of it could be a fry tank?

I'm thinking it probably wouldn't because the holes would still be too big and the fry could fit through them...
Plastic canvas comes in different sizes. The most popular is size 7. This means there are 7 squares in every inch. 14 count plastic canvas is the smallest made. It has 14 squares per inch. According to a site I'll link below, it only comes in clear, black, and white. I don't know the size of the fry you were planning to put in the tank, but you could go to a craft store and see is this is small enough. What type of fry were you thinking of? Betta? I have no experience with betta fry, and I don't know how old they would be in your divided tank. I think younger fry would still be too small, but if they're older, maybe. It might be worth your while to go check it out.
 
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Shawnie

Member
great advice from everyone
We are going to close this thread, but by all means if you have more questions, just begin a new thread
 

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