tank dividers! any tips for me? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-15-2003, 04:29 PM Thread Starter
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I have a tank that houses some fish that eat plants. I want plants. Can I divide the tank up in a not-too-visible manner such that I can plant part of the tank without having separate filtration systems? Would a sheet of plexiglass with many large holes work?

The fish that need to be sequestered are fairly large plecos. Ideally I'd want the holes large enough for normal fish to pass through.

Does anyone have some experience with this sort of thing? Or some random ideas you'd like a guinea pig to test out?

I'd appreciate any tips or ideas (aside from getting rid of the plecos of course!). Thanks!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-16-2003, 01:57 AM
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How big is the aquarium and how big are the plecos? how many plecos do you have and what kind of plants do you want?

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-16-2003, 01:56 PM Thread Starter
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it's a 75 gal with a 48"x 18" footprint. (I'm trying to locate a replacement 140-150 gal with a 24" depth, but I'll still have the same issue.) The two plecos are about 15" long and hmmmmmmmmm maybe 2.5" tall, 3" wide.

I'm thinking of a barrier creating two interlocking "L" shapes (not necessarily equally sized) so that inmates on both sides get a long area as well as a wide area. A diagonal would be just as good, wouldn't it...

I'm concerned about water circulation between compartments, but maybe that's not an issue if i'm using two filters already--I can just put the stronger filter on the pleco side.

What am I missing? Can I do this with holey plexiglass or is there a better material? (Do plecos scrape and ingest plexiglass?)

I don't know what plants I want yet--haven't gotten that far! Cheap ones to start. I'm pretty low tech at the moment and upgrade very slowly.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-16-2003, 02:14 PM
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I say two options. Either get plants that they don't eat. My plecos didn't eat swords, crypts, vals and/or Java fern and java moss. That is not to say that they don't, but I guess if you keep them well fed (I used sinking algae wafers, zucchinni, romaine lettuce, etc) they won't eat healthy plants. I have seen one crunch up a dying leaf though.

Second Option. I saw a really cool design with utilizing two acrylic plates and a tube between the two. I am not sure if a 75 gal (4ft right?) would be long enough but was on a 6 ft 24 inch high tank at a LFS. Basically it looked like two divider plates. There was a tube interconnecting the two. The guy had three or so amazon swords, really big ones in the middle. He had Discus on one side and angels on the other. Cork kinda covered the acrylic interconnecting tube and you could almost not tell them apart. He had a sliding hinge. That one side could turn into a nursery or even the middle part could. The plates were about 4 inches apart. He had a HOB filter on every section With a power head in both Main sides but left the middle 4 inch section with very little flow and no filter. Looked like maybe a sponge filter on the back but that may have been a bubble decoration. What was really intresting is that the chemistry stayed the same across the tank but it looked diverse as heck as he had differnt color substrates throughout the tank. Looked like colored gravel (Dark on one side, light on the other, Just sand in the middle) and mixed with either flourite or laterite (the red stuff). The trap slide could be shut and you have three different tanks with this setup.


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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-16-2003, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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Interesting, Ray! I've only got 4 ft but that gives me ideas...

I should confess that part of my motivation is to keep the pleco poop in the back (yep, they're well-fed). Having separate filters would actually be good, now that i think about it. I could have some heavy mechanical (and easy-to-clean) filtration on the pleco side, and keep the hard-to-clean canister from clogging on the other side where it can do the bio work.

My plecos don't eat EVERYthing, but they're active and what they don't eat, they sit on or knock around. They seem to get bored and shove things. I envy people whose plecos stay in caves and behave themselves! I'll put some tough plants on their side for them to maul and some nicer stuff on the other side.

Is hardware store acrylic the stuff to use?
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-23-2003, 02:08 PM
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You can make the dividers from plexiglass. Email me if you have ?s

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-24-2003, 12:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Ray1214
IThere was a tube interconnecting the two. The guy had three or so amazon swords, really big ones in the middle. He had Discus on one side and angels on the other. Cork kinda covered the acrylic interconnecting tube and you could almost not tell them apart. Ray
Wow, that sounds really cool, sorta like your paludarium setup (I'm pretty sure it was you talking about 4 inter-connected tanks?) - if I'm reading you right, this fellow had two plates with a hole in the middle that were connected by a tube that fit the hole, whole assembly just dumped in? That sounds awesome, seems to me it would be a perfect way to work in your idea of animals being able to move around in the environment.

Back to the drawing board!
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-24-2003, 01:15 AM
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I've seen eggcrate used in the past for breeding tanks. The 3/4"x3/4" plastic gratings that go in suspended ceiling. They don't look nearly as nice as the other suggestion, but the are easy and will even let the smaller fish travel back and forth. Maybe you could even plant it with some java moss.. that might be interesting.
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