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  1. #1

    Post DIY Cheap and Highly Functional Tank Separator for Fry Tank

    0 Not allowed!
    Tank Separator DIY to the Rescue
    A homemade tank separator for a 10 gallon fry tank.

    This DIY was actually done as a ten gallon project. If appropriate size changes were made, it could be completed on larger sized tanks such as 15 gallon, maybe even 20. But this project works great on a 10 gallon tank.


    1 Sheet Darice Ultra Stiff Plastic Canvas 12"X18" or (larger/smaller depending on size of tank to be used on)
    1 3pack of Avery Sliding Bar Report Covers

    The plastic canvas can be located at a hobby shop, sewing department, or a Field's Fabrics. The Avery report cover can be found in a stationary department of a Walmart/Meijer/Etc. Can also be found at Staples and many College Book Stores.

    Optional Materials:
    2 Suction Cups (air line holding suction cups work great, the kind that are flimsy and have a circular rubber piece you can insert the tube through)
    6 Zip Ties


    Take measurements from 1" above the water line to the base of your substrate. Write this number down. Take measurement between the inner edge of the glass between the front and back of tank. (If planning on suction cups, subtract out about 1/8 - 1/4 of an inch to make room for the recessed suction cup installation) Write this number down. Measure the same amount of space out on the Plastic Canvas, and cut to width and height of tank. The small squared holes will make this pretty easy, but be weary of leaving small sharp edges from the cut squares. Trim off any excess peg pieces from the outer rims. Then affix the Sliding Bars from the 3 pack to the edges that will apply pressure to the tanks glass and hold the barrier in place. Cut off any excess length from these bars, up to 1/2" above the top of the netting. See picture below to clarify what the small amount of excess bar length will be used for in optional material instructions.

    Optional Tools:

    Pen Knife

    Optional Instructions:
    Using the pen knife, drill small holes in the bars to affix the zip ties through and to tighten the bar onto the netting. 1 hole minimum will be needed at the top of each bar and bottom, all the way through. (You will not have to drill the netting, a small zip tie will go through) Insert zip ties through the holes and back through the netting to tie up. Tighten and clip off excess zip tie cord. Do this with each hole prepared. Then trim a recess into the top of each bar (facing towards the glass--will be the spine area you cut off the bars--cut about 1/8-1/4" into the rod) so the suction cup will be recessed and level with the edge of the bar. Then affix the suction cup to the bar in the recessed area. Next drill a hole below the area where the suction cup is affixed and insert a zip tie and tie it around the suction cup connection with the rod. Do this with both rods. Lastly take the pen knife and cut off any burs from all the plastic components to eliminate any sharp edges.

    Take top off tank, place in tank bending slightly, and push carefully into substrate and affix against tank walls. If contains suction cups, press slightly onto glass to add sturdiness.

    Image of typical suction cup that's perfect to use.

    Completed Separator:
    As installed in my 10 gallon fry tank.

    I hope this tutorial was incredibly useful. It was a pleasure to make this device and incredibly cheaper in the long run. I am also sure it will be more reliable then the ones for sale today. The total cost for this project for me was $3.00. A typical retailed Tank Separator system can cost between $10-20.00 for a similar sized tank as my 10 gallon.

    Google Shops:
    Google'd 10 Gallon Tank Separator

    PetCo Penn Plax Tank Divider:
    Last edited by bignellm; 08-09-2011 at 03:03 AM.

  2. #2


    0 Not allowed!
    you could also use screen from a screen door which might even be cheaper, but looks great!
    "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."

  3. #3


    0 Not allowed!
    Kinda had to make this, to isolate a fish on the mend from some antagonists.
    Hey Lucky post number 777
    Last edited by bignellm; 08-09-2011 at 12:10 PM.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    methuen ma usa

    Awards Showcase

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    World Trade Center Victims and Heroes - Fireworks Safety - genocidex 


    0 Not allowed!
    nice write up, looks good.
    I wonder if i plant one of my tiger barbs would the demon seed grow to a full tree?
    gotta love them bunnies!
    I.R.S.: We've got what it takes to take what you've got!

  5. #5


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeyCFH
    you could also use screen from a screen door which might even be cheaper, but looks great!
    I think the plastic canvas is probably worth the extra few pennies-- it's not going to bend and flex like screening would...
    Don't ask the question if you don't really want to know the answer
    Goldfish get HOW big?
    Cycling WITH Fish
    Cycling WITHOUT Fish

  6. #6

    Lightbulb Medical Salt Basket Add on

    0 Not allowed!
    I like the canvas as well. I also put together a quick little treatment basket that hangs right on the canvas, made of canvas and zipties. It works great for medicating with salts and keeping the salt from the bottom feeders.

    The recommended dosage (1 teaspoon for each 5 gallons) doesn't seem to be hurting my test snail (A pest Malaysian Trumpet Snail I got from the Meijer Super Store's fish tanks). So I put the Apple Snail back in and it's fine too.

    On a side note, the worker at Meijer told me to let them know if it does kill them. They want a quick fix to use on their tanks. If they knew anything about the species they sell, they'd just move some of the Clown Loaches they got over to them for supper time.

  7. #7


    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks for this write-up, it's short and sweet. I went looking for the mesh at my local Michael's last night but they only had the smaller 10.5"x13.5" size, so I looked online. Amazon sells it for over $4!. I'm sure Michael's would've been cheaper, since the smaller size was $0.99.

    I gave up and bought the 20 gal divider at my lfs for $13. My time (and gasoline!) is worth something too Still, this is good to know for future tanks.
    20g high planted community tank - 10 green neon tetras, 2 guppies, nerite and malaysian trumpet snails, amano shrimp, sand substrate

  8. #8


    0 Not allowed!
    I was just pricing the material and I could buy an already made one cheaper than it would cost to make one. They are $6 here.

    Liters to Gallons conversion calculator

    "Keeping fish for any period of time doesn't make you experienced if you're doing it wrong. What does, is acknowledging those mistakes and learning from them." ~Aeonflame
    your argument is invalid." ~Mommy1

  9. #9


    0 Not allowed!
    Always pays to shop round, unless your going out of your way. I guess NY and CA price things a bit out outlandishly.

  10. Default RE: Convenience Food?

    0 Not allowed!
    Bars from the 3 pack to the edges that will apply pressure to the tanks glass and hold the barrier in place. Cut off any excess length from these bars, up to 1/2" above the top of the netting. See picture below to clarify what the small amount of excess bar length will be used for in optional material instructions.
    **** Payyara *****

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