Mirror Tank Divider ?
Im wanting to divide a tank but having trouble finding the right material to use. I have smaller fish in which they will be able to get through the usual DIY Egg crate divider and the arts and craft plastic mesh is too flexible and seems very flimsy in just a 20 gallon tank so i can imagine it being worse in a 90 gallon tank which i want divided.
I was thinking of using a mirror, becaue i think the divided part would look bigger with the reflection (almost looking double the size) The mirror i saw today at walmart was the exact size and was only 10 bucks ! Would a mirror be a problem in an aquarium ?
I can see a couple of potential problems. First, depends on the fish you have. Some fish might get freaked out by a mirror, especially if they are a species that might get aggressive if they feel crowded, or if too many males, or whatever. For example, male bettas will flare and patrol continually if they see their own reflection in a mirror, because they think another male is invading their territory. I don't suppose you have male bettas with a tank the size you are describing, but other fish might have trouble with it, too. Male swordtails, male platys, and sometimes even male guppies will get aggressive with other males. They might bash themselves into the mirror trying to attack the "intruder."
Second, I believe the substance on the back of the mirror is made from metals, so I'd be concerned about metal in the water. It's possible that modern mirrors are made differently, but definitely something to check out.
Third, the back side of the mirror is usually quite ugly - a flat gray color, not particularly smooth. I wouldn't want that look in a tank, but if you're ok with it, this may not matter.
Finally, with a solid divider, you'd have to treat each side as a separate tank in terms of filter, heater, etc., because you wouldn't have water flowing through the divider.
I'd go with plastic canvas - that's what all my dividers are made of. There are ways to deal with the floppy factor - The easiest way is to use two layers, sewn/tied together with monofilament (the clear stuff used for beading, fishing line, etc). It will still be flexible, but not as floppy. Then frame the divider with stiff plastic edging, like the stuff that comes with the "official" dividers the pet stores sell. They keep the sides, top, and bottom rigid, which helps keep everything in place. I use the stuff they sell in hardware stores that is designed for the edges of wall panels - one brand name is Wall Tuff, or something like that. Depending on the width of the divider, you could further stabilize the middle by cutting the plastic canvas in two, and using another shape of the wall tuff stuff, one that is made to connect two panels together. The two layers of the plastic canvas also stay in the wall tuff stuff better than one layer, because of the extra stiffness. You might still need to use some acrylic adhesive to keep the edging in place, but with two layers of plastic canvas, you shouldn't need this. Finally, you will need to use some type of clip to keep the sides of the divider against the sides of the tank. Fairly stiff wire, coated in acrylic so the metal doesn't leach into the water will work for this. If you have to cut the wire, stick the ends in some aquarium-safe acrylic adhesive to seal the metal before putting it in place. You will probably need to bend the wire around the little ledge at the top of the tank, so that your lid or cover will still sit on the ledge like it's supposed to. The tighter the fit around this little ledge, the better it stays in place, in my experience. You can also, if you want to, sew/tie moss or other plants (real, silk, or plastic) to the divider on one or both sides to add to the asthetics. By the way, really tiny fish, like newborn guppy or platy fry, can and will swim right through the holes in size 7 plastic canvas. If you will have fish that tiny in the tank, you might want to use a smaller size hole (larger number, as the number reflects how many squares make an inch), but these might be even more floppy. Alternatively, you could sandwich a piece of tulle or other fine mesh netting between the layers of plastic canvas. You could find most of these items at a craft store like JoAnn's or Michael's, including the plastic canvas, the monofilament, the fine mesh netting, maybe even the edging stuff, although I buy that at a hardware store.
Another option would be a piece of foam, like the kind used in filters, thick enough to stand on it's own, like 1.5 to 2 inches. You would probably still have to fasten it to the sides somehow.
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