Now before you get your claws ready to pounce on me for keeping fish in a tank like this, a Betta needs about a half gallon tank, I'm currently keeping two Bettas in mine (separated of course) and this tank is 1.49 Gallons. Not only is it big enough but it has places for them to hide and has a filter. They are very well taken care of.
On to the Instructable!
Step 1: Materials
You will need the following for the tank:
1. Polycarbonate: [Mcmaster Carr]
2. Extruded Acrylic: [Ridout Plastics]
3. Acrylic Glue: [Ridout Plastics]
The amount of these items will vary on the size of your tank, but for a small one like mine you are looking at 2 sheets of Polycarbonate (1' x 2'), 2' worth of Acrylic Extrusion, and about 3 ounces of Glue. This is for a 2.40" x 6.00" x 24.00" Tank.
Tools you will need:
1. Cutting Implement: I used a bandsaw with a guide to get nice strait cuts. You could also use a dremel with the linear guide attachment. (Would have been really easy with a laser cutte... winkwink r ;) )
2. News Paper to cover your work area.
3. A drinking straw (I'll explain later)
Things you will need for your fish:
1. Well.... The fish themselves of course, I wouldn't put more than two Bettas in this size tank unless you are mean.
2. Water conditioner, Assuming you are using Tap water
3. Food, mine seem to hate dried bloodworms and prefer the pellets.... go figure.
4. Filter, there are a couple that will fit my size tank but look below for the one I purchased. It works phenomenally well for $15.
5. Fake plants (Or real if you know what to do)
6. Gravel, to hold your plants down and make the bottom look nice.
7. An Easter Island head, optional of course.
8. A mesh net for when you have to transplant the fish
So far my tank has been running for four weeks going strong, I run the filter during lunch for an hour a day and it keeps the water sparkling clean. Just add some of the water treatment of your choice each week to replenish the minerals in the water.
On to construction!!
Step 2: Construction
The glue cures EXTREMELY quickly so light pressure for 20-30 seconds is enough to get it to stick. If you want your edges to be as transparent as possible i suggest you sand the edges with fine grit sandpaper and steel wool. I however did not have this luxury as I was trying to get this tank completed before my boss got back from vacation. If you plan to keep two Bettas in this type of tank you will need seperate them, I did this with a acrylic barrier. Make sure to add holes to let water circulate in the tank.
Let your tank sit overnight, then fill it with a little water and see if there are any leaks. If there are, just empty the tank and cover the spots with some glue; the beauty of this glue is that it can fill small gaps and seal the tank without needing silicon. If you have a leak on the bottom you will need that handy dandy straw, this glue is very runny and will get everywhere if you try to just flip the tube upside down to reach the bottom of the tank; simply hold the straw to the nozzle and use it to guide the flow. It is a good idea to cover as many seams as you can before doing the test, just to be sure it is sealed. If it holds water just add some more fluid and continue this process until you have filled the tank and there are no leaks.
Once the tank is filled leave it overnight so that whatever off-gas there may be from the plastic is absorbed by the water, make sure to change the water before starting the next step!
Step 3: Decorating
I choose to go with neon green plants, an Easter island head, and blue gravel. My coworker went with the less "HEY THERE IS A FISHTANK OVER HERE!!" route and got darker colored plants. You would be surprised at how many people walk past this every day and never notice it, even with the neon plants.
1. First wash your gravel, DO NOT USE SOAP. Just rinse it off with some water and add it to your tank.
2. Once it is in the tank spread it nicely around the bottom
3. Next get all your plants and wash them too, once again NO SOAP.
4. Bury the base of your plants in the gravel to keep them stable, bury the base of the divider if you have more than one fish.
5. Find a spot to add your filter, I choose to stick it into one side of the tank being there are holes in the divider for circulation.
6. Add the water treatment by the directions on the bottle.
7. Bag your fish if they aren't already and let them soak for an hour.
8. Add your fishies and let them explore their new dwelling
9. In my case the last step is to add the tank to my cubicle and close the glass (It isn't sealed so plenty of air can get inside).
(You should probably ask your boss before doing this), PLEASE read the next page =)
Step 4: Final Photos
The pictures with the neon green plants and blue fish are my tank, the red fish/dark green plants are my coworkers tank. I think both came out quite nice for being the first two tanks I ever made. They are drawing quite a bit of attention and smiles when people finally started to discover them. You would be shocked at how many people don't even notice because they simply don't expect to see a fishtank there.
If you are reading this from the Epilog contest please keep reading!! I really could use your votes.
What would I use a laser cutter for? The uses are endless! I recently graduated from SUNY Stony Brook with a bachelors in Mechanical Engineering and I am currently working full time at Arkwin industries as well as attending full time graduate school. My main fields of expertise are robotics, I plan to compete in the Robo-Games next year with a biped humanoid robot. A dream of mine is to also open up a hackerspace in my area to collaborate with other crazy individuals on some kickass projects to better Long Island. I have designed a few dexterous prosthetic hands and I am building, one of which I hope to release as an open source project within a year. A laser cutter would not only make this deadline easier to reach, it would allow me to get out several other open source projects such as my super low cost DIY servos,and circuit boards designed for use in various minimal cost medical tests for areas that do not have access to large well equipped hospitals. If I won the Epilog Laser cutter it would be a dramatic boost to what I am capable of achieving and hopefully will eventually allow me to release open source prosthetic to assist those in need.
Your votes are greatly appreciated =)
Thanks for reading, I hope I inspired you to do something a little on the unusual side =D