Getting Things Ready

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Sherolyn-Basement Bettas

Since I still am staying with family until I get employment and a place to live, most of my stuff is packed up and in a storage unit in town. I spent some time trying to find the glue and plexi cutter I have but to no avail. I kept all the fish stuff together and even marked the boxes.. but they must be the ones buried in the back of storage. So.. I had to order more glue and the applicator bottles. While waiting for them to arrive I got busy gettings ready to assemble.

This is the bottom of the condo. I took a tape measure and marked off 9″ with a Sharpie on the film covering the plexi. You probably do not want to do this on the plexi itself. Keeping the plexi covered will also protect it from scratches until you are done. I then marked the cell divisions every 4″. You can now see the “floor plan” of the condo. These marks will be your guides when you are glueing. That line at the 9″ mark will not be exact.. there will be the offset of the front pice of plexi of the condo that is about 1/8″ wide. It isn’t rocket science and that back piece just needs to be close.

I then layed the piece of plexi that was to be the front of the condo on top the bottom and traced the lines so they exactly lined up. Do the same thing to the piece that is the back wall of the cells.. NOT the back of the condo itself. Remember this back wall is 1/4″ shorter than the front so you need to allow 1/8″ on each side before you mark your lines. When you are glueing the condo together these lines will help keep you relatively square and lined  up. I also labeled the pieces so I did not pick up the wrong one by accident.

The two end pieces also got labeled and marked 8 7/8″ from the edge. I also marked where I wanted to have the drain.  Now is the time to drill the hole for the drain. I did not do it till later and I assembled all but that side because I had to locate the bit I had bought to cut the plexi. Ideally the hole is cut and the drain installed and glued into place before you start to assemble the condo.

To get a good result when cutting the hole, tape both sides of the plexi with masking tape and cut slowly. It helps if someone can add water while you are cutting. I poured water on the area before starting and stopped and added more as I cut. Not ideal but it worked for me.

I used a bit to drill a 1″ hole in the plexi. I then took my Dremmel and took off a hair more plexi until I could thread the fitting for the 1″ hose through the hole. I did this at the end of the project.. it is better to do it unassembled so you can use aquarium sealant to get a good seal both the inside and outside of the fitting. It is also good to do this before assembling in case you break or crack the plexi.. better to get another piece than have to try to remove something glued into place on the finished product.

I also took a metal file and filed off any burrs or rough spots from having the plexi cut. You don’t want to do a lot of filing.. but it helps if there are not odd bumps that will keep you from getting a good bond when you glue. Next step is assembling the frame.

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