Overflowing the Overflow

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Sherolyn-Basement Bettas

I used my Dremmel and cut out several places along the top edge of the overflow. As you can see in the second photo, there are 3 over the 4″ wide cell and one at the divider that does not have a support. I found with another water test that I needed to make them a bit deeper and wider to get the surface tension to let it flow. In the future I will cut these notches out before I glue the piece into place and probably make marks to keep them even in their depth. I bought a variable speed Dremmel and am using the slower speeds to work on the plexi. Faster speeds will melt and burn the plexi. It is best to use a scrap piece [I did!!] to practice with and determine the best attachment and speed to get the desired result.

The supports were made from scrap from cutting the pieces for the condo. Unused was a piece 4′ long and maybe 1 1/2″ wide. I cut this piece into 6″ lengths and cut enough to have one every other divider. I then used my Dremmel to cut each one of them in half and removed any rough spots. The two halves were glued together, glue was rubbed on both sides and they were inserted in place and held together till they stuck. You can see one to the left on the picture. On the next water test these worked great.. the overflow was supported and did not bow. This is how I did it..  now here’s what I will do the next time.

After the back wall has dried, remove the plastic film and apply these supports where every other partition meets the back wall and glue them into place. Because I lined them up with a wall they are not really noticable. Make sure there are no spaces between the halves or water will flow through them. Get a good seal with the glue and keep glueing till you get it sealed. Also make sure the supports have good seals to the back wall before adding the overflow. Things are gonna get tight and it becomes a real pain to get glue down into this channel. This is a lot easier than they way I did it. These added supports also reduce the flow of water from the channel into the next cell. There is a little gap that will allow the cells to stay even [ if one should fill more than the others they will equalize] and I am good with that. Most of the water will go up and over the overflow which is what I am wanting.

To add the overflow, remove the plastic film from both sides of the overflow and set it into place.  The condo should be on its bottom/base. Make sure you have a good fit. If every thing looks good remove the overflow and apply glue to the supports. Carefully put the overflow in place over the supports taking care not to smear the glue. The overflow will sit on the bottom of the condo so make sure it has good contact alsong the bottom and once it is in place run a good bead of glue down its entire length. Once it sets up don’t forget to glue where it attaches to the sides as well. After it dries run another bead of glue along the base and sides for good measure.

Now we have everything done on the inside and it is time to finish with the back of the condo. Pull up the film from the bottom edge and put the back piece of plexi back in place and use masking tape to secure it like we did in the beginning. Once in place tack it in several places along the bottom and sides to get it to hold well enough for you to remove the tape and get a good bead of glue along the entire outside. Then run a good bead of glue along the joint from the inside. After it sets up hit both sides again with a good application of glue. We are not gobbing it on.. just applying it so it gets into all the little nooks and crannies to make a water tight seal.

Another thing I did was add support along the back seam. I took 2 long thin scrap pieces of plexi and glued them on the back along the seam to reinforce that area. I found moving the condo around put stress on this seam and I did not want it to fail with water running through it. A little added peace of mind.

Allow everything to sit over night then fill the condo with water watching for leaks along the way. A dry erase marker can be used to mark on the plexi so any leaks can be repaired and the marks removed. Allow it to sit a while and see if any slow leaks show up. I run my finger along the outside seams looking for any hint of moisture.  If  there are any leaks drain and dry the condo then seal the leaks untill it is done.

I then like to let them sit for several days to really cure before I set them up for use.  Since I will be building 3 more of these in the next week or so they will have plenty of time to cure before being used. I will set them up and run water through the entire system for a week before I add any fish. And I will probably be adding fish to the system gradually so the biological filtration can multiply and keep up. As of right now I am not completely sure what media I will be using for the filtration.. watch for updates when I get to that step.

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