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Subscape Betta Barracks [product development]


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Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo I went into Subscape with some drawings and questions... I got this barracks system in mind, see... and I needs me some help.

I don't like messing my hair up when I think about things like filtration, drip systems and confusing things like that.

I'm an ARTIST I want my things to WORK and look GOOD... that's how I roll.

Justin the owner of Subscape makes custom tanks, and we decided it might be useful to develop a barracks system that he could sell in the store if any other betta keepers had similar needs (tell santa!)

Personally, I have 90cm wide industrial shelving, about 30 males, 30 females, grow outs and spawn tanks all at various stages, and it just looks like a garage sale, or some strange scientific experiment.

What I REALLY want is 2 rows of really neat barracks that are long, so the males can swim around happily, both giants and standards, and share the water / heating / filtration

Remember I asked ages ago about what your needs and wants would be with a barracks system? Well, it was for this, we took it all into consideration, and thusfar this is the best we could come up with.


Keep in mind this is the "display tank" version of the barracks.

The idea is that the back area has filtration / heating and the 10cm wide bays are just wide enough to fit a beanie box if you wanted to float another fish in there, allowing for something like 6 litres per fish (ample!)

This is obviously just the guts - and is currently made out of glass.

There are grills at the back for flow, and the original design will have a spray-bar coming over the top. (more about that later)

Down the track we are looking at perspex interiors or some ways of easily-removed cards so the fish aren't exposed to each other all the time (while I don't mind this, the feedback stated that y'all like to be able to card if you want)

The other thing we're looking at is building a housing so it has a complete surround, inbuilt lighting and is most likely stackable so you can buy another row, and slap it on top - betta high rise!


Anyhoo, the bottom shelf of my industrial shelving is the home for this at the moment, Sanchez the giant is in there too, happy with plenty of room, and the temp is stable.

flow is pretty good - i'll get the details on the filter in the next post, and I'll do you a diagram of how the spray bar now works, it's all under water cos it was TOO NOISY before (it's all in my bedroom)

It's been up and running for about 10 days now, and I haven't yet done a clean up


Nitrate / Ammonia - 0

Ph 7 (buffered)

Ghz 4

Hasn't fluctuated at all.

More details sooooooooooooon

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Ness, if you and Justin develop a unique barracks system, I advise you to look into potentially patenting the design, especially since you've already got a commercial entity involved which can help market and sell these products. There is a cost involved in registering a patent though so whether you do or don't patent, it'll have to be a balance between cost and benefit.

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Saint Ness

You are up for canonisation as the patron saint of Betta enthusiasts, you have my vote

I think its fantastic and with the ability to card as well would be the selling point for me, as with the others you cant and if its that tidy Id be able to have it in the house

Thanks Ness I be watching this thread



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While I'll happily take home a homeless halfmoon, the homless vt's can stay in their stupid jars for all i care.


It's really exciting, and I think all your input is going to be really important when tackling cetain design elements.

This is really the bare-bones, and we hope to have it organised by early next year and a prototype in the shop and one on my shelf (still got some homeless betta at my joint that want a barracks!)

Fist - We'll probably not go so far as to patent (I had thought about this) we'll see how the product sells in a retail environment and go from there... (food for thought)

Joan - you're right, and yes the flow is actually really important - the first way we had things with a spray-bar over the top, that pushed water in, then sucked out the old water through the grill was good.... but noisy.

I want to try and work out a way of putting airline down from the spray bar so there is that same flow, but the water is not falling from the top making me need to pee every time I walk into my bedroom and keeping me up at night.

The benefit of this would be that you could also isolate the barrack, put a "plug" in, instead of the grill (they just pop out, they're pressure-fit) and you could even treat in there with medication (although I wouldn't recommend it)

Paul - once we have the final design it'll be much clearer what materials we've had to use, but don't forget, this is a commercial enterprise, not a DIY thread, so $ mentioned is likely to be a retail cost.

However we did start this project with "how much would you want to spend on a barracks that you could just buy straight up" and as I'm pov, my answer was "not very bloody much" - this was the budgeting brief.

Fishbites - the idea is that you have a self-contained system that is potentially stackable or modular..... at this stage we're looking at just developing one at a time - but the end result would have separate water systems (i.e. no sump)

Down the track we'll probably look into a slightly different version for people wanting to house 40+ fish, this one might have a sump and shelving...... babysteps tho.

Also - talking to Jus about interstate transport etc, I've got some people, he's got some people, if the end product ends up in perspex, it's quite likely we'll ship!

Yee HAW!


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For water flow what about having only one hole connect to the back sump/filter area. One on the left end one or right end and connect all the sections with a hole on the side. Coz the sponge filter these days (the twin sponge one) you can actually have the water slightly under the outlet and due to the power from the air pump water still flows out. U could direct the outlet to the end, and have the sponge filter sit at the back section that way you force the water to flow from one side to another.

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Basically I think Joan means water flows into front right chamber (via sponge filter), then flows through all chambers and back into the sump via one hole at rear left corner.

Basically my display tank with more chambers.

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Fist - We'll probably not go so far as to patent (I had thought about this) we'll see how the product sells in a retail environment and go from there... (food for thought)

Just make sure you do it before someone else does, especially if you have an innovative product that has potential to sell well. Bettas are one of the more popular fish in this billion dollar fishkeeping industry, if you execute the appropriate marketing campaign, it could be a lucrative venture. That is, if you have an innovative product on your hands.

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Looking lovely! very keen to see the spray bar in action! thats my big dream for a barraks !

Joan: ive had barracks where the water flows from one cell to the next and the last one back into the sump, im not a fan of it the last fish gets all the dirty water and the flow wasnt very good :( i much prefer each cell filtering to the sump, no pass on the muck to the next fish business - straight too filtration! Just a preferance ive developed XD

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Great Jarrod (another reason I don't think a patent is probably worthwhile, it's so simmilar to a few designs I've seen out there)

Yeah I have to agree I liked the idea of being able to isolate a cell if I had to for any reason, it would keep the heat, and I could card without interruption if I had a sick fish.

Lateral flow just hasn't proven worthwhile in all of the DIY threads and sites i've seen online.

Subscape have their own shop display barracks that never gets cleaned, simply because each cell has the same quality and quantity of flow, and they (mostly) don't need it!

Still talking to Justin about this spray bar, as I said, I think sound is a big factor in this design.

Really appreciating the conversation guys - hopefully we can get people a bit hooked on betta, because of how EASY it is to keep multiples and grow the community bit by bit!


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  • 5 months later...

Aiight so this barracks has been great - had the Aqua one kind of pushing muck around in the tank, but I really wanted a cannister on mine.

This isn't the solution for commercial sale, but I think it's the solution for Ness.

It was sitting outside EMPTY because it had algae and wasn't filtering proper... but now... NOW THERE HAS BEEN SOME SLAP DASH PRODUCTION

because I bought an eheim, and then parked in a clear way - it was a very expensive day.

I digress

The thing got a clean and I went to bunnings


Toats copied Wild Nut and bought some irrigation stuffs:



Wanted me some adjustable taps and some black pipes cos I wannit to look handsome

The hot tip with fitting tues on things that are hard, is hot water - to make it bendy and easier to join - or chew the end.. either way works... i'm often chewing on airline.


I used the sharp edge of my scissors to make the Eheim spraybar the right(ish) size for the taps:


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Spraybar bastardized:


Had an extra hole in the spray bar so I put a pipe down into the sump... keep things moving along.

I've also been meaning to make a stiff divider with embroidery mesh and those poster edges (like my failed DIY thread earlier trying to split a tank with mesh)


They just sit pressure-fit between the silicone, held straight by the poster edge, and rest with the T shape from the edge of the glass

Fish in those divided tanks would be older retired males that still want to be part of the action, but aren't moving very quickly these days... they get about 8cm each in width.


In position:


And here's the full shot after a bloody hour trying to get the frigging eheim started without that NOISE it makes.... and cycling it for a little while (like 40 seconds)

I've set the tank up with prime / cycle / Ial / conditioning salt / dechlorinator / and some other stuff in bottles i've forgotten


Heater in the sump, plants in, bla bla.

I'm a bit excited because I can use that long intake bit (on the right) and move it every few days into different cells to actually clean out the gunk that was the bane of my maria.

Here is a cheeky video of the fish plonked in


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Nice Ness

Very nice, Its good to see that both products work well. I might have a try at the deviders myself itll make the bigger tanks more usable



PS I like the vid

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Haha good to see your barracks finally up and running again Ness. Bunnings sprinkler bits make for good DIY spraybars.

The only problem I've been having with mine currently is that because where I've put it gets down to around 5-10 degrees in winter the water temperature won't budge from 24 degrees Celsius. I now am going to be constructing a polystyrene insulation box around it and running another much stronger heater in there.

How does yours go with maintaining a constant temperature in each cell? Also are you going to card yours? I've had some tail biting crop up because they were flaring at each other all the time so I bulldog clipped in some black plastic binder fronts to limit their access.

I wish I'd had space to make each cell wider. Yours looks nicer with the wider cells and you can divide it to make some more room for fish which is always a good thing :lol:

One word of advice too. Check on your taps during maintenance as sometimes mine slow to a drip in one part of the barracks and the poor fish ends up with slightly cold water!

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