Product modification

Sometimes you can’t find a product that does exactly what you need. When that happens, you can often modify or customize a product to suit that need. Such is the case with the Lee’s Specimen Container that I bought at my LFS this week.

I needed a small container that could hang on the inside of the tank, allow water flow, but with openings small enough to contain fry of a certain size. There were other requirements that I had and other comparable products available for what I needed, but I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted. Thus,  I decided to purchase and modify the Lee container.


Lee’s Specimen Container. Photo courtesy of the author.
This particular container is actually designed to primarily hang on the outside of the tank. Since I wanted to use it inside the tank and needed water flow through it, I decided to add some holes. The container is a type of plastic that is notorious for cracking when attempting to drill it, so I didn’t want to risk that. Also, I didn’t really want holes. I actually wanted slits. So how you do that? Use a Dremel Multitool or something similar.


Dremel Multitool with detached grinding wheel. Photo courtesy of the author.


Close-up of grinding wheel. Photo courtesy of the author.

Creating the slits using a Dremel requires a grinding wheel. Rather than using pressure that a drill bit would create, you simply let friction do its thing. You actually melt through the plastic. As the wheel melts through, plastic will build up around the edges of the wheel. So you can either clear the plastic while it’s still hot and malleable, or wait until it cools and chip/brush it off. I did the latter using a small metal brush. Any type of abrasive (e.g., metal brush, sand paper, steel wool) will scratch the plastic, but that wasn’t a problem for me.

Below you can see the end result. I actually created three vertical slits on each side of the container. You can also see the scratches that were made with the metal brush I used to clear the built-up plastic.


One side of a Lee’s Specimen container with slits from a Dremel Multitool. Photo courtesy of the author.

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