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its alive.....or not

hi all,
i have finished my first tesla coil YAY. Its powered by a 9kv 60ma neon. i
am using a MMC with 3 strings of 12. they are the caps from the latest bulk
buy (2000v .068mfd). i am using a 3" diameter arylic tube wound 18 inches
on the form. it is wound with 22 ga magnet wire. i am also using a pancake
primary with 8 turns. with 1/4" copper tubing. now for turning it on.....
ok i started by setting my gaps the safety so that they just dont fire. i
set the primary gap to fire at 111 volts input. then when i stood away and
had the gaps hooked up it started to fire at 28 volts. so i decied that i
just will set it wider and tryed it again. this time it started firing at
about 70 volts but... when it hit about 90 volts it started to arc in one
of the strings to itself. there is abour 1/2in space between where the
sting breaks in two. the caps are like a loop of 6 on each side. so it
started to arc between those then i dicided that i am going inside. the
bugs were killing me there we thousands. so what i have figured out is that
i need to eather space those out which would mean just cutting the boards
in two and connecing them together with on wire or i might jsut though some
little strips of acrylic between the rows. does anyone know the best way to
do this? 
also remember dont set your acrylic tube on the cement by you feet. i am
really mad because i took a real good chip out of the tube but thankfuly it
didnt effect the windings.....
thanks alot,