Please visit our Sponsors
More FAQs about Marine System Plumbing Using Flexible Tubing

Related Articles: Plumbing Marine Systems, Plumbing Return Manifolds, Refugiums

Related FAQs: Rigid P ipe, Marine Plumbing 1, Marine Plumbing 2, Marine Plumbing 3Marine Plumbing 4, Marine Plumbing 5, Marine Plumbing 6, Plumbing 7, Plumbing 8, Plumbing 9, Plumbing 10, Plumbing 11, Plumbing 12, Plumbing 13, Plumbing 14, Plumbing 15, Plumbing 16, Plumbing 17, Plumbing 18, Plumbing 19, Plumbing 20,   & FAQs on: Plans/Designs, Parts: Valves, Back-Siphon/Check-Valves, Unions, Tools, SolventsLeaks/Repairs, & Holes & Drilling, Durso Standpipes, Overflow Boxes, Bubble Trouble, Plumbing Noise, Make Up Water Systems, Pumps, Plumbing, Circulation, Sumps, RefugiumsMarine Circulation 2, Gear Selection for Circulation, Pump ProblemsFish-Only Marine Set-ups, Fish-Only Marine Systems 2, FOWLR/Fish and Invertebrate Systems, Reef Systems, Coldwater Systems, Small Systems, Large SystemsWater ChangesSurge Devices

If you have to, want to use flexible hose... better by far to get a type that is made to stay "open"... Like the braided "beverage" hose at right.

Sealing tubing/Plumbing 4/8/13
Hello, crew.
<Hello Celeste>
I need to seal some tubing and don't know what to use. Someone suggested caulking, but I'm not sure how well that would work, so I  thought I'd run my problem by you and see what you suggested.
I purchased an inline heater and co2 system a few months ago. I have a Fluval 250 canister filter, and no one could tell me what the diameter of the tubing was, including several online aquarium stores and the store I ordered the inline parts from. I finally found something online that said 5/8ths, so I ordered all my parts to be 5/8ths....but it isn't.
<Tubing can be tricky getting the right size.  Tubing is measured as outside diameter, and the wall thickness of the tubing has to be considered.  You need to measure the diameter of the hose barb and size the tubing in that manner.  What I like about Eheim is that they give the ID and OD of their tubing.  Might want to look at their tubing and convert mm to inches and see if any of their sizes will work for you.  Other than that, I wouldn't mess around with glue or sealers, you're just asking for problems.
Be much better to use the Fluval as it comes and use powerheads to provide water flow to your reactor and inline heater.>
Rather than return it, which I probably should have just spent the money that way, I let it sit around and had a friend or two look at it with me. We figured that we could rig something together. I purchased 5/8ths tubing, two Fluval 250 intake valves and several rubber adapters. I cut up the intake valves and set up my system this way:
Fluval filter > Fluval hosing > rubber adaptor > intake valve > 5/8ths tubing > inline stuff > reverse into the aquarium.
Before I cut up my Fluval hosing and inserted all of these things, I did run my inline stuff through some tests with no leaks. However, when I started pumping my filter, water leaks between the intake valve and the 5/8th tubing. That is the only place that I could see leaking, so I need something to seal it there. What would you suggest? Or would this be a lost cause and I should just do the run around with the company to return everything? I'm hoping I can find a quick fix at the local super store as I'm without a filter until I can either get this fixed or can make it to the LFS tomorrow after work (they are closed on Sundays) for new Fluval hosing parts. Thanks in advance for your time.
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
- Celeste

Water return manifold, Locline plug vs. DIY   2/14/11
Anthony !
<Left us years back>
Yes, Cleo ? (sorry, da debbil made me do it :)
Just read the excellent article by Anthony Calfo at
In one section he discusses nozzles, making or modifying your own, and so on.
Look here : http://www.loc-line.com/products/index.html
Loc-Line is very easy to work with (don't really need their trick pliers), comes in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, has valves, manifolds, y's, t's, various size nozzles, holds up against fairly high pressure without moving, is impervious to most anything, and it's cheap. Any place that sells machining supplies and tools will have it.
And there are a couple of competing brands that come in less circus-oriented colors. Cedarlock is grey, I think. You can get it mail order from several online tool suppliers - Manhattan Supply comes to mind but there are others. It would be perfect for that job.
<Ah yes; often are>
(I wouldn't recommend saving a few pennies by buying the Chinese knock-offs. They don't pop together and apart without the pliers. They are truly annoying to use, so it's not worth the small cost savings.)
Thanks again for your great website !
Benjamin Barker
<Thank you for your notice. Bob Fenner>

Flexible PVC, Couplers for ornamental aquatics plumbing 5/26/2010
Hey Bob - what's your opinion of the flexible PVC couplings sold in Home Supply stores for connecting pipes?
<Hi Darrel... Well, IF folks are VERY careful... in cutting the flex, AND use the specific cleaner and solvent/"glue" for flex... this material can work out quite well>
They're approved only for drain applications and the PVC does contain plasticizers and for that reason aren't certified for potable water. That said, I see pond stores sell them for repairing and connecting PVC pipes.
Have you ever used them in the intake or filter (non pressure) lines of ponds?
<I have>
I have one in a marine tank's overflow piping and it's been there for a year with no ill effect to fish and soft coral ... but that's simply because I never thought about it until now.
<Some folks think that PVC of different sorts may well present some chemical troubles initially... Not much as far as I'm aware>
My concern is that almost everything in the world these days is made in China -- and all too often if they can solve something like a child's toy issue by softening the plastic with Cyanide, they might... so now I'm thinking about all the chemicals that may be in the things we take for granted.
<Good point>
Have you/would you ever use these things?
<I would. Had some "come apart" years back... but have seen since then in MANY installs... neat that it can be "made to fit" rather than rigid plastic pipe... and safe enough in my book. Cheers, BobF>
Re: more advice 5/26/2010
Sure -- but you may have misunderstood. I didn't mean flexible PVC pipe -- I mean the black rubber (although technically flexible PVC) couplings that are normally used in drain line plumbing .. such as no-hub couplings,
<Ohhh, right... we call them "Mexican Couplers" here in S. Cal...>
flexible pipe couplings and even Quick-Ells - come with 2 stainless screw clamps on either end ... that's what I meant, not the Schedule 40 flex tube that uses normal PVC fittings.
<Right... I think these are okay for aquarium use as well... Have used them... prior to the days, years of "Slip Fix" expandable couplers for tight-fitted corrections... to mistakes, repairs>
That said, post away! (I'd just asked personally b/c it's such a weird question)
<Hotay! B>

spa flex connections 10/17/09
Hello crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Is it possible to connect spa flex pipe to hose barb connections with clamps?
<yes it is>
<HOWEVER. As it's name implies, it's flex PIPE not hose and it isn't designed to deform around the ridges of a hose barb, so you have to make sure you have a tight fit between your barb and flex tubing. In other words it can be done, but you have the responsibility to see that it fits and seals securely. The "proper" way to use this pipe is to use PVC Cement to attach hard PVC fittings to the end.>

Finishing touches on refugiums, pipefish, and holes oh my...3/7/09 Hello Bob, Scott, Eric, or whomever is there... <Scott V. with you this go round.> After probably reading this 100 times a day, I must also say you guys/gals are great!!!? <Happy the site has helped you!> A job well done and don't pay one bit of attention to my wife being jealous or disliking you...;]!? <Uh oh.> I can only begin to guess the time given by the whole crew for newbies like us!!!? After many countless hours of studying WWM am going to make my first purchase in two weeks....MY TANK...Yaaayy!!!? <Congrats.> I would like to ask a few specific questions if I may, so I can take the leap!? First off, Im purchasing a custom 72/75 gallon tank, I was going to have {2} 3" holes drilled for 2" bulkheads and a single 2 3/8" hole for a 1.5" bulkhead. The guy building the tank for me said that those sizes were for sch 40 and that they were junk. Instead he said I would need for them to be sch 80 or they would end up cracking or wearing out. Said every customer who had em...had problems. <There is no need for schedule 80 in aquarium applications, the pressures involved come nowhere near warranting this. I personally have thousands of customers out there using sch 40 with no issues...the fact that he has makes me wonder what is being done wrong.> He also said instead of 3/8" glass I need 1/4" for the size holes im having drilled. Do you feel I need the sch 80 bulkheads?? <Nope.> Would you agree with him on the glass as well?? <If I am reading this correctly, to go thinner? No, 3/8 minimum for this tank.> Reason I ask is im sure with those upgrades there's an extra buck in there somewhere for him. <Possibly.> I was thinking all the holes on back wall, the 2 inch bhs near the top by the corners and the 1.5 inch bh near the center at top. Would it be better to have these clustered together rather than spread apart like that?? <No real difference, put them where you want them.> The 1.5 will be for the closed loop, is it ok to be at the same level as the 2"s?? <I would place it lower to keep it from drawing in air/air bubbles near the top.> Speaking of closed loop...hehe...will my outputs {swiveling els/LocLine} need to be the same length to provide even circulation?? <Nope.> I'd planned on one or two being longer to reach middle tank level. <Will be fine.> Sorry for being so sporadic, I feel im so close to actually putting my plan in gear that I've gotten a little nervous...; [ ! I'm wondering how noisy 750-1000 gph will be coming through a 40-55 gallon sump?? Can you weigh in?? <This can easily be managed. You may have to play around with the baffling a bit, see: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i1/Baffles/bafflesart.htm, this technique works great.> When I hear about not maximizing flow capacity to save on noise etc, does that mean just having a smaller pump than what the overflow holes can actually handle?? <Part of it, ideally you will flow the overflows at 1/2 or less than what they can handle, this way you will have a backup should one fail.> Ok last two ?s... I'll be using flex pipe for my plumbing, I will need to put a valve on line going to the refugium to control flow. <OK, but if (just incase) you are drawing this off of an overflow line you will want to have a T before the valve leads to the refugium. This way when you choke the valve a bit the overflow line has a bleed off, still has its full flow capacity.> For that and connections to bulkheads and pumps, will I need to form some kind of hard pvc union for the flex to clamp on?? Does that make sense?? <Hmm, yes, plastic hose barbs. If you wish to use flexible material to plumb do also consider the flexible PVC, sold as SpaFlex in many hardware stores. This piping is forgiving, flexes, and can be solvent welded into PVC fittings just like regular PVC. You do need a PVC solvent rated for flexible PVC, but if you read the fine print on many solvents out there they are actually rated for flex.> Ok last one! For the refugium, I'll have to make it a display refugium or the wife will go crazy {she doesn't have the slightest interest in my "obsession"} so I plan on having a 55 gallon set up beside and below the display. I will going for a DSB for NNR, and LR with Chaeto for a good pod population. It would be awesome for a pipefish/seahorse or two to reside in there!? Given the refugium setup would that be ok for syngnathids?? <It could work, sure.> Also do you feel they will demolish the whole pod population?? <This is the concern with adding these, ideally a refugium provides the pods a place to grow without impediments like being eaten!> Whew. For some reason I feel a lot better now...hehe. By the way, can anyone tell me how I can get my CMA, RI and BOCP autographed ; ]? <We will see what Bob has to say here, but one way would be to meet him at a trade show/club meet sometime. They are worthwhile to attend for many reasons.> <<Agreed Scott... and rather than mailing books about... the much better way to meet us, other folks of similar interests. RMF>> Thanks again for the wealth of knowledge you so greatly pass out. By the way I kinda get bummed out when I have completed the entire section of whatever im studying at the time, I mean c'mon, you couldn't have made the refdesfaqs go to 20 instead of 13....totally just kidding!? <All the sections are constantly growing!> Thanks again, J J <Welcome, have fun.>

Proper Tubing size... induced drag, magnetic driven pumps, flexible vs. rigid... Better filtration choices period   8/6/07 After many years of listening to my loud pump and water noise I finally decided to move everything that was below the aquarium to the other side of the wall which is outside the house. I bought a small garden storage and insulated it extremely well and plumbed the sump and a couple Ocean Clear bio filters with 5/8" tubing and using 1/2" connecters or 90's where needed. I used the same pump I always had which is a little giant 4mdsq. I noticed immediately that I didn't have the flow I wanted for a reef tank so purchased a barely used Iwaki md 70. The flow had doubled to Im guessing around 500 gph. I was expecting much more. Am I restricting the flow to much with the 5/8" tubing? <Yes, likely so> I looked at the filters they are capable of 3/4" pipe fittings but my LifeGuard heater module <These have unfortunately some troubles with flow restriction as well> and my UV sterilizer are only capable of 1/2" pipe fittings. <Mmm... I might run two pumps... the Little Giant on/with the heater and UV... the Iwaki for the canisters... but the nature of these last is that they quickly clog... You will/would likely want to add some purposeful circulation here as well... maybe in-tank... Hydor, Tunze...> I have a about 05' of horizontal movement then about 5' of lift plus a good 10 90 degree fittings. <Ooomph!> Will I gain significant volume by increasing the tubing size? <Not much with what you list here as gear, the distance, head... but worthwhile... Myself? I would switch the canisters out for a refugium and skimmer...> If so would I use 1" or 3/4" ? <Whatever the maximum diameter fitting size (OD) is for the gear... likely three quarter... and rigid would be better than flexible...> Would there be any benefit in T ing it at the pump discharge and having 2 lines one for sump and filters and one for the heater module and uv sterilizer? <No... as the filter cartridge/s clog (very quickly... I do hope/trust you have two sets... see WWM re...) too little flow will go to/through them> With maybe a gate valve to get the flow I want thru each. Or should I just be happy and add a powerhead or 2 ? Thanks for all your time and effort ! Curt <Again, I'd switch out this filter gear for more appropriate. Please read on WWM... Bob Fenner>

Re: Proper Tubing size  8/6/07 I hear what you are saying as far as the filters are concerned but please remember I had all this right below the tank with more then enough flow. The ocean clear are not cartridge rather one is a polybead filter the other is just stuffed with bio balls rather then the filter pads. <Ah, thank you for this> I have ran this set up for over 10 years and never had a clog. So what Im getting from you is a bigger or second pump? correct? <Yes... and/or the enlarged diameter, rigid conduit change... BobF>

Re: Proper Tubing size  8/6/07 Hi again and first let me say thanks for all the info and help. I was just curious what benefit the rigid tubing has over the flex? <Generally far less "induced drag" with the rigid... given the same setting> Im using the reinforced pvc hose. I am on the California central coast so no freezing danger. Is the rigid have a larger Id ? thanks <Mmm, I don't think so... they're both nominally whatever ID stated... and the reinforced is far better than the non-... but the ribbing does set up resistant currents... Bob Fenner> Tank Plumbing...Pipe Diameter/Joint Sealing - 04/02/07 Hi Guys! <<Hello Jason>> I am building a closed-system with SCWD for circulation after reading many of your FAQs and articles. <<Hmm...I think you mean a "closed-loop">> You guys are great! <<Glad you think so>> I hope you can help with some plumbing questions that I tried searching for on your FAQs. <<I shall try>> I may be getting an Eheim pump...  If the output valve is 3/4", after reading your FAQs, you've said the piping should be a bit bigger.  Will 1" piping be fine for a 3/4" valve? <<It will>> I also read that you guys suggest flexible hose piping to the valves to reduce vibration. <<Yes>> Can I just use a clamp with your suggested silicone on the valves? <<You can, yes...but if you are using the pump in a "submerged" fashion I don't feel you need the silicone>> When connecting joints that slip, is it fine just to use Silicone to create a seal .. or must I use PVC solvent? <<Use PVC solvent.  Done correctly this will make a permanent watertight seal, and if you make a mistake...is cheap to "redo">> Seems to me that if joints are threaded together, you suggest silicone. <<Ah yes, for "threaded" PVC joints the silicone will do fine...and also allow the connections to be undone when/if necessary.  Though personally, with the exception of seating/sealing bulkhead fittings, I prefer to use Teflon tape for threaded joints...is quick and easy to apply/reapply with no waiting for silicone to cure>> Thanks guys! Jason <<Happy to share.  EricR>>

Toxic tank, not from the tubing  3/6/07 <Hello Richard, Brandon here with you.>   I am trying to search out the reason for a toxic tank situation.  <I am confused.  Is your tank toxic right now?  If so you should have sent water test results with this e-mail.>  I have "flexible black PVC pipe" in my system.  This is not the corrugated PVC hose, but the semi flexible heavy pipe suitable for pond use and underground burial.  It seems rubberized.  Is it OK for salt water use <Should be.>, and will it stand the test of time, 2 years <You will probably have to replace it at some point.  This type of hose is not that expensive.  I just went through an upgrade.  Relatively easy.  Just go to a hardware store, buy the hose, cut off the pumps/overflow, install and you are up and running in minutes.>, in a salt water system.  Could it leach toxins?  <Not likely.  I have clear plastic tubing, I like to see what is going through it.  I do however, have black flex hose much like you are talking about running from a CPR overflow that I have,  I have had it about a year now with no problems.>   Thanks <You are welcome.  Brandon>   Richard

Leaking Return Line, Hose Clamps are Your Friends   2/20/07 Dear WWM Crew- <Hi Gina, Mich with you tonight.> I've tried to find the answer to my problem but I still have a couple of questions. <Alrighty!> I have a 75 gallon marine aquarium that was my husband's project. It has been left in my care and have some knowledge regarding the plumbing but I'm not 100% confident that I know what I'm doing.  Last night I was trying to remove the flexible tubing from the return pump so I could clean it. Well I couldn't and gave up. When I turned everything back on I noticed the leak on the other end of the flexible tubing hooked directly to the aquarium. <Figures!?!> I tried to tighten it but it didn't help. I went ahead and bought some new flexible tubing identical to what I have at Lowe's. My question is do I need to use some kind of plumber's tape ( the white stuff) when hooking on the new tubing? The end hooked to the pump appears to have it but the opposite end that's leaking, I don't see any. <Stainless steel or plastic hose clamps, even zip ties are most helpful here.  See the image for stainless steel and plastic hose clamps on this page: http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl= http://www.drsfostersmith.com/images/Categoryimages/largefeatured/1_13152_fs13630s. jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/NavResults.cfm%3FN%3D62728%2B113833&h=206&w=260&sz=8&hl=en&start=3&tbnid=AJFrzpOlHfvmAM:&tbnh=89&t bnw=112&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dplastic%2Bhose%2Bclamps%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3 Den%26safe%3Doff%26client%3Dsafari%26rls%3Den%26sa%3DG You local hardware store should carry these and are cheap enough to keep on hand.>   Also can you walk me through the process so that I don't end up with water all over the place. I simply just want to be prepared as I start disconnecting stuff. Lucky me I've requested the help of the roommate's fiancé'.  We've never done this before and what I've read so far doesn't really go into detail.  The pump is a mag-drive model of some sort, it sits in the sump submerged in water. There's a valve hooked to the pump & then the tubing is hooked to it. Any helpful info would be appreciated. <If it were me, I would leave everything as is and simply add the clamp.  These little projects often lead to very big projects, and may become all day events.  I've learned to leave well enough alone.  It's hard to tell you exactly what to do without seeing the set up.  But generally, If you do decide to go ahead, gather some towels, hose clamps, zip ties and plumbing tape.  If you have at least four hands you can lift the Mag drive from the water and allow if it to blow air through the lines.  You do not want to allow it to run dry for long, but long enough to rid the line of water.  Then turn off the pump, and remove the return line from the tank.  Be careful of back siphoning, which hopefully will be avoid if the line are filled with air.  Switch out the tubing and keep your fingers crossed that there are no leaks.  You may have to run the flexible tubing under hot water to make it, well, flexible enough to replace.  The clamps may help solve potential leaking issues, just be careful not to over tighten. Sometime two hose clamps placed a small distance apart are needed to ensure a water tight seal.  Good luck!>     Thank You! -Gina <You're welcome, -Mich>

Hard Plumbing...Soft Plumbing...Pump Intakes...Bulkheads -- 10/18/06 Hi Crew, (not sure who is on duty). <<EricR here>> Thank you for my lighting help. <<Don't know who that was but I'm sure you are quite welcome>> I now received the rest of my equipment and am on the plumbing.  I am setting up my 90g reef tank.  It is an AGA Mega Flow.  Of course the space I have in the cabinet is not enough for my sump and two Blueline external pumps. <<A common scenario>> One pump is for circulation and the other is for my skimmer.  I originally planned on using PVC pipe. I don't have much room on the suction side of either pump unless I use 90 degree elbows, or I use the reinforced tubing with a hose barb and do a kind of a circular loop from the sump and back down to the intake of the pump.  Are either of these methods ok or not ok? <<Either will likely work fine, but I like the smoother turns of the 'looped' tubing.  Maybe you could use 'Spa Flex' tubing (flexible PVC) rather than vinyl tubing (less chance for kinking/collapsing).  If you decide on the 'hard' PVC, use two 45-degree ells to make a turn rather than a single 90-degree ell as this will cause less restriction>> I had always heard that you shouldn't restrict on the suction side of a pump. <<The line should be as straight/unobstructed as possible, yes...but a turn or two shouldn't be a problem>> Does either of these two methods constitute restriction? <<Not in the sense that installing a valve would>> I know you lose PSI for each elbow on the discharge side, but is same true or similar on the suction side? <<Not so much an issue of PSI as GPH...the fact the water is 'falling' to the pump helps a bit>> I also heard a good method with these pumps is to use the flexible tubing on the intake and put the pumps on a mouse pad as this will reduce the vibration that you would get from using PVC and having the pump on the bottom of the wooden cabinet floor. <<Indeed...a short length of flexible tubing on both input and output nozzles can help dampen vibration of the plumbing...and like you mention, a mouse pad/piece of carpet/carpet pad can reduce vibration noise transmitted to the cabinet>> Of course to use this method I would have to use a 90 degree hose barb.  Lastly, I was surprised to see that the Mega Flow tank came with bulkheads with hose-barb ends as one unit. <<Yes...cheesy/cheap>> Why did they make that decision for the hobbyist or am I missing something here? <<For the same reason they decided to install throughputs that are still too small and yet call them 'Mega Flow'>> Can the hose barb part be cut off and a slip fitting be put in? <<Best to replace the bulkhead altogether>> It looks like it is 3/4" intake and 1" out. <<Yep...too small and not enough>> Thank you in advance. Regards, Ken <<Happy to assist, Eric Russell>>

R2: Hard Plumbing...Soft Plumbing...Pump Intakes...Bulkheads - 10/20/06 Hi Eric, <<Hello Ken>> Thanks again. <<Always welcome>> Few more questions if it is ok? <<Sure>> What do you suggest that I use from my 1" bulkhead return to my sump in terms of piping or tubing.  The bulkhead is pretty much right on top of the sump.  Do I use PVC straight down, or angle it somewhat, or tubing. <<I would use rigid PVC straight in to the sump with a 45-degree ell on the end positioned just below the water's surface.  The ell helps to clear bubbles so they aren't trying to go back up the pipe/creating resistance like a "straight-in shot" would>> I am asking the question based on what may be the quietest with the standpipe in the tank. <<Understood>> I thought I read somewhere that straight down was not the best option. <<Thus the reason for the ell/for placing the output below the surface>> When I fill the tank with water the first time and run the system to check for leaks: A) Can I keep this water and go with it or do I need to change it due to new tank, tubing, piping, etc. <<Should be fine to "keep">> I was wondering if there is anything that could be bad for the live rock or livestock once I stock the tank? <<Mmm...be sure to follow proper cycling protocol for newly established systems>> B) How long can I run the system without lighting (except room lighting) without putting anything into the tank? <<Theoretically speaking...indefinitely...but I like to put light on my rock while curing/cycling the tank, and let the natural algae progression take its course>> I was wondering if I would get algae if I ran it for a couple of three days with nothing in it, as I am not sure what day I am getting my rock. <<No matter...will happen eventually>> I used to use Reef Crystals many years ago when I had a reef tank. Is this still good? <<Will be fine>> My tank is 90 gallons with a Marine Technical Concepts HSA-1000 skimmer, and their Pro-Cal calcium reactor, Maristar HQI (2x250 watts) and T5 (2x54 watts), and two Tunze Turbelle Stream 6000's with controller.  How many pounds of live rock do I need? <<I like to go with a "bit less" than most would suggest for reasons of aesthetics/giving the organisms room to move around/grow.  I would start with about 60lbs of a premium rock and make adjustments as need from there>> Is it 1.5 lbs per gallon or less than that? <<A useless measurement in my opinion...to many variables (weight of the rock, type system/ancillary equipment employed, species/type animals, etc.)>> It is supposed to be Fiji. <<Should be fine...though some regard this rock as "bargain" rock>> It is from LFS and it is as cured as you are going to see from a store. <<I would still expect/allow for this in your tank...albeit likely diminished>> I will also use the packaged live sand too (for aesthetics mostly), maybe about 3/4" or so (depth ok?). <<Yes>> Is the Carib-Sea live sand or the Nature's Ocean a better choice? <<Waste of money in my opinion...use dry aragonite and let the rock seed the sand>> Is there a certain grain size that I should be using, and do I have to put this under the rock or can I put the rock in the tank first, and then the sand up to it? <<A mix of grades from sugar-size to 2mm is fine...and yes, for stability placing the rock on the tank bottom and then adding the sand works fine>> I think I used up my quota of questions.  Thank you so much for your help. <<No worries mate...we're here to help>> Regards, Ken <<Be chatting.  Eric Russell>>

Hard Plumbing... Soft Plumbing... Pump Intakes... Bulkheads - 10/19/06 Hi Eric, <<Hello Ken>> Thanks for the response. <<Quite welcome>> In between I sent you my email and saw your response I had discovered the world of flexible PVC. <<Ah...>> I used this with PVC glue. <<Yep>> I used 3/4" and 1" for my two pumps.  I did a smooth curve (not a loop). <<Excellent>> It probably took 15" -18" to make the smooth curve.  I would imagine that this should be ok? <<Will be fine>> Does this stuff definitely hold? <<If you installed it correctly, yes...is as strong or stronger than schedule-40 PVC hard pipe>> I also put a union on the suction side.  Is this ok? <<Yes...and a good idea to facilitate maintenance of the pump>> I figure that in case I ever have to take the pump out this would be the simplest. <<Indeed>> I would imagine that I should put a ball valve somewhere on the discharge side.  What do you think? <<I agree, but not a ball-valve...instead install a "gate-valve" as this will give you a much finer control of the flow.  You should also consider placing a union between the pump-discharge and the gate-valve for the same reason you placed one on the intake side of the pump>> I know some people would say put a valve on both ends of the pump due to sump drainage if the pump is removed but I could always take some PVC pipe and a 90 degree elbow and some more pipe and put it higher than the water line. <<If this is your "return pump" it should not be an issue as you should have the sump plumbed in such a way as to hold all the transient water when the pump is off.  Thus, once you turn off the pump and allow the tank to drain down, water from the drain line/pump intake line wouldn't be a problem>> I am trying to keep as many "add-ons" out of my plumbing. <<Always good>> Of course I need to lose some gph anyway since the pump is rated at 790 GPH at 5-feet of head and the tank can only handle 600 GPH. <<No worries, the gate-valve will allow any final adjustment if necessary...and I think you will find that 600 GPH will be too much for the single 1" drain to handle easily>> One more question about the standpipe with the Mega Flow. <<Okay>> Is this noisy? <<Usually, yes...you will probably want to consider a modification.  Do a Google search re "Durso Standpipe" or "Stockman Standpipe"...I think both offer "kits" for these now>> I was curious why I read about people switching to the Durso standpipe.  Do you have any ideas on this? <<Indeed...most hobbyists find the "stock" standpipes supplied by the tank manufacturers to be about as inadequate as the throughputs themselves>> Also, is there a trick to "tuning" either of these standpipes? <<Should be listed on the respective websites, but generally, aspirating the drains sometimes proves helpful>> Oh yea, and I did replace the two bulkheads that came with the tank. <<Ah, very good>> Thanks a lot. Regards, Ken <<Pleased to share, EricR>>

Pool hose use Dear WetWebMedia Crew, Is pool hose safe for use as drain lines for overflow boxes?  The drain lines that came with my overflows are not long enough, and the pool hose at Home Depot is less  expensive than the replacement overflow hoses. Sincerely, Jason <My experience has been that all these types of hose are safe for biological systems. If/when in doubt though, get the company/manufacturer name and contact them re specific use. Bob Fenner>

Plumbing question Hi,     I have a small problem and I came across your site.  I can't trust my  local pet store I feel they are lying to me and ripping me off.  I have a 90  gallon reef ready tank and an Amiracle SL wet/dry filter.  I have had it in  storage for a couple of years, and I've seemed to have forgotten how to connect the  filter to the tank.  The pet store is telling me I am missing a part and will  need to purchase a $70 replacement kit.  Knowing that I only need ONE part they are encouraging me to buy the whole kit.  The worst part is I'm not sure  what part I'm missing so I can't order the part through the Doctor's Foster &  Smith catalog.  They are telling me that the part I'm missing connects the white  flex hose to the male end PVC pipe that comes out from the bottom of the tank. ANY help you can give me will be so appreciated. < hi, it is kind of hard to understand what you mean with out a picture, on the bottom of your tank you should have 2 bulkheads (they are black and go threw the hole in the bottom of your tank. Out of this bulkhead you said you have a piece of pipe. If it is an All glass or oceanic tank it will be 1"pipe)to connect your hose to the pvc pipe you will need a coupling they sell them at home depot in the plumbing section. you do not need to buy the whole kit .take the pieces to the store with you and they can help you. Later MikeH> thank you in advance

- Wrong Hose - <Hello, JasonC here...> Well I've just experienced my first, and hopefully last, sudden die off of fishes. <I'm sorry to hear this.> Actually 2 of 8 fish and the rest seeming a little stressed. Inverts and corals (all soft or mushroom) seem to be mostly unaffected. Anyway the circumstances leading up to this go as follows. Late last week the pump running my skimmer decided to stop working. Seeing this I checked into my LFS's to see about a replacement. Well they all wanted A LOT of money for the Rio 2100 so I ordered from an internet seller hoping it would arrive in a timely fashion, which it did. Since I was ordering I decided to help my circulation by adding a SCWD mechanical wave maker. To the point, when I received the gear yesterday I immediately got the skimmer running again and decided to hook up the SCWD. I used auto heater hose (new) as I had some around. I know this was brand new and I rinsed as well in plain tap water. Is this hose leeching something into my water or is this an effect of the skimmer not running for almost a week? <I'd put my money on the hose.> I did a small water change while the skimmer wasn't running and nitrates are only reading .2 with a Salifert kit. I also took a sample to the LFS today and they could not find any ammonia, nitrites, nitrates or Phos. I'm confused. This is the same type of hose used to hook up a dishwasher or washing machine just without the metal ends. <Neither typically have seawater running through them...> I would think this is safe. <Nope.> Is it, or do I have to use some special, ultra mark-up "aquarium hose"? <Any hose suitable for food or beverage service - vinyl, etc. I would not use black rubber hose. Cheers, J -- > - Follow-up: Wrong Hose - Thanks. I think it was the hose as when I took it out you could almost see an immediate difference in respiration. Much better. Although I did lose my tang as well :( <Sorry to hear about the Tang. At least it's a mistake you won't make twice. Cheers, J -- >

Hose clamps Hi:     I would like to know if you can use stainless steel hose clamps in the wet dry filter to clamp a hose???? Thank You <You can, but plastic works better...no metals to leach...  Craig><<I would say not "in" the wet-dry itself. Better to use plastic types. Bob>>

Re: Plumbing I am starting to plumb my sump. I am going to be using flex pvc with some ball valves. Do you prefer threaded or slip joints? <Threaded for the purpose you mention below, or slip (inserting the flexible if sized to fit), and true-union couplers to take apart later.> If I use slip do I need a special glue or will the standard pvc joint work? <You need to find, use flexible PVC pipe solvent when using flexible PVC pipe> I prefer threaded so I can take it apart if needed but I don't want any air bubbles entering the sump. <Put a small smear of silicone sealant (the same as is used for building all-glass aquariums) on the threads before assembling. This will seal the area, but allow you to un-thread the joint later if desired. Bob Fenner> Shaun Nelson

Re: Plumbing Thanks for the reply. You mentioned to use silicone for building all-glass aquariums. I used 100% silicone from Home Depot that is usually used to seal windows and doors. As far as I can tell it is pure silicone with no additives. I hope this is ok. <Yes, absolutely. I have stated this a bunch of times, but 100% is 100%... this is the source I generally use. Bob Fenner>

Plumbing Parts Hi guys, I have a couple questions about plumbing.  This may be a little different type of question.  I am wondering about the black flexible ball-socket joint tubing that I got from marine Depot.   <understood... its very popular in a wide variety of industrial applications as well as the aquarium hobby> I am plumbing a manifold around the top of my tank (like Anthony describes in his book) and using the 3/4" black flexible tubing off of the pvc.  Question is...How do I connect/attach the flexible tubing to the pvc "T"?   <there is a coupling to do this... big mail order companies like That Fish Place... perhaps Custom Aquatic... and many others, stock this part> Do I just push and shove the tubing to the pvc or do I want to glue the 2 pieces together (never worked w/ the flexible tubing b/f).   <nope... not reliable> This brings me to another question.  I have a 75 gal tank, around the top I am putting the manifold for return flow , but...I usually have the glass top/s that sit on the tank, with the manifold it won't work. <Hmmm... not true... the manifold will sit right at or all right above the water surface to reduce salt creep. On commercial tanks, people use the plastic lip of the trip of the tank to drill small holes to fish cable ties through to hand the narrow piped manifold by. All below the canopy> So something needs to give, the glass top or manifold.   <you can have your cake and eat it too> I see a lot of tanks with an open top and was wondering if it is a good idea.   <dramatically improves amount of light penetrating water for your corals> What are the Pos/Neg of the top open.   <few negatives beyond jumping fish and extra salt creep> I am going with a reef tank with mainly soft corals.  I do have an oak canopy that sits on top of the tank.  Last bit of info, I have a>JBJ PC fixture that sits on top of tank.  Should I do anything different with the light if I go with the top open above the water, or just sit it like b/f?   <fluorescent lights MUST be no further than 3" off water surface to be effective. Take heed... and wipe the dust and debris off your lamps weekly for best light> Sorry for lengthy question.  Always appreciate the wonderful info/advice and the time you guys take to answer all of our questions.  Thanks as always Bryan.   <kind regards, Anthony>

Re: Plumbing Question Robert-Imagine that, A 99 cent hose clamp around the pump's outlet and return hose eliminated the "venturi effect" and the bubbles are gone.  <Amazing, but have experienced the same... we used to "double" hose clamp flexible lines (for this reason and for fear they might pull/pop off) with all plastic ones on installs.> BTW - I do have a wet-dry filter between the overflow/pre-filter and pump, sorry for the confusion. Thanks, Brad <No worries. Congrats on the fix. Bob Fenner>

Marine Plumbing Mr.. Fenner, I bought your book (CMA) and loved it!! Read almost every fact possible and naturally began the process of self-doubt that reading this much info can produce! Allow me to run over my intended reef system (in the making) ..Oceanic 75g reef ready with 1 built-in overflow.. "Berlin" style sump that holds 35g ..120lbs live rock with 4x's 96 watt custom Sealife power compacts 2 6,700 and 2 actinic...T3 pump that has 800 gph.. return plumbing matches pump outlet @3/4" split to two returns.. one sea swirl and one flex pipe...my questions are as follows. 1. Do you base the watt per gal. mantra on total volume i.e. tank & sump or just display tank volume? Is the light I have too much light? <Like your word usage... not much of a mantra to me... many factors involved in choosing light fixturization. Please read over the article, many FAQs files on these issues posted on WetWebMedia.com, perhaps starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marindind2.htm> 2. With only one return line will I be restricted with max flow and should I use an addition hang-on overflow/return to augment this flow? <I would do so... better to be "safe than sorry"...> 3. Can regular PVC cement be used to solvent weld flex PVC pipe? I cannot find the elusive "flexible" PVC cement.. <No, not the same formulation... Are you sure you're using, or want to use this material for piping? I suggest either hard plumbing as much as you can... or using polyethylene where you currently are seeking to use flex PVC... with barbed fittings, plastic clamping...> 4. Is a submersible Rio pump for my CustomSeaLife UV sterilize really a "time bomb" as so many people seem to believe? <No... not "that" bad... do put on your scheduled maintenance (weekly), to pull it out, give it a look over in the sink, running tap water over the components in the volute (impeller, etc). Most Rios do work just fine...> 5. Besides a check valve; is there any other type of valve i.e. a true union ball valve needed or helpful on my drain line from tank to sump? <Not really. Either on/off is about all one is looking for... You can always just lower your water level to effectively "shut off" the water flow here> Thanks in advance for your time and advice. Your expertise has been of great benefit for all of us who have been "infected" with this salt water syndrome!! Regards, Craig <Glad to be of help. Bob Fenner>

Cementing braided pvc Dear WWM Crew: <cheers, my friend> Can you recommend an appropriate cement for solvent fitting braided pvc tubing? Is an all-purpose primer/cement sufficient? <yes but remember that you should always use separate cleaner/primer and cement solvents. The all-in-ones are a recipe for leaks><<Look for solvents expressly made, labeled for flexible PVC use. RMF>> Thanks in advance for your help. Samantha <very welcome my dear>

Rainbow Lifegard Components Assembly, Marine Plumbing I am in the process of setting up a new 100 gallon tank. I have purchased a rainbow lifeguard canister system. The problem I am having is how to hook the system together. I have read the directions over and over and I can not find anything helpful. I am assuming that you hook the system together with pvc cement. <Most of it, yes... but the threaded portions are best joined with a light smear of 100% silicone sealant (to facilitate/allow it to be taken apart later... if you want to change a part of it)... not Teflon tape, pipe dope... definitely not solvent (again, this on thread to thread connections). For the slip parts, I strongly suggest fitting them with reducer bushings to barbed connections and using a small length of flexible tubing and clamps (all can be had from a large "hardware store", like Lowe's or Home Depot) OR going through the expense of getting true-unions (flush fit) between the major parts to once again allow their facile change...> If that is the case then how do you hook the quiet one pump to the first canister? <Best to bush down the intake to the first canister to the same diameter (3/4" if memory serves) to a barb and connect it and the pump with a piece of flexible polyethylene tubing, two clamps... second best to "hard plumb" the two with (as above), a true-union fitting, valve... You will want to be able to turn off, remove the pump/open the volute here...> The canister has a large water import that is a slip joint  <Fit this with a slip by thread reducer bushing (1 1/4" I think but measure by 3/4" thread, and fit that threaded end with a 3/4 barb by thread... so you can join the pump discharge (fitted with a female thread by barb... to the first canister> and the export on the pump is small and with threads. Help if you can! <Please contact Rainbow as well... they should provide more, better input for their consumers... and check out the "Oz Reef", masterful DIY site (both links on the www.WetWebMedia.com Links Page... Bob Fenner> Thank you John Bugby

Re: Plumbing arrangement for Rainbow products Thank you for your help. I have tried to e-mail Rainbow, but all I get back is a list of dealers. You seem to prefer to use flexible tubing instead of hard plumbing Why?  <Hmm, may seem like a "smarty pants" answer, but, "because it's flexible"... That is, because instead of "hard plumbing" (by solventing) the components together with flexible and clamps you can "change your mind", "manipulate the parts" (like to get to the cartridges, UV lamps... very important) much more easily than if the whole contraption was "glued together"... I noticed Rainbow Lifegard's list of fittings on their site... but not flexible tubing... can be gotten from HD, Lowe's as stated previously.> I am setting up a 100 gallon salt water tank. My filtering system is a trickle filter, the rainbow system with UV, and a protein skimmer. Is there anything that I have missed or should have? <Too large a subject area to cover adequately here. Please read through the "Marine Set-Up" section on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com, books, magazine articles, other folks sites, chat rooms... for sufficient input as to your choices... Bob Fenner>

Plumbing Any suggestions for preventing leaks when using flexible hose for your plumbing? I am currently plumbing an in-line reducer, a tee, and I'm connecting the return lines to the two bulkheads. It's hard to believe the little snap clamp will keep it from leaking. . . <Two snap clamps are better than one here... as is a smear of silicone sealant (100%)... it won't stick to the polyethylene tubing or PVC barbed fitting, but helps to make as a nesting material... can be taken off later. Have seen, put together many systems with just this technology. No worries.> Thanks for your help and glad you had a safe trip!! David Dowless <Thank you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Plumbing Hi Bob! I'm still working on the plumbing for the 100 gallon tank. Thanks for suggesting the drilling tool for the tank and sump. It was inexpensive and worked great! <Yes, amazing tools for this job> Well. . .I've been trying to plumb with flex tubing but I just don't think it's going to work for my situation. The space is too tight in the cabinet, and the tubing keeps kinking. So I'm thinking of going to flex pvc or regular schedule 40. <Maybe the best route> On the return, I am running a Blueline 1100 (1100 gph) and it is tee-ed to both sides of the tank. If I use the regular schedule 40, there will be a 90 degree angle at the tee, and one 90 degree angle on each side entering the aquarium (total of 3x 90 degree angles). The tubing is 3/4 id. Will this drastically reduce the flow? Should I be concerned? Would flex pvc be better? <I'd use larger inside diameter tubing... for much more flow (pi r squared for surface area of a cross section if you remember...) getting the water out... 3/4" going back to the tank from the sump is fine> Unfortunately, the tubing and fittings for the overflow tubing is 1 1/4'' id. I can't find a 1 1/4 bulkhead with hose barb fittings anywhere. <Mmm, check the hobby magazines, or just use a "thread by barb" insert fitting of 1 1/4" in the "outside" part of the thru-hull (if it's threaded on the inside or outside of the throat> I might could order it online but I was really hoping to finish this so I could order the live rock Friday. Would it be okay if I just laid the two overflow tubings in the sump and didn't worry about attaching them to a bulkhead? <Oh, likely yes... I'd consider even attaching Emperor Aquatics "bags" on their ends (maybe with an insert fitting in the flex to give the bags' closings something to stop at) as collectors of particulates, diffusers of flow...> On the surface, it seems that I could lay the ends down in the bottom of the container and it would work fine as long as the tubing was long enough that it couldn't be pulled out. What do you think? <Should work fine> After I finish the plumbing, do you think letting the tank run for two days will be enough to be sure there are no leaks? <Yes> Thanks Bob! Keep up the good work and visit Las Vegas when you get a chance. My wife and I would love to treat you and yours to a "night on the town." <Thank you my friends. Bob Fenner> David Dowless Livin' and Learnin' in the city of Lost Wages. I mean Las Vegas.

Plumbing question Hi Bob <Howdy> I am setting up a new 100g tank with 30g sump. My only experience is a freshwater tank I have had for about 3 yrs. <Good to have this "under your belt"> I took your advice and I purchased 2 Eheim 1060's one for a Turboflotor skimmer and the other one for the return. The question that I have is do I route all the water from the overflow to the skimmer or do I T off to the sump with valves. It seems that the intake on the skimmer is very small, only 1/2. <For the brand/make of skimmer this may be "it"... all the intake it calls for, can handle. I would tee off the overflow, use a valve to the skimmer to adjust height of water in contact chamber of the skimmer.> I am planning on using 1" on the overflow and 3/4" return on the tank. The other question I have is what type of fittings are on the skimmer, I am having a very hard time finding the right ones to connect to the Eheim. <Turboflotor... large hardware stores should have tubing that will fit it. If not, often can be connected by fitting flexible tubing over the ribbed fittings in two layers... and plastic clamped... Bob Fenner> Jim

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: