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Schedule 40, flexible and rigid will do in most all pet-fish applications

Plumbing, PVC thickness    2/25/10
Your website has been extremely beneficial in helping me design the extensive plumbing layout for my new 168g display and 40g sump. I'm now ready to build but have one last question. Do I use schedule 40 pvc or schedule 80 pvc for my plumbing?
<The forty is best; sufficiently strong... "Rated for 400 psi.">
I will be using 2", 1.5" ,1" and 3/4" lines throughout the outputs and returns in both the closed loop system and sump plumbing configurations.
Thank you,
Les Currey
<Welcome Les. Bob Fenner>

Plumbing Help'¦Where to Reduce Output Pipe Size -- 08/21/08 Hi all, <<Greetings Bruno>> I have recently acquired a Tunze Master Electronic return pump which I will be using for my tank. <<A good line>> The pump has a 1.5" outlet but my bulkhead return to the tank is only 1". My question is where should I reduce the plumbing from 1.5" to 1"? Is it better to do it on the output of the pump or just before the bulkhead? Thanks, Bruno <<Either is fine'¦ Waiting to reduce the output till just before the bulkhead may provide a small increase in flow-rate over the other method'¦but then, running/handling a 1-inch line from the pump as opposed to a 1.5-inch line may prove more advantageous in a different way...is up to you to decide which best suits you. Regards, EricR>>

Plumbing Questions'¦ Prefilter Flow Restriction/Increasing Return-Pipe Diameter -- 04/07/08 Hi Crew, <<Hello John>> Two questions on return plumbing. <<Okay>> 1) I would like to use a prefilter on my OR6500. It has a suction side of 1.25 inches. I plan on upping this to 1.5 inch prefilter to minimize strain. Will the prefilter cause a reduction in output (if I keep it clean, of course)? <<Prefilters do restrict flow'¦how much depends on the type of prefilter/filter material used. If this pump is being used a sump return pump, a prefilter is neither needed nor desirous (will interfere with the transfer of beneficial organisms living/breeding in the sump), in my opinion>> 2) I know pipe friction on standard Schedule 40 PVC is less of an issue than 90s and head loss. <<Figure about 1-foot of headloss for every 10-feet of horizontal pipe run>> However I was curious whether bushing up from 1" output to 1.5" PVC four feet up to the tank, and then teeing to two .75"s would provide an advantage relative to 1" pipe running up to the two .75"s. <<Some non pressure-rated pumps (e.g. -- Mag-Drive) seem to benefit 'slightly' from bushing-up the outlet pipe diameter I guess I am asking whether a larger pipe provides enough less friction to offset the bushing.... <<I think it is of little consequence in this application'¦but going with the larger pipe diameter is of no harm and little extra expense, so'¦>> Keep up the great work! <<We're trying>> Thanks, John <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Painting PVC 1/11/08 Hello all, <Hello Bill.> One question (for now). I have a 24g Aquapod. I built a custom stand and a 20g glass sump for it. I'm running the PVC line to and from the sump. I am also running the piping inside the tank going all around it in the front to make a current from different angles. I want to paint those pipes cause the white will stand out and wanted to paint it black. My question is what kind of paint can I use that will be safe inside the tank? I have seen many different response to it to use epoxy, Krylon or organic (never heard of organic paint). The tank is coming out real nice but I want the fish to be alive too. <Many paints will work once dry and cured. I personally stick to Krylon Fusion. It adheres better to the plastic.> Thanks Bill?? <Welcome, have fun, Scott V.>

Class 200 or Sch 40 12/10/07 Hello All: <Hello.> Quick question about plumbing a 240 gallon tank'¦..When using a sequence Dart pump, is it safe to use PVC pipe that is rated at 200 psi as opposed to 400 psi? <For a purely psi issue, yes. Is it safe, no.> Obviously the diameter of the 200 psi is larger since the walls are thinner, but I am not sure if it is safe to use the lower psi. <This stuff is just too thin/easy to break or split to use indoors (or out).> Thanks as always for the information and apologies if this is already posted! Michele F. <Welcome, Scott V.>

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>>

Treated CPVC BAD?  Justin Explains the Difference Between CPVC & PVC and Other Acronyms 10/23/05 <Paul>  In the freshwater hobby I've used CPVC extensively. I've read that in CPVC the C stands for chlorinated and this has raised havoc for the livestock in reef systems. <Mmmm not that I have ever heard PVC is poly vinyl chloride but is an inert substance that doesn't leech back into systems. CPVC is used in conjunction with copper tubing and as such is set up with its measured diameters being the outside rather than PVC which is inside diameter. The extra C at the beginning is just the way to differentiate between them. I have used CPVC and PVC extensively for a very long time with no side effects in SW systems.>  I also have misgivings about the gray PVC and more importantly at this time, The PVC marked DW. This stands for drain water. I've been told that it has antimicrobials mixed in its makeup. Is this true?  <A few calls to plumber friends in the PVC business, and a company who sells PVC styles have yielded no information of that kind. I have used standard PVC pipe at up to 8 inch diameter before and seen no mention of such agents put on before hand, though PVC is toxic when it is being mixed.>  The DW PVC is the only 4" or greater diameter piping I have found.  <Standard PVC comes in at least up to 8' here, try calling a home improvement store or a local plumbing contractors store who carries larger piping etc for such needs.> I really need them for Skimmer and filtration component parts. I guess it boils down to; which of the types of PVC do you specifically have experience with and are there any types you would consider unsafe for reef aquarium use? Thanks for your time Paul <Well PVC and CPVC are fine for usage as long as you let the glue and primer cure for a while before hooking it up. I have run it as soon as the glue is hard (around 1 minute) without waiting in emergencies, but a 12 hour wait guarantees the bond at the joint is as strong as possible before you subject it to pressure. In most setups simple PVC is fine, though CPVC is nice as it takes up a little less space; however, you do loss some flow and add a bit more pressure for the pump to overcome. Buy the same sized pipe that your pump uses without needing adapters or flow restricting couplers from one size to another. The longer the run at one size the easier it is on the pump and the longer your system runs without maintenance.> <Justin (Jager)> 

Lost Emails and Pipe Sizing Don't know what happened to my e-mails but received no response, so here goes one last try. <We didn't lose you Scott, we get a lot of mail to answer!> 150g tank, dolphin return pump, 1 1/2" tubing from pump to Y fitting, hoping to get 2000gph using six nozzles off of manifold along with three 1 1/2" overflows. Question is what size pipe to reduce to coming out of the Y fitting to serve as the manifold , 1" (with 3/4" nozzles) or 3/4"(using 1/2" nozzles). Thanks for any help. <Total flow rate of six outlets needs to total 2000gph or slightly more. Use plumbing sized to accommodate this. (Pipe has a known flow rate at known pressures).  I don't keep these floating in my head, but they are to be had on the net (flow charts at plumbing manufacturers, etc.). My own feeling is 1 1/2" pipe will be reduced too much with two 3/4" lines, no matter how many outlets they have. I would go larger and step down as needed or w/valves on flex/ball fittings.  Craig.>

Plumbing... Craig and the rest of the Wet Wizard and Masters Crew! As always let me thank you most sincerely for your help. You have been an invaluable resource and unlike my LFS have kept me from getting discouraged by the amount of learning and researching that getting into this hobby requires. My praise is not mere flattery but in response to the genuine enthusiasm the WWM crew seems to have for everyone associated with this hobby. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! <Our pleasure!> I have moved to the plumbing phase of the setup of my 90 Gal reef and I had a few questions for the crew. For a 90Gal with a decent to high flow rate through a refugium/sump using two back wall weir enclosed bulkhead inputs and two rear wall 90ell style outputs what would you recommend for flow rate, diameter pipe and pump? <I like em' big, 1 1/2" - 2" overflows. Pump and turnover dependent on inhabitants. Softies, etc. 10X turnover, LPS/SPS up to 20X. Pump depends on head, needed flow rate, plumbing restriction, etc. Very individual. You need to oversize substantially for your needs.> >My idea was to use two 2" bulkhead inputs Teed together into a 2" pipe which would empty into the input chamber of the sump (should the combined pipe be a large diameter than before the Tee or is the 2" to the sump ok?). <Absolutely or use two separate bulkheads and lines to the sump. (2")> On the output side I was planning on using 2 Mag-Drives for return with a float switch on both pumps and anti-siphon tubes on the return lines which I thought would be 1.5". (Comments, suggestions?) <No need for float valves or two pumps. One well sized pump and a gravity fed overflow/sump will work fine. Use siphon breaks in the refill lines at water level (same level as the top of the overflows) so the amount of water that can siphon into the sump is fixed. I prefer gravity to float valves, etc. but sometimes it requires more work as it is less automated.> I thought that this would give me a reasonable flow rate, protect the pumps and provide some redundancy in case of a pump dying or a bulkhead to sump line clogging. The anti-siphon and the reason for the weir style upper back wall mount is that I do not want to deal with the typical overflow ... in that my sump does not have a large amount of empty volume in case of power outage. I designed it to run mostly full with about 7 gallons of spare capacity. <Make sure only 7 gallons is in the lines, above overflows. Bulkhead lines flow pretty good, they don't tend to clog. What if one of the float valves gets some gunk in it and doesn't shut off?  I hate that! Best to design around it.> For further water flow (I want to avoid the use of ANY powerheads) I was very interested in creating a closed loop system similar to the one at Reef-Eden http://website.lineone.net/~espsrg/diy_6.htm) -- Except (and here is where my question is) -- is that I would like to be able to drive like 3-4 3/4" lines off of one pump. Would you use 1 large diameter pipe as the intake and then split the lines up with a manifold on the output side of the pump or would you keep the lines separate with a manifold on both sides of the pump? Do you think an Iwaki 40 could handle roughly 4 3/4" line outputs with about 4 ft. of head or would I be better off using single pumps on each line? <You can drive it with one pump and manifolds on both sides, but oversize the plumbing, especially on the intake side. The pump required depends on too many factors not included. You need to know head height, plumbing size, etc. I advise over sizing substantially both pump output and pipe size.> Once Again I would like to thank the Crew for so much help and such a wonderful site! <Hope this helps out.  Craig>

Re: Overflow Question Thanks! Just to clarify, there won't be any no problems (noise or otherwise) with having the 3 2" bulkheads installed on the back wall of the tank, at the water line. With this configuration, no overflow will be set up. The water will free flow through the bulkhead into the vinyl type pipes behind the tank, into the sump below. <Should be sweet, esp. with vents (similar to Durso) just above the vinyl pipe fittings. A tee with riser and a drilled cap (1 - 1/4" hole) works great. I like ells in the tank, but they can introduce water noise. Will 3 2" free flow piping handle 3000 gph? <Sure. To double check look at the overflow rates of aftermarket boxes with 2" pipe. My vats use 2" overflows and they handle around 1400-1500 gph +/- .  Craig>

Pipe work/plumbing I am setting up a small 10 gallon refugium with gravity return from water surface and would like some advice on piping does it have to be of a certain grade and where can I get it cheap in the UK can I get it from a plumbing shop or does it have to come from aquatic retailers?  Thanks Bob. <Hello! You can use regular household polyvinyl chloride (PVC) available at your local DIY or plumbing shop. They will also sell the glue you will need. Bulkheads can also be obtained from these shops or from a pool and hot tub supply. Have fun! Craig>

ABS pipe. Hi Bob, firstly I would like to thank you for enlightening me on the amazing world of marine life/biology/chemistry etc, through your excellent book the conscientious marine aquarist. <You would do the same> secondly my question, are there any special requirements for the pipe work used in marine aquariums??? or can ordinary abs plastic fittings be used? <Yes> thanks for your time in answering all these questions, you are a true scholar & a gentleman. thanks again Brent......UK. <As we aspire to be. Bob Fenner>

Re: abs pipe. Dear Robert, thank you for your speedy reply to my last letter, but I'm afraid I have been left a little confused to your reply. when I asked the question 'are there any special requirements for the pipe work used on marine aquariums??? or can ordinary abs plastic fittings be used? your answer was yes. was that a yes to normal abs pipe or yes to a special grade pipe work. <Sorry for the lack of clarity. The response is indeed "yes" to both. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbfaqsmar.htm > sorry for the confusion and your great work is much appreciated. Brent.....UK <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Schedule 80 Dear Rob, Hope you can help me with this. Went to a hardware shop looking for schedule 80 piping. The guy offered me one with the same thickness but with the designation AWG or AWS <Mmmm, why schedule 80... rated for 800 PSI pressure... in pet fish (let alone fire hydrant construction) you don't need this> he said that schedule 80 was double the price and is useful only for chemical environments. Should I be on the safe side and specify schedule 80 or the one he offered is sufficient. <Schedule 40, even 200 is fine...> The reason why I wanted a thicker diameter is I will be laying the pipes under concrete floor, so need a stronger walled pipe, that will not flex. The smaller diameters are fine... they're strong enough... and cast in concrete, very unlikely to have problems. I would use schedule 40. Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance and a Happy new year to you!! John Http://www.marineangels.com

PLASTICS IN THE AQUARIUM Dear BOB and WWM Crew, <Good morrow> I am constructing my fist marine aquarium, I have the tank, the sump etc. But up to this moment in time I am reluctant to purchase any pipe work and start commissioning the tank. My problem is the usual; ask 100 people a question and you get 100 different answers. Do I use ABS, PVC, Polypropylene or other pipe work. People say to me get food grade piping, well that's all very well until you ask the retailers, they don't know. From my aquatic stores I get different answers as well. <I have used "regular" (generally schedule 40, but at times some 80 for valves, unions) PVC tubing with success for many years> Basically I would like to know which plastic material is the most chemically inert. I don't want to poison my fishy guests. Also I've been told that pipes from builders merchants are not safe because they put some kind of fungicide/pesticide in the pipe during manufacture to keep algae etc. at bay in the pipes.  <Not... the material is used in all sorts of "human-impacting" applications... it is safe enough to carry water for your use...> I have also been told that some plastic's fail mechanically when in contact with salt water for long periods of time ( My girl friend would kill me if she came home and found 150 gallons of salt water on the carpets). <This last part I do believe... make sure and prime AND solvent each joint... and test before she's there> I have been sold some grey polypropylene pipe by my local aquatic store. It is standard 32mm (1 1/4 inch) pipe that is sold in the builders merchants as sink basin waste pipe. Also I read on a KOI carp site that you shouldn't use polypropylene, no explanation why? <More money, no better in all respects than PVC...> Could you please help ? Many thanks, JON <Get around to other hobbyists' set-ups, maybe call and chat with some folks in the aquarium service business in your area... PVC is fine, what I would use. Bob Fenner>

Plumbing I want to hard plumb my filter system. Does it matter what type of pipes I use? Will the glue that you use to put the pipes together harm the fish? Also, what type of UV filter would you recommend for 100 gallon tank? Thank You! <See the "Plumbing" pieces on the Marine and Pond Indexes on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com... most folks use PVC or ABS of the various formulations used... and the solvents have no effect as they're "gone" when the plumbing is in use... some slight toxicity from these plastics, no big deal. UVs are also covered on the FAQs section of the same name on the WWM site. Happy reading. Bob Fenner>

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