Question for PVC and bulkhead experts...
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Old 03-30-2011, 02:12 AM   #1
sns26
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Question for PVC and bulkhead experts...


Hi folks,

I need some advice on plumbing a pre-drilled Oceanic 57 gallon rimless tank. The tank has two 1.75" holes for 1" bulkheads located roughly in the middle of the tank and I plan to run my tank outflow and filter inflow through them and to keep the rim of the tank completely uncluttered. I'm aiming to keep mechanical stuff as invisible as possible once the tank is grown in. (I'm suspending a DIY LED fixture above the whole works to complete the effect.)

I've attached a picture of my current plan for setting up the works in the tank. Viewed from the back of the tank, you see: (1) a straight pipe up from the "tank outflow" bulkhead connected to a basic strainer fitting, and (2) a simple manifold made of 1/2" PVC that carries flow from the "filter inflow" bulkhead to some loc-line fittings set up on either side of the tank.

Below the bulkheads I had planned to put in two 1" ball valves (as shown in the picture) but they are so gigantic I may just put reducers on the bulkhead and use 3/4" valves instead. I'll glue these to hose barbs and do flex plumbing to a canister filter (probably an Eheim 2217, though I'm worried circulation will be inadequate), Hydor inline heater, and inline CO2.

None of this is glued up yet, so I'm looking for suggestions for improvement. My main concern right now is keeping the overall profile of the inflow manifold down low enough so that everything except the loc-line will be covered by substrate. 1/2" PVC fittings are pretty bulky and the necessary bends force the loc-line to come up fairly high off the bottom and far from the back of the tank--I may switch to 1/2" CPVC inside the tank to try to address both problems. Any other ways to address that problem?

Alternatively, would I be better off simplifying this by simply having a single loc-line "Y" fitting come up from "filter inflow" bulkhead? I worry that this will not spread flow around the tank enough...
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Old 03-30-2011, 02:17 AM   #2
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Another picture at a different angle to show you what I'm thinking of...
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Old 03-30-2011, 01:34 PM   #3
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According to the picture, you have four 90 deg elbows and they will slow the water current.
I would use single loc-line "Y" fitting to come striate up about half way and point it to one side of the tank, this will create a circular current and you shouldn't have any problem with the flow.

I hope this helps
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Old 03-30-2011, 02:36 PM   #4
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I think the way you have it set up now is great regarding for even water distribution. "The Flow" totally depends on what filter you put on there, I wouldn't worry about elbows too much.

Regarding going from 1" to 3/4" bulkheads, I would first decide what filter you are going to use. Most likely 3/4 would be sufficient, but IF you go for example with a CFS-500, it has 1" tubing. Although even that one works okay with 3/4.

Regarding visibility of the loc-lines, looks like you used an elbow to move them forward in the tank. I would go the other way and position them as much back as possible. That would reduce dead zones behind them, and address the visibility since the substrate might be higher back there, and it would be easy to hide them with background plants.
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Old 03-31-2011, 01:14 AM   #5
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Good thoughts from both folks--

Daniil: I know there are 4 elbows in this setup, but my thought was that there are often at least this many in a traditional "over the rim" spraybar setup. Also, I'm splitting the outflow into two after the bulkhead, so the head loss at each elbow should not be as severe.

Wasserpest: I've seen your posts about the CFS-500. My two major concerns with this setup are (1) NO LEAKS and (2) noise. I'm a little chicken to go with anything but a tried and true filter here - probably an Eheim 2217 or a Rena XP3.

As for the elbow moving the loc-lines forward in the tank, I have to use an elbow on the filter outflow because otherwise the outflow lines bump into the inflow line. And there isn't enough clearance to mount the elbow facing towards the back of the tank -- at least not with 1/2" PVC fittings. But CPVC fittings are so much smaller for the 1/2" nominal size that I might be able to squeeze them in....again, I want the whole works to be as low as possible so that I can cover it with a reasonable amount of substrate.
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Old 03-31-2011, 02:04 AM   #6
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I'd give it a go, but you might be disappointed by the flow of that using those filters. Using 1 nozzle on each side might work better.
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Old 03-31-2011, 02:10 AM   #7
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Well, I haven't bought the filter yet...and am concerned that other inline equipment (heater, CO2) may further reduce flow. Any better canister filter suggestions...? (I'd do a sump but have yet to see a way to do an overflow that isn't visually intrusive.)
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Old 03-31-2011, 02:15 AM   #8
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Well, I really like my cfs 500. I've never had a leak problem, either.

But if you wanted a "tried and true" filter, the FX5 would give you a lot of flow, making sure you'd never need any powerheads. I really like them in setups similar to yours.

My other recommendation is to run a stand pipe up to a little higher in the tank. Maybe add 6 inches or so. Otherwise you will constantly be battling substrate and gunk attached to it.

You can get black tubing or paint pvc black using krylon paint for plastics.

Your actual output placement is going to make aquascaping around it a little tricky.
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Old 03-31-2011, 02:22 AM   #9
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+1 on everything overstock * wasserpet said. higher standpipe (your current one looks *below* the level most keep their substrate), single output on each side, and move the output back a bit.
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Old 03-31-2011, 02:37 AM   #10
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Totally agreed on the stand pipe--this was just a mockup.

I re-read the CFS 500 posts, and am re-intrigued. The canister filters I was considering (Eheim 2017/2075 and Rena XP3/XP4) are hundreds of dollars more and much lower flow. I would certainly like to avoid using powerheads if possible.

Can I throttle down the CFS 500 flow with a ball valve without ill effects on the pump? I'm a little concerned that this filter--even with four loc-line outflows--will make a blender of my 57 gallon tank. (Dimensions are 36"x18"x22" tall).
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Old 03-31-2011, 04:25 PM   #11
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The CFS just has a tad more flow than the XP3. The flow can be reduced by reducing the diameter via your ball valve, although I don't think that would be necessary. And noise-wise, it is silent, while the XP3's are quiet to loud, depending on the sensitivity of the owner.

Regarding leaks, some have reported issues... I think it is important to pay a lot of attention when tightening the cover - gently and evenly. Clamps would make that part almost idiot proof, but if you have changed tires on your car before this won't be too challenging.

We don't know how well these will hold up over time. But consider that you can buy two of them for the price of one XP3...
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Old 03-31-2011, 05:15 PM   #12
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I have the same tank as yours... Just want to add that you may need to add an extender to raise the strainer and outflow a bit if you're adding a couple of inch substrate at the back...

Here's what mine looks like without substrate...


With substrate, at least 5 at the back (tallest portion)
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Old 03-31-2011, 11:13 PM   #13
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Default Sold on the CFS...

Okay, I'll bite on the CFS. Considering I'm DIYing just about everything except the tank itself so far, it would almost be a shame to go with something that works straight out of the box.

Khanzer - which Eheim filter did you go with, and have you started running this tank yet? Wondering if your flow arrangement has worked for you.
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Old 04-03-2011, 07:11 PM   #14
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Default New layout...

I switched over to using 1/2" CPVC for the filter outflow lines--split it with a tee fitting at the bulkhead, then used a few 45 degree elbows to reroute the two branches to the back corners. Looks much better now. (You can see that the stand is now almost done as well...I'll post some more pictures and drawings of that when it's totally finished.)
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Old 04-03-2011, 07:37 PM   #15
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That should work well. And your stand looks great... did you build that all by yourself?
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