Replacing filter tubing with non aquarium products?
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:07 PM   #1
etgregoire
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Replacing filter tubing with non aquarium products?


I'd like to replace my filter's tubing, but it's so much cheaper at a hardware store than from the filter manufacturer...

Are there any particular concerns to using something from Home Depot, etc..? Does it need to be made from any specific material?

When you measure the diameter of tubing, is the listed measurement considered the exterior width, or the interior width?
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:26 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etgregoire View Post
I'd like to replace my filter's tubing, but it's so much cheaper at a hardware store than from the filter manufacturer...

Are there any particular concerns to using something from Home Depot, etc..? Does it need to be made from any specific material?

When you measure the diameter of tubing, is the listed measurement considered the exterior width, or the interior width?
I haven't tried it on aquariums since I haven't needed to. I have had issues in a pond though. Some of the hardware stuff hardens up way more than aquarium tubing and can pop off. Luckily this is not as much of an issue in a pond, depending on where it pops off, but won't flood your room. I am not sure if it was a temperature thing but I did have a mix of Eheim tubing and hardware tubing and the Eheim did much better. Both were affected by UV too, that may have played a role but my Eheim stuff held up better, even though it was sun bleched to a very dull, almost clear yellow. I don't know if you would have the same issues indoors with much higher temps and less UV, but I did notice a difference outdoors. I only tried 2 brands, they may have been the same brand in different colors but it's made me weary of it.

You would go off the interior diameter. Not all tubing has the same "wall thickness" so you can have the same inside diameter but the outside diameter may be thinner, or more thick.


I don't want to discourage you from using the hardware stuff, I am just saying that I found a noticeable difference in a non name brand, without any research, in a way more extreme environment. We are talking about temps from maybe 28 degrees to 110 degrees, full sunshine for a lot of the days. I do hope someone chimes in on a brand or store to help you, and maybe myself in the future.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:36 PM   #3
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Hardware store can be either too flexible, so that it tends collapse on the intake side, or too stiff, so that it is hard to position. Your LFS (if you have one) probably has suitable tubing at a slightly higher price.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:49 PM   #4
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The vinyl tubing from Lowes/HD/Menards/BigBoxStore is pretty universally used in the hobby. The quality and consistency of it is pretty much the same across the board. That said, there are a few gotchas when it comes to matching ID to IDs, and it isn't as simple as you'd hope. Things like outside barb diameters and wall thicknesses etc. Then there are the pond hose people. I wanted a no/low kink answer to the clear vinyl so I tried the black corrugated pond hose thinking it would hold up better than clear vinyl but learned that it was not true at all. In fact the stuff hardened and disintegrated on me after 8 months of use. And that's INSIDE! I wonder what it behaves like out in the sun...

There are those who like the Hot Tub hose too. It's a lot thicker than the clear vinyl hose but also a lot more money. I have no personal experience with it, but there it is. The only hose I would be leery of using/recommending would be the rubber based stuff they sell for laundry/dishwasher/drains. It might be fine but it's not made for potable water so I wouldn't assume it's safe for the aquarium either.

Go ahead and use the big box clear stuff. You'll be in a lot of good company.
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:28 PM   #5
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I'll give the bigbox hardware stuff a try...

I know also, that part of the problem is that my tubing has semi collapsed... it's like 3 years old wow. I didn't realize that until just now. It is Marineland brand. but the slack that I need to be able to pull the canister out for cleaning has made it collapse very slightly and I think it is restricting the flow. Not to mention I know there is gunk up inside.

That being said... how long are canister filters supposed to last? How do you know when it's time to replace. I had always thought that it was just the tubing that was starting give low flow, but maybe its the actual filter?
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:41 PM   #6
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Get the braided tubing so you don't have the issue of kinking anymore. When you get it, it will be pretty stiff from being in the roll, but you can throw it in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes to soften it enough for you to straighten out. Lowes and Home Depot display the ID and OD for their tubing.
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:56 PM   #7
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Thanks guys I'm gonna check this stuff out!
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:22 PM   #8
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Take the fittings with you to the store. If it is a fitting that uses a nut over the tubing make sure you bring both parts, and some of the original tubing.

Do not get thin wall tubing unless it is the only one that will work. It kinks too easily unless it is set up in pretty much a straight line. It collapses.

Get the stiffer material and keep a cup of hot water nearby to keep it soft. I have done drip irrigation for gardens in freezing weather with a cup of almost boiling hot water.

Put a drop or two of vegetable oil or petroleum jelly on the fittings or tubing to help them slide together easier, and for easier removal.

Use hose clamps. There are marine grade stainless steel and there are plastic ones for water contact.
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:36 PM   #9
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When I did my sump, I brought my fittings with me, found the right tubing at Lowes, brought it home, soaked it in a tub of super hot water to bend in the general shape I wanted and it kept that shape and worked fine.
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:28 PM   #10
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i use the vinyl from HD and lowes in all my tanks. vivs and paludariums. the only time i overpaid for the eheim stuff was when i needed 12mm tubing. makes life easier if you are building a diy spraybar or intake
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Old 12-13-2012, 04:27 AM   #11
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I run Rena xp series canister filters with my aquariums. What I love is the fact that I can buy 10' of 7/8 OD x 5/8 ID clear vinyl tubing for less than $10 at HD. These dimensions are the same as the tubing that comes with my filter out of the box. Very economical choice, IMO.
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Old 12-13-2012, 04:38 AM   #12
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If you are worried about home depot hoses being too softy. You can go to autozone & they will be able to cut you a hose to length, very cheap & braided hose! only downside is the hose is black
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.sok View Post
If you are worried about home depot hoses being too softy. You can go to autozone & they will be able to cut you a hose to length, very cheap & braided hose! only downside is the hose is black
I would be very careful what type of tubing your use with an aquarium. Some of the black, braided tubing that you can purchase at an auto-parts store is not made for water. I know that when I worked at Carquest, we would strongly advise people to avoid carrying potable water in any of our tubing...
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Old 12-13-2012, 02:04 PM   #14
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I've been wrenching for over 20 years and have obviously used rubber hoses all my career and i would never, ever use any of the hoses for a tank.
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