DIY spray bar question - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2010, 01:59 PM Thread Starter
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DIY spray bar question

I made 2 of these spray bars with the intention of putting one in both rear corners of the tank. I want to improve water flow throughout the entire tank. If they work, I think they will do that. They are 20" long and 3/4" in diameter. They will attach to 3/4" tubing which will run approx. 3' down and attach to the filter output, via a 'Y' barb fitting. My filter is a Fluval 405, which I think has a 225 to 250 GPH output. My question is this; Does my filter have enough output power to allow the water to be split and injected into the tank, via the spray bars? I realize, if it does work, that the water wont be comming out with much force at all but, that's ok, cause I dont need that much force to help with circulation. If there is no possible way its going to work, as is, does anyone have a suggestion or modification to make it work? Thanks.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2010, 03:20 PM
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225gph at 3/4" should be splittable, water has to go somewhere, it will be a real trickle and when the filter gets clogged, it will be even slower, almost no water movement. I would look into a koriola pump to mover water so you never get dead spots from slow flow....

hope this helps
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2010, 03:34 PM
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in 2 vertical pipes that long their will be no water coming out from the bottom. i used to have one horizontal spray bar maybe 3' long and towards the end of the bar their was less water coming out. when you have a vertical spray bar i think that the water pressure on the bottom of the tank will prevent the water from coming out at all and you will really only have maybe a 10" bar with 20" of material. if you want to make it work better you have to have fewer holes.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2010, 04:57 PM
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In order to get relatively equal flow from all of the holes in a spray bar the total area of the holes has to be equal to or less than the cross section area of the big tube with the holes in it. Yours doesn't come close to that. So, most of the water will come out of the first few holes, and none will come out of the holes farthest from the inlet to the spray bar. Having the spray bar vertical only makes that worse. Perhaps having the spraybar upside down in the tank would help, but I haven't tried that.

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2010, 05:01 PM Thread Starter
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225gph at 3/4" should be splittable, water has to go somewhere, it will be a real trickle and when the filter gets clogged, it will be even slower, almost no water movement. I would look into a koriola pump to mover water so you never get dead spots from slow flow....

hope this helps
That did help, thanks. So, are you saying to run a pump or powerhead ALONG WITH the spray bars? I dont know much about pumps but I considered having the filter output into some type of vessel or sump and then add a higher output pump to that vessel. The only problem I can see is that if the water is comming out faster then its going in, I'm going to run out of water. As with most people, I want as little eqpt. as possible inside the tank, but I guess I'm gong to have to try to hide a pump or powerhead. Would it be worth it to somehow incorperate the pump/powerhead output INTO the spray bar or would that add stress to the filter?
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2010, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
In order to get relatively equal flow from all of the holes in a spray bar the total area of the holes has to be equal to or less than the cross section area of the big tube with the holes in it. Yours doesn't come close to that. So, most of the water will come out of the first few holes, and none will come out of the holes farthest from the inlet to the spray bar. Having the spray bar vertical only makes that worse. Perhaps having the spraybar upside down in the tank would help, but I haven't tried that.
Hoppy, what if I pluged up half (or more) of the holes? You're saying that the combined diameter of the holes should be, at the most, equal to the inner diameter of the pipe, in this case 3/4", right? So, roughly, x6 1/4" hole, spread eveny down the length of the pipe, should equal the 3/4" diameter of the pipe. Does the math sound right?
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2010, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Guns286 View Post
Hoppy, what if I pluged up half (or more) of the holes? You're saying that the combined diameter of the holes should be, at the most, equal to the inner diameter of the pipe, in this case 3/4", right? So, roughly, x6 1/4" hole, spread eveny down the length of the pipe, should equal the 3/4" diameter of the pipe. Does the math sound right?
Combined area, not diameter. So that means the diameter of one hole should be no bigger than the inside diameter of the tube divided by the square root of the number of holes. If you have 16 holes, each can be no bigger than 1/4 of the pipe inside diameter. If you have 25 holes, each can be no bigger than 1/5 of the pipe inside diameter.

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2010, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
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I guess I should have listened to my math teacher when she said "you will use this later in life"!! OK, I get what you're saying. In your opinion is there anyway I can salvage these things I built (ie. reducing the number of holes) or do I absolutely have to order more clear pvc, hide it from my wife, and redo everything?
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2010, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Guns286 View Post
I guess I should have listened to my math teacher when she said "you will use this later in life"!! OK, I get what you're saying. In your opinion is there anyway I can salvage these things I built (ie. reducing the number of holes) or do I absolutely have to order more clear pvc, hide it from my wife, and redo everything?

you would have to plug some holes
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2010, 08:46 PM
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why clear?? just use normal PVC... works the same man trust me i use white PVC all the time haha
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2010, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
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why clear?? just use normal PVC... works the same man trust me i use white PVC all the time haha
Just for the look. I know you're still going to see it but maby alittle bit less then white. Believe me, it's ALOT easier for me to get white, thats why everything else is regular pvc (reactor, plumbing).
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2010, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
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you would have to plug some holes
For that length and that size pipe, how many holes to you think would work? There are 17 now, one every inch of exposed pipe. Does my 6 hole idea, listed further up in the thread, make any sense, even though it was nothing close to hoppy's point ?
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2010, 09:27 PM
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I tried splitting my return on a XP3 at one time, and I found the flow to be really pathetic.
I think it was the increased head that really did it. Hopefully it will work a bit better for you, but if you want more outlets, I would suggest getting a second filter, running a closed loop with a circulation pump, or power heads such as the Koralia.

Is this for your 75 gallon you mention in another thread? If so, you may want to consider adding a LOT more flow. I find planted tanks do better when they have 10x+ turnover.
And that is real flow, not the nonsense they write on the filter box.


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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2010, 09:28 PM
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why clear?? just use normal PVC... works the same man trust me i use white PVC all the time haha
why clear pvc? couldn't you use the rigid clear tubing made by lee's? i'm sure it would be much less expensive than clear pvc.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-24-2010, 04:44 AM
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That pipe looks like 1/2" schedule 40 PVC. If so, it has a .62" inside diameter. You have 17 holes, or that's how many I counted. The holes could therefore be as big as .15" diameter without problems. The holes look like about .2". If so, you could plug half of the holes and it would still be OK. If the holes are 3/16" or .18", you could plug 6 of the holes and be OK. But, I'm not sure what the best way to plug them would be - other than cutting the tube shorter so you have the smaller number of holes, then gluing on another cap. Of course you can always just use it the way it is, and see if it does what you want it to do.

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