PVC & vinyl aquarium safe? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 12-10-2005, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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PVC & vinyl aquarium safe?

In the process of collecting parts to build my first reactor I met a very knowledgeable guy at Home Depot (believe it or not). After I explained to him what I was doing with the PVC and vinyl tubing he told me that it's not a good idea to use pvc and especially vinyl for aquariums as they leach phthalates that are toxic to fish. I read an article years ago about this but didn't remember it until he brought it up. He suggested silicone, CPVC, or plexiglass tubing only for aquarium use. He gave me a number to a friend of his that is a professor at the University of Minnesota that has designed many systems for the Aquaculture program there (he was saying something about 12' tall filters for salmon tanks!). I'm going to contact him this week and see if I can glean some knowledge... meanwhile, what do you think? Has anyone here had any issues with usng PVC reactors that you know of? Never heard of phthalates before? Maybe it explains mysterious fish deaths? Comments? Discuss...
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 12-10-2005, 09:42 PM
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Yes, phthalates have harmful effects in animal studies. Of course, in animal studies, it's common practice to literally replace a portion of the poor animal's food with the chemical in question. One classic example is the artificial sweetener cyclamate. It caused urethral cancer in rats, and that was used to ban the sweetener. But they were also feeding it in such quantity that it was forming crystals in the rats' urethra!

The actual risk from phthalates in normal, as opposed to exaggerated circumstances, is open to debate with much real and junk science supporting either opinion. Google it for all the info you can stand.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 12-11-2005, 01:02 AM
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Reef inhabitants are much more sensitive to water pollution than are most all fresh water fish and plants. PVC is commonly used to plumb reef tanks. PVC is used to to plumb houses.

Vinyl can also contain lead. That's one reason there are drinking water safe garden hoses and standard garden hoses.

I have used lots of PVC and vinyl in my aquariums and never had a problem.
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