Plumbing help requested - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-21-2020, 02:18 AM Thread Starter
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Plumbing help requested

I'm planing on re-doing my plumbing. Problem is, I know what I want, but seem to lack enough knowledge of fittings and adapters to ask Home Depot staff for specific parts. I'm mid-rescape, and hope to have a single outlet on the front corner, with the return on the same side back corner. I run an Aqueon 400 Canister filter. In my last build, I noticed the fish getting blown around when I connected the single outlet provided with the filter and ended up running a spray bar. To decrease the outlet velocity, I want to increase the ID of the discharge from 3/4" to 1". I've seen some use what looks like black PVC 90s as discharges of their filters, and I like that a lot. Maybe my Home Depot was lacking in parts, but I stood in the plumbing aisle for longer than I hoped, and when someone asked if I was finding everything okay, I didn't really know what to tell them...
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-21-2020, 02:40 AM
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I have gotten some fittings for that kind of things in the irrigation section . I made a few spray bars that way . Hope this helps .
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-21-2020, 03:10 AM
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Originally Posted by carlsj2012 View Post
I'm planning on re-doing my plumbing. The problem is, I know what I want, but seem to lack enough knowledge of fittings and adapters to ask Home Depot staff for specific parts. I'm mid-rescape, and hope to have a single outlet on the front corner, with the return on the same side back corner. I run an Aqueon 400 Canister filter. In my last build, I noticed the fish getting blown around when I connected the single outlet provided with the filter and ended up running a spray bar. To decrease the outlet velocity, I want to increase the ID of the discharge from 3/4" to 1". I've seen some use what looks like black PVC 90s as discharges of their filters, and I like that a lot. Maybe my Home Depot was lacking in parts, but I stood in the plumbing aisle for longer than I hoped, and when someone asked if I was finding everything okay, I didn't really know what to tell them...
A couple of thoughts on this. First, are you planning to run an open tank without a glass lid? I don't know how you would put both the inlet and outlet on the same side of the tank with a lid. Second, I don't think that going up 1/4" would decrease velocity significantly, a submerged spray bar might be a better option. Third, what size is your tank, and what kind of circulation are you trying to achieve? I'm envisioning this as kind of a whirlpool. Any decorations or plants could present obstacles to your circulation. What types of fish are you planning to keep? Do they like or dislike heavily circulating water? Id' give everything a bit more thought before committing to a design. I ran into a lot of that when I set up my 75g tank, and there are a few things I would do differently knowing what I know now.

Remember setting up a tank is a learning experience. Try to make the best decisions possible, but you will likely make some mistakes in the process. That's ok, learn from them.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-21-2020, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
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A couple of thoughts on this. First, are you planning to run an open tank without a glass lid? I don't know how you would put both the inlet and outlet on the same side of the tank with a lid. Second, I don't think that going up 1/4" would decrease velocity significantly, a submerged spray bar might be a better option. Third, what size is your tank, and what kind of circulation are you trying to achieve? I'm envisioning this as kind of a whirlpool. Any decorations or plants could present obstacles to your circulation. What types of fish are you planning to keep? Do they like or dislike heavily circulating water? Id' give everything a bit more thought before committing to a design. I ran into a lot of that when I set up my 75g tank, and there are a few things I would do differently knowing what I know now.

Remember setting up a tank is a learning experience. Try to make the best decisions possible, but you will likely make some mistakes in the process. That's ok, learn from them.
Thanks! I do plan on running with a glass lid. Here is a messy picture I drew with how I plan on achieving this:



My SO really doesn't want to see the hoses, so regardless of the lid or not, this is the only way I can think of to created this type of flow path. Any suggestions?

As far as the 1/4" increase goes, I agree. I hadn't mentioned the original filter connections decrease in size once the supplied "hard piping" starts. This really created a blast of water out of the supplied discharge. I suspect the increase will be closer to 5/8".

The live stock I plan on keeping hasn't been selected yet. This build is really meant to be plant focused, so it will probably be a cleaning crew once the tank stabilizes, followed by a small pack of a tetra species.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-21-2020, 11:37 PM
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Thanks! I do plan on running with a glass lid. Here is a messy picture I drew with how I plan on achieving this:



My SO really doesn't want to see the hoses, so regardless of the lid or not, this is the only way I can think of to created this type of flow path. Any suggestions?

As far as the 1/4" increase goes, I agree. I hadn't mentioned the original filter connections decrease in size once the supplied "hard piping" starts. This really created a blast of water out of the supplied discharge. I suspect the increase will be closer to 5/8".

The live stock I plan on keeping hasn't been selected yet. This build is really meant to be plant focused, so it will probably be a cleaning crew once the tank stabilizes, followed by a small pack of a tetra species.
Interesting design. Consider running the top pipe running the width of the tank as a spray bar with the outlets pointed about a third downward. I was thinking of doing something similar with my 40B when I finally set it up. I may make my own spray bar from 1/2" CPVC pipe and I might run it from the back using a couple of heater clamps to secure it to the plastic strip at the back of my glass hood. In keeping with the no pipe look, have you considered an in-line heater like the Hydor? Also, an inexpensive UV filter plumbed in-line might be a good idea. I have one on all of my tanks except the 10g.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-22-2020, 12:55 AM
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i generate a similar flow pattern in the surface layer with a small (350lph allegedly) internal pump/filter suckered to the end face of the tank , mounted horizontally 2 inches below the surface and run on a timer plug to start up after lights have ramped up in the morning and switch off at the start of 'virtual' dusk.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-22-2020, 01:51 AM
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My 2 cents concerning your plan: I doubt you will achieve a circular flow over 96" (48"L 2) with just one outlet pointed across the tank; current likely wont flow around and back to your filter intake. Also, a spray bar or outlet on a front corner just adds clutter to your tank. I would recommend junking the top too, it serves no purpose except reducing evaporation, which isn't important either.

What I did on my 42"L tank is is mount the filter input and output in the same back corner. The output is pointed diagonally toward about center of the front panel, or less. To keep the circular flow going across the back I mounted an Eheim surface skimmer in the opposite back corner. This set up works great and gives you surface skimming, which I think is important.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-22-2020, 04:43 PM
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I had to order black fittings online. I could not find them at my local big box stores. I used a combination of bulk reef supply and pvcfittingsonline.com. PVC fittings had the largest selection and an easy to use layout to sort/search for fittings.


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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-22-2020, 05:51 PM
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Some small basic points may help. One is that the black stuff is often ABS, rather than PVC which may ease the finding it in stores or online. Also keep in mind that painting PVC, which is easier to find, also works well.
There is often confusion about water terms as many refer to the speed water moves as pressure. Pressure is part of the question but what I think you are wanting to change is velocity of the incoming water and one way to do that change is to change the number and size of the openings in the spray bar. Letting the water come out larger openings or more openings will let it come out with less sped/velocity.
One way to decide how much is somewhat trial and error but works far better than calculations done with so many estimates involved.
Spray bars are meant as leaky things, so we can use that when we are doing trials as we don't need to glue it all together to test the hole size and number. Just press fit the parts together, try it for a while and then decide if you want more holes, perhaps aimed in different directions or want to redrill to get larger holes. Point to keep in mind is that we can drill larger holes but making holes smaller is really not in the game! Get to many or too large and it's better to buy new pipe.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-22-2020, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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Some small basic points may help. One is that the black stuff is often ABS, rather than PVC which may ease the finding it in stores or online. Also keep in mind that painting PVC, which is easier to find, also works well.
I've thought about that, but just assumed painted PVC in the tank water would cause contaminant issues. Is this not really a concern?

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My 2 cents concerning your plan: I doubt you will achieve a circular flow over 96" (48"L 2) with just one outlet pointed across the tank; current likely wont flow around and back to your filter intake. Also, a spray bar or outlet on a front corner just adds clutter to your tank. I would recommend junking the top too, it serves no purpose except reducing evaporation, which isn't important either.

What I did on my 42"L tank is is mount the filter input and output in the same back corner. The output is pointed diagonally toward about center of the front panel, or less. To keep the circular flow going across the back I mounted an Eheim surface skimmer in the opposite back corner. This set up works great and gives you surface skimming, which I think is important.
I figured the suction of the pump would be enough flow to circulate it back across the tank. The filter is rated for 400GPH, so there's plenty of juice there, even with filter media in place. I do have an Eheim skimmer, may end up using it after all. Regarding clutter, I have a framed tank, I think I'll be able to hid most of it behind the frame.

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Interesting design. Consider running the top pipe running the width of the tank as a spray bar with the outlets pointed about a third downward. I was thinking of doing something similar with my 40B when I finally set it up. I may make my own spray bar from 1/2" CPVC pipe and I might run it from the back using a couple of heater clamps to secure it to the plastic strip at the back of my glass hood. In keeping with the no pipe look, have you considered an in-line heater like the Hydor? Also, an inexpensive UV filter plumbed in-line might be a good idea. I have one on all of my tanks except the 10g.
Thanks, I'm actually curious to see how it will work out. As far as I can tell, it should be no different than running a discharge line up the side of the tank. I've found a spray bar back to front was inadequate. Maybe I just needed larger holes. Doing it this way I get the full discharge force of the filter across the length of the tank, instead of bouncing it off the glass at varying angles.

All the inline stuff is on my wish list. Eventually I'll get to implement it into my system.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-22-2020, 11:30 PM
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As mentioned above your one output trying to make circular pattern on tank wont work very well. By time water goes all way across a 48 tank and runs straight into a flat wall it will just make a big downswell in that corner and stop.

You really need to split canister to 2 outputs with a T and hook to a couple of these. Make sure you get ones with proper hose nipple size for your hose.

https://www.amazon.com/Return-Assemb...um+nozz&sr=8-6

Then set them up with one nozzle at back blowing one direction and down along back glass behind plants, set flare nozzle as vertical slot blowing behind plants, more at the glass. other Nozzle blowing across surface at front glass at a angle and moving water at front of tank in opposite direction. This will give you your circular pattern, good high->low water movement and make sure that each output is a more plant tank friendly output pressure. You dont need to cut canisters flow in as much you need to divide and conquer it.



Set up like this and you should be getting about 150gph out of each nozzle, very plant/small fish safe rate. Both running into a T and doubling head pipe pressure will both slow your flow down a bit.

Plus by mounting all nozzles on back wall behind tank youll be making SO happy.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-23-2020, 12:56 AM
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Many folks do use spray paint on plastic for inside the tank without trouble. The trick is that the paint is not a problem but the volatile stuff we smell is the problem. So painting and then waiting long enough to be certain all the smell is gone is key. Krylon spray paint is one that I often see recommended but I just use any spray can that I find. The krylon is supposed to hold better on plastic but I can't speak to that, whether it is true or not.
One point on painting and building PVC is to prep good. PVC tends to be slick and shiny when new, so before painting if I want it to cling good and not come off every time I bump it, I run fine sandpaper over it. Not enough to see real scratches through paint but just to give it "tooth" to grip.
When designing I rarely know what will work best but often go for a reasonable try and slip fit the pipe together long enough to take a look at the flow. And that slip fit thing leads into some thoughts on making it all look better. We often see work where they have tried to do their best and that means taking the pro advise on how to do solvent weld joints, without thinking of how different our use of PVC might be.
Purple primer does not look good to me!
But for plumbing where the guy may use a set of fittings and pipe that have been riding around in his truck for six months in all kinds of dirt and is going to have high pressure plus and inspection, they need the primer. It does soften the old corroded pipe and fittings as well as it lets the inspector look from across the room to see they used it. That's why it's purple!
But if you go to the store, get new fittings and pipe to complete the job in a few months or so, the primer is not needed and just makes a mess, so I never use it. My pipe is new, I'm sure it's not real dirty and I'm working low pressure inside, so I simply do a good job of sanding the points where they meet, both the pipe and inside the fitting and do a check for fitting before glue. At that point, I may turn on the filter to see what flow I get before committing fully to the design idea. Sometimes I find it not what I want and pull some apart to try something else. No big thing if it's not glued yet!
I don't do elaborate designs as things do change as plants grow in, so why worry it too much at the start?
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-30-2020, 07:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all your feedback everyone! I will definitely be re-thinking my original plan. Unfortunately, with the way things are at the moment, I've had to hit to big fat PAUSE button on this project. Guess it will give me plenty of time to plan.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-30-2020, 08:15 PM
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I have a 75g setup with the original rainbar included with the Aqueon 300. I do have to say, even underwater this generates a whirlpool. I have it angled down at about 20 deg. Anything that isn't firmly placed or heavy enough will get blown to the far side (duck weed, floating lotus, java ferns, etc.). So, I would definitely be interested in what you had success with for your configuration.

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