Let's talk pipe and hoses. And connectors.

Sk8r

Staff member
RC Mod
You didn't plan to be a plumber, but---after years of tank-keeping, we were able to completely replumb our bathroom, from tub to sink to toilet. And to plumb a waterfall koi pond. So what you will learn is on the one hand basic, simple, and empowering---and on the other will keep your tank running nicely.

FACTS about pipes and hoses.
White pipe is good for anything for drinking, grey and black good for drains. It has to do with what's safe to drink from---and cost. I have a few grey items in my plumbing. Don't have any black.

Pipe or hose always has 2 measurements, and you need to know whether you're dealing with INSIDE diameter of the hose or OUTSIDE diameter. Outside only matters if you're trying to bring it through a wall or floor. INSIDE diameter often relates to how well it fits your connectors and pump outflow...but there are a few instances in which 'outside' matters. Look over how it has to fit, and write down both measures before you head to the store, but be SURE in your mind which you need. Hose can be pricey.
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Re connnectors: never ever, ever, ever rely on one of those **)$(y702 little plastic hose clamps. They never fit and they'll bloody your fingers. It IS ok to use a metal hose clamp (ring with a ribbon of slotted metal tape that can be tightened very precisely with a straight screwdriver)---in fresh water. Fresh water is not as aggressive as salt when it comes to 'eating' metal. Here's a word to live by---'if it's a very small leak and it's all underwater, never mind a hose clamp. An underwater leak is not a big issue.'

Re bulkhead connectors: your fish store has a supply of these, likely, which your Lowes' etc may not. .And here is another place where OUTSIDE and INSIDE measurement matter several times. OUTSIDE for choosing the right 'hole bit' for your drill to give you the right sized hole to make this work. Gasket: put this on the water side of the operation. Tighten with hand-strength only, and about as much as a strong woman could apply, no more!!!! you do not want to crack your tank. Your INSIDE-measured hose should go neatly onto the threaded connector on the 'air' side of this, and use teflon paste or tape to make it a good connection. Read instructions. In plumbing they are the difference between works and 'leaking.' If it does seep a bit, (the rubber gasket needs time to settle down) just wrap an old rag around the connection (outside, of course) and let salt creep and time seal it. Usually takes a day or two. Re-seating it would probably just give you another micro-seep.

Trial fit everything before you start so you have a notion of any problems. Most stores will accept return and refund on unused plumbing parts. You should ALWAYS have a supply of 1" hose clamps and teflon paste or tape.

Remember that copper is poison. It will kill everything in the tank if you have copper pipes or joints feeding saltwater. It's ok on the 'house' side of your ro/di filter, but NOT past the ro/di filter. Why? Because fresh water doesn't dissolve copper as aggressively as salt. [Isn't it a medicine, you ask?? Well, like many medicines it's designed to kill a parasite faster than it kills fish, but frankly many of us long in the hobby won't use it. There are good meds out there that are safer.
 
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Sk8r

Staff member
RC Mod
Be aware there are 'modification' pieces. Ask an experienced-looking clerk to find you the pieces to make that double-bend elbow that will redirect that hose, or that will downsize your hose which is 'almost' a fit. These pieces exist. The salesmen are generally good at it.

And a sneaky way to make an 'almost fit' fit---slide one microscopically tinier hose inside the 'ever so slightly' larger hose: sometimes it's so close you don't even need a clamp. Underwater, in particular, a slight leak is no problem! And my topoff uses an ittybitty 1/4" connector the rear end of which happens to slip nicely into whatever dimentions the outflow hose from my topoff is. These would be horrors in a bathroom under pressure, but they're an easy mod that solves a problem in the world of little Tunze pumps.

Also, VALVE your return line: my flow would hit the living room windows if I didn't valve it back. It doesn't hurt your pump to do that: it just does its job and its design will save it from problems.

What else? Keep your spares, your didn't-fit but almosts, and your hose bits. You willl find these a treasure trove in future. Just don't go crazy. I have a full box of half-inch hose clamps that is a slight be excessive.

There is also such a thing as a pipe cutter, which is easier than sawing it.

Make ALL your joints un-do-able. Teflon paste and tape. If you have to change out a bulkhead connector you will thank me for that advice.

Teflon tape is directional. If screwing the joint together messes up your tape winding, you wound it in the wrong direction.

With screws and lids and pipe joints, righty-tighty, lefty-loosey, regarding which way your should screw or unscrew it.

And remember a hair dryer is plumbing equipment: heating a hose can make it go on that pump without breaking your thumbs.
 
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Jeffatpm

New member
a trick i learned instead of teflon tape, use clear silicon. You do have to wait a day for it to cure, but no leaks. I always feel like teflon tape leaks for me.
 

Sk8r

Staff member
RC Mod
Main point is, don't use something you can't undo, because there may come a day when you have to change the bulkhead connector, eg, on the bottom or back of your expensive tank.
 
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