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brian313313
01-10-2016, 08:34 PM
I am setting up a rack of fish tanks. I have drilled the tanks and set up the plumbing to the sump. I'm not sure what material is safe to use for the return plumbing. This will be for 8 tanks with one pump. They are 20L 3/4 full so about 15 gallons each or 120 gallons in total. Will standard PVC hold up to the pressure? I always though it was for low-pressure lines only. This won't be as high-pressure as the home plumbing but it will be more than the outgoing plumbing. The guy at Home Depot told me this is what to use but he didn't seem too sure of himself.

I plan on pumping the water to the top first and then letting it flow back down to all the tanks. Each tank will have a ball valve. There will be a return to sump line to relieve backpressure. There will also be a main ball valve to shut off all tanks. When shut off, the water will be diverted to the home plumbing for automated water changes. I'll put two valves in there to be safe and make sure no home water gets back into the aquariums.

Thanks.

-Brian

mountainman36
01-10-2016, 10:38 PM
Schedule 40 PVC is MORE than adequate. it is actually rated at 200 PSI in most cases and you wont get even to 20 psi. Aquarium and pond pumps are about flow rates not pressure anyway. so do the same as your bulkheads, or one step down. so if the bulkheads are 3/4 gravity overflow/discharge then do 1/2 on the plumbing from the supply or pump side....although 1/2 is small. if its 1 inch until it splits off to the tanks it will be ok because the multiple 1/2 inch lines will disperse the pressure or flow. Smaller pipe can handle smaller flows. so depending upon what you are after 1/2 may be just fine...it probably would be....personally i would do 3/4 on everything, then 1.5 to 2 inch for the gravity flow back. thats what i have done in the past and it worked well. multiple fish stores and my home fish rooms. on the tricky part coming from the bulkhead overflows its ok to do some flex pipe, just dont make it long, and let it fall into the return pipe, or at least let it discharge inside the pipe without inhibiting the flow inside the large pipe.

You can do a 'T' at every pipe return from the individual tanks, or cut a hole in the pipe with a hole saw...although thats tough to execute on a round pipe.

The return to the sump to relieve pressure is a good idea, but most pumps wont mind the back pressure...some actually require some....depending upon the pump selection its ok if it isnt there...but it allows you to use it to do water changes via the sump so it may be dual purpose.

Go larger on pipe diameter if you have any concern, but price it...all the fittings are more, and the valves are several dollars more. so it can add up.

let me know if you have any other questions....this is some of what i do with all the ponds we build so i have a lot of opinions/experience on the topic.

Richard

EDIT - you do not want the return plumbing sealed!! it will air lock. it at least needs a vent on each return line...but as i said its easiest to let the water dump into a central 2 inch return line, then nothings enclosed and no issues with air locks

brian313313
01-11-2016, 03:04 PM
Thanks. The plumbing going to the sump is open at each "T". I have 1/2" going into 3/4" loosely.

mountainman36
01-11-2016, 04:21 PM
that sounds good, but the 3/4 may not handle all the flow depending upon rates. if you are only doing 25-50 GPH per tank it may be ok, otherwise i would go to 1.5 inch if you can fit it....just on the main trunk line

brian313313
01-11-2016, 07:55 PM
The main line for the water going to the sump is 2". It's 1/2" on each of the aquariums. Hopefully it's enough. The tanks are already drilled and I don't think I'd be able to drill the hole larger without shattering the glass. I don't plan on high-flow, although I could change my mind someday.

mountainman36
01-12-2016, 06:50 AM
The main line for the water going to the sump is 2". It's 1/2" on each of the aquariums. Hopefully it's enough. The tanks are already drilled and I don't think I'd be able to drill the hole larger without shattering the glass. I don't plan on high-flow, although I could change my mind someday.

perfect. that should work