Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
Top Ten Plumbing Fittings for Your Saltwater Aquarium Setup

Top Ten Plumbing Fittings for Your Saltwater Aquarium Setup

Today on BRSTV we are going to do to do a
top ten on our favorite plumbing. We will hit on our favorite valves, fittings not available
at most hardware stores and even solvent. Hi I’m RT, today’s host of BRSTV where each
week we hit on new topics related to reefing. This week we are going to nail down our top
ten favorite plumbing items. starting with number ten, Uniseals. Uniseals are a very cool item which allows
you to add pipe to all kinds of surfaces especially curved ones. While bulkheads are one of the
most common way to connect fittings to flat surfaces they don’t work very well on curved
surfaces and they may require expensive models designed for this purpose. Uniseals work by drilling a hole for the rubber
fitting and sliding the pipe through the hole, you may need to use some soap as a lubricant
which obviously should be thoroughly rinsed off later. Once the pipe is inserted you are
free to glue on your desired fittings or valves. Number nine is Loc-line. Loc-line is one of
the most popular solutions for returns because it is easy to attach to bulkheads on the back
of the tank and it’s extremely flexible. There are a variety of nozzles and flow patterns
as well as ball and check valves as well. A vast majority of all hard mounted returns
are going to use Loc-line or something similar. Number eight is silicone tubing. Because silicone
tubing is fairly expensive it is not a solution most people use for long runs but it is super
popular for connecting pumps and piping to hard surfaces that would typically transfer
vibration and create noise. External pumps are one of the best examples
of this. Just a few inches of silicone between the pump and sump can drastically reduce the
vibration transfer and the resulting noise. Number seven is street 45’s and 90’s. Street
fittings are designed to fit directly into other fittings or valves. By using a street
90 on this valve here we can skip cutting a connecting piece which is not only going
to save on materials but also time and space. Street fittings are also more compact than
a standard elbows. Number six Wye check valves. Check valves
are a cool solution which prevents water from siphoning down from your return line and overflowing
your sump where other solutions are not possible. Check valves are a strange fitting in the
essence that you may need to rely on them to prevent damage however on a long enough
timeline they always fail because something collects on the surface of the valve seal. The inexpensive check valves use a flapper
which works well but is hard to clean or maintain. The wye check valve differs from these because
it is easy to disassemble and maintain which make it a much more reliable solution on the
long run and easy to fix if you ever do have issues. Number five is going to be diamond coated
glass drill bits. If you are worried about drilling your tank yourself I understand but
seriously using one of these it is ridiculously simple. There are a hundred videos on Youtube
showing how to do it and as long as the tank isn’t really small, thin or tempered pretty
much anyone can do it. Number four is braided vinyl. Standard vinyl
tubing is soft and flexible which makes it way too easy to kink. Braided vinyl is much
stiffer and harder to kink which makes it a much better choice. Some people might find
it too stiff but this can be fixed fairly easy by heating it up, commonly done by soaking
it in hot water and shaping it to your needs. Number three is Weld-On solvents and primers.
The standard cements and primers found at local hardware stores absolutely work well
however high performance cements like the Weld-On provide a buffer for people who haven’t
done many plumbing projects. Trust me when I say there is nothing worse
than finishing a plumbing project that took all day, cost a hundred bucks or more and
then find a leak that forces you to rip it all apart. Weld-On is also a low volatile
organic compound or VOC solvent which makes it safer to use. Number two is high quality ball valves. Anyone
who has used a one of these worthless white valves from a big box store will attest to
how hard they are to turn the day you bought it and how it is pretty much impossible to
turn a year after installing it. The true union Cepex valves are as easy to
turn today as they will be years from now, they have unions on the ends which makes it
easy to turn, remove or replace, and they have the ability to tighten the seal on the
ball which lengthens the lifespan of the valve and reduces the chances you will have to cut
it out for replacement. Our number one favorite fitting is unions
unions and more unions. Unions are a small fitting which allows you to easily unscrew
and attach basically any fitting, valve or pump. This not only makes for easily changes,
replacement and maintenance but if you are not a PVC pro it can make assembly much easier. With a standard fitting you have about 10
seconds to achieve the precise angle you need when gluing. If you are off even just couple
degrees it may make assembly impossible. If you add a union on the elbows it allows you
too simply unscrew and adjust to whatever angle you need. We often say most beginners don’t use many
unions. Intermediate reefers put them on pumps and where the plumbing attaches to the tank
or sump, advanced reefers put unions basically everywhere they possibly can. If you have
any questions or comments go-ahead and ask them in the comments area down below we look
forward to seeing what you have to say. If this is your first time with us hit that subscribe
button and give us a thumbs up. See you next week with another episode of BRStv.

27 comments on “Top Ten Plumbing Fittings for Your Saltwater Aquarium Setup

  1. Nice video BRS! I think I have just about watched every video made by you guys and have learned so much! You guys should consider doing a "How to" re-seal a glass aquarium video 🙂 everything from cutting old silicone out to what silicone is safe and not safe to taping off the edges and applying new silicone! 🙂

  2. Great to know information Ryan. I'm glad I ALWAYS buy most of my supplies from BRS!! If I can't figure it out, I know you guys are always just a phone call away! Great job on your video Ryan! You should consider getting into the video sales pitch gig…LOL Larry H, Edwardsburg, MI

  3. Great video. Not surprised that I had to watch the entire video before you mentioned true union combo ball vales. The best by far and they are not kidding about the ease of turning. Especially out side after a few Canadian winters.

  4. I JUST got finished installing my new tanks plumbing today and then I sat down and saw this video in my email. How "fitting" <– bad pun fully intended

  5. Hello BRS Crew,  I recently acquired a 135 gallon tank.  The previous owner drilled a 3" hole in the back of the tank. 
    Two Questions: 1. Is a 3inch hole to big? 2. Is there a way to reduce the hole with a uniseals?
     I am not sure what fittings I need to make this system work effectively.  I am wanting to turn water at a rate of about 1400 gallons an hour.  This will be through a sump I hope to make about 40gallons in size.  I will also have power heads in the tank to push water around for the corals I hope to someday have.

  6. when selecting bulkheads, I see there are thread x thread and thread x slip. What specifically is the difference and why would a person want to choose 1 over the other?

  7. in regard to check valves… how does the loc-line 1/2" check valve stack up to the check valves mentioned in the video?

  8. Hi, I am building my first saltwater aquarium with a refugium.  Here are the details:
    60g cube aquarium (2 holes in bottom for plumbing). Tank came with standard plumbing for overflow
    20x20x15 trigger systems ruby sump
    Home made stand that is 32x32x36 high with inside dimensions of 29x29x30 high
    Can you please tell me what plumbing (pipes, ball valves, unions, elbows, etc.) I would need to plumb this tank correctly?  I am not sure of what and how much to purchase. Thank you.  Ed

  9. Just a beginners question…I have the overflow and return holes at the bottom of a 50g cube tank. So it's a short distance to a 20" long sump. No stranger to pvc but would vinyl tubing work for a long term solution? Also are there good valves available for vinyl tubing? Pvc and cement seem too permanent, can't clean the tubing and how do u even get the return pump out to clean?

  10. How do you make those pvc connections so clean? Every time i try and weld connections that ugly primer and glue comes out of the seams. Any tips on keeping everything clean?

  11. Hold on. I love everything except the weld on product used without gloves. Or other mention to the dangers. The chemicals used are on the 4 most cancer causing agents known to man. The molecules are so thin it goes through the skin. Explosion? Don't breath. If using a vent it needs an explosion proof motor. This is a dangerous product. I use it all the time. It needs respect.

  12. At the end of the month when I get money I'm getting all the plumbing supplies and rock I need to set up and Plum my first tank my 65 gallon which is been sitting around in my old house and now that I moved from I hope everything still is sitting luckily for me not going to require a lot of Plumbing since the way I have it planned out have pretty much so the pipes go straight down with the exception of the one elbow for the return silver side of the plummet I've been doing this hobby for a boat 5 years now my BioCube is self-sustaining but it's small it's only 29 gallons and my Coral and fish would be really help me to move to a new tank stuff on buying at the end of the month is just to get the basic stuff so have to pick up a lot of the other stuff to customize it but I'm pretty much just looking for basic keep myself alive until I get it sort of thing pretty much because I want to put a couple of thousand dollars into this tank

  13. Hey , how do I take apart those push & lock fittings that came with my BRS Reactor ? I need to take the powerheads off to clean it as it no longer works just about a month after I bought it .

  14. I am building a 200g reef, I plan to drill a hole in the glass on the side of the tank and add the pipe directly to the glass. what is the fitting known as? It goes on both sides of the glass And allows the pipe to be fit on one side so that it can take the water down into the sump

  15. So I have a question. I have a 45 gallon FW tank. I am currently running my intake to a external booster filter. Then from the out on that same booster filter to my main canister filter intake. I am running it this way to have all my mechanical media in one and all the biological media in my main canister filter.

    So, the tubes running from the intake and from out to the in. I can’t unhook them without getting water everywhere. I heard the idea of using a True Union Ball Valve – Socket/threaded but I have no idea of how to hook it up. I am using all the rubber tubes that came with filters and have no intention of going all pvc, because I rent an apartment.

    Any ideas of how I would go about connecting a Union ball valve up to each of the lines so I can remove the booster filter for monthly maintenance?

    Great video, thanks for the instructional tips you have provided!!


  16. If you're doing your first plumbing job unions are a must-have I followed bulkreefsupply advice on putting them everywhere I could and let's just say they really are great you could easily take apart your whole Plumbing assembly to clean if something breaks you can just take it off and replace it instead of cutting all your PVC they're all so good if you ever want to upgrade your plumbing since it's very easy to take it apart and put it back together

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