Clear Silicone Tubing or Soft Black Vinyl for return?

Discussion in 'Reef Aquarium Discussion' started by Nburg, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. Nburg

    Nburg Reefing since 2006 R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    I'm replacing my return pump with something that has more juice, so I figured it would be a good time to replace my return tubing. Right now I have the clear vinyl tube from Lowe's and I hate it because the Frag Tank light in my sump causes algae to grow in the tube, and every time I turn off the return, and the restart, a bunch of algae build-up comes shooting out. Also, I am looking to quiet things down, so here's my dilemma:

    Silicone return for quiet operation or black vinyl tubing for cleanliness? Or should I go 1' of silicone and the rest black vinyl? looking at 3/4" return line if it makes a difference.
     

  2. ca1ore

    ca1ore Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award CTARS Member Reef Tank 365 R2R TV Featured Article Contributor Build Thread Contributor

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    Neither, I've switched to flex PVC. You get rid of all those flow robbing barbs and upsize the pipe diameter and you may find that your current pump gas enough 'juice'.
     
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  3. Nburg

    Nburg Reefing since 2006 R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    I use that on my overflow and its great for that, but its not very flexible for a return pump to pull out and disconnect. I have a weird return section on my eshopps R200 so a harder flex PVC wouldn't work that well.
     
  4. BigHildy53

    BigHildy53 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    Use a union to connect a small section of silicone to flex PVC or PVC hard plumbing.
     
  5. Nburg

    Nburg Reefing since 2006 R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    I've done hard PVC and Flex PVC before and I hate it. I'm going to stick with the vinyl or silicone. Never had problems, other than the algae issue.
     
  6. coseal

    coseal Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    i vote silicone! the vinyl works great until the phthalates evaporate. then that stuff is as stiff as hard pvc.. i think you can get black silicone tubing from mcmaster or maybe even amazon...
     
  7. addictreef

    addictreef Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019

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    I am about to use some Flex PVC for my current build but I see it says "
    "It is suitable for direct burial, and approved applications include swimming pools, hot tubs, spas, irrigation and for other purposes. (NOT approved for human potable use.)"

    Does the underlined area mean it is not reef safe?
     
  8. theMeat

    theMeat Valuable Member

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    Get black vinyl tubing

    Without the algae growth as you have in the clear your flow will improve
     
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  9. ca1ore

    ca1ore Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award CTARS Member Reef Tank 365 R2R TV Featured Article Contributor Build Thread Contributor

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    From the same website:

    Our Flexible pvc pipe has an NSF51 rating. Generally NSF51 is considered safe for delivery and processing of liquids (wine, beer, milk, etc) during production, however the category our flexible pvc pipe has the rating for is swimming pools. It would pass an NSF51 certification for food if submitted but since 90% of the people using the product are using it for non-food applications it's not worth the money ($250K and up) to get a separate certification. Furthermore the product would also comply with FDA recommendations. The FDA does not give certifications, it only lists approved products and generally as long as you aren't using any banned products and stay in the "good list" then the product is considered "compatible" with FDA standards. The flexible pvc pipe can not get an NSF61 rating because if water sits in the pipe overnight, it will pickup a plastic taste and in order to get an NSF61 rating, it can't alter the taste (that's one of the criteria.). As for growing edible plants with pvc such as hydroponics, we know of thousands of customers who use it for just the purpose some of them organic certified, so we feel confident it would have no detrimental affects on plants or food.

    I think it is completely reef safe - I've been running long lengths of it for many years without any negative effects. I prefer it to vinyl because it solvent welds into regular Sch40 fittings so no flow-robbing barb fittings to deal with. YMMV.
     
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  10. MrsBugmaster

    MrsBugmaster Active Member R2R Supporter

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    They do make black silicone hose, I got some from my LFS, don't know where he got it
     
  11. addictreef

    addictreef Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019

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    further research it seems just the white flex pvc is "(NOT approved for human potable use.)". Hmm that is strange.
     
  12. addictreef

    addictreef Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019

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    and this ie Flex PVC:

    NEVER to be used for residential or commercial potable (drinking) water for humans. While white FlexPVC does have an NSF-51 rating, it is not suitable for potable (NSF-61, drinking) water applications. There is nothing toxic in the pipe, but it will pick up a "plastic taste" if water sits in it for several hours. This is the only reason it doesn't have a potable water rating: it can't pass the taste test. Same for black or gray. Neither can be used for potable drinking water. For livestock and fish it is perfectly acceptable. (Subject to local codes.)

    I'm so confused... the stuff is fine..right?
     
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  13. ca1ore

    ca1ore Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award CTARS Member Reef Tank 365 R2R TV Featured Article Contributor Build Thread Contributor

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    Already said it was (distinguish between legal claims and practical ones)….. decide for yourself.

    IMG_1611.jpg

    IMG_1320.jpg
     
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  14. FLSharkvictim

    FLSharkvictim Marine Conservationists R2R Supporter Tampa Bay Reef Keepers West Palm Beach Reefer Build Thread Contributor

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    wow, thats a lot of wire management!! If I were you , I would hard plumb everything using Cepex Ball Valves, Wye Check Valves and Gate Valves.
    Here is a shot of my drains that I am in the process of plumbing the 3 1/5inch PVC pipe./

    hard plumbing 1.5drains.JPG
     
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  15. andrewkw

    andrewkw Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    As much as I dislike plumbing I always use hard pvc. Once it's done and you correct any leaks its typically good forever.
     
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  16. ca1ore

    ca1ore Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award CTARS Member Reef Tank 365 R2R TV Featured Article Contributor Build Thread Contributor

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    FWIW, I've done the whole colored PVC, check valve thing (pox on check valves) …. maybe OK for a sump-under-stand, smaller tank; but flex is far better for a basement fish room (especially if you have to thread pipes through and between joists). I simply cannot be bothered to invest intellectual energy in plumbing. I just go for practical.
     
  17. Fish_Sticks

    Fish_Sticks Active Member R2R Supporter Article Contributor

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    Wow, that looks like such a mess lol. Fire waiting to happen
     
  18. Nburg

    Nburg Reefing since 2006 R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    Just because there is not much wire management doesnt make it a fire hazard. Infact, the more you ziptie and kink cords the more fire hazard potential there is. Fire doesnt care how things look or how clean it is. Zipties used in a lot of cord management pactices can lead to resistive heating and ultimately, fires.

    Ca1ore has been doing this a long time and invested a lot, I'm sure he takes fire safety into account.
     
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  19. FLSharkvictim

    FLSharkvictim Marine Conservationists R2R Supporter Tampa Bay Reef Keepers West Palm Beach Reefer Build Thread Contributor

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    @andrewkw - care to share why you hate hard plumbing since it's the best way to set up your drains and returns? In my opinion, when you hard plumb a tank the proper way it looks stunning.
    Nothing worse when all of your tubing is filled with Algae from over time which is a big Eye Soars if you know what I mean!
    You know they say mate, different strokes for different folks.

    Here is my old tank I just tore down! I like my systems clean and tight!
    [​IMG]
     
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  20. andrewkw

    andrewkw Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    I don't hate the way it looks, I just hate doing it! Glue the wrong piece, forget to get one thing at lowes and have to go back, primer spilled here ect. That being said I've never used any soft plumbing for anything other then media reactors. I always hard plumb everything. I thought the original poster wanted to use soft plumbing because it's easier. You often see that as a reason to why people use it vs regular pvc.

    I should also add that none of my hard plumbing has ever failed after it was properly setup. I have had leaks from things not setup properly but long term once it's right it's always going to be right.
     
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