How do you set up your check valve plumbing?

ps2cho

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1) What is the best check valve for return to get? - Longest life and most reliable?

2) How do you plumb it? Do you put unions on each end so that way its re-usable in the future if you re-plumb, or do you just basically get new one with each tank build or replumbing?
 
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Evan West

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I'd say none.
No check valve? No offence but that is not a smart idea. If the nozzle of your return jet is under water (and it usually is) and the pump quits for some reason the water will back siphon into your sump till it has drained to a level below your nozzle.
 

chefjpaul

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No check valve? No offence but that is not a smart idea. If the nozzle of your return jet is under water (and it usually is) and the pump quits for some reason the water will back siphon into your sump till it has drained to a level below your nozzle.
And your sump needs to be able to handle that volume
 

redfishbluefish

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Strongly agree....no check valves. Raise Loc-line to surface of the DT and make sure you have the volume in your sump to handle back flow.

Check valve = Russian roulette of a flood
 

DaveMorris

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I agree 100%. Check valves are going to fail ALWAYS. And when it does, it almost always is at the worst time. There isn't a system out there that can not be designed to not need a check valve. When a tank is running you should be able to kill power to everything and simulate a complete blackout, and have the back siphon and any other water movement do its thing without relying on any device, mechanical or electronic to see how it all stops. The sump should be able to hold any over flowing water.
 

davocean

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You should never rely on a check valve, they fail in the on position anyway, so what's the point.
A properly setup tank w/ early siphon break does not need one.
 
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bblumberg

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No check valve? No offence but that is not a smart idea. If the nozzle of your return jet is under water (and it usually is) and the pump quits for some reason the water will back siphon into your sump till it has drained to a level below your nozzle.
As others have said, check valves will eventually fail. Better to design your returns such that there is very little siphoning when power goes off. I have mine just under the surface of the water. When the power goes off, my sump contains the excess water with plenty to spare. Apex is set to delay the skimmer coming back on for 5 minutes to prevent overflows.

If you don't want to do that, you can also drill a small hole in the base of the returns in your aquarium so that siphoning is prevented. This is less desirable because those holes can easily get filled up with coralline algae and other debris if you don't pay attention to them....

Bruce
 

Evan West

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Im not necessarily saying to rely on one but would it really hurt to put one in and design for the back flow? This way you have redundancy, ideally the check valve stops it but if not then your still okay.
 

AZDesertRat

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Yes it hurts. They cause additional head loss, they can fail closed or partially closed as well as open and they are another potential weak or leak point. They serve no purpose in a properly designed system period.
Think about it, water cannot possibly jump uphill so an air gap and a properly sized sump are all you will ever need. No cleaning, no maintenance, no extra expense, no additional head loss and absolutely zero chance of a flood, doesn't get any simpler than that.
 

don_chuwish

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This is the same response from the community I got when I asked. Lucky for you it's happening before you spent the money on them and glued them in! I took them out and someday I'll put them up for sale. I don't miss them at all. Return nozzles are just below the surface. Even after the siphon breaks I gradually lose even more water through the removable weir of the Synergy Reef Overflow. It all fits in the sump.
Yes you could say 'belt & suspenders' - use both the check valves AND siphon break - but the check valves are just a waste of money in addition to the flow restriction and extra maintenance worry.
 

bblumberg

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What they said /\ /\
Complicates plumbing, adds cost, provides no real benefit. Spend that money on silicone tubing between pump and return plumbing and a pad to put pump on. Both of these will reduce vibrations and noise.

Bruce
 
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Duffs

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Wow....just as you would properly setup plumbing in the tank and sump size of your tank you would also setup check valves according to inner diameter so there really wouldn't be any dynamic head loss..IMHO I have installed check valves in all my tank ..." the clear unoin flapper style, and check operation of them periodically" 20+ years in this hobby never had any issues ....but hey what do I know I just setup large open and close loop pumping system for a living
 

davocean

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Wow....just as you would properly setup plumbing in the tank and sump size of your tank you would also setup check valves according to inner diameter so there really wouldn't be any dynamic head loss..IMHO I have installed check valves in all my tank ..." the clear unoin flapper style, and check operation of them periodically" 20+ years in this hobby never had any issues ....but hey what do I know I just setup large open and close loop pumping system for a living
Most everyone on here that have commented have many years experience as both hobbiests and professionals, I'm actually very surprised to see anyone w/ any amount of time logged thinking they are needed or even a good idea.
Keeping it simple and fail proof is not any bit difficult at all.
I'm at 32 years in hobby and never had a check valve, and w/out a single failure in this area.
 
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bblumberg

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I had one (flapper style) in my first reef tank and it stuck open after a couple of years. I eventually replaced the original noisy pump, cramped sump, etc with a custom Lifefreef sump, but didn't bother to replace the flapper check valve. I have been in the aquarium hobby for pretty close to 50 years (mostly FW but ~ 11 years salt) and totally agree with Dave's keep it simple and fail proof statement.
 

Duffs

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Most everyone on here that have commented have many years experience as both hobbiests and professionals, I'm actually very surprised to see anyone w/ any amount of time logged thinking they are needed or even a good idea.
Keeping it simple and fail proof is not any bit difficult at all.
I'm at 32 years in hobby and never had a check valve, and w/out a single failure in this area.
While I agree on keeping things simple ...I will have to disagree on never need one it would be hard/wrong or very complicated/labor intensive to run a lead-lag pump setup without check valves ......as for them failing just like pieces of equipment they need to be checked and maintain
 

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