Diy Spray Bar And Intake For Canister Filter

sputnick

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So I plan on making a home made spray bar and intake tube for my 45 gallon community tank. The flow in my tank is pretty low and I have an air stone hooked up to an air pump to give the tank a little more flow, but I would like to start getting serious with my plants so the air stone has got to go. So I looked at my options for increasing flow and I saw several, 1. Buy a powerhead 2. buy a water circulator 3. get a spray bar. I thought it over a little and this is the conclusion I've come up with. 1 & 2 would work great but here are my complaints, I don't like the look of a powerhead so I'd want a water circulator, both cost a fair amount and I'm cheap, the air stone also provides me with the water movement that I NEED and I would have to aim my powerhead/water circulator at the surface of the water and I want it pointed more in the middle of the tank as I have a tall tank. (24" deep) So then I looked at the option of getting a spray bar. This would allow me to get surface movement while at the same time creating a nice current towards the middle of the tank. So I did some research and the eheim spary bar is pretty expensive and I'd most likely need two to get decent coverage in a 3' tank. So then I thought to myself it seems like something that would be relatively easy to make. So I did some more research and found a few DIY spray bars and decided to have a go.
 
THE PLAN:
I want the spray bar to cover a good 90%+ of the width of the tank. So about 30" long. After some thought about pressure I decided that it would be better if instead of the water flow coming from one side of the bar it would be better to have the water entering the bar in the middle. so it would look like an upside down "T." One worry I have is about the size of the holes and number of them to achieve the same flow rate that I have now and not hinder it in any way, while still having good pressure. So I figure that if i add a ball valve to the assembly it will help me control the water flow out of the bar somewhat. Then I decided since I'm doing the out put I might as well make a longer intake as well. So I plan to build one of those as well.
 
Here are the parts that i have purchased so far:
 
1/2" PVC male adapter
                       2 @ 0.24               0.48
1/2" PVC Cap
                       2 @ 0.29               0.58
1/2" 90* fitting Elbow
                       2 @ 0.69               1.38
1/2" Ball valve
                                                     3.19
1/2" female insert adapter
                                                     1.18
1/2" PVC TEE 
                                                     0.27
 
 
TOTAL:                                       $7.08
 
Now I was a little of a (insert bad word) and I purchased a 5' length of 1/2" PVC but I left it leaning on the side of my truck and I drove off with out it. 
I'm more mad that I can't start the build as soon as I'd like to opposed to the cost it will be to replace it. A whole $0.96. So hopefully I will have a piece of 1/2" PVC tomorrow and I can start with the build. Now I do plan to put up pictures of the build process as well as dimensions. Stay Tuned!
 

techen

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The idea of a spray bar is a good idea but is not going to change much. Whatever your filter is IE 1000lph etc adding a spraybar wont change the flow. Overall if I were to go planted in a tank of that size all ponds solutions do cheap powerheads. You'll need to direct the flow if your going high tech planted and so on.
 

Robbo89

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Sounds like a pretty neat little project, just keep in mind that increasing the size of the holes in the bar will DECREASE the pressure of the flow, :)
 
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sputnick

sputnick

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@Techen it will give me more surface movement, and it will actually give me more under water movement but it will just be spread out more. Yes I know the flow RATE will still be the same.
 
@Robbo89 yup I plan on doing a little experimenting with hole sizes. I plan to start somewhere around 3/16"ish and go from there. While doing some research I came aross this formula that will aid in deciding the number of holes I need at what size. Ill see if i can't find it again and Post it up here for other people to use.

I do have one question, does anybody know that if standard PVC sealer/glue aquarium safe? or should I pick up a tube of silicone?
 

Shadders

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sputnick said:
 

I do have one question, does anybody know that if standard PVC sealer/glue aquarium safe? or should I pick up a tube of silicone?
I doubt if it will be safe, it contains solvents and the way it works is by slightly melting the two pieces of pipe together, here is the caution off a bottle of the stuff 
 
 

CAUTION!
The solvent vapors from the primer and cement can make you dizzy and are dangerous to your health. Make sure you have plenty of ventilation or wear an approved organic vapor respirator when working with primer and solvent cement.
 
you could use superglue
 

Robbo89

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Can't help you with the pvc sealer sorry, but I know silicon wouldn't be a bad option either. 

Ah, now superglue I can help with. Check this stuff. 
 

 
The active ingredient Cyanoacrylate is what you need to look for, that is the green light for aquariums. 
 
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sputnick

sputnick

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Alright thanks! I'm sure there is a a spare tube of silicone in the garage somewhere, whether its aquarium safe or not I'm not positive on but if not I'll go with the super glue. 
 
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sputnick

sputnick

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Ok! made some progress tonight! Finally got my PVC but I thought that if I was doing an intake that I might as well get 10' of 1/2". So I'll take you through what I got done tonight.
 
For starters here is all the parts that I purchased, minus the length of straight PVC.
 
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Here is the part that I plan on attatching the hose to seeing as how its a hose fitting! Who knew it would be so easy! 
 
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The end of the hose fitting was threaded though so I had to get an adapter..
 
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I then cut two pieces of straight PVC so that from end to end with the T connector in the middle it measured to 30" long. I think that this will give me plenty of coverage. Then here is the mock-up of the two 90* elbows and the ball valve.
 
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Then I cut a 2" piece of PVC to make the connection
 
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Then I cut another 2" piece to connect the ball valve with the hose fitting.
 
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Well since it all fit together nicely and the mock-up was complete I tore it back apart and de-burred all the pieces of PVC so that i had nice clean edges
 
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Before and after sanding, quite a difference.
 
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Then I cleaned and glued up all the parts that wont be in the aquarium water and Its now currently drying. Im going to do some math and continue on with the holes tomorrow. As of now this is how it looks. Stay Tuned for even more!!
 
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goldfinger

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Looks good I was battling an idea of a two feed from two pumps and had an idea to make holes gradually smaller from out to in to help the balance of pressure or was it the other way around? Not sure mmmm?
either way good progress!
 
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sputnick

sputnick

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goldfinger said:
Looks good I was battling an idea of a two feed from two pumps and had an idea to make holes gradually smaller from out to in to help the balance of pressure or was it the other way around? Not sure mmmm?
either way good progress!
Thank you! I have toyed around with that idea as well and i believe its the other way around. The smaller holes closer to the source so that more water get pushed down the tube farther. Or would that not work either? I plan on doing all the holes the same size, and if need be i can remake the tubes. I've got a lot of PVC left over from my 10' section. I think I've used a total of less than 3' of PVC to make the spray bar.
 

goldfinger

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I can't remember if head pressure is greater than aperture pressure, but I know pressure increased as small aperture goes?
Try it and see mate depends length of the pipe and if you have differing head pump presure aswell?
 
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sputnick

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Well I did some calculations to figure out how many holes of what size I would need to have to equate to the same flow rate. So what I did was steal someone else's equation! 
Anyways I calculated the area of my outlet tube. So you would find the diameter of the pipe that the water is coming out of. Which mine was 1/2". Then I plugged that into my equation: 3.14 x 0.5^2  now since that is the DIAMETER of the hose you would divide your answer by 4. I got about 0.1935 when all was said and done. Then I did the same but Instead of the hose diameter I used the diameter of the drill bit. I did three different drill bits, 1/16", 3/32", and 1/8". Once you get your decimal number you take your hose area and divide it by the drill bit area to get the number of holes you'll need. This is what I got for the number of holes for each drill bit.
 
1/16"  -  64 holes
3/32"  -  28 holes
1/8"  -  16 holes
 
I decided that I was going to go with 28 holes with a 3/32" drill bit. So I figured it would be about 1 hole per inch. So I went ahead and made my marks. Then I drew a straight line so that my Holes wouldn't be all willy nilly. Now when I did this I realized that I would only have 24 holes, but that would be alright because I didn't factor in the thickness of the wall of the pipe. So what I did was drill an extra 4 1/16" holes that were above the other holes to help with surface movement.
 
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Then I went ahead and drilled them.
 
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Here you can see one of the little holes.
 
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So this is what one side looks like. I then went ahead and did the other side. Now since I had let all the PVC glue dry over night once I was done I decided to test it and see how it worked with the garden hose. It worked excellent! So then I did a once over and sprayed off any residue left my chemicals and went to install it! It was a tight squeeze because of the rim of the tank but I got it to fit. The hose fitting was also too big but I got the hose to fit over it with a little muscle. I fired up my filter again and below are the results.
 
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My fish already seem waaay happy now that the air stone is gone. I think before they were scared of it because they would just stay to one side of the tank but right now they all are over on the other side exploring. Im really happy with it so far and a nice feature is that I can have one side of the spray bar pointed towards the surface and the other down towards the bottom. 
 So let me know what your guys think!! I do still plan on making an intake as well but I need to buy some more parts and do some more research. I think I'm going to try a few different combinations of intake pipes and see what I like best. BUT Stay tuned for even more!

goldfinger said:
I can't remember if head pressure is greater than aperture pressure, but I know pressure increased as small aperture goes?
Try it and see mate depends length of the pipe and if you have differing head pump presure aswell?
Well I used all the same size holes except for the 4 smaller ones and from what I can tell all the holes produce about the same amount of pressure. If not its really not noticeable I don't see the need to make them different sizes
 
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sputnick

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Well today I made an unexpected trip into town and I was able to stop and get more parts. 
These parts will be for my intake. I want my intake to be closer to the substrate but my aquarium walls are extremely high and my current intake is on the short side and will only go about half way down the take wall. There are so many different types of intake tubes that I'm not sure which one I want. I thought about the intake/skimmer idea but I don't have surface residue and I'm not sure how difficult it would be to make one that is relatively quiet. Then i thought about the eheim ones where it goes all the way to the bottom and there is a prefilter sponge. Like this: http://www.amazon.com/Jardin-Aquarium-Cylinder-Sponge-Filter/dp/B005LMQCW2/ref=sr_1_58?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1372207039&sr=1-58 And then there is just the regular intake tubes. Anyone know which would be best or which you would suggest? 
 
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Well I did some more cutting and tinkering last night and I came up with a way to do multiple intakes out of a few different pieces so I can do some testing and see which one I like the best. I make three different types of Intake tubes. I make a regular intake tube that just has a few holes in it. Then I make a skimmer/intake combo, then the last one I make was a ground intake tube. Its just a tube that goes all the way down to the substrate and takes a 90* turn to follow the surface of the substrate and this allows me to have the holes more towards the center of the tank. Its kinda difficult to explain but hopefully the pictures will help. I currently have just the regular intake tube in. I was going to test out the skimmer/intake combo but I didn't for two reasons. 1) I'm not completely sure that it will work based on a few things. I have intake holes above where the skimmer is attached, I'm completely clueless when it comes to skimmers, and I made it. 
 and the main reason I didn't test it out was because the skimmer stuck a little too high out of the water and I didn't feel like trimming it down at 9:45 at night. So I stuck on the regular intake tube and let it run over night. This is what I've noticed so far. There is a slight film on the surface of the water now, partly I suspect because there is less surface movement than before with the spray bar in place. Now it isn't much but Its just enough to bother me. 
So I think today I'll maybe tinker with the skimmer/intake combo and see if I can't get that to work. Anyways! here are some pictures!
 
Here is the skimmer/intake combo
 
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Here is the regular tube. This is the one I have in the tank currently. I drilled four holes in the middle and four holes towards the top and around 12 holes on the bottom to help take as many particles out of the water as possible. I'm not sure why or how but some how the first picture got turned into black and white. 
But its not like there is a whole bunch of color anyways!
 
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Then the last one is the weird funky one that I tried to explain earlier.
 
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Now Once the preliminary test runs were over I had planned on painting everything black. But I'm not sure now that its all in. I don't mind the rough plumbing look and once I get more plants in it will hide most of the pipes anyways. Here is what the tank looks like now with everything in it.
 
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SamB

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Nice! You may consider picking up a can of Krylon paint and spraying those black?
 
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