Over the Top or Drilling
- Running the aquarium plumbing from inside the tank, over the top and then behind the tank has the advantage of being relocatable if changes are made to the landscape inside the tank. However, it is also possible to drill the rear glass of an untempered tank. An outlet and a return valve are then installed and all of the plumbing is located externally. A tank can be custom drilled or can be purchased already drilled.
- One of the most important items in a plumbing setup is the pump that will push the water through the filters, skimmers and piping. According to AdvancedAquarist.com, the most common pump used in a plumbing system is a centrifugal pump. These pumps come in different sizes; tank manufacturers can tell you how many gallons per hour your pump must move in order for the water to be filtered properly. That number will tell you what size pump you need for your plumbing needs.
Bends and Bottleneck
- When mapping out the piping that will be needed, you can avoid restricting the flow of the water by avoiding sharp, 90-degree and 180-degree bends in the pipe. These may be necessary if you plumb your system over the top of the tank, but they should be avoided if possible. Bottlenecks--caused when you reduce the pipe at any location to a size smaller then the outlet and inlet of the pump you are using--also should be avoided.
- Use aquarium-safe adhesive when gluing PVC or plastic pipe together. Many glues are not safe for aquatic habitats such as saltwater reefs. You can find aquarium-safe adhesives at most aquarium retailers.