Useful items and where to get them


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I'd like to start a thread talking about useful items and where to find them. There's plenty of hidden treasures that you've found and would like to tell the world. Let's hear them. I'll go first. I've ordered from all these places, so I know they're legit:

Storage tanks:
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I have a 65g tank for SW mixing and a 25g tank for RO/DI water. These tanks are great because they are made</em> to hold water, unlike rubbermaids that get flimsy. They're plastic, so easily modifiable; I drilled the top and put in a ball valve in the included bulkhead at the bottom. Works incredibly well.

Can be found at">US Plastic</a>.

[B]Gate valves:[/B]
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If you've ever tried to precisely control flow with a ball valve, you'll know they're not very precise - that's where gate valves come in. Used for skimmers or other places where precision is needed.

Can be found plenty of places -">US Plastic</a>, [IMG]">Savko</a>, and locally at [IMG]">Handy Ace Hardware</a>.

As a side tip, you can eliminate corrosion on these by either a) just unscrewing the metal screw and using the red handle directly OR b) remove the screw and re-tap it with a 1/4-20 tap and nylon screw. Handy Ace Hardware sells all kinds of taps and nylon screws.

[B]Flexible PVC / SpaFlex:[/B]
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When straight pipe just won't do! Reduced head by avoiding sharp turns in plumbing. Hard to work with, but usually worth the effort.

Be sure to use purple primer and the">correct glue</a>! You can work out the bends by running very hot water through it or otherwise heating it; try laying it out in the sun.

Can be found at [IMG]">Savko</a> or locally at Home Depot or Lowe's (although a lot more expensive).

[B]Black PVC:[/B]

Ahh, the elusive solid-black PVC... It looks great and is expensive to match. There's only one place that I know of that sells the [IMG]">pipe</a> and [IMG]">fittings</a> - Savko. And for Pete's sake, please use clear primer and glue if you're using this nice pipe- it just looks bad otherwise!

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Another option for lower quantities - use RIT dye (available almost anywhere - grocery store or WalMart). I've found you have to boil the dye / water solution, use a higher concentration (I use half the packet in a 2 qt pan), and make sure</em> you keep some pipe in the sockets, as the PVC will warp when boiled. Put back into cold water after dying to maintain shape.

I've had great success with fittings (just make sure you clean them very well with PVC pipe cleaner or acetone / nail polish remover first), but have had mixed results with dyeing pipe. It seems to work ok on anyhing 1" or less, but not on anything bigger. Not sure why...

Plastic locking clips:
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For use with John Guest fittings. If you're worried about one coming out, just put one of these on the collet, and it simply won't let the tube come back out. I've got them on all my RO/DI filter points, and on my Ca Reactor. Order 50-100 at a time. Available from">US Plastic</a>.

[B]Plastic Hose Clamps:[/B]
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I still see people using metal hose clamps all around their aquarium and shudder, especially when they're almost rusted through. Buy a pack of these and keep the metal away from the saltwater.

Can be found at [IMG]">Marine Depot</a> and other places. Fish Store & More sells them I believe.

[B]Bare Peristaltic Pumps:[/B]
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For the DIY-er. A LiterMeter costs $300 for one pump, and a medical dosing pump costs more. Hook it up to a float valve (below) to make your own automatic topoff unit (12v recommended, unless you plan to use a relay). An entire range available from">APT Instruments</a>, from $59 and up. They also sell cheap pH probes.

If you plan to make an automatic top off, just make sure you get one with higher capacity than you expect to use. For example, if you evaporate 3 gallons / day (11,356 mL / 1,440 mins/day = 7.886 mL / min), make sure you get something that can do 10mL/min or more, to have some breathing room.

[B]Solenoid Valves:[/B]
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Instead of using an expensive peristaltic pump or hard-to-manage powerhead for auto-topoff, you can control a gravity feed using a solenoid valve and some 1/4" John Guest fittings for $19.62 from [IMG]">McMaster-Carr</a> (Part num 7877K53). Be aware that they won't work against house pressure - using them to control an RO/DI filter won't work, in my experience.

[B]Float Switch:[/B]
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Turn something on and off based on the height of the water. $10.90 from [IMG]">McMaster-Carr</a> (part number 50195K93). Will control either the peristaltic pumps or solenoid valves above.

[B]In-line flow detector:[/B]
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Works by screwing into a T fitting and detects when water is moving. Saltwater safe, according to the company.

Available from [IMG]">Flow Detector</a>; I have not ordered from them yet.

[B]Stainless Steel Hinges:[/B]
Building a large canopy? Check out these hinges: [IMG]">Stainless Steel Concealed Hinge</a> or [IMG],GGLG:2005-44,GGLG:en&q=blum+170+hinge">Blum 170° Hinges</a>
Excellent list, chris!

another great website for plumbing equipment is
a>, you can get just about anything you could ever think of involving plumbing.
Oh right - I've ordered from them plenty of times. I'll come up with more specific items from them...
mojo wrote: Oh right - I've ordered from them plenty of times. I'll come up with more specific items from them...


They sell uniseals, which are great for diy skimmers, calcium reactors, etc... :D
Oh, and Savko has uniseals, too, for cheap! I've been very happy with Savko over the years!
Check out this post I made on TRT for a great dosing syringe I found in Walgreens:"></a>

The image uploader here says the evaulation period has expired, so I uploaded the images on TRT.
George wrote: Check out this post I made on TRT for a great dosing syringe I found in Walgreens:"></a>

The image uploader here says the evaulation period has expired, so I uploaded the images on TRT.[/QUOTE]

Well, I was trying to add content to the ARC site, but I guess all information is good information...

We're under full license for the image uploader. George - I've PM'd you to get an idea of why that error is showing up for you.
Also, if you don't want to drop $60+ on a dosing pump, you can use the Aqua Lifter pump shown with this overflow
Figured out the upload problem. Here's the post:

I recently found this"></a> in Walgreens (search for "Oral syringe") and thought I'd share it. It's great for targetted feeding or just general measured feeding of liquid suplements.

The bottle in the pics doesn't come with it (I got that in Walgreens, too, though), but the white stopper does. The stopper securely seals the bottle for shaking (that's RO water and Cyclopeze) and opens to take the syringe to pull a dose just like a needle dosing syringe, but without that needle stuff.

The tip of the syringe is perfect to attach to airline hose as well.

The only down side is that near as I can tell, the only way to get more stoppers is to buy more syringes, but at $2.39, I think we can all afford a few.
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Nice list Chris! I need to try those flow detectors.

I had to think hard for something to add, all I could come up with is this:

DIY inline probe blader

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Use a 1/2" John Guest fitting (available at or Home Depot) and carefully drill out the stop (the flange that prevents the tubing from being inserted too far) in the bottom of the fitting with a 1/2" drill bit. Be careful not to damage the O ring. Mount in a PVC T and insert the pH or Orp probe into the modified JG fitting. Works like a charm.

Float Switches:

Another good source for float switches is
Lest we not forget the cheapest sump for large systems: Rubbermaid poly tanks

Im glad to hear all this good stuff about savko, I just placed a $160 order with them for all my plumbing.. sad thing is I think i forgot some stuff. But I did go with some of the fancy black stuff along with all flex pipe!
8 switch power strip with fuse:">American DJ PC-100A 8-Switch ON/OFF Power Center</a>

It was originally posted on someone's TRT tank build thread, but I finally got one and it's sweet for being able to selectively turn stuff off, especially for feeding.
another useful product from foster and smith is the coralife screamer. i have it hooked up and the probe is at the bottom of my RO tank and the float valve faile donce but it screamed and let me know when i was asleep. It IS LOUD
Be very cautious about ordering online with Savko. On reef central there is a long post in the vendor experiences section. Someone hacked their site and stole many folks credit card numbers and have gone wild. I have ordered from Savko (Black PVC) a few times but luckily I placed my orders over the phone.