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Rethink your plumbing and plan for failures...

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by shoggoth43, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    So I left for the weekend after having my wet dry up for a few weeks now. I come home to a nearly empty sump and a pump barely sucking any water with plenty of it in places I don't want it like the floor. Since the floor hasn't been sealed yet and it's bamboo I'm in for a fun time later on when the mold hits, yay. Turns out the overflow unit had a bulkhead fitting that decided to crack. Following the tubing down it hits the floor first, then loops back up to the wet dry.

    Why did I do that? Well, I wanted some consistent back pressure on the ball valve so I could throttle the flow out of it and reduce the splashing. It's a Herbie style plumbing method and the emergency overflow was fine. It's more just a case of WTF and Why Now after a few weeks in operation? Because I wasn't there of course is the obvious answer. No float valve cutoff switch or anything like that naturally. The pump seems fine and the fish are fine since I didn't pull the cannister off that tank yet. So I can definitely recommend those marineland utility pumps. Still...

    So now I have to rethink how to make it so that in the event of a leak like this the natural tendency for the water is to flow down into the sump somehow and not off into the tank stand or floor. This also strongly leads towards a submersible pump method vs. the other ideas I had in mind. Lessons learned. Keep your plumbing simple and don't just blindly assume it'll be fine just because it has been thus far. Failure is ALWAYS and option. :(

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    S
     
  2. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    Murphy's Law

    Sorry to hear your plumbing went out on you. Murphy's Law called for it to happen when you were gone. When setting up my plumbing i was going to try something more complex than what i have ended up with. I wanted some plumbing set up that would make water changes easier, but once I had it hooked up i decided the chances of springing a leak were too great and i decided i would just simplify the plumbing as much as possible. I tested it for a couple days running it through a big jug of water. I have yet to get the tank going....sitting on it for over a month now waiting for lighting. I'm crossing my fingers I won't run into a problem like yours.

    Good luck with the clean up and sorry I don't have any clue what could be done to prevent it in the future
     
  3. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    What's really funny about this is that I went with the setup specifically to eliminate the possiblity of what happens if a bottom plumbed tank developed the same kind of leak. THAT would have been bad. At least this is only a few gallons compared to a bottom leak on a 120 gallon tank...

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    S
     
  4. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    S,

    So sorry to hear about your issues.....Hope the floor comes out okay...Murphy's law for sure

    I don't think you can plan for parts, fittings, etc to fail up to a point anyway.

    I have twin bulkheads for in and out and are over 7 yrs old. Should I drain the tank and replace them? That is somewhat rhetorical :)

    What about the 30' of plumbing and stuff I have? How could I plan redundancy if any of a hundred connection points fail?

    Esp if you are away from home....

    I put throttle valves all over so at least I can isolate an issue...

    BUT if at the bulkhead....not sure what you can do....it's like a leaky tank but more fixable..

    With my closed loop, I would lose whatever water is in the wiers assuming the pump was still running, not much (10 gals), but still. If the bulkhead goes, I guess that is why I have insurance....Not sure how to work that balance out.

    That is our biggest fear I guess after fish loss or electrocution, is a water dump..

    I examine my plumbing weekly for leaks or moisture just for this reason. You can always lay newspaper under the plumbing so any seeps will show quickly........

    Sorry again to hear of your issues.
     
    #4 Gerryd, Apr 26, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2010
  5. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Pretty much the only thing I can think of is a giant drip tray, or at least a stand designed to hold some water. I really don't know what I could otherwise do. I had everything still hanging off the front of the tank too "just in case" I needed to get at it....

    Best of plans and all that I guess. Still no one got hurt and none of the fish died. I'm REALLY impressed with the pump though. That could have been very bad and it seems to have come through just fine. Not enough water to flow but apparently enough to splash around internally and keep it going. I'll tear it apart later and look for damage.

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    S

     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    FANS, that should address the mold issue, boric acid in water can be soaked into the wood also, then allow to dry good, then seal.
    Once sealed good, the mold is no more.

    Air out good, fans etc.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Cool! Thanks for the tip. It's under the stand at this point so that's going to be tough to get to for a while. But the new tank is going there so I'll be able to pull it out of the way to clean it.

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  8. Oreo

    Oreo Guru Class Expert

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    I had a very similar experience. I have a 110gal plumbed to a DIY canister filter in the basement almost entirely with solvent welded PVC. About a year ago one of the few threaded connections split on me in the middle of the night and 100 of that 110gal leaked all over my basement. Luckily it's a concrete floor and nothing to get damaged down there. Even more surprising is that every one of my fish, including a 10" goldfish & 7" ghost knife, lived to tell the tail of spending 8 hrs in 1" of water.

    I learned a) DO NOT over-torque threaded plastic fittings. They'll be fine for a few weeks and then BAM! split when you least expect it. b) Solvent welded PVC is a lot more trustworthy if it's convenient for the connection location.
     
  9. lilieyen10

    lilieyen10 Guest

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    What you have mentioned above is all correct. Rethink your plumbing and plan first to avoid failures. Or maybe it is important to have a trustworthy plumber to take care of your plumbing needs.
     
    #9 lilieyen10, Jul 19, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2010
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