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DIY Spraybar

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  • DIY Spraybar

    I put together this spraybar for my 29 gallon as an attempt to create better flow through the tank, better nutrient and CO2? distribution, and have something that is hidden a little better. It is a vertically mounted spraybar that is painted black with krylon fusion spray paint.

    *Warning...I am not a plumber by any means, so the terminology is probably off a lot . Also, this only looks like it would take forever because I want to be sure to cover all the bases as best possible. So, sorry about this being so long.

    1) PVC pipe that is, at least, equal to the inside diameter to the output on the pump. If the ID of the PVC is larger than the ID of the pump outlet, the flow will be slowed when it gets to the spraybar. (I am using 3/4" schedule 40 CPVC for this project)
    2) PVC elbows to achieve the goal of the overall design chosen. For this one, I used two 90 degree elbows. One elbow is a slip fit on one end, and the other end is a female threaded fit for the threaded barb fitting. The second is a 90o street elbow with both ends as a slip fit.
    3) PVC endcap
    4) Threaded male barb fitting
    5) Teflon tape (depends on overall design)
    6) CPVC glue and primer (It may be possible to just use threaded elbows with teflon tape and skip this part)
    7) Krylon Fusion spray paint
    8) Hose clamp

    1) Calculator
    2) Drill bit (once the size is chosen below)
    3) Drill (a drill press would be better)
    4) Measuring tape
    5) Saw
    6) Fine grit sand paper (I used 1000 grit to prep for paint)
    7) Course sand paper

    As I found in my research, just drilling holes all willy-nilly creates an uneven output across the holes. So, these are the calculations I came across (linked below) to find the amount of holes to drill without creating to little flow out of some, or all, of the holes.

    *Note: Equations are only in brackets to separate them.

    1) Determine the length of PVC that is underwater, this will be the working area for the holes to use later. Be sure to account for any parts that will not have holes drilled in them (i.e. endcap and elbows). Either precut and pre-fit the parts, or determine how much length each part will take up when assembled.
    2) Find the inside diameter of the pump outlet. It can be based on what the manufacturer says, or everything can be broken down and measured with calipers.
    3) Calculate the area of the pump outlet. [Area=pi*radius2?] and [Radius= pump outlet diameter/2]
    4) Choose the drill bit size for the application and calculate the area of a single hole using the equations in step 3. (I calculated a few different sizes and determined the drill bit based on the number of holes I would have to drill and how hard they would be to clean)
    5) Finally, determine the number of holes to come that would have a combined area close to the outlet of the pump.
    [# of holes=pump outlet area (step 3)/area of a single hole] Round this number to the nearest whole number.
    6) Use the number of holes (step 5) and the length of the PVC working area to determine the measurement needed to space the holes evenly (optional).

    This will remain as a general outline since it will vary with designs.

    1) Always measure twice and cut once, and recheck any calculations done.
    2) Clean everything while it is disassembled, namely the elbows since they are easier to clean.
    3) Test fit the pieces and place alignment marks on the PVC parts that will be glued together.
    4) Glue the parts together, or save this till the last step before paint. I did not glue the spraybar itself to allow for it to pivot and make cleaning easy (same goes for the endcap).
    5) Draw a center line along the working area of the spraybar and make the marks for the holes. Using a template from cardboard makes the measuring a whole lot faster, but I am not quick about reading a measuring tape. Just be consistent in where the template is lined up on the previous mark.
    6) Double check the markings. (Yes, I am obsessive)
    7) Pre-drill the holes with a small drillbit.
    8) Drill the holes out with the chosen drillbit size keeping the bit as straight as possible.
    9) By hand, use a small file or smaller drillbit to clean out any pieces blocking the hole.
    10) Sand the end of the spraybar that will pivot with course sandpaper till there is less resistance in turning it, but not too much to the point it would come apart with some pressure. (If too much is removed, wrapping the end in teflon tape will close up the gap)
    11) Sand down the PVC with 1000 grit sandpaper to prep for paint.
    12) Clean all the pieces again and assemble the pieces leaving the barbed fitting off.
    13) As long as everything is dry, paint the whole spraybar in light coats and dry. Leave the part that will pivot unpainted.
    14) Once the paint is dry, wrap the threads of the barbed fitting and install.
    15) Cure the paint as seen fitting, I do not know of a set time to wait to add it to the tank.

    Links to the calculations to give credit

    Final notes and pictures
    I have not yet added this to my aquarium due to the paint curing, but running water through it outside of the tank has not shown any issues at all. Once it is installed I will add another picture, and if there are any changes I will amend this post as necessary . If anyone sees any problems with anything above, please let me know so I can correct it.

    Last edited by chevyguy8893; 05-11-2013, 09:21 AM. Reason: corrected my plumbing ignorance