Water Feed Line For Fish Tank.

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by nfored, Nov 24, 2009.

  1. nfored

    nfored New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Kansas City
    Hello.
    I have installed T on both the hot and cold water faucets that hook up to the washing machine. Each tee has a lever to turn it on and off, I have then joined the hot and cold lines into a single pipe. This pipe runs to the fish tank, allowing me to refill the tank with water that has been regulated to the same temp as the tanks water.

    I have a ball valve just before the water enters the tank, used as a fail safe in case the shutoff on the Tee's fails.

    My question.

    I was told by the staff at home depot that I will have to keep the hot and cold water turned off at the Tee's that connect to the faucets. They said if I don't do that then the cold water mixing with the hot water will cool the hot water through the whole house.

    Is this true? as I would rather have the water always turned on at the T's so that I can simply open the ball valve at the fish tank to refill the tank, rather then having to open the cold and hot valves, and then the ball valve.

    Thank you
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,811
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    water

    I am surprised a Home Depot person was smart enough to know that. It is DEFINITELY true, and will cause all kinds of weird symptoms if you do it. AND you also need a vacuum breaker, antisiphon device somewhere on the hose to prevent drawing the fish tank water into your house piping. You have gone beyond the DIY phase, and are entering the health/safety aspect of the job, and unless you KNOW what you are doing, and it does not appear that you do, you can create some unintentional hazards.
  3. plumbergreg

    plumbergreg New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Holy cross connection batman, leave an air gap between the supply pipe and the fish tank for one(at least an inch) and google "thermostatic mixing valve" your fish will thank you.:D
  4. nfored

    nfored New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Kansas City
    Man it's sad you make rash Assumptions like that, do we remember from grade school what happens when we assume?

    Explain to me how it can siphon from the tank when the pipe is above the water level? even if it was not above the water level if you read the whole post you would have seen that there are 3 ball valve that get closed, last time I checked you can't siphon through 1 ball valve let alone 3. While I may not understand all the theory and principles of plumbing I do have an understand how basic physics work? Oh and I forgot the water pressure coming into the line would be far greater then that of the siphon, if you would like to prove this to yourself get a small bucket with marked water levels, and then attach a hose to your out door connection fill the bucket it up, turn the hose off. As long as the hose is on the water is pushed into the bucket not siphoned out, when you turn the hose of your closing the valve and again no water is siphoned out. being a master plumber must mean you know code and theory but lack basic physics and water dynamics.

    I am not sure if this is how your respond to all new comes who just want to ask a question? See people who know they don't have all the answers ask questions before they do something which is what I did.


    In any regard thank you for answer and thank everyone else also, it seems it will be easier to just turn it on and off at the ball vales on the T. The 10 minutes it takes to fill the tank, surely wont cool the whole hot water supply, and if it does a small price to pay not to have to drag buckets to the tank.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2009
  5. nukeman

    nukeman Nuclear Engineer

    Messages:
    711
    Location:
    VA
    I would use a thermostatic mixing valve as plumbergreg mentioned. This way, you set the temperature and just have one knob to control flow. Leave the fill at least an inch or two above the top of the tank. Typically, plumbing code says the minimum of 1" or 2x pipe diameter for your air gap. I would stick with this to make sure you don't siphon when shutting off the valve. This valve will also not cause mixing between the hot and cold unless there is something wrong with it.

    I would also look into filtering of somekind to remove chlorine and such from the water so it doesn't hurt the fish. I know a lot of people use RO water (especially for saltwater setups).
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,811
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    fish tank

    IF there is no physical connection to the tank, and I do not believe that was stated, and there is NEVER a hose connected to the fill pipe, also not stated, (he could want one so the fish are not disturbed by splashing water), then a vacuum device is not needed, BUT an inspector might require one just to prevent it from ever happening. Using your theory that a closed valve can NEVER allow siphonage, that would mean they are seldom required, which is not the case. He has three valves, but he stated that he wanted to leave TWO of them at least partially open so he did not have to reset the temperature every time. The third one, if conditions are right and it is open to fill the tank, at the time when the water to the house was shut off, possibly by the city to repair a broken water line, could be a source of contamination, which is when the need for a backflow device becomes apparent. Safety devices are NOT needed when everything is working properly. They are for when extraordinary conditions occur. WE, in the plumbing industry, MUST know when those conditions could occur and provide for them, NOT just worry about today's conditions.
  7. nukeman

    nukeman Nuclear Engineer

    Messages:
    711
    Location:
    VA
    I agree, hj. It is best to be safe and toss a vacuum breaker or some other type of anti-siphon device. At a minimum, it should be plumbed like you would a T&P discharge by having no threads so that someone in the future won't stick a hose on it and dunk it in the tank.

    I would add some kind of filtering. At least something to remove the chlorine. Your current method (buckets) gives a chance for a good portion of the chlorine to escape, but dumping directly into the tank won't allow that to happen. If you add small amounts of water often (say 1x per day), then the chlorine may not be much of an issue. I assume this is a freshwater tank. Saltwater fish are more sensitive to ph/chemicals and temperature swings.
  8. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    First, your hot/cold cross would cause major side effects throughout your water supply. It would also give you mainly cold water to the fish, then as hot started to arrive, and uncontrolled temperature mix. Can you put chorinated tap water directly into a fish tank??

    Second, your statement that you could not siphon back through a closed valve shows a total misunderstanding of the issue of backflow. Just google "40 neighbors hospitalized with toxins from fish tank" or other such scenarios, you will find countless horror stories just like that, caused by people who didn't care or didn't understand how backflow works.
  9. nfored

    nfored New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Kansas City
    Thank for all the replys.

    It was nice back in the day when it was just Chlorine, however most large cities now days use Chloramine which is very very difficult to remove using just carbon filters; if you do use carbon you have to use catalytic carbon filters and typically multiples ran in parallel. I treat the tank with a chemical to break the Ammonia Chlorine bond that makes up Chloramine and remove the chlorine.

    The pipe is about 1.5 inches from the water surface.

    If I where to use one of the mixing valves would it require the hot water to be ran at full blast? The reason I ask is I would like a fail safe, basicly set the correct temperature using just the correct amount of hot and cold and then put the valve in place. This way I have a fail safe, if the mixer fails the temp shouldn't shoot up to much.

    Yes as you pointed out alot of information was left out, so knowing you didn't have this information, should you have made a snap judgment that I don't know what I am doing. You are correct in the unlikely event that they disabled the water while it was filling up, and for some unknown reason someone would actually put the fill line under water there would be a problem.

    I just think rather then making harsh comments to a person new to your forum, you might ask more questions. A good example is the people on here recommending filters for chlorine, they are correct carbon can remove chlorine But I don't bash them because they didn't know if I had chlorine or Chloramine. Another truth is that a web site of any kind is only going to stay online if it gets visitors, and bashing them is no way to keep them.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2009
  10. nukeman

    nukeman Nuclear Engineer

    Messages:
    711
    Location:
    VA
    I mentioned the chlorine thing as I see two types of people that keep fish.

    1. people that understand and care about the balance of ph, chemicals, etc. for their fish
    2. the people who know nothing about it and don't care and just think straight tap water at whatever temperature is good enough.

    Sounds like you are in group 1. I'll let one of the real plumbers answer about the thermostatic mixing valve.
  11. plumbergreg

    plumbergreg New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
  12. wallygater

    wallygater New Member

    Messages:
    133
    Location:
    long island
    fish tank

    I have a 30 gal. fish tank. It has one fish in it. African Cichlid, about 7 years old. I always add just cold water. Never any hot. My hot water comes from a 75 year old boiler. I would never want to drink it, or cook with it, so why would I ever put it in the fish tank. Stick with fresh cold water and your fish will be very happy.
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