View Full Version : Spray bar gunk

02-24-2013, 06:24 PM
Looking for suggestions about spray bars.
I made a 3+ foot spray bar for my sump return in a 90 gal tank. The bar is made out of 1/2 inch PVC.

Every time I turn the return pump back on after WCs the tank gets snowed out by gunk from inside the spray bar. Takes several hours for the tank to clear up. I hate it! But I don' have a good way to clean the inside of the PVC and it would be a PITA to have to take it appart frequently.

Should I just ditch it and go back to the standard return, or does somebody know how to keep the inside clean? (The standard return was a pretty forceful jet so I switched to the spray bar.)

02-24-2013, 06:28 PM
Do u have a pre filter? Once I put one on my filtration it eliminated that problem.

02-24-2013, 07:10 PM
I do have a pre filter on the sump pump to keep and sediment in the sump from being pumped into the tank. But the stuff that comes out of the spray bar is gunk that accumulates inside the PVC pipe itself.

02-24-2013, 07:19 PM
I also no longer have a spray bar in my tank either. I don't notice anything coming out if the inlet now either. It was really bad when I had a spray bar

02-24-2013, 07:37 PM
Go to your local firearms store, Cabelas/basspro/etc. and go buy a bore snake, its used to clean barrels. I think one made for a 12guage should work for 1/2 pvc, give it a try =P.

02-24-2013, 08:01 PM
A bore snake...(the mind reels). They don't have oil etc on them?

02-24-2013, 08:04 PM
If gunk is spraying out of your spray bar it's probably a sign that your hoses need a good cleaning. At least that's what I find in my setup.

02-24-2013, 08:07 PM
A bore snake...(the mind reels). They don't have oil etc on them?

not unless you put oil on them.

02-24-2013, 08:22 PM
Thanks Mike, I will see what I can find.
Vinyl tubing to the PVC is pretty clean and the stuff comes out just as the pump starts so I think it is in the PVC, could be wrong.
Still a pain in the *ss.
Any other method for diffusing the outflow?

03-03-2013, 04:51 PM
It happens to me too, no sump here but everything its made of PVC pipes in my set up. I have two canister filters on parallel and everytime I stop one of them for cleaning (only one of them at a time) and re start it again it seems it is snowing in my tank. So what I do is remove the spry bar, it is not glued to the elbow, and put a fine fish net just below the elbow where the spry bar connects and then start the filter. All the snow is trapped in the net and after a few minutes it's save to remove the net with all the junk.

I think it is some kind organism that grows inside the pipes. In my set up it would be really difficult to clean so I stick to this method untill someone can share a better one.

Next time I stop one filter, in two weeks I should clean the number two, if I remember I will try to take a sample to put under the microscope but don't trust me on this, I am wanting to do it since I first had this problem.


03-03-2013, 05:43 PM
is it thin white pvc where light can shine thru it if so probably algea try black or a thicker white pvc.

03-03-2013, 06:06 PM
Thick dark grey PVC pipe here. Light can not shine thru.

03-03-2013, 06:14 PM
If it is algae you can dose your tank with Flourish Excell plant fertilizer as it will help remove algae (I know, sounds counter intuitive). You could buy a shotgun cleaning rod (one piece) with a cotton or nylon bore brush to clean the spray bar (no oils unless you put them on).

if you are looking to difuse the flow you could use nylon hose or pvc from your return line on your sump and have it dump straight down into a media bag full of pea gravel, zeolite, carbon, plastic bio-balls to keep your flow rate but cut your pressure. You can also make some plumbing that will dump the return water at the bottom of the tank right against the glass using the glass as a diffuser. I bounce the output of my Marineland deluxe 350 canister and my Fluval 406 canister filters off of the glass about mid way down the 75 gallon tank.

03-03-2013, 07:57 PM
I get the same thing. When we "bulit" the spray bar we used dark grey pvc tubes that we found at Home Depot ot Lowe's in the yard irrigation/watering section of the store. Becasue the spray bar is threaded, I can detach it easily and clean it with a long brush. When i forget to do it regularly, I get the same flush of gunk when restarting the sump pump.

03-03-2013, 10:00 PM
Whenever I restart my canisters, even when I clean the lines, I get that stuff. I pull the outflow out of my tank or otherwise capture the first 20 sec or so of flow and have seen much less of that white stuff.

03-03-2013, 10:52 PM
The bore snake works! But the shop looked at me funny when I said I needed it for a fish tank.
Mine is not glued as well, so it is easy to remove, just a pain because it is ~4 feet.