In this video, we will show you a few of the most common aquarium plumbing parts and explain what they do.

Marine and reef saltwater aquariums that have a sump, wet/dry filter, refugium or other external filtration system will require some type of plumbing. That is why we carry just about every type of aquarium plumbing part you'll ever need to make installation or replacement quick and easy.

Let's take a closer look at a few of the most popular pluming parts in the hobby:

1) A hose barb fitting is designed to make a water tight connection with flexible vinyl tubing from a pump, pipe or bulkhead. The fittings will be barbed to help keep them sealed inside the vinyl tubing. Hose clamps should be used on the outside of the tubing to ensure the tubing stays in place when installed on the barbed end of this fitting. The fittings come with threads or slip fittings for easy connection with bulkheads, PVC pipe fittings or pumps.

2) Check valves are used as a one-way flow valve designed to allow water to flow only one direction through your plumbing. When your return pump is switched off, tank water can back siphon down your return plumbing and overflow your sump or water reservoir. These one-way check valves will prevent this from happening.

3) Ball valves and gate valves are simply shut-off valves that allow you to block water from entering or flowing through your plumbing. They also can help to regulate your rate of water flow through your pipes or tubing. Ball valves are nice when you need to shut off water flow to a particular area of your plumbing. The valves will quickly block the flow with a simple 90 degree turn of the handle. They are easily plumbed inline using threaded or slip connections.

4) A PVC union will provide you with a removable connection in your plumbing. These are very useful when plumbing aquariums as it allows you to disconnect and remove equipment or valves for maintenance. The valves can be glued or threaded into place and should be installed before and after all your valves and pumps. You can then easily unthread the union and remove your pump/valve with ease. Some valves and pumps even come with a union attached making maintenance easy.

5) Bulkhead fittings allow you to make a sealed connection into a container such as an aquarium or sump. The fittings are designed to be installed through your container and sealed with a rubber gasket and nut via a hole drilled through the container. Each side has either a standard threaded connection for use with threaded plumbing parts or slip connections for gluing PVC pipe and fittings into the bulkhead.

If you have any questions about plumbing, check out our Aquarium Plumbing Guide & Glossary (or leave us a comment!):

If you need to purchase aquarium plumbing parts for your aquarium, check out our plumbing section: