Ceramic Reef Art By Shayne Greco

This is not really aquarium related but it is kind of reef related and I thought it was rather neat. The ceramic art by Shayne Greco is good looking and made to be usable. I for one would love to have the octopus sink but would be afraid that it would break in shipping. The art is available in galleries around the nation and through his Etsy Shop.

Let us know what you think about this art by commenting below.

Thanks to advancedaquarist for bringing this to my attention.

octopus sink

octopus art

Octopus candle

SEAhorse vase


Unknown Anthias discovered in New Caledonia by fish collectors

Fish collectors in New Caledonia has found a species of Anthias previously unknown in the fish keeping hobby. The species has not been described scientifically and is thus without any scientific name. The collectors, working for marine fish wholesale importer Quality Marine, has dubbed the fish New Caledoina Sunrise Anthias as it is adorned with red-orange bars and hues of yellow and pink. Credit for first collecting this species goes to Antoine Teitelbaum, and credit for first seeing this species goes to Tony Nahacky.

When first received by QM, we were unable to conclusively identify them as any of the known species,” Quality Marine explains in an official statement posted on their website. “Antoine and Tony reached out to a number of ichthyologists, some of whom have confirmed our suspicion that they are indeed a new species and are in the process of describing it for the scientific community.”

According to information provided by Quality Marine, the New Caledonia Sunrise Anthias is a deep water fish that forms large schools. Research indicates that the sex ratio within a school is 1:1. It is possible that the fish is endemic to New Caledonia. The New Caledonia Sunrise Anthia eats plankton just like other Anthias, and seems to chiefly feed on zooplankton and other meaty foods suspended in the currents.

Keeping The New Caledonia Sunrise Anthias in aquariums

Caledonia Sunrise Anthias closeup

A cose up of the Caledonia Sunrise Anthias.

At Quality Marine, the collected New Caledonia Sunrise Anthias are currently being kept in two large schools. Dominant males and females can engage in some semi-violent behavior, but aside from this the school is peaceful.

As a species, they seem to be less aggressive than many of the other Anthias this size. Because of our success in larger groups, they will likely be held like this in the future, and should be held in at least small groups (pairs, harems, etc) in the store display and home aquariums,” is the official advice provided by Quality Marine at this point.

As soon as the fish had acclimated, they started eating Nutramar OVA. After a day or so, they would also accept other meaty foods. They are now kept in on a diet of Nutramar OVA, enriched brine shrimp, Gamma mysis, krill, chopped prawn and other finely chopped meaty foods.

Probably a Pseudoanthias

Although the New Caledonia Sunrise Anthias has not be scientifically named yet, it can be tentatively placed in the genus Pseudoanthias. That would make it a close relative of species such as Sea Goldie (Pseudanthias squamipinnis), Bicolor Anthias (Bicolor anthias), Tiger Anthias ( Pseudanthias lori) and Two-spot Basslet (Pseudanthias bimaculatus).

The visual similarity between the New Caledonia Sunrise Anthias and other slender deep-water dwelling Pseudoanthias from the Pacific Ocean is easy to notice.

The New Caledonia Sunrise Anthias sports red vertical bars on the back, in a patter somewhat similar to the one displayed by Tiger Anthias ( Pseudanthias lori). The bars of the New Caledonia Sunrise Anthias are very wide and pronounced, and they reach halfway down the flank of the body. There is also a bright red saddle present at the base of the tail fin. Male specimens are normally more brilliantly colored than females, and males have a dorsal spine that proceeds far beyond the dorsal fin.

Buying New Caledonia Sunrise Anthias

Quality Marine will release the New Caledonia Sunrise Anthias on the aquarium market in the coming weeks. They do not sell directly to consumers, so fish keepers interested in keeping Sunrise Anthias need to contact marine fish stores and ask them to procure the fish for them.

Hawaiian deepwater fish successfully reared from wild collected eggs

Odontanthias fuscipinnis, commonly known as Yellow Fin Anthias, is a much sought after deepwater fish endemic to the waters of Hawaii. It’s highly coveted by reef aquarists due to its striking coloration, and can cost $1 000 or more to procure.

In the future, captive raised Yellow Fin Anthias may start showing up in the trade, because marine fish expert Frank Baensch has now managed to rear wild collected eggs into nearly full grown fish in captivity. As far as we know, he is the first person to ever accomplish this feat. The species was reared as part of the Hawaii Larval Fish Project.

In December 2012, Baensch collected a small number of eggs from surface waters off Oahu and brought them to RCT Hawaii. When the eggs hatched, bright red larvae emerged.

Features of the larvae include an elongated second dorsal spine and pelvic fin rays; pronounced head spination; brown pigment spots below the dorsal fin; and red pigment blotches on the body,” says the official blog of the Hawaii Larval Fish Project.

The larvae was kept in a 50 liter tank with multiple species and were fed wild caught Copepod nauplii plankton. According to Baensch, the larvae were robust in their 50 liter mixed species environment – good news for other marine aquarists interested in breeding or raising Yellow Fin Anthias.

As they matured over the course of 80 days, the larvae developed into small juvenile fish, lost their bright redness and started displaying the yellow coloration typical for adult Yellow Fin Anthias.


Odontanthias is a genus of fishes in the subfamily Anthiinae in the family Serranidae. They inhabit rocky reefs and are found in deep waters; typically below 100 meters. A vast majority of the known species live in the Indo-Pacific, but Odontanthias hensleyi is native to the Caribbean

Just like other members of the subfamily Anthiinae, Odontanthias are planktivores with a peaceful temperament. They form schools in the wild and can be seen in large numbers above the reef while feeding. Since they are small to medium-sized, strikingly colored, non-aggressive and do not eat other fish, they have become much sought after by marine fish keepers.

Pomacentrus micronesicus – new damselfish species from Micronesia

Picture above Courtesy of Jeanette Johnson. Liu et al. Zoological Studies 2013 52:6   doi:10.1186/1810-522X-52-6

Say hello to Pomacentrus micronesicus, a newly described species of blue damselfish! It has been given the name Pomacentrus micronesicus since is was found in Micronesia.

The new species was identified by Shang-Yin Vanson Liu (National Taiwan University), Hsuan-Ching Hans Ho (University of California) and Chang-Feng Dai (National Dong Hwa University). The full report “A new species of Pomacentrus (Actinopterygii: Pomacentridae) from Micronesia, with comments on its phylogenetic relationships” has been published by Zoological Studies and can be found here.

Cryptic species

There are plenty of known species of blue damselfish already, and now the Micronesian damselfish Pomacentrus micronesicus has been added to the mix. It looks very similar to several other species of blue damselfish, but the presence of only a light yellow coloration on the ventral fins and tail can help us a bit when it comes to distinguishing the Micronesian damselfish from other similar species of blue damselfish. There are also a few other things to look for, which you will find more information about further down on this page.

Marine organisms that look extremely similar but are actually genetically distinct are known as cryptic species. Thanks to new techniques for DNA sequencing, it has become possible for researchers to test if two similarly looking specimens are genetically distinct or not. This is what Vanson Liu, Hans Ho and Dai did to the fish they collected off the cost of the Marshall Islands, and this is how they were able to confirm that they had encountered a new species of damselfish.

Where does this species live?

The 21 specimens of Pomacentrus micronesicus collected for the study lived around the Marshall Islands in Micronesia, in the western Pacific Ocean.

The holotype was found near the Kwajalein Atoll (9°11′2.87″N, 167°25′4.88″E), at a dept of 5-10 meters. It was hand netted by Scott Johnson on August 2, 2009.

View Larger Map

What does a Micronesian damselfish like?

No specimens longer than 30 mm has been found so far. Pomacentrus micronesicus is metallic blue both anteriorly and dorsally, with a light yellow ventral portion. The dorsal fin has the same metallic blue color, while the pectoral fin (including the soft ray of the pectoral fin) is of a light blue shade. The pelvic fin is light blue to yellow, with a blue anterior margin. The anal fin is also light blue to yellow, and has a blue margin, but is in addition to this adorned with small blue spots. The caudal fin is light blue to yellowish, with a few blue spots on the anterior portion.

Pomacentrus micronesicus has a deeply forked caudal fin with a relatively long filamentous upper lobe. The body is ovate and slightly elongated. The mouth is terminal, small and oblique and forms an angle of about 40° to 60° to the horizontal axis of the head and body.

How can I distinguish between Pomacentrus micronesicus and Pomacentrus colestis?

P. coelestis complex

Photographs of the P. coelestis complex. (A) P. alleni, Weh Island, Sumatra, Indonesia. (B)P. coelestis, Nusa Kode, Komodo Islands, Indonesia. (C)P. auriventris, Raja Ampat Islands, Indonesia. (D)P. similis, Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar. (E)P. caeruleus, Andavadoaka, southwestern Madagascar. (F)P. micronesicus sp. nov., Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia. Courtesy of GR Allen.
Liu et al. Zoological Studies 2013 52:6 doi:10.1186/1810-522X-52-6

P. micronesicus and P. colestis looks very similar to each other, but there are a few differences that can be useful for the reef aquarium keeper.

  • Pomacentrus micronesicus tend to have a lower body depth than Pomacentrus colestis.
  • Pomacentrus micronesicus usually has 15 rays on the anal fin while Pomacentrus colestis usually has just 14 rays.
  • Pomacentrus micronesicus has 15 or 16 rakers on the lower limb of the first gill arch. Pomacentrus colestis has 13-14 rakers.
  • Pomacentrus micronesicus has a total of 20-23 gill rakers on the first gill arch. Pomacentrus colestis only has 18-21 rakers.
  • Look at the caudal fin of your fish. Pomacentrus micronesicus usually has a filamentous upper lobe that is deeply concave. Although this can occur in Pomacentrus colestis too, it is much less common.

Minute wrasse – Minilabrus striatus – new species available at ACI Aquaculture

The Minute wrasse is a small colorful wrasse that can reach 2.5 inches / 6 cm in length. It is the only species in its genus and its small size makes it a perfect fit for small marine aquariums and marine aquarium with sensitive invertebrates in them. The species is reef safe but can eat small invertebrates. It should not be kept with larger fish. The Minute wrasse is a schooling species and should as such never be kept alone. It originates from the south and central parts of the red sea.

The minute wrasse that is now available at ACI Aquaculture is very rare in the aquarium trade and this might be the first time it has been imported to the USA. This is a shame since it is a stunning little gem that would make a wonderful addition to our aquariums.

Minute wrasseThe species is according to my own observations plentiful in the wild in the red sea and the population should support a more widespread harvesting for the aquarium trade if it were to become a more popular species. In the red sea it lives in shallow waters, usually less than 36 ft / 12 meters deep. They are usually found in large groups at reef slopes. They are prominently found on the outher reef slopes but can from my observations be found anywhere on the reef where there is a drop of point. They are usually especially plentiful near caves at the outer reef slopes.

This species is as earlier mention best kept in groups but due to the limited numbers that have been collected and brought to the USA at this time it will be virtually impossible and cost prohibitive to to get a whole group. We would despite this like to recommend that anyone who is interested in this fish get at least 2 or 3. You will enjoy them a lot more and it also raises the possibility of breeding this species. Captive breeding on this species is highly desirable since it could make an excellent addition to our hobby.

How to Frag Leather Corals

A good friend and fellow hobbyist asked me for a frag from one of my leather corals that he has really liked for a while now. As I was getting the frag for him, I thought I would take the time to show how I prefer to frag leather corals.This is not the only way to frag a leather coral, but it is the way that I find the easiest for both me and the coral

Step – 1 Plan the frag

By this I mean you should decide what part of the leather you want to frag. In this instance, there is a small growth near the base of the coral on the left hand side (as pictured below). I could have chosen almost any part of this leather to frag and it really would not have mattered too much, but that small growth just seamed it would be easier to frag.

Step Two – Remove and Frag the leather

It is always best if you can remove the leather from the aquarium when you frag it. In this case I had removed the leather and the rock it was sitting on and placed it in a 5 gallon pale of tank water.There are two reasons for doing this. The first is that leathers can release toxins when being fragged, and the second is that you can add a coral treatment to the container to help the coral heal faster.Many others have successfully fragged leathers while still in the display tank.I have always been able to remove mine for fragging so I have always done that.

Step three – Frag it

This is simply cutting a part of the coral off from the rest of the coral. Make sure you use a very sharp razor or butcher’s knife and cut the peace off in one smooth and gentle motion.Remove the frag to a second container of water and leave the leather in the current container. Add a good quality coral treatment to both containers to help the corals heal the damaged areas. Once the main coral has had about 10 minutes in the coral treatment, you can replace it to your main display tank. I would also suggest having fresh carbon running on your set-up to remove any toxins the leather might release.

Step four – Attach the frag

In my experience, you have to let leathers naturally attach themselves to something.Every time I have tried an approach that involved glues or any other type of method, I found the leather will just produce extra slime coating and become detached within a day or two. I have the best success by using a rubber band to gently hold the frag to a frag plug or piece of rock. You want just enough pressure to hold the frag in place, any more and you could cause the frag to divide into two smaller pieces and both becoming detached.

You don’t have to worry about attaching the frag so it sits up-right as it will grow up-wards towards the light in no time at all.

Step 5 – Return the frag

I always like returning the frag to the display tank as soon as it had about 10 minutes in the other container with a coral treatment. I will place the frag in a lower area of the aquarium with low flow to help the leather attach to the frag plug. In my experience, it takes about two to three weeks for the frag to attach to the plug assuming it is not getting stressed by crabs (or other critters) and it’s lighting and water quality needs are being met.
The below picture of the frag was taken after one day after being fragged

The below was taken four days after being fragged. You can see the leather is starting to turn up-wards towards the light and is also starting to extend its polyps.

The below picture was taken 9 days after being fragged.  The frag has already started to grow up-wards towards the light and looks like it is very close to becoming attached to the coral plug/

The next day after being fragged, the main leather has fully bounced back recovering from the process and looks to be in pretty good shape.

Tip of the Week #2

Beware of forums !!!

While forums are typically a great source of first hand knowledge, they can also be a pain in the backside for two different reasons.

When first starting and setting up your marine aquarium, your experience is limited.  Even when you research more than enough, you still can make a mistake here and their when you are new to the hobby.  Most of the time this is not a bad thing as there will be no permanent harm to your aquarium inhabitants and you will still be enjoying your aquarium in ignorant bliss, just like I had started started out in the hobby. However, if you unknowingly make a mistake to go to a forum to explain your situation and ask for advice, you will likely get a dozen or so people pointing out all of your mistakes.  This can make it real easy to feel bad about yourself and limit your enjoyment you will get from your aquarium.  Just keep in mind that almost all problems you will ever run into, can be corrected by applying a few basic and simple concepts.  This hobby is not a “Black Art”.

Another reason for this warning is some hobbyist who have many decades of experience can forget they are talking to a newer or lessor experience hobbyist at times.  This can make you feel like someone just explained to you how to build a watch when you only asked what time it was.  Don’t get down on yourself when this happens, and it will happen.  It can be easy to feel like you don’t know what you are doing when a fellow hobbyist tries to sum up his/her many many years of experience into a few paragraphs, just do your best to learn from the information.  Once again, stick to the basics doing those well, and most every thing else will fall into place.

Also, I thought I would share the below links as I found them very interesting and I hope you will as well




Tip of the Week #1

When I took survival training while I was in the army, we were always instructed to get enough firewood to last you through the night and to complete this task before sunset.Once you had what you thought was enough firewood, get three times more fire wood that what you have. I have found this same simple principle should be applied to planning and learning about your marine aquariums.Once you think you have read and researched enough, you could stand to research some more (me included).

I have found the best way to accomplish this is by reading books and articles published by credible and experienced hobbyists combined with talking to fellow hobbyist and taking a good look at how they have set-up their aquariums.  Forums and blogs can be very helpful for you fill in the gaps or help you decide between the many options and approaches you are going to become exposed to.   This also is one of the aspects of the hobby that many people enjoy almost as much as they enjoy their aquariums itself.


The below are some articles that I found interesting and I thought I would share them.




Building a Aquarium Canopy

I had a few requests to write up ideas with pictures of how to build a aquarium canopy.I thought I would just show and explain how I built some of the canopies that I have used in the past. The first two examples are based on a canopy that I had seen on a 190 gallon aquarium owned by a fellow hobbyist and friend.
Before building your canopy, I would recommend that you first have your lighting you are going to use on the aquarium. You will need to know how far above the aquarium you will want to use your lighting, how thick the lighting fixture is, and how long the lighting fixture is. Sometimes it is helpful if you can use your lighting on the aquarium for a while so you can try out the lighting and confirm how high you want the lighting from the top of the aquarium.

Canopy Example #1

This first example is a canopy that I built for a four foot 90 gallon aquarium.I started by building the frame that sits on top of the tank. The outside measurements of this frame are the same as the outside measurement of the aquarium. My lighting will not be wider than the aquarium so I can use those dimensions for this build. I used 2X2 inch lengths of solid pine for the back and sides and a ¾ by 4 inch length of solid pine for the front.I used construction grade wood screws and generous amounts of wood glue to attach the frame pieces together.

On this frame piece you will only see one angled support on the right hand side back corner.I could not add angled supports on both back corners as the aquarium has an internal overflow on the back left hand corner and I wanted to leave as much room as I could for access to the overflow. If the aquarium did not have an internal overflow, I would have added angled supports to both back corners

I then added the back piece to the frame (using wood glue and screws). The paneling that I used for this was ¾” solid pine. I pre-drilled holes for the screws to help ensure I did not split the wood. When working with wood 2 inches and less in thickness, I always prefer to pre-drill before using construction grade screws. When working with a softer wood like pine, you may not have to pre-drill your holes.This is just my preference

The sides were added next.As you can see from the below and above pictures, I attached the sides and back from the inside of the canopy and not from the outside were ever possible. That way, the screw heads will not be visible from the outside of the stand so I don’t have to spend as much time filling the holes to hide them later on. The back and side pieces also go 2 inches down past the frame to allow the sides and back to fit around the aquarium preventing the canopy from being accidentally knocked off the aquarium. This also covers the black trim of the aquarium giving it a nicer or at least a more consistent look
As I am using LED lighting I knew that I wanted to have them 6 to 8 inches above the aquarium, and the LED fixtures are 2 inches thick with 1 to 2 inch thick mounting bar (depending on the exact type that I choose to use). I left 10 inches of space above the frame to allow enough space inside the canopy for my lighting and air circulation around the lighting
That is why I used 14 inch wide boards for the back and sides: 10 inches of space above the frame, 2 inches of space for the frame, and 2 inches of space below the frame

I then cut and attached a piece of wood that covered about 80% of the top of the canopy, leaving about 20% of the top open at the front.

I built the lid next and dry fit it to make sure I got it right. I built an “L” shaped lid so the hinge will sit on the top of the canopy were it will be out of sight. The front of the door drops down 2 inches past the frame so it will match the sides and back of the canopy.

As you can see by the below picture, I used four angled supports to re-enforce the two pieces of the lid.

The next step was to drill the vent holes on the sides, top and back, and put in the rails for the LED mount bar I made. I also added a little trim to the sides to give it a little better look. The inside rails can also be used for a T5 light fixture as well. The second example that I have in this article shows these rails in better detail.

After some wood filler, two coats of a good quality primer & sealer, and 3 coats of a marine based paint, the canopy was complete. You can also use a very good quality primer and sealer followed by a very good quality exterior paint if you do not want to use a marine based paint. I had to let the paint cure before I put it on the aquarium. I painted the inside with the same black paint as I did not want to buy two different colors of marine paint

I chose to paint this canopy black so it would match the stand the aquarium was sitting on. I like to give my set-ups a more consistent look as well as matching with the rest of the furniture in the room, but that is just my preference. You can finish your canopy to suit your tastes.

Here are a few pictures of the finished product.

Canopy Example #2

The second example that I am showing here is one that I built for a four foot 120 gallon aquarium that I have. I wish I had taken more photos while I was building it, but this will give you a pretty good idea. I followed the basic same design as the first canopy that I showed in this article. The biggest difference is that I stained and urethaned this canopy and extended the top of the door to the center of the top of the canopy to allow for more room to reach into the tank to complete routine maintenance when needed. The only drawback to this is that it makes the door heavier as compared to the door in the first example.

In these pictures you will see a little more detail on a few features not shown very well on the first example. I also drilled two air holes on each side of the back piece near the corner to run cables through for the poweheads, lighting, and what not. I made these holes a little larger than the rest of the air hole to make it easier when running cable through them. You can also see the vent holes that were drilled on the top of the canopy for additional air circulation.

Just as with the first canopy, I used the same thickness of solid pine and I glued and screwed everything together in the same way. I stained this canopy to match the stand and furniture in the room followed by several coats of urethane (4 or 5 if I am remembering correctly).

One of the last things that I had done was to add two pieces of wood on the inside of each side for the mounting bar of my LED lighting to sit on. You can also adjust the height of this wooden rail to allow for a T5HO fixture.

I had to make sure the angled supports on the back corners of the frame would not extend further past the top bracing of the aquarium or they would restrict my access to the internal overflow.You can also see the side trim pieces that I added to give the canopy a more finished look and to also hide any light that might come through around the door.

If you are using T5HO or MH lighting I would certainly recommend more and larger vent holes and possibly adding a built in vent fan or two. I would also design the canopy for extra space inside the canopy for better air movement to help the lighting stay cool. You will have to be extremely careful using MH lighting in a canopy due to the very high levels of heat produced by an average MH fixture. As I use LEDs in my canopies I do not need that many vent holes as they produce low amounts of heat.

The below is a picture showing the air vent covers that I added to the sides once the store got more in. These can be found in most home improvement and hardware stores were they keep the roofing products.These vent covers are actually meant to cover roof ventilation holes in the soffits of most homes. I like using them on my canopys as they allow for very good airflow while preventing a lot of light from getting through.

Canopy Example #3

The third example is a canopy that I built for a six foot 180 gallon aquarium.The frame, sides and back were built the same as in the first two examples.I did add additional framing in the middle of the canopy to support the 6 foot span of the top of the canopy. As you can see by the below picture, I had added two sets of mounting rails as I was planning to use two sets of hanging bars for the LED lighting to be used on this aquarium.

The biggest difference with this canopy is that the doors open out from the center of the front of the canopy and are hinged on each side of the front. The top piece that sits in the opening pictured in the above picture is not actually attached to the top of the canopy making it removable for easy aquarium maintenance when required.The below pictures better illustrate what I am talking about.

As this aquarium has an external overflow on the back of the aquarium, I had cut out two access holes in the back of the canopy above the overflows for easier access/maintenance to the duriso stand pipes in the overflow without having to remove the canopy to get to them. I had cut this out after I finished building the stand to make things a little easier


Aquarium Plumbing Valves

I have received a lot of questions about using valves on aquarium set-ups. This article is meant to provide a little more detailed information to supplement the already posted Aquarium Plumbing Article here for those people who would like more detailed information on the commonly used valves on sumped marine aquariums.


 There are many different types of valves used in the hobby today.In the article I am only covering the most common types of products used. All the information listed below is some accurate but you should assume there are many different variables can effect product performance making it very hard to develop a hard fast rule that applies in very situation. Use the below as guidelines. In additional, products made outside North America not have been manufactured up to ASTM, (American Society for Testing and Materials)or CSA (Canadian Standards Association) standards making those product specifications hard to determine.That is why I always prefer to ensure the plumbing products that I purchase are manufactured to either ASTM or CSA standards to ensure the specifications will be consistent.
Please keep in mind, there are seemingly hundreds of different types of plumbing companies but it is important that you choose one of the best plumbing companies who has the right knowledge.The valves that I am referring to in this article are the ones that I have come across that can be made with materials that are aquarium safe and are also suited for the typical sumped aquarium set-up.

Regular  Valves

I would refer to any valve that is used to regulate or completely shut off (stop) flow as a regular valve.The below valves are the most common valves that I have found in the hobby so far.

Ball Valves

These are about the most common style of valve that you will find in use in the aquarium hobby.They are very easy to find in most hardware and plumbing supply stores in models that are made with materials that are safe for aquarium use.The models that are made of PVC material range in size for ½ to 6 inches.You can get them in SCH 40 and SCH 80 PVC which will have the same tolerances and specifications as the same PVC pipe and fittings. Ball valves are also available in screwed or socket weld (glued) connections depending on how you want to connect this valve into your system.This is my preferred valve to use in any type of plumbing set-up.The reason for this is that ball valves will restrict the flow going through the valve the least of any type and they are also the least likely to fail or leak.The only drawback to using these valves in PVC is that they are not the best suited for high pressure and high heat unless you have a ball valve made of PVC SCH 80.


Gate Valves

These valves are somewhat common to find in the hobby.They will reduce the flow going through them more than compared to a ball valve. Gate valves made in PVC are harder to find, mostly being found in plumbing supply stores or some on-line aquarium supply stores. The can also com in PVC SHC 40 and PVC SCH 80 material but are more common to find in SCH 80 as the valve is intended to be used on higher pressure applications. The benefit of gate valves is they will be able to withstand more pressure than ball valves and can be used for more finer adjustments. In most aquarium set-ups, this valve would be overkill, unless you have a very large system that has a single return pump applying very high flow rates and high levels of pressure.

Globe Valves

These valves are the least common to find in the hobby.They can be more difficult to find globe valves made entirely out of aquarium safe materials and would most likely have to be order in by a plumbing supply company or purchased from a on-line aquarium supply company. They typically can withstand the most pressure and temperature of these three mentioned valves, but they will also restrict the water flow through it the most as well.Gate valves would be considered specialty valves to be used in very specific situations were a ball or gate valve cannot handle the pressure being put through the line.


 Check Valves

Check valves are a type of valve that will only allow liquid to flow in one direction.You can not use them to control the flow of water through them.They are commonly used on return line to prevent water draining back from the display tank into the sump when the return pump is no working.When the pump is shut off, the pressure product by the water flow is removed and the valve closes preventing water from draining back.When the pump is turned back on, the pressure of the pump moving the water through the valve will open the valve returning to normal flow through the valve.The below are the two most common types of check valves used in the hobby today.

Swing Check Valve

These are the most common to find.  They will restrict the flow of liquid moving through them a little.They are commonly available from on-line aquarium supply stores and maybe even plumbing supply stores. You have to be very careful when picking out a swing check valve.Lower cost valve will use a metal spring on the disc to help close the valve when the pressure / flow is removed. For that reason I do not like using swing check valves in set-ups that I want to use a check valve.

Note: there are many different designs for a swing check valve.I am only showing one of the more common swing check valve designs that come in aquarium safe material (all PVC construction).The check valves that are very slim (looking more similar to a PVC coupling) are the ones that commonly have metal spring inside. Make sure you verify they type of check valve you have before you install it on to your set-up

Ball Check Valve

These are less common valves and can be harder to find. You typically will have to go to a specialty plumbing supply store or a on-line aquarium supply store.They work on the same principle as a wing check valve.The only difference is that they flow pushes a ball up the body of the valve allowing water to pass around it.When the pressure/flow is removed, the ball falls onto a rubber seat and prevents water from flow backwards through the valve.They are the safest type of check valve to use as they will be made entirely of PVC material (mostly SCH 80) and they can be taken apart for cleaning and routine inspection make sure they are working properly.The only drawback ball check valves will restrict the flow of liquid moving through it more than compared to a swing check valve.