View Full Version : Clogged PVC problem

10-18-2016, 11:48 AM
Over the past few months, my calcium level was a little higher than usual. This caused a problem with my return pump and plumbing, becoming clogged and reducing the flow from my return pump. Is it best just to replace the plumbing piece by piece? or is there a way to clean it? It's a hard calcium build up, so running a cloth or "pipe cleaner" through it, may not do the trick so easy. The tank is full stocked and running, and i would like to not really shut down and rebuild. I'm open for suggestions or ideas to help with this problem.

10-18-2016, 01:50 PM
Running a solution of muriatic acid through the pipes is what I would do to remove calcium buildup. But to do this you would have to disconnect all of your plumbing so just replacing everything all at once might be the better option.

10-19-2016, 03:37 AM
How much is actually in the pipes? I can't imagine that there would be enough in the pipes to worry about. I could see there being quite an issue with the pump and impeller though - that's a good way to kill a pump.

10-19-2016, 03:55 AM
Update: Tonight i tore apart my plumbing.......most of the return plumbing. Some goes through a large wall and into another room where the sump is and is much harder to get at. The majority of the clogging was right where the unions connect together. So clogged,..i was amazed that water could flow through some of them. So, i got to work, with a long metal threaded rod.(kinda like a four foot threaded bolt), and used it like a file to cut through and scrape all of the openings clear of calcium deposits. It took a while to clean things up, and put them back together, but the flow has doubled. Not perfect,...but "way" better. I think re-plumbing is in my future. I didn't realize it could build up that bad.

10-19-2016, 06:06 AM
Wow! I've never seen it that bad! What was Ca and Alk at anyway?

10-19-2016, 11:30 AM
My ALK was ranging from 9-11, and calcium, (over my very busy, poorly neglected summer) slipped to almost 800.:redface: (reduced now to 400). This tank has been up and running for about 4 years now, with several feet of plumbing from one room to the next. With my return line being 3/4 inch and drains being 1 inch pvc. Which will now receive regular check ups.

10-19-2016, 12:18 PM
Wow! I don't think I've seen calcium that high before - it always precipitates out around 600 ppm.

tang daddy
10-21-2016, 11:35 PM
I use to dose the big 3 in my sump, after 8-10 months I noticed the return pump have problems starting after it stopped so I took it out and to my amazement was a cement blockit was so calcified that even a chisel would bounce off. So in it went into a bucket of vinegar. I think most reefers overlook this problem and return pumps should be cleaned frequently like every 6 months.