View Full Version : Black or White?

04-20-2002, 11:06 PM
Is there any known problems with using black ABS tubing/adhesives? Are they toxic, or are they okay to use? I see PVC used everywhere. Is there a reason? F.F.

04-20-2002, 11:37 PM

In the US, PVC is readily available in most places and in lots of different sizes...unlike Canada. However, ABS is not readily available in the US, but ABS is readily in Canada.

ABS is perfectly safe - most "black" plastic hoods made by commercial companies are made from ABS. For example, the Hagen canopies are ABS. Many powerheads use ABS for their housing. So, it is relatively safe. I even used ABS to builder a skimmer smile.gif

PVC is not popular in Canada because production of PVC is very toxic and not environmentally friendly.

- Victor.

[ 20 April 2002, 18:37: Message edited by: reefburnaby ]

04-21-2002, 04:33 AM
Man, Ok, I'm now confused. What you say makes sense I guess.... But I've heard, from several different sources, that you shouldn't use ABS for your piping. I always bought that line, because, AFAIK, ABS is not rated as OK for potable water. So, if it's not safe for us, it's not safe for our reefs, must be the reasoning. I've only ever seen ABS used in waste water situations (sink drains, toilet flanges, drain stems, etc.) Actually I'm not sure that all PVC is rated for potable ... some pipes have "potable" printed on the sides whereas others do not.


04-21-2002, 03:16 PM
I have also read this Tony,i believe it has to do with the making of its cellular core.

For the small price difference you should just stick with PVC,and save a potential headache later Flying fish.


[ 21 April 2002, 11:50: Message edited by: Superfudge ]

Troy F
04-21-2002, 03:54 PM
ABS is not designed for preasure applications either. I've heard (don't quote me) that there is a possibility of antibacterial/fungal treatment used by different manufacturers of ABS.

04-21-2002, 08:55 PM

Actually, it is true that not all PVC is potable either. Its true that HD ABS is not usually used in carrying potable water. ABS in general is fine, but ABS designed for drainage pipes (i.e. the ones from HD) are not as safe. Nobody really knows what the antibacterial will do to a reef tank. I guess I got lucky.

But it makes you wonder though....if we are pumping our waste water through ABS (with the antibacterial stuff), won't that mean that the antibacterial would eventually end up in our oceans....

- Victor.

Troy F
04-21-2002, 11:01 PM
From Victor:But it makes you wonder though....if we are pumping our waste water through ABS (with the antibacterial stuff), won't that mean that the antibacterial would eventually end up in our oceans....

Yup, that and about a zillion other harmful things. Our very own orcas here in the Northwest are now considered one of the most toxin contaminated animals in the world's oceans. The difference is that our systems are closed. It has taken man ~300years (since the start of the industrial revolution) to get the oceans to the state they are in presently. It takes very little to throw our systems out of whack though.

FWIW, I highly doubt there is anti-bacterial in ABS. Doesn't make much sense really. I do remember reading something bad about how it is treated. With what exactly, I don't know. If I wasn't so lazy I'd look it up on Reefcentral or reefs.org.

[ 22 April 2002, 19:12: Message edited by: Troy F ]

04-21-2002, 11:18 PM
ok I went to home depot and a couple other places today and I asked about this to conferm what I was going to post befor I posted it :D

ABS is not meant to take substantial heat or pressure, while PVC is. For a typical home aquarium, ABS is not a problem.

I have never heard of antibacterial properties in abs but who knows and when I asked my buddy who works at a plumming supply wharehouse he just looked at me like I was crazy. smile.gif

if you are still concerned there IS a black PVC also and it comes in potable nd non-potable grades.