Keeping a tank or vivarium clean is not the easiest of tasks. There are many small places that you will struggle to access, which can make keeping them clean more challenging. One area that is often tricky to keep clean is the PVC pipes that are used as part of the water system in your tank. Thankfully, it’s not a difficult task to keep them clean and bacteria-free.
However, there are some methods that work better than others depending on what type of pipe you have and what kind of finish it has. Here we will take you through all of the steps involved in cleaning PVC pipe for an aquarium and vivarium setup.
Can you use PVC Pipe for Aquarium
PVC is a commonly used material in water systems for fish tanks and vivariums. It is cheap and easy to work with, and the standard fittings make it easy to set up your system. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when using PVC pipe for your water system.
- PVC is softer than glass, so it can be more easily scratched. This means that it is very important to make sure that any tools you use are as clean as possible.
- PVC is not as clear as glass, which means it can be harder to see inside your system.
- PVC is not UV-resistant, so it will degrade more quickly when exposed to ultraviolet light.
- PVC is more porous than glass. This means that bacteria will be able to get inside the pipe more easily.
- Bacteria can grow inside PVC pipe, especially if it is not cleaned regularly.
- Bacteria can produce toxic compounds that can be harmful to aquatic animals.
Basic Cleaning Steps
The basic cleaning steps for PVC pipe are as follows:
- Turn off the pumps. Make sure that all pumps have been turned off for at least 24 hours before you start cleaning. This will help prevent any bacteria from being introduced into the pipe.
- Remove the pipe. Remove all of the pipe from the aquarium and vivarium.
- Clean the end caps. Clean the end caps on each piece of pipe before you start cleaning the rest of the pipe.
- Clean inside the pipe. Clean the inside of each piece of pipe with a cleaning solution.
- Reassemble the pipe. Reassemble the pipe and turn the pumps back on.
Salt & Vinegar Cleaning
If your PVC pipe has a rougher texture, then the first cleaning method we would recommend is salt and vinegar cleaning. This technique involves squirting some vinegar inside the pipe and sprinkling some salt on top of the vinegar. The vinegar will help to break down any bacteria inside the pipe, and the salt will help to remove it from the pipe. This technique is easy to do, but it does take some time for the vinegar and salt to work their way through the pipe and break down any bacteria inside.
When the cleaning has been completed, rinse the pipe thoroughly with water to remove all of the vinegar and salt from the pipe. You can then disinfect the pipe using a mixture of water and chlorine bleach. To do this, add a few drops of chlorine bleach to every liter of warm water and then pour this mixture inside the pipe. Let the solution sit inside the pipe for around half an hour and then flush the pipe with fresh water.
Lime & Water Cleaning
If your PVC pipe has a smooth texture, then the next cleaning method we would recommend is lime and water cleaning. This is essentially the same cleaning method as the salt and vinegar cleaning we discussed above, with the exception that you replace the vinegar with lime juice. The lime juice will break down the bacteria inside the pipe, and the water will help to remove it from the pipe. Again, this technique is easy to do, but it does take some time for the lime and water to work their way through the pipe and break down any bacteria inside.
When the cleaning has been completed, rinse the pipe thoroughly with water to remove all of the lime and water from the pipe. You can then disinfect the pipe using a mixture of water and chlorine bleach. To do this, add a few drops of chlorine bleach to every liter of warm water and then pour this mixture inside the pipe. Let the solution sit inside the pipe for around half an hour and then flush the pipe with fresh water.
If your PVC pipe has a smooth texture and you want to disinfect it, then the first cleaning method we would recommend is bleach cleaning. This involves mixing a solution of water and chlorine bleach together and pouring it inside the pipe. Let the solution sit inside the pipe for around half an hour before flushing it with fresh water. This will kill off any bacteria that might be inside the pipe, ensuring it is clean and free of dangerous bacteria.
However, bear in mind that bleach cleaning will cause the PVC pipe to bleach out. This means that the pipe will turn a lighter color than it was before and that it will remain this color for some time.
Pro Tip – Cleaning with Baking Soda & Vinegar
If you want to clean your PVC pipe without using chemicals, then another method you can try is baking soda and vinegar cleaning. Simply pour a cup of baking soda inside the pipe and add some vinegar. The vinegar will break down any bacteria inside the pipe, and the baking soda will help to remove it from the pipe. This cleaning method doesn’t take as long as the cleaning methods above, but it doesn’t offer the same level of thoroughness either. You will need to rinse the pipe thoroughly before disinfecting it with bleach.
You can use this cleaning method on both rougher-textured and smoother-textured PVC pipe. However, you may want to use a stiff brush to clean the inside of the pipe. This will help to ensure that the baking soda and vinegar solution has reached all areas of the pipe and broken down all bacteria inside.
Cleaning PVC pipe is an important part of keeping your tank or vivarium clean. Regularly cleaning the pipe will prevent bacteria from building up inside it and causing problems. There are a few different methods that you can use to clean the pipe, depending on what type of finish it has.
To keep the pipe clean, turn off the pumps and remove the pipe from the system before cleaning the inside and outside. Once the pipe has been cleaned, it’s important to disinfect it to kill off any bacteria that may remain.