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underwater spray bar flood

Well, I just cleaned up a nice mess and thought I'd warn others about this 
potential problem.

Like a few of you, I've turned my pump/filter water return into an underwater 
spray bar by running the return hose from the sump system, which I use, up 
over the back of the tank where it hooks into an inverted "T" made of black, 
semi rigid "funny pipe". This is the type of flexible PVC commonly used for a 
variety of home irrigation purposes. Anyway, this funny pipe then goes 
straight down the middle of the back tank wall down to substrate level where 
it is T'd off to both ends (or sides) using a larger size three way hose barb 
to help form the "T". Both runs of the substrate level pipe are drilled and 
capped at the end, with all the holes pointed toward the front of the tank to 
evenly distribute CO2 enriched water and allow for maximum circulation and 
water contact. In my mind, I wanted this spray bar as far underwater as 
possible to aid in this.

Everything has been working great -- for months now in fact. That is until 
yesterday, when that %$##@@ Rio pump started acting up...  

The sump was discovered by my lovely wife to be overflowing, and in the heat 
of the moment, unable to believe what I was looking at, I couldn't imagine 
how on earth this could happen. As I was cluelessly bailing out the rapidly 
refilling sump ("Hmmmm, that's odd,") while clumsily attempting to mop up the 
water in a surreal daze, it finally occurred to me...  

Since I had not installed any type of check valve on my underwater spray bar, 
I had in effect built a rather efficient siphon with plenty of capacity for 
disaster should things run in reverse. Which eventually, they always do...

Actually, this accident waiting to happen could have been much worse and I'm 
lucky we were both home and she so observant.

Besides buying a more reliable brand of pump (sue me), any thoughts on how or 
where should I install a check valve and does anyone think one of those 
$15.00 to $20.00 PVC types sold at the Depot for non-irrigation or drinking 
water purposes would be a good, reliable choice?  Overkill?

Any better ideas would be welcome - but watch out for this.

Thanks again,

Bob Olesen
West Palm Beach