PVC Overflow with Multi-Level Intake

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One of the most important decisions to make with any DIY aquarium project is what kind of glue to use.

Some quick online research in a few popular aquatic forums confirmed this 8 oz. can of Oatey all purpose PVC cement works just great.
The PVC materials in this photo will be used to build the 3" diameter section of our Multi-Level Intake overflow. This is the section that goes inside the aquarium. Measurements are based on a 20" tall aquarium, but your own measurements can be adjusted to accomodate any size aquarium.

* Using a measuring tape and hand saw, carefully measure and cut the 3" diameter pipe to 18" long.
* Measure and cut the 1½ diameter pipe to 16" long.

Note: Throughout the project, use sandpaper on all pipe cuts to remove loose shavings.

* On one end of the 3' diameter pipe, measure and mark 1" vertical slots about 7/8" apart.

* An optional step is to drill a small hole at the base of each marking to help insure a clean stop when cutting each slot.

* Use a jig saw or hand saw to cut the slots along the marked lines.

The purpose of the slots is to help reduce the potential for fry to be drawn into the overflow. In a saltwater application, if there are only larger fish, it may be preferred to omit the slots for better surface skimming.
* Wrap a piece of plain copy/printer paper around the 3" diameter pipe and tape in place.

* Using a ruler, measure and mark positions for the lower and upper water intake holes. Two sets of 5 3/16" holes were drilled 3" from the top and bottom of the 3" diameter pipe.

Note: A small piece of lumber scrap was positioned against the pipe under the ruler to help keep lines straight. Positions of the holes are negotiable, but you might consider drilling the lower holes at least 3 inches or more from the bottom in case you ever want to use your overflow with a sand substrate.

welcome to
do-it-yourself aquarium and semi-aquatic background designs beyond the traditional
Dramatic AquaScapes
Project Materials
1 x 8 oz. can of Oatey All Purpose Cement
1 x 5 ft. length of 3/4" diameter PVC pipe
1 x 2' section of 1½" diameter PVC pipe
1 x 2' section of 3" diameter PVC pipe
5 x 3/4" PVC (slip)elbows
1 x PVC T connector
1 x 3/4" (slip) caps
1 x 3" PVC test cap (these are almost flat)
2 x 1½ " PVC slip caps
1 x 3/4" slip & thread adapter
1 x 3/4" rubber o-ring
1 x 1" section of 3/16" rigid tubing
2 x nylon ties
2 x 50307 3/4 Inch Female Adapters
1 x 3' section of 1 1/8" inner diameter bilge hose
Jigsaw power saw (optional)
Power Drill
1- 3/16 drill bit
1 - 1" wood bit
Medium grit sandpaper
Measuring tape (optional)
Rigid ruler
Permanent marker
Household tape
copy/printer paper