Fluval Spec Spray Bar Mod (complete With Part Numbers)

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fishyAdventure

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Hello all,

Not sure if this is the right spot to post this mod, but hopefully this will help those in the future looking for an easy and cheap solution to the Fluval Spec tanks to control the flow/baffle it without sticking a sponge or any other eyesore to the filter.

After some serious Googling, I was able to scrape together a parts list for a very CLEAN and successful "spray bar" that fits the Fluval Spec 3/5 without any modification to the original pump or outputs. This worked out GREAT for my Betta.

Here is the final product (its not technically a spray bar the way we are using it, but its a spray bar for another kit zoomed sells):

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The parts are from various zoomed kits, I was able to get this delivered to me for ~13 dollars. Just plug these part numbers into Google.

PTC-13 - 10/15 Spray Bar (rigid) with plastic plug 1 $3.50
PTC-11 - 10/15/30 Rubber Elbow 1 $1.50
PTC-46 - 30 Clear Plastic Plug 1 $1.00 (optional, got this as a just incase)
PTC-07 - 10/15 Suction Cup with Clip 1 $1.00 (Ended up not using this)
Subtotal: $7.00
Shipping: $6.65 via Priority Mail Flat Rate®
Payment method: Credit card (Square)
Total: $13.65

Instructions:
  • The plastic spray bar is far too tall to do this unmodified, so simply grab a small hacksaw and just cut about 2 1/2 holes down, or to whatever length you see fit. I cut mine so that the end hovered above the sub-straight.
  • Make sure you sand and de-bur the plastic and wash it out.
  • Take the output nozzle and carefully remove it from the ball joint.
  • Press the elbow to the ball joint nozzle for a secure fit.
  • Press the elbow to the spray bar.
  • Install and enjoy
  • (Optional) - I ended up taking a matching drill bit and drilling through the existing holes as pilots to create a second row of holes behind the existing ones, my Betta wasn't happy with just the set of single holes.
My plants are also enjoying the better water circulation and the detritus and debris getting actually pushed up and into the lower/upper intakes for the filter.

Credit for the idea goes to a lost reddit thread that got me started with some of the out-dated part numbers. These are recent and confirmed as of 8/8/2018.

Share and enjoy!
 

RSababady

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GREAT mod @fishyAdventure
The idea of generating better flow at all levels of the tank in the different layers of tank water is exactly what you need to maintain a healthy environment!
Nice share with all the parts!
 

Tsukkomu

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thanks for this!!! this is exactly what i wanted. so excited.

hey just curious....so without drilling a 2nd set of holes in the spray bar the flow is too high for a betta? i'm curious what setting the flow on your pump is. i'm ordering the parts for this mod right now. i'd like to get away without having to drill a 2nd set of holes. but i can manage if that's the case.

currently i have my output baffled but the pump is on full blast. thanks so much.
 
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fishyAdventure

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I followed the wisdom of many reviewers of the tank and cut two holes in the return pipe to help circulate the water where the pump resides (this is where i placed my heater), so I have my pump set to high with this mod. I didnt try it on low. You can probably get away with it on low without a second set. Play around with it and give it a try!
 

Tsukkomu

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Yes I have a couple of little holes I the tube as well. Works great! Okay I’m really excited about this mod. The prefilter sponge isn’t working for me. Thanks so much.
 

IceFyre

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That...is a great idea. I've thought of something similar on the pipe connecting the pump to the outlet at the top of the pipe, but just 1 hole about a 2mm wide, just enough to push the water down to the pump. But this is just what I need for my shrimps.
 

FergusDaFish

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Ooo, neat! I have a big ol' white filter on my output to temper the water and it's ugly anything - and right at the front of my tank, too!

Might give this mod a try when I redo my guy's tank.

Did you put your pump on high or low with this mod?
 
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fishyAdventure

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I'm running it on high because i punched a few holes in the return line from the pump to circulate water better around the heater in the pump compartment (this was recommended almost everywhere online that i read for these tanks). So my pump runs on high with this mod, never attempted the low settings with this. Low setting with one set of holes may work out (I didn't attempt it, i just went straight to drilling a second set of holes).

Once you have this assembled experimentation is easy!

Please share your results after you get it assembled!
 

FergusDaFish

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I just ordered the parts (shipping cost more than the parts did o_O) so I've decided that I'll redo his tank weekend after next so all the agitation and mayhem happens all at once rather than disturbing Fergus more than necessary.

That'll also give me another week to leach tannins from his driftwood and play around with his tank design.

I'll definitely let you know how it turned out.

Did my spray bar mod last night!

My tools:
Spray bar (Zoo Med PTC-13)
Elbow (Zoo Med PTC-11 - rubbery and a little flexible)
Plug (Zoo Med PTC-46 - Not necessary but nice to have in case; the spray bar comes with a plug)
Saw (I used an Xacto Precision Razor Saw and mitre box)
Power drill w/ 1/8" drill bit
Sand Paper (I used 220 grit)
30890658728_3a6665ea45_n.jpg

44712028892_f605577505_n.jpg



The length of the spray bar is definitely too tall as shipped to fit without being sawn to size. As the OP noted, a good length to trim the bar down to is between the 2nd and 3rd hole down from the top.
30890659518_25d9ff0324_n.jpg


Here is where I trimmed my bar to - I trimmed off the top two holes. See the last photo for where this put the length of my bar.
44712031462_ac3d789583_n.jpg


I did a test fit of the elbow to the filter output and confirmed that you do need to fit the elbow to the ball joint of the spray nozzle that comes with the Fluval Spec V. Take the spray nozzle off (the middle piece) and the elbow fits snugly over the large ring just past the ball joint on the bottom piece here.
30890656918_9d1f9a2eb9_n.jpg


Here is the bar installed. Like the OP, I drilled an extra line of holes in the spray bar and did several test fits to test the flow. For me, on the low setting of the filter pump, the flow was much too strong for Fergus with either one row of holes, and with two rows of holes at the pre-drilled size. (The pre-drilled holes are 5/64", or at least my 5/64" drill bit fit perfectly in those holes.) I expanded both rows of holes with my 1/8" bit, sanded them down and Fergus is much more happy.
44712030472_ccf5224680_n.jpg


The flow is strong enough to see some detritus being agitated but not so strong that Fergus is being blown around the tank like he was with just the pre-drilled one row of holes. With the two rows of 1/8" holes and the pump on low, Fergus is able to confidently swim around the tank, stop and float without fighting a current, and only gets a little blown around when he swims right up to one of the holes or when he swims along the bottom, front edge of the tank where the current created by the bar is strongest.

If you don't want to do the spray bar mod but need to baffle the filter output, you could do what I did in the first tank photo in this post and take the ball-joint nozzle off and stuff some sponge material into the output hole. It doesn't look terrible, and would look better than it does in mine if you use black material rather than white. I used white just because I had some on hand already.

Great mod!
 
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Tsukkomu

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awesome. i'm waiting on my parts. opted for the cheap $3.18 first class shipping. how long was shipping time? i can't even find a place on their website to plug in my order number and check status.

with your two sets of holes, is one side facing the opposite end of the tank and the other directly behind facing the filter wall? and you have your pump on the lowest setting, with two sets of 1/8 inch?
 

FergusDaFish

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I chose the cheapest shipping option and shipping was still more than the parts I purchased. :sigh:

If you looked down at my tank from the top, the length of the tank is oriented from 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock with the spray bar on the right with the holes angled at about 8 o'clock and 2 o'clock. Fergus likes to swim along the front of the tank so I didn't want the bar angled straight at him (9 o'clock) and have him fighting the strongest current the bar would create, and that angle would cause the back holes at 3 o'clock to just create a turbulent corner that served no purpose.

I also have three little holes cut into the tube on the filter-side to circulate water around the heater more but that doesn't seem to hugely impact the flow rate out of the bar, it's still pretty strong.
 

Tsukkomu

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i was given multiple shipping options. First Class was $3.18. then Priority was $6.something and then UPS ground was about 12 and overnight was over $30. i chose first class and whoa - the parts got here in two days. just get the cheapest option anybody doing this mod.

i also chose to purchase the 30 clear bottom caps...i believe the number was 30. they did not send those. sure it came with the 1 cap the spray bar comes with...and now that i've gotten it in the mail i see it was not necessary to purchase the other caps. but i did pay $1 for it.

and now i am on the hunt for an 1/8" drill bit.
 

FergusDaFish

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Home Depot is your friend.

Installing and removing the spray bar is really really easy so I'd encourage you to test out hole options to find what works for your tank before jumping straight to the larger drill holes. 1/8" holes worked for me but smaller holes worked for the OP. If you have a smaller drill bit already I'd start with that one and see if that will work for you.

:emoji_thumbsup:
 

Tsukkomu

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IMG_0402.jpg

Home Depot is your friend.

Installing and removing the spray bar is really really easy so I'd encourage you to test out hole options to find what works for your tank before jumping straight to the larger drill holes. 1/8" holes worked for me but smaller holes worked for the OP. If you have a smaller drill bit already I'd start with that one and see if that will work for you.

:emoji_thumbsup:
amazing. just amazing. my tank was crystal clear before i installed the spray bar. immediately after installing it it turned into a whirlwind snoglobe situation!! the detritus from the bottom - crazy! within 15 minutes it was clearing out...making its way to the filter intake. by this morning it's back to crystal clear.

probably the biggest benefit besides detritus agitation....is heating. before, with my outflow baffled with a prefilter sponge...the bottom 1/3rd of my aquarium was always 2-4 degrees F cooler than the top. which really bothered me. now the entire aquarium is the exact same temperature. i feel a lot better about that.

i did not feel like going to Home Depot...to find a 1/8th drill bit. so i took a nail, attached it to a pair of vise grips....heated it on the stove and carefully melted a 2nd set of holes....haha. i look it cool, soaked it in dechlorinated water and sanded down the edges. i had to repeat this process a few times to get it right....i don't recommend this. it doesn't look as refined but it doesn't bother me. i have to repeat it one more time and resand as the flow is still a little too strong. my betta doesn't seem to mind but i can see him swimming at an angle right in the middle of the tank. he seems perfectly fine compared to last night but i am going to expand them.

this is a great mod! my tank is a consistent temperature. more detritus and waste is going into the filter. i feel like it's much cleaner. and yeah! this was a win win all the way around.

oh! i also positioned my spray bar holes at 8 and 2. i played around with several times. i first tried 8 and 2 and then a few more different positions. you are correct FergusDaFish, 8 & 2 position is the best position.

also i haven't installed the suction cup clip yet. but i believe i am going to...after i enlarge the holes once more and resand it.

thanks to everyone who blazed the trail!

oh, i also emailed ZooMed and let them know they forgot my 30 clear plastic plugs....that cost $1. i told them i wasn't upset but maybe someone else wouldn't be so nice if something was left out of their order. we'll see if they refund my card $1. =) I've actually never had something left out of an online order before.
 

FergusDaFish

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View attachment 481109
probably the biggest benefit besides detritus agitation....is heating. before, with my outflow baffled with a prefilter sponge...the bottom 1/3rd of my aquarium was always 2-4 degrees F cooler than the top. which really bothered me. now the entire aquarium is the exact same temperature. i feel a lot better about that.
wow! That's a pretty significant temperature difference in such a small tank! I've only noticed a 1-2 degree temperature increase in my tank but it makes me wonder if I move the thermometer around if I'd get temperature stratification like that... o_O
 

Tsukkomu

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wow! That's a pretty significant temperature difference in such a small tank! I've only noticed a 1-2 degree temperature increase in my tank but it makes me wonder if I move the thermometer around if I'd get temperature stratification like that... o_O
Yes move your thermometer around. This is what I do. I’m using an analog thermometer for just basic monitoring. However I test twice a day using a high accuracy calibrated digital kitchen thermometer. I move it around. I drop it to the bottom. The temp has always varied with the prefilter sponge. Now it doesn’t.
 

FergusDaFish

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I tried moving my thermometer around the tank and it read the same temp everywhere.

Mod is still going strong. I've noticed a little bit of stringy algae build up around the holes that doesn't easily scrub off with a toothbrush, and the bottom inside of the tube gathers a bit of crud but I've been rinsing it with WCs and it's still working like a charm!
 

Tsukkomu

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I tried moving my thermometer around the tank and it read the same temp everywhere.

Mod is still going strong. I've noticed a little bit of stringy algae build up around the holes that doesn't easily scrub off with a toothbrush, and the bottom inside of the tube gathers a bit of crud but I've been rinsing it with WCs and it's still working like a charm!
mine is also working great. i as well have stringy algae on my spray bar. my snail cleans it off....he goes up and down and the water stream blows him all which way every way. it's cute.

also my temp is consistent now with the spray bar installed. i'm happy. i have a piece of filter felt in my filter....and the pump is on high. betta is very content.
 
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