Pex, a cichlid keepers friend

Examples of Pex pipe in different diameters and colors. Image from

If you keep multiple tanks, Pex pipe can be one of your best friends. It is a very versatile tool to have in your cichlid keeping toolbox. That toolbox post is four years old now, but I still use every item listed there. I could probably add a few more items, but that’s a post for another day. Here I focus on Pex pipe or tubing.

I’ve posted before about my water change process, in which I use Pex. However, I also use it to get sinking foods to some of my fish. Do you have a cichlid that won’t come up to eat and thus struggles to get food because the other fish get to the food before it does? I do. So why not just take the pellets down to the fish with your hand, you ask? Well, if you recall my post from a few days ago about a nasty calvus, you’ll know why.

To use Pex for feeding, just cut a length where it’s long enough to reach within an inch or two of the bottom but also sticks out of the water at the top of tank. Simply drop the sinking food (e.g., pellets) into the tube and it will travel through the tube and exit near the substrate. I have an adult male Neolamprologus tretocephalus that is very timid. His territory is underneath an overhang at the bottom of the tank. When it’s feeding time, he’ll hole up right underneath the overhang. Food often never makes it down to him before others eat it, especially my calvus. Rather than risk getting my hand beaten up by the calvus, I just drop pellets down the tube to the tret.

Pex also makes a nice spray bar for your filter outflow. Just cut the desired length for your spray bar, drill a few holes in the tube, cap one end, then hook it to your outflow. You might need some kind of adapter to get it to fit your filter outflow, but that’s pretty easy too.

Pex comes in a variety of colors and a variety of diameters. I use different sizes depending on the application, but I always have some stashed away in my fish workshop. Buy the straight tubing and not the coiled. SharkBite is a brand of Pex that you’ll see often, but there are others. For the applications I recommend, I think any brand will work fine. You can get Pex at hardware stores and big box stores such as Home Depot, Lowes, and Menards. I recommend it highly.

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