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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a really quick question. I have drilled my tanks for the first time and am about to install bulkheads. My question is do you put the rubber ring inside the tank or on the outside?
 

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Agreed. Inside the viv.
 

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I recently learned a lesson on installing bulkheads.. They do not need to be tightened very tight to hold water, especially in a vivarium that will not hold too much water, might be different on a full aquarium.. I recommend hand tightening and then use a wrench for maybe a quarter turn. Don't go too tight! I cranked on one and walked away, then heard the 'crack', the glass cracked. luckily it was only a 10 gallon that hadn't been transformed into a vivarium yet. I believe the thicker glass tanks would withstand more abuse but still - the bulkhead doesn't need to be too tight to hold water so why risk it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I recently learned a lesson on installing bulkheads.. They do not need to be tightened very tight to hold water, especially in a vivarium that will not hold too much water, might be different on a full aquarium.. I recommend hand tightening and then use a wrench for maybe a quarter turn. Don't go too tight! I cranked on one and walked away, then heard the 'crack', the glass cracked. luckily it was only a 10 gallon that hadn't been transformed into a vivarium yet. I believe the thicker glass tanks would withstand more abuse but still - the bulkhead doesn't need to be too tight to hold water so why risk it?
I tried a multitude of options (including yours Frank, good to see a fellow classy san diegan) to try and make the bulkheads watertight and have not succeeded despite several trips to Home Depot and several aquarium shops in my area. Looks like my holes were drilled slightly larger than the bulkheads were intended. The rubber ring covers the hole completely (barely no matter how I fit the bulk head ), but for whatever reason it isn't holding water completely. Was told by an aquarium shop that silicone would do the trick. What do you guys think? Pumilo god of glass? Jk
 

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I use "bulkheads" from a irrigation store that don't come with any rubber gaskets. I just run a bead of silicone on the inside face of the "bulkhead". I then tighten until the silicone is squeezed out a little. Then I use a gloved finger and smooth out the excess silicone. Let dry overnight and I'm all set. Learned this method while attending the AZA Amphibian Biology and Management course at the Amphibian Conservation Center in Detroit. Have not had any leaks yet! Fingers crossed. :)
 

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It sounds like you could use a slight larger bulk head the trick I've always used is to take the bit with me and if the treads fit into the center with out much of a gap that's one I use. The problem you can have if it doesn't fit properly is that you silicone it and the hole is to big and if go to move the tank there is a chance that moving the tank will also move the bulkhead. Which means it wouldn't be sealed anymore so you would have to tank the tank apart to reseal it.
 

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I use "bulkheads" from a irrigation store that don't come with any rubber gaskets. I just run a bead of silicone on the inside face of the "bulkhead". I then tighten until the silicone is squeezed out a little. Then I use a gloved finger and smooth out the excess silicone. Let dry overnight and I'm all set. Learned this method while attending the AZA Amphibian Biology and Management course at the Amphibian Conservation Center in Detroit. Have not had any leaks yet! Fingers crossed. :)
Becareful with this method as I've seen people rip the bulkheads loose when dealing with lines that are hard plumbed or screwed into the bulkheads. If they are hard plumbed and the line running to the tank is banged pulled hard enough it can break the seal. I've also seen lines screwed into those bulkheads stick and someone with a wrench tear the seal trying to unscrew the pipe.
 

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Also the use of different composition elements( plastic,metals,glass ect.) these expand and contract a different rates due to structural loads and temperatures contacted . I recommend liberal amounts of secondary sealants (silicone) to back up the O ring seals ........example of this would be if you turn the thermostat in your house up in the morning in the winter ,that thump thump thump sound you hear is the pipes rubbing against the brackets that hold the pipes the warm water is coursing through....and just as a tid bit of info those pipes in a typical twenty foot span can expand and contract 1-2 inches!
 

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I have dealt with this problem before in my experience with coral farming. We were always trying to reuse old equipment and retrofitting things. Your best bet is to get a bulkhead one size bigger. If one size bigger is too big for the hole, you'll have to re-drill. By placing some duct tape or packaging tape over the outside of the hole, you can get it to hold coolant/lubricant in your "putty dam". As far as fittings go, you can always use a reducer.
We have also done as Dendrobatid suggests and used silicone. It works until, as Ed points out, the system is worked on, moved, or just bumped good. Try dealing with that after you have an 8 ft x 4 ft and a 12 ft by 4 ft propagation table filled with water and mother corals and you spring a leak!
Pumilo -- just another guy trying to figure it all out!;)
 

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If you just use silicone to hold it down in place, think of the bulkhead fitting at the end of a lever... It doesn't require that much force to break the silcone seal. I've had it happen a couple of times at the Zoo requiring emergency movement of aquatic animals until I could empty, completely dry and reseal the tanks. It was enough of a hassle, I would never try it at home. As a backup for a gasketed bulkhead sure.. but as the primary method of sealing, absolutely not.


I've also seen bulkhead holes in window pane glass used in the front of verticles crack even when bulkheads were tightened only with the fingers. The glass often used in those applications is too think in my opinion.

Ed
 

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We have always installed the gasket on the outside of the tank, hundreds of them, and have never had one leak. We've also used some of the smaller push-connect bulkheads that don't come with a gasket and have had a few failures with them. Sometimes the silicone "seal" broke and allowed the leak and othertimes the internal seal failed.

You can try switching the bulkhead to the outside (so it rests directly against the "collar" of the bulkhead) and see if that seals it. If that doesn't work you may just have a defective bulkhead gasket??

Good luck!
 

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You do have a flat rubber ring about 1/4" wide, right? A true gasket? If it is only an O-ring that's your problem. If you have a gasket, a bigger one will not matter as the one you have should already be as big as your collar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
You do have a flat rubber ring about 1/4" wide, right? A true gasket? If it is only an O-ring that's your problem. If you have a gasket, a bigger one will not matter as the one you have should already be as big as your collar.
Yeah it is a true gasket. Not the round O-ring that I believe you are reffering too.

In my drunken fourth of July stupor I think I may have an idea. Anyone think that if I put a gasket on both sides of the bulkheadwill, could that work?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
We have always installed the gasket on the outside of the tank, hundreds of them, and have never had one leak. We've also used some of the smaller push-connect bulkheads that don't come with a gasket and have had a few failures with them. Sometimes the silicone "seal" broke and allowed the leak and othertimes the internal seal failed.

You can try switching the bulkhead to the outside (so it rests directly against the "collar" of the bulkhead) and see if that seals it. If that doesn't work you may just have a defective bulkhead gasket??

Good luck!
Tried everything - backwards, forwards, gasket on the inside, gasket on the outside, tight, not tight, and every combination between. I think I'll try to find an extra gasket that fits and try it on both sides.

I doubt they are defective gaskets as I got four of them for three tanks that I had drilled. I doubt all of them were defective I've tried them all
 
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