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View Full Version : My bulkhead is creepy! What to do?


iwishtofish
04/01/2011, 06:36 AM
As you can see,

http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb113/bjdoyle64/creep01.jpg

:mad2:

It's a Glass*Holes 700gph kit that I had for a while before getting around to installing on my new 75g tank. It has two gaskets - one that goes between the flange and outside glass, and one that is sandwiched between the internal box and the inside glass. Obviously, the internal "sandwich" would have to fail before water would leak through the outer gasket.

When I installed this, I turned the inside nut as hard as I could by hand (not very hard, I guess), and then turned the outside drain elbow a bit to tighten the bulkhead just a little bit more. (As they did in their video example on the website).

It's been setup (with salt) for about 9 days. Drain half the tank, clean, and re-install? Just try to tighten a bit further, first?

saltydogs
04/01/2011, 06:58 AM
If it was me i would drain the tank and take off the bulkhead clean it and clean all the glass around the hole then reinstall it should be fine

iwishtofish
04/01/2011, 07:04 AM
saltydogs, would you just make it it tighter? Is that the likely problem? I thought I had it pretty tight, but not too tight.

sirreal63
04/01/2011, 07:34 AM
I had this issue when I first put mine on, the last time I did it, I did not turn the elbow, I kept the box in right position and did not allow the bulkhead to spin. If you let the bulkhead rotate you may distort one of the gaskets. It is hard to tighten the nut with the limited room, but it doesn't have to be super tight.

reeferdale
04/01/2011, 08:12 AM
try to tighten it a 1/4 turn. If that does not seal it, I would remove, clean and reinstall the bulk head. Maybe even get a new rubber gasket if you need to re-install it. I think the main factor is do not over tighten the nut - just snug enough to seal the glass.

You could always try some silicone, it may not look greate but it should seal up a small defect like this

iwishtofish
04/01/2011, 10:08 AM
Thank you, sirreal63 and reeferdale. I am going to drain just the overflow box and try tightening a quarter turn, if possible. If that fails to work, I'll loosen everything up, clean, and try reinstalling without turning the elbow.

on the spot
04/01/2011, 07:05 PM
Thank you, sirreal63 and reeferdale. I am going to drain just the overflow box and try tightening a quarter turn, if possible. If that fails to work, I'll loosen everything up, clean, and try reinstalling without turning the elbow.

How did this work out for you? Didn't crack the bulkhead trying that did you?

If you haven't gone to it yet, skip to plan B first. If the rubber doesn't seem pliable stop off to a plumbing supply in the morning. You can replace the gaskets for 28 cents each. Don't drag about though, most of them close early on Saturday.

iwishtofish
04/01/2011, 07:45 PM
How did this work out for you? Didn't crack the bulkhead trying that did you?

If you haven't gone to it yet, skip to plan B first. If the rubber doesn't seem pliable stop off to a plumbing supply in the morning. You can replace the gaskets for 28 cents each. Don't drag about though, most of them close early on Saturday.

No, didn't crack the bulkhead - at least I don't think I did! I imagine I'd have seen a lot of water by now if I did, right?

Trouble is, without being able to get a good grip on the nut it's really hard to tell just how tight it really is. But I turned it a little more by pushing with a finger and rocking the overflow box back and forth a little. I don't think it is exceptionally tight, but I wouldn't feel good going any further.

I think I'll have to wait a little while to decide if the effort was successful or not.

AquaticFins
04/01/2011, 08:00 PM
Sometimes, too tight is just as bad as too loose.

Over-tightening the bulkhead can force the gasket out of shape and cause leaks.

This may or may not be your problem - as has been mentioned, it could be too loose or your gasket could have hardened and be starting to crack.

wantacookie
04/01/2011, 08:03 PM
I had the same problem with my 700 gph gh kit.

My hands were too big to fit into the overflow box. So, I went to tractor supply and bought a cheap set of plastic strap wrenches and it snugged up the nut inside the overflow box perfectly. Problem solved for me.

iwishtofish
04/01/2011, 08:15 PM
I had the same problem with my 700 gph gh kit.

My hands were too big to fit into the overflow box. So, I went to tractor supply and bought a cheap set of plastic strap wrenches and it snugged up the nut inside the overflow box perfectly. Problem solved for me.

Good idea! Just curious - did you do this from the beginning, or after filling the tank and finding things too loose?

wantacookie
04/01/2011, 08:23 PM
Good idea! Just curious - did you do this from the beginning, or after filling the tank and finding things too loose?

During freshwater leak testing in the garage. That was my only leak...

At this point, if I were in your shoes, I would probably do as suggested by others and disassemble the overflow and clean the surfaces/gaskets before re-assembly.

iwishtofish
04/01/2011, 08:28 PM
During freshwater leak testing in the garage. That was my only leak...

At this point, if I were in your shoes, I would probably do as suggested by others and disassemble the overflow and clean the surfaces/gaskets before re-assembly.

Would you recommend that because the water was saltwater at the time of the leak? I think that's the only difference between my situation and what you experienced - except perhaps that I noticed no leak during the freshwater test. It was apparently so slow that it evaporated before I could see it.

wantacookie
04/01/2011, 08:34 PM
It also looks like there is paint under your gasket. When I disassembled the overflow box I took a razor to the paint so that the gasket sat on the glass only. Not sure if this helped or not, or if it was the wrench tightening...

wantacookie
04/01/2011, 08:35 PM
Would you recommend that because the water was saltwater at the time of the leak? I think that's the only difference between my situation and what you experienced - except perhaps that I noticed no leak during the freshwater test. It was apparently so slow that it evaporated before I could see it.

Exactly, because of the salt creep. It will prevent the gasket from getting that "vulcanized" type effect where the rubber really sticks to the glass.

iwishtofish
04/01/2011, 08:44 PM
Exactly, because of the salt creep. It will prevent the gasket from getting that "vulcanized" type effect where the rubber really sticks to the glass.

Sigh...ok, I understand. I'll see if I can find the energy to tackle this. Good thing I have a big stock tub! Thanks

wantacookie
04/01/2011, 08:46 PM
Sigh...ok, I understand. I'll see if I can find the energy to tackle this. Good thing I have a big stock tub! Thanks

Good luck! :beer:

iwishtofish
04/01/2011, 08:53 PM
It also looks like there is paint under your gasket. When I disassembled the overflow box I took a razor to the paint so that the gasket sat on the glass only. Not sure if this helped or not, or if it was the wrench tightening...

No paint - that's just an illusion in the photo. In this photo, you can see some slight discoloration on the glass from having the overflow dry-installed for a while. I'm pretty sure I remember inspecting it well to make sure it was clean enough. Maybe I was wrong...

http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb113/bjdoyle64/painted01.jpg

keifer_unit
04/02/2011, 09:56 PM
I add a little bit of silicone around the hole on both sides of the glass and then assemble the bulkhead. No leaks for me.

c0mp|ex
04/02/2011, 10:00 PM
I would just clean around the hole on the outside of the tank and try it again.

dvmsn
04/02/2011, 10:14 PM
When my bulkheads are creepy I make sure I am never in the room alone with them.

iwishtofish
04/03/2011, 07:46 AM
I add a little bit of silicone around the hole on both sides of the glass and then assemble the bulkhead. No leaks for me.

Is that the aquarium-type silicone, or the lubricant (plumber's)?

I would just clean around the hole on the outside of the tank and try it again.

I know - that is what I should do, but it's a project. There's a good chance I'll decide to do that at the time of my post-cycle water change, before any animals are in there. If you were me, would you get replacement gaskets first, just in case?

When my bulkheads are creepy I make sure I am never in the room alone with them.

I have no choice but to take that chance! :)

Logzor
04/03/2011, 08:47 AM
I would at least use silicone grease on the gaskets and threading. I did this but my tank is still filling up. Hopefully it won't leak.

iwishtofish
04/03/2011, 07:18 PM
I would at least use silicone grease on the gaskets and threading. I did this but my tank is still filling up. Hopefully it won't leak.

I hope it won't, either, Logzor. Let us know how it goes!

RokleM
04/04/2011, 07:55 AM
Silicone grease CAN be used, but with caution. It shouldn't be necessary and can lead to other issues (gasket can easily slip/move since it's lubricated, especially if it's overtightened).

I would clean the area with a razor, replace the gasket possibly if there are any signs of wear/ripping/etc, and try again. Tighten hand tight + 1/4" or so turn with a wrench (with caution).

msobon
04/07/2011, 07:43 PM
This might be a silly question but why does it appear like the bulkhead in question is backwards? From the pic it appears like the nut is on the water side?

iwishtofish
04/07/2011, 08:25 PM
This might be a silly question but why does it appear like the bulkhead in question is backwards? From the pic it appears like the nut is on the water side?

The nut is actually inside the overflow box. This is the order of the Glass*Holes bulkhead w/their overflow: Nut / Overflow Wall / Gasket / Tank Wall / Gasket / Threaded Elbow w/Flange

msobon
04/07/2011, 08:31 PM
The nut is actually inside the overflow box. This is the order of the Glass*Holes bulkhead w/their overflow: Nut / Overflow Wall / Gasket / Tank Wall / Gasket / Threaded Elbow w/Flange

I'm no plumbing expert but as far as I believe the proper way would be the other way around since the water would stop where the bulkhead/gasket and glass meet.
If the nut is in the water the underside gasket will not seal the screw, it will just be there as a damper nothing more so the only seal that's holding is the one on the outside which is suppose to be recieving pressure from the otherside, it's like trying to plug a drain upside down.

I hope that helps

iwishtofish
04/07/2011, 08:49 PM
I'm no plumbing expert but as far as I believe the proper way would be the other way around since the water would stop where the bulkhead/gasket and glass meet.
If the nut is in the water the underside gasket will not seal the screw, it will just be there as a damper nothing more so the only seal that's holding is the one on the outside which is suppose to be recieving pressure from the otherside, it's like trying to plug a drain upside down.

I hope that helps

It was kind of confusing for me to visualize until I really thought about it, but I think the gasket inside the tank is intended to seal the box to the glass, making a connection the tank water can't penetrate. When the nut inside the overflow is tightened on the threads from the elbow outside the tank, the pressure creates this seal. This inner gasket seal would have to fail for water to get through the hole in the tank to the outer gasket, which apparently happened in my case. I guess I didn't have the nut as tight as I thought, and had a poor seal on both gaskets. I think this may be a design particular to Glass*Holes kits.

Regardless, it has been six days since I tightened the nut a bit harder, and no salt creep to indicate a continuing leak! I hope that remains the case.

MitchReef
04/07/2011, 09:13 PM
If you do have to take it down I HIGHLY recommend a dab of silicone sealant on both sides of the gaskets. I've done this on MANY tanks and no leaks yet.....(knocking on wood!!!!)

syrinx
04/07/2011, 09:51 PM
Just this week I was doing a "terrestrial"plumbing job- and had a leak from overtightening. Removed cleaned and reinstalled hand tight- no leaks.

iwishtofish
04/08/2011, 06:28 AM
If you do have to take it down I HIGHLY recommend a dab of silicone sealant on both sides of the gaskets. I've done this on MANY tanks and no leaks yet.....(knocking on wood!!!!)

I have some if I need to re-install the bulkhead. (Yes, knocking on wood :) ) I've heard strong opinions about its use, though.

Just this week I was doing a "terrestrial"plumbing job- and had a leak from overtightening. Removed cleaned and reinstalled hand tight- no leaks.

I hope I haven't overtitghtened. So far, so good, but anything can happen!

RokleM
04/08/2011, 07:17 AM
I would not use silicone sealant. That will cause issues down the road.

Bulkheads can be installed in either direction also. They can point pointed in or out. Typically, they are installed pointed out, but it depends on the situation. The gasket however is ALWAYS against the flange, never the nut, no matter which way it's installed (pointing in or out). That's a common mistake people make, assuming the gasket goes on the wet side.