I'm in a pickle, advice on tightening a bulkhead....

dnguyen1

Will work for fish
Hey guys, I was doing some work inside the tank stand and nudged my sump a tiny bit to the left... in doing this... the sump forced the down pipe to the side a bit and it was enough to cause the down pipe's bulkhead to start leaking :headwally:

I tried to hand tighten the bulkhead but to no avail because it was slipper w/ the water dripping down... immediately turned off the sump, and siphoned the water out of the internal overflow box.

So now my sump is off and all the water is out of the overflow... no more leaking.

But... I have no idea how to tighten the bulkhead... I'm home alone right now so I don't have anybody holding the top end (which is connected to a durso pipe). I can't just tighten the bottom w/o somebody holding the top.

Anybody ever overcome this? Is there a tool out there that will clamp down on the top while I tighten the bottom? Thanks in advance !!! :mixed:
 

ezerasurfr

New member
depending on how much room you have in the overflow, I would put a clamp on the durso to "wrench" it to the side of the overflow thus using it as the "person holding the top end". This will allow you to hand tighten. Hope this helps.

Also, while doing maintenance you might want to think about using flex hoses between your drains and returns, this will help prevent this problem from happening again when the sump moves from accidental contact.
 

Sk8r

Staff member
RC Mod
Just went through this. You may have a tired gasket on the bulkhead.
First, if you can tighten it, the tightness should be about what a reasonably strong man can do with his fingers. Do not over-tighten.
Second, if it unseated with a gentle knock, I'm suspicious the gasket is hardened: how old is the tank?
Third, if the gasket has to be replaced, probably the bulkhead should be. Size: tell the supplier the size of the hose that connects to it.
If you can't unscrew it, be careful---get a piece of hacksaw blade, wrap the end in paper towel for a grip, and delicately saw the ring that holds it...but do this ONLY after getting a replacement bulkhead!
Dry and clean above and below so the new gasket and bulkhead will seat well.
A replacement bulkhead, if needed: you won't find a new bulkhead at a plumbing supply. You need people who deal with hose, industrial. I found mine at House of Hose, which has outlets on the West Coast.

HOpefully you can finger-tighten the ring on the bottom of the tank. You may have to steady the thing above to keep it from rotating. We were able to do this with the insertion of a garden tool's straight wooden handle. But you need someone to help you from above while you tighten below. It does not take great strength to do the steadying-above. Start calling in debts with the promise of hamburgers.

Sunday is a bad day to have this happen. Can you get the thing to operate until tomorrow, so industrial supply will be open? Your only other hope is a big box store like Lowes or Home Depot...OR YOUR LFS, if they have supplies of plumbing bits and connectors; and honestly, you might starting calling every LFS you know and asking. They'll understand your request better than anyone---I hope.
WIth the big box stores, call: IME, nobody knows what they actually have. Take a piece of your hose with you if you've got a spare bit.
 

Palting

New member
But... I have no idea how to tighten the bulkhead... I'm home alone right now so I don't have anybody holding the top end (which is connected to a durso pipe). I can't just tighten the bottom w/o somebody holding the top.

Anybody ever overcome this? Is there a tool out there that will clamp down on the top while I tighten the bottom? Thanks in advance !!! :mixed:

What I did was use a pair of latex gloves, the dishwashing kind :). Quite simple, really.

Tighten the nut as far as you can with your fingers. Then, grab hold of the threaded bukhead with the glove. The glove gives you traction, and also alleviates the pinchy feeling from gripping those grooves. Then tighten the nut down as hard as you can with just your hand. You can also counter rotate with the threaded part held with the gloved hand. It should turn at least another quarter turn. Everything is done from one side of the glass.

If that doesn't work and it still leaks, then the rubber washer may be too old, or the bulkhead may have cracked. Both easily fixed, but may take time to get replacements.
 

Sk8r

Staff member
RC Mod
If you can stand back there and the tank is shallow, you might be able to do both holding it still and turning. We had to do it in a corner downflow in a deep tank, with a deep downflow box, cramped beyond belief, which took a ladder, two cement blocks to stand on, and two people, one under the stand, one standing on the blocks and holding the garden tool handle (it happened to be a dandelion weeder) in the hole inside the downflow.
 

Reefing Newbie

New member
I am fortunant enough that my lfs carries plumbing supplies for aquariums. I have never really had any problems with bulk heads. I did have one that would drip a little but a little bit of hand tightening corrected it, phew lol.
 

MelloW33

New member
If you're really in a bind, put some silicone around it and let it dry for a couple hours. It's easy to cut off when you have the new bulkhead.
 
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