Help! I drilled my return pipe hole way too low in my tank.

andrewey

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If you do place glass/plexiglass over hole, you're going to need to cover and silicone it on the water side, not just the back side. The pressure of the water will keep the patch in place (and the silicone will seal it), whereas a patch on the back is having to oppose that pressure and is more likely to fail long term.
 
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xxkenny90xx

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Ya I wouldn't be able to sleep at night with a bulkhead that low. Like others have said if it ever leaks there will be no stopping the whole tank from draining. It needs a patch imo.
 
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thatfatdood

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Ya I wouldn't be able to sleep at night with a bulkhead that low. Like others have said if it ever leaks there will be no stopping the whole tank from draining. It needs a patch imo.
Looking into how much it would cost to buy that glass and all the tools to cut it... seems hard to find 1/4" glass online (as opposed to thinner glass), and if it is available the shipping costs are high.
Any tips on where to get the right glass?
 
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xxkenny90xx

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There should be local glass manufacturers around you, just give one a call and tell them what you need. I had one cut the baffles for my sump and they charged me $20. Try a smaller shop (instead of a big place like milgard) and I think you'll have better luck. They might even give you some scrap pieces
 

Idoc

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Yeah, I agree. I really think that once the tank is filled with rock and livestock, it will look fine.

Plus, I would love to not have to buy any more tools and cut holes. My drill is not very good anyway, and again I don't have my own drill bit.

I will most likely go with number 3. Thanks for your fantastic help, everyone. Will post pics when the tank is up and running!
Check out BRS and pick up some black pvc and use the dark grey sched 80 elbows.

I have an over the rim return and i painted my pvc fittings black and you can't see them in the tank.
 

RocketEngineer

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There is a better solution: Use the bottom hole as part of a pair of returns. The second return is located right at the top of the tank or over the rim and it’s to this upper return that you connect the pipe coming up from below. This way, the upper outlet acts like a siphon break since it will suck air once the water level gets to where it would have been if you had drilled it correctly.

Honestly, this may turn out to be beneficial as you can direct this lower outlet along the sand/bottom behind the rocks to keep detritus suspended.

Does that make sense?
 
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thatfatdood

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There is a better solution: Use the bottom hole as part of a pair of returns. The second return is located right at the top of the tank or over the rim and it’s to this upper return that you connect the pipe coming up from below. This way, the upper outlet acts like a siphon break since it will suck air once the water level gets to where it would have been if you had drilled it correctly.

Honestly, this may turn out to be beneficial as you can direct this lower outlet along the sand/bottom behind the rocks to keep detritus suspended.

Does that make sense?
Hi, thanks for contributing your solution! I'm trying to wrap my head around this. What would the lower hole be connected to?
Would the pipe coming from the return pump be split into two pipes, and each of these pipes is connected to a return hole? I'm trying to envision how the siphon would work.
 

RocketEngineer

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Hi, thanks for contributing your solution! I'm trying to wrap my head around this. What would the lower hole be connected to?
Would the pipe coming from the return pump be split into two pipes, and each of these pipes is connected to a return hole? I'm trying to envision how the siphon would work.
The water from the return pump goes up until the pipe is above the water level in the display. The return line then makes a u-turn to the top of the tee. The return pipe then goes through a tee from top down. The side of the tee goes to the upper hole, the bottom of the tee goes to the lower hole.

When the return pump shuts off, the upper return outlet pulls air into the pipe. Since the tee is now filling with air ( from the upper outlet) the water below the tee, in the pipe between the lower outlet and tee, can’t drain out.

Does that make sense?
 

ca1ore

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#2 .... every time. Silicone glass patch, whether on the inside or outside, will last forever. I’ve patched holes many times and theyre almost impossible to remove. Aquascape will hide the patch easily. Then regrind the hole in the correct spot.
 

Crustaceon

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Glass patch + silicone is the way to go. Then go get yourself a glass cutting kit with the blue plastic template and drill again (super slow & steady with just the weight of the drill applying pressure) but in the correct spot this time. Get back on that horse.
 
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Ameer214

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Just cap it from the back. It will be a nice home for some fish or you can cover it with a coral. You will have to drill that second hole...
 
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thatfatdood

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The water from the return pump goes up until the pipe is above the water level in the display. The return line then makes a u-turn to the top of the tee. The return pipe then goes through a tee from top down. The side of the tee goes to the upper hole, the bottom of the tee goes to the lower hole.

When the return pump shuts off, the upper return outlet pulls air into the pipe. Since the tee is now filling with air ( from the upper outlet) the water below the tee, in the pipe between the lower outlet and tee, can’t drain out.

Does that make sense?
Gotcha! I just drew a picture of this and I see what you're saying. That would be really nice actually, since I could have flow near the bottom as well. It would just take up a fair amount of space in the back of the tank, but I could make the U at the top really tight.

Definitely considering this! The only thing that makes me a bit uncomfortable, as the other posters have said, is the chance of leakage through the bottom hole. That possibility may be pretty small though. Thanks again - great idea!
 
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thatfatdood

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Glass patch + silicone is the way to go. Then go get yourself a glass cutting kit with the blue plastic template and drill again (super slow & steady with just the weight of the drill applying pressure) but in the correct spot this time. Get back on that horse.
I called a glass shop today and they're only charging $10 for the glass! And I found a cheap drill bit online, plus a used drill guide for $20. So, it looks like it would be easy to just cover up the hole with silicone and drill a higher one correctly.

I am definitely inclined to minimize the risk of having such a low hole that may leak at some point... Because of the pandemic, shipping will take forever so I have plenty of time to really consider my options. Plus I've got my nano tank running and the rock is still maturing, so I have fish and corals to keep me happy while I wait :)
 
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thatfatdood

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UPDATE:
So in the end I went with #2. I bought a 3" square of glass from a local glass shop for $5. I then siliconed it to the hole on the inside of the aquarium.

I bought a new drill bit, plus a Drillax drill guide, and the hole came out super clean this time!
I'm super happy I ended up going with this route, because I really think it looks the best, and you can barely see the patched hole after I painted the back of the tank. Plus, I don't have the worry about leaks down there!

20200426_065348.jpg
20200426_065512.jpg
20200426_065334.jpg


And here's the rest of the build. Still waiting for the cement to cure before water testing!
20200426_065407.jpg

20200426_065436.jpg
 

isaacalves

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UPDATE:
So in the end I went with #2. I bought a 3" square of glass from a local glass shop for $5. I then siliconed it to the hole on the inside of the aquarium.

I bought a new drill bit, plus a Drillax drill guide, and the hole came out super clean this time!
I'm super happy I ended up going with this route, because I really think it looks the best, and you can barely see the patched hole after I painted the back of the tank. Plus, I don't have the worry about leaks down there!

20200426_065348.jpg
20200426_065512.jpg
20200426_065334.jpg


And here's the rest of the build. Still waiting for the cement to cure before water testing!
20200426_065407.jpg

20200426_065436.jpg
hmmm. I would have gone with a bulkhead and cap instead if I didn't want to use the bottom as a return. Could have also used it for a quick drain for water changes.
 
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