Help! Aquarium sump pump leaking!

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White Knight

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Sep 23, 2005
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I'm not entirely sure this is the right place to post, but my aquarium is freshwater and I'm definitely a newbie. Anyway, it's a 54 gallon with a sump (to see my setup, see this thread, and feel free to compare the hoses to see if you notice any changes in 10 months), and it's slowly leaking from the bottom. I would say it leaks about two to three glasses a day. I put a small bucket underneath, but I'm extremely worried that it will get worse.

I included a few pics. Thankfully, there are no cracks in the glass. It it coming from the very top of the right hose. I can't be certain, but I think it's leaking from the top of the black part, above the threads. I have no idea how to change this, but I would assume it would require a full drain. Ugg. How hard is it to do? What's the best and worse case scenarios?

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White Knight

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Sep 23, 2005
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Ok, upon further inspection and touching the black base above the grey fitting, I am now certain that's where the leak is coming from (see pic). It dripped quite a bit when I toggled it. Would silicon seal work, or is is way beyond that?

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dudley

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Feb 9, 2005
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Dee
I went through your other topic just to get some back story on your overflow setup and remember helping you with it now.

Unfortunately it appears that bulkhead fitting is leaking where it goes through the glass bottom of the tank. You might be able to slightly tighten the nut so it stops leaking but be careful since the tank is full of water.

Adding silicone sealant will probably not work as it will continue to drip as the sealant cures.

Ideally you would need to drain the tank of water because of the slots in the overflow cover, remove the bulkhead fitting and replace the 'rubber' gasket that should be inside the tank or on the wet side of the bulkhead fitting.

Check out How to install a bulkhead fitting for the proper way to install the gasket and how to tighten the fitting. I'm sure there are other videos but this one gives you the basic idea.
 
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White Knight

AC Members
Sep 23, 2005
26
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I went through your other topic just to get some back story on your overflow setup and remember helping you with it now.

Unfortunately it appears that bulkhead fitting is leaking where it goes through the glass bottom of the tank. You might be able to slightly tighten the nut so it stops leaking but be careful since the tank is full of water.

Adding silicone sealant will probably not work as it will continue to drip as the sealant cures.

Ideally you would need to drain the tank of water because of the slots in the overflow cover, remove the bulkhead fitting and replace the 'rubber' gasket that should be inside the tank or on the wet side of the bulkhead fitting.

Check out How to install a bulkhead fitting for the proper way to install the gasket and how to tighten the fitting. I'm sure there are other videos but this one gives you the basic idea.
Hey! How's everything? Yes, you helped me tremendously in that thread last year! The tank has been running continuously since then, all because of you.

Yes, it's leaking where it connects to the glass. I tried to slightly tighten it, but it didn't help. It's real hard with all that water overhead. It likely does need a gasket, and now the hose on the left has started leaking (small pinhole type squirting leak), so that will need to be replaced too. I'm going to order the gasket and the hose, but it's real tough determining what size gasket I'll need. I can't tell until I do a full drain and move the fish to a small, temporary aquarium.

I positioned the sump directly under the leaks. Right now, it's where everything is leaking, so no mess. However, I know it's only a very temporary solution.
 
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dudley

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Feb 9, 2005
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Medina, Ohio
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Dee
You might also consider just buying new complete bulkhead fittings as they come with new gaskets for both fittings as you don't know how old the existing ones are and there is always a chance that they might have a small hairline crack due to age and abuse (not from you).

A couple things to remember are you want to buy a bulkhead fitting based on the O.D. of the holes in your tank AND whether they are slip or threaded fittings so you can make the correct connections both inside the overflow and outside the overflow.

It looks like the BH fitting on the left side which drains TO the sump is a slip fitting which has a length of PVC solvent weld (glued) in place and the hose is slid over the PVC end. If that is the case you will need to buy the correct solvent (glue) to attach them together.

I'm not sure about the BH fitting on the right side which is the pump connection back to the aquarium. It looks like it is threaded but may also be solvent weld (glue).
 

jake72

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Jan 28, 2019
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Don't over tighten as that might create a far worse situation. Luckily your tank is not that large so you can put the stocking in a few 5 gallon pails - while you work on it. If you have a mature sponge filter it would help but the fishes can safely live in the pail(s) for 3 or 4 days as needed as long as you don't put too much in a pail (hard to comment since i have no clue on your stocking); get an extra pail for the stubstrate.... bite the bullet and drain the tank. If the tank is old (and it looks old) you might want to replace both gaskets but that might not be necessary - then follow the above instructions. Also it is very important to not over tighten the bulkheads. There is a tendcy to want to make them as tight as possible but that can cause serious issues.
 

White Knight

AC Members
Sep 23, 2005
26
5
3
You might also consider just buying new complete bulkhead fittings as they come with new gaskets for both fittings as you don't know how old the existing ones are and there is always a chance that they might have a small hairline crack due to age and abuse (not from you).

A couple things to remember are you want to buy a bulkhead fitting based on the O.D. of the holes in your tank AND whether they are slip or threaded fittings so you can make the correct connections both inside the overflow and outside the overflow.

It looks like the BH fitting on the left side which drains TO the sump is a slip fitting which has a length of PVC solvent weld (glued) in place and the hose is slid over the PVC end. If that is the case you will need to buy the correct solvent (glue) to attach them together.

I'm not sure about the BH fitting on the right side which is the pump connection back to the aquarium. It looks like it is threaded but may also be solvent weld (glue).
Yeah that's not a bad idea, as the bulkhead is old and on the short side. As for the left side, it's only leaking from the hose, so I don't have to replace much there thankfully. It's way too long anyway, so I've been wanting a shorter one for some time now. That part is easy, so no problems there. It's the right side that worries me, since I have to drain the tank just to measure the size, then measure then order online.

Don't over tighten as that might create a far worse situation. Luckily your tank is not that large so you can put the stocking in a few 5 gallon pails - while you work on it. If you have a mature sponge filter it would help but the fishes can safely live in the pail(s) for 3 or 4 days as needed as long as you don't put too much in a pail (hard to comment since i have no clue on your stocking); get an extra pail for the stubstrate.... bite the bullet and drain the tank. If the tank is old (and it looks old) you might want to replace both gaskets but that might not be necessary - then follow the above instructions. Also it is very important to not over tighten the bulkheads. There is a tendcy to want to make them as tight as possible but that can cause serious issues.
Yes, one think I learned the hard way in the past is never to over-tighten anything on glass. I could potentially ruin the entire tank.

My fish are minimal. Right now I just have two danios, a red sunset molly, and a pleco. That's it. One big problem is that I just did a full cleaning a few days ago. Drained it halfway, and rinsed all of the sponges (not entirely sure if this was a mistake or not). So probably my best bet will be to wait a week or two, buy a small tank with filter, and put the fish and some of the rocks in there, and use some of the bacteria from the mature sponge. Then drain and remove the substrate and decorations, measure the size, and order. Hopefully I order the right one.
 

jake72

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Jan 28, 2019
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The sponge filters are fine - there is no reason to wait unless you just want to wait. Just don't feed the fishes every day and give them a tiny bit of food. If they are in the pail more than 7 days then just do a partial water change on the pail. I'm presuming that pleco is no more than 6 inches. Feed the pleco the least as he is the only thing you have that will create any real bioload. If i'm mistaken and that is (for example) a common pleco that is 12 inches long then you might give him his own pail.
 
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