In their simplest form – bulkheads allow air and liquids to pass through the wall of a tank or aquarium. Where and how the fluids get there can change a bit from time to time, but that’s the general gist.
Usually when it comes to our products, we recommend that you get a professional to help install them – but inevitably we always come across some eager, ambitious and capable Do-it-yourselfers who want to give things a go on their own.
Here are some things you need to do and know if you’re planning on installing bulkheads on your own.
Make sure your bulkheads are clean
Make sure that you install your bulkheads cleanly and in dry conditions. That includes not using silicone or some sort of threading lubricant. Specifically with regards to silicone and lubricants – they can cause the gasket to slip out and not seal properly. Any installation should be completely dry.
Finding other sources of leaks
Take a few minutes using a file, nail file or a pocket knife to do some cleanup on the threading. Clean off any excess flashing – and be sure to do it on both the male and female threads. Be sure to cover the entire component, too – from the gasket-mating surface to the flange and the nut. This is a common source of leaks in bulkheads.
You absolutely MUST…
…Install the gasket on the flange side of the bulkhead – never on the nut side. If you install the gasket next to the nut it will lead to leaks as water will simply travel along the threads around the gasket and leak out of your tank. Don’t be afraid to hand tighten a little bit – but don’t go with more than a ¼ or ½ turn additional.
Be wary of using supports and external elements
Generally speaking, it’s a bad idea to support pumps and piping from a bulkhead. Instead – use the supports in a way so that weight is not on bulkheads and gaskets and causing undue stress on the mating surfaces.
Also – never screw anything into the external threads of a bulkhead. They are not standard threads and they will leak.