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Why bulkhead fittings leak


One of the most common leaks in an aquarium is in its plumbing – or more specifically in its bulkhead fittings. They usually show themselves as a slow drip leak when a tank is first set up or will appear at random at some point during the lifespan of the tank. 

Fixing the leak comes down to identifying the source. That could mean tightening the bulkhead fitting, poor installation or cleaning the surface area of the bulkhead fitting to ensure it’s on nice and snug. In today’s blog, we’re going to go over some basic information about the causes of leaky bulkhead fittings and how to resolve bulkhead leaks. Let’s jump right in!

Incorrect installation

The #1 reason a bulkhead fitting leaks is because it wasn’t installed properly to begin with. That means putting the gasket in the right location, making sure it’s the right size and applying the correct amount of tension. In other cases, things like gaskets get forgotten or casually omitted from the installation, which while you might not see leaking up front early – you likely will at some point. 

Not installed on the correct surface

Bulkheads need to be installed on a clean, flush surface. When installed poorly, things like rocks and other debris can get between the bulkhead and the tank, causing leaks. This can also cause leaks anytime that a fish tank gets accidentally bumped. When sediment is built up between the two surfaces, it can loosen the connection and more easily cause leaks. 

When gasket seals fail

More often than not, when it’s not improper installation, it’s just a matter of the bulkhead gasket failing. And look, that happens! These pieces of thin rubber are there to prevent leaks but like anything – they can fail – sometimes for a good reason and sometimes for no real reason at all! These gaskets are always exposed to pressure and salt water – so they do take a beating. They should last a long time, but that’s not always the case. 

Should you encounter any of these issues, our professionals at JT Enterprises can help. To learn more about bulkhead fittings and what kinds you should be using in your tank – give us a call today and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free consultation. Until then, good luck!




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