Gla$ overflow flange leaking - appreciate quick responses - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-16-2017, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
PK1
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Gla$$hole overflow flange leaking - appreciate quick responses

I have just finished setting up a single overflow on a 33 Gallon Mr. Aqua, and have a small leak where the flange butts against the outside glass. From the outside, the assembly is as follows:

Flange => gasket => aquarium glass => gasket => overflow box => nut

Before assembly I sanded the mold marks on the surface of the flange so that there were no burrs or leak paths, but could still feel a slight unevenness on the surface, like a slight wave. Thinking this is the problem:

- Disassembled, sanded the flange some more (220 grit, followed by 400, followed by wet 400), assembled, leak - very small, but leak
- Repeated the above, leak
- Thinking that the flange surface needs to be true and perfectly flat and not only smooth, I took the guide the Gla$$hole provides for cutting the glass (the small board with a hole in it) and cut the exact same size hole on sandpapers and made a flat sanding board. Followed the same process as above: 220, followed by 400, then wet. Assembled, nothing for 25-30 min, then a small drop
- Repeated the above, same thing.
- In the process, I rotated the gaskets between inside and outside (I actually have a spare gasket, so rotated all three
- Doing some research, some recommend not using Magic Lube (which I had before), so I wiped the gasket and surfaces clean with alcohol and get the same thing
- I really don't believe I have over tightened. Hand tightened the best I could give the confined space, then used a tool to tighten maybe another 1/2 turn

At this time is was way past midnight so given that the leak was very small, I wrapped a rag around the joint and went to bed. This morning the rag was wet.

I am at a total loss with this thing. I can't empty the tank since it's planted, and every time I disassemble it I have to drain the tank to half, a royal PITA. Any suggestions as to what I should do next? I have now wrapped a rag around the joint while I figure out my next step.

Thanks all!
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-16-2017, 02:05 PM
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Try a different gasket or make one. Sounds like your gasket is too hard. If it is a gasket with ridges on one side, make sure those go on the flange side and the flat side goes on the glass. Did you try swapping the gasket with the one inside the tank?

Are you sure the bulkhead isn't cracked? It's super easy to crack them if you tighten that elbow too much.


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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-16-2017, 02:28 PM Thread Starter
PK1
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Gla$$hole overflow flange leaking - appreciate quick responses

Thanks, actually new gaskets were what I was thinking. Although they sat in a box, they are 2+ years old so it's very possible they are hard. I'll see where I can get some material to cut them, I'm assuming the big box stores have them?

I'll look at the bulkhead for cracks, but I highly doubt it since I only hand tightened it. Thanks for the tip.

Follow-up: Took things apart again, wet sanded the flange one more time, made new gaskets from fresh material, assembled everything, leak.

I'm at a total loss with this thing, very frustrating...

Last edited by PK1; 09-17-2017 at 02:21 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-17-2017, 04:04 AM
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Do you expect to take it apart in the future? A thin bead of tank silicone might be what you need between the glass and gasket.


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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-17-2017, 03:54 PM Thread Starter
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I had thought about this earlier in the process but thought if there's a path of leak it would eventually surface again, not knowing how well silicone adhered to rubber, so I decided to find the root cause and fix it.

That said, I would have tried silicone at this point but I may have had a false alarm. Since the leak was usually very slow, after the last fix and after observing it for a little while I wrapped a rag around the joint since I needed to leave the house, and when I got back the rag was wet leading me to believe that the leak was still there. After closer inspection I noticed the rag was more wet where it touched the top of the bulkhead elbow and not the bottom where the leak was previously. I think the rag was wicking water from the gap between the breather tube and the hole in the elbow. I stuck a dry rag under the bulkhead without it touching the top of it and it stayed dry overnight. No leak thus far this morning. I think changing the gaskets did the trick: the gasket material I used has a much smoother surface and no ridges which may have helped.

Hoping I don't have to deal with this issue again!
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