View Full Version : Drilled Tanks

10-28-2003, 11:01 PM
Hey All;

I am setting up a central filtration system, but ran into one problem. Drilled Tanks.

Has anyone had any experience in drilling glass. What do you cool the drill bit with, etc.

If this is a futile effort ??? ???

10-28-2003, 11:09 PM
water....just run a little stream of water at the area that you're drilling...there's also a paste that you can buy that lubricates the drill bit...

10-28-2003, 11:20 PM
take your tIME

use a hose to run water onto the drilling area

and take your time!!!

might be worth your while $ to get some advise from a glazier or pay him to do it.


10-28-2003, 11:46 PM
Dear Nicholas,

Yes, I ordered a glass grinding bit from jehmco.com and talked to John over the phone for some advice. The first five tanks we emptied, moved outside and filled back up with water and drilled them with a slow stream of water trickling over the drill. The middle row we left in place, filled with water and fish, then drilled the tanks. Syphoned immediately after the drilling. Inside glass clamshelled a tiny bit but was not a problem at all. Take your time as was suggested earlier in the thread. We drilled 15 tanks with no breakage.

10-30-2003, 09:44 PM

10-31-2003, 09:35 PM
All you need is some plumbers putty, form a ring and fill it with water and go SSSSSSSSLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOWW. Use the slowest speed on the drill and a cordless is ideal.

I did my tanks empty with no problemos!

It is not hard to do, just take your time and you will be fine! ;D

Jean ;D 8)

11-07-2003, 03:59 PM
Hi Chris,

I'm not much for drilling. I'd rather get U-joint pvc's and the ol' reliable water pressure to do the work.

I also read somewhere that used tanks are not so good to be drilled into. But with all the advice already given, I think it's still do-able. Just take it slow.


11-14-2003, 11:38 PM
Thanks everyone for the tips. SUCCESS ;D ;D. I found a diamond studded hole saw from Leonex, and it did the job. Now the plumbing problems. Any good plumbing desiqns out there?

Thanks again


11-21-2003, 06:51 PM
Hi Chris,

>I'm not much for drilling. I'd rather get U-joint pvc's and the ol' reliable water pressure to do the work.


I'm not sure what you were saying with that. Are you saying your use a u-joint to go over the top edge of your aquarium for your outflow? What starts the syphon in the u-joint then? Or am I missing something? Hope you don't mind the question.


11-21-2003, 07:41 PM
Check out these links:





Basicly, the siphon does break when the water level goes down! Once the water level rises again, the water starts overflowing!

HTH! ;)

Allen Myers
11-21-2003, 07:43 PM

I think this is what Alan is talking about. I just set up ten 29 gallon tanks using this pvc "hang on tank" overflow device. You can make these yourself and here is a list of components I used.

8 Elbows 1/2"
1 Tee 1/2"
1 1/2" Slip Coupling to Thread
1 Threaded barb fitting
6 1-1/2" lengths of 1/2" PVC pipe
2 7-1/2" lengths of 1/2" PVC pipe
1 6" length of 1/2" PVC pipe
1 4" length of 1/2" PVC pipe

You will also need PVC primer and cement. Takes only about 10 minutes to put together. Let me know if you have any questions.


Allen Myers
11-21-2003, 07:45 PM
Here's a picture of the device in a tank. It works great for quick water changes or a drip system.


11-21-2003, 07:47 PM

Great pics! Thanks!

Allen Myers
11-21-2003, 07:48 PM
One last picture from this forum or another, I can't remember. This is not my design, but appears to work fine.


11-21-2003, 07:51 PM
LOL! That was my first link actually but thats ok! ;D ;)

Allen Myers
11-21-2003, 07:56 PM
Whoops! Someone needs to slap the newbies around a little! I should have read through the read in a little more detail. My bad....... :)

Allen Myers
11-21-2003, 07:57 PM
uh.....duh.......that should have said "read through the thread", actually that's hard to say real fast ten times....really...try it!

Talk to you later.


11-21-2003, 08:02 PM
No problem! I'll just get out my :whip:! NOw hold still!

LOL! ;D ;)

11-21-2003, 10:36 PM
Thanks you guys. Those pictures are great. That's quite a device. And the one link off-site is amazing.

When I had a trickle filter going back in the dark ages (actually 10 years ago) mine was simply a single line of pvc with an opening that sat just below the top of the tank. It bent down then back up and over the edge, then down to the sump.

Personal confession here:)- to start the syphon, I would actually do it with my mouth:). It seemed to balance out well as long as I didn't let the water evaporate too much. Only got a mouth full of saltwater once too, so I did pretty good:).

My question now is this- is there a better way to start a syphon on the outlet? Am I missing something that makes this "double u" self-priming? If not, how do you prime it? Thanks for all your help.


11-22-2003, 11:01 PM
Okay- I've done basically a day's worth of reading and mulling and I think I understand how these things work. The overflow box is actually two boxes. The first in the tank, the second, outside the tank. The internal box is made with slots cut in the edge to allow water to flow in. The external box has an outlet to the sump. There is a u-shaped tube (or multiple tubes) connecting the two boxes. These tubes ends sit below the level of the water intake on the internal box and the water outlet on the external box, so the syphon can't be broken.

I'm still stuck with the concept of how to start the syphon between the two boxes. It looks like some people mount a air outlet "nipple" and attach air hose to it to draw out the air and start the syphon. Is that accurate? Also, how do you prevent the air from coming back in the hose and breaking the syphon? The two ideas I had were to use a air outlet with a valve on it that could be shut off, or to use a check valve so that the air could only flow one way. Am I getting close?


Dave C
11-22-2003, 11:13 PM
Just feed an air hose into the J tube and suck out the air from the J tube. The water will fill the gap as the air is removed and once enough air leaves the siphon will start. The flow of water keeps any bubbles from accumulating in my overflow boxes. The siphon has never broken in the years I've been running them.

For the pvc overflow devices I found the easiest way to prime them was to take it to the sink and hook up a hose to one end and blast water through the unit. This will force all of the air out of it. Then cover the openings with your finger and move the unit to your tank, hook up the hose and the siphon should start.

11-23-2003, 02:12 AM
Thanks Dave- that is the easiest idea yet. I tend to over-complicate things:).


11-23-2003, 03:23 AM
hehe... was out dreaming... I guess they answered your question very well. ::) ;D

11-25-2003, 10:26 AM
Hi Alan,
I noticed from your parts list. You wrote 1/2" pvc. From the pic, it shows 3/4" pvc. I'm assuming in a larger tank with a larger water turn over, I can use a 1" or larger pvc. Am I right on this?
This is a great idea for people that does not want to drill their tank. Plus in the future the resale value on the tank is better. In case the person gets out of the hobby. Thanks


Allen Myers
11-28-2003, 05:08 PM

You are correct. The pictures of the overflow device I posted were constructed of 3/4" PVC that I use on larger tanks. However, 1/2" works great also, even on tanks up to 55 gallons or so. One thing to keep in mind is the fill rate of the new water coming in. Your overflow device needs to be able to move at least the same amount of water coming into the tank or you will end up with wet socks! (Actually, I got smart a few years back and wear a pair of slip-on Teva sandals now when working in the fish room!)

I haven't tried 1" PVC yet, but I'm sure the same principle would work with this larger tubing. Hope I've answered your question. Good luck!


11-28-2003, 05:52 PM
Your overflow device needs to be able to move at least the same amount of water coming into the tank or you will end up with wet socks!

Thanks Allen,
What you mean by this is that you can get bigger pvc but not smaller cause it could overflow out of the tank and not go down the pvc? Again thank you much


Allen Myers
11-28-2003, 06:05 PM

Hello. What I mean is that your overflow device must be able to handle (overflow) the same amount of water you are putting into the tank while you are filling.

If you were conducting an "unattended" fill and the overflow device was not ridding the tank of water as quickly as you were filling......you would end up overflowing the tank.