how do i drill a refugium tank?

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Aquarium Advice Apprentice
Jan 29, 2006
brick, new jersey
Hey i was just reading how to make a refugium on your own and i just happened to have most of what i need to make a simple one lying around. I'm gonna use a 5 g tank as the refugium, and i think it's made of plexi-glass or heavy plastic, I can't tell but it has all rounded corners and its like, one big mold, so i figured its plastic.

My question is how can i drill a hole for the overflow back into the tank? I figured i would just put some big vinyl tubing or pvc in the hole and connect a tube to that, but how do i get the big round hole that i need?

After drilling can i maybe widen the hole somehow or shape it since the tank is plastic?
You can buy bits at Lowes or HD to drill any size hole you need. I am not sure of your setup but you may want to look into a bulkhead.
Its advisable that you contact your LFS to see if they can do it or if you have a glass shop around contact them and ask what they would charge to drill the hole for you. For best results you must use a diamond tipped hole saw and to keep the glass cool you must have water flowing over the area being cut to remove the glass and keep the entire thing cool.

Now that I have the stock reply out. If there are rounded corners your tank is most likly acrylic. This is a form of plastic and the same rules apply as far as keeping the cut cool by using water. Since you can most likly use a dremel to do the cutting but you need to keep the entire area cool by wet cutting its not advisable to use an electronic cutting device. Again I would contact the local LFS or glass shop. A hole should just be a few $.

Establish the size bulkhead you want. IE you may want to use 1/2" pvc. If this is the case look for dimensions on 1/2" bulkheads and it will tell you what size hole to have cut. Most likly 5/8" or 3/4" for a 1/2" bulkhead has a wide assortment of bulkheads and other tank fittings.
Hummm? I drilled all my holes in my refugium (7 total). I used a spray bottle and a hole saw/bit. Never had a problem. My sump is 1/4" acrylic and my fuge is 1/2" acrylic.
" i would just put some big vinyl tubing or pvc in the hole and connect a tube to that"
this is the part that worries me.. Bulkhead or don't di it with a hole, use a overflow box which costs$$$
Do not Cob job this or you will end up with a flood when your not home.
Hole saw from HD will work, slow and easy and keep cool. let the saw do the work or you will crack it.
ok so ill deffinetly get a 1/2'' bulkhead and take it to my local glass shop or hardware store. One more question: single or double bulkhead threading?
I'm currently setting up a new tank. I'm using a commercial product for my fuge which will set on top of the 20L tank that I'm going to use as a sump. The product is a Reefugium 100 from Ecosystems and is fairly pricey. I got it cheap since I picked it up at a LFS that was going out of business, but info on this thing might give you some good ideas.

It's fairly straightforward. It comes with a Rio 2100 that you place in the sump. The Rio pumps water through vinyl hose to the intake side of the fuge and through a 3/4" bulkhead. Water then just flows thru the fuge and out the drain side through a 1" bulkhead where it gravity drains back into the sump. Very simple and easy to set up. My biggest worry was having enough room under my tank to set it on top of the sump. Made it but it was close. It has to sit higher than your sump because gravity powers the return. Anyway, you can take a look at it on ecosystems website. Hope it's helpful. There are cheaper ways to go for sure but this thing is basically plug and play :)

<edit> After re-reading the post, started to think that maybe you're looking at a non-sump setup. Not useful info in that case. Sorry.
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