How to Build an Emergency Drain in Aquarium: A Step-By-Step Guide

Have you ever experienced an aquarium emergency when the water level suddenly drops, and your fish are left struggling for oxygen? It’s a nightmare, but it doesn’t have to be if you build an emergency drain in your aquarium. This will prevent future crises and ensure your fish remain healthy. An emergency drain is a simple device that allows water to escape from the aquarium quickly.

It can be a lifesaver if there is ever an issue with the main drain or if you need to drain the tank quickly. Installing an emergency drain may seem daunting at first, but with some basic tools and a few hours, you can build one yourself. To make an emergency drain, you’ll need a PVC pipe, an aquarium bulkhead fitting, and a valve.

The PVC pipe should be long enough to extend from the top of the aquarium to the bottom, and the bulkhead fitting should be the same size as your PVC pipe. The valve will allow you to control the flow of water and prevent overflow. Once you have your materials, drill a hole in the top of the aquarium and install the bulkhead fitting.

Then insert the PVC pipe into the fitting and attach the valve. Make sure everything is secured tightly and test the valve to ensure it’s working correctly. In conclusion, building an emergency drain in your aquarium can be a lifesaver in an emergency.

It’s a relatively simple project that can be done with a few basic tools and materials. By taking the time to make an emergency drain, you can avoid future aquarium crises and ensure the health of your fish.

Why an Emergency Drain is Important

When it comes to maintaining an aquarium, the health and safety of the aquatic life should always be a top priority. One way to ensure their well-being is by installing an emergency drain. This is a crucial component in case of a power outage or other unexpected situations that could disrupt the water flow in your aquarium.

An emergency drain provides a backup for the primary drain, which can prevent the water from overflowing and damaging the surrounding area. So, how can you build one? First, you will need to locate the primary drain and determine the appropriate location for the emergency drain. Next, you will need a bulkhead fitting, a PVC pipe, and a valve.

Simply connect the fitting to the pipe, and attach the valve to control the water flow. Make sure to test it regularly to ensure it works properly. By implementing an emergency drain, you can enjoy your aquarium with peace of mind, knowing that you have taken the necessary precautions to protect your aquatic friends.

Preventing Water Overflow

An emergency drain is an essential component when preventing water overflow, especially in areas where the possibility of heavy rainfall exists. Not many people realize the importance of having an emergency drain until it’s too late. Imagine heavy rainfall for several days, leaving your basement flooded with water.

This can render the area unusable and can cause extensive damage. An emergency drain can quickly redirect the excess water out of the area, prevent further damage, and minimize the cost of repairs. It’s like having an umbrella on a rainy day.

You may not need it often, but when you do, it saves you from an uncomfortable situation. An emergency drain is like that umbrella, and it’s crucial to have one installed before an emergency occurs.

how to build an emergency drain in aquarium

Removing Contaminated Water

An emergency drain is crucial for removing contaminated water from your property in times of crisis. Natural disasters like flooding or heavy rainfall can lead to water damage and potential health hazards such as mold and bacteria growth. An emergency drain is a simple yet effective solution to remove standing water and prevent any further damage to your property.

It’s essential that you have a plan in place for dealing with emergency situations to avoid extensive damage and safety hazards. Without an emergency drain, you may face costly repairs, health risks, and structural damage. Don’t wait until it’s too late to think about the importance of an emergency drain.

Be proactive and take the necessary steps to protect your property today.

Materials Needed for Building an Emergency Drain

Building an emergency drain in your aquarium can be a lifesaver when it comes to unexpected leaks or overflows. Having the right materials is key to ensuring that your emergency drain is effective and efficient. Here are some of the materials that you will need: PVC piping, PVC glue, a drill, a hole saw bit, a bulkhead fitting, and a ball valve.

The first step is to decide where the drain will be located and drill a hole into the tank using the hole saw bit. Next, attach the bulkhead fitting to the hole and seal it with PVC glue. Then, connect the PVC piping to the bulkhead fitting and attach the ball valve to control the water flow.

Remember to test the drain for leaks before filling up the tank. By following these steps and using the right materials, you can have peace of mind knowing that your aquarium is protected from potential disasters.

Airline Tubing

Airline Tubing Building an emergency drain requires a few materials, and airline tubing is one of them. Airline tubing is a flexible plastic tube that is commonly used in aquariums. It is affordable, durable, and easy to work with, making it an excellent choice for emergency drain installations.

The tubing is available in different sizes, usually measured by the diameter of the tube. Before purchasing the airline tubing, ensure that it fits the size of the drain you are building. When installing the tubing, it is essential to secure it properly by using clamps or zip ties.

The tubing should also be straightened out and free of kinks to ensure optimal flow. By including airline tubing in your emergency drain material list, you can be sure that your drain system will function correctly when it is needed most.

PVC Pipes

PVC pipes. If you need to build an emergency drain, the most important material that you’ll need is PVC pipes. These are perfect for creating drain systems, especially in situations where space is limited or time is of the essence.

PVC pipes come in different sizes, so you can choose the right diameter for your needs. They’re also durable, which means that they’ll last a long time, even if they’re exposed to harsh weather or chemicals. Additionally, PVC pipes are easy to connect, which makes them ideal for quick installations.

You can use connectors, elbows, and other fittings to create an efficient and effective drainage system that will keep your property safe from flooding and water damage. So go get those PVC pipes and start building your emergency drain!

Drain Valve

For those who live in areas prone to natural disasters, it’s important to have emergency measures in place to ensure safety. One such measure can be an emergency drain, which can help mitigate flood damage by diverting excess water away from your property. To build an emergency drain, you’ll need a few simple materials.

The first requirement is a drain valve, which will act as the main point of discharge for the excess water. Other materials include PVC pipes, elbows, couplings, and a check valve. The PVC pipes will form the main drain line, while the elbows and couplings will help redirect the water if necessary.

The check valve is essential for preventing the backflow of water, which can cause further damage. With these materials, you can build an emergency drain that can help prevent or reduce flood damage to your property. Remember, it’s always better to be prepared for the worst-case scenario!

Silicone Sealant

If your home ever experiences a plumbing emergency, having an emergency drain system in place can save you from a lot of damage. Building an emergency drain system may seem like a daunting task, but with the right materials and tools, it’s quite simple. One of the essential items you’ll need is silicone sealant.

This material is excellent for creating a water-tight seal around pipes and fittings. When applied correctly, silicone sealant can withstand both water and heat, making it perfect for emergency drain systems. Before applying the sealant, make sure the area is clean and dry to ensure maximum adhesion.

With silicone sealant in hand, building an emergency drain system is easy, and with minimal effort, you’ll have a reliable system in place for any plumbing emergency that may arise.

Building the Emergency Drain

If you’re a fish enthusiast, chances are you’ve dealt with a few emergencies in your aquarium. And if you haven’t, it’s only a matter of time. One of the most important things you can do to prepare yourself for those emergencies is to build an emergency drain.

This simple yet effective piece of equipment can help you quickly and easily drain your aquarium in case of a major water change or emergency situation. To build an emergency drain, you’ll need a few basic supplies such as a PVC pipe, valves, and a drain hose. Once you have all the supplies, it’s a matter of cutting and assembling the pieces and installing it in your tank.

Of course, you’ll want to test it out before you actually need to use it, so you can be confident that it will work properly in case of an emergency. Building an emergency drain is an easy and inexpensive way to ensure that you’re prepared for any unforeseen circumstances in your aquarium.

Step 1: Measure and Cut the PVC Pipes

To start building an emergency drain, the first step is to measure and cut the PVC pipes. PVC pipes of different sizes are readily available in hardware stores, and you can choose the right size based on your needs. Make sure you have all the necessary tools, such as a hacksaw, a tape measure, and a marker, before you begin.

You can use the tape measure to measure the length of the pipe according to your requirements and mark it with a marker. Next, using the hacksaw, cut the PVC pipe precisely at the marked point. If you need to cut more than one pipe, repeat the process for each pipe.

Once the pipes are cut, ensure they fit together smoothly. By measuring and cutting the PVC pipes, you can create the framework for your emergency drain. With the proper tools and a little bit of effort, you can quickly and effectively construct a functional emergency drain that can help protect your property from the effects of heavy rainfall or other potential disasters.

Whether you’re a homeowner or a business owner, having a reliable emergency drain in place can give you peace of mind, knowing that you’re well-prepared for the worst-case scenario. So go ahead and start measuring and cutting those PVC pipes and take the first step towards building your emergency drain today.

Step 2: Attach the Drain Valve

When it comes to building an emergency drain, the second step is to attach the drain valve. This is a crucial component of the system, as it controls the flow of water from the drain and prevents any leaking or flooding. The valve should be securely fastened to the drain using appropriate fittings, and checked for any signs of leakage before use.

Remember, in an emergency situation, the drain valve is the key to ensuring water flows out safely and effectively. Don’t skimp on the quality of your valve – investing in a sturdy, reliable model will pay off in peace of mind and effective drainage when you need it most. So take your time, choose wisely, and get that drain valve attached!

Step 3: Connect the Airline Tubing

The next step in building an emergency drain for your aquarium is to connect the airline tubing. This tubing will serve as a conduit for the water as it passes from the tank to the drain. Be sure to cut the tubing to the appropriate length and attach it securely to the overflow box.

You can use hose clamps or zip ties to ensure it stays in place. Additionally, make sure the tubing is long enough so that it reaches the drain. Otherwise, you may end up with water spilling onto your floor! Once you have everything connected, turn on the pump and check to ensure everything is working properly.

With the airline tubing connected, your emergency drain is one step closer to being fully functional.

Step 4: Test the Emergency Drain

emergency drain Once your emergency drain has been properly installed, it is essential to test it to ensure that it works as intended. One way to test the emergency drain is to pour water into the drain pan underneath the air conditioning unit. If the emergency drain is functioning properly, the water should flow out of the secondary drain line and into a visible location, allowing you to see that the drain is working.

It is also important to check the drain regularly to prevent clogs or blockages from occurring. This can be done by inspecting the drain line and removing any debris or buildup that may be present. By testing and maintaining your emergency drain, you can ensure that your air conditioning unit is working efficiently and effectively, reducing the risk of potential damage or system failures.


Don’t drown in despair when your aquarium springs a leak! Build an emergency drain and keep your fishy friends swimming happily. With a few simple tools and some elbow grease, you’ll be able to handle any underwater emergency. Just remember to channel your inner MacGyver and stay calm in the face of adversity.

Happy fish keeping!”


What materials do I need to build an emergency drain in my aquarium?
You will need a bulkhead fitting, PVC pipes, a gate valve, a drill, a saw, and silicone sealant.

Can I build an emergency drain without drilling my aquarium?
Yes, you can use a hang-on-back emergency drain that does not require drilling.

How does an emergency drain work in an aquarium?
An emergency drain provides a secondary outlet for water to flow out of the aquarium in case the primary drain gets clogged or fails.

Is it necessary to have an emergency drain in my aquarium?
It is not necessary, but it is recommended to prevent flooding in case of a malfunction in the primary drain.

How do I install an emergency overflow in my sump?
You will need to drill a hole in your sump and install a bulkhead fitting with a PVC pipe, a gate valve, and silicone sealant.

Can I use an emergency drain for water changes?
Yes, you can use an emergency drain to siphon water out of your aquarium for water changes.

How often should I test my emergency drain for proper functioning?
It is recommended to test your emergency drain at least once a month to ensure it is working properly.