Drilling a RSM 130 - YES YOU CAN


New Member
Hi, I am just posting this thread by way of thanks for all the research this forum and others have provided me.

There are many posts over the Internet of whether you can drill a RSM 130 or not, or whether it is tempered glass or standard.

Well, I can tell you for definite that it CAN be DONE.

I can only state this was for a 130 and not a 130D, I'm not sure if the glass was changed on the D.

OK, here's my story. Having spent weeks reading round the Web about sumps, overflows, and 130's I decided to take the plunge and drill my tank. I was not 100% it could be done, and had never drilled glass before. I'm reasonably handy, but no craftsman.

I bought the sump first, I wanted to make my own but the prices for glass I was quoted were ridiculous. This basically meant that I had to proceed as otherwise I would have an empty sump lying around.

I bought a cordless 18v drill from Maplin, and a diamond dust coated 40mm holesaw off ebay.


2 ABS bulkheads
40mm black ABS waste pipe
6x 90' bends
ABS solvent,
40mm pipe clips
aquarium safe silicon and gun

I thought initially I would drill one hole and see how traumatic the experience was before committing to a second hole for an emergency overflow.

OK, drilling. I went for the back panel in line with the stock overflow about 10cm from the plastic rim.

This was going to be done vertically as I didn't want to put the tank on its front due to the curved front glass. I did not use a guide or template or putty dam. I put type in the inside of the glass to catch shards and the circle of glass.
I had a hosepipe set on light spray for the duration spraying into the 12 o'clock position on the drill bit. The clutch on the drill was set to 1(minimum) and please if you have a hammer action make sure it is OFF!!!

Using very light pressure I started off making a gouge in the 12 o'clock position and once that had settled in I started to make the full circle.

It is important to let the drill do the work as you are actually grinding and NOT drilling. Do not press hard on the glass. It took about 10 minutes to make the first hole.

I stopped frequently to inspect the progress and rinsed out the hole as I went along. When you are almost through, use even less pressure to ensure there that you don't force it through, this will create a neater hole too.

Once you are through, resist the urge to run your finger round the nice pretty hole you have just made, this will be ultra sharp. Plus be careful with the shards of glass and the milky white sand you have created. I have read reports of cuts and skin irritation from doing this.

With a big sigh of relief I had a beautiful 40mm hole. The rest is straight forward, insert bulkhead, silicone in and wait for it to cure.

I then continued and did the same for the second hole. I located it about 15cm right of the first hole, on the other side of the internal brace, slightly lower. I read that the holes should be at least 3" apart and 3" from any edge.

Second hole was less stressful, but I did wonder whether I should have just quit whilst I was ahead. Again, take your time!!! And don't press on the drill.

So now I have two bulkheads installed with a 90' elbow glued to each.

I cut the thread down on my first bulkhead and glued a 90' elbow directly to it facing up. To this I will add a piece of 40mm waste pipe cut to length to match the water level. I consider this easier to do than trying to drill directly matching the water level. Almost impossible to do.

On the 2nd bulkhead I had a little more room so I just glued the elbow onto the full sized bulkhead, a bit neater too. It won't be seen though in that rear chamber. I will be attaching some more 40mm pipe to this, but this will sit about 5mm above to water level to act as an emergency overflow should the main get blocked.

I'm considering teeing from the bulkheads with a cap on the top. This should allow me access to clean the pipe or force down any obstructions rather than having to remove it. The cap is to reduce the noise, with a small pilot hole to allow air in for noise reduction.

Will upload photos of the drilling process



New Member
Conclusion : the posts I read about this were about 5 years old so this was just an update for anyone who may be considering it. don't be put off, it's pretty straight forward if you take your time, plan thoroughly, and apply light pressure. I'd say it was about 4/10 on a difficulty scale.

Now I can finish piping up, then get my sump set up with skimmer, heating, light, reactor, pumps and some chaeto.

Good luck, and if I can help just holler.


New Member
I've been lurking for years, and like I said, all the research and questions about drilling were about 5 years old. Hopefully this may encourage others who were unsure.

It's a great site with so much info, thanks for the welcome.


Well-Known Member
Great post !


to ReefSanctuary, a real Sanctuary of reef forums, with lots of very nice members

Start a tank thread & share your tank with us so we can follow along, we love pics :dance:


New Member
Cheers, any chance a mod can delete the I'm between posts I made. I couldn't post photos until I reached 5. Apologies for the slight abuse of the post counter.


New Member
Just trying to get to grips with my return pump (new jet 1700) and piping. Should be moving water by the weekend.


New Member
Had a right pickle with these pipes. Return pipe is a 20.5mm upvc pipe which I have had to melt and mould around the outlet pipe for my newjet 1700. I could not find any suitable adapters for this size pipe.

Anyhooo, the drains (2 x 36mm black abs) and the return (21.5mm pvc) pipes have been assembled and glued. Angles have been set, and fingers crossed I can add some water tomorrow. No photos of this phase I'm afraid as they are all stuck round the back and up against the wall.