I just bought a Top Fin Mini Gravel Vacuum to clean my 2 gallon hexagon aquarium. It's a simple setup--you attach a long hose to a cylinder and I guess you're supposed to submerge the cylinder and start the siphon. I can't get the siphon to work though. Is my fish tank maybe too small for it? I could barely submerge the whole cylinder + vacuum cap. I moved it up and down so many times but water barely came out through the hose. I worked with it for the better part of an hour until I gave up and emptied out the water with a cup instead. I'd really love some tips on how to work the gravel vac though, because there's still icky stuff in the gravel! Advice will be much appreciated, thanks!
You need to fill the tube and the cylinder with water, plug the end of the tube with your finger and the cylinder with your hand (not the easiet thing) then sumerge the cylinder in the tank. The end of the tube should be at a lower level than your tank for it to work. It will start as soon as you remove your finger from the tube.
Hmm I don't think I feel comfortable sucking the tube...a bit paranoid of my fish water :P Props to you for being able to do it though!
Thanks for the youtube link vilmarisv...I'm going to try following it for the next water change, and hopefully I'll be successful this time! She makes it look so easy, though things are never that simple when I try... =P
I used the top fin one and it is a pain to get started. I'd get it going a bit a few seconds of water lightly going and it'd just slowed until it stopped. I gave up on it after an hour and watching that video lol. I exchanged for the small Hagen one for my 10 gallon tank. It just starts so easy for and was definitely worth the extra $$$ in my opinion.
The first review shows primer on it.... the small one at least doesn't have this feature. I use it with a bucket from Petco and the clip fits perfectly over the lip. I just use it as a siphon now that I switched over to sand.
I forgo the filter in a 2 gallon and just do a 100% instead of vacuum.. otherwise, vilmarisv has the right idea on how to do it.. just be careful as 2 gallons is not a whole lot and the siphon will remove the water out real fast.
All the siphons I've seen are overkill for a small tank, as well as expensive. I just use a 6 foot length of 3/8 OD clear tubing stuck through the bottom of a 1in diameter pill bottle. I put the hole near the edge and make it a tight fit. Then you can tape a long stick, like a piece of plastic coat hanger or a chopstick, (like Old Fish Lady does) along the side of the bottle and up on the tubing. OFL has a picture of a similar setup that I used for reference.
After some experimentation, I found that this combination of tubing size and pill bottle size gives me enough suction to pull debris out of the gravel without endangering the fish, and it doesn't take too long to siphon. I wouldn't use this to siphon a 20gal (it would take forever), but I might use it to vacuum and for my 2.5g it's fine. Total coat $1.50 for the tubing.
Thanks for all your advice everyone. I tried again for a 50% change, and I think the problem is that my tank's diameter is too small (it's a 2 gallon hex from Petco); I have to tilt the tank back a bit to get water into my vacuum cylinder. I tried following the video, but since I had trouble fitting my cylinder into the tank it didn't work.
So out of frustration...I decided to suck the other end of the tube like some of you mentioned. And guess what? IT WORKED!! :D Finally! The siphon action was slow, but enough to get out a gallon or so of water in a few minutes. I should have tried the sucking method from the beginning but I was too afraid of drinking tank water. I guess I'll still have to be careful but it seems like I have enough time to pull away before the tank water comes too close! :)
All in all, the siphon wasn't a complete waste. Did I mention I got it on clearance for $1.60? :D A PetSmart employee told me they were phasing out this type of siphon in favor of ones with pumps like the one freemike linked. I think in the future I'll save up some money to buy this new, seemingly hassle-free pump siphon...but for now I'm happy I've finally figured out how to start the siphon. Yay! :)