Betta Fish Forum banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How do you get them to work?

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!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,301 Posts
They are not the easiest to figure out LOL!!

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.

Here's a video demo from youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sa_440OaQxE

I wouldnt get the vacuum to suck the gravel that much but you can see how to start it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
145 Posts
I just do it the gross way and suck the water from the end that goes into the bucket. I haven't gotten it into my mouth yet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
448 Posts
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.

http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2754084

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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,671 Posts
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.
 

·
Reference Team
Joined
·
7,702 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
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! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
785 Posts
The way I do it is putting my thumb over the end of the tube and put it in my mouth, that way you have a way of stopping the water before it reaches your throat. Also siphons work with gravity so if you have the bucket you're emptying the dirty water into, lower than your tank, it will flow much faster.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
145 Posts
Another thing to do is make a tight fist around the end of the tube (basically make an extension to it with your hand) and then put your mouth against your hand... feels a little less ick. =)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,183 Posts
I use a Python changer. No buckets, no mess, drains AND refills a 30 gallon in less than 5 minuets. $50 for the Python and $25 for the extension hose.
 

·
Reference Team
Joined
·
7,702 Posts
Keep the 'suck' part of the siphon hose above the tank and a sag of hose below the top of the tank. You can see when to stop sucking. Thumb over hose and insert in bucket.

I never suck tank water this way.

(I do however take an occasional sip.
It doesn't taste bad. I'd worry if it did.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
What great techniques to avoid drinking tank water! I'm actually excited for the next water change to try them :p Thanks everyone!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,653 Posts
:lol: Hallyx I agree. if it tasted bad, then people should worry LOL. I've come across so many "I accidentally got fish water in my mouth... WILL I DIE?!" panicked people and the answer: .....no.

I got a cheap walmart siphon. Works better than the pet store siphon that came with a tank I got for free from someone. :3 I only do the sucking part, but if I had the pump type one I would like to try it.

Mine says to do the up down motion, to get the siphoning to start. Blah. doesn't work >.>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,821 Posts
I believe petsmart sells the smaller ones with a small pump you squeeze several times.
I have one of the VERY originals where you have to fill the whole siphon with water, no bubbles or air pockets. Plug the end that goes into the bucket, submerge the top (upright without spilling the water) into the tank/unplug the other end into a bucket.

It might work with the new ones with you are willing to try.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,821 Posts
I use a Python changer. No buckets, no mess, drains AND refills a 30 gallon in less than 5 minuets. $50 for the Python and $25 for the extension hose.
I just googled this and I will be buying this for our 75 gallon :)
I've tried pouring buckets of water in there/it hurts my back VERY much.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top