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Old 11-20-2018, 08:35 PM   #1
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Aquarium vacuum/siphon, are they needed?

This may be a stupid question but I'm going to ask anyway as I feel I might be getting bad info from my uncle. My uncle said I don't need to purchase a vacuum/siphon "just stir up 1/3 the substrate during my weekly water changes then move onto the next 1/3 the following week and so on". Does this sound like bad advice? Currently I have a 10 gallon w/ smooth gravel, 4 false Julio Cory & 1 male Betta. Tank 2: 20 gallon long w/ pool filter sand, 5 female Betta's heavily fake planted. Both tanks cycled prior to adding fish. Thanks Kris
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Old 11-20-2018, 08:53 PM   #2
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Is he advising not to perform water changes? If so, then yes, bad info. Stirring the gravel is not such a bad thing if done regularly. However, it is not really necessary to do this.
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Old 11-20-2018, 08:58 PM   #3
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No. he is telling me that there is no need to vacuum the substrate, just stir up 1/3 of the gravel/sand during weekly water changes then move onto the next 1/3 of substrate the following water change and so on... I don't own a aquarium vacuum as of now but will purchase one if it's in my best interest.
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Old 11-20-2018, 09:11 PM   #4
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What he's saying doesn't really make sense. I've heard of people doing gravel vacuums of 1/3 of the substrate during their weekly water change. Then next week another 1/3 and so on as to not suck out to much beneficial bacteria in the substrate at one time. This method is for deep cleaning with a gravel vac. Most the time you are just doing a light vac of the substrate surface.....not going down through it and to the bottom of the tank.

Some people with heavily planted tanks don't do gravel vacs because they really can't and because there's so many plants that can feed off fish poo that it is somewhat beneficial.

I use a Python siphon for all my water changes and I do a light vac of the substrate as regular maintenance. Leaving fish poo and old food in your tank doesn't help your water quality.

What was his reasoning for just stirring sand around and doing nothing else?
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Old 11-20-2018, 09:31 PM   #5
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I think I'll purchase a vac. The thing with my uncle is he's cheap as he doesn't have alot of money and always makes do with what he has or can scavage or salvage. His process probably has worked for him but it's prob easier and less of a headache just to buy a $20 vac. I truly doubt he's trying to sabatoge my tanks but in all reality I've prob wasted $20 a day before lunch most days so I might as well just buy one.
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Old 11-21-2018, 01:41 AM   #6
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I definitely think a siphon is a good tool to make life easier. I was just curious what the logic was behind stirring up sand but not vacuuming what gets stirred up out of the sand. If he is using a garden hose or a section of one and manually siphoning water....by sucking on the other end until tank water begins to flow out....then I could understand stirring up the sand to suck up the debris....as you can't shove a manual siphon into sand without losing the flow.
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Old 11-21-2018, 02:26 AM   #7
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The way I took it from talking to him was that he was stirring up the sand and letting the filter pickup any floating debri - fish waste & any left over food. I'll have to have him show me on his tank what exactly he means the next time I see him...
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Old 11-21-2018, 09:34 AM   #8
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Hello Kris...

You don't necessarily need a siphon to perform a water change. But, you do need to do them. Half the tank water removed and replaced every few days is needed, especially for a small tank. You don't need to vacuum the bottom material, everything inside the tank will dissolve in the water and by just removing the water, you remove whatever has dissolved in it.

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Old 11-22-2018, 03:44 PM   #9
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Currently I change 25-40% of my water out weekly with a plastic 1 gal pale into 5 gal buckets. I just wasnt sure if I absolutely needed a vac. For the 20ish dollars I'll probably just buy one... Thanks for the replies everybody.
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