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Old 02-28-2011, 02:37 AM   #1
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Gravel vac started out great, now has reduced suction

I have a 10 gallon tank so I picked up a Top Fin Gravel Vac at Petsmart. I got the mini version. I know some people have trouble with them but I had no issues. I followed the directions, jiggled the tube 4-5 times, and was able to start siphoning no problem.

I used it a few times to vacuum, and several other times just to remove water. When I went to use it yesterday, I had a really hard time getting it started. I was having the same issues I've read about which made no sense since I was using the exact same procedure as before. Once I finally got it going, the water coming out was a trickle. It took at least twice as long to remove the same amount of water as usual, and the suction wasn't strong enough to cause the gravel to be sucked into the tube no matter how long I left it.

I'm so confused. Everything is clear so I can see that nothing is stuck in the tubing. I have no idea what could cause the problem when nothing else about my usage has changed.
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Old 02-28-2011, 10:17 AM   #2
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Do you have an outside hose? Try running water through it backwards and see if there is an obstruction?
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Old 02-28-2011, 10:38 AM   #3
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you can try to take it apart, it sounds like something is caught in the little flap
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Old 02-28-2011, 11:14 AM   #4
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you can take the hose apart from the vac and the vac tube apart from the tube top housing. I cut those flaps off they are really unneeded and inhibit the flow and as you can tell clog easily.

I just shove a filter inlet guard in the end of a 6' length of 3/4 hose and use that for my gravel vac.

(Ive got a power vac as well as a home made 30" tube vac hooked to a canister filter that either dont work at all, or will work great till its time to break suction and move to another section of the tank then it never works again after that.)

Since this is a gravel vac thread, does ANYONE know where to get a decent gravel vac for 30" deep tanks? one that works the first time, every time? I dont mind manual siphoning but sometimes Im out of breathe before I can remotely start a flow, I was thinking of using primer bulbs but not sure if they are potable water safe or not.(no packaging states this)
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Old 02-28-2011, 11:24 AM   #5
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Hm, I'm not aware of any flaps. Are they inside the blue plastic piece that connects the cylinder to the tubing? It occurred to me that that is the one place something could get stuck and I wouldn't be able to see it. Plus, the other day a bunch of gravel got sucked way to the top..I'm hoping it's as simple as a piece of gravel! Otherwise I'm stumped.

I'll have to wait until after work to check!

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Old 02-28-2011, 11:29 AM   #6
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yup, you are right on. There is a little plastic flap at the top of the tube, where the hose connects. You should be able to pull it apart. If you sucked a bunch of gravel up it on accident, this is probably what is going on.
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Old 03-01-2011, 01:22 AM   #7
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Success! Thank you all so much. I could not get the blue part off, and I looked in and couldn't see anything blocking it. But, because you guys assured me there was some sort of flap in there, I stuck a toothpick in it, and even though I couldn't see it I felt the resistance and something give way! Worked like a charm after that.
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Old 03-01-2011, 01:30 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiteDevil View Post
you can take the hose apart from the vac and the vac tube apart from the tube top housing. I cut those flaps off they are really unneeded and inhibit the flow and as you can tell clog easily.

I just shove a filter inlet guard in the end of a 6' length of 3/4 hose and use that for my gravel vac.

(Ive got a power vac as well as a home made 30" tube vac hooked to a canister filter that either dont work at all, or will work great till its time to break suction and move to another section of the tank then it never works again after that.)

Since this is a gravel vac thread, does ANYONE know where to get a decent gravel vac for 30" deep tanks? one that works the first time, every time? I dont mind manual siphoning but sometimes Im out of breathe before I can remotely start a flow, I was thinking of using primer bulbs but not sure if they are potable water safe or not.(no packaging states this)
Look around on koi supply shops. They have starter bulbs meant for aquaria out there. They kinda suck though after awhile (the bad kind of suck), the flaps wear out quick. I say just get an AC10 powerhead and use that to start your siphon. That's how I do it.
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Old 03-01-2011, 09:01 AM   #9
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Success! Thank you all so much. I could not get the blue part off, and I looked in and couldn't see anything blocking it. But, because you guys assured me there was some sort of flap in there, I stuck a toothpick in it, and even though I couldn't see it I felt the resistance and something give way! Worked like a charm after that.

glad we could help! its happened multiple times with mine, and after trying to get it to work for a long time i finally took it apart and found my culprit!
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