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Old 01-14-2004, 08:24 AM   #1
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Problem using python siphon.

Last night I used my Python to vacuum the bottom of the tank and do a 20% water change as recommended on this forum. At first it would not siphon, so I turned up the water at the tap and it started. It was doing a great job vacuuming up debris. Problem is I ran it for only about 45-60 seconds and I was at 30% water reduction already, so I had to stop. Does this always happen, or am I using it wrong? I was hoping to clean the whole tank.

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20 Gallon Rectangle tank, 304 Fluval filter:
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2 Blue Tetras, 2 Angelfish, 2 clown loaches,
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2 Otocinclus, 1 Glass cat fish

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Old 01-14-2004, 08:31 AM   #2
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nope this will always happen!
i never get to clean my whole tank with the python..i guess you gotta be a little quick at moving it around and cleaning everything up in a matter of seconds.
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Old 01-14-2004, 08:35 AM   #3
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The idea behind the python would be to quickly get the debris off the surface of the substrate. If you're trying to clean more deeply, and get all the junk out, try do one half each week. That way you'll keep clean but won't zap all the bacteria in the substrate everytime you clean, only half.

I never have a problem with my python. You've got to be quick, but I can easily do 3/4ths of my 75 and 90 gallon tanks before 20% change.
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Old 01-14-2004, 08:47 AM   #4
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Yeah, the Python really pulls water out of the tank; it must go pretty fast in a 20g. You might want to try not turning the faucet on all the way; sorta inbetween where you started and where you ended up last nite. Maybe slightly decreased pressure will slow down the siphoning. I usually do a ~30% change in my 55g and it goes pretty quick; thats close to the entire amount in your tank!
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Old 01-14-2004, 08:49 AM   #5
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Is there a type of portable gravel cleaner that will filter the debris out and return the water to the tank? Thus no water loss. Hey Ferret, after looking at your signature, I can only wonder: Do you have any room in your house for furniture.
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20 Gallon Rectangle tank, 304 Fluval filter:
1Rosy Tetra, 1 Black Molly
1 Platy, 1 Blue Tail Guppy
2 Blue Tetras, 2 Angelfish, 2 clown loaches,
1 Tail-Light Tetra,
2 Otocinclus, 1 Glass cat fish

15 Gallon -1 Fancy Guppies - 15 Guppy Fry
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Old 01-14-2004, 08:52 AM   #6
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Actually, you don't really want to return the tank water. You still want to remove the excess nitrates and DOCs; that won't happen with the system you describe. Remember; clean fresh treated water is always a good thing!

And I think ferret uses the larger tank as a couch
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Old 01-14-2004, 09:08 AM   #7
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So will it hurt to double up the water change each week to get a better vacuum job done?
P.S. Allivymar my tank is almost a month old. ammonia has always been low and the nitrites have never passed 0.4. I am using Cycle also. I have 13 fish now in there, all doing fine. Do you think that I am close to cycling and will the water change affect this.
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20 Gallon Rectangle tank, 304 Fluval filter:
1Rosy Tetra, 1 Black Molly
1 Platy, 1 Blue Tail Guppy
2 Blue Tetras, 2 Angelfish, 2 clown loaches,
1 Tail-Light Tetra,
2 Otocinclus, 1 Glass cat fish

15 Gallon -1 Fancy Guppies - 15 Guppy Fry
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Old 01-14-2004, 09:52 AM   #8
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I have quite a bit of room, actually. Got a 3-person foton and pompasaun (sp?) in the living room, as well as a large corner desk and plenty of pacing space.

There are systems that return water to the tank. These are purely for debris cleaning though and do not constitute a water change. You'd still need to do that portion.
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Old 01-14-2004, 10:25 AM   #9
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This method is a pain in the butt, but it works.

1. stir up the gravel (gently, but get the gunk moving).
2. let the particles of gunk settle out on top of the gravel.
3. THEN get the python going and cover the whole bottom with it as quick as you can!

Used to work for me before all my tanks were planted.
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Old 01-14-2004, 10:35 AM   #10
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I am less than a month into this hobby and I am already making room in my mind for new tanks. I'm sure it won't be long and some newbie will be teasing me about all my tanks :P
I have natural light colour gravel/stone and I am noticing some dirt on it, plus allot of debris flies up when gravel is disturbed. So I would like to give it a good debris cleaning, but I will still make sure I do my water changers also for nitrates. So how about a water change right after vacuuming?
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20 Gallon Rectangle tank, 304 Fluval filter:
1Rosy Tetra, 1 Black Molly
1 Platy, 1 Blue Tail Guppy
2 Blue Tetras, 2 Angelfish, 2 clown loaches,
1 Tail-Light Tetra,
2 Otocinclus, 1 Glass cat fish

15 Gallon -1 Fancy Guppies - 15 Guppy Fry
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Old 01-14-2004, 11:01 AM   #11
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If you have this much debris then think about cutting back on feedings, and that might help. For my 10 gal and 12 gal I use a regular gravity-operated syphon with a smaller diameter gravel vac portion, so I can syphon more slowly. With the python, as long as your tank is slightly higher than your tap you can get the syphon started with the water flow, then once it starts turn off the running water. You will still have a strong flow due to the diameter of the tube, but it will be slightly less and less waste of tap water. I do like CC's method of getting the gunk out in the open and ready for vacuuming before you get started
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Old 01-14-2004, 11:36 AM   #12
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I think your fish would benefit from (2) 33% water changes weekly. The big advantage to the python is how quickly and easily it's done, making wcs more often. With experience using it you'll get the hang of it
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Old 01-14-2004, 12:11 PM   #13
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I like BrianNY's recommendation (as usual!) and the more often you do water changes the less crud there will be in the first place. It sure beats hauling buckets and, in my case, 5-gal water jugs.
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Old 01-14-2004, 12:42 PM   #14
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If you want to do a really good job and have a fair amount of time rather than use the python just use a plan gravel cleaner and cyphon the water into a bucket. I have one that is just basically a one and a half metre long rubber tube connected to a large hard pipe. I do this to my 2 foot and have more than enough time to clean the substrate. Only problem is that you do need to suck the water through the pipe but after awhile you get the hang of it and you never get water in your mouth.

I must admit Im not sure what the python actually is as I havent seen them at my LFS. From what I imagine is it just connects to the tap and runs from the tap to the tank and vice-versa. Anyway the above method works for me and does a nice job giving you heaps of time. Hope this was some help
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Old 01-14-2004, 02:00 PM   #15
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Great info. When I started a month ago, the LFS told me that I should expect a few dead fish when just starting out. Knock on wood to this date, I have had none, and I contribute this to all the great advice given to me from nice people like yourselves on this advice forum. Many thanks.
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20 Gallon Rectangle tank, 304 Fluval filter:
1Rosy Tetra, 1 Black Molly
1 Platy, 1 Blue Tail Guppy
2 Blue Tetras, 2 Angelfish, 2 clown loaches,
1 Tail-Light Tetra,
2 Otocinclus, 1 Glass cat fish

15 Gallon -1 Fancy Guppies - 15 Guppy Fry
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Old 01-14-2004, 03:06 PM   #16
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Hey Blatchy you've got the right idea on the python. Don't know how large your tank is, but the larger it is, the more valuable the python becomes. For example, I change approx 30 gal of water in my 125 gal in about 10 minutes. Imagine doing that using a siphon and buckets 8O
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Old 01-14-2004, 04:28 PM   #17
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Quote:
the LFS told me that I should expect a few dead fish when just starting out.
That is just sad! If you learn a little about it and pay attention to what you are doing, fish deaths should never be expected. I guess if you expect fish deaths, kill fish, then you will return and buy more.... this has a lot to do with the reason there are so many used fish tanks for sale :|
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Old 01-14-2004, 05:50 PM   #18
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I'll add to what TankGirl said - when I started out, I listened exclusively to my LFS and lost a TON of fish during the cycle... then I found this place, and I've lost one fish since. He was an Oscar, over a year old, and died of an unforseeable parasite. Good advice on this board!
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