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Old 02-26-2006, 12:50 AM   #1
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How to use a Gravel Vaccum?

I just got a large Top Fin Gravel Vacumm and I am having problems getting enough pressure for the water to go through the hose. It has a "self-starting siphorn" and I tried blowing in the hose, but I am not getting enough pressure to pump out the water. Am I doing something wrong?

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Old 02-26-2006, 01:45 AM   #2
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Don't blow in the hose, rather, suck hard until the water begins to come out. Have your bucket handy and time it just right so you don't end up with a mouth full of tank water. Or you can submerse the entire hose in the tank (filling it with water), put your thumb over the end of the hose, aim it over your bucket and release your thumb.....this will start your flow as well. Good luck.
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Old 02-26-2006, 10:26 AM   #3
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I have one. You dip the end of it in the water (the vacuum end), don't take it out of the water when you do this. Keep it submerged. Go up and down under the water until the suction starts. It takes about six or more good plunges in sequence. You know, sort of plunge it up and down pretty hard until the water comes out. The other end of mine is always on the floor in the bucket. You're not alone. I got frustrated when I got mine.

Keep trying, it will work. Don't put it in your mouth. Yuck.
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Old 02-26-2006, 08:41 PM   #4
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lol the only way to describe how to do it is kinda dirty so i will sum it up. a few quick pumps up and down will ge the water flowing. try to get the hose as far down from the actual vac part becasue the water will flow out easier. if the bucket is level with the tank it will be much harder to start. u really only need to get the water over that initial bump of the tank lip and it will flow. i just bought 25 feet of clear tubing so i can run it directly to my tub and the only way to start it is to suck on the end. but i have 25 feet to remove my wouth before the water gets to me so i have never had a problem. i only remove a 5 gallon water jug of water when i do a ravel vac. also the bigger the vac the harder it is to start.
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Old 02-27-2006, 06:04 PM   #5
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Maybe i do it different than everybody else, and i don't mean to cause any confussion, but the pumping it up and down thing seems like a pain in the *!%$

Just put the vacuum end in the tank with the hose in a bucket. hold the vacuum end under water with the opening facing upwards until the chamber fills with water. Lift it up once to get the water running down the hose and then dunk the end back under water before the chamber goes empty. Keep it vertical and the air that got in the chamber as you lifted it out of the tank escapes to the top. Then just turn the vacuum to face the gravel and off you go.

Oh and P.S. keep an eye on your bucket, or you will be mopping up the water mess
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Old 03-04-2006, 04:19 AM   #6
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i find it easier if you suck the end of the hose untill it is afew inces from the end then quickly drop it in a bucket. make sure the end is the lowest point.
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Old 03-04-2006, 05:34 PM   #7
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I put the whole thing in the tank and let it fill completely and put my thumb over the end like Andos99 suggested. Much less mess and if I'm doing a large water change (20 Gal) then I can just leave the whole vacuum in the tank while I empty the 5 gal bucket and the vacuum is ready when I get back.

Also keeps me from having to put my mouth on it.

"I never drink water because of the disgusting things that fish do in it." --W.C. Fields
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Old 04-06-2006, 07:30 AM   #8
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gravel rocks......

Quote:
Originally Posted by donttaptheglass
I put the whole thing in the tank and let it fill completely and put my thumb over the end like Andos99 suggested. Much less mess and if I'm doing a large water change (20 Gal) then I can just leave the whole vacuum in the tank while I empty the 5 gal bucket and the vacuum is ready when I get back.

Also keeps me from having to put my mouth on it.

"I never drink water because of the disgusting things that fish do in it." --W.C. Fields
im told to only take out about 25 % to 50 % of the tank water .... well my question is ..... b4 im finished cleaning the rocks 50 of the water is already gone and im not finished cleanin the rocks .. what the heck shud i do ????? stop or continue cleaning the rocks ?????/

shud i remove the fish and plants/ornaments b4 cleanin rocks ????
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Old 04-06-2006, 01:34 PM   #9
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b4 im finished cleaning the rocks 50 of the water is already gone and im not finished cleanin the rocks .. what the heck shud i do ?????
LOL -- I've wondered about this too. All I know is you probably don't want to change more than 50% of the water so that the fish don't have a complete shock to the new water. You might try stiring up the rocks before you start siphoning, to get the crud in the open water, and then at least half of the crud will be sucked down in your 50% water change. But I would also appreciate tips from the experts.
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Old 04-06-2006, 03:02 PM   #10
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Well, for me 20 gal is only about 45% of my water, but as europas_ice says, I do stir up the gravel quite a bit and a lot of stuff does float around the tank, some of which gets sucked up in the filter as I clean and some in the gravel vac (I have a canister filter that I keep running while I'm doing it). Once I've taken out all the water I'm going to, then I just stir up the gravel, let the filter take the rest of it until it all settles . . . stir it up some more, let it settle, stir it up, let it settle . . . just repeat until I'm happier with it, then fill my tank back up.

When I'm all done, I give the filter a rinse out and I'm back in business.
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Old 04-06-2006, 04:15 PM   #11
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shud i remove the fish and plants/ornaments b4 cleanin rocks ????
I think no. You might have to re"plant" some of the fake plants if you're stirring up the gravel. But other than that I think you can leave everything in.
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Old 04-08-2006, 10:38 AM   #12
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cleanin rockz.......

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Originally Posted by donttaptheglass
Well, for me 20 gal is only about 45% of my water, but as europas_ice says, I do stir up the gravel quite a bit and a lot of stuff does float around the tank, some of which gets sucked up in the filter as I clean and some in the gravel vac (I have a canister filter that I keep running while I'm doing it). Once I've taken out all the water I'm going to, then I just stir up the gravel, let the filter take the rest of it until it all settles . . . stir it up some more, let it settle, stir it up, let it settle . . . just repeat until I'm happier with it, then fill my tank back up.

When I'm all done, I give the filter a rinse out and I'm back in business.
thanxs for the tip on stirring up the rocks ... i didnt think about that .. but then again im just a noob (newbie)

ya but my girlfreind (a major animal rights activist) she wants to remove EVERYTHING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! shes esp worried the gravel vac might suck up the baby fish ( i have a bout 6 baby marble mollys ) we just gonna let " nature take its course " instead of seperating them .....
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Old 04-08-2006, 03:03 PM   #13
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All this work to get a syphon going, and using your mouth! That just turned my stomach. 8O

OK, what I use is a syphon bell. You put it on the end of the tube (opposite side as the gravel vac) and it starts the syphon as you pump on the plastic valve (kind of like a turkey baster). I purchased mine from Big Al's but I'm sure they sell them all over the place (probably Home Depot sells them too in a plumbing section or so). I'll see if I can find the one on Big Al's and post a link.

No mess, no fish poop in your mouth , and its cheap.

As for the gravel vac syphoning too much water too quickly, you might need a smaller one. I had originally bought the large vac (probably 2.5" in diameter) and it sucked out water so quickly I could never get it around the tank to get all the gunk.

I disconnected the gravel vac and now use just the tubing as the vac. What this does is create a much stronger suction so that you can quickly move around the tank and nothing sits at the bottom.

If it is still flowing too fast, raise the tubing off the ground that is going into the bucket. The syphon effect is directly related to the height difference between your tank and the bucket your filling. So if you have the bucket on the floor and the tank on a tank stand (like I do), it will go REALLY fast. Put a box or something under the bucket (or just CAREFULLY aim into the bucket while holding the tube higher). This should give you enough time to easily get a good gravel vac without sucking out more than 50% of the water.

justin

EDIT: Here I found it:

http://www.bigalsonline.com/catalog/...d1=3347;pcid2=
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Old 04-09-2006, 10:48 AM   #14
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Re: gravel rocks......

Quote:
Originally Posted by ikon

im told to only take out about 25 % to 50 % of the tank water .... well my question is ..... b4 im finished cleaning the rocks 50 of the water is already gone and im not finished cleanin the rocks .. what the heck shud i do ????? stop or continue cleaning the rocks ?????/

shud i remove the fish and plants/ornaments b4 cleanin rocks ????
I just vac half the tank at a time. Then next time vac the other side.
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Old 04-09-2006, 11:16 AM   #15
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Are you adding anything special to the water going back into the tank? (i.e. fertilizers, hardness, etc) If not, I'd just add some dechlor to a new batch of water, put that in, then vacuum the rest of the gravel.
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Old 04-10-2006, 07:54 AM   #16
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big al's...

Quote:
Originally Posted by 7Enigma
All this work to get a syphon going, and using your mouth! That just turned my stomach. 8O

OK, what I use is a syphon bell. You put it on the end of the tube (opposite side as the gravel vac) and it starts the syphon as you pump on the plastic valve (kind of like a turkey baster). I purchased mine from Big Al's but I'm sure they sell them all over the place (probably Home Depot sells them too in a plumbing section or so). I'll see if I can find the one on Big Al's and post a link.

No mess, no fish poop in your mouth , and its cheap.

As for the gravel vac syphoning too much water too quickly, you might need a smaller one. I had originally bought the large vac (probably 2.5" in diameter) and it sucked out water so quickly I could never get it around the tank to get all the gunk.

I disconnected the gravel vac and now use just the tubing as the vac. What this does is create a much stronger suction so that you can quickly move around the tank and nothing sits at the bottom.

If it is still flowing too fast, raise the tubing off the ground that is going into the bucket. The syphon effect is directly related to the height difference between your tank and the bucket your filling. So if you have the bucket on the floor and the tank on a tank stand (like I do), it will go REALLY fast. Put a box or something under the bucket (or just CAREFULLY aim into the bucket while holding the tube higher). This should give you enough time to easily get a good gravel vac without sucking out more than 50% of the water.

justin

EDIT: Here I found it:

http://www.bigalsonline.com/catalog/...d1=3347;pcid2=
ah thats a good idea and its cheap .. ill have to order that on payday !

the gravel vac i have is a small one.. i dunno wut the size is but i can tell ya its pretty small .. i got it free with i got my 30 gal tank (which i got for free also.. )

ya i get tired of tasting the fish water... i have my tank sitting on my dresser only place i have room for it ... a window is next to it (i have curtains so the sun doesnt make the water hot or anting.. so i juss put the tube out the window.. )
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Old 04-10-2006, 07:57 AM   #17
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adding stuff after cleaning......

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Originally Posted by 7Enigma
Are you adding anything special to the water going back into the tank? (i.e. fertilizers, hardness, etc) If not, I'd just add some dechlor to a new batch of water, put that in, then vacuum the rest of the gravel.
only thing i add is the dechlor ...

i add flourish liquird plant food twice a week..

i also add freshwater salt to it ... but i just started that yesterday (which i didnt know i was suppose to ) do yall know much about the fw salt ?? if so how often do i add the stuff ?????

so of the fish i have requires fw salt...
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