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how do these gravel cleaners work?

Discussion in 'FreshWater Beginner Information/Questions' started by drummerboyevil, Apr 30, 2004.

  1. drummerboyevil

    drummerboyevil Medium Fish

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  2. Vancouver

    Vancouver Small Fish

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    Essentially the gravel cleaner picks up the gravel about 1/2 way up the tube and then removes the gunk along with some water. The one that I have you get it started by moving the tube up and down to create suction and then the syphon starts and removes the water and debris. Others you have to pre-start like you would if you were syphoning gas out of a tank. Both work well as far as I can tell. The one thing to remember is to keep moving the tube around as the gravel can get all the way to the top of the tube very quickly.

    I almost found out the hard way that a gravel vac is an essential part of any fish keepers inventory as your gravel will hold the majority of the waste in your tank - especially if you have fish that produce lots of waste or you tend to overfeed your fish.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers
    Mike
     
  3. drummerboyevil

    drummerboyevil Medium Fish

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    So how would you go about starting the one I gave a link to?
     
  4. Cichlid-Man

    Cichlid-Man MFT Staff

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    Ok first feed the big end into the tank and keep feeding the tube until it is all filled with water. Stick the small end under the water and put your finger over it. Take that end out of the tank and hold it into/over a bucket and use the other hand to guide the big side (the vac). Move your finger from the end and water starts coming out and you move the vac down in the gravel and around and such to pick up the waste. Once you get a bucket full, and watch the water levels in the bucket and tank ;), just put your finger back onto the end of the tube and stick that end where it is under the water again, (Make sure you put it where it can't slip out!)
     
  5. Lotus

    Lotus Ultimate Fish
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    I would say the mini would be better for a 5g, by the way.

    There are usually instructions on the back of the pack, but C-Man just gave you the info :)
     
  6. Sprite42

    Sprite42 Medium Fish

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    A turkey baster works really well to get the suction going on a gravel vacuum.
     
  7. Vancouver

    Vancouver Small Fish

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    I know that the one that I have has an auto starter. Don't ask me how it works as I can't explain it but all that I do is make sure that the tube runs into the bucket, put the large end into the tank and then start moving it up and down very rapidly. It will start to suck the water out all on it's own. It is really rather cool. I can't tell which type you have by looking at the picture so it will either work the way that Chichlid-Man says or the way that I described.
     
  8. JWright

    JWright Superstar Fish

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    Wow...all these complicated ways of starting a siphon...

    Ever siphoned gas from a tank before? Same concept. Put the big end in the tank and give a quick uck on the other end. As soon as the water goes up the tube, and comes over the lip of the tank, gravity will take it from there.

    I tried doing the "complete submerge" method before and I just ended up with bunch of wet, dripping tubing to deal with. The quick suck method is much drier...
     
  9. TurbineSurgeon

    TurbineSurgeon Superstar Fish

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    I usually use the "JWright Quick-Suck Method" as well. Aquarium water tastes about like lake water, but saltwater is really nasty.... it tastes like sea water (go figure ;) )

    Some folks tend to worry about pathogens in their aquaria, but I have never had a problem from that. <EDIT> If the tank has disease or medication, I would prefer the "Submerge-the-whole-thing-and-stick-your-thumb-over-the-end Method."
     
    #9 TurbineSurgeon, Apr 30, 2004
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2004
  10. Lotus

    Lotus Ultimate Fish
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    I really don't want to get that intimite with my fish. Actually, having spat out a fair amount of gas from a motorcycle tank, I think I have a phobia.

    I have never had any problem with siphoning. I don't even put the whole thing under water, just the end tube and a couple of inches of tube. Of course, you have to make sure the end of the tube where the water is coming out is lower than the vacuum part (somehow it seems they don't teach the principles of a siphon in school these days), whichever method you use. :)
     
  11. TaffyFish

    TaffyFish Superstar Fish

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    Maybe I'm one of those fortunate ones who's never had to syphon fuel out of a tank (of a car or motorcycle), I always buy my own from the gas station. ;-)

    With the quick suck/uck method there's no need to get water in your mouth, as soon as you get the air moving the water will follow. Also remember the greater the vertical distance between the water level of the tank and the outlet of the syphon tube, the greater the flow.

    Lotus - don't get me started on the declining standards of education.....
     
  12. littlecobra1977

    littlecobra1977 Large Fish

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    i have an even simpler way of doing it . you dont get the whole thing wet and you dont drink any water. stick the big end in as if its a cup and fill the tube ( vac end ) now hold on to the small end with thumb over hole. lift vac end out of tank. at this point youll notice the water starts running in tothe tubing. slightly release your thumb to let air escape. the water will start to come up to your thumb. make sure the small end is higher than the tube other wise youll have water all ove the floor . procede to do this till the whole vac is full of water. stick the vac end back in the tank, keep your finger on the small end and lower to the bucket. remove your thumb and now you have flowing water. im not saying my way is easier just less messy
     
  13. colesea

    colesea Superstar Fish

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    Another method (to add to this collection of various ways) is to fill the siphon tube with water first before you submerge it.

    Go to your tap, fill the tube and vaccuum part, put your thumbs (or other digits) over the ends, submerge the vaccuum part in the tank, release, place the other end in a bucket, then release. It should start the siphon going, but you may need a few tries before you manage the dexterity.

    Personally, as long as you're not immunocompromised in any fashion, tank water isn't poison. I've always maintained that if you can't drink the water in your tank then you're not taking care of your fish properly.

    But the quick suck method doesn't require that you get a mouthful of water. All you have to do is create enough force to get the water flowing over the lip of the tank, then you put your thumb over the hose and lower it the rest of the way into the bucket. *shurg*
    ~~Colesea
     
  14. Leopardess

    Leopardess Superstar Fish

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    Yah. Mine are just those self-starting kind where you stick a few inches into the tank and move it up and down for a few seconds. Starts right up.
     
  15. drummerboyevil

    drummerboyevil Medium Fish

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    Wow... I've never seen so much discussion on syphoning :)

    I just figured there was a vacuum or pump that I had to buy but cool. I know how to syphon, I have to start one all the time for the reconstitution tank we use to fill liquid drugs at the pharmacy i work at.

    [mod edit: fixed a spelling mistake that made the last sentence a little hard to understand...]
     
  16. Violetsky

    Violetsky Small Fish

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    :eek: Not to mention the syphon smells like rotten egg if not washed out right. My recent experince was not pleasant. I was trying to find a way to not use my mouth again. Thanks for the help.:D
     
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