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How Do You Siphon?


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  • Regular Member

i just tried to do my first water change in my 29 gal tank and it turned into a mess. i tried to use my gravel vac, but i can't get it to do anything. so i just took a one gal pitcher and took out the water so the gravel didn't get cleaned and i almost killed my poor fish my hood fell apart and went in the tank. i hope i didn't stress my fish out too much :crp so how do you siphon? i followed the directions i put the cylinder in the water til it was full and kept moving it up and down, but it doesn't do anything, what am i doing wrong?

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  • Regular Member

I use a python & love it! but I have used the traditional syphon - try filling the tubing with water, put your finger on the ends then put the syphon into the water & release an end - that should help (some people use mouth suction but I can't get behind that idea on multiple levels! Also some people have gone to the hardware store & gotten a bulb suction to start the suction at the end that goes into the bucket.)

Hope this helps! :D Jenn

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I had the same problem! I could not figure out why I alone inthe universe could not do this! Anyway, I finally saw the guy I hired (when I had surgery adn could not do water changes) suck on the end of the siphon. First, I did that, cleaning the end of the hose with Hydorgen peroxide and good rinsing between vacuums - but then I got a canister filter and it came with a hand pump! Like this:

http://www.aquariumguys.com/suctionstarter.html

Or, you can gerry-rig a plastic turkey baster into doing the same job!

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YOu can use a syphon starting bulb that are sold at a local car joint for a few bucks, but that can be a pain, as far as I am concerned. It will really depend on you and your set up. I would not recommend sucking on the end of the tube - there is just too much that goes on in a tank that has a potential of harm to you - from meds to parasites, etc.

IF your syphon tube is a "self starting" syphon, it has a small ball valve in the top of it - where the hose is fastened onto the tube. If you shake the tube you should hear the ball rattleing. IF it the type with this valve, yet the ball is stuck and does not rattle, it will not self start. You can often knock the ball loose by violently shaking the thing. A self startling syphon needs to have the tube lowered deeply enough in the water that the entire tube fills with water. Then, as you pump the tube up and down in the water, water is forced out into the hose. The valve stops the water from coming back into the tube and the syphon action is started.

If your syphon is not a self starting one (my big one is, but the others are not), You can fill it up in your sink first. I drop the hose in the sink and fill the tube. When the water is running fast and without air through the hose, I put my finger over the hose end, so the whole thing is full of water. I carry the syphon over to the tank holding both ends up with my finger over the tube end, usually over the waste bucket so I do not drip.

Lower the large tube into the water, still holding the open end upwards. When you get it in deeply enough, you can tip it over and not get any air into it. When you put the hose end down into your bucket and let go of the end, it will flow nicely. IF you need to empty your waste bucket and are not yet done syphoning, simply put your finger over the end of the hose and put the end into the tank above. I usually close the lid on the hose to make sure it stays. This will keep the hose full of water and primed for you. You can start it again when you come back with an empty waste bucket simply by putting your finger over the end of the hose and lowering it into the waste bucket.

IF you have one of those really short syphon tubes - about 1/2 the depth of your tank's water, you can put the empty tube down into the tank and turn it upside down to fill with water. Bring it up to put the water into the hose, and then scoop again. This scooping and lifting, if done smoothly and non-stop will fill your hose and prime the syphon to get it started.

Good luck. A syphon is not hard to get going - but you just need to get the feel of it! :)

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Thanks you guys for all the help! i'll try what daryl said to do this weekend, if that doesn't work then i'll get the bulb thing, i'm definitely not using my mouth :ill already i'm on antibacterial soap, wipes, ointment overload for my hands :lol: and my siphon does have a rattle, i was wondering what that was last night, thought maybe it was broken. now i know what it is :D

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