I have noticed a lot of questions on here regarding the best/ easiest way to clean sand substrate as some find it difficult. well I have found an easy way to do so without so much as hardly sucking up one grain of sand. I have several tanks with sand substrate and this used to drive me nuts. Trying to keep it nice and tidy looking until one day I decided to try something new. I always use the python for my water changes as it’s much easier then lugging buckets (especially with sand because you want to pour it back in just right so you don’t disturb the sand and lifting heavy buckets especially to big aquariums that are on a high stands is hard enough)!
So here is the best way I have found to both clean my sand substrate as well as do my water change at the same time:
If you are familiar with the python you will know that just above the white valve close off you will have your attached tube. this is where you can attach different sizes of tubes or attach the hook for refilling. If you disconnect your “tube” portion of the python just as you would to attach the hook, you will be left with just the small tube part at the black end. Instead of attaching the large tube for draining water simply put the python in the water like that. This allows for a higher suction (as it doesn’t have to go through the big tube to suck out the water and such). Put on your gloves because you will have to get fairly close to the bottom of the tank (depending on what type of debris you are trying to suck up - closer if it’s heavy and you can go further away from the sand if it’s small light material).
You simply hover the end of the python (remember no large tube attached!) and DO NOT put it too close to the sand. You will be able to test by slightly going closer to the sand to see how far away you can stay. Then simply hover the end of the python over the debris and viola! It’s gone. As you are doing this it is also sucking out your water for your change. Many times you do not have to even go close to a half an inch to and inch away from the sand. Therefore the light waste will be sucked up and the sand won’t even move. In the case of heavier material (I have 3 Axolotls so sometimes if they have freshly went to the bathroom it’s heavier then an average fish waste) you simply just move a little closer to the sand and make a very slight whirling motion with the tube and it will suck it right out without having to move the sand at all. it is a very simple process and by the time your waste has been removed if you still need a larger water change just pull the tube out and attach your big tube back onto the end and finish up. This is also very useful for cleaning in tight spots where the big tube would not normally fit.
***But please be advised***
This is the method I recommend for SAND I would NOT attempt this for example when giving your gravel substrate a deep down clean. That may damage or ruin your python. This is recommended for SAND ONLY. Or if you are trying to clean in a tight spot WITHOUT sticking the python into the gravel at all. Or even coming close to it as it may suck up your smaller pieces.
If any of this is unclear or you would like more information I would gladly help you out. Just send me a message and I can clarify anything that you may be misunderstanding!
Hope this helps all you sand substrate people out as I know it has been a difference of night and day for me!