Is a syphon hose the same as a vacuum? will it get food from the bottom when I change water partially?
Yes, depending on the type, some have a hose without any attachment, mine has a "guard" on the end of the hose, it makes vacuuming up easier because it doesn't suck up the gravel.
Just run the end under and through the gravel slowly, and it picks up uneaten food and poo, and away with the water.
1/2 a tank each water change is usually fine, it gives your fish a side they can hide as you are doing it.
ok thanks I bought one with a guard
Yea, I use one for my 10 gallon and 5 gallon tanks... I have a python for my larger tanks, but it still works great for getting gunk out of the bottom... I use the python on the larger ones to keep from walking back and forth w/ buckets...