Fry And Gravel Vacuuming

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Brizburk

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Not sure what section to post this under so I put it here -

I'm terrified of vaccuming my substrate because I have random fry. I'm not trying to breed but the fish are...

Suggestions for getting the poo and food debris without sucking up my babies?

I'm short at 5'1", the rim of my tank is 5'.... And it's a tall tank to boot so I end up standing on a barstool and it's very difficult to see the baby fish from above. Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions are greatly welcomed.
 

ThePetPavilion

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Look up the end of your siphon, mine has a little net thingy there to keep fish from getting sucked up.
 

JamieLu

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Do u siphon into a bucket or is it a python? If its a bucket i use a flash light to check for babies...
 

kallililly1973

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Use a piece of 1/8" airline tubing and a turkey baster to congregate all the "muck" into one corner and let it flow into a bucket and if you get an escapee you can let the water settle in the bucket and turkey baste said escapee back into the main tank.
 

Momgoose56

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ThePetPavilion said:
Look up the end of your siphon, mine has a little net thingy there to keep fish from getting sucked up.
I just move slowly, the fry typically get out of the way. If you siphon into a bucket, fry wil be in there if they get sucked up and you can net them back into the tank before dumping it.
 
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Brizburk

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ThePetPavilion said:
Look up the end of your siphon, mine has a little net thingy there to keep fish from getting sucked up.
Mine doesn't. I killed my favorite betta fish that way, I looked away and she swam close and it sucked her up and killed her.

Momgoose56 said:
I just move slowly, the fry typically get out of the way. If you siphon into a bucket, fry wil be in there if they get sucked up and you can net them back into the tank before dumping it.
Yes I use a bucket but the suction will kill the fish. So many people say to just put the fish back in however I killed a fish this way once. IDK how they could survive the suction
 

Annie59

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Just rubber band some pantyhose material over the end of the tube.
 

Momgoose56

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Brizburk said:
Yes I use a bucket but the suction will kill the fish. So many people say to just put the fish back in however I killed a fish this way once. IDK how they could survive the suction
Oh, are you using one of those battery powered siphons or the python with the water faucet suction? You could just use gravity siphoning instead of battery/faucet powered while you have fry. Gravity suction won't kill anything that's healthy- it's not that strong-it's more like a fish in a stream current. I've never lost a fish (including fry that got sucked up) to gravity suction. My guppys that got in the syphon used to act like they were having fun in there swimming against the current. It IS a pain getting them to come out though. I just pinch the tubing to temporarily stop the suction and pull the cylinder part way up out of the tank to try to get them to swim down and out. Otherwise you have to dump them out and restart the suction all over again. Guppys are the worst! They seem to be attracted to all the stuff swirling around in the siphon.
 

CheshireKat

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Momgoose56 said:
Guppys are the worst! They seem to be attracted to all the stuff swirling around in the siphon.
My platies, mollies, and bettas (one in particular) does the same thing. I have fine-ish gravel so I think they think it might be food I'm sucking up.

In the breeder box or the one gallon tub, I use a turkey baster, but whenever I'm using the gravel vac and don't want things to get sucked up and clog it (like leaf particles or Java moss), I just stick some poly fiber in the tube. Probably not very good for fry, so I suggest a hair net or nylon stocking, something of that nature wrapped around the end and held with a rubber band.

I've actually never sucked up a small fry, but I have somehow sucked up an order Molly fry once; I looked in the bucket and saw it swimming around. I'd have thought it was too big to fit in the holes inside the tube, but apparently not.
I've also used a turkey baster to move fry. It's often suggested, so I tried it. Problem is catching them with it. Maybe I need to work on my technique.
I wouldn't necessarily let one fish dying from the suction scare you off too much. Maybe that was weaker fish or something. My biggest fear is accidentally pouring out a fish that had gotten sucked into the bucket. Sometimes I stupidly stare inside the bucket of dirty fish water searching for any movement for a few minutes before finally feeling reassured that none are in there and it's safe to pour out!
 
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Brizburk

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CheshireKat said:
My platies, mollies, and bettas (one in particular) does the same thing. I have fine-ish gravel so I think they think it might be food I'm sucking up.

In the breeder box or the one gallon tub, I use a turkey baster, but whenever I'm using the gravel vac and don't want things to get sucked up and clog it (like leaf particles or Java moss), I just stick some poly fiber in the tube. Probably not very good for fry, so I suggest a hair net or nylon stocking, something of that nature wrapped around the end and held with a rubber band.

I've actually never sucked up a small fry, but I have somehow sucked up an order Molly fry once; I looked in the bucket and saw it swimming around. I'd have thought it was too big to fit in the holes inside the tube, but apparently not.
I've also used a turkey baster to move fry. It's often suggested, so I tried it. Problem is catching them with it. Maybe I need to work on my technique.
I wouldn't necessarily let one fish dying from the suction scare you off too much. Maybe that was weaker fish or something. My biggest fear is accidentally pouring out a fish that had gotten sucked into the bucket. Sometimes I stupidly stare inside the bucket of dirty fish water searching for any movement for a few minutes before finally feeling reassured that none are in there and it's safe to pour out!
Maybe I'm overly scared. I'll post a photo of my siphon when I get home. It's a gravity type. The betta that was killed was about a year or two old, just barley fit in the end of the siphon, hit the narrowing where the siphon tubing attaches with a huge thud, I'm pretty sure I caused major organ damage because she was frantic and tried to surface for air then did a huge nosedive into the substrate and died about two minutes later. It was horrifying to watch and there was nothing I could do. The ramshorn snails are too big to fit through that opening, it's that narrow.

I have a mesh filter to put over the siphon intake but it doesn't allow for the debris in the tank to be sucked up.... Maybe I need a different siphon?

I really need to get this tank clean
 

Momgoose56

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CheshireKat said:
My platies, mollies, and bettas (one in particular) does the same thing. I have fine-ish gravel so I think they think it might be food I'm sucking up.

In the breeder box or the one gallon tub, I use a turkey baster, but whenever I'm using the gravel vac and don't want things to get sucked up and clog it (like leaf particles or Java moss), I just stick some poly fiber in the tube. Probably not very good for fry, so I suggest a hair net or nylon stocking, something of that nature wrapped around the end and held with a rubber band.

I've actually never sucked up a small fry, but I have somehow sucked up an order Molly fry once; I looked in the bucket and saw it swimming around. I'd have thought it was too big to fit in the holes inside the tube, but apparently not.
I've also used a turkey baster to move fry. It's often suggested, so I tried it. Problem is catching them with it. Maybe I need to work on my technique.
I wouldn't necessarily let one fish dying from the suction scare you off too much. Maybe that was weaker fish or something. My biggest fear is accidentally pouring out a fish that had gotten sucked into the bucket. Sometimes I stupidly stare inside the bucket of dirty fish water searching for any movement for a few minutes before finally feeling reassured that none are in there and it's safe to pour out!
Lol! I used to stare at dirty water too. But then I found out that if I just let the water sit in the bucket for 30 minutes all the muck settles!
It IS harder to see when you siphon from the top, that's what I've had to do with all my bigger tanks. The 150 I had to use a step ladder for and had to actually learn over and reach into the water to my armpits to reach the bottom and I'm 5'7"! But really, Brizburk, it's very rare that a full sized, healthy fish is injured or killed by being sucked into a gravity dependent siphon and fry don't suffer any more by 'riding the siphon water slide' into a bucket than they would be riding in down a stream and over a small waterfall into a pond.
 

CheshireKat

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Brizburk said:
The betta that was killed was about a year or two old
Ah, well bettas have all that fine, long finnage that can be damaged and a different breathing system, plus that particular betta could've been more vulnerable. You actually heard it hit the end, though? I can definitely understand how that'd be traumatic for you. Maybe your siphon is too powerful for your fish/setup.

Momgoose56 said:
I used to stare at dirty water too. But then I found out that if I just let the wate
30 minutes?! You mean I should WAIT?? O.O

Momgoose56 said:
The 150 I had to use a step ladder for and had to actually learn over and reach into the water to my armpits to reach the bottom and I'm 5'7"!
My dresser is 2 feet tall. My 25 gallon is 2 feet tall. I'm 5'4". Until a month ago, I've been kneeling on a stool to clean it as I'm too short otherwise. The step ladder is a big help for sure. I still have a hard time seeing what I'm doing at times from the top angle though.
 
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Brizburk

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CheshireKat said:
Ah, well bettas have all that fine, long finnage that can be damaged and a different breathing system, plus that particular betta could've been more vulnerable. You actually heard it hit the end, though? I can definitely understand how that'd be traumatic for you. Maybe your siphon is too powerful for your fish/setup.


30 minutes?! You mean I should WAIT?? O.O


My dresser is 2 feet tall. My 25 gallon is 2 feet tall. I'm 5'4". Until a month ago, I've been kneeling on a stool to clean it as I'm too short otherwise. The step ladder is a big help for sure. I still have a hard time seeing what I'm doing at times from the top angle though.
Eek, yea she was a crowntail, fairly large and quite healthy. I not only herd the 'thunk' I felt it too. It was very traumatic for her and for me. I still get very upset about it.

Ok a few photos to show my siphon. I hope the photos help pull the story together. No fish larger than a week old fry can get through the tiny opening. There's even a further restriction in the blue part (I'm sorry I don't know the names of these parts) narrowing the opening even further. I've even allowed the end of the siphon to suck down on my hand to see how strong it is, it's pretty darn strong suction, holds on quite well. Sucks up anything in it's way.

Do I need something different?
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Momgoose56

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Brizburk said:
Eek, yea she was a crowntail, fairly large and quite healthy. I not only herd the 'thunk' I felt it too. It was very traumatic for her and for me. I still get very upset about it.

Ok a few photos to show my siphon. I hope the photos help pull the story together. No fish larger than a week old fry can get through the tiny opening. There's even a further restriction in the blue part (I'm sorry I don't know the names of these parts) narrowing the opening even further. I've even allowed the end of the siphon to suck down on my hand to see how strong it is, it's pretty darn strong suction, holds on quite well. Sucks up anything in it's way.

Do I need something different?
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There is nothing else that works if you want to remove gunk from your gravel. Use the siphon. You could try just running it through the gravel, not on the surface. But that tends to stir the detritus up more. Honestly, I just always used the siphon and never had a problem with killing anything. I think your betta was an exception to the norm.
 

e_watson09

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I to have sucked up small fish in my gravel vac and they just went into the bucket without an issue. I just scooped them back out and went on my way.

Something I do for tanks with babies is I slow down the flow by kinking the hose with my extra hand. Doing this will really slow it down so you don't have to worry about it sucking them up so quick. Downside is it takes a lot longer so unless I'm working with REALLY small fry I tend to just gravel vac as normal and check the bucket before I dump.

Depending on the age of the fry I may skip cleaning the gravel. Like when I know I have 1 week old fry in there I may not gravel vac right then. I'll still do a water change but only water versus cleaning the gravel. I really only clean the gravel every 2-3 weeks regardless in most of my tanks so I'd just do water only until they're a little bigger for me to see better.
 

ThePetPavilion

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This is my gravel vacuum. It has some type of plastic mesh covering the blue end of the sucker tube.
750683444720.jpg


Did the pic post?
 
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Brizburk

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ThePetPavilion said:
This is my gravel vacuum. It has some type of plastic mesh covering the blue end of the sucker tube.
750683444720.jpg


Did the pic post?
Other than the handy bulb it looks about the same as mine.

I think I'll go for it and clean the substrate. I think everyone is right about it not causing an issue, I'm just overly worried due to the one one unlucky fish.

I'll do it this Sunday when I've got time off and I'll let you all know how it goes.
 
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