I need help with my gravel vacuum

  1. tenspeedsf Initiate Member

    I'm a total newbie and I'm having problems with my gravel vacuum. I bought a Marina Easy Clean self-starting vacuum (medium size, 16" tube) and tried to use it on my 6 gallon aquarium. I got the siphon mechanism to work, but it sucked up water only. I kept moving the cleaning tube up and down quickly trying to pick up the gravel (as illustrated in on the package) but the gravel didn't move up the tube very far (only about 2 inches) and it ended up just making a mess of my aquarium. All the fish and food waste spread into the water instead of into my bucket. Am I supposed to continue with the same rapid up-and-down movement once I get the thing started (the instructions weren't clear)? It really messed up my plants, spread waste around and was hard on my arm muscles. How frustrating! What did I do wrong? Is my vacuum too big? Please help!
     
  2. NextstepAquatics Initiate Member

    you don't quote lift it up and down but lift it just enough to move it over SLOWLY to the next area to be cleaned keep the bucket as low as possible the lower the ejection tube the greater the water flow.
     

  3. tenspeedsf Initiate Member

    Nextstep,

    Thanks for your reply. I tried moving the tube over slowly over the gravel, as you suggested, after I got the siphon going but it did nothing. My aquarium sits on my dresser-- about four feet off the ground. I put the bucket on the floor. Do you have tips on how to get the bucket lower?

    Thanks.
     
  4. AggieYen Member Member

    That should be fine, four feet elevation is more than enough for the siphon to work. What you do with the vac is you stick the end of the tube INTO the gravel - it will not suck the gravel up, but you should see food and specks of dirt go up the siphon. Just let it siphon until you see the water siphoned run clear. Then move on to the next area.
     

  5. tenspeedsf Initiate Member

    Thanks for the tip. However, if I just stick the tube into the gravel (after getting it started, of course) nothing happens. No water gets sucked up, no gravel, nothing. The instructions on the package are really vague. That's why I kept up with the quick up and down movement, because that's the only way to get anything sucked up. It just made a mess of the aquarium though-- threw waste and food everywhere and made the water cloudy.

    Perhaps I should just swallow my pride and ask the guy at the local aquarium shop for help.
     
  6. lilsoccakid Well Known Member Member

    well u have to start the siphon first. the easiest way is just to suck on the other end of the tube until water starts flowing through it, and it should keep going by itself
     
  7. AggieYen Member Member

    Yeah, basically you use the quick up/down motion to start the siphon, then once you have a steady stream of water going into your bucket, then you stick it into the gravel, and the siphon will suck up the gunk and stuff from your gravel. Don't worry, it took me a few tries to start up my first vacuum, and my arms hurt from trying! I had to stop, take a break, and come back the next day and try again.
     

  8. susitna-flower Well Known Member Member

    My vacuum is the type you attach to the sink faucet, place the end in your tank, start the water flowing at the sink, and it sucks water from your tank through the tube. Once the syphon has started, I stick the vacuum end in the gravel, and slowly move it along. It sucks up waste and water, and as stated when the waste clears up in one spot I slowly move it , pushing gravel, until it is once again sucking up a lot of waste. Be sure to move decorations and vacuum under them.

    Only do 1/2 of your tank gravel per week. Move slowly to not scare your fish, and try not mess to the water. Once you get the hang of it, you will feel much more confident. :;snail
     
  9. SereneReyn Member Member

    i know it says 'self-starting'... but if you're having trouble with that part, hold your thumb over the end that goes in the bucket and 'scoop' water into the tube and let it go all the way to your thumb... keep doing this until the whole tube is full, and then release your thumb. that should get it started.
     
  10. shooter_tx Initiate Member

    I haven't checked it out yet because my connection at home isn't fast enough to handle it well, but there's a sticky at the top of this forum for "how to get my siphon to work" and it comes complete with video:

    link

    Hope that helps. :)