John's DIY siphon system


I've been working on getting my fish room to a state where my kids and/or wife can run it if necessary. One thing they have a very hard time with is hauling buckets. I have always drained my tanks with a siphon and bucket, using the bucket to water my front yard flower bed and hedge, so now it's time to smooth that out.

First I went and found a hose long enough to get to the front flower beds from the tank. This is a 35' long thin wall 1/2" internal diameter clear vinyl hose. To straighten it I sank it into a boiling stock pot, then with some help, we stretched it out around the living room while it cooled.


Next, I gathered some parts. I decided to use the primer ball and valve from an old siphon I had cracked the bell on. It was a larger model and also uses 1/2" internal diameter hoses. One versions "head" is fry safe using stainless mesh strainers available on Amazon. The other is just drilled out like rain bars, we will go over those parts: I used 1/2" CTS CPVC and fittings for the build. For the 18" deep tanks, I used a 7.5" section and and the 12" deep tanks got a 5.5" section. Two 90 degree elbows, one "T", two caps, one 1" long section, and three 4.5" long sections.



To make drilling the spray bar easier, I marked 3 spots on the ends, layed then together and drug a pencil down the seam.


Once marked, I use 1/2" electrical tape to mark the ends where I shouldn't drill, and to give the vice a little bite. I chose to go with 3 rows of 1/8" holes per leg.


You only need to glue the "horse shoe" section, leave the "t" section unglued for easy removal/cleaning/storage.


Heat and slide the 1/2" ID hoses right onto the 1/2" CPVC. This is why I build with it so much even though it's a couple cents more expensive than plain pvc.

I have had good luck sliding the valve and pump in and out of this hose for years to clean them weekly so I put a 6" section on the horse shoe using heat, and will slip the valve on and off as required. The pump will connect to my new long clear hose and run out the door.

This is how they fit in normal rimmed tanks:
29 gallon with fry safe head:


20 long with rain bar style:


Rim detail:


Edit: I didn't mention, I attached one suction cup to each "t" to keep the head aligned correctly.


Ambitious lad!!
  • Thread Starter


Today I actually used the system as intended. It was more than effective enough. The fry safe strainers were plenty fast, so I will likely use them, but I also tested the spray bar style and it was good as well. I wouldn't make any changes to the drain system other than modifications to the house to better accommodate it. That isn't an option so mission complete.




The refill system is new as well and it is what I have the most feedback on, but mostly due to process errors. Most if not all of the conversation remaining to be had on the systems working together will be on that thread.

John's DIY auto-temp fast/easy fill system | Cleaning and Maintenance Forum | 489926

Thanks for checking out the drain system, if you need help replicating it let me know and I can give you any missed details.


Are your floors hickory ?
  • Thread Starter


jake37 said:
Are your floors hickory ?
Laminate composite, the color is just a little darker than most hickory plank floors I've seen, though the color would be similar to freshly oiled hickory in person. Was the first project I did when we bought the house. Used to be mid-deep white carpet. Ewe.

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