Vacuum Gravel in a planted tank

  • #1
Let me start off by saying that I can not use a sink feed gravel vacuum as my aquarium is too far away from a usable sink.
So to date I have been vacuuming gravel 5 gals of water at a time, fill into a bucket then dump bucket. Great except that in a 20 gal tank two buckets and I am doing 50% water changes. Not very practical.
I have spent the better part of 6 hours looking at different solutions, it seems that the two auto gravel vac's Eheim and Cobalt Aquatics get mixed reviews and I am just not sure that either would work for me. I think the Cobalt unit is a better choice, if I go that way.
Alternatively, I have thought about DYI project. Take a HOB filter and hook a hose up to the input and let the filter media strain out the gunk.
My question is will the HOB filter provide enough suction on a hose to work effectively...
has anyone tried this and what did you learn from it???
Dose anyone have a different idea, I really don't want to drop 100 USD on the Cobalt Aquatics but if it the best choice then so be it.

Asking for thoughts and comments.


  • #2
How far is the tank from a sink? You can buy a python and then go to a hardware store and buy vinyl tube to the length you need. You can buy a python with a 100' hose I think but they really hike up the price. It's cheaper to buy the longer hose at a home improvement store.

To be honest, since it is only a 20 gallon, I would keep doing it with buckets.

  • #3
I honestly don't think a HOB filter will provide enough suction, you might be better off with a sump, idk never used one.

As for what BDpups said, if your sink isn't too far away from your tank buy a python. then go to the hardware store and get the rest of the hose you need, with a hose connector and hose clamps.

  • #4
Pythons have barb fittings. No need for hose clamps.
And the hose connector is included with them.

  • #5
How far is it from an exterior door? I bought twenty feet of hose and a hose clamp at the hardware store (less than $10) and run the hose out the door and into the grass.
  • #6
Remember a regular siphon won't work if the aquarium is lower than the sink no matter how long the hose.


  • Thread Starter
  • #7
All, Thanks for the input. I think Karen's point is the python killer. The sink is about the same height or higher then the aquarium. I really was hoping to find away to not replace the water after every cleaning. I guess I could filter the bucket of dirty water then replace it in the tank.
Thanks again for your input.
  • #8
If you have a python, then it does not matter if the tank sits lower than the sink. You will have to run the water in the sink to get the water moving, and keep it running till you have removed the amount of water you need to.
  • #9
water change isn't just about vacuuming substrate. purpose of water change is to get rid of some of the water and introduce fresh water to tank to replace minerals that have been used up over time also. I would not try filtering out the debris and reusing the water. Get rid of old water plus the gunk in rock and throw it away. Then introduce new water.
As for you being far away from a sink the outside door idea works great along with if you have a window in room with tank. You can get a python and buy a bulb primer run hose out window and allow fishy waste to go out threw the window. I use a python where sink is same hieght as aquarium and have no problems with it creating a vacuum. Even after vacuum is started I can turn off water and it will still vacuum just at a slower rate. My python even has to pull a little further cause I use a 24 inch suction tube since I have tall tanks 22 inch and 25 inch tall tanks. Helps keep hands out of aquarium for vacuum jobs except when I need to move stuff around. Kind of sucks with 25in, water all way up to armpit when moving stuff on bottom

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