Vacuum Woes

Slaphammer

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As part of putting my first aquarium together, I bought the 25-foot Python for water changes and added a 10-foot extension plus I got a bigger 24" vacuum tube since my tank is 20" deep. I had to do a couple water changes with a short siphon and a bucket before the Python arrived, so I am definitely appreciating the added convenience that it brings.

However, it doesn't vacuum up the big stuff! The stuff will go up into the tube a little ways, but then it swirls around and eventually falls back out.

I read up online and saw people recommending a shorter siphon because it generates more suction. So last night I pulled back out my original siphon (the vacuum tube part is no more than 12", probably less, and the regular tube is maybe 4 or 5 feet). It seemed to work better, but there was still a lot of stuff that would only go up a little bit, then swirl and fall back out.

I don't know if it matters, but I have sand substrate rather than gravel. I have to be a little careful not to suck up the sand, so I might have conflicting goals that are working against each other (vacuum the gunk but not the sand).

Are there any tips or tricks to make these siphons suction better? I'd love to only use my Python but not real confident in its suction at this point (it is still worth it just for refilling the tank, though).
 

bgclarke

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I have found the same thing with my 25 foot Python. I also feel it removes the water too quickly.

I do my tank vacuuming with a Python or Fluval siphon and just use the larger Python for filling the tanks.
It's certainly worth it to me for filling the tanks.
 

Mom2some

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Some thoughts/questions in no particular order:
Are the things that are not getting sucked up detritus for sure? Ex. I have a couple bits of shell or bits of wood that are small and each week get sucked up & fall back down.

When dealing with the python (I have a 50 foot one) I have learned that whenever I have a problem, especially if my suction is poor - I need to re-tighten everything... especially the connection at the spigot.

I will tilt the siphon if there is a bigger item (for me ex. a piece of plant) that I think should be picked up, but it isn't.

If you make a swirling motion with your siphon over the sand it tends to help lift debris.

Do you have your cold water on full blast? (I believe this is what powers the Python suction rather than height difference).

You can stick the siphon a little into the sand, some sand will be picked up, but it will fall back out.

Good luck! I love my Python! Sorry it is giving you such trouble...
 
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Slaphammer

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I'm not 100% sure that the bits that won't vacuum are detritus. They are long and skinny like fish poop, but they're white - the few times I've seen them doing their business, it's been dark. So these particles could possibly be coming from my recently installed live plants (one anubias, one java fern, and several moneyworts). It could also be from my initial feeding of brine shrimp, where I think I gave too much because I didn't know what I was doing.

I'll try the other things you mentioned - tightening all the connections, making sure the water flow is maxed out, and swirling the tube.
 

Mom2some

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If these suggestions don't work come back and let's keep brainstorming. The Python is expensive & super useful when it works. It took some fiddling for me to feel like I was getting consistent success.
 

PaulaMPi

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I have a very similar setup, and just bought a 25' and 10' extension. One of the big things I saw in one the top reviews was to change out the washers - the included ones were subpar.

I'm still cycling mine, so haven't had a chance to test it out, but just wanted to mention the washers in case that helps any slight bit with tightening/suction. (Especially in case I have to do the same thing soon )
 
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Slaphammer

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I haven't tried the python again since starting this thread (will be doing that in the next day or two), but I did buy a turkey baster since I see it as a commonly recommended method to remove detritus without actually doing a water change. I must be doing something wrong with it, though - it picks up the gunk just fine, but then I run out of suction and it falls back out.
 
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Slaphammer

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Just to follow up on this, the python seems to be picking stuff up a lot better now. I think there were two factors:

1) I may not have had the cold water turned on full blast during my early attempts.

2) I think the hose was becoming partically crimped at the top, just after it exits the tank where it turns to go back down to the floor and away to the sink. So now I always use my off hand to hold the hose up so it has a smooth curve instead of a sharp angle which partially cuts it off.
 

PaulaMPi

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I actually used mine on my 10g for the first time today, and realized how quickly it removes it from a little tank! I have to adjust my flow down. Glad to hear your update - I was actually thinking about this post while I was doing the water change.
 
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