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Siphoning 101

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After noticing numerous topics which involved people trying to siphon their tanks & getting fish water in their mouths I decided there was a need for a paper to be written. The most important thing is "there is NO need to put your mouth on the hose"!!! There are basically 2 types of siphon hoses which work great for aquariums. 1) A manual type: A plastic hose with a barrel end 2) A Python (or Lee) No Spill System.

Type 1 (Manual)

Can be picked up at any pet store or most department stores. It will be a plastic hose with a barrel end. You will also need a bucket. Purchase a bucket that will ONLY be used for your tank. Mark on it so NO ONE will use it for any other purpose. To get ready to siphon your tank. Clear out whatever ornaments you can. Go ahead & wipe them clean at this point. (Do not use soap) A cheap battery toothbrush is great for that, or a regular toothbrush & elbow grease! Don't clean EVERYTHING in one cleaning. I wipe the ornaments one week, and then the big rocks the next week so as not to disturb the biobugs too much.

Place your bucket right near your tank. Have a towel or two ready for any drips or spills that might occur. Uncover your tank. If you have a lighted top take it off, unplug it & sit aside. Now take your siphon hose in hand, dunk the barrel end down into the water & pull it up.....the water will flow through the hose (which should be hanging into the bucket) plug the end of the hose with your thumb, keep it pointed toward the bucket. Now dunk the barrel end back into the water, as it fills back up ALL of the bubbles will go out. Point the barrel end towards the bottom of the tank & remove your thumb from the hose.....water will pour into the bucket. Being careful to keep the flow going IN TO the bucket, begin poking around in the substrate with the barrel. You will notice the gunk flowing through the hose. Make sure you get through all the gravel especially UNDER all ornaments.....gunk collects under things!! It is usually suggested to remove 20-30% of the water.....I usually remove at least 50%. The bio-bugs are in the filter & on everything. I feel that 50% refreshes the tank much better.

While the water level is down I take a paper towel & wipe the glass too.

Now if your water level goes lower that the intake on the filter turn it off. Now you are ready to refill. Have your "fish tank only" bucket ready. You might place a saucer in the bottom of the tank to keep the water from disturbing the substrate....it's up to you. Fill the bucket, add dechlorinator then pour into your tank. Continue until filled. Turn on the filters & let everything run. You can re-place decorations & smooth out any gravel that may have been disturbed. Some people remove their fish & keep them in a bucket while cleaning. I do not, my goldies seem to enjoy the weekly cleaning like a game!! My opinion is removal is more stressful than just cleaning while they are in there. Just be careful goldies are VERY CURIOUS! You don't want to poke one with the barrel or suck up a little guy!

Type 2) No Spill System.

I use this method & suggest it to anyone with a goldfish tank (especially with several tanks or large tanks!!)

I will use the name Python (there are other brands).

I lay my Python hose out, the barrel end near the tank the attachment end near the sink. (If you get a Python get the longest one you can afford it'll pay off in the end!) I personally like the fifty footer.

Hook the attachment end to your sink. Your may have to unscrew the end of your faucet to be able to screw the attachment into the faucet. (If your faucet won't work with the attachment they sell a piece to make it fit most models of faucets). Now turn on your water (cold), make sure the bottom part of the faucet attachment is pulled DOWN. Go to the barrel end of the Python you will hear the air noise (there is a "switch" on the Python that starts/stops the flow make sure it is in the right direction).

Place the barrel into your tank, fill with water & flip the "switch" into the on position. Water will be pulled into the hose. While is is pulling in the water poke the barrel all through the substrate. Be certain to get under all of the ornament as gunk collects there! You will have plenty of time to clean all of your gravel. Stop when the water is down to the level you want to remove. Now turn off the water. Push the Python attachment on the faucet up and turn to lock into place. Now you are ready to refill your tank. Either have a helper hold the barrel end (or just place a towel or something over the hose at the top of the tank....you just don't want the water pressure to flip the barrel out!! Turn the water on low & switch the Python to refill. As it begins to refill & you have everything in place...turn the water flow up. Be sure to watch the filling. It is easy to get distracted while refilling & before you know it you have water spilling over into the floor!!! You can pour in dechlorinator as you fill.

I never remove my fish while removing OR refilling the water. They really seem to enjoy the whole process. As I stated just watch them carefully, their curiosity can really get them in trouble during this process.

((Please note: I lost a fish once when I first got my Python system. I was removing water & I was finished vacuuming the gravel so I laid the barrel down to allow the flow to keep going out. I was re-sitting the decor & was not watching carefully. A beautiful goldfish got too close & was pulled into the barrel. The power of the suction held her against the end, when I noticed this it was too late.....she was torn open by the force of the water flow. It was a terrible loss & I try to ALWAYS mention this so it doesn't happen to anyone else.))

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