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Gravel Vacs and Substrates


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Hey all

Gravel vacs: I went out and got a http://thereefshop.com.au/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=1927 which is supposedly "an effective tool for removing debris and waste matter from your aquarium substrate", but they missed the bit where it should have said 'some of the time'. I'm fed up with jerking the thing back and forward to try and maintain a good flow (minds out of the gutter please).

I can get a really good flow from a piece of 10mm clear tubing I had laying around. I'm thinking of attaching some of the wife's stocking material to it but, I'm not sure if that will be too fine. What do you guys use?

And while we're on the topic of the floor, I keep hearing a finer substrate is easier to clean. I currently have a standard (I think) pebble-type substrate. They are around 3 or 4mm in length. I can see how little bits of waste or missed food could end up wedged in there. When we got the barracks, it had this micro-granule stuff in it which was extremely difficult to get out and made a mess everywhere, so I've been a little hesitant to go back to something so fine. Thoughts?

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I don't often vac the gravel... I'm slack and a bad fish keeper... but when I find some time I use a cheep turkey baster with the bulb pulled off and the fine end plugged into the same tubing you have.

The broad part stirs up the gravel but allows it to fall back down. It can suck up gravel and get jammed, but it works and is a cheep easy diy

Edited by paul
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I tried sand in my barracks when I first got it, but had to change to gravel once I raised the back partition to allow water to be pulled through and filtered in the sump. Gravel did the trick for me, but I have since moved onto having NO substrate in my betta setups, as it is easier to keep clean. A few plants like Java fern, Java moss, Hornwart that don't need substrate will look good and help with bio filtration. You could also put a plant in a small terracotta pot and sit that in a bare bottomed tank.

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Paul - The only thing I don't like is having to suck on the end to get the flow

going again if I have to break the siphon - yuck! Would prefer something with a

hand pump.

J - I could get away with no substrate in the barracks I'll

build once you send me your plans, ;)/> but the wife and family will not let me

get away with a bare bottom in the lounge...hang on, that didn't come out

right

:embarrass:/>

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I have a oil transfer syringe (500ml or so) that I use after giving up on the siphon jigger. Either using a hose as a nozzle, or using it to start a syphon.

I should have a priming bulb somewhere in the shed, I was going to give that a go before I found the syringe.

Note: these were new bits, washed before use. Don't use a second handy.

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Pez, any chance of a photo? For the life of me I cant imagine what setup you've got.

I can build a few things (dodgy-like), but I was never mechanically inclined

:confused:/>

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If you don't like sucking on the siphon, all you have to do is fill up the big tube with water, block the opposite end of pipe with your finger, then trying not to lose water, flip the big tube upside down. Release your finger slowly so the water slowly fills the smaller tube, then once again block it with your finger when the water has flowed to near the bottom of the smaller tube. Put the big tube back in the tank, fill with water (may need to tip it upside down in the tank) and then let to of your finger and it will flow. Sounds a but complex, but once you get the hang of it, it's really quick.

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This is like what I'm using atm (eBay link) - basically an oversize syringe http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/370826029130

This is what I was going to ghetto build, as the asking price is a bit steep :P you squeeze the bulb on the top to start pumping, then it will syphon until you pull the end out or bleed air (there is a little hole on the top that you block with your thumb)

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Portable-Manual-Car-Siphon-Hose-Gas-Oil-Water-Liquid-Transfer-Hand-Pump-Sucker-/390507526146

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That second expensive monster is exactly what I was originally looking for. I remember my dad having one for siphoning fuel in the shed. Wont that still pull the substrate? Will I still require some sort of mesh or stocking for cover?

Afr3178 - I might need a video for that one ;)

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I haven't vacuumed the gravel in ages. I only ever used to do it when I was using an under gravel filter. The old style gravel vacs just had a large cylinder attached to a tube. The pressure in the larger part is lower so the gravel doesn't get removed but when it's working properly the gravel churns around in there and gets washed while the lighter debris flows out. A stocking would just stop that happening. So all you're doing is siphoning water not cleaning the gravel. In a planted tank you don't really want to disturb the substrate.

There are aquarium specific siphons that have a bulb just like that fuel one and similarly priced. I'll scout around eBay and see if I can spot the kind I'm talking about.

Here you go http://bit.ly/16GU9SJ

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Cant get onto ebay while at work but will check out tonight - thanks razzi!

Credit card given a hiding - went to LFS to buy heaters, etc for wife's Convicts. Need to go to another LFS to get other stuff for my new arrivals next week.

This vac was too good a bargain to pass up.

Thanks again razzi!

Edited by Brenton
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