Instructables

How To Do Complete Routine Aquarium Maintenance

Step 2: Siphon Out That Old Water!

This is the fun part!  For this step i would get the bucket and the siphon tube...and some towels if you don't have good aim!  (if your a guy you can easily test this out...hee...hee)  Its sorta hard to get the siphon started.  What i do is get the end of the tube (small end!)  and put it right above the bucket. (that you have right in front of the tank) Then put the big end so that the whole "big end plastic part" is submerged.  Then (wait for it) suck on the small end until it starts the siphon.  WATCH THE TUBE SO THAT YOU CAN TAKE THE TUBE OUT OF YOUR MOUTH AND PUT IT INTO THE BUCKET BEFORE YOU GET A MOUTH FULL OF FISH WATER!!!!  This method is the easiest, quickest, and probably most reliable out of the "Shake method" or the "Blow Method" 

Once you have a constant flow of water going from the tank into the bucket you're going to want to shove the Big end into the gravel, or to use the proper lingo, the "substrate."   then pull it out and let all the gravel fall out of the tube.  Then move to a different section.  Keep moving around until you have either sucked on all of the gravel or sucked out 30% of the water.  In the picture i have sucked out around that 30%.  DO NOT GO OVER THIS AMOUNT!  if you do you will risk stressing out your fish.  if you're doing it right you will see dirty nasty water going up the tube and into the bucket! (duhh)

 
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harry882 years ago
Is it a hazard to the fish to be putting a vacume next to them wont they get sucked up by the hose
Tarnum2 years ago
The aquarium wastewater is а good natural fertilizer. Use it to water the plants or the garden.
Phoenix174 years ago
I have a question to a fish expert:
what if you pour that water back through the filter? or a filter? some mechanical filter to get the poop out. Will the fish not be as stressed because the water's the same?

I currently have a 2.5 gal tank with a mini filter and when i use the gravel vac I only have about 1 minute before I've pulled a ton of water out. Not enough time! So what I do is just pour it over the filter, in hopes that the bacteria and "already fishy water" goes back in and i just get the crap out.

I'm working on a design that will be a mechanical gravel vac to do just this thing for small aquariums like mine. So far I haven't found a good DIY for what I'm looking for. Can anyone tell me if my method is relatively safe and unstressful for the fish? (1 betta and 1 oto)
Running the water through a mechanical filter will indeed remove the fish feces, but it won't do a thing about removing urea. You need to physically remove the dirty water and replace it with clean water. As a professor I once studied under so bluntly put it "cleaning an aquarium is like flushing a toilet." ;)

And to the author of this 'ible, very well written! You got it just right. I'd recommend this to anyone learning how to care for their aquarium ;D