Aquarium debris, such as fish waste and uneaten food, will settle to the bottom of your tank. Unless this debris is removed, it will dissolve and pollute the water, compromising the health of your fish. A filter will remove smaller particulate, but the larger pieces must be removed another way. There are aquarium vacuums available for purchase at most pet stores, but you can make your own with some flexible plastic hose, a straight plastic tube and a bucket.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- 2-inch diameter flexible plastic tubing
- 2-inch diameter straight plastic tube
Attach the straight plastic tube to one end of the flexible plastic hose. This is the water intake tube, and will be submerged in your fish tank and used to sift through the gravel for debris.
Position the bucket beneath your tank. Cover the output end of the hose with your thumb and hold it above the bucket.
Place the straight intake tube in the aquarium, tilted upward so that it becomes filled with water and all of the air escapes. Lift it out of and above the tank and hold it upward to keep the water inside.
Lower the output end of the hose into the bucket and remove your thumb to allow water to escape. As the water level lowers in the intake tube above, resubmerge it into the tank so that it stays full. Siphon is created by the movement of the water through the hose.
Once the water flow is established, move the open end of the intake tube along the aquarium gravel to siphon out debris. To stop the siphon, pinch the hose or remove the intake tube from the aquarium.
Tips and warnings
- If you use a longer intake tube, your arm won't have to go as far into the water, causing less disruption and stress for the fish.
- Pay close attention to the siphon intake tube. If it comes into contact with a fish, injury to the fish may result.
- Clean your materials with water only. Soap of any kind can contaminate the aquarium water and harm the fish.
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