In aquariums, the ground at the bottom is usually the most polluted place. Excreta of the inhabitants of the aquarium and not eaten food accumulate in the ground.
These wastes must be periodically removed. Aquarium soil cleaning is performed using a special device – a siphon.
Siphon for aquarium – This is a special device for cleaning aquarium soil by sucking dirt, silt and fish excrement.
Siphons are of two types: electric (work at the expense of batteries) and mechanical. Models of siphons for an aquarium slightly differ from each other.
Siphons consist of a hose and a glass. The method of using them is the same. The siphon plunges vertically to the bottom of the aquarium, dirt, sludge, food remains and excrement gradually begin to be sucked into the glass by gravity with water, then go through the hose and drain into the water tank.
After the water flowing into the glass becomes light (clean), the siphon is moved to the next contaminated area of soil.
Standard model mechanical siphon for aquarium consists of a plastic transparent cylinder (cup) or a funnel with a diameter of at least five centimeters and a hose. If the glass is too narrow, and the height of the aquarium is small, then the siphon will suck in not only the dirt, but also the stones, which, spiraling, will fall into the hose. The siphon must be transparent in order to observe the cleaning process in time to move the glass to the next section of the aquarium bottom.
You can buy an industrial siphon at any store for aquarists, as any self-respecting aquarium company will certainly produce them.
Manufacturers of siphons for aquarium produce several models in which there is no hose. Cylinder (funnel) in such a siphon is replaced by wipers as a pocket or trap.
There are models that are equipped with an electric motor. The electric model of a siphon works at batteries on the principle of a vacuum cleaner, without draining aquarium water. In this model, the water is sucked into the siphon, the dirt is trapped in the pocket (trap), and the purified water immediately goes back to the aquarium.
Typically, this siphon model is used to clean the soil in aquariums with intensive bottom silting, but with undesirable frequent water changes. For example, when growing certain types of cryptocoryne that need sour old water or when keeping fish that love sour old water and do not require its regular replacement.
Electric siphon for aquarium very convenient to use. The trap-pocket retains dirt, fish excrement, silt, passing water through the walls of nylon.
It does not need to drain dirty water into the tank, as well as deal with its subsequent filtering through a rag or gauze and to maintain the necessary acidity in the aquarium. It is also convenient that the drain hose can not jump out of the bucket, because the electric siphon does not have a hose.
The intensity of the flow of water in such a siphon model is regulated by the impeller-rotor, which is located inside the apparatus. However, the electric siphon has a drawback – it can work in aquariums in which the height of the water column does not exceed 0.5 m, otherwise the water will fall into the compartment with batteries.
When choosing a siphon, aquarists are advised to stop at a model with a tall glass (at least 0.2 m) so that when cleaning the ground the device does not absorb small stones. The principle of operation of a siphon immersed in the ground is similar to the work of a mixer – the pebbles rise and shuffle, but since they cannot rise higher than 15 cm, they again fall to the bottom of the aquarium. You should also pay attention to the edges of the glass, it is desirable that they have a rounded shape, because, firstly, this form makes it easy to immerse the cylinder in the ground, and secondly, does not damage the roots of plants.
The most convenient form of the glass is oval, such a siphon easily sinks into the most inaccessible places of the aquarium bottom (between decoration, snags, large stones and ceramics).
Before buying a hose, measure its required length, and get a transparent hose, the inner diameter of which is 0.8 – 1.2 cm. The siphon hose should have a diameter slightly larger than the diameter of pebbles in the aquarium, or be transparent in order to notice in time congestion. It is worth considering that the thicker the tube, the greater the flow of water.
When buying a hose, pay attention to what material it is made of. Reinforced, corrugated and other reinforced structures for aquarium hose are not suitable.
It is better to buy a hose of polyvinyl chloride, which has the ease, elasticity and compactness. It is necessary to store such a hose in a collapsed form, without creases, otherwise cracks may form in their place.
Experienced aquarists are advised to provide for the hose special brackets, brackets or clamps so that it is securely fixed and does not break from the drain spout. For this purpose, you can use a small piece of plastic pipe a couple of millimeters larger than the diameter of the drain hose.
The piece must be gently bent and secured so that there is no squeezing of the drain hose. The corrugated connection of the drain hose to the aquarium siphon is very convenient, since the hose is not pinched when trying to clean the farthest corner of the aquarium or siphon the soil in a high aquarium.
It is very convenient if the drainage of dirty water from the aquarium is made directly into the drain pipe of the bathroom. To do this, you can install or use the already existing V-shaped corner, designed to drain dirty water from the washing automatic machine.
If it is impossible to drain water from the aquarium into a special pipe, then you will have to install an adapter on the side of the bath or toilet bowl in order to securely fix the hose.
However, most often aquarists use a standard bucket as a container to drain water from the aquarium. When water overflows, the drain hose of the siphon is completely lowered into it and filled with water.
The free end of the drain hose is clamped with a finger, removed from the aquarium and lowered into the tank (bucket), when the finger is taken away, the water will go by gravity. If you wish, you can adjust the flow rate of the fluid in the siphon.
For this, near the junction of the siphon with the drain hose, in the tube it is necessary to make a hole equal in diameter to the cross section of the tube itself. The intensity of the water flow can be adjusted by opening and clamping the hole with a finger.
Another successful device for the aquarium, facilitating the work with the siphon is a special fastener. Usually the drain hose at the siphon is lowered into the container, usually a bucket. At the same time, the end of the hose tries to jump out of the bucket and fill the floor, so you have to support it with one hand.
But with a high aquarium, this is inconvenient, since sometimes it takes both hands to move the siphon along the bottom. In this case, the aquarist will rescue fasteners. It is a plastic half-ring, which is mounted on the wall of the bucket.
A hose is passed through the fastener. The diameter of the drain hose may be different.
If, for example, an aquarist wanted to lengthen a siphon hose, he would have to use an additionally purchased hose of larger diameter and when connecting two hoses, by inserting one into the other, the fastener will allow to hold this larger diameter hose. A drain hose fixed in this way will no longer be able to slip out of the bucket at a time when both hands of the aquarist, siphoning the ground, are occupied.
There are models of siphons for the aquarium, which are equipped with a valve-tap. Convenient accessory.
If, for example, when cleaning the aquarium soil, dead roots (leaves) of plants stick to the protective grid of the lower part of the cylinder, or the fish inadvertently swim, then the siphon will not need to be pulled out to remove the garbage. Simply turn the valve to shut off the water and due to the fact that the effect of suction stops, the garbage will fall off the grill.
It is also convenient to use the valve-valve when dirty aquarium water completely filled the tank for draining – it blocked the flow of water and there is no need to pull out the siphon from the aquarium. You can safely go to pour or pour out dirty water to free up the container for the next batch of drained liquid.
Cleaning the soil in the aquarium using a siphon is not recommended to be in a hurry, but you need to clean the aquarium bottom at a time. Therefore, you should try to walk through the entire area of the ground, but so that the dirty drained water is no more than 30 percent of the volume of water in the aquarium before cleaning.
The standard round-shaped siphon perfectly cleans large glades, as well as the open spaces of the bottom of the aquarium. But its corners or areas, densely overgrown with plants or cluttered with decorations, are difficult to handle.
Here will help specially created siphon cups of trihedral shape, which easily penetrate into tight bottlenecks and corners of the aquarium.
When using a siphon for an aquarium, the effect of a vacuum cleaner is created, dirt is collected from the surface of the soil. If the siphon is immersed deep in the aquarium soil, the contamination will be removed from the lower soil layers with their simultaneous loosening.
Inside the siphon, the soil begins to rise, sludge and other dirt flows into the drainage tank, and the soil granules settle to the bottom of the aquarium under their own weight.
Especially carefully you need to clean the aquarium bottom, if you planted a lot of aquarium plants in it, otherwise you can damage their delicate roots. Therefore, when cleaning such an aquarium, it is advisable to use special devices and tools that would easily penetrate even the most hard-to-reach places and dense thickets.
Aquarium companies produce a siphon specially designed for such cases. This model is a metal tube, which is tightly worn drain hose. The end of this tube is flattened to a slit 2 mm wide.
Numerous holes with a diameter of up to 2 mm were drilled on a section of a metal tube 3 cm high above the slit. This siphon model is suitable for cleaning an aquarium with a standard soil fraction and is not suitable for sand.
A siphon with a metal tube allows cleaning any hard-to-reach place without damaging the root system of the plants and sucking the sludge from the aquarium bottom.
To drain the dirty water most often use a bucket, but this capacity is extremely inconvenient if you need to clean a large aquarium (more than 100 liters). Therefore, many aquarists use long hoses that stretch from the aquarium to the bathroom, kitchen or toilet.
With this hose, you can pour fresh clean water into the aquarium. So that mollusks, individual soil particles, or a fish that accidentally got into the siphon did not clog up the sewage system, the end of the drain hose should be thrown into the basin or bucket installed in the bathroom.
With this method, a random “catch” will settle to the bottom of the tank, and dirty water will flow down the drain. If you are concerned about possible blockages of the sewer system or the loss of your favorite fish, then purchase a siphon with a special filter mesh.
To clean the aquarium soil, you need to siphon all easily accessible and open parts of the bottom. If necessary, some decorations are fashionable to push or lift to allow siphon access.
Usually under large stones, voluminous decorations and snags accumulate a lot of fish excrement. Therefore, the glass should be up to the very bottom of the aquarium.
If a large fraction of the soil is used to form the aquarium bottom or the edges of the stones are not sufficiently well run-in, then the siphon should be immersed in the soil with rotational movements.
Hold the siphon on one piece of soil should be up until 60 percent of the garbage is gone, then you need to rearrange the unit to the next contaminated site. If you move the soil in the open area to the right-left and back and forth, the siphon will capture a certain amount of stones, so you need to wait until the trapped soil particles settle to the bottom of the aquarium.
Although sometimes with the help of a siphon they drag the ground to another place. If, for example, you need to sprinkle a boring piece of equipment (a spray bottle or a compressor hose).
During the siphoning of aquarium soil, not only the entire bottom area is cleaned, but also the discharge of old polluted water. When working with a siphon, it is necessary to ensure that the discharge of old water does not exceed 30 percent of the volume of the aquarium. Do not forget that you can not completely drain all the water from the aquarium.
Therefore, it is necessary to quickly clean the soil with a siphon. Instead of drained water, it is necessary to fill in a new, previously settled tap liquid.
If it was not possible to clean the soil at the same time, then the procedure will have to be repeated.
When cleaning the soil, it should be remembered that this is an intervention in the aquarium’s ecosystem that has been formed. Therefore, to suck all the excrement, dirt and sludge from the aquarium soil is not worth it. Indeed, in these substances live beneficial bacteria that can break down organic matter.
This split organic is the best plant food. For example, if a hill of stones is laid out in an aquarium. For proper arrangement of the hill, it is necessary to plant plants along its perimeter that have a well-developed root system.
Plants with such a system will fasten the shape of the lined slides and do not allow it to crumble. Of course, you should not siphon this hill until the plants are well rooted. There are a number of plants that are called carpet or foreground plants.
They creep over the entire area of the aquarium and look very impressive, but at the same time they do not provide an opportunity to thoroughly siphon the soil without damaging their root system or disrupting the beautiful appearance.
If all the bottom of the aquarium is overgrown with algae, then the soil should be removed, thoroughly washed, then boiled and dried in the oven. If this procedure is not done on time, then anaerobic areas with a black color will appear in the aquarium, and then the aquarist will be able to smell rotten eggs, which will indicate the presence of hydrogen sulfide.