I got it solved.
I learned there is a tool sold at musical supply stores for cleaning horns like trumpets & trombones. Some people call them trumpet snakes. Its basically the same as what you find in the LFS. The difference is that this tool has brushes at both ends of a flexible metal coil and is 40 inches long. The one I purchased is the trombone snake as the brushes are the right size to clean 5/8 inch id hose. The trumpet snake will fit 1/2 inch id hose. I tried it today and found it to be very easy to clean the vinyl hose. The time it took to clean was cut in half compared to the homemade tool that I was using.
Amazon has a picture of one that is similar to mine. I highly recommend this tool over any tool the fish store sells. I paid $7.95 for mine.