Water Changer Problem
A couple of months ago I bought a 25' Aqueon water changer which I used successfully twice before I cracked the plastic that attaches it to the faucet. It was still usable with zip ties and duct tape squeezing the crack shut, with only a minimum amount of leakage. Two more uses later and I have cracked it again where the hose attaches to the side. Nothing will fix that, the hose just shoots off squirting water everywhere. The biggest problem of all that I had with the Aqueon is that it worked great as a drainer and refiller but not so well as a vacuum.
I have found a DIY faucet attachment thing using PVC that I might try being as I have most of the parts at home it would be a good project for my hubby. The DIY thing does not have a venturi but the creator of the attachment says that it works fine without it.
Do all water changers lack in their ability to vacuum? Is it because of the length of the hose or the pressure of the water or none of the above? If I make the DIY faucet attachment will it vacuum better with the venturi or does the venturi just start the siphon?
If the water changers are no good at vacuuming what about using a pump to create suction to vacuum? I have heard people mention this but I don't know exactly what they are doing to make it work.
All I know is that the soft plastic of the Aqueon water changer and my impressive strength ;-) do not mix.
I have the "Python" brand that I bought in 1996. The threads on the faucet attachment stripped and I was able to fix it so that it held for a time, but eventually it just wouldn't, so I went for a replacement and bought the Aqueon faucet attachment. The A is much better made in my view, and I have had good luck with it for more than 4 years now. You can't tighten it too much on the faucet though, as it is still plastic and not brass.;-)
But to your question of suction, I have never had a problem with it. I don't dig down into the substrates as much now as I once did, since I have planted tanks and it is best to leave the substrate alone, but in 2 of my 7 tanks I do a bit of substrate vacuuming and I can dig down to the bottom of the tank through 3+ inches of gravel with no difficulty. The water flow at the faucet does determine the suction power, so perhaps you do not have the faucet turned on sufficiently? You need a decent stream of water.
I use the Aqueon changer at work to fill several tanks. I totally agree, the plastic's c-h-e-a-p! The first thing I noticed was that I almost stripped the faucet threads on the plastic after the first use. My solution to that was to use a quick-connect hose adapter fitting (brass) on the plastic "T" and on the faucet. That's worked well. For me, the vacuum is ok but slow, but I just siphon to a floor drain, so gravity works for me. For filling, I quick-connect, and the fill works well. The only time I really vacuum is just to help clear water from the line to minimize mildew growth!
At home, here is what I do:
I have a pump that I purchased on sale. I use that solely to drain my tanks and pump the water out a window or door. I have a smaller pump that I use to pump water from a five-gallon bucket on the floor to the tank (Don't like lifting and spilling repeatedly). I fill the 5 gallon bucket via smaller 2-gallon buckets. My 2-gallon buckets are easily managed and fill faster than my 5 gallon bucket empties, so it doesn't really slow me down and I can tweak the temp as needed. I prefer to use a bucket to minimize my use of dechlorinator chemicals and it's easier, for me, to assure the temperature of the new water is close to the aquariums.
You can order a replacement "T" online from several vendors. It won't be any stronger, but if handled very carefully and used with a quick-connect, and a faucet thread adapter, it works well for filling while minimizing wear and tear on the plastic.
Heck, I'd try the PVC thing, what do you have to lose!
I think I may not have been getting enough suction because I didn't want to blast the faucet and lose more water than I have too. I think I will buy another Aqueon faucet thing and try it again and keep the PVC thing in mind. Maybe while I am using the new Aqueon faucet thing, I will make and try out the PVC thing.
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