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Engineering puzzles to problems you probably shouldn't have...


nabokovfan87
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Hey hey everyone,

I just wanted to share two "tricks" I did today.  Please feel free to share some of your own if you have any. 

Issue 1: Trying to clean an old siphon tube that had algae in the tube. 
I don't have a "tube cleaner" and I don't have one that's long enough.  The siphon is the first one I got years ago and it works very well!  It's for my QT tank and very small tanks because it doesn't drain water extremely fast.  It's a store brand one that's blue, but what is cool is that it's slightly narrower.  Anyways, attempt 1 was to just see if the pipe cleaner used for drinking vessels I had would even fit in the tube.  Check.  Second issue was trying to get it to go through the entire 5-6 feet of tube.  I had to use some pliers, but I bent the end of the pipe cleaner from a circle into an oval, worked well.  Then I had to figure out how to push/pull the cleaned all the way through the entire tube.  I grabbed some yarn I had for spawning mops and cut a length of that.  I tied a good knot and then tried to feed it through the tube.  It went fine through the places of the pipe I could clean, but as soon as I got towards the more algae'd parts of the tube it would stop.  Hm.  So I tied a knot into the end of the string to give it a little bit of weight.  Still nothing.  This is when I figured it out.  I got the string in a portion of the way, fed in a bunch of string into the end so it balled up.  Then, blow air into the tube and push the string further along.  AWESOME.  I got the string in there, pulled the pipe cleaner through in reverse (tied string to the oval in the handle) and then yanked it through.  Worked like a charm.

Issue 2: Pumphead doesn't mount well to the glass due to orientation, falls down when not secured.
I installed my larger aquatop style pump, the one ACO used to stock before having their own.  This one is attached to a spraybar kit which pushes CO2 into the tank instead of letting it float to the surface.  Works really well, but after a day the pump started to flop down.  The tube of the bar is held in place and the pump is just supported via the tube itself, attached via a 90 degree fitting.  I tried adding more support (suction cups) to the heavier side, but that didn't work.  Eventually you quit trying to be "fancy" and I used one of the large suction cups designed to hold the tube as a rest for the prefilter so that the pump can only drop so far down.  I imagine you could make a support, 3d print it, and handle it that way as well.

Not complicated, but some pretty fun ways to tackle problems was my day today.

Edited by nabokovfan87
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I really like the pipe cleaner. I usually pour hydrogen peroxide and try to suspend both ends to keep it full for a bit. It NEVER ends well and makes a mess. Also doesn’t work very well. 
I need to order some pipe cleaners and give this a go. 

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How to start a siphon with very little water in the tank for moving.

Push the substrate to the sides, angling down towards the hole you just made.  This allows the water to easily flow into the hole once it gets below the level of the substrate.

Fill the hose of the siphon with water as best you can initially.  Put your finger on the end of the hose (not the siphon tube (big end).  Hold the hose in the bucket as low as possible, raise the other end as high as you can to force water into the tube and let the air purge out. Repeat this until it's as full as you can, then let the water flow through the hose. 

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For getting the string through the hose for cleaning, instead of pushing and blowing you can take a piece of wire longer than the tube, bend an inch or two over against itself, and push that through the hose.  Tie your string to the loop you made in the wire and pull it back through.  (It's easier to pull a string than push it.)

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On 4/3/2023 at 6:43 PM, nabokovfan87 said:

Trying to clean an old siphon tube that had algae in the tube

Huh. I never tried to clean any siphon tube (ever). 🙂 Like.. that’s a thing? A thing people do? 🤨 Water only travels out through it so I figure, why bother? 25 yrs, no ill effects. & I don’t use a siphon for qt; I use a baster and a pitcher.

On 4/4/2023 at 1:07 AM, nabokovfan87 said:

Put your finger on the end of the hose

Pinch the hose. Less bending down 4 u. 🙂

Edited by Chick-In-Of-TheSea
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On 4/4/2023 at 8:30 AM, Chick-In-Of-TheSea said:

Huh. I never tried to clean any siphon tube (ever). 🙂 Like.. that’s a thing? A thing people do? 🤨 Water only travels out through it so I figure, why bother? 25 yrs, no ill effects. & I don’t use a siphon for qt; I use a baster and a pitcher.

Definitely slows flow and can spread some contaminants.  For me it's that algae.

This is one of the over the counter products they have for it.  It's pretty common once a year or so to do it for canisters.

 

On 4/4/2023 at 8:30 AM, Chick-In-Of-TheSea said:

Pinch the hose. Less bending down 4 u. 🙂

STOOL! 🙂 I can't imagine doing any work on a tank without my 2-step.

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I am wondering if we can’t just put the hose out in the sun for a few and let the UV light kill the things. @nabokovfan87 Provided the hose isn’t clogged but just dingy looking.

On 4/4/2023 at 4:17 PM, nabokovfan87 said:

STOOL! 🙂 I can't imagine doing any work on a tank without my 2-step

Yep! I started using a single-step stool after seeing one in @Katherine’s post. Very convenient!

While we are on the subject, I believe @Colu cleans their pump and hose but putting it in the tub and running it overnight, but I can’t recall if it was a peroxide solution or a bleach solution. Either way, that’s another way to accomplish the task.

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On 4/6/2023 at 9:28 AM, Chick-In-Of-TheSea said:

I am wondering if we can’t just put the hose out in the sun for a few and let the UV light kill the things. @nabokovfan87 Provided the hose isn’t clogged but just dingy looking.

Yeah. I tried that a bit. It mostly just dried out a little. Probably fine. Whatever the material is on this particular plastic siphon, it likes to grow stuff. It's an opaque blue.

Ive always considered running a few chemicals to sanitize things. Bleach would be to go to for me for organic stuff. Works well and easy to dechlor and offgas.

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On 4/6/2023 at 5:28 PM, Chick-In-Of-TheSea said:

I am wondering if we can’t just put the hose out in the sun for a few and let the UV light kill the things. @nabokovfan87 Provided the hose isn’t clogged but just dingy looking.

Yep! I started using a single-step stool after seeing one in @Katherine’s post. Very convenient!

While we are on the subject, I believe @Colu cleans their pump and hose but putting it in the tub and running it overnight, but I can’t recall if it was a peroxide solution or a bleach solution. Either way, that’s another way to accomplish the task.

I attach my hose to a pump and run it for 24hr in 3% hydrogen peroxide solution in a tub to sterilise it 

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