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how do pythons work?

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how do pythons work?

Post by Starfish on Fri Sep 20, 2013 12:30 pm

I thought this might be a good place to ask this question. I have heard about pythons used for water changes. But how exactly do they work. My understanding is that it gets hooked up to a tap and the water needs to be turned on to make the syphon work. Does the water stay on for the entire time you vacuum the tank? If so, that is a great waste of water which is why I have not looked any further into getting one. They are on sale now and I am getting tired of lugging buckets of water around. Is this a good investment?
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Re: how do pythons work?

Post by Shell on Fri Sep 20, 2013 12:53 pm

I personally use a python (well, not that name brand, but the same thing!) to do WCs on the 55g and the 220g (I use an old school hose on the 10g, 5.5g, and 3g). My opinion is that, yes, it is likely going to waste some water. I, however, try to weigh the pros and cons here, and for us, it is a positive piece of equipment to keep our fishies home clean and safe. We (I mean humans, of course) waste an awful lot on a daily basis, I try my best to treat the environment with as much respect as I can (I often think about "all-you-can-eat-buffets," just imagine the amount of food that goes to waste); I could go into details, but I'll spare you the rant Razz 

Do I feel bad about wasting water? Yep. But, at the moment it is the best I can do without having to spend 2-4 hours changing the water in the 220g to ensure it is safe for my finned babies!

It is a tough call, for sure! Smile

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Re: how do pythons work?

Post by dahling on Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:16 pm

I use a utility pump to pump water out in my basement where most of my tanks are, but I have a tank upstairs that I use a python type of siphon system. The tap attachment is attached to the tap in the basement and the suction end goes into the tank. A 50' length is just enough to reach the tank. I start the siphon by turning on the tap, once going, I shut the tap off and allow gravity to finish the draining. So...minimal water waste.
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Re: how do pythons work?

Post by Shell on Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:21 pm

@dahling wrote: I start the siphon by turning on the tap, once going, I shut the tap off and allow gravity to finish the draining.  So...minimal water waste.
Wow - that would be amazing - I'm not sure it would work for us, our drain is in the basement and the 55g is upstairs, the 220g is down (in the basement)...but, I've never tried it before, so I'm going to experiment next wc day (Sunday!)  Smile

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Re: how do pythons work?

Post by caoder on Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:25 pm

If your water level in your tanks are higher than your sinks then it will work. I remove my python off of the tap after starting the siphon with the water so that it will flow a bit faster. I am on the same level as my tanks, but I only use it on my 70g corner to drain and fill all of my tanks with it after.
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Re: how do pythons work?

Post by Suprd71 on Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:34 pm

I also use a transfer pump to drain about half, then substrate vac with the Python, giving me a 60-75% w/c each time. Clean water is critical for my large messy cichlids, as bio-load is quite substantial
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Re: how do pythons work?

Post by GaryE on Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:37 pm

I have a 1992 python that I have modified. I have a quick release/connect garden hose attachment where the old waterbed drain mechanism used to be (that's what attaches to the tap, if you ever need one). I start the hose in the basement bathroom. As soon as it flows into the tank, I disconnect it from the tap, kink it and set it to flow down the toilet beside the sink and unkink the flow. No water wasted, and a fairly quick water change.
Before the original sink attachment broke (after 12 years of use) I used to do the same with that attachment - hook it on the edge of the toilet and let it flow. Gravity does the work - a wee bit more slowly than the original design, but effectively.
ALWAYS WATCH A PYTHON, he shouted, based on a daydreaming incident early on. It was my fault, not the device's.
I just did 43 tanks in under two hours....
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Re: how do pythons work?

Post by Starfish on Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:50 pm

My laundry tub (where I dump the water in the winter) is a half story down from the living room where I keep my tanks. So potentially I should be able to start the syphon and then turn off the water and let gravity work. So do you have a second person turning the taps on and off or do you clamp them somewhere so they don't fall out of the tub or tank?
 
If you are using the hose to also fill the tanks, how do you treat it for chlorine? I also need to let my water sit for 24 hours to let the pH settle.


Last edited by Starfish on Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: how do pythons work?

Post by hello_rockview12 on Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:55 pm

@Starfish wrote:If you are using the hose to also fill the tanks, how do you treat it for chlorine? I also need to let my water sit for 24 hours to let the pH settle after compression in the taps.
I've always wondered the same thing. I'm thinking of buying one too!
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Re: how do pythons work?

Post by Jay0173 on Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:36 pm

In short, very well. I use a Python to do water changes on my 55 gallon tank. There is some leakage but I attribute that to my clumsy handling rather than a defect in the product. I do have to be careful, though, since because when draining the tank it goes right into the sink, and because there are quite a number of fry in the aquarium, I have to watch that I don't inadvertently suck them into the hose where they'll be flushed into the drain. Some of my livebearers are also very inquisitive and tend to get too close to the tube. Silly fish.
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Re: how do pythons work?

Post by GaryE on Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:49 pm

You have to determine whethwer you have chloramines, or chlorine. With chlorine, it really doesn't matter as long as you don't go past 30-40%. I haven't dechlorinated water for many years, and never see any problems with the fish. They are fine, especially if you pour from on high and let the water flow through air. The chlorine dissipates quickly.

I do 30% water changes every week, and have for years.

If you have chloramines, you will have to treat. I'd add a treatment product right before adding the fresh water.
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Re: how do pythons work?

Post by Suprd71 on Fri Sep 20, 2013 3:52 pm

If you have to treat water, Seachem Prime or the powder form Safe is the best available. A caution to over dosing, it reduces oxygen in the water. One capful of Prime does a 55g just right.
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Re: how do pythons work?

Post by the clean guy on Fri Sep 20, 2013 5:08 pm

I use a garden hose to fill the tank from my laundry tub and gravel cleaner to siphon out the water out the door to my back yard.
The gavel cleaner is just a siphon, I never vacuum the gravel. I fill and siphon out the water at the same time so I do not have to turn off any filters or heaters maintaining the same water level
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Re: how do pythons work?

Post by Starfish on Fri Sep 20, 2013 7:49 pm

the dirt guy wrote:I use a garden hose to fill the tank from my laundry tub and gravel cleaner to siphon out the water out the door to my back yard.
The gavel cleaner is just a siphon, I never vacuum the gravel.  I fill and siphon out the water at the same time so I do not have to turn off any filters or heaters maintaining the same water level
That sounds like a great idea. I don't think I would be coordinated enough get it working right.

My other concern is the pH of my water. When it comes out of the tap it is 7.4, 24 hours later it is 8.4. How do I compensate for that if I put the water directly into the tank from the tap with the hose. My tanks sit at 8.4. Would that be too much of a shock for the fish to put the 7.4 in and then have it go back up to 8.4 or would the volume not be enough to make a difference to the fish?
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Re: how do pythons work?

Post by dahling on Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:22 pm

@Starfish wrote:
My other concern is the pH of my water. When it comes out of the tap it is 7.4, 24 hours later it is 8.4. How do I compensate for that if I put the water directly into the tank from the tap with the hose. My tanks sit at 8.4. Would that be too much of a shock for the fish to put the 7.4 in and then have it go back up to 8.4 or would the volume not be enough to make a difference to the fish?
Do you age your water now before doing water changes?  With some of my tanks where not only the pH is different, the GH and KH readings in the tank are also different from the tap, they get heated, aged and aerated overnight with additives appropriate to that tank. But I normally do 50% water changes.

Do you use KH buffers to stabilize your pH?  You can add that in with your chlorine remover just before adding water.  I would limit your water changes to 25% of your water volume and see how your fish do with that.  Your water will outgas as it starts splashing into your tank and your pH should begin to normalize.
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Re: how do pythons work?

Post by CAAIndie on Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:25 pm

@Starfish wrote:
My other concern is the pH of my water. When it comes out of the tap it is 7.4, 24 hours later it is 8.4. How do I compensate for that if I put the water directly into the tank from the tap with the hose. My tanks sit at 8.4. Would that be too much of a shock for the fish to put the 7.4 in and then have it go back up to 8.4 or would the volume not be enough to make a difference to the fish?
I think it is unlikely to make a big difference for you (especially with a small volume 25-30%). Planted tanks that run CO2 can see great changes in pH without issue. With carbonate hardness readings that are "off the charts", you should be well buffered.

Aging is definitely useful on gassing off chlorine though. Chloramine dissipates too, but it takes much longer. If it's in your water supply, you should treat with a good dechlorinator.


Last edited by CanadaAquariaAdmin on Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:45 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : I was unclear when I talked about Chloramine)
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Re: how do pythons work?

Post by Starfish on Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:43 pm

How do you test for chlorine and chloramine?
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Re: how do pythons work?

Post by the clean guy on Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:44 pm

CanadaAquariaAdmin wrote:I think it is unlikely to make a big difference for you (especially with a small volume 25-30%). Planted tanks that run CO2 can see great changes in pH without issue. With carbonate hardness readings that are "off the charts", you should be well buffered.

Aging is definitely useful on gassing off chlorine and chloramine though.
Yes my tap water has a ph of 8.2  after it has been in the tank for a while the co2 I am injecting into it brings it down to 7.4 in my case I don't have to worry about chlorine because coming from my well it has none . Actually I'm lucky I have no sulfur Nitrates, phosphates, or ammonia  in the water but lots of calcium and iron .
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Re: how do pythons work?

Post by CAAIndie on Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:56 pm

@Starfish wrote:How do you test for chlorine and chloramine?
You can find tests for them in some LFS, but a large number of water supplies will have them. If you can age it for 24 hours (for chlorine) you'll be fine, or you can just add a good dechlorinator like Prime.  Smile


Last edited by CanadaAquariaAdmin on Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: how do pythons work?

Post by Starfish on Sun Sep 22, 2013 11:07 am

Dirtguy, sounds like your well water is similar to mine. We only have chlorine in the well when my hubby shocks it. I told him to always let me know before he does in case I need to get some water for the aquariums first.

Any idea how long chlorine will remain in the well water after being shocked? 24hrs?
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Re: how do pythons work?

Post by the clean guy on Sun Sep 22, 2013 11:47 am

@Starfish wrote:Any idea how long chlorine will remain in the well water after being shocked? 24hrs?

I have never shocked my well but I know that you should let it sit in your pipes for 12 to 24hrs
After flushing out the chlorine and waiting a minimum of three days, preferably seven days, you should have your water tested
CTC has a chlorine test for pools should work
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Re: how do pythons work?

Post by Starfish on Sun Sep 22, 2013 12:13 pm

CanadaAquariaAdmin wrote:
@Starfish wrote:
My other concern is the pH of my water. When it comes out of the tap it is 7.4, 24 hours later it is 8.4. How do I compensate for that if I put the water directly into the tank from the tap with the hose. My tanks sit at 8.4. Would that be too much of a shock for the fish to put the 7.4 in and then have it go back up to 8.4 or would the volume not be enough to make a difference to the fish?
I think it is unlikely to make a big difference for you (especially with a small volume 25-30%). Planted tanks that run CO2 can see great changes in pH without issue. With carbonate hardness readings that are "off the charts", you should be well buffered.

Aging is definitely useful on gassing off chlorine and chloramine though.
My carbonate readings are GH 380ppm and KH 290ppm.
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Re: how do pythons work?

Post by Starfish on Sun Sep 22, 2013 7:48 pm

I picked up an Aqueon water change system at Petsmart yesterday since they were on sale, with another 15% off for customer appreciation day. I also heard it is easier to get replacement parts for them if something breaks than for the python. Will give it a try for my next water change.
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Re: how do pythons work?

Post by CAAIndie on Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:48 pm

Woohoo on the new python. Just to clarify though (re-reading my post I was unclear). Chlorine will dissipate by aging water for about 24 hours, Chloramine can take much more time however (up to a month), so aging to remove this isn't realistic. Use a good dechlorinator like prime, and ensure it breaks down chloramine.
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Re: how do pythons work?

Post by the clean guy on Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:04 pm

@Starfish wrote:I picked up an Aqueon water change system at Petsmart yesterday since they were on sale, with another 15% off for customer appreciation day. I also heard it is easier to get replacement parts for them if something breaks than for the python. Will give it a try for my next water change.
Let us know what you think of it Question 
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