If I may follow up with another great article by Robert Livingston
. Thanks to Cichlid-forum.com for great information. DIY - Python Gravel Cleaner by Robert Livingston Step one: Locating the Parts needed
I purchased most of the needed parts at Walmart and Lowe’s
1. Waterbed Fill & Drain Kit (WalMart $4.96)
2. 50 foot Garden Hose (Lowe’s Swan Fairlawn $7.95)
3. Shut off Valve (Lowe’s $3.99)
4. Female hose end 3/8”- 1 /2” (Lowe’s $1.77)
5. Gravel Cleaner (came with my HOT Magnum PRO) Step Two: Putting it together
1. Install necessary adapters that come with Waterbed fill and drain kit. Install Waterbed fill and drain kit (see picture 1)
2. Attach Garden hose to Fill and Drain kit (see picture 2)
3. Attach shut off valve to other end of hose (see picture 3)
4. Install Female hose end to end of gravel cleaner hose (see picture 4a and 4b)
5. Attach Female hose end to end of shut off valve (see picture 5) Step Three: Using the DIY Python to clean and drain tank
Make sure that your shut off valve is off before turning on the water. On the bottom of the fill and drain kit there is a valve that must be turned down to allow for suction. Turn it down and slowly turn water on checking for leaks. If there is a leak, tighten the fitting, if not turn the water on all the way.
Put the gravel cleaner in the tank and slowly turn on the shut off valve, it will sputter some at first. Adjust the shut off valve so that it lifts up the dirt from the gravel, but doesn’t suck up the gravel the whole way. Continue cleaning the gravel until you remove the desired amount of water from your tank.
Shut off the valve and remove the cleaner from the tank, holding it straight up in air, turn the valve back on to finish sucking the water the rest of the way from the hose.
Turn the water off on the faucet. Step Four: Filling the tank with your DIY Python
Make sure that your shut off valve is off before turning on the water. Turn the water on and adjust the temperature to match that of your tank (a thermometer works well here). Turn the valve at the bottom of the fill and drain kit clockwise until it goes up tight. That will redirect the water to the hose. Holding the gravel cleaner in the sink, slowly turn the shut off valve on till you rinse the hose out really well. (NOTE: Several people on the forum have advised against using a regular garden hose for filling a tank, but I contacted the manufacturer of my hose and they informed me that as long as you rinse the hose really well, no chemicals will be released into the tank. Also make sure you use a new hose, and do not use this hose for anything else, and store it in a cool dry place to keep any bacteria from forming in it)
After the hose is rinsed turn off the shutoff valve and go back to your tank. I add all the additives (Novaqua and buffers) that I am going to use in a cup of water and slowly add these to the tank as I refill. Turn the water on slow and let the tank refill to the desired level.
Once the tank is full, turn off the shut off valve, and turn the valve on the bottom of the fill and drain kit back to suction. Turn the shut off valve back on and remove all the water from your hose.
Hope this all makes sense to you and good luck with your DIY project
Total cost $18.67 compared to Python about $40 for a 50 footer. Picture 1 Picture 2 Picture 3 Picture 4a Picture 4b Picture 5