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Has anyone come up with a handy manouverable sucker for planted tanks. the standard one sold comes with a very large head that isn't really fit for getting into knooks and crannies. This was fine when i had a tank of rocks and fake plants and could move everything around and really wanted to suck all the dirt out of the gravel...not so much in a planted tank. So, genius that I am, just bought half inch tubing and started sucking around with that....well, w/o the pressure differential between the front and back end, it just sucks gravel right up (not even sticking it in the gravel) so that didn't work so well...

before i start testing plans, has anyone developed a good tool for this?

What i'm looking to is suck up in and around plants where dead plant leaves and what not have been caught...also into the nooks and crannies of the hardscape where fallen leaves get caught (mine has a bunch) rather than floating to the surface or sticking to an intake.

i'm thinking of using my half inch wide tubing at the front and std airline at the back and seeing how that goes...but, before i waste a few feet of tubing, wondering if anyone has come up with a genius solution.

Thanks
 

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You're on the right track with the airline thing (this will definitely slow down the flow) though you might find it easier to constrict the 1/2" tubing with something like a clamp so you can easily remove it and allow a big chunk of debris to pass through. I purchased one of those gravel vacuums that's just some hose with the larger diameter plastic vacuum at one end and it came with an adjustable hose clamp for constricting the flow, works great.
Admittedly however I went back to using the large diameter vacuum, which I cut down from 18" to about 5" in length for controllability.
 

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I found a really small gravel vac at a store. Intake tube is perhaps 3/4" diameter, and only about 6" long. Outlet is about 3/8" tubing. The connection between the two is so small that it constantly gets plugged with just a small bit of leaf. I went back to the larger GV for the larger tanks, but still use the little one for 10 gallon and smaller.

One way to step down the sizing is to use PVC reducing bushings. These would be available at a plumbing or irrigation store.
If you are using all tubing (such as the vinyl tubing so common in aquariums DIY projects) you can get reducing fittings for most sizes of this tubing, too.

Another option for collecting fallen leaves but not the substrate is to put a nylon stocking over the GV. Then put your hand in the tank as needed to remove the leaves from the gravel vac. You could even use a single size of tubing for this, since the added force will hold the leaf bits better, and re-capture any that escape your hand.
 
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