How to Use Aquarium Siphon

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by Jason Matthews



The aquarium siphon is an amazing invention that helps keep aquariums clean. Aquarium siphons can be incredibly useful tools for fish enthusiasts and aquarium owners of all experience levels. They’re perfect for removing water from the tank, cleaning gravel and substrate, and even clearing out clogs.

It is a tube with a sucking end and a draining end. The sucking end is placed in the water, and the draining end is placed in the sink or outside of the tank, depending on what you are using it for. When you suck on the sucking end, the water is sucked up into the tube and then drained out when you release your grip. This process can be used to remove water from the aquarium or vacuum up debris from the bottom of the tank.

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Last update on 2023-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

In this post, we’ll walk you through the basics of using an aquarium siphon and show you how to get the most out of this handy tool. So read on for information on using an aquarium siphon like a pro.

Main Ways to Use Your Aquarium Siphon

By Submersion

Set Your Bucket

You can place your bucket anywhere you want as long as the top of it is below the underpart of your aquarium. If this isn’t possible or desirable, cut off any excess tubing with an adjustable blade to prevent spilling when filled with water that you are siphoning from your aquarium.

Position the Siphon Tube

Insert the larger end of your siphon tube into an aquarium, keeping it several inches above the gravel. Then take one side and point towards the bucket while pointing another direction so you can create a vacuum with both ends attached at some point along their lengths.

Flood the Tube and Vacuum

To start this process, place the vacuum tube opening into your fish tank so that water displaces air inside. Then slowly lower the remaining length of tubing into it, and if done correctly, there will be very little or no atmosphere left in them.

Seal the Opening

When you’re done using the vacuum, it’s time to seal up any leaks. Start by grabbing both ends of your discharge tube and closing off either end with a finger pressed against it until all air bubbles have disappeared. Don’t be too hard, as too much pressure can break the seal.

Lift the Opening

With the tube pointing up and out of your tank, carefully lower it into a bucket, maintaining the seal. Make sure that both ends are still against their respective surfaces- if not, try again until you get this perfect connection. Once the water starts flowing, remove the finger from the discharge end so further advancement can occur naturally.

Lead the Water to the Bucket

Keep the discharge end directed into your bucket while gently moving it around the tank bottom when you’re vacuuming. It can be helpful to have a second person on hand for this part.

Stop the Flow

When you have removed enough water, it is time to stop the flow by raising one end of your aquarium up slightly higher than where it was originally. You will need a few minutes in between floods and withdrawals so that if any more needs to be extracted from this source, it can be performed with ease.

By Mouth

Set Your Bucket

The easiest way to start a siphon is by using your mouth. To do this, first put down the bucket of water lower than where you want it drained and then slowly lift so that air can flow into both containers at once while simultaneously pushing some out through pursed lips.

Position the Siphon Tube

Next, carefully place the vacuum end (large opening) of your siphon tube at the bottom of the fish tank. Keep it about 6-10 inches off the ground unless you have an attached gravel vacuuming system, in which case stick to just placing on top or directly upon fine particles like sand instead.

Initiate Suction

The easiest way to start suction is by placing your mouth on the discharge end and sucking lightly. Ensure that you are not putting more than just enough pressure on water flow, as this could cause an accident.

Lead the Water to the Bucket

When the water begins to flow, quickly remove your mouth and place it into a bucket. Next, let loose with some suction from this end so that the vacuum-like capabilities of the tube can suck up dirt.

Related article: How To Clean Aquarium Rocks Of Algae

Stop the Flow

After you have allowed enough time for the water to flow out of the fish tank, lift on one end so that it is higher than where your source meter was. This will stop any more liquid from flowing in, and completing this process must be done repeatedly until all that remains, at last, are tiny bubbles.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Does Aquarium Siphon Work?

The aquarium siphon is a great way to remove organic waste from your fish tank. To start, make sure the end of this hose-like device reaches inside an empty bucket and then completely submerges it so that water will flow through its tube.

Why Is My Aquarium Siphon Not Working?

You can get an air leak in the tube somewhere that prevents your siphon from getting going. Any kind will work, just put one side into the higher container and suck through while putting its opposite close enough for water to flow freely between them without being blocked by anything.

How Often Should I Siphon My Fish Tank?

When it comes to keeping fish, a clean tank is key. There are many ways you can go about this, and one way includes cleaning your aquarium regularly- usually once every two weeks or so, depending on how messy the water gets


To properly use a siphon, you need to submerge the intake tube into the water and then blow through the other end. This will create a vacuum that pulls liquid up from below.

If your siphoning liquid is too thick, try using a smaller container with a wider opening or just suck on one end of the tube while blowing out of it at the same time.

Siphons are great for cleaning aquariums, but they can also be used in many other ways around home or office. We hope this post has equipped you with knowledge of using an aquarium siphon.


Jason Matthews

My name is Jason Matthews, and welcome to my website. When other kids were bragging about how their dog could sit and roll over, I was bragging about my latest Betta Fish and the cool sea castle I just added to his aquarium. 

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