I bought an aquarium siphon for water changes. I purchased the extra large size, which has a 1.5 ft (46 cm) long vacuum tube, and which comes with a squeeze valve to get the siphon started. When I lowered it into the tank, then started the siphon, I found water does empty out the other end, but the rate is so slow that the debris in the tank just floats around and barely is sucked up.

It is maybe 200 gallons, but located low on the ground, so the siphon end is about 1.5 ft lower than the rim. I know this won't allow me to siphon out all water, but I want to at least change 20% and vacuum up the debris.

How can I get the water to pump more quickly?

  • What size tank do you have, and where are you locating the bucket you're siphoning into in relation to the tank?
    – Allison C
    Aug 18, 2020 at 17:05

2 Answers 2


Unfortunately, because of the positioning of the tank, it's likely you will not able to effectively use a standard siphon; a basic squeeze-bulb (or shake-to-start) aquarium siphon relies on gravity to work, meaning that the end of the tube (and the bucket into which you're emptying the tank) must be lower than the water level of the tank. With a tank that's low to the ground, you'll need to use either a very small water receptacle, or a different method entirely of cleaning the tank.

The question How to siphon a pond? has some recommendations for siphoning when the water level is below ground level using powered pumps to extract the water when gravity is not an option; one of these options may work in the case of a large aquarium as well.

Additionally, there are now some options for "aquarium water changers" that use a Venturi tube to create suction instead of a gravity siphon; these devices resemble a traditional gravity siphon vacuum, but connect to a household faucet to create the suction. Because these systems use suction, not gravity, the position of your tank relative to the drain location (your sink) is less important, as the water will be pulled through thanks to the suction regardless of positioning. With a price point lower than that of a mechanical pump, these are likely your best option.


It depends on the elevation difference and the diameter of the hose . You need to increase one or get an electric pump that will handle trash. I have put the hose out the window to get more height.

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