Python aquarium vacuum review

Changing the water in your aquarium is never a fun task; however, it must be done, and there are several methods you can employ to do it. Ranging from the tried and tested bucket and cup technique, to more sophisticated systems. With a wide variety of brands to choose from, one of the more popular ones has to be the Python aquarium vacuum. Below we will review this in more detail and explain why water changes are such an important practice. 

The cleaning process, why is this important

Having a clean tank is necessary for the health of your fish and we talk about this in a number of articles, in particular here, when we review filters. Filtration is important as it keeps the water clean, however changing the water is also a critical aspect of good tank maintenance and healthy hygiene for your fish. Putting the academic hat on, when we change the water, we are removing ammonia and nitrites from the tank, caused by fish excrement and decaying food, replacing it with water that is clean and fresh with a low to zero nitrate level. It is considered safe for fish to live in a nitrate environment at 40 ppm (parts per million) or below. This is what you have to aim for if you want your fish to thrive. 

How often should I change the water in the tank?

There is no definitive answer to this; some say every month, others say 25% of your water should be changed every week. The truth, it depends on tank size and what aquatic life you have living in your tank, including how much you are feeding them. Remember that you aim to keep the nitrate level below 40 ppm; therefore, it will be important to test your water for nitrates relatively frequently, to create the optimum living conditions. You will need to buy an ’aquarium test kit’. As a reminder from our article here, the nitrogen cycle is invisible, so you will need a test kit to understand what stage you’re at. 

From your testing, you can then create a water change schedule that suits your fish. For example, if your nitrate level starts to exceed 40 ppm after a week, you should be changing your water once a week.

Is there a method to this madness?

Is it wrong to use the good old fashion way, involving a cup or bucket? Absolutely not! However, if you are like us and want to have more efficient processes, then using a fish tank vacuum is the best method for both beginners and advanced aquatic enthusiasts.

What is a gravel Vacuum?

It is a water-changing system that consists of little more than a tube and a hose, which allows you to change the water in the tank. Don’t be mistaken by the name; cleaning the gravel is one part, but don’t worry, the gravel doesn’t get sucked up.

Do I need to get one?

The simple answer is yes. Having reviewed many different methods, this is the quickest and most efficient way to change and clean the water in your tank.

Choosing the correct size gravel vacuum tube

Getting the size right with a gravel vacuum tube is essential, enabling you to have optimum functionality in your tank. This allows you to clean and cover every area of your tank, no matter what obstacles are in the way. If it’s too wide and your tank is small, it’s going to be hard to nimbly move around your tank and cover every knock and cranny.

The best practice is to have a range of vacuum heads. Please see a range of sizes below:

Tank sizeHead openingTank suitability
Standard/ Large Size2 Inches (5 CM)20 Gallons +
Small/ Slim Size1.5 Inches (4 CM)5 – 20 Gallons
Mini/Micro Size1 Inch (2.5 CM)5 Gallons or less

How does it work?

1.) You attach one end to a tap, most people use a sink tap, (you can connect it to an outside tap) and add the other end to the tank. 

2.) Turn the tap on while twisting the valve on the faucet pump, and the water will flow into the sink, creating a vacuum, resulting in the water being siphoned from your tank.

3.) When you think about it, it’s incredibly cool as this is physics 101 in play here, with suction and force doing the work. When you’re done, and your tank has been cleaned, you warm up the water to the correct temperature for your fish and switch the valve back. 

4.) This enables the suction to stop and the water to go from draining into the sink (which causes the suction). To being forced through the tubing into the tank, thus, filling it. Please see the video below that helps show the process.

Python no spill maintenance system review

Python always produces and provides quality products, and although this is above market price, you are paying for the best. Why and how can we say that; well please see the following features and benefits of the product and decide for yourself.

Let’s be clear; water changes can be a nightmare; however, they are essential, and the Python system makes life a lot easier. The Python System is going to help you in 3 areas of tank maintenance:

  1. It will remove water from your tank
  2. It will clean the gravel with the gravel siphon
  3. It will help you refill your tank with fresh water from the tap

Key Features

  • Hose
  • gravel tube
  • Switch
  • hose connectors
  • faucet pump
  • and brass faucet adapter

The Python system allows complete control of the water flow that’s taken from the tank, thanks to the silicone hose, which can be easily flexed and squeezed.  The vacuum tubes are another considerable benefit which are robust and durable. For many users, this thicker plastic was a big differentiator compared to other products they’d used. The impressive brass adapter also comes as standard with every python cleaning system.  However, it’s worth noting, when you put water back into the tank, have a thermometer to ensure water temperature accuracy. Which we talk about in the above; this will have to be purchased separately. 

After finishing the job, to help drain your python hose, keep the water running with the python pump in the drain position when cleaning the tube; this will help prevent mold when storing the pump.


  • Does not need batteries, once you attach to tap and draw the water, gravity does all the work
  • There are multiple python extensions, really easy to swap and find the correct head for your tank size
  • Cleans your gravel and allows you to change the water in the tank
  • A non-invasive technique for your fish
  • Comes with clear instructions
  • Easy to set up and put away


  • The jubilee clip for the faucet adapter can rust
  • You have to turn the tap on full to generate the suction when cleaning, therefore a lot of water is sent into your sink or outside drain. You can think of this in two ways, one – this is wasteful. Two – the water is going back into the water system


Water changes have to be done, therefore investing in a kit that helps you in the process makes sense. The Python Kit enables this and allows you to create a very efficient system for changing your water. As always please reach out to us, if you have any questions. We would love your feedback

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