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How to Make a DIY Python-type Water Changer

Posted in DIY

I have wanted an extra Python for my tank at work for awhile, but just had not bothered to order one. I decided to improvise.

I started with a standard gravel vac. This particular vac consists of a 16” long, 2” diameter rigid plastic gravel cleaning tube, a reducer glued to one end, and a 1/2” inner diameter length of flexible tubing.

I walked to the hardware store across the street from where I work, and purchased the following:

  • 1 Garden hose (50', 1/2” I.D.). - $8.99
  • 1 Female 1/2” garden hose coupler - $1.69
  • 1 Garden Hose shut-off - $3.99
  • Total: $14.67 plus tax.
I attached the end of the flexible tubing from the gravel vac to the Female 1/2” Garden hose coupler. This allowed me to connect the gravel vac directly to the male end of the water hose. Alternatively, I can put the shut-off valve between them. At the other end of the garden hose is a utility sink. I will use gravity siphon to drain, and connect the female end of the water hose to the utility faucet (which has the same size threads as the garden hose) to refill.

If you want to connect to a standard bathroom or kitchen sink like a real python, you can purchase a standard waterbed drain/fill kit, which runs about $5.00, and will include a faucet siphon pump (much like the one that comes with the Python), and adapters to connect it to standard sink threads.

The only tool required was a #2 Phillips screwdriver (on my leatherman) to loosen/tighten the hose clamp on the hose coupler.

Now, if you have a gravel vac and garden hose on hand (I did not have one at work), and do not mind the absence of a shut-off valve, that makes a Python for $1.69. What a bargain! This isn't even a discount store.

Here are pics:

The gravel vac with the female faucet adapter attached. The clamp is loosened and pulled back to show how the tubing simply slides on the adapter.

 A close-up of the tubing and adapter.

 The vac with the adapter atached and the clamp in place.

The whole thing with the water hose attached. Note the shut off valve between the female coupler and the water hose is optional, but handy.