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Re: Using Pythons in planted tanks -- or - Dealing with a snake in the glass

Carla Thornton offered some advice and said, in part:

> . . .isn't the easiest
> thing to just just
> hook Pythons up to a running faucet, preferably in the
> nearest bathroom?
> This works great for us (Pythons are the best invention);
> to suck up water
> faster, just turn the faucet up to create a greater
> suction. When you've
> removed as much water as you want, just be careful to
> remove the end of the
> tube from the tank, even if you've shut off the faucet,
> cause the suction
> will continue to drain the tank.

Good advice, generally.  This works when it works but it
doesn't always.  Some faucets where you live might not
provide enough flow to generate adequate suction.  Also,
while most drains are probably adequate to remove water as
quickly as it comes form the faucet, some are cannot let
the water out as quickly as it comes from the faucet *and*
the tank.  So you have to be careful at first until you
determine how far you can open the faucet and have the
drain "keep up."  Sometimes the nearest bathroom isn't the
best hookup becuase the drain can't handle the flow.  But
there is probably a sink in the house (and certainly a
toilet ;-)  ) that can handle the flow.

As you go farther down the waterline from where it enters
your domicile to the last faucet on the end of the line,
the pipe usually gets progressively smaller in diameter. 
It might start out as 1 1/2" pipe at the entry point and
dwindle down to 1" then 3/4" then to 1/2" by the time it
gets to the last fixture.  Also, the feeds to bathroom
sinks are often smaller than those to kitchen sinks.  If
you seem to have inadequate flow from your faucet (for your
python), changing to another faucet can sometimes help,
especially if you move to one closer to where the waterline
enters your domicile (tapping off a larger diameter pipe).

Unfortunately, moving to another faucet might mean that you
need a longer python line -- the longer the tubing, the
more resistance to the water flow -- so some of what you
gain in water pressure at the pump you might lose by using
longer tubing.

It can also make a big difference *when* you use the
python.  During banker's hours, when community water use is
highest, your domicile might experience a substantial drop
in water pressure (and flow rates) -- however, in the early
morning, for example, the pressure and flow might be fine.

I can't use a Python on my kitchen faucet during the summer
daytime, the pressure is just too low.  But any other time
it's fine.  The water company swears the pressure is just
fine, but I've measured it and it's sometimes 20 psi lower
during some summer days!

One alternative for doing water changes, if you have
trouble getting enough flow with your python, is to put a
powerhead on the end in place of the gravel tube.  This
works best with larger tanks where dropping in a power head
doesn't have to disturb a lot of plants -- more room to
move around.  Hooking up a powerhead *and* using the gravel
tube is a tricker proposition but it can be done, too. 
With a power head, you can forego the faucet hookup for
draining water.  On the plus side, you can use any old
cheap, noisy but powerful powerhead and let the water drain
wherever you want (toilet, garden, lawn, etc.)

Scott H.

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