I've enjoyed reading all of your books, and had the pleasure of listening to you a few times at Brooklyn Aquarium Society meetings. I have what seems like a fairly simple problem; unfortunately I can't seem to come up with a solution to. I have a homemade sump, (a 40 gallon breeder tank), with three chambers that I based on an Ecosystem Method refugium. In the first chamber, I'm starting to accumulate a lot of detritus that unfortunately I can't seem to figure out a good way to remove. The sump sits too close to ground level to siphon it out, and I've thought about using a Python siphon hooked up to my faucet, or a diatom filter, but I was hoping for an easier method, or perhaps some other method I haven't thought of to solve this problem. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Barry Herzner Brooklyn, NY
New York, my old hometown! I've had similar problems from some fish keepers of systems too low or at floor level to adequately begin or keep a siphon going. And in each, suggested using a very long length, maybe six feet or more if need be, of flexible and narrow diameter 'clear' plastic tubing. Then begin by placing one end of the tubing at the pile of detritus in the aquarium to be removed, and after a few deep breaths, place the other end of the tubing in your mouth. Then pull enough water into the tube to get it over the side of the aquarium by drawing some of air in the tube into your mouth. By using a clear tube, you can then see the flow and stop it before it enters your mouth by placing a finger over the tube end opening. Place this end of the tube into a large container, something with a large surface area, yet not height. If feasible, place the end of the tube into the end of a garden hose that winds its way out of the house and to a lower receptacle, either outside the house or in the basement. It works, but may have to be repeated several times to get all that needs to be removed. So keep a few cold ones on ice just incase something like a mouthwash is needed!
Hope this helps, and if not, just try some of the mouthwash!