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Homemade pump from UK materials

Homemade pump from UK materials

I’m thinking of getting into the pumping business but don’t have the money for an expensive “specially designed for” pump/cylinder. I know some people have used PetSmart in the US to get a gravel cleaner cylinder, and so looked on there and found the Hagen brand would probably be the right size. Ilooked it up and found a UK site that does them too and they are 15” long by 2” wide and only £9.99 (See here). However, I think some of that length could be the gravel guard, which would need to be removed.

Does anyone here know if these cylinders are good enough for pumping with? If not, where else in the UK could I get suitable cylinders?
I’ve already settled on going for the budget pump from, and would cross the bridge of connecting the pump and cylinder when I come to it (unless anyone has any knowledge on this they could share with me now :D ).

So does anyone know if the Hagen fish tank gravel cleaner cylinder is good enough?

Many thanks guys!

Start: 22 Mar 04: 6.5" BPEL x 4.6" EG & 6" head. As at: 1 Jan 05: 7.5" BPEL x 4.8-4.9" EG & 6.3" head.

Re-start!: 29 Sept 10: 7.0" BPEL x 4.7" EG & 5.5" head. As of: 14 Oct 10: 7.0" BPEL x 5.0" EG & 6.3" head (regained EQ). Ideal: ASAP: 8+" BPEL x 5.5+" EG & 6.5+" head But will continue if the going is good!!

The problem with gravel cleaner tubes is that they are thin walled and the opening digs into your groin when applying pressure.You can wrap this with electrical tape to thicken the opening and make it more comfortable.

The pump you settled on from thickwall is not going to be any good for you.It does not hold the vacuum and is used with the cylinders that have a quick release fitting with a non return valve.If you use this pump you will have to pump continuously to keep the pressure.

This is the pump I use,it has a gauge and holds the vacuum until you release it with the button on the side.

The gravel cleaner uses a thicker bore tube than the pump,so you will need some bits of pvc tubing to step down to the pump tubing.

An even better pump for an even better price! Thanks a lot 5phil! I was thinking of continuously pumpingto keep the pressure, but if the pump you mentioned would mean I don’t have to, then that’s much better! :D

In another thread hobby told me about some other gravel cleaners that look slightly better, so I’ll have to see if I can find them anywhere. He also told me about the problem of it digging in because of thin walls. I’m sure I could sort that out and I reckon I could find a way of connecting the pump and cylinder too.

Do you use a gravel cleaner tube as well? If so, which one is it you use. Otherwise, where did you get your tube from, or is it the Mustang Developer System, like the pump?

Thanks a lot 5phil!

Start: 22 Mar 04: 6.5" BPEL x 4.6" EG & 6" head. As at: 1 Jan 05: 7.5" BPEL x 4.8-4.9" EG & 6.3" head.

Re-start!: 29 Sept 10: 7.0" BPEL x 4.7" EG & 5.5" head. As of: 14 Oct 10: 7.0" BPEL x 5.0" EG & 6.3" head (regained EQ). Ideal: ASAP: 8+" BPEL x 5.5+" EG & 6.5+" head But will continue if the going is good!!

I went to Petsmart and bought a 2”x10” gravel cleaner.It was the only one they had,can’t remember the make.I did a search for a pump and found the mustang to be the best value.

I was washing the tube one day and I think the water was too hot as it cracked.

Eventually I thought of ordering a good cylinder from one of the American firms,but the thought of the English customs opening the package put me off.

I tried to buy some thickwall tube here,but it meant ordering a minimum quantity of something like 3metres.The price was very high,they also wanted to know what the tube was going to be used for.

When I was searching for thickwall I found

I now use a 2”x10” cylinder from them.It was about £55.00 which is expensive for a bit of plastic.Compared to paying £500.00 for a 3m. length which I thought was just a bit too long,even in my dreams,seemed reasonable.These cylinders are very thick,very comfortable and have the quick release fitting.If you can ever afford one, I would recommend them as a lifetime investment.The pumps though are cheaper at

I use clear silicone sealer from BnQ to forma a cushion at the opening of my tubes, home made or otherwise. It’s not the easiest of jobs, involves a slight art, but once you have the hang of it, it ok. The secret is not to apply too much at once and build it up in layers. I normally start on the inside, laying the cylinder on a flat surface and rolling the tube while applying the silicone. The next secret is to then use a wet finger to lightly mould the silicon to shape. Spit works excellent, but you need drop a mouthful into a container or whatever and dip your finger in that; even though the silicone doesn’t stick to your finger it still tastes bad! Once the desired shape is made, a nice taper on the side-wall, the next thicker layer can be run round butting up to the first. The wet finger then prods and smoothes the two surfaces together. The process is repeated till you have a nice smooth rubber lip that a cross section would show starts at no more than ½” up the inside of the tube, tapers away from the inside wall, forms round over the rim and returns roughly the same distance up the outside of the tube. Leave 24 hours before using……….bliss


I bought the interpet gravel cleaners. They can be found on most UK petshop sites.

A lot of sites don’t quite sizes so here they are:
Interpet - Medium 1.5 x 11 inches
Interpet - Large 2 x 12 inches.

The come with a funny nozle at the base for reaching into corners or whatever. This can easily be detached, so subtract about an inch from the cylinder length.

The 1.5” was too narrow for me. 2 is good but 1.75 would be fantastic for length work. If anyone’s come across a site/brand that produces gravel cleaners that are 1.75” in girth please post.

It is true that they are thin walled and are uncomfortable at the base. I sliced up a swimming cap. Added some superglue near the cylinder base. Placed the rubber strip in such a way so that the end of the cylinder was at half the breadth of the strip. Wound it round a few times and added some more glue. Then pushed the excess rubber that wasn’t hanging out into the tube. I hope that makes sense. :-)

Now all is good. But I am still looking for a 1.75” cylinder so please post if you know of one.

Oh, btw. The 2” cylinder comes with a super wide tube so you’ll have to think of a way to connect it to your pump.

Hey thanks a lot for all the info guys. I’m sure I’ll be able to make my own comfortable pump now. :D

Start: 22 Mar 04: 6.5" BPEL x 4.6" EG & 6" head. As at: 1 Jan 05: 7.5" BPEL x 4.8-4.9" EG & 6.3" head.

Re-start!: 29 Sept 10: 7.0" BPEL x 4.7" EG & 5.5" head. As of: 14 Oct 10: 7.0" BPEL x 5.0" EG & 6.3" head (regained EQ). Ideal: ASAP: 8+" BPEL x 5.5+" EG & 6.5+" head But will continue if the going is good!!

Hello all :-) , this is my first post on Thunders but I have been reading the threads for a while now.Excellent forum!

Anyway I thought I should tell you about a gravel cleaner that I bought today which can be used as a cheap penis pump.

It is an “Algarde Standard Aquarium Gravel Cleaner” and I bought it from Ebay UK - cost me £5.68 (new)

The cylinder is 9 1/2 inches X 1 5/8 inches (internal diameter).

It comes with a length of clear hose and a tap (but the tap doesn’t hold vacuum pressure- pity)

The top of the cylinder has a plastic green cover where the hose fits on, but this is not glued and so you will need to fix it with something but before you do that, take it off because there is a plastic filter underneath that isn’t required.

I fixed my top on with amalgamating tape just for now and it seals fine.

For all those guys looking for a cheap tube that is smaller than 2”.. Now you know :-)

Nice to get a welcome from the big man himself. Thanks Thunder :-)


Any luck with getting that diy pump to work? If not I ended up saving some money importing mine from the states. With that puny dollar you can make quite a saving!


I am trying to improve the tap which comes with my Algarde gravel cleaner so that it will hold pressure.

My idea is to build a pump as cheap and simple as possible, and I’ve read in various posts that you can get more than enough vacuum by just sucking out the air by mouth. This seems to be the case with my tests ( I’ve used it dry and in the bath).

I’m new to pumping and I want to do it safely so I will be incorporating a gauge into the pipeline so I know exactly how much pressure I’m using.

Will be getting that soon, but for now I’m working on the tap so it doesn’t let in air ( except when I want to release of course ;)

Up to now I’ve used just the cylinder and pipe and blocked the end of the pipe with my tongue lol but I know this isn’t good because it can pump up my tongue haha.

Just experimenting at the moment..

Oh by the way the cylinder has a plastic ring around the base which is about 3.5 - 4 mm thick so it isn’t too thin there and also strengthens it.

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