If you want to keep your aquarium clean, you will need a gravel cleaner. By presenting you with our guide containing the best aquarium vacuum cleaner reviews you will be able to identify a gravel cleaner to suit your needs.
There are many models of vacuum cleaners on the market today that are helpful in ensuring that you maintain an excellent aquarium substrate.
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With the best environment, the aquarium inhabitants will have an easy time living in a home that is clean from build-up of debris and waste on the bottom of the tank.
Many years ago my thinking process about aquarium gravel was simple. The gravel was gravel and therefore inherently dirty like road gravel.
I believed that since this gravel was underwater, it must be as clean as it could possible be.
If you are seeking an aquarium siphon, or vacuum, you are in the right place.
In this buyer’s guide, we look at the different types that can be bought and summarize their benefits.
After researching 40+ different gravel vacuums, we have narrowed it down to the selection below which we have reviewed for you. The ones we selected are suitable for every aquarium size.
We aim to give you a better understand aquarium gravel dredgers, including which one is perfect for your tank.
Why Do You Need a an Aquarium Vacuum Cleaner?
One of the most common causes of marine and freshwater fish disease is stress. Poor water conditions in the aquarium often cause stress, so keeping your tank meticulously clean is critical for your fish to thrive. But it is not always easy to remove fish waste and uneaten food from the substrate. This waste can change the chemistry of the water, which may hinder the health of your fish.
Thus having a gravel vacuum will enable aquarium maintenance to be speedier and much more efficient to just using a siphon hose. A cleaner aquarium environment means healthier happy fish.
If you own an aquarium, it is your responsibility to maintain a healthy environment for your aquatic life. This includes cleaning substrates regularly. The best way to do this would be by using an underwater vacuum cleaner specifically designed for aquariums.
Left over food, fish waste and plant material end up in the substrate and begin to decompose. Decomposition increases ammonia levels that are toxic to fish and it reduces oxygen in the water. Cleaning, using traditional methods, where you need to siphon water from the aquarium is not the best way to go. It can be messy and cumbersome.
Many fish, corals and plants, have very narrow parameters with water chemistry and with water PH that ensures their survival. When wastes build up the fish will stress. A vacuum cleaner helps maintain a consistent water chemistry.
Top 10 Best Gravel Cleaners
Best Aquarium Vacuum Cleaner Reviews
1. Python No Spill Clean and Fill Aquarium Maintenance System
The health of your aquarium is always important. This requires having the correct maintenance system. The Python No Spill Clean and Fill Aquarium Maintenance System should help you with this.
So why do people like this product?
One thing is for certain, you will always get the best performance when using this type of product. It is easy to operate.
Setting up complexed equipment can be off putting for some. This product does not need to be assembled. The manufacturer will send it assembled. Just open the packaging and use it in your aquarium.
I am impressed with the quality. It is well made and value for money and the materials are FDA approved.
- Save time
- Environmentally friendly
- Best quality
- Easy to use
- None that I can see
2. SunGrow Aquarium Gravel Cleaner Kit
There’s no point in being messy when it comes to cleaning your tank. The Sungrow Aquarium Gravel Cleaner Kit comes with all the necessary equipment to clean the aquarium.
You get a portable controller that is effective at removing debris from the aquarium easily. Within minutes of cleaning you should start to see a difference in your aquarium water.
The product is suitable for fresh and saltwater tanks.
The equipment will allow for easy routine maintenance. Use the short nozzle to clean gravel and substrate. The flexible tube allows you to reach the behind rocks and plants where debris has built up. The vacuum is designed for ease.
- Easy to use
- Less time to set up
- Compact for hassle-free storage
- Easy maintenance
- Some quality issues
3. Luigi’s Aquarium Siphon and Gravel Cleaner
This is the perfect option if you regularly change the water in your tank.
The Luigi’s Aquarium Siphon and Gravel Cleaner, allows for easy filtering of the gravel at the bottom of the tank. It easily removes uneaten food, waste and debris that has accumulated over time.
There is a filter in this cleaner, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally sucking up small shrimps or fish. Other vacuum cleaner suction tubes do not have this function. However, the holes in the filter are a little small, so it is not able to suck up the bigger chunks of debris.
This product is affordable, being value for money, and comes with a 100% money back guarantee. So you can buy it with confidence.
- The filter prevents it from sucking up small fish or shrimps
- The affordable price makes it good value
- Hand pump
- No instructions are supplied
- Syphon hole small- not able to suck larger pieces of debris
4. SSRIVER Aquarium Gravel Cleaner
The SSRIVER Aquarium Gravel Cleaner has a practical design that allows you to clean aquariums of different sizes, and it is easy to operate.
Having a filter feature prevents the suction of gravel or even small fish or shrimp. The filter allows for easy separation of waste from things that should remain in your tank.
To use this aquarium vacuum cleaner, simply press the air push button to pump water. You can use the flow regulator, so you can go as fast or slow as you want while sucking the water out of your tank.
The product comes with some great accessories that other vacuum cleaners don’t have. These include a glass scraper, flow clamp, valve and filter.
The company offers a money back guarantee if customers are not happy with the product.
- Adjustable flow
- Lots of accessories, including a glass scraper.
- The air push button starts the water flow
- No seals, so air can escape and weaken suction
- Leaks can occur
5. Marina Easy Clean Gravel Cleaner
This Marina Easy Clean Gravel Cleaner is designed to be a hassle-free option.
This device comes with a hose that will never kink. It also has a comfortable grip and the tube is oval in shape, making it easy to tuck the hose into the corners of the tank.
The cleaning vacuum component is 15 inches long and 2.5 inches in diameter. It comes with a 1.8 meter tube. The gravel vacuum works quickly to pick up dirt without any problems. A protective attachment prevents you from vacuuming up gravel or fish.
The tube is soft and flexible, making it easy to use and manoeuvre. A feature of a flow valve, allows you to control the speed of the water flow.
- Soft flexible hose that doesn’t kink
- 6 foot tube, perfect for large tanks
- Includes a protection accessory to prevent suction of gravel or fish
- Not a very sturdy product
- Very small pieces of gravel can pass through the gravel protector
6. LL Products Gravel Vacuum for Aquarium
This LL Products Gravel Vacuum is a BPA-free gravel cleaning kit. The kit helps you clean the area around the gravel, and it does this quickly and easily.
The vacuum has one-way flow control, so you don’t have to worry about water spilling onto the floor or into the tank.
This kit also comes with a shut-off valve, allowing you to adjust the flow of the water. You can also cut off the flow completely, which is convenient when you’re done cleaning the gravel.
Having a feature of a hand pump enables easy starting the water flow. Another feature, a filter ensures that the vacuum will not suck in any of your fish or gravel.
You can cut the rigid tubing to a length that suits the size of your tank. Therefore the vacuum can suit a 10 gallon tank through to a large 100 gallon tank.
- Comes with a filter to prevent sucking fish/gravel
- Easily adjusted water flow
- BPA-free design (not toxic to fish)
- Joints can leak water
- It is big and bulky compared to other vacuums.
7. EHEIM Quick Vac Pro
The EHEIM Quick Vac Pro is a battery run electric gravel vacuum. Being an electric vacuum, it comes with a higher price tag to the simpler manual hand gravel cleaners.
What’s good about this battery electric vacuum, is that it does not have electric cords that could pose a danger and they get in the way.
This product works as a vacuum cleaner and not as a water exchanger.
4 AA batteries are required, giving you 4 hours running time. Plenty of time to clean your tank many times over.
The Quick Vac is ideal for tanks with a lot of organic waste and uneaten food on the gravel bed. The vacuum uses gentle sucking to draw in debris. The water flow passes through a fine mesh that traps the debris, then the water returns to the tank.
When you’re done, it is a simple step to take out the mesh cartridge, empty and clean it, then put the mesh back for use next time. It’s that easy.
- Easy to use
- Doesn’t suck the water out of the tank
- Gentle suction
- Convenience of being battery operated
- More expensive
- Some reviews say the construction is poor quality
- Some reviews point out that the impeller tends to jam
8. KollerCraft TOM Mr Cleaner
Update as of 11th April 2022: This product is no longer available on Amazon.
The KollerCraft TOM Mr Cleaner is another battery operated unit and the company says it gives a 3-in-1 cleaning option. You can use it to clean gravel, remove algae, and extract dirty water.
The unit uses 2 C-batteries. The vacuum can be fully submerged under water and better suits smaller nano tanks.
Although better suited to smaller tanks, it does have a tube that stretches to 16 inches. The aquarium gravel vacuum sucks in the water, with the water passing through a filter screen to catch the debris.
The water can then be either returned to the tank, or is drawn through a hose into a bucket.
- Works well once the operation is understood
- Well priced
- Assembling it is easy, however, it was noted that a small black piece must be removed before putting on the “sock” that catches the debris.
- You will need to be careful so that you don’t end up close to the edge of your tank so the water runs out onto your floor.
- Requires a certain tilt for it to work correctly
- Some reviews say the debris catching sock doesn’t work so well (these people replace it with a standard women’s nylon stocking)
9. Fluval EDGE Gravel Cleaner
The Fluval EDGE Gravel Cleaner is an effective and affordable tool for cleaning gravel in moderately sized tanks.
The angled design of the vacuum head makes it easy to access the gravel depths of your aquarium. Additionally, the siphon comes with two different head attachments: one that is designed for cleaning bulk gravel, and one that is narrower for easy cleaning of the corners of the tank.
The gravel guard built into the top of the hose prevents the hose from clogging with gravel, avoiding the headache experienced with other gravel siphons.
Another advantage is that this siphon is designed with an easy start valve, which only requires moving the vacuum head up and down to pressurize the tube and start continuous water suction.Check Price On Amazon
10. Siphon-style Gravel Vacuums
Consisting of little more than a hose and a hollow tube, this is the most popular type of gravel dredger. The Siphon-style Gravel Vacuum is inexpensive and available in a wide variety of sizes. This product is a favorite for beginners and experts alike.
The downside to this simple vacuum is that to clean your gravel you also have to drain the water from your tank.
- Wide range of sizes
- Option to siphon water from tank and/or clean your gravel
- No batteries required as gravity does all the work
- It takes practice to use it correctly
- Improper use can lead to spillage
- You cannot clean the gravel without draining the water
Our No1 Pick for the Best Aquarium Vacuum Cleaner Reviews
We selected the best aquarium Vacuum cleaner options, ensuring we included in our review the cheaper simple products through to more expensive electric products that come with greater features.
That said, the Python No Spill Clean and Fill Aquarium Maintenance System is, in our view, the pick of them all.
The Python is well designed, is simple to use and allows for quick cleaning without disturbing the fish or decorations in your tank.
Customer reviews rated it well and this vacuum gives good value for money.
How to Use an Aquarium Vacuum Cleaner?
It is not easy to fully explain how to use an aquarium vacuum as it may vary from model to model. Therefore, it is important that you refer to the vacuum cleaner manufacturer’s instructions to understand the specifics of their product.
For the majority of the models, the operating systems are quite simple.
How often Should You Vacuum the Gravel in the Aquarium?
When it comes to how often to vacuum your gravel, it depends on the type of aquarium you have. Some aquariums may have more fish or plants, so it’s important to vacuum more often.
For most fish aquariums, once a week should be sufficient.
Using a siphon to clean the gravel in your tank is an important job in maintaining a welcoming environment for your fish, and for the prevention of ammonia build-up. Gravel siphons can make water changes easier to do.
Identifying the right cleaner from the many models sold in aquarium stores has required much research into reading about the product features and looking carefully at customer reviews.
Ultimately, we are confident that all the products we have covered in our Best Aquarium Vacuum Cleaner Reviews are worth considering. It does depend upon your type of aquarium and what you are prepared to spend.