7 Best Aquarium Gravel Vacuums for Fish Tanks

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If you own a fish tank, it’s quite likely that you need to clean the gravel on the tank’s floor from time to time. Actually, this is a recommended procedure, to ensure a healthy environment for your fish.

Is there any way to clean the gravel in an efficient manner? Yes there is. Using a gravel vacuum is a popular and easy method to clean the bottom of your aquarium. Also, it’s not only popular, but efficient as well.

In this article, we’ll talk about the best aquarium gravel vacuums you can purchase online. Any of the items can be easily found on Amazon. All you need to do, is make a quick search on the site, and you’ll find the item you need.

Once I described these products one-by-one, you’ll also learn why you should use such a device in the first place, how you can use it efficiently and how often should you clean the gravel using the vacuum cleaner, to ensure an optimal performance. Let’s start with the first item:

1. EHEIM Quick Vac Pro

This is the first item we gladly recommend for cleaning your aquarium’s gravel. The EHEIM Quick Vac Pro works well in all kinds of fish tanks, and the best news is: it does a full cleaning of the tank, not only the gravel.

To use it, you only need 2 AA batteries, that will provide the power. This is quite handy, because there aren’t any cables lying around while you clean the gravel. It’s much more efficient and easy to use, than the ones which need to be plugged into the wall.

It’s designed to pick up dirt particles, remove waste and extract sludge. Due to its super fine mesh cartridge, it will trap even the smallest waste particles, and let clean water drop back inside your aquarium.

The cleaning of the vacuum cleaner is also quite simple, due to its detachable cartridge. You can easily snap it out, clean it and put it back inside when you’re done.

To be sure it works with your tank, you should know that a fish tank with at least 12” depth is needed for this vacuum cleaner. Also, this device is not recommended for very fine sand or gravel.

Using this device, will also extend the time between water changes, because you remove much of the dirt using it regularly. Also, the money spent for additives and water maintenance substances can greatly be reduced.


2. Python No Spill Clean and Fill Aquarium Maintenance System

This product comes in multiple different versions; however, I will talk about the first one, that comes with a 25-foot-long hose. For most people, this version is more than enough. The Python was designed to work as a simple yet effective maintenance system, that will clean your gravel in no-time.

You don’t need any buckets, or siphons or anything else. All is done using the device itself. Basically, this is a ready-to-use vacuum system, that even beginners will easily handle.

Something interesting about it, is the fact that you can use it for water changes too. That’s because it can drain and fill aquariums as well, making the process a whole lot easier. What will you get in the package?

First of all, the 25 foot hose is the main part of the box. Then, a 10 inch gravel tube is added, that will play an important role in siphoning the gravel from the tank’s bottom. Also, hose connectors are included too with a faucet pump and brass faucet adapter.


3. Laifoo Aquarium Vacuum Gravel Cleaner

This device is a quality product that works as a 2-in-1 device. How is that? You can use it to siphon the water out of the tank, through the vacuum cleaner, and also refill the clean water by switching the connector. The vacuum can siphon all kinds of impurities, and fish faeces out of the aquarium.

You can sink the device inside the water, and leave it do its job. Due to its slick design, it won’t bother any of your marine life, or tank decors either. Also, disturbing and stressing out your fish is out of the question.

It’s made of elastic clear plastic, that does not have any bad consequences on your fish. Also, it comes with no peculiar smell, or any other unwanted effects.

Using it is very simple. All you need to do, is pinch it 3 to 5 times, then the water will flow through it automatically. It won’t strike or blow in the tube either.

The company offers a great deal regarding warranty: after 3 months of purchasing the device, they will take care of any technical or quality related issues that might surface. Of course, they will refund you, if you find the product to not be at your liking.


4. NICREW Automatic Gravel Cleaner

The NICREW gravel vacuum is a product that not only cleans the gravel in your tank, but also the whole aquarium itself. It’s a 3-in-1 unit, that was built to suit all kinds of needs, and clean efficiently whole fish tanks.

For instance, a sponge filter is included in the device. What is the purpose of it? This sponge filter will trap all the debris in the tank, and leave a cleaner environment after use. Also, it’s quite simple to clean this sponge, which is a nice feature for anyone.

You can use this vacuum cleaner to remove all impurities from the top layers of your gravel in the tank. All this is done without disturbing the bottom layer of gravel. The build-up of harmful toxins in your fish tank will also be reduced to harmless levels, while reducing strain on your filter.

The device is equipped with a flow adjustment valve, to control the water flow rate. However, the hose for doing so is not included, so keep this mind when buying it.


5. GOOBAT Automatic Aquarium Gravel Vacuum Cleaner

The GOOBAT vacuum cleaner is a full tank maintenance system, like the one before. It’s ideal to entirely clean a fish tank, and maintain a good water quality in it.

The main feature for it though, is the automated gravel cleaning system, that works well without taking consideration of the tank’s parameters. It allows you to clean the gravel, remove detritus without regard to the changes in water levels.

You need a tank that has at least 8 inches in depth, so the device will work at its peak performance. The adjustable work height, will do the cleaning for tanks up to 30 inches deep. It was designed to work in both fresh water and salt water environments either.

It removes all kinds of debris from the tank, like plants, uneaten food, and waste that got stuck on the bottom of the aquarium. Using other methods, it could be difficult to remove all of them properly, but this vacuum cleaner will do the job efficiently.

A 12-month warranty is backing up your eventual purchase, meaning that if something happens, the company behind the items will gladly repair or even change it for a new product.


6. PERSUPER Genuine Aquarium Gravel Sand Cleaner

This product is quite similar to 2 others I already talked about. Even so, it’s worth taking a look at, because the PERSUPER can do a great job at cleaning your aquarium. Its main purpose is as a gravel cleaner, but it does a perfect job as a tank maintenance unit, and as a water cleaner in general.

It’s used to clean the tank from uneaten fish food that floats around in the tank, or sticks to the bottom of the tank. Fish excrement is also easily sucked out the tank using this device. The good thing about it is the fact that you can use it to cycle the water through it, thus filtering it from all these waste particles.

You don’t need instructions to be able to use the PERSUPER. Its installation is basically child’s play, and you’re all set for use in minutes.

It’s worth mentioning that the manufacturer used environmentally friendly materials, that are also durable, thus making the item a quality product.

You can transport water from one container to another, using the pump and drainage system built into the device. This allows for a quick and efficient water change, that every fish keeper must do from time to time.


7. Toopify Aquarium Gravel Cleaner

The last item on our list is the Toopify Gravel Cleaner. This product is a top-notch device, that is used by beginner and more proficient fish enthusiasts as well. What can you do with it?

Of course, like its name suggests, it’s a great gravel vacuum cleaner. However, let’s see what does it do more exactly: it washes the sand on the bottom of your tank, to clean it from all impurities; it removes fish excrement; it’s used for raking sand as well; scraping algae is also possible with it.

These are all great things, but there’s a bonus: you can change the whole body of water in the aquarium too, using the Toopify. This is done with a hose (included in the package), and 2 drainage ends. The process is all the same, as with the previous model I talked about earlier.

Cleaning the device is quite simple, because the sand cleaner that’s present in it, won’t get blocked by gravel particles. Because of this, you don’t need to do maintenance work too often.

Something interesting about it, is that you don’t need electricity for it to function. It was built as a manual gravel cleaner, meaning that you are the one who operates the pump as well. On the top of the handle, the pump is placed that you operate directly.


Why You Should Use a Gravel Vacuum?

The most basic reason for using an aquarium gravel vacuum, is to clean the tank more efficiently from all the debris that sits on the bottom. Maybe you’re thinking a traditional water filter will do the job just fine.

However, most water filters rarely clean the bottom of the tank. Because of this fact, you need something to clean it directly, otherwise, all kinds of waste particles can settle down on it.

Many people use certain fish breeds, that will clean the bottom of the tank. These fish species are great at this, and quite efficient too. However, if you don’t want to add new fish mates to your tank, a vacuum cleaner could be a better idea.

Another reason for using a gravel vacuum, is to change the water in the tank regularly. As you can see from multiple devices I listed above, they can be easily used for water changes. The process is a lot easier, than doing it without such a device.

A gravel vacuum is good for another motive too: it’s efficient and easy to use, no matter if you’re a beginner or a more professional fish keeper. Especially if you’re a beginner fish enthusiast, a gravel vacuum will be of great help, when you need to clean the tank. It’s quick and easy, that results in quality clean water and bottom gravel.

How to Use a Gravel Vacuum?

First of all, make sure the hose’s length and the syphon’s head are connected well-together. If so, you can proceed, without the issue of spilling large amounts of water outside the tank.

Next, find something to collect the water into. A simple bucket will do just fine, but if you have another aquarium in which to collect it, it’s even better.

Next, place the head of the vacuum in the aquarium, and syphon the water using it. Move the head of the vacuum through the gravel on the floor, to look for all kinds of waste, and remnants to get rid of them. If there are any decorations or plants in the tank, you can clean them as well.

When you’re finished with the whole gravel, get clean water and rinse the vacuum through it. Include the head and the whole tube especially. When you’re finished, store the device in a dry and cold spot, until you’ll need it again in the future.

How Often Should You Clean the Gravel?

There isn’t a specific number you should know when thinking about this. Why? Because every single aquarium has its certain characteristics. Your fish tank is totally different from another one that someone else has set up.

Deciding on how often the gravel should be cleaned, is up to you mostly. If the tank is smaller, you should do it more often, than with a big tank. Why? Because a smaller tank gets filled with waste much faster than a big one. It’s quite logical actually.

But if you still want an exact number, let me give you an idea about it: a medium sized tank, one that has a capacity of about 20 gallons, will do great if you vacuum it once a month. Of course, if you feel it’s needed even more often, it’s up to you to clean the fish tank.

Besides the tank’s size, you should also consider how many fish you have, and what species they are. Of course, more fish will result in a dirtier tank quicker than otherwise. Also, certain species will leave more waste than others.


In this article we talked about the best aquarium gravel vacuum cleaners. As we mentioned above, any of these items could prove to be a good fit for your tank. To make a good decision, think about the aspects I talked above.

Especially consider a vacuum cleaner that will work proficiently with your personal tank’s size. It’s true, these products are all quality items. However they won’t all work well with specific tank capacities. Keep this in mind when making your choice.

When you have your winner, all you need to do is set it up, and start the cleaning process. In most cases, every cleaner works in the same way. So, if you know a general rule of use, what I described above, you’ll be able to make the most out of your new aquarium gravel vacuum.

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.

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