Regular maintenance is critical to keep your aquarium’s ecosystem thriving and looking great. New hobbyists are surprised and overwhelmed by how much work goes into maintenance. Fortunately, here is where specialized tools come in and save the day. By investing in a premium gravel cleaner and aquarium filler, keeping the water clean is no longer going to be a problem. The tricky part is finding the best tools for your aquarium.
If you go asking on aquarium forums what are the best maintenance tools to buy, you will get thousands of different responses. This is thanks to the fact that each tool offers features that are great for certain scenarios. We want to make things simpler for you, and we are going to present the top 8 aquarium gravel cleaners and fillers while highlighting their most important features. Without any further ado, let’s get into it.
|Product||Operating mode||Price range|
|Aqueon Aquarium Water Changer||faucet/automatic||$$|
|EHEIM Quick Vac Pro Automatic Gravel Cleaner and Sludge Extractor||electric||$$|
|Python No Spill Clean and Fill Aquarium Maintenance System||faucet/automatic||$$$|
|Laifoo Aquarium Vacuum Gravel Cleaner||faucet/automatic||$$|
|Aqueon Medium Siphon Vacuum||manual||$|
|TERAPUMP Genuine Aquarium Pond Fish Tank Cleaner||manual||$|
|SSRIVER Aquarium Gravel Cleaner||manual||$|
|Python Pro-Clean Gravel Washer Siphon Kit||manual||$|
One of the most useful tools that you can buy to make your aquarium maintenance effective and easy is a water changer. This is why we are going to kick off our list with the premium Aqueon Aquarium Water Changer. This is a high-quality product that manages to stand out by featuring auto-siphons. The water changer is super easy to use, and it does a fantastic job of superiorly siphoning the gravel. You can also use the tool as an aquarium filler. Getting clean water in the tank will require minimum effort, and you will do it in record time.
As previously noted, the Aqueon Aquarium Water Changer is super easy to use. The only thing that you need to do is connect it to a sink. After doing this, the tool will be ready to begin vacuuming the gravel and to add clean water when the cleaning process is over. Another essential feature that we want to highlight is that this aquarium gravel cleaner keeps a steady water flow. Therefore, the gravel will not be agitated and set loose dirt that can dispense in the sink. Not just that, but you don’t have to worry about water spills ever again.
- Easy to use;
- It keeps a steady water flow;
- Built-in on and off valve;
- It can be used to fill the tank;
- The plastic materials are not durable.
The EHEIM Quick Vac Pro is your best choice if you are looking for a maintenance tool that is not only super easy to use, but that doesn’t need to be connected to the sink in order to work. Unlike aquarium gravel cleaners that use siphons and require either a sink or bucket, the EHEIM Quick Vac Pro does it all on its own. Therefore, maintaining your fish tank clean is no longer going to be an annoying task that you dread doing. The only thing that you are required to do with this tool is to press a single button and insert the suction end into the gravel. Also, the cartridge lets the water back into the aquarium when picking up rocks.
The great thing about using a gravel cleaner and sludge extractor that doesn’t rely on siphons is that you are getting advanced suction power. The EHEIM Quick Vac Pro excels at picking up all dust, including the specks that you can barely see. If you are worried that cleaning the aquarium gravel cleaner is going to be tedious, then you should be pleased to know that this is not the case. The manufacturers have equipped the tool with a detachable super-fine mesh cartridge. This allows you to take it out for super-fast cleaning.
- It doesn’t rely on siphoning (no sink or bucket required);
- Gets all gravel and dust;
- The cartridge is removable (easy cleaning);
- Fully submersible up to 3 feet;
- Battery operated;
- It doesn’t function as an aquarium filler.
Right from the start, we want to mention that the Python water changer is a bestselling product on Amazon with an overall rating of 4.5 stars from more than five thousand customers. This shows us that Python’s aquarium gravel cleaner is a high-quality product that is a good choice for all aquariums. The system is ready-to-use, and this means that you don’t have to do anything else other than to connect it to a sink. The manufacturers have bundled the product with an integrated faucet attachment that is adaptable to all types of faucets or sinks. Additionally, the integrated faucet attachment makes it super simple to connect the water cleaner.
Moreover, the Python No Spill Clean and Fill Aquarium Maintenance System doesn’t use a siphon. This is excellent news because it means that you don’t have to deal with unstable water flow that can cause issues to the tank’s inhabitants. Not just that, but the aquarium gravel cleaner is equipped with a directional flow valve. You can use this feature to alter the water flow direction in any way you want. The last thing that we want to mention about this bestselling product is that it ships with the following accessories: hose connectors, a 25-feet long hose, switch, gravel tube, brass faucet adapter, and a faucet pump.
- Easy to use;
- You will get lots of accessories;
- It controls the flow of water;
- It works without a siphon;
- It is compatible with all faucets and sinks.
The suction tube is made of plastic.
On the fourth spot, we have the premier vacuum gravel cleaner from Laifoo. This company is a leader in the industry, and the Laifoo Aquarium Vacuum Gravel Cleaner is its flagship device. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the aquarium gravel cleaner is equipped with durable attachments and a 25-feet long hose that is made from elastic, clear plastic. This material is excellent because you can be sure that it will not harm the fishes. Moreover, the hose is anti-kinking, so you don’t have to spend minutes trying to set it up properly every time that you want to do maintenance.
What makes this product unique other than the outstanding build quality is the fact that it ships with a siphon ball. You only need to squeeze it 3 to 5 times, and the water will already have a strong flow that is powerful enough to clean all gravel and impurities. The flow can also be redirected so that you can use the water cleaner as an aquarium filler. We also want to mention that the manufacturer is offering three months of warranty after the date of purchase. If something goes wrong, you will instantly get a free replacement or a full refund.
- Free replacement or full refund warranty;
- 25-feet long hose (elastic, clear plastic);
- It works as an aquarium filler;
- Siphon ball;
- Premium build quality;
- The installation is complicated.
If you spent most of your budget on a big fish tank and you are now running low on funds, then the aquarium gravel cleaner from Aqueon is your best choice. This is an affordable product that doesn’t require any additional hardware to function. It doesn’t even need to be connected to a sink or faucet. The vacuum cleaner is manual, and it is equipped with a self-starting siphon feature. Therefore, you can get a good water flow without having to spend five minutes pumping. Thanks to the wide nozzle, you will even be able to clean a much more considerable amount of space than with traditional aquarium gravel cleaners.
The Aqueon Medium Siphon vacuum uses self-priming, and thus, cleaning the aquarium doesn’t require too much effort. A simple up and down motion with the intake is more than enough to prime the flow and start disposing of the gravel and other impurities. Another big advantage that comes with using a manual water filler is that you can get in hard to reach spots without having to remove the decorations inside the fish tank.
- Great price;
- Self-starting siphon;
- Wide nozzle;
- It can clean hard to reach spots;
- Easy to use.
- Manual operation
Just like the previous product on our list, the TERAPUMP Genuine Aquarium Fish Tank Cleaner is an excellent choice if you don’t mind manual operation. Cleaners that require manual operation are worth it in the long run because they sell for an affordable price, and you don’t have to carry the water to the fish tank anymore. What makes this aquarium filler an outstanding product is its versatility. You can use the TEREPUMP Genuine Aquarium Fish Tank Cleaner for multiple purposes, starting with cleaning sand and ending with removing even the smallest speckles of dust. The versatility of the product comes as a courtesy of the large suction tube that works great with big fish tanks.
By ordering this product, you will get two types of nozzles. The first model is the short nozzle that is ideal to use for drainage. The second model is longer, and it’s advised to use it when trying to clean the leftover food from fish, gravel, and other impurities that you don’t want to stay inside the fish tank. The way the nozzles work is by carefully replacing the water while removing debris. Your fish will not even know that the water filler is there. Additionally, you will have no problem dealing with large gravel. The pump is equipped with a special design that prevents large stones from blocking it during operation.
- Great price.
- It is highly versatile;
- You are getting two types of nozzles;
- Dealing with large gravel is not a problem;
- The water flow doesn’t disturb the fish.
- Manual operation
Right from the start, we want to mention that SSRIVER Aquarium Gravel Cleaner is the perfect tool if you don’t like wasting time. The product is designed to be easy to use. You only need to press one button for the water to start pumping, and you are ready to go. Moreover, the aquarium gravel cleaner is equipped with a flow adjuster feature that makes it super simple for you to find the right water flow not to disturb your aquarium’s inhabitants. We also want to highlight that the SSRIVER Aquarium Gravel Cleaner is the perfect choice if you want to avoid making a mess in the house.
What many people seem to forget when searching for tools to help them do maintenance for their aquariums is that many accessories extra can speed up the process. The manufacturers of this product want to make sure that you don’t have any additional expenses and they are bundling the aquarium gravel cleaner with a bundle of useful accessories. You will get a water flow clamp, hose clamp, glass scraper for algae stains, soft hose, and anti-backflow valve design. It is worth mentioning that the valve is designed to prevent blocking from debris.
- You get many accessories;
- Easy to use;
- The flow is adjustable;
- It works with the simple press of a button;
- You don’t need to pump water.
- There are no seals for the suction.
We want to end our list with a premium product that is going to transform your aquarium maintenance into a relaxing activity. This is why we have picked the Python Pro-Cleaner Gravel Washer Siphon Kit to be featured on the last spot. The product is made from high-quality tubing materials that are flexible enough to prevent kinking and cracks. The product ships ready to use, and you can start cleaning the water in your fish tank right from the very first moment that you take it out of the box. Thanks to the manual hand pump design, you don’t have to rely on a sink or faucet to help you get a steady water flow that is fast enough to clear debris. This will also help you keep your house clean and hose-free when doing aquarium maintenance.
As previously noted, the tubing is very flexible. This is an important feature to have because it will help you guide the tubes into spots that you would usually have a difficult time reaching. Moreover, the siphoning is slow and gentle so that you fish are not scared by the water flow. They will not mind the maintenance, and you can use the slow siphoning to your advantage by not rushing and cleaning all gravel and impurities. Lastly, you can purchase a squeeze starter bulb that can be attached to the aquarium gravel cleaner to transform it into a hand pump.
- Flexible tubing;
- It reaches difficult spots;
- Easy to use;
- You don’t need to assemble it;
- Slow siphoning (stable water flow).
- It doesn’t ship with a hand pump.
Aquarium vacuum cleaner buying guide
If you checked out the top 8 vacuum cleaner and filers on our list and you are still undecided on which one is best for your aquarium, then you don’t need to worry. We have your back! There are a handful of essential factors that you need to consider when buying a vacuum gravel cleaner to help you with maintenance, and we are going to present them right now. You can check them out below.
Pick the type right type
The first thing that you need to do when looking for an aquarium gravel cleaner and filler is to determine what is the right type for your needs. There are two types, and they both have their fair share of pros and cons.
Manual Gravel Cleaners
As the name implies, manual gravel cleaners are operated by the user. This type ships with a standard clear and durable tube that is attached to a siphon to create a good water flow. Manual gravel cleaners are the most popular choice because they are cheaper and will run without needing to be connected to batteries. On the downside of things, they are a bit more challenging to set up. Not just that, but you also require a large container that will be used to drain the water safely.
Electric Gravel Cleaners
The second type that you will encounter are electric gravel cleaners. They run on batteries and are available in 2-in-1 models. This means that an electric gravel cleaner can also be used to filter the outer. Installing electric gravel cleaners is super simple, and the only thing that you are required to do is to set them up in an upright position from which they can start extracting the gravel. The cons to using electric gravel cleaners are that they require batteries, are more expensive, and produce vibration/sound.
The size of the fish tank
One essential factor that you shouldn’t overlook is the size of your fish tank. The reason behind this is that using a small vacuum cleaner on a big fish tank is not going to be that effective, and getting rid of all debris will take lots of time. Not just that, but you should never use a big vacuum cleaner on a small fish tank because the outcome is not good. The strong water flow can endanger your fish. Therefore, make sure to find an aquarium gravel cleaner that is ideal for your specific fish tank’s dimensions.
The substrate that you are using
Even though vacuum cleaners do a fantastic job when it comes to maintenance, they are not suited for all types of aquariums. They are recommended for fish tanks that are filled with gravel. This is because fish waste and food alongside other debris will get easily stuck in the gravel. If the substrate is made from something else such as sand, for example, you don’t need to use a vacuum cleaner.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a gravel vacuum?
The answer is yes. Regular maintenance is an essential part of all thriving aquariums. Using a high-quality aquarium gravel cleaner and filler will make sure that the maintenance is done well. You can easily siphon the water out of the fish tank, and it is more effective than doing it with a pitcher. In addition, the substrate is quite difficult to clean by hand. Getting fish food out from the gravel without taking the decorations out is almost impossible. Here is where vacuum cleaners prove their worth.
What is the best aquarium gravel cleaner?
As mentioned in the product buying guide, the best aquarium gravel cleaner needs to be the right type for your aquarium. If we had to pick one from the products featured in our review, we would go with the Laifoo Aquarium Vacuum Gravel Cleaner because it is a premium quality product.
How do aquarium gravel cleaners work?
The answer to this question depends on the type of model that you are using. Generally, a gravel vacuum operates by churning the gravel around in a column of moving water. This will loosen the rocks and remove the debris that is stuck there. In addition, the power and water flow of an aquarium gravel cleaner comes from a siphon.
Should I vacuum gravel during the cycle?
Typically, you will want to avoid cleaning the gravel when cycling. The reason behind this is that vacuuming after cycling with food is going to cause a mess. It’s best to vacuum gravel after the cycle is finished, and fish food has settled down.
Do I leave the fish in the tank while cleaning?
You should try to prevent moving your fish as much as possible, even though you are doing maintenance work. If the fish tank is large enough, then you can clean one section while the inhabitants are sitting on the other side. Although, you might want to remove the decorations during maintenance to make it easier to scrub the sections of the wall.