Finding the right aquarium gravel cleaner for your aquarium will simplify the process of cleaning out your tank. You can clean your aquarium with ease, without the hassle of having to tear down your tank. Depending on the gravel cleaner you opt for, you could even purchase a gravel cleaning system that requires no hoses, buckets or any other extra tools that make the process messy.
It can be difficult to find the perfect aquarium gravel cleaner, so we reviewed dozens of them to find the best, highest quality, and most durable aquarium gravel cleaners based on their prices, function, and Amazon ratings. We narrowed our search down to 5 of the top-rated aquarium gravel cleaners that aquarium owners can buy to clean out their tanks.
The Python No Spill Clean and Fill System is simple to use, as it requires no buckets, hoses, siphons, or other tools that can create a mess when cleaning the aquarium. In fact, it does not require a full aquarium tear-down to use. It works with most faucets and reviewers claim that it does not bother the fish while in use. You can get the cleaner in four different sizes depending on your needs.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Aquarium Gravel Cleaners
|Best Overall||Python No Spill Clean and Fill System||4.5|
|Runner Up||Genuine TERA PUMP Aquarium Cleaner||4.4|
|Best Budget Buy||Lee's 6-Inch Slim Jr. Vacuum Cleaner||4.0|
|Best Automatic Aquarium Gravel Cleaner||NICREW Automatic Gravel Cleaner||3.9|
|Best Vacuum Aquarium Gravel Cleaner||Fish Net Stockings Aquarium Gravel Vacuum ||4.1|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: Python No Spill Clean and Fill System
The Python No Spill Clean and Fill System is an excellent aquarium gravel cleaner. It’s very highly reviewed, with users loving how easy it is to use. It ranges from 25 feet to 100 feet, coming in four different options.
With a no spill or clean design, the aquarium cleaner requires the use of zero buckets, zero siphons, and eliminates the need for tank teardowns. If you’re tired of other cleaning systems disturbing your beloved fish and plants, then this hose is for you. It is guaranteed to not bother anything within.
With your purchase, you’ll receive a 10″ gravel tube that is extendable and a switch, hose connectors, and a faucet pump and adaptor. Small water changes are necessary to keep your fish healthy, and with this system, it’s never been easier.
Python No Spill Clean and Fill System Key Features:
- Does not disturb fish or decor
- Requires no siphons or other attachments
- Ready to use out of the bag
Our Runner Up Pick: Genuine TERA PUMP Aquarium Cleaner
If you’re looking for an aquarium cleaner that works with both sand and gravel, look no further than the Genuine TERA PUMP Aquarium Cleaner. It includes two types of nozzles. A shorter nozzle you use for drainage, and a longer one that can be used to clean droppings, fine gravel, and leftover food.
It efficiently removes waste while replacing water simultaneously, not disturbing the aquarium or the life within. It effectively siphons 1.5 gallons per minute safely. The patented pump filter removes dirt and the containers are easily emptied after the fact.
Another pro is that this cleaner is very lightweight and bulk-free. It’s easy to carry around with you should you need to, and it features high powered discharge and smooth operation.
Genuine TERA PUMP Aquarium Cleaner Key Features:
- Two different nozzles
- Patented pump
- Manual cleaner
- Works with both sand and gravel
Best Budget Pick: Lee’s 6-Inch Slim Jr. Vacuum Cleaner
Lee’s 6-Inch Slim Jr. Vacuum Cleaner is an affordable vacuum for aquariums. It’s made especially for smaller aquariums, including fish bowls and designer aquariums. Reviewers claim that this vacuum makes cleaning their aquarium super simple.
It includes a self-start assembly and the hose itself is made of vinyl and is 72 inches long. It’s easy to use and there’s no danger of harming your live fish or plants, as the diameter is quite small. It’s suitable for small gravel pieces and sand.
Lee’s 6-Inch Slim Jr. Vacuum Cleaner Key Features:
- Adjustable waistband and leash
- Fits all sizes of dogs
- Made with polyester and zinc alloy
- Includes a poop bag holder
Best Automatic Aquarium Gravel Cleaner: NICREW Automatic Gravel Cleaner
There’s no better automatic gravel cleaner than the NICREW Automatic Gravel Cleaner. It’s a certified power vacuum that has a 3-in-1 design. it’s made to clean gravel, change the water, and remove waste all at the same time without the need for siphoning. You’ll be able to easily clean your aquarium with no mess!
The pump effectively removes waste and other harmful particles from the topmost layer of the gravel or sand without affecting what’s beneath. It’s an effective way to remove harmful toxins from your aquarium, allowing your filter to work better and keeping your fish happy.
Inside of the cleaner, there’s a sponge filter that traps debris, making it easy to remove. And if you only need to do one of the three functions, it can be used for that too.
NICREW Automatic Gravel Cleaner Key Features:
- Made for medium and large tanks
- Can adjust water flow
- Simultaneously cleans gravel and removes waste while changing the water
- Won’t disturb bottom layer of gravel
Best Vacuum Aquarium Gravel Cleaner: Fish Net Stockings Aquarium Gravel Vacuum
The Fish Net Stockings Aquarium Gravel Vacuum is an easy to use fish tank vacuum that effectively siphons out all waste. There are two interchangeable vacuum nozzles. One is for quick, speedy water changes while the other is for vacuuming gravel. Both nozzles are made with nets to keep your fish safe.
The siphon is BPA free and guaranteed to be non-toxic. There’s a no-spill design, and you can easily control the hose with the bucket clip and suction cup. If you’re looking for an affordable vacuum to remove dead plant matter, extra food, and fish waste, check out this vacuum.
Fish Net Stockings Aquarium Gravel Vacuum Key Features:
- Two interchangeable vacuum nozzles
- No spill design
- Easy to manage hose length
- Drains 1.5 gallons per minute
Who Should Buy an Aquarium Gravel Cleaner
If you’ve ever asked yourself how to clean your fish tank, then odds are you’d benefit from owning an aquarium gravel cleaner. Regardless of the size of your aquarium, the types of fish you own, or the many different species of aquatic plant life available, a gravel cleaner could be what you need. It effectively removes excess food, waste, and dead plant material from the bottom of the tank, prolonging the life of your aquatic friends.
There are gravel cleaners for every aquarium size, whether you have a small tank or a large one. Even if you are only worried about changing the water in the tank, an aquarium gravel cleaner can help. They siphon old water out of the tank while replacing it with new water, ensuring a mess- and stress-free cleaning experience. And if budget is an issue, don’t sweat it. There are aquarium gravel cleaners at just about every price point.
Important Features to Consider
An aquarium gravel cleaner should have a few important features. Here’s what to consider when selecting an aquarium gravel cleaner.
- The size of your aquarium. Before purchasing your first aquarium gravel cleaner, you’ll need to ensure the size of your aquarium fits the cleaner you buy. That is, some cleaners siphon water out faster than necessary for smaller tanks, which could pose a problem for your aquatic life and disturb the decor within the tank. Get a smaller cleaner for a smaller tank!
- The type of aquarium gravel cleaner you prefer. There are a few different types of aquarium gravel cleaners. Electronic cleaners may be what most people prefer, as they require the least amount of manual work to siphon out water and waste. With that said, there are also manual gravel cleaners for those who prefer that method, as well as vacuum-type gravel cleaners.
- What’s living in your aquarium. Consider the size of the fish and other aquatic life living in your tank before buying a hose. You don’t want any accidents (that is, accidentally sucking up your fish), so ensure that the nozzle has a small enough diameter so not to harm your fish. Conversely, the majority of cleaners come equipped with safety features to prevent any damage from occurring, like built-in nets.
- The size of your substrate. If your aquarium is filled with sand and no gravel, you may not need a gravel cleaner. Conversely, if you have gravel (larger than sand) you definitely need a gravel cleaner.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an aquarium gravel cleaner and how does it work?
An aquarium gravel cleaner typically works by moving gravel around a column of water to clean it, removing debris and waste. They usually get their power through a siphon, though some are electronic. Start your siphon and block the bucket end of the siphon with your thumb (some cleaners come with tools to block this part). Put the vacuum end into the gravel as far as it’ll go before releasing your finger from the bucket end. Water will enter the tube and it’ll start shaking, and debris will start flowing into the bucket. Once the water is clean, it’s done.
How do you clean aquarium gravel?
You clean aquarium gravel by using an aquarium gravel cleaner. They remove debris and waste from the gravel as well as from the water in your tank, keeping the environment clean for your aquatic friends.
How often should I clean aquarium gravel?
The answer to this question depends on what’s in your tank and who you ask. It’s generally recommended to vacuum your aquarium at least once a month, ideally when you see visible debris waiting to be cleaned. Other people you ask may recommend you vacuum with every water change, and depending on the type of plants in your tank, that may be necessary.
How do I change the gravel in my fish tank?
To do this safely, you’ll need a holding tank for your fish to stay while you clean. Once that’s set up, turn off the filter of your main tank and fill the holding tank 2/3 of the way with water from your main tank. Remove plants, rocks, decor, and lastly, your fish from the main tank, only putting the fish in the holding tank. Put enough water into the main tank to turn the filter on, then scoop out old gravel. After rinsing new gravel, put it into the tank and replace the plants, rocks, and decor. Lastly, return your fish back to their home.
Other Aquarium Gravel Cleaners We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other aquarium gravel cleaners. Even though they didn’t make our five best aquarium gravel cleaners list, they’re the best of the best, and each is still a great option for your aquatic life. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.
Automatic Aquarium Gravel Cleaners
A budget automatic aquarium gravel cleaner that includes two nozzles and can be used for both saltwater and freshwater tanks.
- Includes two nozzles
- Can be used for saltwater and freshwater tanks
A handheld aquarium gravel cleaner that comes with a satisfaction guarantee, ensuring you’ll get a quality product.
- Satisfaction guarantee
- Two nozzles included
- Handheld kit
A long aquarium cleaner that’s suitable for medium to large fish tanks. It effectively cleans debris and waste while refilling the tank with clean water.
- 2-in-1 function cleans tank while refilling
- Filter screen inside to keep your aquatic friends safe
- Won’t disturb fish or decor
A three-in-one aquarium gravel cleaner that reduces the strain on your filter. It comes equipped with a flow adjustment valve for optimal water pressure for different tank sizes.
- 3-in-1 unit
- Reduces strain on filter
- Flow adjustment valve
Simple to set-up, taking only two minutes to start cleaning, this cleaning pump kit is suitable for all tank sizes and perfect for those looking for a mess-free experience.
- 2-minute setup
- Hassle-free storage
- No-spill system
This electric aquarium gravel cleaner automatically cleans your aquarium and gravel without the need to change the water. The pump is strong and works with a low water level.
- Can clean without changing the water
- Strong pump
- Works with a low water level
Vacuum Aquarium Gravel Cleaners
The Aisamco cleaner is a 5-in-1 kit that not only includes a gravel cleaner, but also an algae scrapper and other useful tools for cleaning any aquarium, regardless of size.
- 5-in-1 kit, not just a gravel cleaner
- Floating clean brush so you don’t need to get your hand wet
- Effectively removes algae
With a filter included to keep your fish safe, you won’t have to worry about accidents happening when using this gravel cleaner. There’s also a water-flow controller allowing the cleaner to be used with many different tanks.
- Equipped with a net to keep your fish safe
- Water-flow controller ensures it can be used with multiple sized tanks
- Water washing and gravel cleaner
This gravel vacuum was designed to remove debris and waste from your aquarium without disturbing the insides of the tank and keeping your fish and plants safe.
- The filter separates gravel from debris while keeping your fish and plants safe
- BPA free
- Simple to use
The 3-in-1 design allows this gravel cleaner to not only clean the substrate but also return clean water to the tank and eliminate excrement and waste.
- Traps dirt while returning clean water to the tank
- Removes toxins
- Simple to use
A BPA free gravel cleaner that doubles as an excrement remove and a water changer. It can be used on tanks with sand, gravel, or with no substrate at all.
- BPA free
- Can be used on all tanks with or without gravel
- Cleans while changing the water
A no-mess gravel vacuum that comes equipped with a long, flexible hose and a shut-off valve to stop water spills. There’s also a 3o-day money back guarantee included.
- Long, flexible hose
- Rigid pipe section
- 30-day money back guarantee
A fish tank cleaning kit that not only includes a gravel cleaner, but also an algae scraper, scrubber, fish net, and other tools made of stainless steel.
- Multi-function cleaning kit
- Tweezers and other tools made with stainless steel
- Clean your entire aquarium with this one kit
An aquarium gravel washing kit made out of high-quality tubing, effectively removing debris and waste from your medium-sized aquarium. Reviewers report that it’s simple to use.
- High-quality flexible tubing
- Suitable for medium aquariums
- Simple to use
Small Tank Aquarium Gravel Cleaners
A high-quality gravel cleaner that includes a suction cup and tank clip for easy and mess-free cleaning.
- Includes suction cup and clip
- Quality PE material
- Simple to use
This aquarium cleaning kit can be used to both clean gravel and substrate as well as changing the water efficiently. It’s easy to operate and is made of BPA-free plastic.
- Made of BPA-free plastic
- Long and short nozzle included
- Can be used by just one person
This budget gravel cleaner is ideal for smaller tanks. It requires manual use, but is simple and mess-free. There’s also a filter to keep your small fish from harm.
- One-way valve improves suction
- A budget cleaner
- Money back guarantee
This easy-to-use gravel cleaner siphons dirt out while changing the water. There are two nozzles, as with many other cleaners, for changing the water while removing excrement and excess food.
- Removes dirt while changing the water
- Includes safety materials
- Aesthetically appealing
With a patented pump, this gravel cleaner is easy to start and runs smoothly. it has extra long tubes that are hard and remove dirt efficiently.
- Heavy-duty BPA-free material
- Long tubing and hard pipes
- Patented pump
With a satisfaction guarantee, this water changer/gravel cleaner duo is perfect for most tanks. It’s simple to use and more efficient than a manual cleaner.
- Simple maintenance and easy to clean
- Cleans gravel and sand
- Mess-free, according to reviewers