The best aquarium vacuum cleaners can help you clean your tank and maintain the overall health of your aquarium’s ecosystem.

They come in various sizes and offer many exciting features that drastically reduce the time and effort required to clean a tank manually.

However, picking the best one can be challenging considering the wide range of similar-looking products offered by different brands. So to help you out, we have tested dozens of vacuum cleaners and compiled a list of the best options to consider.

Comparison Chart

Name Best Suited For Type Tank Capacity
Bedee Fish Tank Vacuum Cleaner

Both Saltwater and Freshwater tanks Electric 25 to 75 Gallons
Aquarium Gravel Cleaner Fish Tank Kit

Freshwater tanks Manual  20 Gallon
NICREW Power VAC

Both Saltwater and Freshwater tanks Electric 25 to 200 Gallons
Hygger Aquarium Gravel Cleaner

Freshwater tanks Manual  25 Gallon
Boxtech Aquarium Cleaner

Both Saltwater and Freshwater tanks Electric  200 Gallon

Handpicked Reviews of the Best Aquarium Vacuum Cleaners

1. Bedee Aquarium Gravel Cleaner

Pros:

  • Multi-purpose – comes with different attachments
  • High suction power that sucks all debris
  • Easy to use in low water rate due to its motor technology
  • It comes with a one year warranty
  • Additional accessories are included

Cons:

  • Slightly expensive

The Bedee Aquarium vacuum cleaner is unique due to its 4 in 1 multi-purpose utility features. It comes with various attachments, including gravel cleaner, water changer, algae cleaner, and waste extractor.

The best part is that you can spotlessly clean your aquarium without removing anything from your tank, making the cleaning process even more accessible. It has a modular design that can be adjusted to increase its length to suit fish tanks of all sizes.

Using the Beedee Aquarium vacuum cleaner is very easy. It comes with a fixture clip that hooks onto the brim of your aquarium and holds the vacuum tube in place, which gives you a hands-free cleaning experience as you don’t have to hold on to the tube all the time throughout the cleaning session.

Its suction is powerful enough to quickly pick up debris like food residue, excretory materials, etc., without exceeding the safe pressure range. It also includes an external control switch, which makes it easier to adjust the suction pressure while using it.

The most common point of failure in aquarium vacuum cleaners is usually the filer bag, as it wears out after a few uses. That is not the case with the Beedee Aquarium vacuum cleaner, as its filter bag has been reinforced with nylon sealing. Additionally, it also comes with an extra filter bag if you ever need to replace it.

Apart from cleaning the tank, you can also use it to add, remove, or replace your fish tank’s water, eliminating the need to buy a water changer separately. While it is slightly expensive compared to other tank vacuum cleaners in the market, it offers various features and a one-year warranty to make up for it.

Overview:

The product is extremely easy to use, especially if you are a first-time fish owner. What we like most about this fish tank is that it is adjustable in size. This feature allows you to easily clean tanks with different depths using the same cleaner.

2. Aquarium Gravel Cleaner Fish Tank Kit

Pros:

  • Very Affordable
  • Adjustable and can be used for all tank sizes
  • Handheld design that makes it easy to control flow and power
  • Many accessories included that help in monitoring pressure
  • Warranty and customer service
  • Easy to use design

Cons:

  • It may be added work since most features need to be controlled manually

The Aquarium Gravel Cleaner by SSRiver is a very user-friendly device that uses siphon technology to clean the tank water. Although it is primarily an aquarium drainer, it also includes different attachments that make it a full-blown aquarium cleaning kit.

It is lightweight and is based on a handheld design that makes it very easy to use. It comes with two 16-inch long inlet pipes that can help you clean hard-to-reach places very conveniently.

Each tube is fitted with a 3D printed filter basket which prevents large objects such as gravel or decor from getting stuck. It also saves you from the trouble of transferring your fish before cleaning, as you don’t have to worry about accidentally sucking them up.

The button on top is designed to let you adjust the vacuum pressure according to your preference. The water you suck up goes through a soft outlet hose and filters out all the dirt and debris into an external container. It also has an air-tight valve that prevents the backflow of water so that you can drain your aquarium without any accidental spills.

You also get a glass scraper that allows you to scrub the tank and remove any algae build-up from the aquarium glass. Apart from that, SSRiver also offers a free replacement policy to dissatisfied customers. You can contact them to get a new aquarium gravel cleaner or a full refund for your purchase in case of any defects.

Overview:

The SSRiver Aquarium Gravel Vacuum Cleaner is a budget-friendly device that tends to all your aquarium cleaning needs. Its simple one-button design and flexible features make it an ideal choice for beginner aquarium enthusiasts.

3. NICREW Power VAC Plus Electric Gravel Cleaner

Pros:

  • 3 in 1 multi-feature gravel cleaner
  • Sponge filter element
  • Suction power can be controlled
  • Adjustment valves and other features included
  • No water outlet needed

Cons:

  • Slightly expensive
  • Hose not included

NICREW Power VAC Plus is a 3-in-1 electric aquarium cleaner that also works as a water changer, gravel cleaner, and fish waste remover. It is equipped with a 12W motor that generates enough power to clean medium to large-sized tanks easily.

It can produce a high flow rate of up to 210 GPH, which you can easily control to suit different tank sizes using an adjustment valve. It also functions very silently without heating the water or creating strong currents.

This vacuum cleaner has a very simple operation. It comes with a long-range extension tube that can reach the bottom of the fish tank and suck out the debris stuck deep in the tank’s bed. It efficiently removes the dirt particles and traps them in its sponge filter, and leaves you with a clean layer of the substrate, all this without disturbing your fish.

Speaking of its build quality, Power VAC Plus has a very sturdy and durable design with a grooved handle for a comfortable grip. It is very easy to assemble, and you get all the parts included in the box. However, you will need to make an aftermarket purchase for a one and a half inch outlet hose to drain the dirty water as it is not included in the package.

Power VAC Plus uses only 12W of electricity, making it one of the most energy-efficient options in the market. What we really like about this electric aquarium vacuum cleaner is its long and sturdy power cable that can be fixed on the clamps of the extension tube for easy and convenient storage.

Overview:

Power Vac Plus is a fully automated aquarium cleaning pump that can help you clean your aquarium in just a few minutes. Its adjustable flow rate gives you the flexibility to clean aquariums of different sizes, and its energy-efficient motor offers great value for money. All in all, it is an excellent option to consider if you are looking for a powerful and durable device.

4. Hygger Aquarium Gravel Cleaner

Pros:

  • 3 in 1 Multi-feature gravel cleaner
  • Decently priced
  • Patented manual press design – airbag and manual press technology
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Additional features included

Cons:

  • No refund or return policy

The Hygger Aquarium Gravel Cleaner is a small siphon device shaped like a gun with an air pressure control trigger. It is an affordable 3-in-1 cleaner that you can use to change the tank water, remove dirt and clean the aquarium sand.

Unlike the other options on our list, this vacuum cleaner does not have any electronic motor to create a vacuum. Instead, it uses two airbags to create a suction force. The suction power depends on how hard you pull the pressure control trigger, which gives you precise control over cleaning the tank.

The problem with this setup is that the airbags usually wear out within a few months. To tackle that, Hygger uses thickly layered airbags made from PP ABS materials that can stand the wear and tear, making them highly durable. So you don’t need to worry about any damage or leakage in the long run.

It comes with two 16 inches inlet pipes that you can join together to get a 32-inch long reach, which is excellent for cleaning bigger tanks. Like the SSRiver Gravel Cleaner, Hygger also offers a 3D printed filter nozzle to avoid large objects from jamming the tube. It also comes with a 79 inches long outlet hose, which gives you a lot of buffers to cut down the pipe according to your requirement.

Apart from that, you also get some additional accessories such as a flow control clamp, water pipe clamp, and all the necessary connectors included in the box.

Overview:

If you are looking for a compact and versatile device to clean your fish tank, Hygger’s 3-in-1 aquarium cleaner is a great option to consider. It is suitable for all aquarium sizes with its impressive detachable inlet pipe, and you get full control over the dirt suction with its pressure control trigger. It is a very popular option that does most of the work for you, saving you a lot of time and effort.

5. Boxtech Upgraded Electric Aquarium Cleaner

Pros:

  • Safe and durable
  • Great suction power
  • Can perform six unique functions
  • It has a flexible hose with adjustable length

Cons:

  • Expensive

The Boxtech Upgraded Electric Aquarium Cleaner is an all-in-one device that offers 6-in-1 features for the overall maintenance of your tank. It can perform various functions, including sand washing, gravel cleaning, water changing, and water filtering.

It comes with a powerful water pump of 28 Watt that can produce an impressive 256 GPH suction rate. It can easily clean midsize to large tanks of over 200 Gallon. However, you can also adjust the flow rate to clean small tanks too.

Besides the basic motor and device, it comes packed with multiple heads and attachments that further refine the cleaning process. These include a sand washer, suction inlet, brush head, intake strainer, and gravel cleaner. It is easy to assemble and disassemble, making cleaning out dirt and grime from the vacuum much simpler.

This vacuum comes with an adjustable hose that can stretch up to 38 inches and bend however you want. While cleaning, this makes a huge difference as you can easily maneuver around plants and decorations to access hard-to-reach spots.

Overview:

The Boxtech Upgraded Electric Aquarium cleaner is a great choice if you want an all-rounder vacuum cleaner for large tanks. It comes with multiple attachments that allow it to perform six different functions that help you maintain your tank.

Things to Consider While Choosing the Best Aquarium Vacuum Cleaner

1. Aquarium Size

The first thing that you need to consider before selecting an aquarium vacuum cleaner is the size of your aquarium. That is because of two reasons.

The first reason being compatibility. So if you choose a small vacuum cleaner to clean a mid-size or a large tank, it won’t perform efficiently. Similarly, suppose you use an overpowered aquarium vacuum cleaner to clean a small fish tank. In that case, it can damage the decor and create disturbances in water that can put your fish under stress.

The second thing that you need to look out for is the depth of your tank. The hose of aquarium vacuum cleaners has a variable length, and you need to make sure that the one you select has a hose long enough to reach the button of the tank.

2. Types of Fish

If you are not careful with your vacuum cleaner, you might end up disturbing your fish while cleaning your tank. Many fish breeds are burrowers and spend most of their time on the tank’s floor hidden under plants and substrate. These fishes commonly get sucked along with the debris due to the powerful suction of the vacuum.

Even if burrowing fishes are not in the holes they dig, a strong vacuum force can refill the holes and ruin the effects of your tiny pets. To avoid such a situation, make sure to use a vacuum cleaner with adequate power to spotlessly clean your tank but not too much to disturb your fish.

3. Type of Substrate

Along with the type of fish you have in your tank, it is also important to consider the substrate of your tank. Substrate refers to the substance at the base of the tank, like sand, gravel, rocks, etc.

Each vacuum cleaner is built to work with different kinds of substrates. Some work best with finer substrates like sand or dirt, and they may not work as well with other heavy substrate types like gravel.

Similarly, vacuum cleaners designed to clean gravel-based substrates can be too powerful to suck up lighter substrates like sand entirely instead of cleaning them. Make sure to select a vacuum cleaner that is compatible with the substrate of your tank to avoid damaging your taken and the vacuum itself.

4. Electric Vacuums vs. Manual Vacuums

On the surface, electric vacuum pumps and manual siphons do the same thing to clean your aquarium. However, they both offer different utilities and features that are important to know before purchasing a vacuum cleaner for your fish tank.

Electric vacuum pumps have a powerful motor inside them, creating a strong suction force to remove any waste from your tank gravel. They are very efficient and effortless to use, which makes them ideal for cleaning medium to large-sized tanks.

You also get multiple attachments with them, such as showerheads and scrubbers, which ensure the overall hygiene of your fish tank. However, they are a bit pricey as compared to manual cleaners.

Whereas manual aquarium vacuum cleaners are small, handheld devices that use siphon technology to suck up dirt and debris. They are less powerful in comparison but allow greater precision while removing waste, making them a great choice for people with small fish tanks.

FAQ: Aquarium Vacuum Cleaners

Here are a few common questions people often ask when buying vacuum cleaners for their fish tank:

– What Happens When You Don’t Clean Aquarium Gravel?

If you have a lot of fish in your aquarium, you have to feed them more often. Naturally, this will mean that they will produce a lot of waste.

These excrements accumulate on the gravel and become a source of ammonia and nitrogen, which pollute the entire tank and cause infection and health issues in your fish.

An aquarium gravel cleaner will help clean the aquarium bed so that your fish can swim around in clean water.

– How Often Should I Vacuum the Aquarium?

It depends on the type of fish tank you have. Freshwater aquariums tend to get less dirty, and you only need to clean them every two weeks. However, if you have a saltwater fish tank, we recommend cleaning it every week.

This is because marine aquariums have a lot of carbonate and bi-carbonate build-up in them, which can corrode your other aquarium appliances. Additionally, it also affects the pH value of the water, which can be harmful to your fish.

– Should You Remove the Fish Before Cleaning the Tank?

Even though transferring the fish before you clean the tank is efficient, it is not recommended. Catching them is hard enough in the first place, but taking them out and placing them in another container can put them under unnecessary stress. You also risk hurting them in the process.

You can use a handheld cleaner to suck up all the dirt and debris slowly. However, it’s best to remove all the ornaments and decor beforehand.

– Can You Use a Vacuum Cleaner in Planted Tanks?

It’s best not to use a vacuum cleaner in a planted tank as it can disturb the plant roots and affect their growth. Moreover, your plants can use the waste created by your fish for their nutrition as it is rich in nitrogen and other minerals.

However, if you still want to clean the gravel, you can get an aquarium siphon to pick up the debris precisely and clean the tank floor.

– Do Aquarium Vacuum Cleaners Harm the Good Bacterias?

Yes, using aquarium vacuum cleaners harm the good bacteria but not enough to wipe out their entire colonies. Bacterias are tough creatures that can quickly multiply in number, so you don’t need to worry about them while vacuuming your aquarium.

Conclusion

Cleaning your aquarium substrates such as gravel, sponges, rocks, and other ornaments is very important to maintain the healthy ecosystem of your tank. While all the products that we have mentioned are great vacuum cleaners for aquariums, one stands out. We highly recommend the Bedee Aquarium Vacuum Cleaner for many reasons.

It is a very versatile device that works as a gravel cleaner, waste extractor, water changer, and algae cleaner. You get the utility of four different products in one, at a very reasonable price. Also, its powerful motor and an adjustable length make it suitable for fish tanks of all sizes.

You can find all the necessary items, such as connectors, attachments, valves, etc., in the package itself, which means you won’t have to spend extra money to buy them separately. Also, If you are a beginner aquarium enthusiast, then you will find its simple design very easy to understand.

It feels sturdy and durable to use, and you can get a lot of use out of it in the long run, which gives it great value for money. It also comes with a one-year manufacturer warranty which adds another layer of protection to it.

5/5 - (11 votes)

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