2018’s Best Aquarium Gravel Vacuum Cleaners: Electric Fish Tank Siphons

best aquarium vaccum cleaner
A healthy and fresh fish tank is also a clean fish tank. There are many ways that you can keep a fish tank clean but, one of the stranger methods is through sucking up and vacuuming the gravel that resides at the bottom of the tank! Who would have thought that the gravel at the bottom of your tank could have an effect on the cleanliness of the water and your fish’s health.

However, you cannot go in and simply start picking up dirt and debris or sticking in your standard vacuum. You need something a little for professional. Believe it or not, there are actually products known as aquarium gravel vaccum cleaners and they are used to keep picking up bad and polluted debris at the bottom of the tank. This gives the tank an added freshness and also has other, various benefits.

This guide will go through the top 5 best aquarium gravel vacuum cleaners on the market, so you can keep your fishes happy and healthy.

Best Electric Aquarium Gravel Vacuum Cleaners

There are a lot of different models and choices when it comes to gravel vacuums for your aquarium. Fortunately, we have picked out the very best so you don’t have to go through a lot of trial and error finding the best one for your precious fish tank.

EHEIM Quick Vac Pro


  • It has perfect suction power, making it easy to use
  • You don’t have clean when you perform a water change
  • Really easy to use (perfect for beginners)


  • There have been a few complaints about the quality
  • It is very expensive
  • It can occasionally jam

This is a unique device and works slightly different to the other devices on this list. This is because this aquarium gravel vacuum is only used as a vacuum and not a water change (like the other devices are). Also, this is one of the most expensive vacuums on this list – even more expensive than the python, which we will discuss later.

This is an electrical device that works on batteries – 4 AA’s to be precise and can be used for up to 4 hours. The vacuum is easy to use and requires you to put it under the water near the gravel. From here, it will gently suck up any debris and organic waste and filter it through a mesh web which allows the water to flow back into the tank. The web can be removed, cleaned and reused for later use.

Marina Easy Clean


  • It originally siphons water during a change and can pick up debris simultaneously
  • Reasonably priced


  • Starting the device is very difficult
  • The suction power is a little low

This aquarium gravel vacuum is great because it is very versatile and comes in 4 different sizes so that it can be used with both large and small fish tanks. The range starts from just 1” all the way to the larger size of 2.5”. This device requires a bucket of the dirty water and requires you to use an up and down motion to get the device started. A lot of people had difficulty with this method and looked for help via Google and YouTube, which you should do as well if you’re having problems.

EHEIM Fluval EDGE Gravel Cleaner


  • It can reach debris from an angle and has two heads for water changes
  • It is fairly cheap
  • There is a guard to stop the hose from clogging


  • Not ideal for large tanks because of the thin hose
  • If you can’t use the easy start valve the device is useless

This one is a little different also because it has its main uses for nano tanks. This is because the hose is shorter and it requires a bucket of the water that it pumps out. However, because this is designed for tiny tanks, you will not need to keep running buckets backward and forwards. Also, because of the bucket, the device doesn’t refill the water so you will need to do that manually.

Python No Spill Clean and Fill


  • It can adapt to most tanks because of the useful adapts it has
  • It’s a very effective water changer and picks debris along the way


  • The price is high (unless you’re using this as a water change and gravel vacuum)
  • This device has a high skill requirement (not beginner friendly)

This actually is designed for water changes and allows the users to remove the dirty water without the need for buckets and constant water dump runs to the kitchen sink. However, the device is also great for aquarium gravel vacuuming and debris cleaning. This device is great and comes with everything, and if you do have everything you need you can buy them as extras because there are a lot of attachments. Just make sure you check your tap is close to the tank so the hose can reach.

KollerCraft TOM Mr. Cleaner


  • Mega cheap
  • If you have the skill it works great
  • It is very easy to assemble


  • You need to angle it probably for it to work
  • If you use it too close to the top water will spill out
  • The debris trapper is not the best

This a cheap little device that is also battery powered, using 2 C batteries. However, this device is not meant to be submerged fully underwater, but the tube does stretch 8-16 inches so it is primarily designed for nano tanks.

The device is a 3 in 1 cleaner, made for water changes and debris removal. This is because the water flows through a mesh before being dumped so that any debris and waste is caught. The water can be returned to either the outside tube or siphoned into a bucket.

Do You Need an Electric Fish Tank Gravel Vacuum?

Even with a filtration system and a protein skimmer, you may still end up with polluted water if you are not clearing the gravel of debris and waster. You should be vacuuming gravel between water changes to make sure that there is no extra pollution that could damage the water and kill the fish.

It also allows you to take some weight off the other system, like filtration and protein skimming. As mentioned above, it can lengthen the time between a water change, saving you time and energy later on.

In terms of the different types of vacuums, there are several that fall into two different groups.

sucking gravelThe first group includes the gravel vacuums that are also used for cleaning dirty water. When the device is cleaning the water and replacing it, you can put it close to the debris and suck it up, cleaning the tank of wasted food and organic matter in the process. These devices are usually a little more expensive.

The second type of gravel vacuum cleaner is primarily used cleaning and removing debris from the gravel. This done through a web that catches the debris and lets the water flow back into the tank. These devices don’t clean the water but allow you to catch any unwanted waste before it becomes a problem.

Pros and Cons of a Gravel Vacuum Cleaner

Not a lot of people think that they need a gravel siphon, but they do. They are an important tool to have if you’re looking to properly maintain your fish tank and keep it healthy. They normally couple up with a water changer, but many of them (as you can see above) also can be used to remove the debris from the bottom of the tank.

The Benefits

The benefits of a gravel vacuum is to make sure that your pets home is clean. With healthy gravel, your plants and fish can thrive, and it can also make the tank look a lot a clearer because gravel vacuum also cleans the water. The second benefit is that they can delay a water change, which is useful if you are short on time. When it does come to changing the water you will need less effort because the siphon has done all the heavy lifting.

The Drawbacks

The main issue with these devices is that they can take some skill to get used to. Every device is different and some require you to angle the siphon to pick up the debris. The other issue is that they have a tendency to jam and can also suck up fish if you’re not careful.

How do you Use a Fish Tank Vaccum Cleaner?

There is a lot of skill required when you are using a gravel vacuum and you should always look towards the manual if you are a little stuck. The best to go about it is by gently pushing the siphon into the gravel at the bottom of the tank and moving it around until all the debris and waste has been removed.

Depending on the vacuum that you’re using, the water may be placed back into the tank or pushed in a bucket or basin. The debris will be caught in a mesh web or will be siphoned with the rest of the dirty water.


We hope you enjoyed our reviews of the best aquarium vacuum cleaners. You can’t go wrong with any of the products listed above, just make sure to pick the best one for your needs.