7 TOP Fish Tank Vacuums: Aquarium Gravel And Sand Siphons And Cleaners

What is the best fish tank vacuum?

Aquarium gravel vacuums are amazingly effective at getting fish poo, uneaten food, and other waste out of the gravel at the bottom of your tank.

To be honest, I don’t know any other way you can quickly and effectively clean an aquarium – these simple devices just make it so easy.

If you haven’t used one before then there’s nothing to be anxious about, they’re easy to use and effective at cleaning aquarium gravel. However, not all of them are as good as others.

Best Fish Tank Gravel Cleaners

Hygger Aquarium Vacuum

  • Dirt suction, sand washing, water changing
  • Unique trigger handle
  • One of the best selling products
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TERA PUMP Gravel Cleaner

  • Three sizes: S, L, XL
  • Handpump siphon
  • One of the cheapest options
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Python Fish Tank Vacuum

  • Large range of sizes and accessories
  • No spill clean and fill
  • A premium fish tank gravel cleaner
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These are quick links to 5 of the best aquarium vacuums for sale right now – compare prices from different retailers to get the best deal.

And now we’ll take a deeper dive into all of these models and share more about what you should look for in an aquarium siphon.

Remember to switch off the electrics before you start doing a water change and clean.

This includes all pumps, filters, powerheads, auto top-off systems, and heaters.

These generally need to be submerged while they are on and can be damaged if the water level drops too low.

1. Hygger Gravel Vacuum

hygger fish tank vacuum cleaner


The Hygger siphon is an affordable, unique, and effective gravel cleaner for fish tanks.

It comes with different tips for taking on different types of cleaning and has a really handy trigger start feature.

It has a pressure control clip to speed up or slow down water flow, and also comes with clips for the side of the bucket as well.

It comes with a long 22-inch siphon pipe which can be extended with an additional pipe to 40 inches.

It’s a non-electric, gravity-fed cleaner, but the trigger start makes it so easy to use.

It’s a top-rated aquarium vacuum:

  • Great trigger start feature
  • Very affordable for the features
  • Extendable with accessories
  • Clips for ease of use
  • Very well-reviewed
  • Good user manual

2. TERA PUMP Fish Tank Vacuum

best aquarium vacuum

The TERA PUMP fish tank gravel cleaner is one of the best-selling options.

It has over 4000 reviews and a very good star rating, and it’s popular for good reason.

Firstly, it’s super affordable, and secondly, it has great features.

A unique filter prevents stones, snails, small bits of aquarium driftwood, and fish from being sucked up and into the bucket.

There are 2 types of nozzles included for either simple draining or gravel cleaning.

This aquarium siphon also has a suction cup to hold the end in place (if not cleaning the gravel), along with a clip to attach the other end to the bucket or sink.

It has a hand pump (what they call an ‘operation bulb’) to get the siphon started and a flow control device for slowing down the release of water.

Even better is that this is a super cheap tank vacuum!

The total length of this siphon is 64 inches. It can transfer 1.5 gallons of water per minute, which can be slowed down if necessary.

It is made from polyethylene, PVC, and EVA, all of which are BPA-free, and safe for pets.

Features include:

  • Pump to get the siphon started
  • 3 sizes of hose length to choose from
  • Filter prevents blockage
  • Can be used hands-free
  • Instructions for using tank siphon
  • Clip to adjust the water flow

3. Python Aquarium Vacuum

large fish tank vacuumVIEW ON AMAZON →

The Python Aquarium Gravel Cleaner is a large fish tank vacuum that comes in a range of lengths.

You can buy this hose at 25 or 50-foot lengths.

This is a high-quality, American-made gravel cleaner that is excellent for large aquariums.

As you will have seen in the video, this siphon comes with a standard 10-inch gravel tube.

Longer gravel tubes can be purchased separately.

These include the following sizes:

  • 24-inch gravel tube
  • 30-inch gravel tube
  • 36-inch gravel tube

This fish tank cleaning hose adapts to most US faucets, however, if your taps do not have a thread you will need this faucet thread adapter.

And, depending on which Python tank cleaner set-up you buy, you may need to purchase the gravel cleaning tube separately.

Features and benefits:

  • No need to transport buckets of water
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Effective at removing dirt from the gravel
  • Durable plastic tubing
  • Replace water quickly
  • Fastest water changes

4. Python Siphon Kit for Aquarium

best fish tank siphon reviewVIEW ON AMAZON →

The smaller Python fish tank vacuum is a siphon that does not connect to your taps but works like a regular fish tank vacuum.

You can be sure that you are getting a high-quality, American-made product.

The Python is available in a number of sizes and can be complemented by the Python Squeeze Siphon Starter (if not already included).

However, it’s best to get the larger Python vacuum that connects to your taps (listed above) if you have a large tank.

It just takes too much time to use buckets.

The Python brand of fish tank cleaners, vacuums, and water change hoses are among the best known and most trusted.

You can’t go wrong with this quality product.

Features and benefits:

  • Quality hose and gravel tube
  • Comes in a variety of sizes and lengths
  • Easy to get started
  • Very cheap
  • Good instructions
  • Durable and reliable

5. Electric Aquarium Vacuum

best Electric Aquarium Vacuum

This electric aquarium gravel cleaner is another different way to achieve a clean clear fish tank.

This gravel vacuum is suitable for:

  • Changing water
  • Cleaning gravel
  • Removing fish waste and excess food

Obviously, the big difference is that it is electric.

The motor needs to be kept underwater when in use, but it helps to get the siphon started and to clean the gravel.

To be honest, the whole thing is a little bit gimmicky and we won’t be using it for our tanks.

The filter bags which capture the waste become dirty and clogged quickly and the short hose makes water changes difficult. However, it is cheap and there are plenty of positive reviews, so it could be worth trying out.

Sometimes you’ve just got to give these things a go to see if it works for your aquarium set-up.

Personally, we believe a gravel cleaner like the Python is money well spent, whereas this is more touch-and-go.

Pros and cons include:

  • Filters for cleaning gravel
  • Electric makes for easy use
  • Less work
  • Won’t last as long as non-electric
  • Requires additional purchases
  • Prone to faults

6. Aqueon Gravel Cleaner

top fish tank gravel cleaner

Lastly, we have the Aqueon aquarium vacuum pump which is similar to the first unit we shared.

The Aqueon model is another good simple gravel cleaner that comes in multiple sizes and can come with or without the bulb.

It comes with a good-sized gravel cleaning tube that effectively separates the dirt.

A siphon like this is good for water changes and cleaning in for all tank sizes: from 3 gallons all the way up to 55 gallons and beyond.

This model has had thousands of people using it for years and has received very good reviews.

Features and benefits:

  • Very affordable
  • Quality materials
  • Made from durable plastics
  • 6-foot hose
  • Clips for hands-free use
  • Best for glass fish tanks

7. Laifoo Cheap Aquarium Siphon

easy to use vacuum

The Laifoo is another best-selling gravel cleaner and water siphon that is very cheap.

It comes in two sizes, 5 ft or 7 ft. The price difference between the two is so minuscule that the larger size is usually your best bet.

It has a siphon ball to get the flow started, and like all of these basic options, it’s easy to use and control.

Some of the features are:

  • A detachable filter screen
  • 2mm thick anti-kinking hose
  • Hose clip
  • Durable siphon ball
  • Comes with an instruction manual

Fish Tank Vacuum FAQs

best fish tank vacuum

Do I need a vacuum for a fish tank?

You can clean a fish tank without a siphon or vacuum and, no, you don’t need one.

However, an aquarium vacuum can make the job much easier and faster, and it will likely leave you with a cleaner tank.

Do you remove fish when vacuuming?

You should not need to remove the fish from your tank when cleaning it with a siphon – unless, of course, you are emptying the tank.

A tank vacuum is designed for use with fish in the tank, though you need to be extra careful if you have fry in the tank.

Move slowly through the gravel, and catch the dirty water in a bucket rather than sending it straight down the sink. Then you can check for any fish that got sucked down the hose.

Some vacuums have filters that will stop larger items, including fish, from being caught up.

Should I clean the gravel in my fish tank?

Yes, the gravel in your fish tank should be cleaned at least once or twice per month.

If you neglect to do this, toxins will build up in the water and have detrimental effects on your fish.

How often should you clean fish poop?

It really depends on the size of your tank and the number of fish you are keeping.

Most people aim to clean their fish tank and do a water change every 1 – 2 weeks. This keeps the water clear and helps remove toxins from the water.

Some aquaponic fish tanks may not need to be cleaned as often because the plants growing on top feed on the fish waste.

Self-cleaning fish tanks work along the same lines, but ultimately, there will always be a level of maintenance needed with all indoor fish tanks – fish ponds may be the exception.

What eats fish poop in the tank?

You can also delay the time between tank cleans by introducing creatures that help to eat or process fish waste.

This includes snails and shrimp, and is also the reason why some people choose not to eat shrimp!

Corydoras and plecos are also known to eat fish poop.

How can I check the chemical or toxin levels in my fish tank?

The API freshwater test kit is a really good option for those with a freshwater tank, and the brand has a salt-water test kit as well.

It will allow you to test the PH level, along with important nitrite and nitrate measurements.

Gravel Cleaner For Fish Tank

So those are the top 5 tank vacuums we have to share today.

They are an effective fish tank cleaning tool that doesn’t have to be used all that frequently if other equipment is in use.

For example, even a nano protein skimmer will go a long way to keeping your tank clean.

Whether you have a large community tank or a small betta fish tank, keeping the gravel, sand, and water clean should be one of your top priorities.

There’s no easier way than with a good aquarium siphon and vacuum.


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