The Best Fish Tank Cleaners 2024: Tested & Trusted

Lauren Kiekbusch
The Best Fish Tank Cleaners

“In my years of hands-on experience with aquariums, we’ve sifted through many tools and equipment designed to keep aquatic environments pristine. From manual scoopers to high-tech gadgets, I’ve tried them all. Regarding the best fish tank cleaners, we picked the EHEIM Quick Vac automatic gravel cleaner as the best overall alongside 7 others I’ve tested over the years. Read factors to consider when choosing a fish tank below and see the rest of our top picks.

Best Fish Tank Cleaners at a Glance

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my many years diving deep into the world of home aquariums, it’s this: A clean fish tank isn’t just about aesthetics—it’s crucial for the health and vibrancy of our aquatic friends. Just as we wouldn’t want to live in a messy home, our fish don’t thrive in a dirty environment.

But with so many products, methods, and advice out there, where do you even start? I’ve been in your shoes, wading through information, making mistakes, and learning from them. That’s why I’ve put together this guide

Whether you’re just starting out or an old hand looking for some fresh insights, I’m here to help you navigate the waters (pun intended) of fish tank cleaning. This guide is for you.

Why Cleaning a Fish Tank is Essential

Beyond just the visual pleasure, maintaining a pristine environment for our fishy friends is a responsibility we shouldn’t take lightly. Here’s why:

1. Health is Wealth – For Fish Too!

Fish, much like humans, require a certain level of cleanliness to remain healthy. A dirty tank is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, algae blooms, and parasites. These can lead to fish diseases, often harder to treat than prevent. Plus, toxins like ammonia and nitrites can build up in a neglected tank, causing unnecessary stress or even fatalities.

2. Crystal Clear Views

A well-maintained fish tank isn’t just for the fish—it’s for us, too! The vibrant colors of our aquatic inhabitants and the intricate designs of plants and decorations shine brighter in clean water. Watching fish glide effortlessly in their pristine habitat is pure visual therapy.

3. Equipment Longevity

Dirt, algae, and other debris can reduce the efficiency of your aquarium equipment. Filters can clog up, heaters might not work optimally, and lights can become dim with algae covering. Regular cleaning ensures that your investment in these tools pays off in the long run, as they function better and last longer.

4. Stability is Key

A clean tank means a stable environment. When tanks are neglected, it can lead to drastic fluctuations in water parameters. This instability can stress fish, leading to a weakened immune system and increased disease vulnerability.

Main takeaway 🐟

A clean tank isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s a lifeline for the fish and a testament to our dedication as their caretakers. By understanding the importance and committing to regular maintenance, we’re not just keeping our tanks clean—we’re giving our aquatic companions the best life possible.

The Best Fish Tank Cleaners

If you do not need basic fish tank cleaners but the best among all options available, you will find the following suggestions interesting;

1. EHEIM Quick Vac Pro

The EHEIM Quick Vac automatic gravel cleaner is the best aquarium cleaner you can find. This device is designed to be used while the water is being changed. It cleans the water and does so without disturbing your fish.

It works by pulling water through the vac, then filters it through its filtration system after which it returns the water to the fish tank. This cleaner is effective for getting rid of leftover food, and plants growing, as well as heavy waste.

It is designed to go as low as three feet and guarantees optimum cleaning. We love that it comes with a removable mesh filter and batteries when it is newly purchased.  You, however, may need to purchase a hose as this cleaner doesn’t come with a hose, it is also not excellent for sand and fine gravel. 

2. Python No Spill Clean and Fill

The Python no spill clean and fill is designed to help you eliminate the stress of cleaning and changing water. This cleaner works by removing the debris and toxins, while also changing the water, at the same time. We love that it comes with a long gravel tube to make the work easier.

You do not need to remove your fish from the tank as you clean, it works just well, without disturbing your aquarium friends. Whether you have fresh or salt water, this tank cleaner works excellently for both.

We found it quite easy to use. However, some other users found it quite complex. 

3. NICREW Automatic Gravel Cleaner

NICREW Automatic gravel cleaner stands out among other cleaners because of its excellent work with cleaning aquariums! We love that not only does it change water, but it also filters solid waste.

It is made for medium to large tanks with a flow rate of 90 gallons per hour. This device can clean specific things in your aquarium or the entire tank.

One of our favorite things about this cleaner is its eco-friendly body parts, making it safe for your fish and live plants. The NICREW Cleaner, although great, may not be an excellent option for sand and should only be used for gravel 2 millimeters and above. 

4. Aqueon Siphon Vacuum Gravel Cleaner

The Aqueon gravel cleaner comes in different sizes, to suit your aquarium size, it works well for changing the water and also separating and removing dirt and debris from the gravel.

For the large size, we found the adjustable 6-inch long hose useful, it also has a clip for attaching the drain hose to the bucket, ensuring easy and clean work. Overall, we found this cleaner easy to use. 

5. Upettools Aquarium Gravel Cleaner

No doubt, the upettool gravel cleaner is an effective one! This is a 6-in-1 gravel cleaner designed to change the water, wash sand, filter water and remove toxins, improve the water flow, and work as a shower to add oxygen to the aquarium.

We love the five-head attachments and a detachable mesh filter bag. It boasts of changing the water in a 180-gallon tank in less than an hour; this is thanks to its flow rate of 449.09 GPH.

We love that you do not require additional tools to clean the device; it also comes with four 8-inch extension tubes.  

6. AQQA Aquarium Gravel Cleaner

The AQQA Aquarium gravel cleaner boasts 6 functions in one device. One of our favorite features is its 360-degree rapid water intake strainer, which helps drain the water quickly and is ready for a change.

Our duckbill suction works well to eliminate leftover food, fish waste, and any other dirt the vacuum may have missed. We also found the 360-degree brush head effective for removing the walls, rocks, and other parts of the aquarium that need cleaning.

The washer has a filter sponge that ensures your aquarium is free of toxins and safe for your fish’s health. This cleaner comes with a handle that extends up to 33 inches, this makes the AQQA cleaner perfect for large aquariums. We found this cleaner a bit cumbersome and time-wasting, and this is probably due to the many parts and attachments.  

7. Fluval Aqua Pro Vac Gravel Cleaner

The battery-powered Fluval aqua gravel cleaner works excellently by filtering the water tank to use the same water or to change the water. comes with a removable mesh filter and a replaceable filter.

You will also find a long-reach nozzle that allows the cleaner to get to the bottom of the tank if your tank is deep. We found the built-in LED effective as it helps you spot waste and dirt in dark parts of the aquarium.

Although this cleaner works well for changing water, it doesn’t come with a hose. 

8. Laifoo Aquarium Siphon Vacuum Cleaner

Although this cleaner features just one tool, it works excellently for cleaning your aquarium. It works by connecting the siphon to a long hose with a hand pump at the end.

All you need to do is place the siphon in the tank and squeeze the handle, the water comes in through the tube. We love that it eliminates fish waste, leftover food, and other dirt. it comes with a five-foot-long hose and a 3-month warranty after purchase. 

Final Thoughts 

Keeping aquariums clean is important to ensuring your fish stay in good health. Cleaning their home is often advised, however, you can only get this done with an effective cleaner.

Each of the above-reviewed cleaners fits well for whatever unique features, cleaning needs, and tank sizes you have. We hope you make the best decision for your aquatic friends!

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