Best Gravel Vacuums – Review and Guide

There are some important features you should consider before getting an aquarium gravel vacuum cleaner, especially if this is the first time purchasing one. One reason is that you need to consider the size of your aquarium. A small tank could be a problem for some fish.

Another thing to consider is that the nozzle should be small enough so that you don’t accidentally suck up a fish or other aquatic life that you have. Most cleaners come with safety features such as built-in nets to prevent this.

The following gravel vacuums were selected as the top 10 to help you select one that would be best for your type of aquarium. If you have any questions, feel free to email us by filling out the form at the end of the reviews.

Gravel Vacuum Reviews

Genuine TERA PUMP Aquarium Cleaner

The TERA PUMP BPA-free aquarium gravel cleaner and fish minnow net is a unique aquarium cleaner kit that can be used on gravel or sand substrate. The vacuum cleaner helps you clean the aquarium gravel and rocks quickly.

The one-way flow control keeps water from spilling back. Squeezing the hand pump creates a siphon. The shut off valve lets you slow down the speed or shut it off when you are finished.

The TERA PUMP gravel cleaner has a filter to keep rocks, gravel, plants, and fish from being siphoned. It allows dirt, debris, and dirty water to pass through the filter.

The small fish net can be used for filtering smaller debris and sand. The minnow net can also be used for catching the fish and transferring them into a holding tank. It is handy to have a few of these so you don’t have to go searching for a vacuum.
Pros

  • It includes a minnow net so you can move your fish for easy cleaning
  • The fish net is used for filtering smaller debris and sand
  • You can use it with any size fish tank from 10 to 100-gallon

Cons

  • Complaints that the hand pump is a little tricky
  • Complaints of it not being assembled right

VISOSUN Aquarium Gravel Cleaner

VISOSUN’s hose is BPA-free and is made of solid and durable plastic that will keep the kinks out and the water flowing nice and smooth. To get the water going you simply give the large durable bulb about 5-6 good solid hand pumps.

You will love how you can keep from having spills and messes when draining the tank. The amount of water and the speed that it flows can be adjusted to be slower or faster with the flow controller.

VISOSUN kit comes with two nozzles! One nozzle is shorter and is to be used to drain the water from the tank. The other nozzle is longer and is for cleaning the substrate of either gravel or sand.

Another very useful accessory is a small suction cup that you can attach to the wall of your glass aquarium. You can do a one-hand cleaning or even walk away for a few minutes during your weekly maintenance. You also get a fish net with a handle that is almost 13 inches long.
Pros

  • Two types of nozzles
  • BPA-free and durable hose
  • The bulb is larger than many

Cons

  • Complaint of low suction

Marina Gravel Cleaner

Marina wants to make you happy by offering a gravel vacuum cleaner in four sizes by the name of Easy Clean Gravel Cleaner. It ranges from the mini size to the large size.

The mini size has a solid 1-inch wide x 10-inch long cleaning tube. The small is 1.5 inches wide x 10-inch solid cleaning tube. The medium is 2.5 inches wide x 15-inch solid cleaning tube. The large has a 2.5-inch wide x 24-inch long solid cleaning tube. They all have a 6-foot long hose that doesn’t kink.

All have gravel guards, so the gravel stays in the tank and not in the bucket. The Easy Clean is easy to start up and easy to use with its non-kinking hose, an easy-to-grip bulb with an oval shape at the end.

To start it going you simply pump the easy-to-grip bulb up and down until the suction starts. You will be able to reach the hard-to-get-to places like the corners of the tank with the oval shaped end on the cleaning tube.
Pros

  • 4 sizes for different size tanks
  • Non-kinking hose
  • Cleaning tube is oval shaped for easy access to corners

Cons

  • Complaint of low suction due to valve with a poor design
  • It has the California warning about dangerous chemicals

SSRIVER Aquarium Gravel Cleaner

SSRIVER Aquarium Gravel Cleaner is easy to install and to use with any size of aquarium. It has a long clear suction tube to reach all the hard to reach places as it sucks out the dirt and debris.

The SSRIVER gravel cleaner has great suction power and it’s rather fun to watch as it pulls out the dirty water along with debris but leaves the substrate looking clean. It comes with accessories such as a soft hose, water flow clamp, glass scraper, hose clamp, and anti-back flow valve.

This aquarium gravel cleaner can easily be used for water changing or filter gravel cleaning. It has an air pressing button and adjustable water flow controller. The tube is long enough to reach in to the hard-to-reach areas. The suction is powerful and pulls out the debris and dirty water but not the gravel. It will pull the gravel about halfway up the tube and then clean it and let it go back.

The SSRIVER gravel cleaner is BPA-free. If you are not satisfied SSRIVER will refund 100 percent or send you a replacement.
Pros

  • 100 percent refund if not satisfied
  • It has adjustable water flow control
  • It has an anti-back flow valve

Cons

  • Several complaints that suction is low

Dora’s Corner Store Gravel Vacuum

Dora’s Corner Gravel Vacuum Cleaner is for aquariums and has a 2×10-inch cylinder tube with a 56-inch flexible drain hose. It is very durable and 100% made in USA.

It makes cleaning and water changes easy. It is self-priming by moving it up-and-down to start the water flowing (no bulb needed). It is suitable for 15- to 30-gallon tank.

This product will last as it is very sturdy and very durable. It is not cheap plastic like most others and the plastic is BPA-free. Without changing the water, invisible toxins will build up in your tank creating toxic environment for your aquarium life.

Dora’s Corner Store Gravel Cleaner is made of high-quality plastic that is BPA-free which means it is safe from toxin contamination. You will not have to worry about harming your fish while using this gravel cleaner.
Pros

  • It is BPA-free
  • It is easy to assemble
  • It makes your cleaning job fast and easy

Cons

  • Hose is too short
  • Sometimes is a bit hard to get started

TOM Aquarium Gravel Vacuum

Koller Products is the maker of aquariums and aquarium equipment such as the TOM Aquarium’s 12-inch Gravel Vacuum. It is easy to start and easy to use. It includes a 5-foot attachable hose.

You should perform a water change using this gravel vacuum at least once a month, while removing not more than 25 percent of the water.

To use this vacuum, place the nozzle into the gravel to begin cleaning. If you push too deep it could cause gravel to get pulled into the nozzle and it will get plugged up. It has a built-in gravel guard, so gravel won’t get siphoned out.

As you move the nozzle throughout the bottom of the fish tank debris is siphoned into the bucket with the water. When you lift the nozzle, the gravel will fall back to the bottom of the tank and it will be cleaned.
Pros

  • Easy to start and use
  • It has a wide nozzle that quickly removes wastes
  • The siphoning process is easy

Cons

  • Complaints of being low-quality material
  • Too big for 5-gallon tank

DaToo Aquarium Cleaning

DaToo Aquarium Cleaning has a pump kit that is easy to operate and is made of BPA-free plastic. Scooping out water manually will make a mess on the floor and clothes while being frightening to your beloved fish.

DaToo Aquarium Cleaner is simple and easy to use—just put the nozzle and hose in your aquarium tank, then press on the pump bulb 4 to 6 times to get the water to flow out into a bucket.

You get two nozzles with one that is a long 72.5 inches for cleaning the gravel or sand in the tank and one that is shorter at 65.7 inches to remove the water when changing it. They are both environmentally safe and made of strong durable plastic.

DaToo takes care of their customers with great after-sales service. You can contact them with any questions or concerns.

Pros

  • Made of BPA-free plastic
  • Long and short nozzle included
  • Great customer service

Cons

  • Complaints of poor quality
  • Complaints of problems with siphoning

Luigi Aquarium Gravel Cleaner

Luigi’s Aquarium Gravel Cleaners have been sold in stores across the US and in Europe since 2009. It has become the popular choice of several fish enthusiasts. You will get a sturdy one-way siphon that is one of the fastest in removing one gallon of water per minute.

Luigi’s Aquarium Gravel Cleaner requires manual use, but it is mess-free. There’s also a filter to keep your small fish from harm in your 5-gallon tank. You can keep your fish and invertebrates safe by using the filter that prevents sucking up small fish and shrimps.

Keep your aquarium clean by filtering through the gravel using the attachment to suck up food, fish waste, and toxins that build up in your tank. You won’t get any mess to clean up. If you need to stop it quickly, it has a screw on top that will stop the suction.

Luigi has a 100 percent money back guarantee. If you’re not happy with their product, just let them know and you will receive an instant refund. For any reason – no questions asked! This is worth it if you need to return with no questions asked.

Pros

  • One-way valve improves suction
  • Claims to be mess-free
  • Money back guarantee with no questions asked

Cons

  • One complaint of siphoning up fish
  • Stopped working in a few months

PERSUPER Genuine Vacuum Cleaner

PERSUPER Genuine Vacuum Cleaner is an easy-to-use for water change and cleaning gravel that can be used for marine or freshwater. It siphons the dirt out while you are doing a water change.

It comes with two kinds of nozzles. One nozzle is for draining. The other is for cleaning surplus fish food, excrement, and fine gravel while replacing water. It is easy to bend it into any position that you need if the position of water outlet is lower than the inlet.

The siphon pump is easy to grip. You just need to squeeze the pump a few times, and the water will start flowing automatically. PVC tube is high quality BPA-free and won’t collapse to block the water flow.

It is so easy to use you don’t need instructions. It also has a removable Fish Safe screen cover to make sure your fish don’t get siphoned up.

Pro

  • Easy to use
  • Two nozzles
  • Made of sturdy plastic

Cons

  • Complaint of hose being too long
  • No instructions included for newbies

QANVEE Aquarium Gravel Vacuum Cleaner

The Qanvee Gravel Vacuum System is available in three models, each with two sizes. It will make your water changes easy. You simply attach the parts provided, insert the Qanvee Gravel Vacuum into your tank and begin the siphon.

Qanvee has a gentle siphon that won’t disturb your fish or the layout of your tank but is tough enough to siphon all the loose debris so that the tank stays clean while being healthy for your fish.

Qanvee has two models, number S300 and S600, that have a built-in knob that is adjustable and allows you to attach the siphon on the rim of your tank for hands-free operation.

You need to clean the tank more than once a month. If you don’t it can cause toxins that ruin your tank’s balanced ecosystem and make your fish sick.

Pros

  • Available in three models with two sizes each
  • Hose is very long with no leaks
  • Gentle siphon that won’t disturb fish

Cons

  • User complaints of problems with siphoning

Types of Gravel Vacuum.

  1. Standard Siphon: This vacuum comes with different tube lengths and diameters. Tube sizes can vary from 12 to 8 inches long. Some are flat, whilst others have a slanted end.
  2. Mini Siphon: These siphons work no differently than general siphons. However, these are designed for fish bowls, mini tanks, and nano tanks. They will generally need a tube that’s about 5 inches long. The hose is also shorter than standard siphons.
  3. Long Siphon: These are for large tanks. The tubes are typically 15 to 18 inches in length and have a longer hose than standard siphons.
  4. Self Priming Siphon: This feature on a siphon is considered ideal by most aquarists. With this siphon you won’t need to suck on the hose. In order to get it started, it’ll just need to be pumped.
  5. Water Driven Siphon: You can attach this type of siphon to a faucet. This allows it to create suction when the water is pulled through the siphon. With that, the water will go to the sink, eliminating any need for buckets.
  6. Filter Driven Siphon: A filter drives this siphon. First, you attach the hose to the filter’s inlet tube, the tube is then used to suction out the debris. Dirty water is sent through the filter. After which clean water is returned to the tank.
  7. Battery Powered Siphon: Finally, this is operated with a battery. These push water out of the tank, capture the debris, then return clean water to the tank.

How to Select a Gravel Vacuum?

  1. The wide part of the vacuum should almost as tall as your tank is. If it’s too short, then it will be hard to keep from vacuuming up gravel. If it’s too long, it makes it difficult to get the siphon started.
  2. The narrower part of the tube should be at least 4-6’ long so you can reach the bucket with the other end of the tube.
  3. Think about the type and size of fish and plants dwelling in your tank. Make sure that the nozzle is small enough to not injure the fish.
  4. Think about what kind will be most beneficial to you. Make sure to do research on both manual and electronic gravel cleaners to see which one you prefer.
  5. Think about the size of your substrate. If you have sand instead of gravel, a gravel cleaner isn’t always necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions About Gravel Vacuums

What Are Gravel Vacuums For? Vacuums are used to clean waste and debris from the substrate in the bottom of your aquarium. This is an essential process for keeping your tank environment clean.

How to choose the right size? There are many different types of aquarium gravel vacuum cleaners, and they all come in a variety of sizes and designs. You will want to consider the size of your fish tank. Be sure to know the measurements and number of gallons it contains. If it’s your first time, you can ask the seller for advice and they can help pick the right size for you.

Should I get an electrical or manual gravel cleaner? Electric gravel cleaners are easier to use due to the fact that you simply immerse them and turn on the switch. They are more costly, however. They can be difficult to repair, and they make an audible noise that can frighten your fish. Manual gravel cleaners are affordable and efficient. They do require more work to set up, and you risk being drenched by the hose. The decision is ultimately up to what the buyer feels best suits their needs, as both options have their pros and cons.

Can the gravel vacuum be used on sand? It can used on sand as long as you hold it above the sand. If you don’t have a fine filter, you will want to be careful not to remove the sand.

How often do I vacuum the gravel? This is not a process that needs to be done too frequently. Some aquarists suggest once a week, while others say once a month is enough. The important part is to pay attention to how much debris has accumulated in the tank, and respond accordingly.

How to Maintain Your Gravel Vacuum?

When you’re done using your vacuum cleaner, make sure to use clean water to wash it off. Rinse the head and the rest of the tube. Afterwards, dry it and store it in a dry area that is easily accessible for the next time that you need to use it.

Using your Gravel Vacuum should be fairly simple once you get the hang of it. For utilizing it most effectually, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Make sure to keep the syphon head and hose tightly fastened.
  2. Always use a container of some kind for a more convenient draining process.
  3. Position the vacuum’s head into the aquarium to fill it with water.
  4. Once it’s filled, lift it from the water and drain into the container.
  5. Put the head back into the water before it empties completely.
  6. Move the vacuum’s head through the substrate to gather any debris.
  7. Continue this process until you’ve emptied about 25% of the tank water.

Advantages of Having a Gravel Vacuum

The main benefit of an aquarium vacuum is that it cleans the debris from your tank. Particles of food, dirt, waste, and debris can float into the bottom of your tank and settle there.

When you need to change the water in your tank, you can use the vacuum cleaner to remove the dirty water from the bottom instead of scooping clean water off the top. It’s a good way to make certain that your tank is getting sufficiently clean.

The primary reason to invest in a reliable vacuum cleaner is to make sure you can provide a clean habitat for your fish. This helps to reduce their stress levels and extend their lifespan.

Conclusion

It’s important and good to see that most of these gravel vacuums have a protection such as built-in nets on the siphon nozzle, so it won’t accidentally suck up a fish or other aquatic life in your tank.

The most important thing is that you get a vacuum as soon as possible so you can see to the bottom of your tank and have sparkling clear and clean water that will amaze visitors when they come over.

Please write us in the comments about your experience with this product or if you have any questions about anything that may not have been addressed in this article.

We wish you many peaceful moments with your aquatic friends.

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