5 Best Electric Aquarium Vacuum Gravel Cleaners [2021 Reviews]


Everyone who’s ever owned a fish tank knows all about those cheapo plastic siphon-action gravel vacuums. They’re messy, the tubing can be difficult to control, and if you suck something up into the vacuum you didn’t intend to, you end up having to yank it up out of the water to release the suction. There’s got to be a better way to clean your aquarium gravel!

It turns out, there is an easier way!

Electric aquarium vacuum gravel cleaners are relatively new and have rapidly become more affordable for most budgets. They are easy to use and are intended to make cleaning aquarium substrate and performing water changes easier and less mess, saving your floors from a watery fate.

Here are reviews of the 5 best electric aquarium vacuum gravel cleaners to help you pick the right one for your needs. Once you pick one, you’ll finally be able to put away that towel that lives in the cabinet under your tank solely to mop up water change messes.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

 

The 5 Best Electric Aquarium Vacuum Gravel Cleaners – Reviews 2021

1. Eheim Quick Vac Automatic Gravel Cleaner – Best OverallEheim Quick Vac Automatic Gravel

The best overall electric aquarium vacuum is the Eheim Quick Vac Automatic Gravel Cleaner for its handy design and ease of use. This product is battery operated and it is fully submersible up to 3 feet.

The Eheim electric gravel vacuum provides easy gravel cleaning between water changes. This product pulls water in and filters it through a fine mesh filter, allowing waste to be pulled from the water while returning the cleaned water back into the tank. The suction in this product is made to stand up even to tough sludge. Since this vacuum is simply removing waste and returning clean water to the tank, there is no need for buckets or hauling dirty water out and clean water in.

This vacuum is not intended to replace routine water changes, but it will help decrease the need for tank maintenance by keeping filters cleaner, preventing the buildup of waste byproducts like ammonia, and removing solid waste from the tank.

Pros

  • Battery operated
  • Submersible up to 3 feet
  • Filters waste from water and returns clean water to the tank
  • Reduces need for water changes
  • Does not require hauling water and is less messy than water changes
  • Made to suction up sludge
  • Decreases tank maintenance

Cons

  • Does not replace water changes

2. NICREW Automatic Gravel Cleaner – Best ValueNICREW Automatic Gravel Cleaner

The best value product reviewed is the NICREW Automatic Gravel Cleaner because it’s the best electric aquarium vacuum gravel cleaner for the money. This product is powered via an electrical plug but is submersible. The water pump should be fully submerged, or this vacuum will not work, but care should be taken to ensure water does not drip down the electrical cord into the outlet.

This electric gravel vacuum is intended to suction solid waste from the gravel and can also be used for water changes. This product can be used simply to remove solid waste between water changes, decreasing the frequency of water changes needed. It includes a suction nozzle, extension nozzle, and extension tube. With the extensions, this product can be used to clean a tank that is up to 28 inches deep and it is safe for saltwater and freshwater use.

This vacuum should not be used with substrate less than 2mm, making this inappropriate for use in tanks with sand and dirt substrates. This product should not fully replace water changes.

Pros

  • Best value for the money
  • Does not require batteries
  • Can clean tanks up to 28 inches deep
  • Can be used for waste removal to decrease water change frequency
  • Can be used for water changes
  • Includes extension nozzle and extension tube
  • Saltwater and freshwater safe

Cons

  • Requires electrical outlet
  • Cannot be used with substrates less than 2mm
  • Does not replace water changes

3. COODIA Electric Auto Aquarium Gravel CleanerCOODIA Electric Auto Aquarium Gravel Cleaner

The COODIA Electric Auto Aquarium Gravel Cleaner is a 4-in-1 product for cleaning and maintenance of tanks. It operates via an electrical cord.

This vacuum kit includes a fixture clip that allows you to clip the tubing onto the edge of the tank, a flow adjustment valve, and an on/off switch. It also includes a large suction nozzle, small suction nozzle, and algae cleaner attachment. The small suction nozzle has a built-in grate to prevent gravel and live animals from being pulled through the vacuum. This vacuum can be used for solid waste removal, algae cleaning, water changes, and gravel cleaning. It has a soft, fabric filter that allows large waste particles to be captured before clean water is returned to the tank.

This vacuum does not replace regular water changes, although it can decrease the frequency of water changes. The water pump has to be fully submerged for this product to work, making this a poor choice for tanks less than a tall 10-gallon tank. The fabric filter bag is made of thick fabric to catch waste and return clean water but can cause leaks and overflows as well.

Pros

  • 4-in-1 product for waste removal, algae cleaning, water changing, and gravel cleaning
  • Soft, fabric filter bag to catch waste particles
  • Includes small and large suction nozzles and algae cleaner attachment
  • Suction nozzle head has built-in grate to prevent fish and gravel from being sucked in
  • Built-in flow adjustment valve
  • Fixture clip is included

Cons

  • Requires electrical outlet
  • Does not replace water changes
  • Not for small tanks
  • Fabric filter bag may cause leaks and overflows

4. Upettools Aquarium Gravel CleanerUPETTOOLS Aquarium Gravel Cleaner

The Upettools Aquarium Gravel Cleaner is a 6-in-1 electric aquarium vacuum. It operates via an electrical cord and an on/off switch.

This product can be used to change water, clean sand, vacuum solid waste, filter water, improve water flow, and create a shower. It includes a sand washing head, suction head, shower head, substrate washing tube, tank cleaning head, and four extension tubes for various tank depths. It has a soft, rubber handle and a mesh filter bag. It also comes with a water intake strainer pump for adding and removing water.

This product should not replace regular water changes but can be used to decrease the frequency of water changes and make water changes easier when needed. The water pump does need to be fully submerged for this vacuum to function properly. The filter bag may detach from the pump if not handled carefully, causing a watery mess. This product does not always come with instructions, so you may have to reach out to the manufacturer for operating instructions.

Pros

  • 6-in-1 function
  • Includes mesh filter bag and four extension tubes for access to different depths
  • Includes four heads and a substrate washing tube
  • Can be used for sand and other small substrates
  • Includes a soft, rubber handle

Cons

  • Filter bag may detach
  • May not come with instructions
  • Does not replace water changes
  • Not for small tanks
  • Needs electrical outlet

5. AQQA Aquarium Gravel CleanerAQQA Aquarium Gravel Cleaner Siphon Kit

The AQQA Aquarium Gravel Cleaner has 6-in-1 functions. It operates via an electrical cord with an on/off switch.

This product can be used for water changes, sand washing, solid waste removal, water filtration, water showering, and improve water flow. It comes with a brush head, sand cleaning head, suction head, gravel washer with filter and sponge, and shower head. It also includes a mesh filter bag and suction intake and has a soft, spongy handle. The handle tubing can be extended from 17-33.5 inches.

This product does not replace water changes but can be used to make them much easier. The on/off switch is not waterproof, so it should be kept away from the water at all times. This vacuum is somewhat bulky and may be difficult and awkward to use because of this. The filter bag may come off if not handled carefully, causing leaks and overflows, or returning dirty water back into the tank.

Pros

  • 6-in-1 function
  • Includes mesh filter bag and extendable handle tube
  • Includes four heads and a substrate washing tube with filter
  • Can be used for sand and other small substrates
  • Includes soft, spongy handle grip

Cons

  • Does not replace water changes
  • On/off switch is not waterproof
  • Bulky and awkward to use
  • Filter bag may come off easily
  • Requires electrical outlet

Buyer’s Guide

How to Pick the Best Electric Aquarium Vacuum Gravel Cleaner for Your Needs::

  • Power Source: When it comes to electric aquarium vacuums, you can choose between battery powered and electrically powered. A battery-operated product is going to be easier to manage than one that is connecting you to an outlet, but it’s also going to require routine battery changes and extra care to make sure water doesn’t get into the battery compartment. There are pros and cons to battery and electrically operated aquarium vacuums, so you need to weigh the options to pick the right one for your needs.
  • Substrate: Some vacuums are made for use with gravel only and if you attempt to use them with a fine-grained substrate like sand or dirt, you’re going to end up with a clogged motor and a mess to clean up. Gravel is a popular substrate for aquariums and is generally too large and too heavy for most vacuums to pick up. Take your substrate into account when choosing the right electric vacuum for your aquarium.
  • Tank Size: Electric gravel vacuums function with a submerged water pump and if this pump is not submerged, they will not work correctly. It’s kind of like how some filters require priming before use and if they are not primed, the motor burns out. These motors are made to operate underwater and if they are not underwater, they will either not function at all or they will spin and burn themselves out. If you have a 3-gallon tank, then an electric aquarium vacuum isn’t a good pick for you, but if you have a 100-gallon tank, then an electric aquarium vacuum may save you a lot of time and headache.
  • Tank Inhabitants: Some types of fish and invertebrates enjoy burrowing into the substrate, which means you have to be cognizant of them whenever you are cleaning your tank’s substrate. When using an electric vacuum, this is even more important because the suction can be stronger than what you are used to with a siphon-action vacuum. If you have a lot of fish or snails that prefer to burrow, then it might be safest for you to stick with the old-fashioned tank cleaning method.
  • Use: When you consider getting an electric aquarium vacuum gravel cleaner, you need to identify what exactly you’re wanting to use it for. If your intent is only to use it for removing solid waste between water changes, then you may be able to go with a simple model of vacuum. If you are wanting the 6-in-1 type functions, though, then you’ll need to go with a product that will be able to perform multiple functions. Keep in mind that a multi-function product isn’t necessarily a better or higher quality product, it’s just a product with more functionality. Most people don’t have use for an electric aquarium vacuum that can also function as a tank shower, but if you have a turtle or want to oxygenate your water without the use of an airstone, then you may make use of a product like that.

Conclusion

The world of electric aquarium vacuum gravel cleaners is relatively small, but it’s still important to make sure you end up with a high-quality product. The best overall product is the Eheim Quick Vac Aquarium Gravel Cleaner because it’s easy to use, handy, and perfect for quick aquarium cleanups. The best value product, though, is the NICREW Automatic Gravel Cleaner since it’s cost-effective while still being an effective product.

These reviews are intended to provide you with five high-quality picks for finding the right electric gravel vacuum to make it easier for you to narrow things down. From a product with a single function that will make your life and tank maintenance easier to 6-in-1 products, there’s something here for any needs you may have. Now all you have to do is pick one out!


Featured image credit: Open Mind Art, Shutterstock



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