Which Is The Best Fish Tank Gravel Cleaner?

Unless you are deep cleaning your aquarium, you don’t need to transfer the fish and completely or partially empty the tank every time you want to clean muck, bits of food and fish waste from the gravel.

An easier way to keep your aquarium gravel clean is using a gravel cleaner. There are several types of gravel cleaners, including manual and powered designs. But they all work on the same principle. They pull or siphon water and gravel through a tube.

This releases particulates stuck under the gravel, allowing it to travel up the tube and into a bucket on the floor. The clean gravel falls back into the fish tank.

Using a gravel cleaner takes less time, is easier than emptying the tank and it puts less stress on your fish.

Most gravel cleaners also work in reverse. You can use it to add water to a fish tank.

In this buying guide we give you a few tips on how to choose the best gravel cleaner and recommend the best fish tank gravel cleaners you can order online in the UK.

Here’s a good summary:

Best Fish Tank Gravel Cleaner (UK Market)

Our Top Pick

Fluval ProVac Powered Aquarium Gravel Cleaner

Fluval ProVac Powered Aquarium Gravel Cleaner

  • Powerful cleaning performance
  • Two speeds
  • Includes extender nozzle for cleaning deep aquariums
  • Built-in light for cleaning dark corners and crevices


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Value For Money

Tetra Gravel Cleaner GC30

Tetra Gravel Cleaner GC30

  • Low price
  • Easy to operate
  • Netting to protect small fish from being sucked
  • Triangular nozzle provides easy access to hard-to-reach areas


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Luigi's Aquarium Siphon and Gravel Cleaner

Luigi’s Aquarium Siphon and Gravel Cleaner

  • Simple and easy to use design
  • Reliable – designed to last years
  • Includes protective filter
  • Suitable for doing water changes


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3-in-1 Function

Hygger Aquarium Gravel Cleaner

Hygger Aquarium Gravel Cleaner

  • 3-in-1 function: gravel cleaner, debris vacuum and water changing pump
  • Easy to use gun nozzle and air trigger
  • Includes tube extender for deeper fish tanks


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Interpet Mini Prime Gravel Cleaner

Interpet Mini Prime Gravel Cleaner

  • Low price
  • Perfect for small fish tanks
  • Relatively easy to operate
  • Slim design makes it easy to clean hard-to-reach areas


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Features to Consider When Choosing a Fish Tank Gravel Cleaner

A. Type of Gravel Cleaner

You’ll come across three types of gravel cleaners when shopping: powered/electric cleaners, manual non-electric cleaners and automatic cleaners that fall in between.

Powered gravel cleaners are the most powerful. They create powerful suction that pulls up a lot of unwanted particulates from gravel. They are especially ideal for large aquariums and aquariums with deep substrate.

On the downside, electric gravel cleaners are pricey.

Manual fish tank gravel cleaners are much cheaper, but take more effort to use. You have to move the cleaner up and down rapidly to get water flowing. And even then, they don’t match the power of powered gravel cleaners.

Manual gravel cleaners are an inexpensive option for small and mid-size aquariums. It’ll take some time to clean the gravel, but it works.

Automatic gravel cleaners fall between the two varieties. They are non-electric, but have a built-in air-pressing button that you push to get the water flowing up the tube. So you don’t need to work to siphon the water.

B. Aquarium Size

Check how fast the gravel cleaner works in terms of how much water it can suck within a specific period. A fast-sucking gravel cleaner allows you to clean a large aquarium in less time.

For large aquariums, a powered gravel cleaner offers the best cleaning speed.

For smaller fish tank, you can make do with a small manual siphon.

C. Other Features

Here are some extra features to look for.

  • Filter: Some cleaners have a filter to keep small fish and gravel from getting sucked up the tube and into the bucket. Other models also have a dirt filter that traps debris before it gets into the bucket. This allows you to reuse the siphoned water.
  • Speed/water flow control: If you are concerned about damaging plants and other components in your fish tank, look for a gravel cleaner with adjustable speed or flow. You can then reduce water flow to clean some surfaces more gently.
  • Clamp: It’s a small thing but it makes a big difference. A hose clamp holds the tube in place in the bucket, saving you the trouble of holding it and letting you focus on cleaning the gravel.

Top 5 Reviews

1. Fluval ProVac Powered Aquarium Gravel Cleaner

Our Top Pick
9.5/10 Our Score

Though pricey, the Fluval ProVac powered gravel cleaner is the best choice for most fish tanks. It generates powerful suction that picks up all kinds of dirt from your gravel.

The Fluval ProVac works a bit differently from other gravel cleaners. Instead of siphoning the water into a bucket, it recycles the fish tank water through a filter cartridge. The cartridge traps most of the dirt and particulates in the water.

As some customers have noted, some dirt does go back with the water, making the fish tank slightly cloudy. But you aquarium filter should clear the cloudiness easily.

One downside of the Fluval ProVac cleaner being so good at its job is that the filter get dirty really quickly. You have to stop midway to rinse it clean. Other users recommend buying several filters and switching to a clean one when the filter gets dirty. You then rinse them all afterwards.

If you want to do a water change, the Fluval ProVac incudes an adaptor that you can connect a hose to (hose is not included).

To manage the high suction power of the Fluval ProVac gravel cleaner, it comes with two speed settings. Reduce the speed when cleaning delicate surfaces.

It does take some practice to learn how to use the cleaner without picking up too much gravel. But the cleaner is generally easy to use. There’s a pause button that allows you to quickly drop any gravel you’ve picked up and a gravel guard to prevent clogging.

Another feature we love is the LED built into the nozzle that illuminates dark corners of the fish tank.

2. Tetra Gravel Cleaner GC30

Value For Money
9.3/10 Our Score

If you are looking for something cheaper, get the Tetra GC30 Gravel Cleaner. The manual style cleaner requires you to move it up and down several times to create water flow.

But it’s not that hard to use. A built-in valve makes it easier to start siphoning water from the tank. You can also use the valve to drop gravel and sand if the nozzle has picked too much of it.

Once you get the water flowing, the cleaner picks up dirt and particulates with ease. A protective netting keeps it from picking up small fish.

The end of the nozzle has a triangular shape that gives you easier access to corners and crevices. This makes it easy to clean gravel around plants and rocks.

The Tetra gravel cleaner comes with everything you need including a 1.8m hose and two clips to secure it.

3. Luigi’s Aquarium Siphon and Gravel Cleaner

9.2/10 Our Score

The Luigi aquarium gravel cleaner includes a hand syphon that makes it easier to draw water from the tank.

Instead of moving the nozzle up and down, you simply press the syphon several times and the water starts to flow. You then move the nozzle over the substrate to pick up fish faeces, food particles and other debris.

There’s a one way valve to keep dirty water from flowing back into the tank and a protective filter to keep small fish from being sucked up the tube.

The Luigi gravel cleaner is also great for doing a water change. Simply reverse the cleaner and use the hand pump to siphon clean water from a bucket into the tank.

4. Hygger Aquarium Gravel Cleaner

3-in-1 Function
9.1/10 Our Score

This is a good choice if you are looking for a non-electric automatic gravel cleaner. The Hygger gravel cleaner comes with two built-in air bags that do all the siphoning work for you.

All you need to do is hold the gun-shaped nozzle and press the trigger 2-3 times. That’s enough to get water flowing through the tube. Slowly move the nozzle along the bottom of the tank to pick dirt and debris. The nozzle has a filter so it won’t pick up tiny fish.

The gun design is a surprisingly good idea. It makes the nozzle easier to hold especially for people with arthritic fingers.

Another feature that makes the Hygger gravel cleaner easy to use is the hose clip. It holds the tube in the bucket, so you can focus on moving the nozzle.

There’s also a second clamp, but this one is for controlling water flow. It widens or narrows the tube.

When you need to pick up debris like fish faeces or food pellets, use the included duckbill suction inlet. This one doesn’t wash the sand or gravel. It just pick up small particles from the fish tank.

5. Interpet Mini Prime Gravel Cleaner

8.9/10 Our Score

Own a small fish tank? This mini gravel cleaner from Interpet is the best choice for aquariums up to 20 litres.

The Mini Prime cleaner comes with a 142cm hose that empties dirty water into a bucket. To get water flowing, you move the nozzle up and down several times in the water. Once water is flowing, move the mouth of the nozzle along the gravel to pick up debris.

If you pick up some gravel, simply lift the nozzle and it’ll fall back.

Note that the Interpet Mini doesn’t have a fish guard, so be careful not to suck up any small fish.

For larger aquariums, Interpet also sells the small, medium, large and extra-large cleaner sizes.