Aquarium Cleaning Equipment & Supplies

Aquarium maintenance is something which every aquarist has to do but quite frankly, most don’t enjoy. Life can be fairly hectic sometimes and so any equipment which can aid or speed up the process of tank maintenance are most welcome.

The following products are ones that have saved me a lot of time and stress in the past. I hope you will find something here that makes your life a little easier too.

Gravel Vacuums/Siphons

Gravel vacuums serve 2 main purposes. They siphon dirty water from your aquarium and remove fish waste and detritus from your substrate at the same time. The gravel vacuum is probably the most useful piece of maintenance equipment you can own, whether you have gravel, sand or even just a bare-bottomed tank.

Python –  Pro-Clean Series

Python’s Pro-Clean gravel vacuums are very efficient at removing waste from your tank floor. They are made using high-quality, flexible tubing which is quite malleable and yet doesn’t tend to kink. This makes them more practical to use than other equivalent products. You won’t end up fighting with rigid tubing to keep water flowing into the bucket and away from your carpet.

Suitable for aquariums up to 10 gallons

Suitable for aquariums up to 20 gallons

Suitable for aquariums 20 to 55 gallons

While standard gravel vacuums do a great job for smaller aquariums, if yours is larger than 55 gallons (or even if it isn’t), I would highly recommend considering the following option…

Top Pick – Python No Spill Clean and Fill Aquarium Maintenance System (Amazon)

This revolutionary siphon and water change system saves a lot of time and effort, particularly when it comes to larger or multi-tank setups. It really is a game-changer when it comes to tank maintenance. Not only that but the quality standard is truly unrivaled.

  • Drain your aquarium straight into your sink and refill directly from your fossette.
  • No need for priming.
  • No sloshing heavy buckets of water through your house.
  • No more backache!
  • Manufactured in the US

How Does It Work?

The unit is attached to your fossette via the specialized T pump. With the drain valve on the T pump open, turn on the fossette to provide suction to the hose. You can then begin gravel vacuuming and draining water from your aquarium directly into the sink. Once you’ve finished draining water from your aquarium, close the valve at the aquarium end of the hose to prevent unwanted water flow. Set the water temperature from your fossette to match the aquarium temperature and then close the drain valve on the T pump. Re-open the valve at the aquarium end of the hose when ready to begin refilling the tank. Add a little water de-chlorinator and the job is done.

Unfortunately, you’ll need a mixed hot and cold fossette with a screw fitting on the end, otherwise, the Python will not work.

  • For fossettes with an aerator attached, simply unscrew the aerator to reveal the thread.
  • Comes with a brass adaptor which can be used for both internal and external threads.
  • If you have a non-standard thread type on your fossette, you can always visit a DIY store for a different adaptor.

Magnetic Aquarium Cleaners

Magnetic aquarium cleaners allow you to clean algae and dirt buildup from the inside of your aquarium walls without getting your hands wet or removing the lid. This is accomplished with a magnetic handle that sits outside of the aquarium which is attracted to a magnetic cleaning pad on the inside.

Gulfstream Tropical Mag-Float Glass Aquarium Cleaner (Amazon)

The Mag-Float is a very popular magnetic aquarium cleaner. It’s unique in that the internal part of the device floats to the surface when the magnet is disengaged. This means you don’t have to reach into the water if it drops off and the buoyancy also aids with maneuvering the device around corners.

Normally if you drop magnetic cleaners to the bottom of the tank, finer substrates such as sand get trapped in the cleaning pad. This can be tricky to remove and can actually damage your aquarium if not cleaned out properly.

This product is designed specifically for glass aquariums. There is a softer model designed for acrylic, however, I cannot vouch for it as I have never owned an acrylic aquarium.

The Mag-Float is very affordable and is available in 3 sizes to suit your preference. I personally always go for the smaller size as it is more maneuverable and less obtrusive when left in the tank.

FL!PPER 2-in-1 Magnetic Aquarium Tank Algae Cleaner Scrubber Scraper (Amazon)

Sometimes you may struggle to remove tougher Coraline or spot algae with a standard magnetic aquarium cleaner. If you’re willing to pay a little extra, the Flipper 2-in-1 has got you covered.

The device has a fairly standard bristle pad for day to day use but also doubles up as a scraper for those really stubborn spots that are hard to remove. Simply rotate the handle and place it on the glass adjacent to the scrubber and it automatically flips between the 2. No need for wet hands!

The scraper really does a fantastic job and is also great when it comes to cleaning right down to the substrate or even below as sand doesn’t get trapped in the blade.

While the product doesn’t float to the surface when the magnets are disengaged, it has “neutral buoyancy” so it doesn’t drop like a rock. This makes it’s easier to flip between the scrubber and scraper and also to move around corners.

Comes with a replaceable stainless steel scraper blade. The standard and large versions also come with an ABS blade for use on acrylic tanks. However, having never owned an acrylic tank I cannot be an advocate for its use on acrylic.

The Flipper 2-in-1 really does a great job at removing stuck fast algae. It comes in 3 sizes and it’s suitable for salt or freshwater.

General Aquarium Maintenance Equipment

Filter/Pipe Brush (Amazon)

When cleaning your filter, it can be tough to reach certain areas, particularly the inside of various tubing or u bends. Get yourself an aquarium pipe brush!

Fish Net (Amazon)

Transferring fish from tank to tank is easy with the right net. Reasonably priced and available in 6 sizes this one should have you covered.