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Fish Tank Cleaner and Maintenance Supplies List

A clean, well-maintained aquarium means healthy, thriving fish and a happy owner.

But it’s not only dedication and elbow grease that are required to keep your fish tank pristine; you need an arsenal of cleaning and maintenance supplies too. So, what’s the best fish tank cleaner? And what aquarium cleaning supplies do you need to keep your tank spick and span?

Read this listicle to find out!

How To Choose The Best Aquarium Cleaner

First of all, it’s important to know that there’s no single magic bullet that will clean your fish tank for you. There are various processes that you must go through to get your tank super-clean, all of which need different tools.

Male hand cleaning aquarium using magnetic cleaner.

Regular cleaning is the best way to go rather than leaving the tank until it’s filthy and then having to blitz it. Also, I recommend you buy the best quality cleaning products your budget will allow. If you buy a cheap cleaning kit, the chances are you’ll need to replace the items frequently as they won’t last, and that works out more expensive in the long-run.

Here are a few of the cleaning products you’ll need to buy:

Chemical Aquarium Cleaning Treatments

Mineral deposits and tide marks around the top of the tank, hood, and lighting unit can be difficult to shift without scrubbing that could easily scratch your aquarium.

Aquarium-specific chemical treatments are a quick and easy way to shift those infuriating white marks. Personally, I generally use a solution of white vinegar to do the same job, which is much cheaper, and I always have some in my kitchen cupboard.

Algae Scrapers, Magnets, and Pads 

Algae is a menace in the aquarium. Although it isn’t generally harmful to your fish, and some species actually eat algae as a large part of their diet, a coating of green slime doesn’t look good when it covers your decorations, plants, substrate, and viewing panes.

Stubborn algae can be removed with an algae scraper, which is basically a blade mounted in a protective plastic handle. Choose a plastic blade if you have a plastic or acrylic tank to avoid scratching.

Algae magnets consist of two magnetic halves. One half has a mildly abrasive pad, while the other is smooth. You place the smooth-sided magnet on the outside of the glass and the other half inside the tank. By pulling the outside half of the cleaner along the glass, you move the abrasive inner half, scraping away the algae from the viewing pane as you do so.

Algae pads are made from coarse material that scrapes algae from the glass. You can buy pads that are combined with a long plastic handle, saving you from having to put your whole arm into the tank. You should only use algae pads that are specifically manufactured for use in fish tanks. General cleaning pads may continue chemical residue or oils that might harm your fish.

Aquarium Siphon Vacuum Cleaner

Fish waste, decomposing plant debris, and leftover fish food find their way into the substrate, where they gradually break down, releasing ammonia and other harmful chemicals as they do so.

The best way to keep your substrate clean is to vacuum it with a special aquarium vacuum cleaner as part of your weekly partial water change regimen. Vacuum cleaners range from simple manual siphons to electric ones. 

Best Aquarium Cleaning and Maintenance Supplies

We’ve tracked down some of the best quality and value aquarium cleaning and maintenance products that we could find on today’s market.

Read our reviews and click the handy links to check out full product specs and read about other users’ experiences. Then, order what you need!

Best Algae Scrapers

1. MiguCo Stainless Steel Algae Scraper

MiguCo Stainless Steel Algae Scraper Cleaner

The MiguCo Stainless Steel Algae Scraper is perfect for crusted-on algae deposits that you just can’t shift with an algae pad.

The device consists of stainless steel, heavy-duty wand with a razor blade attached. The right-angle blade design makes it easy to access hard to reach corners, and the 25.6” wand is ideal for use in the deepest of tanks.

PROS

  • Includes ten spare blades
  •  Highly effective
  • Rust-proof in freshwater tanks

CONS

  • Not suitable for use in saltwater aquariums
  • Blades are difficult to change

2. Flipper Standard FLOAT Algae Scraper

Flipper Standard FLOAT Algae Scraper

The Flipper Standard FLOAT Algae Scraper is quite expensive compared with other algae magnets. However, the device is of excellent quality and is perfect for use on medium-sized aquariums.

A wonderful innovation that the FLOAT boasts is that it floats to the surface of the water if the cleaner becomes detached – genius! No more wet arms and struggling to retrieve an errant scraper from the depths of your tank!

The device is suitable for use in glass and acrylic tanks, having two blade choices. The strong rare-earth magnets are designed for effective use on glass up to 1/2“ thick.

PROS

  • Floats to the surface if cleaner becomes detached
  •  Highly effective on hard algae
  • Suitable for glass and acrylic tanks
  • Suitable for freshwater and saltwater aquariums 

CONS

  • Expensive compared with other similar products

3. Tom Pet Products Multi-Tool Algae Scraper

Tom Pet Products Multi-Tool Algae Scraper for Glass Aquariums

The Tom Pet Products Algae Scraper comes with three interchangeable tools; a plastic scraper, a shovel, and a stainless-steel algae scraper.

The robust fiberglass handle is corrosion-resistant and features an ergonomic, no-slip grip for your comfort. The device is available in several lengths to suit different aquarium sizes.

PROS

  • Three-in-one scraper
  • Includes a handy shovel for retrieving fallen objects
  • Durable and well-made

CONS

  • For glass tanks only

Best Glass Cleaner

4. Neptonion Magnetic Glass Cleaner

Neptonion Magnetic Aquarium Fish Tank Glass Algae scrapers Glass Cleaner Scrubber Clean Brush

The Neptonion Magnetic Glass Cleaner is made from premium quality materials and is designed to be highly effective and long-lasting.

The non-slip grip and chunky handle make the cleaner easy and comfortable to hold. The cleaner’s inner part is designed to float to the surface if it becomes detached, so you won’t need to get your whole arm wet to retrieve it.

PROS

  • Floats if detached for easy retrieval
  • Well-made and long-lasting
  • Suitable for use in saltwater and freshwater tanks 

CONS

  • For glass tanks only

5. Mag-Float Glass Floating Magnetic Aquarium Cleaner

Mag-Float Glass Floating Magnetic Aquarium Cleaner

The Mag-Float Glass Floating Magnetic Aquarium Cleaner is designed to float to the surface if it becomes detached – cool!

The toxin-free plastic cover keeps the device from rusting, so you can conveniently store it attached to your aquarium. 

PROS

  • Floats if detached for easy retrieval
  • Well-made and durable
  • Suitable for use in saltwater and freshwater tanks

CONS

  • For glass tanks only

6. Aqueon Algae Cleaning Magnets

Aqueon Algae Cleaning Magnets Glass

The Aqueon Algae Cleaning Magnet is ideal for use in small tanks. 

The clever design features an easy-to-change scrubber pad that you can quickly replace when required. There’s also the option of an acrylic-safe pad. 

PROS

  • Changeable scrubber pad
  • Well-made and durable
  • Suitable for use in saltwater and freshwater tanks 

CONS

  • Scrubber pad sinks if detached

Best Spray Cleaning Product

7. API Safe & Easy Aquarium Cleaner Spray, 8-oz bottle

API Safe and Easy Aquarium Cleaner Spray

API is a reputable, well-established manufacturer of fishkeeping products.

This aquarium cleaner spray is specially formulated to cut right through white, hard-to-shift mineral deposits, leaving a protective coating to reduce build-up in the future.

PROS

  • Fish and plant-safe
  • Suitable for use in acrylic and glass tanks
  • Provides preventative coating to prevent future build-up 

CONS

  • Quite expensive for a small 8oz bottle

8. Zilla Reptile Terrarium Cleaner, 8-oz bottle

Zilla Reptile Terrarium Cleaner

To keep the outside of your aquarium crystal clear and streak-free so that you can view your fish, use Zilla Reptile Terrarium Cleaner.

The product is non-toxic and safe to use on glass, plastic, and acrylic. You don’t need to worry about fumes or residue, and the cleaner contains a special anti-static additive that helps to control dust build-up.

PROS

  • Safe for use on glass and acrylic tanks
  • Contains anti-static dust-repellent
  • Natural, non-toxic formula

CONS

  • Quite expensive for a small 8oz bottle

9. Tunze Care Panes Aquarium Surface Cleaner

Tunze Care Panes Aquarium Surface Cleaner

Tunze Care Panes surface cleaner is specially formulated to clean the outside of the tank glass, as well as being suitable for use on any smooth surfaces made of plastic, metal, plexiglas, glass, and painted wood.

The product uses natural 99% organic oils and other ingredients that provide gentle cleaning action without damaging your surfaces or harming your fish. You can even use the product to clean your fish tank cabinet and lighting unit. 

This surface cleaner is fast-drying, leaves no residue, and is super-concentrated. That means you don’t need to use much cleaner, saving you money in the long-run. 

PROS

  • Safe for use on glass, plastic, and acrylic tanks
  • Uses 99% natural ingredients
  • Fast-drying and leaves no residue 

CONS

  • Quite expensive although you don’t need to use much

Best Wipes/Pads

10. Lifegard Aquatics

Lifegard Aquatics 4-Inch by 6-Inch White Algae Pad

If you have a small tank, these wipes are perfect for cleaning the outside and the inside of the glass.

The special formula is harmless for fish and plants but powerful enough to remove stubborn limescale and algae

PROS

  • Safe for use with glass, plastic, and acrylic tanks
  • Fish and plant-safe
  • Comes in pack of 10

CONS

  • Only for use on acrylic tanks

11. biOrb Cleaning Pads

biOrb Cleaning Pads

If you own a biOrb aquarium, these cleaning pads are specially formulated for cleaning the inside of the tank without scratching the material.

The pads are double-sided. The rough side is perfect for removing hard algae and grime, while the softer side deals with slimy algae and general grime.

PROS

  • Safe for use with biOrb tanks
  • Fish and plant-safe
  • Comes in pack of 3 

CONS

  • Only for use on biOrb tanks

12. API Doc Wellfish’s Hand Held Algae Pad

API Doc Wellfish`s Hand Held Algae Pad

If you want an inexpensive, decent quality pad that gets rid of algae from a glass aquarium, this offering from API should fit the bill.

The single-pack pads are coarse enough to remove most kinds of common algae from fish tank glass with a little elbow grease applied.

PROS

  • Inexpensive
  • Fish and plant-safe
  • Reuseable 

CONS

  • Only for use on glass tanks

Best For Substrate

13. TeraPump Aquarium Gravel & Sand BPA-Free Pump

TeraPump Aquarium Gravel & Sand BPA-Free Pump

This simple, manually-operated siphon vacuum cleaner is designed to replace the dirty water as you filter it out. 

The device comes with two nozzles and features a unique water flow control mechanism so that you can choose how much water you want to remove from your tank.

PROS

  • One-handed operation possible
  • Two nozzle types included
  • Suitable for marine and freshwater tanks 

CONS

  • Can be difficult to initiate siphon function

14. NICREW Automatic Gravel Cleaner

NICREW Automatic Gravel Cleaner, Electric Aquarium Cleaner, 2 in 1 Sludge Extractor for Medium and Large Tanks

The NICREW Automatic Gravel Cleaner is an electrically-powered vacuum that provides superior suction power and superb cleaning for your substrate.

You can use the device in tanks up to a depth of 28”, and there’s an additional extension hose available if necessary.

PROS

  • Powerful suction
  • Labor-saving and easy-to-use
  • Suitable for use with gravel and sand substrates

CONS

  • Works best in tall, deep tanks

15. Aqueon Siphon Vacuum Aquarium Gravel Cleaner

Aqueon Siphon Vacuum Aquarium Gravel Cleaner, Medium

The Aqueon Siphon Vacuum is an inexpensive solution that’s handy for quick water changes and spot cleaning.

The cleaner is self-priming, and the pack includes a handy clip that enables you to clip the drain hose to the inside of your bucket.

PROS

  • Ideal for spot cleaning
  • Self-priming
  • Suitable for use with gravel and sand substrates 

CONS

  • Not powerful enough for larger tanks

16. Natural Rapport Aquarium Gravel Cleaner

Natural Rapport Aquarium Gravel Cleaner

This product contains healthy bacteria that basically boost the performance of your biofilter, helping to process waste products in the substrate and extending the time between water changes.

PROS

  • Excellent value
  • Boosts your biofilter performance
  • Suitable for use with gravel and sand substrates 

CONS

  • Not a substitute for vacuuming the substrate

17. LVAC Liquid Gravel Vac – Freshwater

LVAC Liquid Gravel Vac - Freshwater

LVAC Liquid Gravel Vac contains healthy bacteria that are designed to boost the performance of your biofilter, extend the time between water changes, and keep your water cleaner.

However, you do still need to vacuum the substrate to remove waste products that would otherwise pollute your water.

PROS

  • Good value
  • Boosts biofilter performance
  • Suitable for use with gravel and sand substrates 

CONS

  • Is not a substitute for vacuuming the substrate

Disinfectant and Other Aquarium Equipment Cleaners

18. Jungle NL080G-1 Net Soak

Jungle NL080G-1 Net Soak Net Cleaner

This cleaning product is ideal for cleaning your fish nets, which is crucial when you’re handling new fish or transferring sick fish to a hospital tank.

The fluid removes harmful substances from your nets instantly and is safe for nets used for aquatic plants and freshwater fish.

PROS

  • Softens nets
  • Removes harmful substances from nets
  • Can also be used to clean algae sponges 

CONS

  • Do not add directly to the aquarium

19. Two Little Fishies ReVive Coral Cleaner

Two Little Fishies ReVive Coral Cleaner

This product is formulated for cleansing live stony corals. 

The surface cleaning formula is created using plant extracts and is designed for use when corals are first received prior to shipping and for cleansing new coral frags.

PROS

  • Cleanses live stony corals
  • Simple to use
  • Good value for money 

CONS

  • Nasty stuff if you get it on your skin or in your eyes. Handle with care.

Best For Filter

20. uxcell 5 Pcs Aquarium Fish Cleaning Brushes

uxcell 5 Pcs Aquarium Fish Tank Tube Cleanner

This pack of five aquarium bottle brushes is an essential part of every hobbyist’s cleaning kit.

The brushes are well-made from plastic bristles on a twisted metal handle. The brushes come in different lengths and diameters to fit your filters, hoses, and other similar tank equipment.

PROS

  • Set of five brushes
  • Well-made and robust
  • Excellent value for money 

CONS

  • Metal component tends to bend unless handled with care

21. Marina Flexible Cleaning Brush for Aquariums

Marina Flexible Cleaning Brush for Aquariums

The Marina Flexible Cleaning Brush is a flexible coil brush that can be used to clean pipes and filter tubes up to 21” long. The brush fits all aquarium hoses up to ¾” in diameter.

PROS

  • Good quality product
  • Fits most hoses and filter pipes
  • Excellent value for money 

CONS

  • Only comes in a single pack

In Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed our list of essential fish tank cleaning and maintenance supplies.

As a responsible hobbyist, you must take time out to clean and maintain your fish tank correctly so that the environment is safe and healthy for your beloved fishy friends. To do that, you need to invest in the right kit, like that detailed above in our list.

Do you have any time-saving tips that you use to keep your aquarium sparkling clean? If you do, we’d love to know them!

Tell us your fish tank cleaning secrets in the comments box below, and don’t forget to share our listicle if you loved it!

Alison Page has been an avid fish keeper for over 35 years and has owned many different species of freshwater tropical fish including bettas. Currently Alison has two large freshwater tanks. The first tank has two huge fancy goldfish who are almost ten years old and still looking as good as ever. In the other, she has a happy community of tiger barbs, green tiger barbs, corydoras catfish, platys, and mollies.

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