You don’t need to be a world-renowned aquascaper to need aquascaping tools. Even for the general aquarium hobbyist, aquascaping tools make sculpting your ideal aquarium much easier. Aquascaped tanks are beautiful ecosystems that can really add to the atmosphere of a room. Using the best aquascaping tools can help turn your dream into a reality.
Without the right aquascaping tools, it will be nearly impossible to cultivate the beautiful aquascape of your dreams. It takes some planning and the right tools to make it happen.
In this guide, we’ll explore the best aquascaping tools you can find on the market so you can achieve your dream tank.
Best Aquascaping Tools Recommendations:
What are the best aquascaping tools?
Our best aquascaping tools option is the Bornfeel Aquascaping Tools 7 in 1 Kit Aquarium Tools . It is durable, contains wave scissors, and includes a handy carrying case. It is the only option in our line-up that includes wave scissors, which will make your life much easier if you’re trying to trim carpet plants.
What Are the Basic Aquascaping Tools?
Basic aquascaping tools include tweezers, scissors, and a spatula.
Tweezers are great for carefully inserting root tabs and plants into your aquarium substrate. They usually come in two varieties – long tweezers and curved long tweezers.
Long tweezers are your maintenance workhorses and help grasp stuff during maintenance sessions. Curved long tweezers model are often used for planting.
Scissors help keep your plants clean and neat. We advise getting a pair of straight long scissors and curved long scissors. Functionally, both are for trimming but the curved scissors will help you get the plants in hard-to-reach corners.
Additionally, plan on getting a spatula. Spatulas are key for flattening out sand and gravel. They’re also useful for scraping the slime and gunk near the edges of your tank so it looks pristine!
Other potential aquascaping tools include curved spring scissors and wave scissors. Professionals definitely use these but we wouldn’t count them as a requirement for the average aquarium hobbyist.
Let’s dive a little deeper into the specifics of each tool type.
Aquascapes often have a variety of plants. Some plants are slow-growing and require very little maintenance, whereas some aquascapes, especially high-tech set-ups with strong lighting and CO2 injection systems, require frequent and regular trimming to keep pace with the quick pace of plant growth.
The ideal scissors for your tank will depend on:
- Plant species in your tank
- Density and complexity of your aquascape
- Type of cut you wish to make
- Depth of tank (the deeper the tank, the longer the scissors you will need)
Straight aquarium scissors are used for precise cuts in densely planted tanks. Their straight profile allows the scissors to easily glide in the tank without damaging or disturbing other plants surrounding your target for trimming. They are also a good option for trimming tall plants in the upper levels of your aquarium. They’re straightforward and easy to use.
These are our recommended straight scissors: Stainless Steel Aquarium Straight Scissors
Curved scissors are required for the lower levels of your tank. Curved scissors allow you to go straight down in your tank without disturbing the surrounding plants where you’re trying to make a cut.
These are our recommended aquarium curved scissors: Aquarium Curved Stainless Steel Scissors.
These are some fun-looking scissors. Their unique shape is specifically designed specifically for maintaining carpet plants. Carpet grasses like dwarf hair grass and glosso require regular trimming to keep them under control and looking level. Straight scissors will cut out uneven chunks of your carpet and curved scissors will likely provide unevenly sloped carpets.
These are our recommended wave scissors: Stainless Steel Wave Scissors.
Spring scissors are perfect for detailed work like moss trimming and plant trimming done on hardscape elements like driftwood or rocks. The springs help refine movements, making fine trims easier than with standard scissors.
These are our recommended spring scissors: Professional Stainless Steel Curved Spring Scissors.
Spatulas are used for flattening and leveling your substrate. When you’re trimming plants in the nooks and crannies of your tank and vacuuming the gravel, you’re likely to mess up the smooth substrate. This is where your spatula will come in handy.
Spatulas are also helpful for dusting off sand and substrate particles that get kicked up on your plants during cleanings and by your aquatic critters’ movements. To clean off these particles, you can gently wave the spatula over the plants, which will help clean the plant’s surface by creating small water currents.
This is our recommended aquarium substrate spatula: Substrate Spatula Stainless Steel Aquarium Tool.
Tweezers are incredibly important, basically required, for planting in your tank. You will need to pick the style of tweezers depending on their intended use. Important features of aquascaping tweezers include:
- Comfortable grip
- Quality construction
- Corrugated inner surface for a firm grip
- Tips that meet perfectly
These are your bread-and-butter tweezers. They’re your tweezer workhorses. The best way to root plants in your tank is to push them into the substrate to the right depth using specially designed aquarium tweezers.
Straight tweezers allow you to insert the root vertically. This will help you avoid disturbing the surrounding substrate and plants. Additionally, straight tweezers are good for removing pesky aquarium snails or small objects, like shrimp exoskeletons.
These are our favorite straight aquarium tweezers: 12-Inch Stainless Steel Tweezers.
If your plants are bushier, like an Amazon Sword, curved tweezers are your best friend. The curve will help you avoid damaging the leaves while allowing you to reach around to the base of the plant for easy planting.
These are our favorite aquarium curved tweezers: Stainless Steel Curved Tweezers for Fish Tank and Aquatic Plants.
Pinsettes are your workhorses for high-density plantings in the foreground of your aquascape. They’re also ideal for nooks and crannies in between rocks and other hardscape features. They have an extremely fine tip meaning they’re nimble and excellent for small plants.
Pinsettes are also good for releasing gas pockets in deep substrate beds and inserting root tabs into the root zone of your plants without damaging them. They’re extremely helpful pieces of aquascaping equipment.
This is our favorite aquarium pinsette: Professional Pinsette.
Aquascape Cleaning and Maintenace Tools
Algae Glass Scraper
Algae control is a normal part of aquarium maintenance. Although Algae is a natural, healthy component of aquatic ecosystems, it can be harmful if left unchecked. Additionally, it can be unsightly if you’re trying for a really clean, manicured aquarium look.
We recommend regularly cleaning your tank and scraping the sides free of algae. Think of this maintenance task like window washing.
This is our favorite aquarium algae glass scraper: Aquarium Algae Scraper Brush with 10 Stainless Steel Blades for Fish Tanks.
Aquarium plant trimmings typically float to the surface after trimming. Once they float up, they are easily collected and removed….if you have an aquarium net. Otherwise, you’ll be picking up tiny plant pieces one by one until you go crazy. Don’t make aquarium maintenance a chore; just get a fine mesh aquarium net so you can easily scoop out the trimmings.
For the easiest experience, scoop out the trimming and allow your net to fully dry before emptying it. This is the simplest way to do the maintenance.
This is our favorite fish net: Penn Plax Aquarium Fish Net.
How to Choose Aquascaping Tools
You need to pick the right aquascaping tools for your tank. You don’t want tools that are too small for a large tank, or tools that are too large for a small tank. Using the wrong sized tools will only add stress to your aquarium maintenance, which is fundamentally against the ethos of aquascaping. What works for a 55-gallon probably won’t work for a 10 gallon.
Your tools’ dimensions need to be proportionate to your tank’s dimensions. The height of the tank is especially important when considering tool size.
This list of aquarium dimensions for standard tank sizes can help guide your tool selection. In other words, don’t pick 6” tweezers for a 55 gallon tank.
If you want a general rule of thumb, we recommend aquascaping tools in the range of 10″ and 15″ in length. Although you will still need to plan on getting your hands wet when working in deep aquariums, tools of this length allow you to keep your hands clear of the plants you are working on. You can minimize water contact by doing trimming during regular water changes when the water level is low.
Also, wash your hands and arms before doing trimmings. You don’t want to accidentally introduce harmful chemicals. To be extra safe, you can always wear aquascaping gloves to keep your arms dry and chemicals out.
Best Aquascaping Tool Kit Options
This toolset contains 5 tools: straight tweezers, curved tweezers, straight scissors, curved scissors, and a sand scraper.
The scissors are ideal for grooming your aquatic plants. Tweezers are ideal for planting plants.
This kit is made from high-quality stainless steel for durability. However, that doesn’t mean you can just use the tools and then throw them in a drawer. Plan to rinse and wipe them after each maintenance session.
The tools range in size from from 9.8″ all the way up to 12.5″, making them an suited for smaller aquariums. Anything much larger than 15 gallons will be unnecessarily challenging with this kit.
- 5-piece tool kit: Straight Tweezers, Curved Tweezers, Straight Scissors, Curved Scissors, Sand Scraper
- Stainless steel construction
- Durable construction
- Suited for tanks under 15 gallons
- Tools are loose, no container to hold them
This tool set is budget-friendly. It consists of 5 tools, including curved scissors, sand spatula, straight tweezers, curved tweezers, and a fishing net.
Because of the variety of tools, you will be able to do most maintenance tasks in your tank, including trimming your plants, brushing off dir, grooming your substrate, and easily collecting plant trimmings. This kit also comes with pH 1test strips you can use to test the water’s pH values to make sure everything checks out.
The tools are made of high-quality stainless steel, which means they’re durable and rust-resistant.
This aquascaping tool kit comes with a carrying bag so it is easy to keep everything contained and not have loose scissors accidentally poking you.
Because of the sizes of the tools, this aquascaping tool set is best suited for tanks that are less than 15 gallons.
- Contains 5 tools, including curved scissors, sand spatula, straight tweezers, curved tweezers, and a fishing net
- Stainless steel construction
- Comes with carrying bag
- Affordable option for small tanks
- Comes with pH test strips
- Easily organized with carrying bag
- Does not contain curved scissors
- Not suitable for larger tanks
This tool set consists of 7 tools, including wave scissors, curved scissors, straight scissors, substrate spatula, curved tweezers, straight tweezers, and a storage case. The tools are made from waterproof stainless-steel which is anti-rust. This means the tool kit won’t pollute your aquarium. The tools are also designed to slim and stream-lined, meaning it will be easier to do your plant maintenance without disturbing surrounding features.
Lastly, this kit comes with a handy black tool case which can simplify your aquarium stand and aquarium cabinet organization.
- Contains 7 tools, including wave scissors, curved scissors, straight scissors, substrate spatula, curved tweezers, straight tweezers, and a storage case
- Comes with wave scissors for carpet trimming
- Stainless steel construction
- Comes with carrying bag
- Does not rust
- Easily organized with carrying bag
- Triangle scraper construction is a little thin, making the tool flimsy
- Tools are a little short for larger tanks
The Songway 5 in 1 aquascaping tool kit includes both straight and curved scissors, straight and curved tweezers, and a substrate spatula. These tools compromise the bulk of your maintenance tasks so you can definitely get a good-looking tank with this kit. This kit includes a zip-up case and tool rack for storing and organizing your aquascaping tools, which makes it easy to stay organized.
- Contains 5 tools, including curved scissors, straight scissors, substrate spatula, curved tweezers, straight tweezers, and a storage case
- Stainless steel construction
- Comes with zip-up carrying bag
- Zip-up carrying bag is easy to organize
- Contains everything you need to maintain your aquascape
- Appropriately sized for larger tanks
- Some users reported rusting issues
Aquascaping Tools FAQs
Why do I need Aquascaping Tools?
If you want a clean and manicured planted aquarium, you will need aquascaping tools. Over time and with the right conditions, your plants will grow and your aquatic critters will disturb your substrate. That means, over time, your tank will become less organized. Aquascaping tools, such as tweezers, scissors, spatulas, and algae scrapers, allow you to trim plants, scrape algae, smooth substrate, and plant new aquatic plants in your tanks with ease. Aquascaping tools are also made for submersion into water so you don’t have the same rust risks as non-specialized tools.
How do you Maintain Aquascaping Tools?
Aquascaping tools are clearly designed for underwater use. They’re typically made from stainless steel so that they remain rust-free. However, this doesn’t mean you should just use them and throw them in your aquarium cabinet. We recommend always drying them completely before storing. Additionally, tools with any dirt or organic material should also be wiped off, rinsed, and dried. Chemicals in the substrate and plants can react with stainless steel over time.
Where Should I Store My Aquascaping Tools?
We recommend storing your tools in a safe, dry environment. It is probably easiest and most functional if you keep your aquascaping tools in the same place where you keep all other aquarium supplies. This way, they’ll always be easy to find and in close proximity to where you will be using them the most – your fish tank.
Aquarium aquascaping tool kits often come with a storage bag, which is a great place to store your tools after they are dry. You can also order an aquarium tool rack holder if you want them to be more easily accessible than a zipped case.
A word of caution – aquascaping tools are often small and sharp so keep them safely locked away from small children.
Should I Sharpen My Aquascaping Tools?
Sharp scissors make clean cuts on plants, which is ideal for maintenance work. If your scissors aren’t sharp, you run the risk of tearing your plants and potentially harmfully tugging at their roots, which can cause damage. Sharp is definitely better.
Your tools will be ready for use immediately after purchase. However, they will wear down over the course of years, so it is a good idea to get them occasionally sharpened. Unless you’re a professional with knife and tool sharpening, we recommend taking your tools to a professional. Curved scissors will be challenging, and the last thing you want is to have an accident over a twenty dollar set of rools.
Is It Safe To Use Other Tools In The Aquarium?
Because of the presence of water and live creatures like fish, shrimp, and snails, using dedicated aquarium tools is recommended. Harmful chemicals on regular household tools can leech into the water and hurt your plants and animals. Additionally, most household scissors and tweezers are not designed for underwater use, making the risk of rust quite high.
Aquascaping tools keep your aquascaped tank looking clean, organized, and beautiful. Aquascaping tools come in a lot of different options, ranging from wave scissors to curved tweezers to substrate spatulas, so it is important to know the pros and cons of your choice. Additionally, you will need to factor in your aquarium specifics such as size and depth in order to make the best aquascaping tools selection for your situation.
Our all-around best aquascaping tools option is the Bornfeel Aquascaping Tools 7 in 1 Kit Aquarium Tools . It is durable, contains wave scissors, and includes a handy carrying case.
Do you have a favorite aquascaping tool? How has using aquascaping tools changed the health of your aquatic plants and animals? We’d love to hear about your experiences!