There are so many aquascaping tools in the market that are intended for building and maintaining planted aquariums. With the help of these tools, it is possible for even a beginner to make a beautiful aquarium layout as his/her own style. In this article, I will introduce you some popular tools for planted tanks as well as help you to understand how to properly use them.

Types of planted aquarium tools

Straight scissors

9.8 inch aquarium scissors from Fluval9.8 inch aquarium scissors from Fluval

9.8 inch straight scissors in a kit9.8 inch straight scissors in a kit

This tool is ideal when you want to trim a group of aquarium plants in shapes. It is an indispensable tool for trimming in a confined space. The straight shape makes it very convenient to use in the upper regions of your planted aquarium.

bacopa-australisShape a group of Bacopa with straight scissors

This tool is also ideal for the finishing touches after setup or maintenance, when it is down to individual leaves. With its slender form and narrow opening, you can accurately trim even small-leaved plants while keeping the minimum disturbance of adjoining stems or moss cushions.

Curved scissors

9.8 inch curved scissors in Segarty tool kit9.8 inch curved scissors in Segarty tool kit

This scissors have similar uses with the previous; however, the curved type is for better trimming near the bottom of a high planted tank. It is ideal for pruning creeping and low-growing plants in the foreground and stem plants in the background. It is also a valuable help when working in a confined space in any planted aquarium.

Wave scissors

9.8 inch wave scissors from Jardli9.8 inch wave scissors from Jardli

9.5 inch wave scissors from Mandala9.5 inch wave scissors from Mandala

The characteristic shape of the wave scissors has developed in recent years due to the special requirement of carpet plant maintenance. They are usually used for trimming carpet plants to achieve a level carpet in the foreground.

wave-scissorsTrimming Dwarf Hairgrass with wave scissors

Wave scissors are very useful in a layout involving complicated driftwood arrangements. In this case, the foreground plant should be evenly trimmed, leaving just a thin layer of its bottom part.

Straight tweezers

12-inch stainless steel straight tweezers12-inch stainless steel straight tweezers

10.6-inch tweezers in a set10.6-inch tweezers in a set

The straight tip of this tweezers makes it ideal for dense planting, especially foreground carpet and background stem plants. The tool firmly places stem plants in the substrate, and because it is pulled out of the substrate straight, it doesn’t uproot nearby shoots. The corrugated inner surface of the tip holds the plants firmly and safely but not damage it.

Curved tweezers

10.6-inch curved tweezers in a tweezers set10.6-inch curved tweezers in a tweezers set

The curved tip of this tweezers facilitates the planting of bushy plants needing deep planting in the substrate, such as Blyxa. The curved tip allows holding the tweezers away from the plant to avoid squeezing the shoot. The corrugated inner surface of the tip holds the stem firmly and safely without damaging it.

Spring scissors

6-inch spring scissors6-inch spring scissors

Moss attached to the driftwood dies from underside if it is left excessively thick. The spring cutter is designed especially for trimming moss and keeping them relatively thin. It combines high precision with fast working speed for fast trimming of moss as well as other fine-leaved plants.

Spatula (substrate flattener)

Substrate spatulaSubstrate spatula

The spatula is an indispensable tool for aquascaping and maintenance. It helps shape the substrate in new setups and levels planting areas where plants have been uprooted for replanting or removal.

Algae scraper (razor)

Algae scraper with extension rods, 25 inches totalAlgae scraper with extension rods, 25 inches total

This tool is for removing algae from aquarium glass. Razor is a great help when cleaning algae on the edges near the substrate, where sand is present and you can’t clean with an algae magnet cleaner. The compact design of this tool also allows cleaning in inaccessible spots, where decoration or plants are in the way.

What sizes do I need?


If you want to aquascape your planted tank without getting your hands wet, you should choose aquascaping tools that are longer than the height of water column of your aquarium. Remember to exclude the height of your aquarium substrate, which is usually around 2-3 inches based on your setup.

Following is a table that includes dimensions (Length x Width x Height) of different aquarium sizes from 2.5 to 180 gallons for you to quickly consult.

Tank sizes Dimensions (L x W x H) Weight
2.5 gallons 12″ x 6″ x 8″ 27 lbs
5 gallons 16″ x 8″ x 10″ 62 lbs
10 gallons 20″ x 10″ x 12″ 111 lbs
15 gallons 24″ x 12″ x 12″ 170 lbs
15 gallons high 20″ x 10″ x 18″ 170 lbs
20 gallons 24″ x 12″ x 16″ 225 lbs
20 gallons long 30″ x 12″ x 12″ 225 lbs
25 gallons 24″ x 12″ x 20″ 282 lbs
29 gallons 30″ x 12″ x 18″ 330 lbs
30 gallons 36″ x 12″ x 16″ 348 lbs
40 gallons 36″ x 18″ x 16″ 458 lbs
40 gallons long 48″ x 12″ x 16″ 455 lbs
50 gallons 36″ x 18″ x 19″ 600 lbs
55 gallons 48″ x 13″ x 21″ 625 lbs
65 gallons 36″ x 18″ x 24″ 772 lbs
75 gallons 48″ x 18″ x 21″ 850 lbs
90 gallons 48″ x 18″ x 24″ 1050 lbs
125 gallons 72″ x 18″ x 21″ 1400 lbs
150 gallons 72″ x 18″ x 28″ 1800 lbs
180 gallons 72″ x 24″ x 25″ 2100 lbs

Important note! You can trim your plants after withdrawing the water when water changes. This makes a lower water column for easy handling with most aquascaping tools that are common around 10-12 inches in length.

Best aquascaping tool kits for the money

Segarty 6 in 1 aquascaping tool set, 9-10 inches

Segarty 6 in 1 aquascaping tool set5 star rating (5/5 by editor)Check on

This is a fairly complete tool set for aquascaping, with wave scissors for easily trimming carpet plants. From left to right, they are curved tweezers, straight tweezers, straight scissors, curved scissors, wave scissors, a spatula, and a pouch for containing these tools.

They are around 9-10+ inches in length. This tool set is ideal for use in nano to small planted aquariums from 2.5-20 gallons if you don’t want to get your hand wet when building or cleaning your planted tank. For larger tanks, withdraw a part of aquarium water for easy handling.

Ueetek 5 in 1 stainless steel aquascaping tool set

Ueetek 5 in 1 aquascaping tool set5 star rating (5/5 by editor)Check on

This is a high-quality tool set for aquascaping. It includes tweezers (straight & curve), scissors (straight & curve), a spatula, and a pouch. It doesn’t come with wave scissors for the trimming of carpet plants. It is a just enough option for maintaining the popular type of low-tech starter aquariums with gravel substrate and without carpet plants. However, if you realize you need a plant carpet and wave scissors to maintain it later, just buy wave scissors in a previous section in this article.

Persuper 4 in 1 stainless steel aquascaping tool set

Persuper 4 in 1 aquascaping tool set5 star rating (5/5 by editor)Check on

This is a fairly economical option for the most basic requirements of aquarium plant trimming of a planted tank. It includes curved scissors, straight and curved tweezers, a spatula, and a pouch.

It doesn’t come with straight scissors, however, the curved scissors can do the jobs of straight ones. The set doesn’t include wave scissors for carpet plant trimming, too. If you use carpet plants that don’t require much trimming, this aquascaping tool set is the cheap and affordable option to buy.

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