The 10 Best Algae Scrapers
This wiki has been updated 15 times since it was first published in October of 2016. If you can't see your beautiful tropical fish through that hazy green film, it's time to break out one of these algae scrapers. Built to remove nasty deposits quickly and easily, they are available for use on both acrylic and glass, and come in a range of designs that require varying amounts of effort from the user. None are terribly expensive, however, so there's no excuse not to clean. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
September 23, 2020:
After some consideration, we've replaced the Koller Products Multi-Tool with the Kent Marine Pro-Scraper II, which is arguably the stronger of the two. But keep in mind that scrapers with long, skinny handles are almost always going to flex some, unless they are made of a very sturdy metal. Because of this, you can't place as much pressure on them as on others, like the Continuum AquaBlade P. This model's short handle won't bend, but it also requires you to insert your hand in the tank, where a long-handled version probably won't.
And speaking of long handles, we kept the MiguCo Stainless Steel, but we'd like to reiterate that you'll want to treat it carefully. It doesn't come with a cover for the exposed blade, a definite drawback for those who are clumsy or tend to rush through tasks. And it probably goes without saying, but you shouldn't let your kids help you out with this one.
When it comes to top options, though, we kept the popular Flipper 2-in-1. It comes in three sizes, each appropriate for fish tanks with walls of certain thicknesses, so you'll need to pay attention when you make your selection. The Gulfstream Tropical Mag-Float also still makes the cut, especially since it's less expensive than many similar choices.
March 01, 2019:
We took a hard look at magnetic and non-magnetic algae scrapers, ultimately adding both despite claims that magnetic versions create scratches. Ultimately, any scraper will scratch when substrate becomes caught between the pad and the glass or acrylic, so no matter which you choose, caution and attention are crucial. We think the Flipper 2-in-1 and the Gulfstream Tropical Mag-Float are fine choices when it comes to these magnetic types. Both are relatively strong and are crafted from high-quality materials. We also decided to add the MiguCo Stainless Steel. Its metal construction is for fresh water, but you can use it in salt water as long as you're careful to rinse it when you're finished (to prevent corrosion and rust). And for those who crave simplicity in life, we selected the AroPaw Tools Set. True, this isn't a scraper device per se, but the gloves turn your very own mitts into just the tools you need. Plus, they're bright orange, which might make it harder to mislay them.
Otocinclus Catfish Instead of doing all the work yourself, why not outsource some of it to an Otocinclus Catfish? Unlike many types of plecostomus, the diminutive oto cat won't grow to a difficult size, although you'll probably need some experience to ensure this little guy has the right environment in which to thrive. liveaquaria.com