How to Buy the Best Aquarium Algae Scraper.
Scraping the algae from the inside glass of an aquarium is probably the least favorite thing to do for almost every reef keeper. However tedious this is, we all know it must be done to prevent algae build up and to keep your aquarium healthy. There are a plethora of products available on the market to help aquarists in their daily cleaning routines, and the choices can be confusing. Today we'll take a look at the various types of algae scrapers available and show you how to choose the best scraper for your aquarium.
The first thing you need to know before buying a scraper is what your tank is made of. Is it glass or acrylic? You'll want to choose a scraper that is suitable for the type of tank you have. Using a scraper made for glass on an acrylic tank will leave deep gouges and lots of little scratches all over the inside of your tank, essentially ruining the acrylic. So if you have an acrylic tank, be sure the scraper you choose is made for acrylic. If you are not sure, ask the store owner, service person or the online customer service rep, they will be able to make sure you get the right scraper.
The next question you have to ask yourself is, how wet do you want to get? Some scrapers require you to get your hands wet while scraping the inside of the tank, while magnetic scrapers allow you to keep your hands out of the water. For those that want nothing to do with scraping their tanks, there are a few robo-scrapers making their way onto the market now, offering the hands free option if you are willing to shell out the big bucks for a high tech gadget that is a one trick pony.
If you like to get your hands wet, you should get a handheld scraper. Be sure to get one that floats so if you let go for some reason you will not have to go digging around your tank, upsetting your corals and fish, while trying to find it. There are short handled floating scrapers from both Continuum and Kent Marine. Both offer the ability to swap out the scraper blade for either a stainless steel blade for glass aquariums, a plastic blade for acrylic aquariums, a soft felt blade or mop blade. If you prefer to keep your hands dry, or if you have a deeper tank, both Continuum and Kent offer longer handled versions of the hand held scrapers.
Another option for aquarists that want to stay dry is to use a magnetic scraper. This is a two part scraper where one side goes in the tank (the scraping side), and the other side stays on the outside of the tank (the buffing side). The two parts connect magnetically through the glass or acrylic and allow you to scrape the inside and buff the outside of the tank at the same time, essentially doing two jobs at once and saving you time.
If you opt for the magnetic scraper, make sure it floats. Magnetic scrapers have a tendency to separate, especially if you move the scraper too quickly. Having a floating scraper will keep you from having to dig down to the bottom of your tank trying to find the other half of the scraper when it becomes detached. Mag Float makes a variety of magnetic floating scrapers for both glass and acrylic aquariums and they come in different models depending on the size of your tank. For the harder, crusty coralline algae, Mag Float offer scraper attachments for the magnetic scrapers, thus eliminating the need to buy an additional hand held scraper.
The best aquarium scraper is the one that meets your needs. If you have an acrylic tank and do not want to get your hands wet, get a magnetic floating scraper designed for acrylic tanks. If you like to get your hands wet and have a glass tank, opt for the short or long handled hand held scraper with a stainless steel blade. Whichever aquarium scraper you choose, make sure it is the right one for your type of tank and tank size. Stay on a regular schedule and scrape your tank daily, and you'll have an aquarium to be proud of every day!