Your algae magnet is essential and is likely one of the most frequently used tools on your reef tank. This is the exact reason you want to choose an algae magnet that is suitable for your tank, made with strong, high-quality magnets and can safely be left submerged so it is always available for you to quickly clean the tank walls, maintaining that HD quality viewing.

Algae Scraper

Let’s face it, a razor blade or some other algae scraper will always be the most effective tool for scraping your tank walls but this method alone has some pitfalls. Getting your hands, and likely your sleeves, wet is typical with a scraper because this is the only way to apply enough pressure to effectively employ the scraper.

Long handled scrapers are nice for hard to reach areas but the longer the handle, the harder it is to apply a suitable amount of pressure. A scraper blade also increases the chance of leaving scratches and damaging your silicone seams.

Scratched Glass

I don’t want to paint a bad view of scrapers because they are certainly a nice tool to keep around but with proper use of an algae magnet, you can drastically reduce the frequency at which you need to dive in and use a hand held scraper.

Using an algae magnet daily or a few times per week will slow down the growth of very difficult to remove algae and relieves the need for frequent scraping. The simple fact that an algae magnet is easier to use means you are far less likely to neglect it too.

Personally, I find myself using the algae magnet almost daily, pretty much every time I feed the fish. Then, I only need to scrape the walls once every other month or so.

Confused about magnets?

Not all algae magnets are created equal and with so many options, choosing the right magnet for your tank can get a little confusing. Most importantly, you want to first consider the material your tank is made from, glass or acrylic, and the thickness of your tank’s walls.

The tank material is important because some algae magnets are going to be designed specifically for use only with acrylic tanks and others strictly for tanks made from glass; some magnets include a suitable option for both!

Glass vs Acrylic

The difference between algae magnets for glass and magnets for acrylic is the material in which the scrubber pad is made from. Algae magnets for acrylic tanks are made of a softer material compared to magnets made for glass tanks so as not to leave behind scratches on the acrylic.

It is quite obvious to the touch as you can feel a glass scrubber pad is hard or rough like the “hook” side of Velcro and the acrylic pads are soft, more like the “loop” side of Velcro.

Glass vs Acrylic

The same case applies to algae scrapers as well. Scraper blades for glass tanks are metal and scrapers for acrylic tanks are plastic. A metal blade on a soft acrylic tank will leave behind unsightly scratches that are very difficult to remove. 

Next, look at the thickness of your tank walls. This is important because algae magnets are rated for tank size based around the strength of the magnet.  Larger tanks, with thicker walls, will require a much stronger magnet compared to smaller nano tanks with thin walls.

Even if the magnet cleaner holds onto your tank wall securely, if it is not strong enough, it is not going to clean effectively because the magnets cannot create the necessary pressure for cleaning.

Measure your tank walls

You can easily measure your tank walls with a ruler or micrometer.  Just look at the corners of your tank and measure the wall thickness where the panels meet. Be sure that you measure all panels individually because it is not uncommon for the panels to be different. For example, the back wall may be a little different than the side and front panels.

Once you’ve narrowed your search to only algae magnets that are suitable for your tank size and material, you’ll next want to consider your budget and any additional features that appeal to you.

Filter the selections down to only those within your budget and then start comparing the options.

  • Are you looking for a magnet with a scraper attachment?  
  • Are you looking for a cleaner that will float?
  • Does it need to be thin or small enough to fit in tight spaces between the rocks and tank walls?  
  • What about aesthetics? If you’re keeping it in the tank, you likely want something that won’t become an eyesore.

Our customer reviews online are an excellent resource here because you can easily check out what others have to say and maybe get some insight about a feature or aspect that you may not have thought about a head of time.

Flipper Algae Cleaner

At MD, our most popular algae magnet is the Flipper. The Flipper is designed as a versatile solution with both a scrubber and a scraper integrated into its design with a very thin profile. The Flipper includes 2 blades--1 for glass and the other for acrylic so it is a great option for households with multiple tank types.

What makes the Flipper unique is its design. It can quickly be flipped back and forth between the scrubber pad or scraper blade without getting your hands wet.

Mag-Float Algae Cleaner

The classic Mag-Float brand is another excellent option. As the name implies, this magnets claim to fame is that it floats to the water’s surface if the magnet on the inside of the tank separates from the outer magnet. This way you can easily retrieve it. Mag-Floats are priced affordably, come in a variety of sizes and they offer different options for both glass and acrylic tanks. You can also take advantage of the scraper blade accessory which allows you to add a scraper blade to the inside magnet.

Care Magnet by Tunze

The unique Care Magnets from Tunze are equipped with very strong magnets, an ergonomic handle and combine the convenience of a magnet with the cleaning power of a scraper. The integrated blades are made of a very durable plastic material to maintain a sharper cleaning edge for long-lasting performance.

The Tunze magnet’s primary feature is the low-profile which makes it less visible in the tank and also keeps sand and other debris from getting caught between the magnets while cleaning.

Algae Free

Algae Free is another unique brand because they give extra special attention to the aesthetics of the dry side magnet which is encased in solid wood.

For most of us, an algae magnet will not be removed from the display in between uses. The wood grain finish on these algae free magnets helps tremendously in terms of keeping the magnet cleaner discreet.

Algae Free2

In addition to looking nice, Algae Free employs high powered magnets, includes pads and scrapers for either glass or acrylic tanks, and they float!

I hope this guide to choosing algae magnets will help make your shopping experience a little less stressful and please be sure to share with your friends if you found this helpful!