There are two types of algae scrapers designed for the saltwater aquarium: magnetic and hand-held.
I’m only going to recommend four in this gear guide, because they are the only ones I’ve used and like.
I highly recommend getting one magnetic cleaner and one hand-held cleaner. The magnetic cleaner will be the powerhouse of your algae scraping routine. You will use it frequently and it makes it so you don’t have to put your hand in the tank.
The hand-held scraper is there for hard to reach areas, edges, sandbed line, and rear filtration chambers.
Most film algae just needs the felt side of the scraper. But probably once a week or so, you will get some hard algae that needs a bit more power. That is when you use the stainless steel or hard acrylic side to scrape.
If your tank is glass, then stainless steel is perfect for you. But if you have an acrylic tank, don’t use the stainless steel scraper as it will scratch the plastic. You will need to use an acrylic scraper.
I’m recommending four total, but honestly, just buy #2 and #1 in this gear guide. They are what I use and I wouldn’t buy anything else!
4. Mag-Float Floating Magnetic Algae Scraper
I do own the small version of this Mag-Float. I really bought it just to try it out. Does it work? Yes, but not nearly as well as the Flipper.
But, you can save some money by purchasing this. What I’ve noticed is it takes a lot more scrubbing to get the glass clean. And the Mag-Float has a velcro-like scraper, so it is only designed for the soft film algae.
You won’t be able to use this magnetic algae scraper to remove any hard algae, unless you want to spend an hour!
This is a good back-up magnetic algae scraper to have on hand or just leave in the water of a quarantine tank. That’s what I do with mine!
3. Flipper Platinum Aquarium Hand Scraper
I like this hand-held algae scraper because you can just use a credit card or library card!
It comes in three sizes, and each Flipper Platinum comes with one official scraper blade which is great for glass and acrylic tanks.
It is not stainless steel, so if you have a glass aquarium you will likely need to replace the scraper a bit more often, but since it fits a standard credit card, it is virtually free to replace.
The reason this is #3 is because I like having the option of using a stainless steel head, as well as being able to purchase an adjustable length scraper.
This is still a great product, so if it fits your needs, pick it up!
2. Kent Marine Pro-Scraper II
Hands down, this is my go-to hand-held scraper. The Kent Marine Pro-Scraper II comes in four different sizes, two of which are adjustable. With this 16″-24″, you also get a hand-held adaptor which is nice.
I use this scraper to clean off the weir, to reach into the rear filtration chamber, and to clean the glass near the sand to avoid scratching.
You do have to replace the stainless steel blade from time to time, but there are knock-offs available for cheap.
Just make sure you get the right size for your tank. If it’s too big you will struggle maneuvering around your aquascape, and if it’s too small you’ll constantly have to get your hands wet.
I’ve owned mine for almost a decade now, and have never had to replace it, so yes, I vouch for this product entirely!
1. Flipper 2-in-1 Magnetic Algae Scraper
Buy this… let me repeat one more time… buy this!
Yes, it is over twice as much as the Mag-Float, but its 10x better (in my opinion!).
Flipper makes three sizes, but the vast majority of saltwater hobbyists will use their standard size which is meant for glass thickness 1/4″ – 1/2 ” thick. Just make sure you get the right size.
What makes the Flipper my #1 choice, hands-down?
- It has a strong magnet.
- It comes with both a stainless steel and acrylic blade.
- And, you can switch between the soft felt side and the scraper by just flipping the magnet over inside the tank!
It takes a few times to get the hang of, but this scraper is a huge time saver. I use the Flipper 95% of the time. You will occasionally need to replace both the soft felt side and the scraper, but only every couple years.
If you only buy one algae scraper, get this. You won’t be disappointed (well, maybe you will, but I doubt it!)