Write-up Wednesday: The Magnetic Algae Scraper

The magnetic algae scraper is the sixth wonder of the world to saltwater tank hobbyists. it is easy to use, and it does magical things like removing the haze algae that grows on your tank’s glass, revealing the wonderful world inside. Better yet, you can use it without getting your hands wet!

The way the magnetic algae scraper works is straight forward. Two opposite pole magnets are enclosed in separate water proof casings. Then a soft material like felt is applied to the outside of the casing to help prevent scratches. One magnet goes on the inside of your tank, the other on the outside. When the two sides get close to one another, they couple and will hold each other in place.

The aquarium surface is then scraped clean by moving the magnet back and forth or in a circular motion.

More stubborn algae like coraline algae can be scraped off with algae scrapers that have a stiff blade although even these blades don’t alway get the job done.

Why would hobbyists hate such a wondrous cleaning invention? Because algae scrapers can accumulate hard substances like sand or calciferous worms. Once trapped in the algae scraper, these hard substances can scratch your tank’s viewing surfaces. This fact is especially true for sratch-prone acrylic tanks that scratch if you look at them wrong.

The simple solution is to scrape carefully and to store your algae scraper outside your tank like I do.

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Comments for this article (10)

  • Bryan S says:

    I used to just leave my magnetic algae scraper in my tank when I finish cleaning, but never liked the way it looked on my tank. Also, after getting a few scratches on the tank glass I decided to remove the scraper following each cleaning. No more new scratched and the scraper stays clean. Problem solved.

  • Good idea! Plus i hate seeing that white bar on my seamless black background lol plus detritus builds up on it snd once you move it, hello dnow storm of nasty lol

  • JasPR says:

    Good stuff! It’s also worth mentioning that if you just wipe glass and leave scraper in rank, you build a wonderful incubator for some nasty anaerobic bacteria species. A simple ‘whiff ‘ of the business side of the magnetic scraper will attest to this! Yuck!!

  • Adam says:

    I got my tank second hand. The person who I bought it off kept the scraper in the tank and it has caused some scratches, how can I clean up the scraper without using a substance that might affect chemistry?
    Should I just buy a new one?

  • Matt says:

    Also watch the magnet/scraper blade on your silicone seems unless you want bigger issues than a few scratches

  • Dwain says:

    I am GUESSING that cleaning the scraper with white vinegar then rinsing well would be a good way to clean one that has accumulated junk. I’d appreciate other comments on this idea.

  • Melody Miller says:

    I am also wondering about the cleaning of the magnet. Also nets and containers. Any ideas on cleaning solutions? Thank you!

  • Pierre Bouic says:

    My experiences in this area are unfortunately too many. The first 150 gal tank i used for coral was an ex freshwater tank which got scratched by decor as a planted tank and yes the magnetic scraper was at fault so I kept it out of the water, in the problem areas i used a strip of perspex with a sharp edge. It being softer than glass works well for those area like the bottom or corners, plus doesn’t grab the substrate bringing it up with itself on the upstroke.
    Needless to say the next tank is a purpose built saltwater glass with no scratches, yet.
    Touch glass it stays scratch free

  • I don’t use them to clean the tank. I Use them to decorate the tank.use a large magnet break apart live cured rock and glue/epoxy/silicone it onto the magnet. Let it sit to dry for 24 hrs and presto, you have a great place to start population of coral that hangs on the back glass.

  • I have pictures but, this site wouldn’t let me post them

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