5 Best Algae Scrapers Tested On My Tanks & Compared (2021 Review)

The best algae scraper will help you maintain crystal clear aquarium glass/acrylic without using too much elbow grease.

To help you choose, I purchased the Fl!ipper cleaner float, Gulstream tropical mag-float, Neptonion Aquawing, Hygger Carbon Fiber cleaning kit, and the Fzone (Qanvee) Algae Scraper.

I then ran my lights for an extra few hours a day and let the algae really build up.

After I got some lovely algae growth, I tested each scraper against each other to bring you these reviews:

TLDR – Top Picks For Best Algae Scrapers

Preview Product
FL!PPER Flipper Cleaner Float - 2-in-1 Floating Magnetic Aquarium Glass Cleaner - Fish Tank Cleaner - Scrubber & Scraper Aquarium Cleaning Tools – Floating Fish Tank Cleaner, Standard FL!PPER Flipper Cleaner Float - 2-in-1 Floating Magnetic Aquarium Glass Cleaner - Fish Tank Cleaner...
Gulfstream Tropical AGU130A Mag-Float Acrylic Aquarium Cleaner, Medium Gulfstream Tropical AGU130A Mag-Float Acrylic Aquarium Cleaner, Medium
Neptonion Magnetic Aquarium Fish Tank Glass Algae scrapers Glass Cleaner Scrubber Clean Brush [Floating,Scratch-Free,Non-Slip,magnetizing] Neptonion Magnetic Aquarium Fish Tank Glass Algae scrapers Glass Cleaner Scrubber Clean Brush...
hygger Carbon Fiber 6 in 1 Aquarium Cleaning Tool Kit Algae Scraper Scrubber Pad Sponge Telescopic Handle Fish Tank Brush Cleaner Set for Saltwater Freshwater hygger Carbon Fiber 6 in 1 Aquarium Cleaning Tool Kit Algae Scraper Scrubber Pad Sponge Telescopic...
Fzone New Aluminum Magnesium Alloy Scraper Cleaner, Clean Brush with 10 Stainless Steel Blade for Aquarium Fish Plant Reef Tank Glass Cleaning Rotatable Head Extended to 26inch Fzone New Aluminum Magnesium Alloy Scraper Cleaner, Clean Brush with 10 Stainless Steel Blade for...

Last update on 2021-09-30 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

5 Best Algae Scrapers Compared & Reviewed

I purchased 5 different algae scrapers, tested them on my own tanks, and compared their effectiveness at removing algae.

1. FL!PPER Cleaner Float

TLDR: The design of the Fl!pper is really unique, but for me, it’s a tie between this scraper and the Gulfstream Tropical Mag-Float for first place. This scraper is best for tight corners and precise areas, like just along the substrate line. But, it’s too slow to use it for wide open spaces. I’d recommend getting the Fl!pper and the Mag-Float so you have something for precise areas and something that can quickly clear open areas.

Full review:

Fl!pper algae scraper tested

I’ve gotta say, the design behind this thing is pretty darn cool. So, one side of the inside scrubber is a rough scratchy pad for doing large areas.

Then you can detach the outside part, turn it 180° and put it right next to the inner scrubber. This will get the inside part to flip itself over so that you can use the side that has a scraping blade.

You get two scraping blades, a metal one and a hard plastic one. The metal blade is great on glass but it could easily gouge and scratch acrylic tanks.

The plastic blade is meant to prevent damage to acrylic tank walls. But, you still need to be VERY, VERY CAREFUL. 

I feel like the Fl!pper’s flipping trick is an innovative design, and I like that you get a scrubbing pad on one side and scraper on the other, but I found this scraper to be precise in tight areas and way too slow to do large areas with.

Test 1: On the soft algae, it took many, many more passes with the scrubber side of the Fl!pper than with the other two scrapers.

The scraper blade side of the Fl!pper was able to easily get the soft algae off. But, you have to scrape very slowly with the scraper blade. And I mean, very, very slowly. It would take much longer to clean the entire front glass using the scraper blade.

But, the scraper blade is really great for cleaning along the surface of the substrate. You have to be careful and slow as you clean along the substrate line anyway, so it’s no big deal to slow down and take the time to use the scraper blade on the Fl!pper in this area. 

Test 2: The scrubbing pad on the Fl!pper couldn’t remove the tough green spot algae at all. I scrubbed and scrubbed and the algae didn’t come off. That green spot algae just laughed at me and kept hanging out.

The scraper blade side was much better at removing the green spot. I did have to go really slow, but the blade was able to get it up. I actually found that I greatly preferred the plastic scraping blade over the metal one on the green spot algae.

The plastic blade scraped up more green spot with each swipe than the metal blade did.

Pros: 

  • Great for precision work like along the substrate and near corners

Cons: 

  • Scraper blade too slow in big open areas 
  • Scrubbing pad not strong enough
FL!PPER Flipper Cleaner Float
FL!PPER Flipper Cleaner Float

    Last update on 2021-09-30 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    2. Gulfstream Tropical Mag-Float

    TLDR: The Mag-Float is a great scraper for big open areas, but it struggles with precision areas, like near the corners or substrate. Frankly, after doing these experiments, my recommendation would be to get a Fl!pper and a Mag-Float so that you have something that’s good for tight corners and something that can quickly clean up big open areas.

    Full Review:

    Mag Float algae scraper tested

    The Gulfstream Tropical Mag-Float has a much simpler design than the Fl!pper. There’s no gimmick about it flipping around between a scrubbing pad and scraper blade. 

    It’s just got a scrubbing pad that resembles the rough side of velcro, no scraper blade.

    Test 1: The Mag-Float did a great job on the open areas. It did take several swipes over an area to clear it of algae, but it’s really easy to move this scraper back and forth, so it’s pretty quick.

    But, it’s much harder to clear out tight areas. You can’t power through areas like that with quick swipes like you can out in the middle.

    So, it can be frustrating to try and clean these areas.

    Test 2: This scraper did great against the green spot algae. I was really surprised. I had expected it to struggle more with the super tough algae, but again, it was able to clear out the big open areas.

    But, it was harder to get rid of the algae along the substrate and close to the corners.

    I would still recommend using the Fl!pper and the Mag-Float in combination so you have the best of both worlds. 

    Pros: 

    • Great in large open areas
    • Easy to swipe back and forth

    Cons: 

    • Struggles to clean up tight corners
    • No scraper blade attachment
    Gulfstream Tropical Mag-Float
    Gulfstream Tropical Mag-Float

      Last update on 2021-09-30 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

      3. Neptonion Aquawing (Large)

      TLDR: This scraper has a really cool handle and large scrubbing pad, but it’s not as strong as the Mag-Float. The Aquawing did OK on the softer brown algae, but it struggled a bit on the green spot algae.

      Full Review

      Aquawing algae scraper tested

      I really wanted to like this scraper because I think the design is cool, but sadly, it didn’t quite measure up.

      Test 1: The Aqawing was able to get through the softer brown algae, but it took a lot more swipes to get even big open areas clean.

      It especially had a hard time in tight corners.

      Also, I had trouble with this scraper and some of the hardscape in my angelfish tank because the inner part of the scraper is quite large. 

      Test 2: This scraper definitely had a harder time with the green spot algae. It took a lot more swipes to clear off this tougher algae. I wouldn’t recommend buying this scraper for green spot algae, it’s an exercise in frustration. 

      And trying to get green spot algae out of tight corners with this scraper? Forget it, no way.

      Pros: 

      • Large scrubbing pad
      • Ergonomic handle
      • Good for light duty

      Cons: 

      • Cannot handle tougher algae species
      • Inner scrubber is large and can be awkward
      • Not good for tight corners
      Neptonion Magnetic Aquarium Fish Tank Glass Algae scrapers Glass Cleaner Scrubber Clean Brush [Floating,Scratch-Free,Non-Slip,magnetizing]
      Neptonion Magnetic Aquarium Fish Tank Glass Algae scrapers Glass Cleaner Scrubber Clean Brush [Floating,Scratch-Free,Non-Slip,magnetizing]

        Last update on 2021-09-30 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

        4. Hygger Carbon Fiber 6 in 1 Aquarium Cleaning Tool Kit

        TLDR: This cleaning kit comes with some really handy attachments and some downright useless ones. I will say that this kit was very handy for cleaning up the side and back glass of my tank and it works well. But not every attachment was a home run.

        Full Review:

        For the most part, I really liked this Hygger cleaning kit. The adjustable handle is very stable and can be set from 23-34 inches (58-86 centimeters) long.

        The end of the handle has spring loaded quick release so that you can easily swap out for the different attachments.

        My biggest gripe about this kit is some of the attachments don’t do much.

        There are two different sponge attachments, a flat one and one that’s shaped to fit into the tank corners. The flat sponge is good on soft algae but it couldn’t make a dent in the green spot algae.

        The corner-shaped attachment didn’t do me much good at all. The swivel it’s on is too loose so you can’t actually scrub with it except at really awkward angles. 

        I was really disappointed. This was one of the main things that I noticed about this kit but it really didn’t work well at all.

        There’s also a sand and gravel rake attachment. It has a scoop shape that would be good for grabbing small things from the bottom, but otherwise, I don’t really know that I would use this that much. Smoothing out gravel and sand is pretty easy to just do with your hand.

        This kit also comes with a metal blade attachment. The blade makes quick work of soft and hard algae. I just wish that you could adjust the angle of the blade to fit the angle of the glass you’re cleaning.

        A net attachment is also included. I found this very useful to scoop out all the bits of algae that were floating around in the water after cleaning the glass.

        There is also a bottlebrush attachment that’s really cool. You can use it to gather up trailing algae, like staghorn or hair algae, and remove it from the tank. 

        Pros: 

        • Blade attachment works well on tough algae
        • Flat sponge works great for soft algae
        • Net attachment can help clean up the mess after scraping algae

        Cons: 

        • Angle on the metal blade can’t be changed
        • Swivel is too loose on the corner attachment
        • Sponge attachments not strong enough for spot algae
        hygger Carbon Fiber 6 in 1 Aquarium Cleaning Tool Kit Algae Scraper Scrubber Pad Sponge Telescopic Handle Fish Tank Brush Cleaner Set for Saltwater Freshwater
        hygger Carbon Fiber 6 in 1 Aquarium Cleaning Tool Kit Algae Scraper Scrubber Pad Sponge Telescopic Handle Fish Tank Brush Cleaner Set for Saltwater Freshwater

          Last update on 2021-09-30 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

          Be careful not to scrape the silicone seals at the corner of your tank with the metal blade attachment. Scratching off too much of the seal can cause your aquarium to leak.

          5. Fzone (Qanvee) Aluminum Alloy Algae Scraper

          TLDR:

          This little scraper is kind of simple, but it’s also really effective. It utilizes super thin razor blades that do a great job scraping off both soft or tough algae. It also comes with a small brush attachment that’s good for getting into tight corners.

          Full Review:

          This Fzone scraper is really basic, but it’s also really efficient. I was surprised by how such a simple tool could work so well.

          The handle comes in four pieces. You can use all four and make it 26 inches (66 centimeters) long or leave some of the sections out and make it as short as 9 inches (23 centimeters) long.

          It’s a really sturdy and stable handle once you’ve got it put together. I was impressed. It’s also easy to take it apart for storage.

          The best part is that you can adjust the angle of the head. I found this especially helpful when I was trying to get to the more awkward parts of the back glass.

          The head of the scraper unscrews so you can swap out the blades for scraping. The blades are super thin razors, so thin that you can easily bend them. I thought these might be too flimsy for green spot algae, but in reality, the thin blade is able to get behind the algae and scrape it off cleanly.

          You get 10 replacement blades. This should be enough to get you through years and years of algae scraping.

          It also has a little brush attachment that’s great for cleaning the corners near the silicone seal.

          I really like this Fzone algae scraper. It doesn’t have a whole lot of bells and whistles, but it does a great job, even on super tough green spot algae.

          Pros: 

          • Simple yet sturdy construction
          • Great for doing open spaces and tight corners
          • Good for soft and tough algae

          Cons: 

          • Not suitable for acrylic tanks
          Fzone New Aluminum Magnesium Alloy Scraper Cleaner, Clean Brush with 10 Stainless Steel Blade for Aquarium Fish Plant Reef Tank Glass Cleaning Rotatable Head Extended to 26inch
          Fzone New Aluminum Magnesium Alloy Scraper Cleaner, Clean Brush with 10 Stainless Steel Blade for Aquarium Fish Plant Reef Tank Glass Cleaning Rotatable Head Extended to 26inch

            Last update on 2021-09-30 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

            Which Is Best?

            When it comes to cleaning the front glass, I think that using the FL!PPER in combination with one of the other magnetic cleaners is the best. I like the precision that you can get with the  scraper on the FL!PPER just above the substrate. 

            But frankly, I’m not crazy about the cleaning power of the scrubber side of the FL!PPER. It seemed like it was taking forever, even to do a fairly small area. 

            So, I would recommend adding on one of the other scrapers to get the bulk of the algae off.

            When I tested the other magnetic cleaner, the Aquawing made quick work of the brown algae but the Mag-Float performed better when I was working on the green spot algae. 

            The long-handled scrapers are a toss up for me. I like some of the different attachments on the Hygger kit, but I also found that the Fzone scraper was simple yet extremely effective.

            Both are handy tools that make cleaning the back tank wall so much easier.

            Preview Product
            FL!PPER Flipper Cleaner Float - 2-in-1 Floating Magnetic Aquarium Glass Cleaner - Fish Tank Cleaner - Scrubber & Scraper Aquarium Cleaning Tools – Floating Fish Tank Cleaner, Standard FL!PPER Flipper Cleaner Float - 2-in-1 Floating Magnetic Aquarium Glass Cleaner - Fish Tank Cleaner...
            Gulfstream Tropical AGU130A Mag-Float Acrylic Aquarium Cleaner, Medium Gulfstream Tropical AGU130A Mag-Float Acrylic Aquarium Cleaner, Medium
            Neptonion Magnetic Aquarium Fish Tank Glass Algae scrapers Glass Cleaner Scrubber Clean Brush [Floating,Scratch-Free,Non-Slip,magnetizing] Neptonion Magnetic Aquarium Fish Tank Glass Algae scrapers Glass Cleaner Scrubber Clean Brush...
            hygger Carbon Fiber 6 in 1 Aquarium Cleaning Tool Kit Algae Scraper Scrubber Pad Sponge Telescopic Handle Fish Tank Brush Cleaner Set for Saltwater Freshwater hygger Carbon Fiber 6 in 1 Aquarium Cleaning Tool Kit Algae Scraper Scrubber Pad Sponge Telescopic...
            Fzone New Aluminum Magnesium Alloy Scraper Cleaner, Clean Brush with 10 Stainless Steel Blade for Aquarium Fish Plant Reef Tank Glass Cleaning Rotatable Head Extended to 26inch Fzone New Aluminum Magnesium Alloy Scraper Cleaner, Clean Brush with 10 Stainless Steel Blade for...

            Last update on 2021-09-30 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

            How the Scrapers Were Tested

            There are a lot of different algae scrapers out there on the market, so we broke it into two main categories: 

            • Magnetized scrapers – meant for cleaning front and side glass
            • Long-handled scrapers – meant for cleaning hard to reach areas like the side and back glass

            Magnetized Scrapers

            We bought three different magnetized algae scrapers for a head-to-head challenge. 

            We put them all through their paces to see which ones made it the easiest to clean algae off of tank walls.

            I let the front and back glass on several of my tanks grow a pretty thick layer of algae. I ran the lights for about 5 extra hours each day to get some really gnarly looking algae going.

            It was really hard to just let my tanks look terrible for two weeks, but I did it in the name of helping my readers. So, I hope this helps!

            Magnetic Scraper Test 1: Brown Algae

            Algae scraper test on blown algae

            One of my angelfish tanks grows this shaggy brown algae that cropped up several years ago.

            I’m not sure of the exact species, but it looks similar to black beard algae in structure when it really gets going. Left to its own devices, it grows into what looks like a shag carpet along the glass and decor, but it’s a chocolate brown color instead of black.

            It’s really soft/slimy and it’s fairly easy to scrape off.

            Magnetic Scraper Test 2: Green Spot Algae

            Algae scraper test on green spot algae

            However, in my shrimp tank, the glass has a thin layer of green spot algae, the hardest to scrape algae I’ve ever come across in all my years of keeping aquariums.

            I’ve found it to be the most stubborn algae to clean up because it’s so resilient. 

            Instead of growing in a big sheet like most algaes, green spot grows in little round dots that are hard to the touch.

            Most algaes come right off if you rub them with your finger or a sponge. 

            But, not this stuff. Not at all!

            When you rub your finger across it, you can actually feel all the little circles of the algae, making the glass feel rough. And you’d have to rub your finger to the bone to get this stuff off glass without a tool.

            So, after trying out the magnetized scrapers on the soft brown algae, we then tried them on the green spot algae to see how they did on the really tough stuff.

            Long-Handled Scrapers

            Magnetized scrapers are great for the front glass, but they can be hard to use on the side glass and they’re near impossible to use on the back glass.

            So, we also bought two different styles of long-handled scrapers that are meant for getting hard to reach places in an aquarium.

            We tested the long-handled scrapers on the side and back glass of my 40 gallon (151 liter) bowfront tank. The walls in that aquarium grow a combination of green dust algae that’s very soft and green spot algae that’s particularly difficult to scrape off.

            In fact, for some reason, the green spot algae in that tank is the hardest to scrape in the whole house. 

            I tried out all the attachments that both scrapers included so I could see how useful they were as I cleaned the tank glass.

            It’s possible to scratch your tank if you use an algae scraper improperly, especially if you have an acrylic tank. Make sure to follow all the manufacturer’s instructions. Be especially careful while cleaning along the substrate. Getting even a single grain of sand trapped between the scrubbing pad and the glass can cause major scratching.

            How to Choose an Algae Scraper

            When choosing an algae scraper, the question you need to ask yourself is not “What is the best” but “What is the best for my tank?”. This depends on two factors: The material of the tank and its size.

            What’s Your Tank Made Of?

            Some scrapers or scrubber pads are suitable for glass tanks, others are made for acrylic tanks, and some have options to be used for both.

            What’s the difference, you may ask? In the case of a glass tank, the scrubber pad is made of a harder, tougher material, like Velcro’s hook side. While in the case of an acrylic tank, the scrubber pad’s material is softer, like the loop side of Velcro, to prevent scratching the acrylic.

            As for scraper blades, metal scrapers are used for glass tanks, and plastic scrapers are used for acrylic tanks. Using a material intended for a glass tank on an acrylic one will cause the most unsightly scratches that are mostly irreversible.

            Scrapers used on glass would scratch an acrylic tank; do not ever use a hard scraper on acrylic.

            When it comes to cleaning the front of an acrylic tank, your best bet is to get Original Mr Clean Magic Erasers, the kind that doesn’t have any added cleansers. Just wet and squeeze your magic eraser and prepare to get the cleanest surface!

            Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Original, Cleaning Pads with Durafoam, 9 Count
            Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Original, Cleaning Pads with Durafoam, 9 Count

              Last update on 2021-09-30 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

              Tank Size

              A scraper that works for a 100-gallon tank is probably WAY too huge for a 10-gallon; it would take you forever to scrape all the algae in a 100-gallon with a little scraper meant for a 10-gallon; bottom line, get something appropriate to your tank.

              If you’re considering a magnetized scrubbing pad, the thickness of the tank walls is very important. A bigger tank with thicker walls will need a stronger magnet than a smaller one with thinner walls. 

              If you have a large tank and get a scrubber pad with a magnet that isn’t strong enough, it may attach securely, but it will surely not exert enough pressure to do the cleaning job.

              Another tip is to consider some long-handled tools for reaching algae at the back or the deep bottom of a large tank.

              Do You Really Need an Algae Scraper?

              OK, your tank isn’t going to explode if you don’t have an algae scraper.

              But they sure can help your tank look nicer.

              And hey, isn’t a nice looking tank the whole point of why we keep aquariums in the first place?

              Algae scrapers are really handy tools to keep the glass/acrylic crystal clear. It always surprises me when I think my inside glass is “clean.” 

              But then I use a scraper, and realize there’s really a thin layer of algae all over the glass, even when it looks mostly clear to the naked eye.

              Getting that thin layer of algae off can really help improve how your tank looks.

              Default image
              Katherine Morgan
              Hey, there! I'm Katherine from Northwest Florida. A nunchuck specialist, I've kept aquariums for over two decades, enjoy experimenting with low-tech planted setups and an avid South American cichlid enthusiast. If You'd like to see more of my tanks, check out my Instagram

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