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Basic Advice

Aquarium Algae and the Beauty of Cleaning Magnets

Algae Magnets

The one potential downside of aquarium ownership is the growth of brown or green algae that builds up on the aquarium’s walls and décor.

The one potential downside of aquarium ownership is the growth of brown or green algae that builds up on the aquarium’s walls and décor. Algae buildup is perfectly healthy and a sign that things are going well in the aquarium. Unfortunately, it can clash with the aesthetics of your beautiful aquarium.


If you enlist the help of an aquarium service company such as Blue Planet, it goes without saying that all surfaces of the aquarium will be cleaned spotlessly. However, even if you do use professional services, you may see development of algae between your scheduled cleanings, leaving the windows of your tank looking “dirty”.


If you’re not quite in the mood to roll up your sleeves, dig in, and wipe down the aquarium walls, an algae magnet is the ideal tool for you.


An algae magnet works through the action of one magnet going inside the tank that engages with another magnet outside the tank. The outer magnet grabs the inner, and by moving the outer magnet back and forth you can clean the windows of aquarium spic and span without ever coming in contact with a drop of water.


Here are some tips for choosing and using magnets:


  • You get what you pay for. The magnets need to be strong in order to get algae off the tank. The stronger the magnet, the more costly it will be.
  • There are a many different sizes of magnets, as well as ones made for specifically for acrylic or glass tanks. Make sure you know what your aquarium is made from (acrylic or glass), as well as the material thickness. The different magnet sizes are based on material thickness of the aquarium. Magnets that are too small for your aquarium’s thickness will not work at all because they simply won’t “stick”. Using a glass magnet on acrylic will cause scratches, so if you have an acrylic aquarium make sure you get the magnets made specifically for that material.
  • Speaking of scratches, DO NOT even go near the gravel line with you magnets! Getting gravel between the magnets can cause horrible scratches on both acrylic and glass aquariums.
  • Do yourself a favor and make sure you buy “floating” magnets. If you do, when the two magnets become disconnected, the inner magnet will float so you don’t have to roll up a sleeve and retrieve it. The water circulation will occasionally float the inner magnet to the edges of the tank, where you can reengage it with the outside magnet when the time comes for a cleaning.

About Jon Wolf

Servicing Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana & Michigan, Blue Planet Aquarium Services has been the most trusted name in aquarium design, installation and maintenance since 1999. A company large enough to be dependable but small enough to still watch out for your best interests, Blue Planet is the only company to call if you are planning to install an aquarium or have one maintained.

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