Showing posts with label Cleaner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cleaner. Show all posts

Friday, April 25, 2014

7 Cool Tools to Clean Your Dirty Reef Tank

With spring in full swing, it may be time to give your aquarium a good spring cleaning!

I won’t lecture you on the importance of regular tank maintenance. If you’ve been in the hobby for a while, you already know how important it is to stay consistent with aquarium upkeep.

Today we’re here to talk about all the tools available to help us with the dirty job of cleaning up a fish tank.

The easiest way to keep an aquarium clean is to get a clean-up crew. I’m not talking about an aquarium maintenance guy that comes over to clean your tank, either. I’m referring to the unsung heroes of reef aquaria—the snails, hermit crabs, shrimp and the like—who slither, scuttle and swim around your tank keeping the sand bed, rockwork and even other animals clean.

Truth be told, these animals can only do so much. Even if you’ve got a diverse CUC, state-of-the-art aquarium equipment and change your water regularly, you’ll still need to apply a little elbow grease every now and again to make your tank spotless and draw the “oohs” and “aahs” of guests.

There are a bunch of cool tools at your disposal which are great for Spring cleaning and year-round use. Here are some of my favorites:

Algae Magnets

The only tank maintenance tool I remember from my dad’s old aquarium was the algae magnet. It made a particular impression on me because I can recall how fun it was to move around and how satisfying it felt to clean off the glass and peer into a clear tank.

Using an aquarium algae magnet isn’t rocket science, but there are some good practices I recommend. The first is to use your algae magnet often. Doing a little work here and there won’t allow as much gunk to build-up so you won’t have to work as hard.

The way an algae magnet works is simple. There are two parts, both magnetic. Place one part outside your tank and one inside. The inside magnet, the part submerged underwater, has an abrasive, Velcro-like surface that scrapes algae and calcium deposits off your glass/acrylic as you push the outside magnet with your hand. The outside magnet has a smoother surface that polishes the outside of your aquarium as you move your hand up-and-down, side-to-side for a streak-free shine.

The inside part of some algae magnets, from brands like Algae Free and Mag-Float, will float right to the surface of the water if you remove the outside magnet and break the magnetic field. This is important to note because not all do and occasionally, as you’re moving the outside magnet around, it does separate. Say, if you’re going over a rounded corner, for instance. The inside magnet then sinks to the substrate and sand particles can get caught in the Velcro-like scraping surface (though you also can inadvertently get sand in your algae magnet by simply cleaning close to the sand). You basically just want to be cautious so you don’t scratch your glass or acrylic tank walls. Scratch removal kits are available, but it’s definitely something you want to avoid.

You want to be conscience of the size of the algae magnet when you shop to ensure you choose the proper tool for your tank. You don’t want one too big, you don’t want one to small: like Goldilocks, you want one that’s just right. Even if you have a super-small tank, there is an algae magnet for you (the NanoMag). If you have a glass aquarium, you could use a magnet suitable for glass or acrylic, but if you’ve got an acrylic tank, you need to be careful to use only algae magnets with a scraping surface suitable for your tank so you don’t scratch the walls up.

Last but not least, don’t forget to leave room between your tank walls and aquarium rock when you aquascape your tank. You want to have enough space around your reef to move your algae magnet all the way around the tank (it will help with water circulation, too!).

Algae Scrapers

Your algae magnet may be the maintenance tool you use most often, but sometimes you’ll need to access hard-to-reach places or require better leverage to scrape off really stubborn algae or calcium deposits. In these situations, you need an algae scraper.

Handheld algae scrapers are particularly useful. You can get right down to the sand bed and scrape off pretty much anything on your tank walls, even coralline algae. If you’re gluing frags and accidently get some on the outside glass of your tank, just use your algae scraper to get the glue off.

In addition to the handheld variety, there are longer versions, some with telescoping handles, to reach down deep and into tight spots your arm or magnet won’t reach. Most scrapers have interchangeable and replaceable blades available for different applications, such as a rust-resistant stainless steel blade for calcified deposits on glass aquariums, a plastic blade for cleaning acrylic (or glass for general algae removal) and a fabric pad-covered blade for fine cleaning and mopping.

Algae Pads

I have an Innovative Marine 38 gallon Nuvo Aquarium and a flat algae magnet or algae scaper doesn’t do a very good job of cleaning the bent corners. This is where algae pads come in handy: they bend and fold according to the curve of your glass to remove unsightly algae no other tool could.

Scrubbing your aquarium with an algae pad isn’t dissimilar from scrubbing a dish with a sponge. Just hold the pad in your hand and push up against the surface you want to clean and scrub back-and-forth.

Algae pads are the least expensive tool for removing algae and many consider them to be indestructible, so they’re a terrific value. They are usually rectangular in shape and can sometimes be attached to a plastic or wood handle to allow you to reach deep and clean those difficult nooks and crannies. Similar to magnets and scrapers, algae pads are available for both glass and acrylic aquariums.


Siphons are one of the most common maintenance tools in the aquarium hobby. I have yet to meet a single fresh or saltwater aquarist that hasn’t used one at some point to perform their water changes. Regular water changes are crucial for removing waste and debris so you can replenish your tank with new, clean water.

Most siphons have a rigid plastic tube called a gravel vacuum at one end to clean sand and gravel. Your substrate will tumble inside the gravel vacuum, freeing detritus and debris to be siphoned up and out of your tank into a bucket for removal. It’s easier with larger-grained sand or gravel because the sugar-sized stuff can easily get sucked right out. The trick is to pinch the vinyl tubing to slow down the water flow or use flexible tubing for better control during water changes.

Coral Feeder aka Turkey Baster

Coral feeders are essentially modified turkey basters for the aquarium hobby. They are a versatile tool every hobbyist should have in his/her aquarium tool chest.

Coral feeders are affordable, easy to clean and serve a variety of purposes. You can use one to feed your corals, invertebrates, clams, anemones and even fish. You can gently blow sediment and organic matter off corals and live rock. You can stir up detritus to siphon out during a water change. You can suck up extra food, nuisance algae or anything else you don’t want inside your tank.

Even acclimating livestock is made easier with a coral feeder. Just suck out some water from the bag your fish arrived in and replace it with tank water. Then repeat those two steps as needed.

I’ve even used my coral feeder to successfully remove a few bristleworms that had grown too large in my tank, although it’s pretty challenging—I’ve failed more times than I’ve succeeded!


Toothbrushes are another great tool for cleaning an aquarium. You can buy one just about anywhere or use a spare you already have in the house. They are an inexpensive all-around cleaner that are easy-to-use and give you leverage to clean hard-to-reach areas.

You can use a toothbrush to clean rough surfaces, but you can also use them to scrub more delicate areas, like around your corals. A toothbrush can make it easier to brush glass and rocks to free debris that can be removed during a water change.

My favorite ways to use a toothbrush for aquarium maintenance is to clean my protein skimmer, media reactor, return pump, powerhead and media baskets. I always keep my protein skimmer collection cup clean with a toothbrush so I can see the bubbles and skimmate being removed from the tank.

Bristle Brushes

Over time, algae and other buildup needs to be cleaned and cleared from pumps and plumbing parts. Bristle brushes are the best tool I’ve found for cleaning the inside of tubing. They are also useful for cleaning out the grills of your powerhead or inside the pump’s impeller chamber. I’ve used my bristle brush to clean the inside of my protein skimmer collection cup, too.

Pump Soaks

Most reefers like how coralline algae looks on aquarium rock, although not everyone wants the stuff covering their powerheads because it can eventually impact performance. Pump soaks free your pump/powerhead of unwanted coralline and dirt to make your pump look and run like new. Pump soaks, also referred to as accessory or equipment cleaner, decalcify aquarium parts faster than vinegar.

To use a pump soak, remove the pumps from your aquarium and soak them in a bowl or bucket filled with water and the equipment cleaner of your choice. You will begin to see algae dissolve from your pumps within minutes. They’ll be good as new in no time!

Check out my colleague Kira’s review on D-D EzeClean Equipment Cleaner for more detailed instructions and photos.

Monday, October 21, 2013

NEW! Continuum Aquatics Bacter Clean-M

Continuum Aquatics Bacter Clean-M is a unique marine microbial culture and enzyme product, unlike any other on the market.

  • Cleans live rock, live coral stone, tank walls, and other surfaces
  • Loosens and cleans coatings and ugly accumulations
  • Specifically cultured for Marine systems only
  • Powerful
Advantages: Bacter Clean-M is a unique marine microbial culture and enzyme product specifically designed to target and clean surfaces of live rock, coral decorations and tank walls, removing stains, loosening and softening debris for easy vacuuming and providing a cleaner, more pristine environment. It will outcompete unwanted substances and loosen the grip of ugly accumulations and coatings making their removal by scraping or vacuuming easy. Its exclusive bacterial formula does much of the work for you, to help provide the beautiful reef or marine aquarium you have always wanted. It will also rapidly breakdown organic waste, leftover food, debris and detritus in marine aquariums, providing essential water quality improvement.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Kent Marine ProScraper II Algae Scraper Demo

Every aquarium hobbyist knows the importance of regular tank maintenance. Unfortunately, for those of us with deeper tanks, it can be difficult to clean those hard-to-reach places. That's where Kent Marine's new Pro-Scraper II and Extension tool come in.

The 6-Piece Kent Marine Pro-Scraper II kit includes everything you'll need to clean the cumbersome nooks and crannies in your aquarium. A comfy non-slip rubber grip fits perfectly in the palm of your hand. Extendable, corrosion-resistant fiberglass handles are built for a lifetime of cleaning and provide the proper leverage for scraping deep-down in your tank. To lock the handles in place, just twist the red connector to the right.

The Pro-Scraper II includes three glass and acrylic-safe replacable blades, each designed for specific cleaning jobs. A fabric covered blade is used for fine cleaning and swabbing to get the inside glass as clean as the outside. The plastic blade is ideal for gently scraping algae from acrylic and glass tanks alike. The rust-resistant stainless-steel blade is recommended for removing coralline algae and calcified deposits from glass aquariums. 

Blades slide into the head and snap securely into place. To remove the head, press the button and pull it out. Once you've got your desired scraper blade locked into the head, you can plug the head into the handle. Squeeze the sides of the clip and insert it into the slot. It will making a snapping noise when it attaches. Now you're ready to clean your aquarium.

The Pro-Scraper II also includes a short handle for cleaning stubborn spots or tight areas. We find it useful for cleaning salt screep from the water line.

The JBJ Pro-Scaper II is currently available in 5 sizes, from a 5 1/2" short handle to a Goliath 24" that extends to a full 36". The model used in our demonstration was the 16" to 24" variation, perfect for our 19" deep tank.

If you have any questions about the JBJ Pro-Scraper II or any other aquarium products, give us a call at 1-800-566-FISH or leave us a comment in the comment section.

Monday, May 23, 2011

New this Week, 5/23/11

AquaticLife T5 HO Fluorescent Bulbs
We just received some affordable new high output T5 bulb variations from AquaticLife including a 48" 54W Purple, 36" 39W Purple, 24" 24W Purple and a 18" 18W Marine 700+ 10000K. T5 HO bulbs should be replaced every 9-18 months, depending on usage. Score one of these high-quality bulbs today for $18.99 to $25.99 each.

Aqua Vision Aquatics Precision Integreat (Part A Calcium)
Precision Integrate Part A is a well-balanced supplement that is designed to raise and maintain calcium levels as well as enhance coral growth. This product contains 75,000 ppm (mg/L) of calcium and is one of the most concentrated two part products on the market today. Nearly every inhabitant of a marine reef aquarium uses calcium, including calcareous (coralline) algae, snails, crustaceans, corals and other invertebrates. Precision Integrate Part A does not contain polygluconates, lactates, phosphates or nitrates, which can cause unwanted algae, slime and bacterial growth. Precision Integrate Part A is made with high quality (USP Grade) chemicals, which ensures you will not be adding unwanted amounts of metals or organics to your aquarium. The 32 oz. size is available for $11.99 or buy more and save: get the larger 128oz. size for $19.99.

Aqua Vision Aquatics Precision Integreat (Part B Buffer)
Precision Integrate Part B is a well-balanced supplement that is designed to raise and maintain KH/alkalinity levels as well as enhance coral growth. This product contains 10,600 KH or 3,800 meq/L and is one of the most concentrated two part products on the market today. Carbonates (KH or alkalinity), along with Calcium, Strontium, and Magnesium are critical to coral growth. If KH/alkalinity is left unchecked or neglected, your aquarium’s chemistry will never truly be stable. Proper KH/alkalinity levels will promote coral and coralline algae growth and aid in stabilizing your pH. Obtaining optimal KH/alkalinity levels will also help promote strong immune systems for fish and invertebrates. Nearly every inhabitant of a marine reef aquarium uses calcium along with KH/alkalinity, including calcareous (coralline) algae, snails, crustaceans, corals and other invertebrates. Precision Integrate Part B does not contain polygluconates, lactates, phosphates or nitrates, which can cause unwanted algae, slime and bacterial growth. Precision Integrate Part B is made with high quality (USP Grade) chemicals, which ensures you will not be adding unwanted amounts of metals or organics to your aquarium. The 32 oz. size is available for $11.99 or buy more and save: get the larger 128oz. size for $19.99.

Orphek PR-25 (12 LEDs) Dimmable LED Pendants
The PR-25 is a PAR38 form factor bulb (screws into a normal light socket) The PR-25 LED pendant produces a similar amount of PUR (photosynthetically useable radiation) as does a 150w metal halide bulb, with excellent spread from 60 degree honeycomb optics. Containing 12 diodes running at 2 watts each and available in various color combinations, the PR-25 is an excellent, cost effective and efficient choice for nano and mid-sized aquariums. The PUR ratio is so high than ~50-60 PAR under the PR-25 is equal to ~150 PAR under a 14k halide bulb. Even better, the PR-25 is dimmable with a common household dimmer. Choose between the PR-25 6 Blue/6 White Pendant or the PR-25UV 6 Blue/4 White/2 UV Pendant (”20k” with UV for enhanced coral fluorescents), $239.99 apiece with free shipping.

Orphek PR-ML7 Dimmable 4 Blue/3 UV LED Pendant
The PR-ML7 is a PAR30 form factor bulb (screws into a normal light socket) The PR-ML7 LED pendant can be used as an actinic supplement to the popular PR-25 LEDs or as a standalone moonlight , with excellent spread from 60 degree honeycomb optics. Containing 7 diodes running at 2 watts each PR-ML7 is an excellent, cost effective and efficient choice for any size aquarium. The PR-ML7 is dimmable with a common household dimmer. The ability to dim makes the PR-ML7 perfect for any aquarium and the variety of mounting options available from any hardware store makes PAR30 form factor lighting very versatile! Available now for only $119.99.

Sicce Syncra Silent Multifunction Aquarium Pumps
Syncra Silent is a new range of energy-efficient aquarium pumps that are absolutely silent. Don't be fooled: these pumps are powerful and versatile. Ideal for fresh and saltwater aquariums, protein skimmers, indoor fountains, water-cooling and all submersible and in-line applications that require high-performance and total silence. Thanks to Sicce’s 35 years of experience, Syncra Silent are equipped with a synchronous motor and an advanced rotor which makes the pumps 100% silent. Available in 185, 251, 357, 568, 714, 660, 951 and 1,321 GPH variations. Prices range from $40.99 to $189.99 (free shipping on orders over $175).

Brillianize Glass and Acrylic Aquarium Cleaner/Polish with Circular Knit Microfiber Polishing Cloth
This kit includes everything you need to clean, protect and shine all hard, shiny surfaces. The unique cleaning fluid from Brillianize contains no alcohol or ammonia, so it's safe to use around children and pets! Brillianize leaves an anti-static, fingerprint-resistant finish so you don't have to clean as often. You can safely use Clean & Polish on acrylic, acrylite, glass, lexan, plexiglas, stainless, titanium and aquariums. The includes 1 x 8 oz. spray bottle, 1 x large high-capacity microfiber polishing cloth and 2 x Brillianize wet/dry Instant Detailers for only $14.99. Score a 40-pack of Brillianize's reusable polyester polishing cloths for $12.99. Beyond aquarium use you can also use them on cameras, lenses, LCD screens and even fine art frames.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Product Review: Algae Free Piranha Float Magnet Cleaner

The Algae Free Piranha Float Magnet Cleaner
Marine Depot Item Code: AF1111

Product Specifications:

  • Golden Oak stain and glossy finish
  • Floating black wet side
  • 2 inches wide by 4 inches long
  • Approximately 1 inch thick for dry and wet side
  • Manufacturer suggests 1/4" and 3/8" for glass; 3/16" and 1/4" for acrylic
  • Rated for aquariums 30-120 gallons

Beautifully engraved Golden Oak stain and glossy finish dry side.
Packaging label lists the product for up to 3/8" glass thickness, however the rare earth magnets are extremely strong where it works perfectly on 1/2" thick glass.
Packaging contents include the Golden Oak dry and black wet side, extra dry side blue felt, extra wet side velcro, white acrylic pad, and product instructions.
4 inches long for the dry and wet side
2 inches wide for the dry and wet side
Approximately 1 inch thick dry side
Exactly 1 inch thick wet side
Blue felt on dry side for glass and acrylic aquariums
Velcro wet side for glass aquariums. The white acrylic pad easily attaches to the wet side making this magnet an excellent choice for aquarists with both glass and acrylic aquariums.

Algae Free Piranha Float Magnet Cleaner works on 1/2" thick glass.
Before picture
After. Please note the spots are on the glass side panels that have not been cleaned yet.
Red border: Required a minimum of two swipes to remove film off the glass. Center area only took one swipe. The reason the edges required more swipes is because of the way the inside velcro pad is lined up. When you move the Piranha in a straight line or along the edges, algae is missed in between the scrubber. When you swipe in the center, your swiping at an angle which closes any gaps.

The Algae Free "Piranha Float" is an excellent and stylish magnet cleaner. The rare earth magnets are extremely strong, even when used on 1/2" thick glass. There is a good amount of resistance when pushing the magnet cleaner across the surface. The wet side is a black plastic block that floats when detached, and is easily concealed against black backgrounds. The Piranha float is priced competitively among other top rated magnet cleaners.

There are four sizes available on
  • Piranha: 30-120 gallons (AF1111)
  • Hammerhead: 75-250 gallons (AF1113)
  • Tiger Shark: 200-350 gallons (AF1115)
  • Great White: 300-600 gallons (AF1117)
You may visit our Algae Free magnet cleaners here: Marine Depot Product Link

Monday, March 21, 2011

Marine Depot Coupon Codes: March 2011

$25 off Sea Swirl Wave Makers
Enter Coupon Code SWIRL25 during checkout to redeem
Expires 3/31/11

20% off Maxi-Jet 900/1200 + Algae Free Sure Flow Upgrade Kits.
Enter Coupon Code SUREFLOW20 during checkout to redeem
Expires 3/31/11

50% off select Union and Ball Valve Plumbing Parts
Enter Coupon Code PLUMBING50 during checkout to redeem
Expires 3/31/11

25% off D-D EzeClean Equipment Cleaner
Enter Coupon Code EZSAVINGS during checkout to redeem
Expires 3/31/11

Friday, November 13, 2009

Q&A with Keith, 11/13/09


What is the best way to get rid o
f hair algae in a reef tank?

There are many ways to battle hair algae. But it really boils down to a couple of factors:

  1. Controlling the "fuel" that is feeding the algae (i.e. dissolved organics, like nitrates and phosphates)
  2. Having a great clean-up crew that grazes upon the algae.
For brevity's sake I won't paste the article here but I highly recommend reading Nuisance Algae by aquarium expert Steven Pro. He details how to win the battle against hair algae in a very matter-of-fact way and there are a few pictures to help guide you. There are many other useful articles you can access for free in our Knowledgebase.

Even subtle changes to your aquarium maintenance routine can make a big difference so hopefully these articles are a springboard to getting this problem in your tank resolved. Remember, the algae will not go away overnight. Be patient, don't overfeed, beef up your clean-up crew and follow the best practices described in the aforementioned articles.

For one-on-one support you're welcome to call us toll-free at 1-800-566-FISH or drop us a line any time. We love to talk shop!

Till next time.

If you would like to ask Keith a question,
click here.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

New this Week, 7/1/09

ESV B-Ionic Supplement Doser
This device is actually 2 dosers in one unit. It will enable you to automate the daily additions of both components of B-Ionic Calcium Buffer (BICB), utilizing the simple principle of air pressu
re displacing the liquid additives into your system. To power the doser, the purchaser will need to supply 1-2 digital lamp timers, 2 air pumps (or 1 dual output pump). The air pump must have a minimum pressure output of 4 P.S.I. Choose from 1/2 gallon and gallon models.

JBJ Nano-Glo 4-LED Magnetic Refugium Light
JBJ introduces the NANO-GLO LED to upgrade your existing Nano Cube into an “In-Tank” Refugium. The NANO-GLO LED refugium light boasts 4 powerful high intensity LED’s that evenly distribute light for macro algae, and aid in the removal of unwanted phosphates and nitrates. Its innovative design utilizes a
powerful magnet to attach to the rear wall of the aquarium for mobility and secure placement. The NANO-GLO was specifically designed for the 28g Nano Cube CF QUAD aquarium, which is sold with a transparent filter basket. But the design is so versatile that it can be used to light any small nano aquarium that usually cannot accommodate top lighting due to space constraints and fully enclosed canopies.

Brillianize Glass and Acrylic Aquarium Cleaner/Polish - 8oz
America's #1 rated cleaner & polish. 100% non-toxic, safe to use around people and pets. Use on acrylic, glass, Formica®, Lexan®, Lucite®, Plexiglas®, stainless steel, chrome, bright metal and all hard shiny surfaces. Brillianize is made in the USA.

JBJ 28 Gallon Nano Cube - Replacement 105 Watt Quad Lamp
This 150-Watt CF JBJ Quad Bulb is a replacement for the one found
in the JBJ 28-Gallon Nano Cube Quad Aquarium System.