Algae and diatoms (brown algae) can be one of the most annoying aspects of fishkeeping – they just seem to keep coming back no matter how many times you remove them. Most algae problems are caused by fixable nutrient imbalances in your tank, but it can be very difficult to get rid of them. If an algae eating species doesn’t fit into your stock and you don’t want to be stuck with a dirty tank, you’ll unfortunately have to clean the tank yourself.
As I found out, a Mag Float is one of the easiest ways to do so! I score it an 8.5/10.
I have a huge algae problem in my goldfish tank due to how messy these fish are and previously used a sponge tied to a plastic stick to try and remove the green mess from the front and sides of the tank. This kind of worked, but wasn’t very effective and took a lot of time and wet arms. I knew the Mag Float existed but never really paid attention to it for some reason, which I kind of regret now. It’s so much easier than the sponge and stick!
What is a Mag Float?
Mag Float is the brand name for a type of aquarium cleaning device that consists of two magnetic sides. One side is coarse and goes on the inside of the tank, the other side is soft and goes on the outside. Once the magnets have attached, you can move the aquarium cleaner around the glass to scrub off algae.
Advantages of a Mag Float
I was quite surprised at how much more effective this aquarium glass cleaner was compared to scrubbing the tank by hand. These are some of the advantages I found:
- The algae came off very easily
- Your arms stay dry! This can save your fish quite a bit of stress and is especially nice if you have a coldwater aquarium like me. No more numb fingers.
- The Mag Float is easy to clean. After you’re done, just (carefully) remove it from the tank and scrub it clean with a toothbrush or dish brush.
- It’s called a Mag Float for a reason: unlike many other magnetic algae cleaners, if one pad is accidentally disconnected (due to a fast movement, for example), it floats to the top of the tank instead of sinking.
- It’s not too expensive and lasts a long time. My parents have been using theirs for years and it still works just as well.
Disadvantages of a Mag Float
There are a few downsides to using a magnetic algae cleaner. Luckily, I think they are relatively avoidable and I haven’t had any problems.
- Mag Floats and other magnetic algae cleaners are NOT for acrylic tanks. They can cause serious scratches and permanently damage your tank.
- Mag floats contain strong magnets. Please be careful when using yours, as getting your skin stuck between the two pads can cause some nasty blisters.
- Mag floats can cause scratches on your glass if you have a sand substrate. The sand can get stuck between the pads and damage the glass, so try staying an inch or so above the bottom of the tank to prevent any problems.
All in all, if you’re considering buying a Mag Float or other floating magnetic algae cleaner but aren’t sure if they’re as effective as they claim: go for it. I was quite skeptical as well but will continue to use mine for every tank!
You can buy a Mag Float or other magnetic algae cleaner in most local pet-/aquarium stores or on Amazon!
If you have any more questions about magnetic algae cleaners or want to share your own experiences, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Happy fishkeeping!