I have been the aquarium hobby for nearly 40 years. In that time, I have seen all sorts of aquarium gadgets come and go. Anyone remember The Oxygenator? This simple devise consisted of a plastic container that was filled with hydrogen peroxide and then screwed into a base with a small metal “reactor” pellet. You would place this in your aquarium and it would slowly release the hydrogen peroxide into the tank, where it broke down into H2O2→H2O + O, and the charged oxygen would oxidize wastes and help control algae. This system actually did help, but you had a big, ugly reactor in your tank. Later designs tried to hide this with fake rock exteriors, but it just never caught on.
Last week, the PetSolutions Catalog division was taking pictures and demonstrating the new Eheim Power Algae Scraper. Once they were done, they gave it to me to take home and give it a “real world” tryout. I have to admit, I was very dubious! Who needs a battery operated algae scraper? Eheim has a reputation for well thought out products that last forever, and the company works with a basic philosophy on eliminating as much work for the hobbyist as possible. I kept this in mind as I headed home.
The Eheim Power Algae Scraper unit uses two AA batteries (included) to operate a submersible motor that causes the algae blade to vibrate back and forth. It also has a LED light to shine where you are cleaning. The metal blade is 8 cm wide (approx 3 1/8”) and is replaceable. The basic unit can be held in your hand and has a very comfortable grip. For deeper tanks, you can attach the optional handle, giving the Eheim Power Algae Scraper a total length of 50 cm (19+”).
I gave this battery-powered scraper a good tryout on my 150 gallon cichlid tank. The fish in this tank, despite being in it for over 5 years, still are incredibly skittish when anyone comes near the aquarium. They immediately dart back among the 250+ pounds of “holey rock” to hide. This gave me the excuse to just let the algae grow until I could barely make out the fish. (Well, that is what I told myself when I did not clean it!!) I placed the Eheim Power Algae Scraper base unit in the handle, turned it on, and started to push it straight down the glass, from the top to bottom. It powered its way through the algae in a single pass. I had to keep it at about a 30 degree angle, and it only seemed to work on a downward stroke, not when dragged “backward”. The blade pivots so you have a little margin of error as you press the blade against the glass. As I scraped away several week’s worth of algae, I could not help but be impressed with how well the Eheim Power Scraper was working. Another advantage, I realized, was that you could push the blade into the gravel to eliminate that band of algae that always grows just below the gravel level and not have to worry about accidentally trapping a small piece of gravel in the scrubber (magnet cleaners) and scraping the glass.
Are there other options for cleaning the algae? Of course there are, a single edge razor could do almost as well. Are there other options that require less effort? Probably not.
Who needs the Eheim Power Algae Scraper? Me!!