Before getting into our top 5 best aquarium clarifier review, it’s important to understand how a water clarifier works and when it should be used:
How does an aquarium water clarifier work?
An aquarium water clarifier comes in liquid form. It works by directly tackling microparticles through chemical reactions. It makes them either drop to the bottom of the aquarium or binds them together. As a result, the mechanical part of your filter (usually the sponge) can trap and eliminates these clumps. After using the clarifier, it can take a few hours to a few days for the water to clear up. As with any other chemicals, use the product solely according to the stated dosage.
When should you use a water clarifier?
Unless your water has turned cloudy or changed color due to impurities, there’s no need to use an aquarium water clarifier. Here are some specific situations where you should use one:
- Cloudy water caused by dirt and debris. For example: you were cleaning the substrate, moving it around and the tank’s water turned cloudy. Even after you finished cleaning and the cloudiness didn’t settle – an aquarium purifier is okay to use.
- If you used poor quality tap water which contained dirt and other particles.
- If you haven’t rinsed your gravel thoroughly.
When not to use it
Despite the benefits of using an aquarium water clarifier, we recommend always trying to find and eliminate the source of cloudy water first. Keep in mind that adding any form of chemicals to your aquarium can negatively affect the water’s chemistry. In turn, this could take a toll on your pets. Therefore, we recommend using an aquarium clarifier only as a last resort. After all, you can deal with most of the factors that lead to cloudiness and dirt differently. Don’t use an aquarium water clarifier as a quick fix if:
- A piece of your tank’s equipment isn’t working properly.
- You have an algae outbreak – algaecide is a better solution here.
- Your aquarium water has turned cloudy due to a bacteria outbreak.
- You think using a clarifier will substitute regular water changes or other cleaning tasks.
- You don’t want to stop overfeeding your fish but want to eliminate the quantity of their waste products.
#1 Aqueon Aquarium Water Clarifier
Aqueon is one of the leading aquarium brands on the market. High quality and solid performance are near-guaranteed with any of their products. This product didn’t disappoint.
This aquarium water clarifier is specifically designed to treat freshwater aquariums. Depending on the packaging, you might be able to find 2 ounces, 4 ounces or 8 ounces. We found that this clarifier is efficient, works fast and most importantly – is safe.
You should notice it’s effects almost immediately – effectively clinging to all the impure particles that brought about the murkiness and cloudiness of your aquarium’s water. Once the water is fully clear, be sure to remove the collected debris from your filter’s cartridge or replace your mechanical media.
#2 Tetra Aquarium Water Clarifier
Similarly to Aqueon, Tetra is also a very well-known brand when it comes to fish-keeping. We don’t usually give big brands any breaks simply because they’re well-known. When it comes to bottled products, it’s always safer to buy from a verified manufacturer that’s been in the business for decades.
The version we tried out was the 3.38 ounce, but if you search well enough, you might find the 8.45 ounce bottle as well. This product is the perfect solution for stubborn substrate dust and food particles found in any freshwater aquarium.
It enables even the tiniest food and dust particles to bond, so you can either manually remove them from your tank, or trust your filter to do it for you. Either way, after using this water clarifier, your aquarium’s water will be free of any particles that lead to its discoloration.
Finally, we found Tetra’s aquarium water clarifier to be safe for both fish and plants. Not only is it free of phosphates, but it also won’t tamper with the pH balance of your aquarium.
#3 Seachem Clarity Aquarium Water Clarifier
When we were on our trip to the Balkans, we found Seachem’s products fairly difficult to come across. Not many fish stores kept them in stock – but almost every aquarium hobbyist we came across went out of their way to order Seachem from abroad instead of using alternative products; this speaks for itself.
Seachem’s aquarium water clarifier comes in a 500 ml bottle. We found that it’s both fast and efficient – and it works for both saltwater and freshwater aquariums. Such a product is fairly hard to find, so once we got a hold of it, we just had to test it out.
We found that, with proper dosage, it’s safe for both plants and coral reefs. Just like all the other products in our review, it successfully gets rid of all types of cloudiness caused by dirt or debris.
#4 Acurel F Aquarium Water Clarifier
Created 45 years ago, Acurel F was the original water clarifier, and one of the first products of it’s kind. To top it up – we found that it’s far from outdated, and still does a great job of cleaning up dirty, cloudy, or polluted water.
This water clarifier works fast and gets an aquarium clean within about 24 hours.
When properly dosed, it’s safe for your fish and plants and on the other hand, it won’t negatively affect your water’s chemistry or pose a threat to the beneficial bacteria that every aquarium has.
We highly recommend this product if you’re searching for a more natural clarifying formula.
#5 API Accu-Clear Aquarium Water Clarifier
This aquarium water clarifier specifically works for freshwater aquariums and can come in a 1.25, 4 and 8-ounce bottle. We tested out the 8-ounce version and found it to be very powerful and quick when getting rid of cloudy water and dirt particles.
Because of its strength, you can dose it based on the severity of your aquarium’s situation. Use the bottle cap to track your dosage. If your water doesn’t clear up within a matter of hours, wait 24 hours and add another dose. Similarly to any other water clarifier, your aquarium must have a filter with a sponge or some other mechanical media to collect clumps of dirt produced by this clarifier.