Aquarium clarifiers are products that “clarify” the water by removing or sedimenting small organic particles and dissolved chemicals. While it’s natural to have a bit of cloudy water in your aquarium, most aquarists prefer an ultra-pure tank.
Bio-mechanical filtration media are capable of reducing water murkiness to an extent, but they aren’t expected to make your tank crystal clear. Therefore, in this article, we’ll only discuss the products that filter and clean the water chemically.
We’ve reviewed a few categories of products that are considered clarifiers. Choose according to your preferences and requirements.
Table of Contents
15 Best Aquarium Water Clarifiers
1. Fluval ClearMax Aquarium Water Clarifier
After suspended particles, phosphate is the next most likely reason for the cloudiness of aquarium water. While your bio-mechanical filter media handles suspended particles, the Fluval ClearMax Water Clarifier absorbs phosphates and other harmful substances from the water for reduced maintenance and better conditions.
- Suitable for tanks up to 30 gallons
The filter media packaging is sufficient to clean tanks up to 30 gallons. Anything over the volume needs additional media bags.
- 3×100-gram Nylon Bags
Three 100-gram nylon bags of Fluval ClearMax Phosphate Remover are included in the package. Use them directly into the filter.
- Removes Nitrite and Nitrate
In addition to absorbing phosphate, this product also removes nitrite and nitrate from the aquarium.
- Compatible With Almost Every Filter
The nylon bags are designed to fit almost all sizes, shapes, and categories of filters. Even if you need it to fit a different setup, don’t use it without the nylon bags.
- Works for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums
- Eliminates odors and organic particles
- Reasonable pricing
- Very large bags. Needs modification to fit smaller filter baskets.
Suitable for smaller aquariums with chemical imbalance and cloudiness issues.
2. Kolar Labs Crystal Cal Activated Carbon
Activated carbon has a high adsorption capacity. It can adsorb organic compounds, chlorine, odors, and pigments from water. The Kolar Labs Crystal Cal Activated Carbon eliminates particles, especially heavy metals, that cloud the aquarium water.
- FCC Standards Maintained
Food Chemicals Codex (FCC) standards have been maintained to manufacture the product to make it safe for aquarium usage.
- Optimum Pore Structure
The activated carbon granules are produced in optimal size for aquariums. They’re as fine as they need to cover the maximum surface area but are large enough to not slip through sponges.
- Compatible with Every Filter
The Kolar Lab Crystal Cal can be nabbed in almost any kind of porous fabric that traps the media inside. Its high customizability allows it to be used with any filter.
- Eliminates cloudy water within a day or two
- Prevents organic contamination
- Excellent value for money
- A pre-usage rinse may be required to remove loose particles
Well-suited for larger aquariums with precipitation and cloudiness issues. It can be used with multiple filters.
3. EA Premium Carbon Infused Filter Pad
Simple in design and mechanism, the EA Carbon Infused Filter Pad filters both larger and smaller particles in the aquarium. The 18×10” sized pad can be clipped to fit any type of filter. Moreover, its non-invasive approach allows you to pair it with any other filter media suitable for your aquarium.
- Multi-Stage Filtration
This product offers both mechanical and chemical filtration. The sponge itself traps larger debris and lets the infused carbon particles handle the smaller ones.
- Traps Organic and Inorganic Particles
It traps both organic and inorganic particles. It also saves money that you would’ve spent on traditional filter pads.
- Promotes beneficial Bacterial Growth
Owing to its larger surface area and texture, beneficial bacteria colonies can grow in the EA Premium Filter Pad.
- Safe for both saltwater and freshwater operations
- Cut to fit all filters
- Adsorbs odor and toxins
- Cost-effective pricing
- Charcoal falls out while cutting the sheet
Best for aquarists with space and budget constraints on the number and size of the filters.
4. Aquatic Experts Premium Activated Carbon Water Clarifier
Ready to use and thermally activated, the Aquatic Experts Premium Activated Carbon granules are highly effective against heavy metal, phosphate, and smaller organic particles. The 3 lbs package is sufficient to filter a 150-gallon tank twice.
- Small, Fine Activated Carbon
The carbon granules are heat-activated and grinned to a smaller size to increase the surface area for more effective filtration.
The carbon granules are pre-cleaned thrice to remove most of the ash dush trapped inside the pores.
- Removes Foul Odor and Discoloration
The finer activated carbon particle does a better job at adsorbing foul odor and removing discoloration from the water.
- The reusable media bag comes with the package
- Doesn’t require thorough rinsing before usage
- Adsorbs phosphate efficiently
- Pricing is on the higher side.
Suitable for larger aquariums with phosphate and heavy metal contamination issues.
5. Fluval Zeo-Carb Filter Media Water Clarifier
Packed in three 150-gram nylon bags, the Fluval Zero-Carb Filter efficiently removes organic and inorganic impurities from your aquarium. In addition to adsorbing phosphate and other heavy metals, it improves water clarity, odor, and color.
- Blend of Fluval Carbon and Ammonia Remover
The two most premium chemical filter media from Fluval are blended in perfect ratio to prepare the Zeo-Carb Filter Media. It also removes ammonia from water, adding to its capability of adsorbing liquified organic debris.
- Fits Almost All Types of Filters
The Zeo-Carb fits almost all Fluval filters, including the canister, SUMP, and HOB filters. It also fits other third-party larger filters pretty well.
- Reduces Fish Stress
With reduced impurities, odor, and improved quality, the stress level of your fish is reduced to a healthy level.
- Reasonably priced
- Nylon bags are included
- Removes ammonia and other toxins
- Not recommended for saltwater aquariums
Zeo-Carb is suitable for aquarists with larger filtration systems and significant ammonia exposure.
6. Marineland Black Diamond Premium Activated Carbon
It comes in a 0.63 lbs package. The Marineland Black Diamond Premium Activated Carbon is one of the most optimum-sized and premium-quality chemical filters in this segment. The porous carbon granules ensure sparkling water and adsorption of organic debris.
- Heat-Activated Bituminous Coal
The premium bituminous charcoal used to manufacture the product is heat-activated to ensure the safety of aquatic creatures. Most cheaper activated carbon products are acid-activated.
- Compatible With All Filters
Thanks to its free-flowing nature, it can be bagged and fitted into any type of filtration system.
- Eliminates Odor, Discoloration, and Organic Particles
High-quality activated carbon removes foul odor, invisible organic particles, and discoloration of water.
- Works pretty fast and requires a small amount
- Not acid activated. A gentle rinse is enough
- Pricing is on point
- Media bag isn’t included in the package
Suitable for experienced aquarists with different types of filters.
7. AQUAPAPA Carbon Charcoal Filter Media
Long-lasting and fast-working Aquapapa Carbon Charcoal Filter Media is one of the most cost-effective solutions in the activated carbon aquarium clarifier category. It comes in a pellet shape and adsorps organic material quite efficiently. The item’s weight is around 7 pounds.
- 4mm Diameter Pellets
Optimum 4mm diameter carbon pellets ensure proper filtration and adsorption. It creates less dirt and doesn’t create fine granules that slip through the bag.
- Separate Zipper Mesh Bags
Six separate zipper mesh bags incorporate 6 lbs of activated charcoal. The bags are reusable, and the media can be removed as per requirement.
- Compatible With All Filters
The mesh bags are small enough to fit most larger filters. If they seem a bit larger, you can remove the media to a smaller nylon bag.
- Removes odor, discoloration, and organic particles
- Phosphate-free and eliminates dissolved toxins
- The cylindrical shape has a reduced surface area than smaller granules.
The Aquapapa Activated Charcoal is suitable for aquarists with multiple cloudy aquariums.
8. Aquatic Experts Aquarium Carbon Pad
The Aquatic Experts 10.5” x 36” Aquarium Carbon Pad utilizes the power of both mechanical and chemical filtration to keep your aquarium clean and healthy. This mechanical and checmical part traps larger and smaller debris, respectively. It works for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums.
- Infused With Polyester Filter Floss
The activated carbon is infused with 100% polyester floss to reduce mess when cutting the pad. The process produces a ½” infused filter media pad.
- Mess-Free Operation. No Carbon Dust.
Thanks to the infusion, you don’t have to clean your floors after. Your aquariums will also be free from carbon dust and ash.
- Fits Virtually Any Filter
You can cut the pad to fit any filter. You also can overlay or string multiple of them together to achieve desired results.
- Eliminates odor and discoloration
- Tough fibers. The pad doesn’t disintegrate after a few days of usage
- Clogs up pretty fast and allows water to move past the pad after a week.
It is suitable for aquarists who prefer a mess-free operation and enjoy the liberty of using a single product for multiple filters.
9. Seachem Clarity Water Clarifier
Our first choice of liquid water clarifiers, the Seachem Clarity, is one of the most effective and safest products in this category. It accumulates smaller particles into a larger one for the mechanical filtration system to remove them.
- Contains Both Precipitating and Flocculating Agents
Once applied, the product starts clumping the invisible particles together and makes them suitable for flocculation and precipitation.
- Compatible With Freshwater and Saltwater Aquariums
The solution works for both marine and freshwater aquariums. However, the dosage may vary.
- Removes Algae and Bacterial Blooms
All types of cloudings are eliminated by using Sealchem Clarity.
- Doesn’t require any technical knowledge
- Safe for coral reefs and plants
- Typically doesn’t affect the pH of water
- Needs to be applied frequently
- A mechanical filtration system is necessary
Suitable for aquariums that don’t have a powerful chemical filtration system.
10. API Simply Clear Water Clarifier
Produced by one of the most prominent names in the fish industry, the API Simply Clear Water Clarifier is most suitable for small and medium ponds. With frequent usage, the organic debris is eliminated and the water stays cleaner.
- Dual-Action Chemical Solution
The proprietary formulation of API Simply Clear ensures sludge and algae breakdown. It helps the filtration system to remove the debris from murky water.
- Reduces Fish Waste
The solution also breaks down fish waste and other organic debris to help maintain a cleaner pond.
- Clumps Floating Particles Together
API Simply Clear ensures that the invisible particles are flocculated efficiently to be removed by a powerful filtration system.
- Safe for both saltwater and freshwater operations
- Very cost-effective and efficient
- Requires the support of a mechanical filtration system
Suitable for garden ponds and larger aquariums.
Water clarifiers are products, including filter media and solutions, that help keep aquarium water healthier and cleaner.
Yes, most aquarium water clarifiers are safe to use. However, there are different types of water clarifiers for different application requirements. While most of them are virtually harmless, a few of them may cause a reaction in the presence of certain elements.
You can use chemical and mechanical filter media, water clarifier liquids, or perform water changes to clarify your aquarium water. Moreover, it’s recommended to employ all of these solutions concurrently.
Phosphates and organic debris are responsible for the majority of water cloudiness issues. A powerful bio-chemical filtration system, complemented by regular water changes, should be sufficient to clear cloudy water in your aquarium.
Chemical filtration media and liquid water clarifiers often change pH to a small extent. However, they’re easily recoverable and shouldn’t cause any harm to your fish. However, do monitor your water on a regular basis after application.
The Bottom Line
Aquarium water clarifiers are essential for both aesthetic and biological reasons. In addition to clarifying your aquarium water, clarifiers remove harmful toxins and organic debris from the water to reduce stress and bacterial blooms.