The Advantage of Using UV Sterilizers in Aquariums.
UV (ultraviolet) Sterilizers are great supplementary devices for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums. Used in conjunction with your primary filtration system, UV sterilizers offer unique benefits from water clarification to effective management of various waterborne microorganisms including free-floating algae. Algae, parasites, and bacterial diseases are a nuisance in any aquarium. There is nothing more disheartening than watching hours of constant aquarium maintenance come undone. If green water, algae blooms or persistent diseases plague your aquarium, consider combating the problem with a UV sterilizer.
Even the best cleaned aquariums can be a haven to aggressive algae. Normal feeding, biological filtration, and inhabitant activity can easily contribute to excessive algal nutrient levels. Also, our aquariums are exposed to light on a daily basis. Both nutrients and light encourage algae growth. Any aquarium – new or established – is susceptible to parasitic and bacterial infections. The main issue with algae, parasites, and bacteria is that each develop unseen. Excellent cleaning, filter maintenance, and the quick quarantine of any infected aquatic species are still the best ways to prevent problems. Medications are also effective; however, they must be administered carefully or else other aspects of your aquarium’s health are put to risk.
This is where UV light can be an effective addition to almost any aquarium. UV light targets the smallest of microorganisms, without harm to your other aquarium inhabitants. It works by altering the invader’s genetic material. This ultimately shortens the organism’s life cycle, thereby limiting its reproduction. Thus, that one single, tiny cell has less chance to blossom into an algae bloom or rapid-spreading disease.
Adding an aquarium UV sterilizer to your tank is like insurance for your home or apartment. Proper use is reliant upon proper aquarium care, such as regular water changes and filter maintenance. UV only targets free-floating microorganisms, not nuisances attached to your fish, substrate, plants, decorations, or corals. For optimum performance, UV sterilizers should be placed after your biological or mechanical filtration. Also, the flow rate through the sterilizer should be controlled, based on the manufacturer’s recommendations. This ensures the UV sterilizer is targeting microorganisms – not debris – and has the correct amount of exposure time to eradicate (kill) the nuisance. Your chosen UV sterilizer will have easy-to-follow guidelines for both setup and use. UV sterilizers can be set up in a variety of configurations, be it stand-alone or housed inside a canister filter, hung on your aquarium walls or tucked inside your aquarium stand. They are available in a variety of models, each designed to target aquatic nuisances, not your budget.
By incorporating an UV sterilizer to your impressive aquarium husbandry skills and effective filtration components, you can easily boost the cleanliness, clarity, and health of your prized aquarium. If you decide to use a UV sterilizer, ask yourself the following questions: What kind of organisms do I want to control? Bacteria, algae, or parasites? Which style of UV sterilizer will best suit my existing aquarium system?
Choosing the right size unit
Proper flow rate through the UV chamber determines the effectiveness and use of a UV unit. Set at different flow rates, a UV sterilizer can be used effectively against bacteria, algae, or parasites. Different flow rates control different organisms. Therefore, a flow rate suitable for controlling bacteria or free-floating algae may not be effective against parasites. Larger organisms like parasites are more resistant to irradiation and require a slower flow rate to extend UV exposure time. To adjust UV exposure time, simply increase or reduce the rate water is flowing through the UV sterilizer.
Different UV Sterilizer Styles
The specifics of UV sterilizers differ in a number of ways. But the most basic difference is their mounting style (either in-line or hang-on) and the manner in which water flows through them. Depending on the size and the particular aquarium setup, one mounting style may be more convenient to install than the other.
In-line models are plumbed directly into the main aquarium filtration system. The UV is placed after the mechanical filtration unit and should be the last in-line device before water returns to the aquarium. Generally a ball valve and bypass are used to adjust the flow rate through the UV sterilizer. Most in-line UV sterilizers are designed for larger aquariums and incorporate higher wattage bulbs encased in a long, cylindrical housing.
These compact sterilizers are mounted directly to the back of the aquarium. They are generally used as an independent device fed by a submerged powerhead. However, some hang-on sterilizers may also be connected to the return line from a canister filter or in-line filtration systems. Hang-on models tend to be easier to install and maintain, making them ideal for smaller aquarium setups.
Regardless of the difference, UV sterilizers require a water pump or circulation pump and plumbing to transport water from the aquarium, through the UV chamber, and back into the aquarium.
UV sterilizers have many advantages and very few drawbacks. In addition to being easy to install, requiring low maintenance, and being affordable, they can provide huge health benefits for your fish. Make sure you get one that is the correct size, operate it under the appropriate conditions, and follow the manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines to ensure optimal performance.
Do UV Sterilizers Really Work?
It’s safe to say that UV sterilizers are effective, but you have to make sure they’re used properly in order to get the most of out them. You have to ensure that the aquarium water in the fish tank matches with the time of exposure on the UV light bulb. Unfortunately, if the water flow is too aggressive, the ultraviolet light won’t be as strong, and might not kill the harmful microorganisms in the fish tank. Plus, if the flow of the aquarium water is too low, the algae, bacteria, and parasites will die, but it’ll be a slow process. Therefore, it’s essential to match the water flow with the UV sterilizer light bulb.
Important Factors To Note About The UV Sterilizer
If you’ve never used a UV sterilizer, then you might not know exactly how it works and you might have some concerns. The first thing you should know is that the good bacteria won’t get killed until it comes in contact with the UV sterilizer. The bacteria live on rocks, wood, and gravel, so it’s best to install the sterilizer when the fish tank is cycled.
Also, the ultraviolet lights won’t harm the fish or corals. When it’s first installed, it may bother the fish a little, but that’s common. Just make sure you follow the instructions in the manual to make sure it’s set up correctly, or contact the company if you have questions. Furthermore, you should be careful not to look at the light when you’re installing it, and make sure you unplug the devices from the reef tank or fish tank. Once you’re done setting everything up, make sure all parts are firmly connected to prevent leaks from occurring.
The UV Sterilizer Can’t Reverse Symptoms
If you have fish that are sick due to bacteria or parasites, they must use medicine to get better. The microorganisms are inside of the fish, therefore they can’t be touch by the light. On the other hand, the UV sterilizer can prevent diseases from spreading and harming your fish.
Are There Potential Side Effects To Using A UV Sterilizer
Just to be clear, UV lights can’t replace a good mechanical filtration, water changes, and accurate control of the nitrogen cycle. The sterilizer is more like an insurance policy because they’re not effective against algae and other organisms that float in the water—it just helps with prevention. But as a rule of thumb, make sure you don’t install the sterilizer during the first cycle of the aquarium, otherwise, it could kill the good bacteria in the fish tank.
Other Possible Side Effects
Many meds are altered by the UV light, therefore the sterilizer it should be turned off when you’re giving your fish meds, especially chelated copper supplements. The light damages the bond within the chelating agent, which causes a lethal amount of ionic copper within the tank.
Final Thoughts On The UV Sterilizer
It’s safe to say a UV sterilizer is a good investment, especially if you want to make sure your fish are well taken care of. When you think of having fish as a pet, you might think it’s a breeze because it’s not a dog or a cat. However, maintaining a freshwater aquarium or fish tank isn’t as easy as some may believe. That’s why it’s important to take preventative measures to keep it clean and make sure your fish are safe.
After reading this review, do you think a UV sterilizer is right for you?