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Does anyone have any input on the U V sterilizers should I put one on my tank our are they pointless? And what do they do exactly
 

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UV sterilizers are basically a specialty light bulb that is enclosed in a casing which the water in your aquarium gets pumped across. The light from the UV destroys free floating algae as well as small plankton such as fish parasites as they move past the light bulb in the water. Sometimes the unit might be outside the tank with the water pumped to it and then back into the tank. Some units are actually submersible and the whole thing goes in the tank. Either way, the casing is generally opaque so the light bulb can't been seen while it operates.

The most common purpose for a UV unit in a saltwater aquarium would be for parasite control for fish. Used properly, it can not only be a preventative measure, but also a treatment option. We frequently resolve ich problems specifically through the use of UV, good water chemistry in the tank, and quality food. We generally soak this food in garlic guard by Seachem which not only acts as an immune system booster, but also an appetite stimulant. We find that almost all the time, if the fish are still eating, this method controls ich problems quite effectively. In our opinion, they are one of the best protections and treatments for fish health available to be used in a reef aquarium. Almost every tank in our store has a UV unit running on it.

Concerns with UV would be:

1) Cost to purchase and operate the unit - bulb changes every 6 months on a cheaper unit, as long as 14 months on a higher end unit.
2) Heat produced - not massive, but if you're having temp issues already, sometimes this is part of the issue (The same gets said for pretty much anything that's plugged in under the water as well as many lighting systems as they all produce some heat)
3) Reduction of plankton - Some concerns are raised from time to time about a UV unit reducing the populations of little critters in our reefs that are the basis of a healthy ecosystem. Some choose to run UV not at all, or only intermittently as a result of this concern. We run ours 24/7/365, and see minimal if any impact to our pod populations and coral growth. We do however feed very heavily with a great variety of phytoplankton and zooplankton, so perhaps we overcome the reduction in fauna simply by provided a steady supply of quality reef nutrition.

Finally, UV's are used in many other applications as well from swimming pools as well as on outdoor ponds to control green water algae. The units used for ponds will be substantially smaller per gallon than those for saltwater aquaria. For example, a 18w unit might be used for a 75g saltwater tank, or a 600g pond. Best bet here though is to follow the manufacturers directions for your particular application.

Hope this helps!

Steve
 

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Steve- what brand (s) do you recommend?
Hi Katy,

I'm not steve, but I have $.02 I can give you. :)

You may want to avoid a UV Sterilizer if you decide to go the bacteria driven route. Counter productive. If you would like a good brand name, go AQUA. I used two brands of UV in my reefing experience. Aquamedic and AQUA. I regret my purchase of the aquamedic sterilizer. You will need to replace the quartze sleeve occasionally as well as the UV bulb. IME, they do serve a purpose in fish only tanks, but do have some drawbacks in reef tanks.

James
 
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