Aquarium Technology: UV Sterilizers

UV sterilizer is a device that is installed in aquariums to get rid of unwanted bacteria and parasites that can cause diseases like Ich disease in aquarium inhabitants. It is a preventive measure that you should take to keep your fish healthy.  UV sterilizers also help in keeping aquarium water crystal clean. They make use of ultraviolet light to kill single cell organisms that are found in tanks. The good thing is that it does not kill the good bacteria because the good bacteria do not flow in the water; it stays on surface of rocks, gravel, plants etc.  These sterilizers are completely safe to use and do not harm your fish, vertebrates, reef or corals in any way. It may take the fish in the aquarium some time to get used to it but you can expect them to adjust to it within a week.

Anatomy of UV Sterilizers

UV sterilizer is a tube like device through which water can flow. Harmful bacteria in water are killed when it flows through the sterilizer under UV light. You should replace the UV light bulb every 12 – 14 months.  UV bulbs should be handled with care. Always wear gloves while handling a UV bulb because it can damage your skin.  It is important to set the time of water flow according to the UV light bulb exposure. Bacteria will not be destroyed if the water flows too fast. On the other hand, if it flows too slowly, the bacteria will be destroyed but it will take a lot of time.  UV sterilizers are available in a wide range of variety. Some common sterilizers are discussed below.

Submersible UV Sterilizer

Submersible UV sterilizer is an excellent choice for small tanks. As the name suggests, it gets completely submersed in water. Suction pumps are used to attach this sterilizer to a wall in the aquarium. These sterilizers are easy to install and maintain. Submersible UV sterilizers are suitable for freshwater as well as saltwater aquariums.

Average price range: $10 – $40*

In-Line UV Sterilizer

In-Line UV Sterilizers are plumped directly into the main filtration system of an aquarium. A UV light is placed after the filtration unit so that the filtered water gets purified by UV before returning in the aquarium.

Average price range: $50 – $150*

UV sterilizers can be used in combination with mechanical sterilizers. Most common mechanical filters to be used with UV sterilizers are discussed below.

Canister Filter

Hoses attached to canister filter moves water from the tank to the filter and then back to the tank. These filters are usually set under the aquarium or on a separate shelf.

Average price range: $20 – $90*

Box Filters

Box filters are the least expensive mechanical filters. They work well in small tanks but prove insufficient for larger aquariums.

Average price range: $10 – $25*

A little goes a long way with UV sterilizers. Once installed a UV sterilizer will surely improve the quality of water and keep your fish healthy. Remember to choose a sterilizer according to your tank requirements and set it after the mechanical filter.

*price is subject to change. Prices mentioned in the article are an average of the products available on eBay.

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