The main goal of every aquarist is to keep their aquarium safe and beautiful. A beautiful aquarium is full of plants and animals and these living things need proper care in order to live and thrive. Luckily, modern technology has helped manufacturers create a high number of devices and accessories that can help aquarists achieve this goal. One of these devices is the aquarium UV sterilizer.
Pros and Cons of UV Sterilizers in Fish Tanks
UV sterilizers are one of the most useful aquarium units found in the market today. Their popularity is constantly growing because they have proven to be very effective. However, similar to other aquarium units, UV sterilizers have some pros and some cons too. We will start by highlighting the advantages.
First and foremost, thanks to a good UV sterilizer, you will be able to manage and reduce free floating and roaming algae spores and algae in general. In addition, you will also manage and reduce free-floating parasites. Needless to say, all these organisms can lead to the formation of diseases and other problems in your aquarium, be it a saltwater or a freshwater aquarium.
Next, with a reliable UV sterilizer in your aquarium, you can reduce the negative effects of parasitic outbreaks which mean that you will be able to treat these outbreaks easily and in a shorter period of time. Finally, UV sterilizers are useful because they can help aquarium owners keep the aquarium water clear and get rid of bacteria blooms.
The cons that we have mentioned before are actually misconceptions that many people have about this device. Namely, you should know that UV sterilizers are not able to eliminate all the parasites from the aquarium water. They also cannot ease your regular cleaning and maintenance activities.
While it is true that it is possible to have a great aquarium without using a UV sterilizer, it is also true that using one will make things much easier and simpler.
Top 5 Best UV Sterilizers for Aquariums
Here are our top 5 selections of aquarium UV sterilizers. They aren’t listed in a specific order because others excel in different situations.
1. Green Killing Machine Internal 9 Watt UV Sterilizer
- Keep your aquarium crystal clear
- Controls green water, eliminates cloudiness and bacteria without any...
Unlike other models, the Green Killing Machine is actually a combination of a powerhead and a UV sterilizer which makes this device even more efficient. It was created to use the UV light to the maximum. It sterilizes green algae and brings it back to the water where these algae cannot cause any harm to the plants and fish. The Green Killing Machine does this job without making much noise which is definitely a good thing. With its help, you make the aquarium way cleaner and clearer too. On top of that, it is very easy to install this UV sterilizer in your aquarium. This is a 9-watt UV sterilizer that is suitable for aquariums with a capacity of up to 50 gallons.
- Makes the water clearer in a few days
- Easy to install
- A combination of powerhead and UV sterilizer
- Size is a bit bulky
2. Jebao 36W Aquarium Koi Fish Pond UV Light Sterilizer
- Length: 19.50
- Inlet size: 3/4", 1", 1-1/4", 1-1/2"
This is another example of a very efficient UV sterilizer made by a reputable company. From the moment you look at this product, you will notice that the designers had simplicity in mind. So, this is an easy to use and easy to install UV sterilizer that provides solid results. It is also smaller than most UV sterilizers, yet it’s almost equally efficient as big models. It has a maximum flow rate of 4400 gph which is more than solid. The Jebao 36W aquarium sterilizer is best for the elimination of single-celled microorganisms like viruses and waterborne bacteria.
- Relatively small
- Easy to use and install
- Simple design
- Good water flow
- Manual isn’t very detailed
3. Coralife Turbo-Twist Ultraviolet Sterilizer
- Easy set up and installation
- Mounting brackets included for hang on or in-line applications
Now here’s another UV sterilizer that aquarists should take into account. There are many things that make Coralife’s Turbo Twist UV sterilizer unique, but one of the most important ones is that it can help aquarists that own aquariums of up to 500 gallons. In addition, it is working perfectly in both saltwater and freshwater aquariums. This UV sterilizer can be mounted easily on the side of the tank and there is an option for in-line use too. According to many tests, it can eliminate algae efficiently and the main reason for that is the great 36-watt UV lamp that is durable and efficient.
- Perfect for very large aquariums
- Options for in-line and hang-on use
- Very durable
- Powerful and efficient UV lamp
- Requires a submersible pump
4. Sun Microsystems In-Tank Submersible UV Sterilizer/Clarifier
- Higher wattage 9 watt version
- Integrated UV lamp ballast
The In-Tank Submersible UV sterilizer which also acts as a clarifier is a useful product that can be used in relatively small aquariums. It is highly recommended to use it in aquariums that have a capacity of no more than 50 gallons. Besides saltwater and freshwater aquariums, you can use it in outdoor ponds too. What makes this model attractive is that it can be used even without buying an additional water pump or any other equipment. It has incorporated an efficient pump in it. Installation is easy and so is the maintenance process.
- Easy mounting (both horizontally and vertically)
- Built-in water pump
- No additional equipment required
- Not practical for large aquariums
5. Aquatop PF15-UV Hang-On Filter with UV Sterilization
- 64 gallons per hour flow rate
- Suitable for aquariums up to 15 gallons
This is a HOB filter that has proven to be effective. It is made from durable, transparent plastic which cannot hurt the environment in your aquarium. So, just to be clear we are talking about a filter that has UV sterilization feature, so more like a 2-in-1 product. This particular model is designed for small aquariums, so if you place it in an aquarium bigger than 40 gallons you cannot expect great resilts.
- Easy to use
- Compact design
- Great for nano tanks
- Less efficient compared to the rest of the UV sterilizers on this list
What are UV Sterilizers? (More In-Depth Explanation)
UV sterilizers represent containers, typically in a tubular shape, in which an UV (ultraviolet) fluorescent lamp is found. This lamp usually creates light that has a value of 254 nm. The UV sterilizer lamp is designed of quartz glass and it is here to keep the UV light from being absorbed something that will happen if a standard glass is used. So, the lamp is situated in a separate container to protect it from water and on top of that there another external container. What is interesting is that the space between these two containers is narrow and small and provides complete penetration of UV light. A powerhead or pump is circulating the water between the inner and outer container.
These UV sterilizers are used in both saltwater and freshwater aquariums. Those planning on using a sterilizer like this must follow the recommendations provided by the manufacturer in terms of the size of the aquarium where it will be used. It’s also vital to use a pump that circulates and moves the water with the right size. As we already said, the manufacturer should have a recommendation placed on the package.
So, what exactly can you expect from an aquarium UV sterilizer. The main goal of this special unit is to eliminate swimming parasites, harmful microorganisms and algae particles found in aquariums. It turns out that making these living organisms pass through the UV light in water can prevent occurrences like this. Namely, these harmful organisms are either destroyed right away or they are damaged to the point where they no longer present a serious threat.
In fact, finding a UV sterilizer with the right size and capacity will determine what will happen to the organisms. If you want the best results, the organisms must be kept in the specially designed UV area for a while. Although UV sterilizers can significantly reduce the risk of disease, it is good to know that the threat will still remain. This means that aquarium owners must be careful and respect the general maintenance and cleaning rules. If you notice any symptoms and signs of diseases, act fast.
Another thing that is worth mentioning is that the UV lamp which is part of the sterilizer has a certain life span. Once again, it’s the best idea to read the manufacturer’s guide and renew the lamp whenever it is necessary. In this way, you can rest assured that the UV unit works to the maximum every time you use it. The more you are using this UV unit, the sooner you’ll have to change the UV lamp.
There are only rare situations in which the UV lamp must be kept on continuously. For instance, this can happen when people have noticed signs of disease in the aquarium and they want to do their best to prevent its growth. According to many experts, a UV sterilizer is most beneficial for reef aquariums because it is recommended to avoid copper medications in aquariums like this. Of course, fish only tanks can benefit too, but it is sometimes easier to use medications in these aquariums.
Conclusion and Final Thoughts
If you’re a bit indecisive of which UV Sterilizer is the best, I recommend going with #1 – Green Killing machine. It’s effective and gets the job done! Your water will be clear in no time with this selection. However, if you have a larger aquarium you should into our #3 product on this list – Coralife Turbo-Twist UV Sterilizer, although it needs an additional piece of hardware there’s no other sterilizer that will be able to get the job done when you need to clear large tank of algae.
Last update on 2017-11-19 at 05:51 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API