However, algae can become a real pest, and usually there are two culprits for it's cause: light and co2. No matter what anecdotes may be out there, most algae blooms(of any kind) are caused not by an exess of nutrients, but because of too much light and/or co2. The easiest way to control algae in a planted tank is to max out your co2(to that point just before your fish begin to suffocate) and then simply use the light like a gas pedal. If your co2 is maxed, and you have a steady supply of nutrients, all you need to do is worry about light. There's no easy answer about light. Light can be manipulated by adding/removing bulbs, raising/lowering the fixture, and increasing/decreasing the photoperiod. You'll simply have to experiment with this to find out what works best for you.
I was using T-5 lighting and Flourish root tabs in my planted aquaria for several months and had some algae growth. However, it was not completely overwhelming my aquarium. Yet, when I began using injected DIY CO2, I noticed that the algae growth had increased significantly.
Then I made the mistake of adding Flourish liquid fertilizer to one of these aquariums at the recommended dosage, and the algae spores began to produce exponentially.
Within a few days the water in this aquarium was so green that I could not see my fish or plants. At first I used a Vortex D-1 to diatom the tank, which did clear the water column. However, within a few days the water was green again.
It wasn't until I added a uv sterilizer that the water cleared up and has stayed that way ever since, even though I still use DIY CO2 injection, Flourish plant tabs, and dose with liquid fertilizer once a week.
This indicates that by adding the excess liquid fertilizer to my tank, the water column did become rich in nutrients which the bacteria and algae benefitted by, and thus propagated at much higher levels from.
I now use uv sterilizers on all of my high tech planted aquariums and the water continues to remain crystal clear. Moreover, my plants are growing faster than ever, not having to compete with massive amounts of algae spores and bacteria as they did before, and my fish are very active.
As a fishkeeper who battled algae for years, I was quite pleasantly surprised to find how effective a uv sterilizer is for keeping your aquarium's water column clean.
There are many fishkeepers who acknowledge the importance of using a uv sterilizer in the planted aquarium. However, the prevailing arguement in regard to this situation concerns how effective an inexpensive uv bulb is, relative to a better quality bulb.
There is also the arguement regarding uv clarification vs uv sterilization, and the fact that most inexpensive uv sterilizers can't possibly offer germicidal capabilities.
As for AquaTop's hob/uv sterilizer power filters, the criticism here is in regard to the short length of the uv bulb in these filters, and that as such, they can't possibly offer enough dwell time to be germicidal.
Based on this author's experience with several AquaTop hob/uv sterilizers, I am certain that these filters offer excellent uv clarification, since the green water problem in my aquaria has become a non issue after years of battling it.
As for the germicidal capabilities of the AquaTop hob/uv filters, I have also had situations where the water was very cloudy due to bacterial growth, which was also cleared with the use of these filters. If these filters had no
germicidal capabilities the water would have remained cloudy.
The greatest benefit that I have noticed in regard to uv sterilization is that my plants grow better, since they don't have to compete with algae and bacteria for the nutrients in the water columns in my aquaria, the way they did before I began using these filters.
Simply put, these filters have made growing plants a tremendous amount of fun, as opposed to the chore it was before I purchased them.
In these high tech planted aquariums I no longer have algae clouding my water or growing on my plants.
I do have a 7.5 gallon low tech cube aquarium with a small LED lighting system, and black brush algae thrives in this aquarium. However, if I decide to add a uv sterlizer to the aquarium, the black brush algae will gradually disappear as it's killed off by the uv sterilizer.
UV sterilizers really do work, and in this author's opinion are a must for high tech planted aquariums, if you want to enjoy this hobby and not be driven to distraction battling algae and the many pathogens which can invade your aquarium's water column.
Thanks for writing your article. I found it very informative.