A UV Sterilizer question - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-04-2012, 06:37 PM Thread Starter
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A UV Sterilizer question

I am considering getting a sterilizer and I am wondering if the same holds true for a sterilizer as it does for filtration, that the more the better. A 9W is rated for up to 75 gallons and a 18W is rated for up to 150 gallons so would I be better off with an 18W sterilizer for my 55 gallon?

55 gallon, 48" T5 HO, SunSun HW303A and Emperor 400 filtration
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-04-2012, 07:46 PM
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A UV sterilizer is rated based on what you want to kill. The UV needs to attack the cell walls long enough to damage the organism so it dies.
Brighter bulb kills things faster.
The pump needs to be set to keep the water in the tube, exposed to the light long enough to kill whatever you are killing. Too strong a pump will run the water through too fast, so stuff won't die.

A large tank, especially with lots of hiding places and some poor-flow areas might need a larger UV than the suggested tank size, just because the water is not moving though it efficiently. Not ALL the water in the tank is getting cycled through. Improving the water movement in such a tank will help, too.

So... yes, getting the next size up ought to be just fine.
Make sure to read the instructions for setting it up to run the water through at the right rate to kill whatever is your target organism.

I do not often need to use them, but I have 2, a large and a small.
On smallest tanks, I use the small one.
On mid-sized tanks I use the large one.
On my largest tanks I use both.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-04-2012, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I appreciate the information. I am running a canister filter so I was going to place it in-line.

55 gallon, 48" T5 HO, SunSun HW303A and Emperor 400 filtration
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-04-2012, 08:30 PM
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Diane is exactly right. I have uv sterilizers on my tanks which are inline with my canister filters. Because of the high flow from canisters, I chose the large 36w 12x turbo twist uv sterilizers. I know they are rated for much larger tanks than what I have, but that wasn't the issue for me. It was the flow.

It's hard to suggest exactly which size you should get even when you say you're putting it inline with a canister since there is such a wide variety of canisters you could use. So the flow of the canister could be drastically different. For example, the Aquatop canisters have about half the flow of a similarly sized Rena Filstar canister.

I'm running Rena XP4 canisters with a flow rate of 450gph which is pretty fast. That's why I got the largest uv sterilizers to go with them.

If you're running any decent flow canister, I suggest getting the largest uv sterilizer you can afford to increase the odds of it actually being effective. Keep in mind that over time, the bulb will weaken, and replacement bulbs are costly. So you don't want it to be so marginal that it stops working when the bulb isn't at its peak brightness. For all those reasons, I opted to get the largest one.

Plus, I figured the price difference between the middle one (6x) and the largest one (12x) wasn't that much (about $30) so it was worth getting. It was like paying just a little bit more to get double the sterilizer.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-04-2012, 08:47 PM
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What are you looking to use it for? Running it constantly thru a filter is costly and really unnecessary. I'm sure there are plenty of people of swear by their necessity, but the fact of the matter there is plenty of aquarists who only use them, if at all, when needed. As far as size goes, I once had a super bad green water problem in my 75 g tank and used that little 9w internal green killing machine and it cleared it up in about four days.


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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-04-2012, 09:50 PM
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Agreed, even the smallest uv sterilizer will clear up green water.

Having uv sterilizers, I will also echo the sentiment that it's important to question why you're getting one. I originally got mine because I thought they'd give me extra protection against sick fish, but to be honest, I think the money would be better spent on QT tanks.

Also, as HT suggested above, I'm among those who don't normally run them. Because mine are affective, they dissipate one of the ferts when I dose micros (I think it's the iron, but I can't remember now) so I used to run them on timers at night only. Over time, I stopped doing even that. Now they just stay off. I have healthy fish and healthy tanks so I don't see a need to use them.

You didn't ask whether anyone recommended getting one, but if you had, I'd say no.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-04-2012, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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That is some great info from everyone. I was looking at a way to combat any algae problems that arise. Not running full time or not running one at all would be nice. Right now my tank is really clear and doing well so I may just put that idea on the backburner for now.

55 gallon, 48" T5 HO, SunSun HW303A and Emperor 400 filtration
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-05-2012, 01:55 AM
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Your thread actually made me think twice about using my uv sterilizers so I started a thread, asking if a sterilizer could kill algae spores in the water. While I didn't get a lot of responses, the ones I did get suggested that it can indeed help. So I've decided to start using mine again.

I don't think I'd suggest buying a uv sterilizer just for that purpose, but since I already have one, I might as well use it.

Here's the thread I mentioned: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=186064

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-05-2012, 03:52 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Complexity View Post
Your thread actually made me think twice about using my uv sterilizers so I started a thread, asking if a sterilizer could kill algae spores in the water. While I didn't get a lot of responses, the ones I did get suggested that it can indeed help. So I've decided to start using mine again.

I don't think I'd suggest buying a uv sterilizer just for that purpose, but since I already have one, I might as well use it.

Here's the thread I mentioned: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=186064
Thats an interesting thread and some good info on keeping algae in the water column. It makes sense to do that as long as you have something to deal with it down the line. Thanks!

55 gallon, 48" T5 HO, SunSun HW303A and Emperor 400 filtration
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-05-2012, 03:59 AM
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You shouldn't depend on uv killing anything except green water diatoms, and free floating parasites/diseases.


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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-05-2012, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tanks4allthefish View Post
That is some great info from everyone. I was looking at a way to combat any algae problems that arise. Not running full time or not running one at all would be nice. Right now my tank is really clear and doing well so I may just put that idea on the backburner for now.
Lots and lots of healthy growing plants. That's the way.

Only once in 30 years have I needed to use a UV sterilizer.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-05-2012, 06:41 PM
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Only once in 30 years have I needed to use a UV sterilizer.
Actually, I can't ever see a time when there is a true need for a uv sterilizer. But it can be a handy tool to use for those who want to use one.

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-05-2012, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
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Lots of good points of views everyone and I appreciate all of them. I am doing some other improvements right now but I may go ahead and add a sterilizer later just in case the need arises. It seems to have some benefit and my tank is not heavily planted so I dont have the luxury of having lots of plants to help out.

55 gallon, 48" T5 HO, SunSun HW303A and Emperor 400 filtration
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 03:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tanks4allthefish View Post
I am considering getting a sterilizer and I am wondering if the same holds true for a sterilizer as it does for filtration, that the more the better. A 9W is rated for up to 75 gallons and a 18W is rated for up to 150 gallons so would I be better off with an 18W sterilizer for my 55 gallon?
Those up to X gallon numbers, by them selves, are meaningless ad nonsense. The only thing that comes into play for UV effectiveness is killing dose. The killing dose depends on the specific target, flow rate past the UV source, and the length of time the water is exposed to the UV source.
Flow rate of most canister filters is too fast to kill anything other than green water. I don't have the handbook here, but if I'm recalling the concept correctly, for a 55g tank 9 watts on a slow enough flow will kill algae while it would take 35 watts to kill bacteria, and perhaps some fungus, but no viruses and no critters such as planaria.

Complete water turn over matters too. Running a UV sterilizer for too short a period of time, won't irradiate all the water. Running it all the time is a waste of energy and the life of the UV lamp.
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