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FAQs about Ultraviolet Sterilizer Installation Issues

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Gravity feed a uv sterilizer ?     1/15/15
Good morning. I have a quick question regarding supplying a UV sterilizer.
I currently have an open 2 inch bulkhead on the back of my tank that I can easily tap into and gate valve in order to supply a UV sterilizer. Will this work if I can control the flow?
<Mmm; can; yes. Better to use purposely pumped water... as it won't have air bubbles, can be more easily measured in flow... DO NOT rely on this overflow as your only way to deliver water to the/a recirculating sump.
That is DO HAVE at least one other full capacity overflow in addition>
My thinking is that I can have it supply the UV and then have a drain directly into my dump. <sump> either in front of my protein skimmer or in front of my return pump. Will this work?
<"A" drain; yes; just not the only one>
I have a 36 W sterilizer and figured 8 to 10 gallons per minute in order to maximize parasite control.
<See WWM re UV set up, plumbing. Bob Fenner>
Re: Gravity feed a uv sterilizer ?       1/15/15

I currently have three bulkheads drilled into the back of my overflow. I am using two of those right now to drain into my sump I thought I would take the third on you bulkhead and have that feed my UV. That was my thinking.
Hopefully that will work.
<As stated>
Then I would have the UV outlet drain directly in front of the sump return pump to the main display. Will that work? Thank you .
<?... Keep reading. BobF>

Uv setup, circ.       9/8/14
Hi. I wanted to know something. I have a 72 gal saltwater setup. I am setting up a uv sterilizer. Is it possible to connect my sterilizer with
the water going into the sterilizer from an overflow box instead of a pump?
<Mmm; yes; possible. There is/are "optimal" flow rates through any given unit...>
Or do I need the power from the pump to actually push the water through? I do not have a sump. I am running 2 canister filters (1 w/biological media & 1 w/carbon and other resins). I am having a problem with surface film.
<Ahh! There are some commercial (I like Eheim's) and DIY surface skimmers one can employ to remove such surface films. These materials can be trouble...>
Thank for your help
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

UV sterilizer plumbing and placement       2/4/13
Hello WWM
I am in need of some help/advice.
Wanting to mount a UV unit and wondering what will be the best way to do it properly.
Attaching three draws (solutions ?) trying to make more clear my set up and what I intend to do about connecting the UV…
<I only see two>
The “solution 3” is the more difficult to me because of the space available near the sump…but, if it is the best one, I will try to find a way.
The system has about 900 liters of water.
Thanks in advance for your help
Best regards
<I would definitely go with "solution 1"... Just in case there's trouble with the sump level, and/or means (overflows, siphons) getting water to/from the individual tanks... I would NOT add to the likelihood of more water on the floor, draining/pumping water into one tank to the other... Go w/ number 1. Bob Fenner>

UV plumbing and placement       2/4/13
to The WWM Crew
Sorry….I forgot to attach the “solution 3” in my previous email
>Oh! I would still go w/ #1... and for browsers, I would NOT place a canister filter (or any centrifugal driven device) higher than the water level it's supplying/moving... These pumps are made to PUSH, not to pull. BobF>
Thank you

A Pre-filter for a UV?   6/22/08 Hello, and Happy Friday! <Yikes, now Sunday here> I have a 180 gal bow-front marine tank with a 30 gal sump and a 10 gal Refugium within it (contains live rock, Chaeto, pieces of Caulerpa, and some crazy-looking little bug-like critters). Fish: Foxface Rabbit, Purple Tang, Heniochus, Coral Beauty, 6-Green Chromis, and a Kaudern's Cardinal. There is about 230 lbs of live rock in the Display, with about 2 inches substrate and my first ever corals- mushrooms and some polyps! My question is- I purchased an Aqua UV 40W Sterilizer; my plan is to have this on a dedicated closed-loop: the intake pipe will be an inch or two above the Display's substrate, flow into the pump, into and out the UV (300 gph to 400 gph), back into the tank on the other side of the Display (UV will be located under the tank). I've read you should have some kind of filter within the line before the water actually reaches the UV. If this is true (and it sounds logical) how would I install a filter on this kind of closed-loop? Perhaps use a canister filter? <Mmm, could use a mechanical device to keep particles to a minimum... and reducing the flow rate here will likely do little to worsen the beneficial effect of the UV... Likely an intake screen alone will/would be fine though. Not a canister filter> I understand if you have a UV, you should just leave it on all the time, correct? <Yes> I plan to turn this setup into a reef tank down the road- the UV shouldn't have a negative effect on the corals, especially if you're using additives and have a good Refugium, correct? <The added RedOx, lowered TBC will be of benefit> Thank you so much for your time! Daniel <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

UV Sterilizer Plumbing  8/7/07 I have a 100 gallon tank and am a little concerned with some plumbing issues. Here is my set up: 100 Gallon Tank 20 Gallon Sump Iwaki 30 Protein Skimmer (In-Sump) I want to add a 25w UV sterilizer. I was going to use the Rio 800 plus submersible pump that would attach to the Rio. <? Why?> Can I place the Rio 800 into the sump then run into UV sterilizer. From there I would run sterilized water directly back into the overflow box because that is the best fit. (Would running into overflow box cause any potential flooding. The GPH should be 150 at this point) <Could... and again... what is your rationale here?> My other option is running a t-bar from the Iwaki30 and the Rio 800+ <I would not "gang" these pumps...> directly to a single hose and then to the 2 bulkheads that feed back into the aquarium. My concern with this setup would be if the Rio 800 would be flushed back due to the pressure of the Iwaki 30. <You are wise here> Thanks <I would likely just use the Iwaki... valve in the UV on the discharge side... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm the areas on Plumbing, UV use... Bob Fenner>

Re: UV Sterilizer Plumbing   8/8/07 I want to add a 25w UV sterilizer. I was going to use the Rio 800 plus submersible pump that would attach to the Rio. > <? Why?> (RESPONSE) Because if I tie into the Iwaki30, the flow rate will be too high to kill parasites. I need to be at 150 GPH as parasites cross UV light. <<Please see WWM re.... there are trade offs in flow vs. kill rate... factoring in the cost of acquisition, running pumps... and I would NOT use the Rio product> > Can I place the Rio 800 into the sump then run into UV sterilizer. From there I would run sterilized water directly back into the overflow box > because that is the best fit. (Would running into overflow box cause any potential flooding. The GPH should be 150 at this point) > <Could... and again... what is your rationale here?> (RESPONSE) Because the way the aquarium is cut on top, it is a easier run tubing to the overflow box as all my pre-drilled holes are being used on the bottom of the tank. <Not a good idea... again... this input and much related is archived...> Thanks <Thank you for this follow-up. RMF>

Re: UV Sterilizer Plumbing  8/9/07 Thanks for your input <Welcome> I have learned that I can place a water pump into my sump and have the intake and return just go into the sump from the UV. <Yes... but nice to add the circulation to your system, main display as well as get more of a complete "kill"...> If not Rio, which water pump to you suggest that would pump 150 gph <Posted... on WWM. RMF>

Turbo-Twist Hook-up (2/10/05) I just spent a good couple of hours installing my new Coralife Turbo-Twist (12x-36W) into my freshwater tank canister filter's outflow line. Now that I have hooked it all up, spent time flushing air out of the system, and hooked it up to see it all work terrifically without any water leaks. I discovered I connected the water flow lines to the UV sterilizer backwards. The outflow of the canister is flowing into what should be the outflow of the sterilizer, and the what should be the inflow of the sterilizer is flowing into the tank.  The instruction manual specifies which are the inflow and outflow ports on the sterilizer, so it is my goof, really. However; now that I think about it, I wonder if it really makes a difference; and if so, how?  <I also have a TurboTwist 36W and I can think of absolutely no reason why it makes a difference which direction the water flows through it.>  I have thought about it from every angle, and cannot come up with a reason why it should matter which way the water flows through the sterilizer...or at least this model in particular (I am unfamiliar with other UV sterilizers). Any thoughts? Or am I fooling myself, and I now have to look forward to switching the tubings around?  <I agree with you. I strongly doubt that it matters. I think the just chose one as in and one as out for the purpose of drawing a picture. You may want to contact Coralife and ask their opinion. Steve Allen> 

Re: UV Sterilizer: I connected mine backwards - Manufacturer's Response I contacted Coralife at the same time with the same question. I just received the following response: "You are fine running it the way it is. You really can run the unit either way. The only problem I have ever had is if I pumped water into the top of the unit and out the bottom, it sometimes gets air trapped and it will gurgle, but the unit will work fine. Best regards, Dave Troop Energy Savers Unlimited, Inc." <Thank you for this. Bob Fenner>

Turbo-Twist UV Sterilizer Plumbing Follow-Up (2/21/04) I contacted Coralife at the same time with the same question. <Whether or not it matters which end one uses as the outlet or inlet.> I just received the following response: "You are fine running it the way it is. You really can run the unit either way.  The only problem I have ever had is if I pumped water into the top of the unit and out the bottom, it sometimes gets air trapped and it will gurgle, but the unit will work fine. Best regards, Dave Troop, Energy Savers Unlimited, Inc" <Thanks for sharing. I run mine lying sideways on a shelf. Works fine. Steve Allen.>

JEBO UV-H13 QUESTION Hi, I just bought a Jebo Uv-H13 U.V sterilizer but I don't know which inlet/outlet hose connector is the "in" and which one is the "out". When you answer me I will take the electricity cable as reference. Thanks Marta <Actually doesn't matter which end is which here... I do want to mention to make sure your connections are tight (I'd use some plastic clamps (not too tight!), and to take care with making sure water cannot trickle down the power cord, into an electrical outlet (loop the cord...). Bob Fenner>  

Jebo UV  9/30/05 Hi, I have a question about a new Jebo 9watt UV sterilizer (outside aquarium) I just bought. I have seen you have answered the question for someone else. But I am confused about the extra piece that comes with this. It is call LifeTech AP 1500 aquarium liquid filter. On the side of the box it shows it hooked up to a underground filter. I was going to hook up the sterilizer after the filter (Fluval 404), should I connect the hose that returns to the part on this that propels the water in? Or do I even this piece? Thank you for your time. Ashley <I would leave this bit off... not worth the time/trouble of servicing, and no need here. Bob Fenner>

Metal clamps and marine systems Hi Guys, I have a small pump in my sump that is running my UV sterilizer. I have a stainless steel hose clamp holding the tubing on to the pump. Will that affect my water quality, and if so do you have any suggestions. Thanks, Stephen G. Mule <Such metal clamps can be problematical, or not... depending on their placement, likelihood of rusting, falling into parts of the system. I would go with non-metal clamps. Bob Fenner>

Re: Epaulette sharks/Pink Bellies/New tank on the way, pump sel.   8/24/06 Thank you so very much for your response and time!   I will go with the larger Eheim then. The sand was originally Caribbean sea live sand. The kind they sell in the bag with water. It is fine sand and nothing like crushed coral or aragonite was ever mixed with it. I was going to have 2 returns, one on either end of the tank but from your message it sounds like 1 return on one end is a better idea.    <... is it siliceous? Is it two dimensional, sharp... Read on WWM re>   I have a turbo twist UV that was on the current tank that I wanted to incorporate into the new tank. It was running off a small MaxiJet powerhead but since i removed all powerheads based on your previous responses I am not afraid to run it that way. I also assume a Y split on the main retune line to go thought he UV would be recommended either. Would the return volume from the Eheim going through the UV be too much/too fast?    <I would divert just some of the flow to/here>   I'm off to price compare the Eheims . . . .       -Michael <BobF>

Plumbing a Sterilizer and Chiller...Separate Pumps? - 09/20/06 Hello, <<Howdy>> I have a 15 gallon marine tank and am planning on upgrading it to a 35 gallon tank with a 20 gallon sump (still a small set-up I know, but it is all I have space for). <<Cool!>> Anyway, I am wondering about the best possible way to connect a UV sterilizer and chiller to the sump? <<Mmm..."best" would be with dedicated pumps for each.  It is too difficult/unreliable to try to balance differing water flow requirements for the different pieces of equipment on a single pump.  And, if a pump goes down for maintenance/replacement you don't lose functionality of all the equipment>> Could I connect the return pump in the sump to the sterilizer and then to the chiller or should I use separate pumps for each? <<Could...but I recommend separate pumps>> The chiller recommends a 250-350 gph pump and the sterilizer recommends a 100-200gph pump.  Are these gph the minimum flow needed or is that all of the gph that can be used? <<That is the recommended "range"...flow needs to be "within" those numbers, speaking of which...with these relatively low flow rates, adding a couple small submersible pumps should be quite simple>> Would it be alright to use a pump that has a greater gph flow than recommended? <<Can/will decrease efficiency of the unit>> Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated. Keep up the good work. <<We're trying>> Wayne <<Regards, EricR>>

UV Flow rate on a 37 column   9/1/06 Hello, Mr. Bob and crew! I have a real quick question, it should only take a second to answer. I am looking for a more specific answer than what I found on the site's 'UV' section. I have a 37 gallon column with 35+ lbs. of live rock. Anyway, every once in a while I see a couple of white spots on two of my fish. Water quality is good, I'm not overstocked, a good quality skimmer in place. There's never anymore then about 4-5 spots between the two affected fish. I have a skunk cleaner shrimp,... no one lets him do his job. <Happens> And a cleaner goby that doesn't clean. <Odd, but does occur> I qt everything that goes in the tank. I don't plan on adding any more fish. Just some xenia as the FINAL addition. I've recently went from a hang on bio-wheel to an Eheim canister. And I also bought a U.V. sterilizer. The turbo twist 3x,...it's a 9 watt for up to 125 gallons. Over kill maybe... my question is: The book that came with the U.V. calls for 100-200 gph and  I've also learned that a flow rate of 55 gph is best for killing parasites. I've never had a problem with algae, therefore that is NOT why I bought the unit. I want to kill free-swimming parasites. The Eheim has a flow rate of 106 gph. I currently have the UV hooked up to the return from the canister. Is this sufficient at killing parasites, being the fact the tanks size? <Yes... given the information, gear presented, this is how I would rig this up as well> I am fully willing to hook the UV to a separate pump if need. thank you.......   Adam B. <I would run as is. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: UV Flow rate on a 37 column  9/6/06
Okay,...but how about 127 gph? Is that still okay? The internet is full of bad info.....   I read somewhere that the canister I have is at 106 gph. Only to find out it's really 127 from Eheim. Thanks again   Adam B. <Actual flow rate/s vary... either of these will/would be fine. You do realize that UV alone will not "cure" parasitic diseases? Bob Fenner>

Rainbow Lifegard 25 watt UV Sterilizer <<Greetings...>> I have been given conflicting information on this sterilizer (Rainbow Lifegard 25 Watt). I was wondering if you could give me your opinion -- I highly value it. I currently run this on a 100gallon saltwater aquarium. I am moving up to a 160 gallon tank and thus started wondering if my current sterilizer would be ok to run with it. The flow rate for this particular model is 750gph. When I called the place that I got it from they said it would be fine to run it up to a 180 gallon. However, another place that I talked to said this: "Maybe if used as an algae clarifier but it would be pretty useless against parasites and many bacteria. A flow rate of 750 gph with a 25 watt sterilizer will give you a zap dose less than 8,000 microwatts/sec/sq. cm. That won't even kill E. coli bacteria. It will work for ponds as an algae clarifier but that's not the intended use for an indoor aquarium." In your opinion, Dr. Fenner, <<Well, two things quickly, I'm not Bob, and he's not a doctor, though he might play one on TV ;-) >> is this person correct in his thinking? <<Quite... it's true. The item that determines whether a UV sterilizer will work or not is the period of time the item being sterilized is kept in front of the bulb. For a typical 25w UV, the flow rate you would need to kill water-borne parasites is roughly 150 gph. By running at such a low rate, there's just no practical way to get all the system water into the UV in such a way to get 100% sterilized water. Is a much misunderstood fact about UV, but sadly is usually not money well spent. Much better off adopting good quarantine practices and stopping problems there before the leak into your main displays.>> Am I running an inappropriate sterilizer for an aquarium in the first place? <<I would try to run without one at all.>> What should I do -- I'm so confused and don't really know enough about this to make a competent decision. Thanks for any help you can provide. I appreciate it greatly! Elizabeth K. Birdwell <<My pleasure. Cheers, J -- >>

Ich, UV, set-up Guys! How are you?? I am really grateful that people like you guys are here to help us newbie!!   <Glad to be here> Well, I am still fighting ich with a losing battle. I have been fighting this outbreak for 2 weeks now'¦ I bought a Aquanetics UV sterilizer 25W last week. And I am not sure what I am doing is right. The way I hook it up is like this, the water going into the UV by using a tee junction with a switch (to control flow rate 200-300 gph ) from the sump pump (so water is gone through all filtration steps.) and after these water pass through the U.V , it goes into the protein skimmer (I have a Turboflotor 1000 AquaMedic , it uses 2 pumps, and I hook the water outlet from the UV to the skimmer water inlet) PLS LOOK AT PICTURE.   Is this hook up ok?? Because I have a Rio 600 pump, and the skimmer works fine. If not, what should I correct?? <All the water should circulate through the UV (that is the discharge from the sump back to your tank), rather than part loop back through your UV> For ich, I tried the natural approach (cleaner shrimp, vitamins'¦ water change) but no success,'¦ the UV hope to reduce free parasite, fish in main display are fine, Moorish idol killed in Hospital tank, really sad'¦ <Yikes... not an easy fish to keep period... and UV really only helps in early/not-so-virulent cases of ich... won't cure the problem here. Please see: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/UVFAQs.htm> I have no room for hospital tank to let my tank go fallow for 31 days, is it ok for me to just treat the fish for 14 days in HT?? <Not really the better route to go, but may be your only choice here... just fishes in your system? Do you have enough "spare" pre-made water around to do water changes? Test kits for ammonia, nitrite?>    I guess my question is, can the 33 gallon HT ( AquaClear 500 filter, 301 powerhead with filter, protein skimmer and heater and proper lighting.) house the following fishes for 31 days with more than 50% success?? All fish are in good health 2 X 1.25 inch regal tang 1X 3.5 inch rusty angel 1X fire goby 1X 3.5 inch crown trigger 2X clown 1X 5 inch shoal tang 1X 5.5 inch powder blue tang pls advise. Also, I bought the new UV because I believe that UV is better than a diatom filter for reducing parasitic ich, mainly due to 1, less moving parts , 2, more scientific   3, continuous operation is this view correct??? <Not IMO/E... a UV would be better hands down for aiding in preventing such problems... the Diatom better for aiding in eradication> Lastly, my display is a 125 gallon tank, is 25W adequate?? And the instruction said that a flow rate of 250 GPH are able to kill protozoa , is that mean ich?? <Yes... but this will only kill free-living (in the water) stages... not the ones on the fish, developing on the substrate...> Pls answer me ASAP!!! Thanks!! <The types and amounts of fishes you have listed are problematic... please go to WetWebMedia.com and put each of their common name in the Google Search tool at the bottom of the homepage and read/study... For the amount of money you have invested in livestock and gear, there is no reason you have not found room for a quarantine system, that now could/would be utilized as a treatment tank. I would get and use one post-haste... Your system has an entrenched Cryptocaryon infestation that the UV will not solve... Treating the main tank will only lead to more troubles than you currently have. Please read here:    http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasittksfaqs.htm and the linked (at top, in blue) FAQs files beyond... formulate a plan, get the treatment tank going, move and treat your fishes there. Bob Fenner> NEWBIE Eric

- More Questions - I always thaw the food first. <Ahh, good.> I figured that frozen was not the way to go. It ate a good amount of plankton today. Hopefully this it will keep in. I have a PC dual light that is around 75 watts and another one on order. <You will likely need more light than this...> My tank is only a 30 gallon a and the Eheim is rated for 66 gallons. You don't think this is enough? <No, for effective UV it is probably too much - the trick is the amount of time the water stays exposed to the bulb... for a 25 watt UV, the approximate flow rate is 150 gallons per hour - for a lower wattage bulb, the exposure needs to be even more, so the flow rate should be even less.> Today the fish are looking real good. Possibly the best I have seen them yet. I thought that the only time you can kill it is when it is free swimming. <Nope, parasites are susceptible to treatment most any time.> Also my fish are not itching except very rarely and every spot clears up in about a day or so. <Again, these parasites are like creatures in a horror movie - they go away long enough to reproduce and then come back in ever larger numbers.> What if I was to add ozone to my protein skimmer? <Ozone would help, but this tank is small enough where you might do more harm than good - ozone is very reactive and easy to add to much to the point where it will affect your health too.> I will just take care of this the way you suggest but I really just don't want to set up a second tank quite yet. <Is your choice.> My fish while I like them are still cheaper ones because I did not want to go buy expensive fish right off the bat. <Well... I like to consider all life as precious, regardless of the arbitrary price other people put on it, but when you do consider more expensive fish, please consider quarantine first.> Shane <Cheers, J -- >

UV sterilizer questions Hi! I've been reading your site (Q&As) with great interest! It's a great source of knowledge that you can combine and then use to make intelligent decisions on your own. Anyhow, I have a 130-gallon freshwater tank, with a Magnum 350, Aquaclear 300, and undergravel filters powered by three Hagen 402s. The output of the Magnum goes through a Tetra-Tec 5-watt UV unit (WAY too low, I know), then Tees off to send part back to the tank and part to two bio-wheels. I am considering getting rid of the Magnum (it's a maintenance pain) and replacing it with a second Aquaclear 300. I've also just purchased an 18-watt Custom Sealife double helix hang-on tank UV unit. My questions: 1) How is the Custom Sealife unit, and is 18-watts enough? <I would use the manufacturers size recommendation. If it is rated for at least 130 gallons, then it's likely fine. A filter you will maintain is better than one you won't.> 2) I am planning on powering it with one of the Hagen 402s (270 gph) which is sitting on top of my undergravel filter uplift tube. Is this OK? <If this matches the needed flow rate then it's okay.> 3) I am also planning on taking the output of the UV and running it over ONE BioWheel and back into the tank. Is THIS a good idea? <No matter, it will flow over the wheel one way or another, this doesn't improve or detract from anything.  Not really necessary.> Thanks so much for your help and keep the great site!!  Larry <Have fun Larry, follow the owner's manual and manufacturer's ratings. Craig>
Re: UV sterilizer questions
Craig...you missed the first question... My questions: 1) How is the Custom Sealife unit, and is 18-watts enough? <Hi Larry, I answered part of it and intentionally didn't answer the other part! I don't use UV, but the main difference between most is marketing, not substance, especially in an aquarium with multiple passes and proper care/husbandry in all other matters, i.e.: quarantine, filtration, water changes, maintenance, and so on.  Too many hobbyists use a UV as a crutch in an attempt to overcome poor husbandry.  This is not what they are intended for. In a cursory search on Yahoo I found four or five sites carrying 15watt Coralife aquarium/pond UV units rated up to 300 gallons of aquarium. I didn't see any at 18 watts, although they may be available, as you mentioned you purchased one. The 15 watt units look fine to me and should work if they fit (plumb) in your set-up the way you intend. The answer is: use the manufacturers recommended size rating.   Hope this helps!  Craig> Re: UV sterilizer questions Craig...thanks for your response and to-the-point answer. The reason you couldn't find the UV unit is because it's a "Custom Sealife"...not Coralife. See it here:   " http://www.marineandreef.com/shoppro/sterilizers_Custom.htmlLarry <Thanks Larry!  Same answer different unit! They rate it conservatively at 100 gallons at this link. The inner sleeve sounds good as is easy bulb replacement. If it fits your system the way you intend it should work fine.  <Yours, Craig> Anthony, could you look over this email response and add insight. My Reponses are there already. Should I send the original to you for a second opinion and posting? What is the proper Wet Web protocol? Thanks. Paul

Inline UV Question Can I run an Eheim 2213 canister filter inline with my Aquanetics 8watt UV sterilizer?  This is for a 37 gallon fish only marine tank. <You can but it will affect flow rate some.  Craig>

UV connection I bought a Tetratec"¢ UV5 5 Watt Clarifier for the tank, I wanted to hook it up to the Fluval 404. Man did I have a hard time! The water kept leaking! I finally had to cut a piece of hose from the line I use to siphon the water out of the tank and two hose clamps and it's working. Just thought I'd share that with you in case anyone else has the same problems. So far so good, the three damsels that are left seem to be doing fine and I've noticed an improvement in the quality of the water already! <Plumbing can be a frustrating experience, eh? Thanks for the update and good to hear things are improving. Don>

- Running UV - Hello, I'm running a 40W UV. sterilizer (750-800gph) and would like to add another. My question: Is installing the second one in parallel or series going to be more efficient? Regards, Kevin Pockell <Well, Kevin, for starters... that flow rate through a single 40 watt UV isn't going to do you a whole lot of good, mostly because the contact time between the UV light and the water is too brief. To kill protozoans [Ich and the like] with a 40 watt UV, you need a flow rate closer to 350-375 GPH. So... would two in a row be more efficient? I don't think so, you'd do better to put the UV on it's own circulation loop, fed from the sump and out flowing directly into the tank - this would give you easier maintenance on the UV and more efficient use of the unit you have. Cheers, J -- >

Setting up a UV on a goldfish tank (07/26/03) Hey folks, a quick question or two.   <Ananda here tonight to give a shot at answering them....> I have six (I know, I know 5 is the magic number) fancy 4" goldies (really 2 Black Moors, 2 Red cap Orandas and 2 brassy Ryukins) in a 55 Gal. with a Eheim 2026 filter and a Coral Life 9 watt UV sterilizer. <Having read about how messy goldfish get, I'd consider an additional filter... that Eheim is going to turn your tank water over only about 5 times an hour. For my messy fish (puffers), I have the tank turnover at 12 times an hour, and I still have more nitrates than I'd like.> As a new setup the sterilizer is off.  My gravel substrate is cultured and the water conditions are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and a pH 7.8 (a little bit high) filter is still ramping up. <How are the nitrates doing?> The sterilizer is rated for a flow rate of 100 to 200 gph, slower being better.   <Yup.> The Eheim is rated at 250 gph but can be throttled back.   <I wouldn't.> My assumption is that the filter full of media and with a head of 34 inches plumbed to the UV then into the tank is developing something less than 200 gph.  A guess as to how much less?   <There are head pressure calculators around on the web... I don't have any canister filters, so I am not sure.> And should I throttle back to let the UV get the parasites?   <I would get a dedicated powerhead for the UV.> Thanks, Rick <You're welcome. --Ananda>

- Water Flow, UV, and Plumbing - Hey! <Hello to you.> I need to increase the turnover in my tank and increase the efficiency of my UV. I have a 75g FOWLR, with built in overflow that goes down to a wet dry, in the wet dry (sump) I have the skimmer. I have a little giant pump rated at 590 gph w/ a 6' head, that also pushes water through a UV that is rated at 350 max outflow, the pump is connected to one end of the sump. What I figured is that I do not have enough turn over in my tank and that the flow is too strong for the UV to be effective. So what I want to do is to get another external pump rated at about 400gph including the 4-6' head to pull water out of the sump and connect this pump to the UV, my tank has one main hose that Tees off into two bulkheads, one on each of the corner of the tank, (the main is a 3/4" hose). 1. The only way that I can get this other pump to pull water from the sump is to have a hose or PVC tube and elbow go over the sump from the outside and down in the sump to pull water, my sump is about 14" high, then connect this one to the UV, would this work? <Only if you have a pump that can self-prime... and I can't think of any in that GPH range. Most pumps won't 'suck' water from any height and instead rely on being primed by gravity - via the bulkheads on the side of the sump.> I can't really drill another hole in the sump. Is there any other way of doing this? <I think you will need to find a way to drill the sump or put the pump in the sump.> 2. To get the water back in the tank I thought of joining the end tubes (one hose coming out of the outlet of one pump, and the other one after the UV from the other pump) into a Tee that will be connected to the main and then this will Tee into the two hoses that go to the bulk heads. Basically combining the outflows of two pumps (pushing up) into one main going up to the tank. This is the easiest option for me. <It's not the best option, however... better to have each flow into the tank individually.> The other option (but it's harder to get to) is to have each of the pumps connected to each of the bulkheads, through their own hose, no Tee. This will have different flows out of each bulkhead, I don't this is a problem, is it? <It's not a 'problem' per se, and it's preferable to combining both pumps to one.> Would this increase my turnover? <Yes, but you might want to examine your UV to see if moving water through it at its highest rated flow is in your best interest. For example, a 25 watt UV might be able to move 400 GPH of water through it, but if you want to kill protozoans [which is what I'm guessing you want to do] with the UV you need the water to sit in front of the bulb a little longer, which [again on a 25 watt bulb] means slowing the flow down to 150 GPH.> Any other suggestions? <Cheers, J -- >

- UV Sterilizer Questions - Hey folks, Hope all is well in WetWebMediaLand. <As far as I know.> I need some clarification (har!) on UV Sterilizers. <Ahh... good one.> There seems to be a lot of difference of opinion regarding their use. I've poured over all the information on UV sterilizers on all the various reef-centric boards with regards to their effectiveness on Cryptocaryon irritans (Ich) control in the free-swimming stage. One thing I never saw addressed was "sizing big" when purchasing a UV sterilizer. It seems that a 50 gal aquarium calls for an 8 or 9 watt UV sterilizer. Many people claim you will have better parasite control with UV if you restrict the flow to 50GPH through the unit. While this seems to make sense, I'm wondering if "upsizing" your UV sterilizer would have a similar effect rather than restricting water flow. The difference in cost between a 9 watt and 15 watt is minimal, and the cost to move up to a 25w seems reasonable. <It might 'seem' reasonable, but you should know that a 25 watt UV still needs a flow rate of about 150 GPH to kill protozoans. There is no exponential relationship between the size of the UV and the required flow rate.> I currently run a closed-loop system with a SCWD and Mag unit that's rated at 700GPH. The loop is simple in my 37 gallon Oceanic "Cube". It's basically a Lee siphon tube running to the Mag, then from the Mag to the SCWD, then the SCWD to the outlets. I assume that the flow gets restricted significantly right at the SCWD, particularly when switching. <Actually, no... this item is well engineered and causes no back pressure when switching.> I'm considering picking up a 15w AquaUV unit to place between the Mag and SCWD. Is this the optimal spot? <No. The ideal way is to plumb the sterilizer separately with a dedicated pump in the sump and a return line to the tank.> If restricting the flow through the UV unit makes for a tangible benefit, should I isolate the UV unit with a couple of T barbs and restrict its flow with a ball valve? <This would also work.> Thanks so much for your help. Karl <Cheers, J -- >

- Ultra-Violet Filter Flow Rate - I have a 270 gallon tank with  a 40watt Pentair u/v. Could you please tell me what the best flow rate for this u/v should be, and how often the bulb should be changed. <Hmm... proper flow rate will depend on what you want to kill with the UV. Would guess that a flow rate around 300 GPH will be sufficient to kill ich - would check with the manufacturer to make certain. As for bulb changes, once a year should be sufficient.> Thank you. Ned <Cheers, J -- >

Re: salinity  Dear Bob,  <James>  Thank you for your very quick reply, you are definitely not running on African time. I will keep my salinity at 1.025 as per your advice. I have also ordered your 1st book to keep me right.   <Know you will enjoy, gain by its perusal>  I have a quick question on U.V filters. Do I run it from a powerhead with a slow flow rate or through my Fluval filter which is much faster?  <There are "ideal flow rates", that is, calculated gph for achieving maximal kill ratios in a given volume... but practically speaking about the most flow you can get through a given unit, the plumbing achieves the most. I would use the canister filter discharge. Bob Fenner>  Kind Regards, James Barlcay

TMC UV flow rate hey <Isn't that for horses?> I read on the site that you guys highly recommend TMC U.V sterilizers. I just ordered a 110w commercial TMC model for my 220g fish only and am wondering what flow rate I should use it at? their website was a little vague for me to understand.  anyway I have a main system pump for my skimmer and sump that pushes about 800-900gph and I thought about just hooking it inline with that before returning back to my tank. thanks Brandon here it is: tmc-ltd.co.uk/filtration/uv_filt/TMCster_details.asp <Mmm, there are practical limitations... physical in terms of how much water one can push through such devices, and practical ones in the way of consideration of "kill rates" per pass... but somewhere around a hundred to two hundred gallons of actual flow per hour is about what you want here. Diverting the flow for other purposes is counter-productive (and intuitive). Bob Fenner>

TMC UV flow rate follow-up thanks for the reply but I hope you're mistaken. a 110w TMC U.V sterilizer and only 100-200gph. I hope not. here's another site that sells them: http://www.aquaticeco.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/product.detail/iid/8998/cid/2204 http://www.tmc-ltd.co.uk/filtration/uv_filt/TMC_sterilisers.asp tell me what you think. please. and thanks. <Mmm, I HAVE told/written what I think... let's see if it can re-stated in a different manner to relate the information. Yes, you can push water through this unit at the specified maximum flow rate of "Up to 17 GPM"... but you will not gain much in your setting... in terms of "free floating" microbe, algae population decrease, enhanced DO, Redox... all that you might gain by using such a unit... AND instead, being able to divert some of the flow that otherwise might be directed/diverted through the UV, running this about your system for added aeration, circulation is a better use. Think of this possibility (using a UV, having so much pumping capacity) as one of a few possibilities... not just how much water can be run through the unit. Bob Fenner>

- Flow Rates - Hi, I need some advice please. I have a 700 liter tank and 100l sump with a wet/dry trickle filter. The total head is about 1600mm. I have a pump with a 2500l flow rate. The curve on the pump shows that at head of 1600mm the flow is about 1500l. Is this sufficient? <It could be better.> What is the recommended flow rate? <Ideally, your total flow rate in a marine system should be at least 10 times the system volume. This can be accomplished with the return pump as well as circulation pumps [powerheads] inside the tank.> I also have an 8W UV sterilizer that I want to connect in the line to the sump. What is the recommended flow rate for that size U.V? <Well... for this UV unit, you'd want to give it its own dedicated pump, and not plumb it inline with your return. For the flow rate, it depends on what you're trying to kill. To kill the typical protozoan parasite, you're probably looking at about 180 LPH.> Thanks <Cheers, J -- >

Chillers and UV Hi, I've read for hours/days/weeks.  Learned MUCH!  I am setting up a 300 gallon Reef (96 x 24 x 30). Sump is fed by two 2" drains from overflows on each end. Sump also feeds a refugium which feeds back into the sump. Return from sump to tank is Velocity T-4 @ 1250gph @ 4' head.  The tank also is plumbed with a 1" bulkhead for a closed loop system that returns to the tank via a manifold around the top with multiple outlets. The question is regarding this closed loop system. I want to run my 1/2 HP chiller (I live in Florida) and 80W UV filter on this closed loop. Is there any reason why I can't do this? The UV filter is 2" in diameter and the Chiller is 1.5" in diameter. As long as my pump is rated to take the extra head, then why not?? <It would be fine but I would add a mechanical filter to the inlet of the U.V. and then plumb the chiller next.  The idea is that you do not want detritus to pass through the U.V.  It makes it less efficient.> (pump planned for this is Blue Line 70HD @ 1750 gph @ 4 feet, more like 1500 gph with the extra head caused by the UV and Chiller and the necessary plumbing). Also note that both the chiller and UV are rated to take this much flow, so that is not an issue. My concerns are that if I run the chiller and UV off of the sump then I'll be taking away from the already "low" return from the sump.  Heck, I've seen the inside of the chiller...its just a 4" diameter PVC pipe with a cooling coil inside...so I don't think that some circulating detritus could hurt it... Finally, can the 1" bulkhead support a closed loop flow of 1500 gph? <1" bulk heads can handle comfortably 700 gph I would recommend something larger.  The detritus will make the chiller and U.V. work less efficiently.  If you add a mechanical filter before U.V. and chiller then you should be fine.> Thanks!! Jim <Good Luck. MikeB.> UV set-up Hi Bob: I need your advice again. I am planning on hooking up a Magnum 350 to my 110 gallon reef tank. I have about 70lbs of live rock and a large trickle filter (sump) under the tank. I also have a protein skimmer which doesn't seem to do much. My water always seems to have small particles flying around and is never crystal clear.  Question 1: would you recommend using the Magnum just with the micron filter or should I add carbon and phosphate remover to the filter? I know my phosphate levels are too high, and the water seems slightly tinged with yellow when I look in from the side of the tank.  Question 2: I've heard you can attach a UV sterilizer to the magnum, but how do I configure that? Which UV would you recommend for my size tank? Thanks, Jill >> I would hook the Magnum up with the filtrant module (not the micron) with the Dacron sleeves (for mechanical filtration) the company sells surrounding it, and place a bag of either Chemi-pure (my first choice) in it (or the equivalent activated product from Aquarium Pharmaceuticals...), and maybe switch this filtrant out every month. This will also remedy the color of your water... Skip the phosphate remover for now... An in-line UV (Ultraviolet Sterilizer) can be fitted to the discharge side of your Magnum's tubing, between the filter and the black fittings that convey the water back into your system. A drawing of these sorts of arrangements can be found in an article on Physical Filtration I have stored at the URL: www.wetwebmedia.com for your perusal. For the size of your system, flow rate of the Magnum I would invest in a 20 watt unit... My choice of manufacturer? Tropic Marine Centre. Bob Fenner

UV Flow rates included with my UV light was a chart that illustrated flow rates-vs..-kill rate. I have a 3ft.in length, 3inch diameter, 30 watt light. > What flow rate would you recommend? I'm using it in a 75gal. reef tank where it is attached to my sump return via a "T" valve so as to adjust rate or by-pass at will. <Hmm, in the present configuration, there is a point of diminishing returns... where the increased flow, though of lower "kill per pass" ratio is not "worth it" in terms of alternately passing the water to your main system (instead... for the benefits of flow, aeration...) I would move no more than 150 gph through the unit... and no less than half that... in actual flow. To determine this (don't trust pump ratings...) get a cleaned up "fish bucket" of known volume and a watch with a second "hand"... and time how long it takes to "fill the bucket" up to a determined volume... do the math... how many gallons per minute/hour... Bob Fenner>

UV's, Parties, and Upcoming Fish-FUN  Hello Bob!!  My name is Shaun von Hecht, we met at the Sacramento  Marine Aquarist convention (You spoke on Echinoderms,  remember the after party??). <Oh yes, good times>  Anyways, I'm very happy with your views &  recommendations, so I thought I might ask you a couple  questions, if you don't mind: <Fire away>  1) one of my service accounts runs 2 U.V.s : a 15  watt Aquanetics & a 25 watt Life Guard, in series, the  25 watt is first. The tank is ~200 gallon marine "fish  only" triggers, grouper, wrasse... tuff stuff. So, my question is, is the 15watt unit still  effective due to the larger unit being first? How effective are multiple U.V.s in series, compared with  1 "big" unit? Flow rate is no more than 150 GPH. <I suspect you and I are in agreement here... Watts are Watts and exposure time, proximity to the ionizing radiation are all that are important...>  Also, I know this isn't the best configuration out  there, but as a servicer, I had to make due with what  was available to me. <I understand, and agree... have been there/here many times>  2) what brand carbons are you partial to?? <Eheim, TMC's high-retention (HR) brand, for cheapy "in town", the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals highest (of three) qualities...>  I usually use Marineland & Rainbow Lifeguard pellets. <These are okay, passable>  Thanks for your time!!  Shaun <Anytime. See you at the next WMC, Monterey. Bob Fenner>

Help, UV Sterilizer hook up Mr. Fenner- A friend gave me his Aquanetics 8 watt hang-on UV Sterilizer, that was only a few months old. My question is how to hook up this unit. He gave me the unit and two 1/2" tubes. I purchased a Penguin 550 Powerhead to run it. Where do I attach the tubes? Sorry to ask a dumb question, either I am confused or I do not have all the parts I need. I would appreciate your help. Thanks again! Cory >> <Tubes? The barbed connectors are best attached between the discharge of a pre-filtered pumped water source and back to the tank or sump... use at least one non-metal clamp device on the tubing over the barbed fittings... Take a look at the diagrams in the article on UV use stored: Home Page  Bob Fenner

UV's Thanks you for your advice again. I had the 304 Fluval that was on the skids last week, it died Sunday. Had already set up an Eheim 2215 before it happened on a 48g pent, ended up diving the eighty miles one way to get it, hope it was worth it. <Yikes. Me too> My other dilemma is should the UV be put back inline or get a separate pump for it.  <I would put it back in-line... after the Eheim.> As far as power heads go I am using two 402's one is not working right. What is your opinion one a replacement? <Either another Hagen one of whatever size/model or an Aquarium Systems product. These are my favorite lines> I feel may need something a little bigger since the Eheim discharge is different than the Fluval. One last thing I added a Kole tang about three weeks ago and it appears my ich problem has reared it head again, I did the temp up and salinity down it appeared to go away, purchased a cleaner wrasse also. Last night had to move the LR around and this morning the Kole was covered again and the coral beauty had spots they are the only ones two get it. Today it is almost gone About 18 hrs. Could it be more stress related? <Maybe not. Would try a Cleaner Shrimp species in addition. Bob Fenner>

UV Sterilizer Mr. Fenner, <fish buddy Anthony in your service> This is my first time writing in, I spend most of my time reading everyone else's questions. <a very good way to learn> I would like to know if I should remove the bio balls and floss from my canister filter I am using to run a UV sterilizer?  <please do not... they are unrelated and do not conflict> I have a 125 gal. salt tank (fish only) and I have a wet/dry with media in it already. Also the canister pump is an old Eheim 2213 do you know if it is ok for salt water? < indeed... could be handy> Thanks for your time and an excellent web site, <quite welcome. Anthony>

Jebo 13w UV sterilizer Good evening: <Mornin'!> I just purchased a UV sterilizer by Jebo 13w.  I purchased it off eBay it said it is new but did not come with directions or hoses.  I am brand new to saltwater.  Would you be able to help me hook this up? <Think so> Does the sterilizer go into the aquarium or on the outside? <Out> If on the outside is it suppose to sit on the ground or attach to the tank. <Either way... better to "mount" on the floor or steadily on the wall, stand... where the hoses won't get pulled on, but you can reach to check out, do periodic lamp replacements...> Does it matter which end goes to the submersible pump? <Nope>   The other end I would assume goes into the tank. <Yep> I tried asking the person I purchased it from but they have been unable to help.  I look forward to hearing from you.  I attached a pic.  Thank you for your time. <Ahh! My sisters name. Bob Fenner>

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