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FAQs about Ultraviolet Sterilizer Selection/Manufacturers

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UV from any source can help improve water quality for all marine life. An Arrowhead Crab, crinoids and more...

UV Sterilization, lg. sys... filtr.  6/24/10
Hey Crew
I have a 500 gallon reef tank and have had one for some time now, about 5 years. I've had my share of ups and downs, more downs than ups, though.
I've had corals that require "expert care" that thrive and corals that are considered "easy" and die. The same goes with fish. I do nothing special.
I don't have any high tech controllers, or quarantine tanks. All I do is weekly water changes, about 20-30 gallons and have a skimmer and a red sea ozonizer.
The ozonizer I hardly use because I'm about half scared to use it.
<Don't be. These devices are not harmful. See the area linked below to assuage your fears>
The ORP reads between 250-300. By the way what is the therapeutic level for the ORP and dosage rate for the ozone?
<... please read here:
or the article vers. linked above>
The nitrates are always low and there is a trace amount of phosphate. I seem to be having an ich problem with my blue tangs and I recently lost a Sailfin tang to what I think was dropsy.
<A symptom, w/ a few possible etiologies... again, please search/read on
WWM as we request before writing us>
I've lost alot
<... no such word>
more than this, but I think ich is the problem which leads to secondary infections.
<Ahh! You may well be correct here Lar>
My male lyretail Anthias is now getting a cloudy eye without visible signs of parasites. I need to know about the UV
<Your Ozonizer is doing about all the good that a UV would>
such as...a good idea...which one to get and what size for a 500 gallon tank.
<See WWM re... the Vectron line by TMC is my fave for this size system... and others. Bob Fenner>
Thanks for your time and help

UV and Ozone 2/23/2010
Thanks for your invaluable advice. I have a fish only Caribbean only biotope <Nice!>, moderately stocked (once fish reach mature size I'll consider it heavily stocked), artificial corals. Sorry, not a reefer and not planning to add live rock, either. I like the look I've got.
Display is 310g. 150g sump in basement has filter socks from overflow, biotower with bioballs, UV, skimmer.
<This sounds like a nice system>
System has been running 18 months, has finally stabilized, no livestock loss or additions in last 3 months or so. I recently added 200mg/hr ozone to skimmer and have seen marked improvement in water clarity.
<Yes, this is what I would have done. I do think Ozone comes under the 'marvelous' banner!>
My question--has the UV sterilizer become unnecessary/redundant now that I'm running ozone?
<I think so. I am not a fan of UV really, just too much maintenance for too little benefit IMO.>
I wouldn't mind removing one pump and bulb from my power hungry system.
<yes, I would go ahead with this course of action>
Thanks in advance, -Mike
<Pleasure, Mike. Simon>

UV Or Ozone For Sterilization 10/1/09
Hi Gang,
<Hello Ray>
I have a question for you regarding the use of UV sterilization and/or Ozone generation. First, a little background on the tank though. I recently upgraded my 55 gallon reef tank (running for 3 years) to a 180 gallon about 4 months ago. All has been doing well with no fish loss and all the parameters are well within specs for a reef tank (Temp 79, Ph 8.2-8.4, Nitrates 0, Phosphates 0.01, Mg 1250, Ca 480, Salinity 1.026, ORP 380-420mV- via RKE and probe). I have been adding more fish and corals slowly over time and usually have not run into any problems. However because I travel a lot I have not been as strict on the use of a hospital tank as I should have and after introducing a couple clownfish I returned a few weeks back to find them coated in a white slime (of which I believe was Brooklynella). All but one clown perished during this outbreak so I did not replace the clowns for 10 days in the main tank but rather setup the hospital tank and treated the new clowns (6) for 3 days with a Rid-Ich solution (dosage in accordance with the label). The Clowns appeared healthy and did not shown any notable signs of fungal, or Protozoan infestation however I was scheduled to travel in a few days so introduced them to the tank as I do not have a way to feed or chill the water (I live in South Texas) in the hospital tank. After about a week I have again noted one of the Clowns had a great amount of white stuff around its mouth (but not on its body). It is impossible to get the fish out of the tank and I have a 15 watt UV module installed in the chiller which should be taking care of anything when it's becomes free born in the water column. I decided to verify the UV and when I pulled it out it was failed and the starter bulb was shorted. I have been doing some research and learned that with a ~1000 gph main pump and a 15 Watt UV it basically is doing nothing as the dwell times would be pretty much nil to kill anything, even algae.
So now my question... I would like some guidance on which would be a better route to take (most bang-for-the-buck so to speak) to get the tank back on track.. UV or Ozone generation?
I currently use the Reef Keeper Elite controller and an ORP probe and am looking at budgeting $400-$500 for either an 80W (or is 40 watts enough?)
Emperor Aquatics UV (or which I may build myself) and run with a 200-300gph
pump or purchase a 200mg/hr Red Sea Ozone generator. Or other suggestions please!
Am I on the right track with regard to getting ahead of the disease and preventing further any outbreak?
<Ozone and/or UV are only going to kill organisms that come in contact with these devices, so it is likely that all parasitical cysts are not going to be killed. If I were to buy one of these units, it would be an ozone generator. There is a twofold benefit with using ozone, it is effective in killing disease causing organisms, and at the same time raises water quality by increasing the RedOx level of the system. Good water quality in itself is a boon in preventing disease outbreaks.
Do read here before buying. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marphysf.htm.
James (Salty Dog)>

UV Sterilizer/Selection 2/26/09 Dear Bob, <Hello Christopher, James with you today.> Which UV sterilizer is a better design and better quality? The 40 watt Ultra Life Ultra V VHO UV Sterilizer (2''x 22'' long) or the Emperor Aquatics Smart 40 watt UV Sterilizer ( 43.8" x 3'') ? I want the best one possible. I have a 250 gallon reef with plenty of room to mount either unit. Which do you think? Do you know anything about the quality of each device? Thanks for your help. Look forward to your response. <As far as quality/design is concerned, I'd say the Ultra Life has the edge here. The Ultra Life model has a far greater killing power per gph. As an example, 45,000 aeW sec/cm2 (microwatt seconds per square centimeter) is needed to effectively kill protozoa. The 40 watt Ultra Life will give you a 70,000 aeW sec/cm2 at 1000gph where the Emperor's highest flow rate to effectively kill protozoa is 525gph. My choice would be the Ultra Life and, it is about 100 bucks less. You can also change the lamp in the Ultra Life without draining the housing or shutting down the pump. I'm not sure if this can be done with the Emperor. Hoping this helps you out. James (Salty Dog)> Christopher Faiola

Ozonizer/UV/Refugiums -- 11/27/07 I have read a lot of the FAQ's on your site regarding ozonizers, but still I am confused and have questions, <<Okay>> I thank you in advance for your time. <<I'm happy to assist>> I have a 75 gallon tank, 70 lbs. of live rock, 20 gallon wet/dry sump (All Glass Mega-Flow 3), Coralife 65 gallon (needle wheel) super skimmer in sump, some corals and 20 fish <<This is a lot for this size tank...I hope they are mostly small...>> and some of these fish rely on this algae as a source of food. <<...?>> My bi-color blenny is steady working on the algae on the glass as well as my flame & coal beauty and not to mention the crabs and snails, wouldn't an ozonizer or UV sterilizer take away this natural food source? <<Possibly, though the Ozonizer more likely than the UV Sterilizer ...as a function of improved water quality. But the algae can be easily/readily supplemented through feedings, and in my opinion, the addition of an Ozonizer would far outweigh this perceived downside>> Also the mandarin and 6-line wrasses are always looking for pods, <<Normal behavior>> I think my system is not producing enough pods, <<Indeed...the tank is hardly large enough to support the Mandarin, alone...which is likely being out-competed by the wrasse for the available food supply>> would this be hurt by UV or ozonizer? <<Not appreciably... The UV will affect bacteria, mostly (which I don't recommend if you keep corals, which may feed on these)...and the Ozonizer, if correctly employed with the skimmer, should only affect that which was doomed/bound for removal from the system already>> My water does not look really clean, seems there is always a lot of small particles floating around, I have tried a number of different filters and set ups, have tried taking out the bio balls and there isn't much change. <<Removal of the particulates will require some type of 'mechanical' filtration. This can be in the form of a canister filter, adding filter floss to the overflow intake or a filter sock to the outflow pipe...with all requiring cleaning/replacement on 'at the least' a weekly basis>> I have thought about making sump into a refugium, what is the best way to configure my current sump and convert it to a refugium? <<Lots of ways this can be accomplished, It can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it. Do have a look through our wealth of info beginning here (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm), continue among the linked files in blue at the top of the pages and then return with more 'specific' questions if you wish>> Do you recommend this, if so, please advise best configuration/set up? <<The addition of a refugium is of benefit. My preference is to utilize separate vessels for the sump and refugium, but many hobbyists can/do incorporate the two together. For simple 'pod' production, an unlit refugium with a shallow and coarse substrate (1-inch deep of 3-5 mm grain size) with some live rock rubble will suffice. Keep in mind that to maximize populations, the critters in the refugium will require periodic feedings (a few shrimp pellets every couple days is sufficient in my experience)>> I also have a sulfur denitrator and it has kept my nitrates at almost zero, but for some reason my corals and invertebrates have slowly died off. <<Are you saying there is a correlation here?>> I had already started losing my corals when I installed the sulfur denitrator, my nitrates were around 40 <<Mmm...>> and now I am consistently 0-5, is there any side affects by using this and what are your thoughts on the sulfur denitrator? <<I have no direct experience with this gear but have heard testimony to its effectiveness. If the denitrator has been correctly employed/maintained I doubt it is the cause of your coral's demise. The corals/inverts may have already been severely malaffected by the high Nitrate levels and simply never recovered...or...there may be environmental issues/other issues of water quality at play here>> I believe we could have introduced copper from transferring fish from the aquarium store; some of their water had gotten into our aquarium. <<Not likely in sufficient quantity to be of concern>> Does the ozonizer take out the copper? <<No...add some chemical filtration (carbon/Poly-Filter) if this is a concern. To gain a better understanding of Ozone and its uses/benefits, please read this three part article by Randy Holmes-Farley on Ozone use and its application to marine aquariums(part-1 http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2006-03/rhf/index.php), (part-2 http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2006-04/rhf/index.php), (part-3 http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2006-05/rhf/index.php) >> I have only been doing this for about 8 months, and it seems everyone we talk to at the local fish stores gives us different advice, use this/you don't need that, etc. etc. <<Ah yes, understood...but it is no different here my friend. Opinions/differences of opinion still abound. You need to spend some time reading/educating yourself and then applying your own good judgment to make decisions>> Again, thanks for your time. Kelly Hood <<Read through the material I have indicated, and feel free to come back to me for further help/explanation. Regards, Eric Russell>>

UV Sterilizer Application -- 11/13/07 Hello Eric, Bob and Crew! <<Hey there Don!>> My wonderful question today is what choice you guys/girls would do for a 210 AGA Mega Slow. <<Mega 'Slow'...Ha! I get it! Good one!>> I have an EV-240 with Mag18 pump in my 135 gallon sump. I have a section cut off for refuge and a 7 inch DSB with 50# LR. To help with Crypt outbreaks and I completely understand this isn't a cure all but I'm trying to figure a best fit scenario. A) Corallife 36 watt UV connected to a proper pump and let all the filtered water go through the out take to the tank. B) Buy 3 separate Corallife Twist UV's and place 2 9 watt UV's in the Mega Slow over boxes and still do option A with an 18 watt Corallife Twist UV. C) Stop being an idiot with crazy ideas, buy a UV and just stick it in the sump. <<I'd just choose the simplest approach (likely 'C'). I'm not a big fan of 'Hobby use' UV units, I find them to be too fiddly/high-maintenance to keep them working efficiently and for the 'little good' they may do re Crypt control. I would rather spend the bucks on a quality ozone unit for its increased benefits to the system...and rely on my own good husbandry/quarantine/hospital technique for pest protozoan prevention/treatment>> Thanks again for your time. Don V. <<Always glad to proffer an opinion. Eric Russell>>

UV Choices -- 5/4/07 Hi again Bob, <Hi.  Alex filling in tonight.> I would like to thank you for helping me out with my aquatic problems in the past. I would like to add a UV sterilizer to my 72-gallon FS tank. It only has 1 Eheim 2217 Classic canister filter, but I am thinking of adding on an AquaClear 500 in the near future. I would like to add a sterilizer into my setup to improve and maintain my fish. I am planning to add the UV sterilizer on the return side of my canister filter. The Eheim 2217 model is rated at 264 US GPH, and the return hose diameter is 1/2". I was browsing through the Coralife Turbo Twist models earlier and noticed that the inlet outlet sizes for the 18 watt model that I was interested in were 5/8" or 1" barbs. Although the 9 watt model had 1/2" barbs fro the inlet/outlet, I believe that the 9 Watt model is well undersized to the 264 US GPH filter. <How much flow do you actually get through the filter?  If it is closer to 200 gph, you would be fine with the 9 W.> I do not want to mess around with adapters and different diameter hoses so I started to look at other manufacturers such as Current USA. Replacement UV bulbs and quartz sleeves for Current USA's Gamma model were significantly less expensive than other manufacturers' models.  Their inlet/outlet sizes also matched the 1/2" size of the return line for my Eheim canister filter. I am now strongly considering the Gamma 15 watt or 25 watt model. Do you have any recommendations as to what manufacture I should go with? Is it worth purchasing a couple barb adapters to fit that 18 Watt Coralife Turbo Twist model in. I am only asking again because I have heard good things about the Turbo Twist. <I have one and like it.  It is easy to disassemble for cleaning, and I like that it is a fairly low wattage, more efficient due to dwell time.> Also what wattage would you go with to kill parasites with a 264 GPH flow rate? <This completely depends on the manufacturer.  It's not just the wattage, but the dwell time and configuration that are important.  You need to match the manufacturers' recommendations.   For the Coralife, you would want the 18 W, if you really have this much flow, but this will be more sterilizing than you need for this size tank.  The 9 W is for up to 125 gallons.  Measure your flow and maybe the 9W will work for you after all.  The Current USA models seem to want much higher flow rates for similar wattages, the 15 W should be fine for your tank.> Any comment would be greatly appreciated. I have also given some thought to purchasing a separate pump to power my UV sterilizer, <I like this option, slower is better for sterilizing. A small powerhead should fit somewhere.> but do not have any room to fit a submersible in my tank. I would like to definitely take advantage of my canister and use it as a huge prefilter to feed my UV sterilizer extra clear water. <Also a reasonable option, but then you have this sizing problem.  Plenty more opinions to read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/UVFAQs.htm  > Thank you, Julian L. <Welcome. Alex>

UV Question 8/2/05 Hello; <Hi there> I once sent a mail to WetWeb. I didn't receive a reply. In case you recall that email and my name attached to it, I thought to add a humble apology. At that time I was relatively new (still am though) to fish keeping, but at the same time I didn't want to come across as unknowledgeable for some reason. I was likely tired and frustrated that evening trying to find answers on-line to my problems. So I may have "over-stated / emphasized" some need to establish a lack of ignorance on my part while asking questions. I likely did not come across well - so sorry. <No worries> I have been reading on WetWeb for several months. I wind up in your archive somewhere every time I have questions. Thanks for having that info available free to the public, and thanks up front if you have time to assist me here, please. <Welcome> UV Sterilizers: I've read through your UV info; but could not find info regarding over-sizing UV's and effects on temp. <Usually not a real issue... as the wattage described is not the watts added... especially with most modern units that are sleeved...> A tech aid at Dr. Foster&Smith recently told me that you cannot go too big regarding UV wattage. <Practically this is so> Also - they post a chart stating required flow rates for parasite kills. (btw - I have read your statements regarding UV's actual effect on parasites and the narrow range / requirements within which any benefit exists. I understand UV may not be an effective guard - and I do use HT / QT, btw.) <Ah, good... UV is a useful adjunct....> Even still I plan to purchase UV's, and to use this simple standard (running the Turbo Twist models): -- On QT / HT I'll run 9w UV in-line using a Hydor Prime-10 (80 gph) -- On all tanks less than 55 gal I'll run 18w in-line to a Hydor Prime-20 (155gph) -- For tanks 55 gal to 90, I'll use 36w and a Hydor Prime 30 (230gph) -- anything bigger I'll use 55w UV +,  and maybe a Filstar XP3 (350gph). My concern is if I use, say, an 18w UV with a Hydor Prime-20 on a 20gal / 30gal tank - or a 36w on a 55gal tank - (using the Hydors), then what would be the temperature effect of this over-sizing / low flow-rate attempt? <Almost negligible, as you will find> Will I need a chiller? <Not unless you need one already> I have an air-conditioned home; but in the summer my tanks always stay about 80 deg F regardless - so I'm concerned that  the larger UV's will only lead into chiller costs too. Thank You Scott K <These fluorescent UV lamps run quite cool. No problem. 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> In search of new UV sterilizer units 8/11/05 Hello all! <Wendy> I work for a medium sized aquarium maintenance company and have been given the daunting task of finding a replacement UV sterilizer units for the Aquanetics units we can no longer purchase (since I believe they have gone out of business) <Yes... John (Epps) sold a few years back (we were friends for many years, both live in San Diego...) and the new folks folded> My boss would prefer to use the same type of bulb (with two pins on each end of the bulb). We have tried the new Coral life Turbo-twist UV's and have had no end of problems with units that leak, which in a corporate environment is a disaster. <Yes> We had another company, that I can't currently remember the name of, which made very nice units, and then went out of business after 6 months. What we need is a unit that is reliable, that uses the same bulbs as the Aquanetics, and from a company that is not going to disappear faster than Cinderella after midnight! Please help... Keep getting soaked with UV sterilizers... Wendy Amaral <Contact Chris Buerner at Quality Marine here... perhaps TMC's Vectron units will work for you... They're what our service company used to use, and what they use at Quality... Bob Fenner> UV Sterilizer Brands and Uses  12/16/05 I really appreciate the advice that I have received over the last couple of years. <Your welcome, I'm glad you have found us to be helpful.> Now the UV filter. <Okay.> The Jebo UV filters are almost too good to be true concerning price (around $40 w/pump). Are these just a piece of junk, or can I expect to get some use out of this product? <Well I'll say this, 'You get what you pay for.' While I will not go as far as to say this product is worthless it's quality is no where near as high as say the fixtures made by Coralife/ If you plan on this fixture being a long term component on your system I would invest in something that will last longer.> I am finally investing in a UV filter to try and cut down on some of the free floating algae in my tank. This UV light will help to clarify my water due to this problem correct? <To some degree yes. There is a lot of controversy as to whether UV sterilizes help, I think the important thing to remember is that they are indiscriminate, they will kill the good and bad things that pass through them.  My overall opinion of them is that they are useful tools to have and can be quite helpful in some situations but not necessary or mandatory components by any means. Adam J.> Odd UV Dear Bob, <Steven Pro this morning.> I would like to purchase a Vecton 15 watt UV sterilizer. There is only one active supplier in the US and will not sell to private individuals <Who is he selling to?> and I cannot find anyone who will or can order this for me. Can you help me? <We at WWM do not sell anything other than articles and images. I would contact this vendor again and ask for whom he sells to. One of these places has to be a retailer. Otherwise, I would shop for another brand. If getting the unit is such a hassle, getting replacement lamps will be too.> Thank you, Mona <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Skimmer and UV Thanks for the advice, I will buy the Remora hang-on, I will just have to buy the pump locally because of the different voltage and frequency. Another question: I intend to buy an UV-Sterilizer and I have seen recently the Tetratec UV-Sterilizer with a good price. Please find in the address below its specifications. http://www.shopsolution.nl/shop/home.asp?shopid=seameec&deptid=tetratechniek My aquarium is 230 liters. Do you think it is a good choice? Most display aquariums do not need a UV. They are better employed on the quarantine tank> Is it better to connect it as a by-pass on my external bio filter or to use a separate pump for it? <either way it needs slow flow and very well prefiltered water (chemically and mechanically treated). Anthony>

Any preferences or advices to choose between these sterilizers (9watt lamp) Coralife Turbo-Twist 3x <I see from your next email you made your decision> Custom Sealife U2 Custom Sealife Double Helix They all seem to have max aquarium size u to 125 gals and all claim to be the best :-)  <Very common in the world of advertising. I see many claims as to the best car, but as long as the mileage is decent, and it takes me reliably where I need to go... I personally don't use a sterilizer, and really don't see the need for one on my system, so I'm not up on their qualities. I would advise asking such a question on a forum, you can try ours over at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/index.jsp someone there doubtless knows more about sterilizers than I do. > Thank you, Luke <Sorry I couldn't be of more help, have a good evening, PF>

Goldfish. Hi, <Hey Travel, MacL here with you tonight.> I have two questions... I saw on a website ( http://www.aquadirect.com/catalog/uv/customsealife.htm) a U2 Double Pass UV sterilizer.  I thought CSL (CustomSeaLife) went bankrupt earlier this year?  Are they back in business and operating under a new name? <I believe that while they have gone out of business they is still stock being sold under there name that was made previously. Least that my best guess.> I see the name "Clear Solutions" now is on the pictures?  This sterilizer looks very similar, however different. <Never heard of it but lots do come and go> Second question.  I have a 65 gallon tank with 7 goldfish.  They did fine the past 2 years... 2 weeks ago they suddenly started to go crazy (move like rockets in the tank, bump in the glass, in each other, etc.) when I turn on the lamp/light. <Anyway there is a short in your tank from the lamp> They do fine when the light is not on, they swim around happily, however once I turn on the light all hell breaks loose?  any idea why? What can I do to stop them? <Almost sounds like they are being blinded or shocked in some way.> It appears 1 or 2 of the fish start each time and the others just follow? Thanks for your assistance. Kind Regards, Travel CSL demise issues? Bob: <Steve> I thought you might find this incident interesting, if not a bit scary. You may recall that we speculated while I was in HI (still enjoying the memories, BTW) about the causes of the demise of Custom SeaLife. You mentioned some fire liability issues. Over the months, others have mentioned rumors of lawsuits. <Yes> I had a CSL Double Helix UV that I bought a couple of months before their demise. One day a few months back, I noticed that the light was not on (there's a viewing port). I disconnected the unit, unplugged it and tucked it away in a corner. Recently, I decided to get a new bulb. Well, when I opened the unit, I was shocked to see that water had leaked out of the tube onto the circuitry. There was corrosion and actual thermal burns! Thank God it didn't burn my house down. The thing I can't figure out is why it did not trip my GFCI. Perhaps all owners of this unit should inspect theirs carefully for evidence of internal leakage. <Yeeikes! There is an issue of a secondary "loop" circuit in many wiring arrangements of fluorescent lighting... that can bypass the GFCI circuitry/shutoff> I hope you are well. I regret being unable to afford ($ and time -- busy month including business trip to Madison) to come to MACNA, but look forward to an opportunity to get together again. Steve Allen <Indeed. Steve, do try to come out, enjoy Hawaii with your family. I don't have to be there! Bob F> UV Sterilizer (10/31/04) I am told I should get a Coralife Turbo-Twist? What is it and why should I need it? <I'm going to assume we're talking about saltwater aquariums here, not FW or a pond. It is a brand of UV sterilizer. I am very satisfied with mine. Others of the crew do not believe in UV sterilization, and it is not without cons as well as pros. The concept is that it kills microorganisms in the water (both bad ones and good ones, of course). It may aid in prevention of bacterial and fungal infections and parasitic infestations (e.g.) ich, as well as the spread of algae spores. I'd suggest you read the FAQs regarding UV. There is also an excellent little piece about it in the article on marine parasites by Scott W. Michael in last year's Aquarium USA annual (The 2004 one, which may still be available somewhere, though the 2005 has been out for a couple of months.) Then you can decide if you really "need" (want) one.> Robert M. Levy <Hope this helps, Steve Allen.> Coralife Mega-watt UV Sterilizer Hi Bob, First off, I have your book and I have to say it is very well written and informative. I enjoy it tremendously. Anyway, I am doing an initial investigation on UV sterilizers. A few days ago, I came across a website which was endorsing the Coralife Mega-watt UV sterilizer for it's efficiency, ease of maintenance, and relative low cost. I am wondering whether you have any experience with this particular brand and if so, could you tell me more about it? This will be my first UV sterilizer. Can you make other recommendations, taking into consideration the cost and the ease of installation and maintenance? By the way, I have a 75-gallon FOWLR tank. Thanks. Boon >> Thank you for writing... and yes, I do know the unit (have been to the folks, place that make it for ESU/Coralife)... and rank it about in the middle for "design, construction, utility, overall value"... It's not as bad as some of the other major brands in terms of leakage... or junk ballasting... But I don't own/use this model/brand... My more complete ideas on ultraviolet sterilizers, including a parts list on how to assemble them DIY, and installation are archived in an article at www.wetwebmedia.com and my opinion re the better, best features and the companies that offer them have not changed... for many years. The number one make/models are produced by TMC (Tropical Marine Centre)... and are thankfully distributed in the US (your dealer will know by whom)... For inexpensive, hobbyist-intended applications the TMC/Vecton line is made "for the job"... not just PVC pieces and compression couplings and spare electrical fittings cut/solvented/clipped and pushed together... They come with sleeving... remoteable ballasts, rigged for hanging, and are engineered for maximum kill rate per rated pass... they do the job, last the longest, are a relative joy to work on... In a word, provide VALUE for the money.  Wow, guess this is clear! Thank you for writing. 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>

UV lights and nitrates Hi, I have 90g saltwater with live sand and live rocks, I thinking of buying UV lights but not sure what brand, size watts and gph to run it. I also having problem reducing nitrates in my tank over 60ppm I lost some of my fish already please help me!!!!!( I change my water 25% every week using reverse osmosis not tap water but seems like I can't bring it down no matter what I do.( I should put more live rocks in). (no nitrites or ammonia, ph 8.2) Thank you for your time Randy <Hmm, do re-read your message here... needs proofing... Read over the site mentioned below for articles and FAQ's on lowering nitrates.  An ultraviolet sterilizer for this size system? Hmm kind of depends on rate of flow of water you want to push through it... but a twenty or thirty or so watt unit's about right. My favorite make/model? Do read over the UV piece on the site: www.wetwebmedia.com and the review of the company, Tropical Marine Centre, and look for one of their units (or ask your dealer to order one for you)... Bob Fenner>

UV Sterilizer purchase Bob, I am in the market for a UV sterilizer, my question is my Fluval 304 pumps at 260gph the inline UV sterilizer is labeled at 240gph will I experience any type of problems because since it is inline the filter might over flow because the UV is not dishing out the water flow fast enough. And on your article you mentioned that it si common for a 55 gallon to use a 15watt UV but this UV am going purchase is rated at up to 75 gallons. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Lost and Confused. <You're not that lost or confused... And no problems with the higher rated UV... the "overkill" here is minimal... with no real worries of... adding too much of anything other than perhaps a modicum of waste heat to your system... Bob Fenner>

UV Manufacturer Ratings/Opinions  Bob,  I just recently bought an Aquanetics inline  15watt  UV sterilizer, it is rated at 480 GPH Max flow rate >and recommended 240g max size fishtank.  <Really? Fifteen watts? This isn't much radiation  for such a size system...  but at a low flow rate... of some use>  I on the other hand have a Fluval 304 rated at 260  GPH  running on my 55g fish only tank. Is this too much UV  for my system ?  <Not too much...>  and what do you think of Aquanetics ?  Thank you for your time.  <The owner, John Epps is an old acquaintance and a  good friend of our old  corporation has been there for more than a decade...  and we "live" in the  same town... but their UV products... are  inferior... very common problems  with leaking... no where near the features of better  manufacturers... like  TMC (about the best consumer units on the planet),  Emperor... many others...  My opinions. Bob Fenner>

Where to buy Vecton UV Sterilizers Hello Robert, I am ready for a UV sterilizer and I know you like the Vecton units. Are there any US distributors? <Yes. Quality Marine in Los Angeles imports these units. Their URL and that of the manufacturer (TMC, Tropic Marine Centre of the UK) can be found on the links pages of the www.WetWebMedia.com site. You may need to enlist the help of a local retailer to purchase this unit from Quality. Bob Fenner> Thanks! Steven Berg

Today's FAQs Hi Bob, Rick your reefing friend here. I read in the FAQ today that you think the Rainbow Lifeguard UV's are junk. Why do you say that. I currently own two 40 watt units and both seem to be working fine. One is 4 months old, one is one month old. I respect your opinion and if you have a good reason for not liking the RL units, I would really like to know as I will probably toss them and buy what you recommend. Thanks as always <Perhaps these units have been improved... wouldn't take much... will cut/paste my opinion sent to someone else a few minutes back re: Yikes! If you don't mind, can you tell me what you dislike about the RL UV? <Very poor design, no engineering (the water flow through-path is about the worst you could come up with)... terrible history of ballast failures (we returned all, ALL at Petcos CASCO installs over the first year of use... most within weeks...). Like too many of their products, poorly thought out... Should stop spending money on advertising and go back and make real products first. Really. Their repackaged swimming pool gear (pumps, filters) are okay... the little chotchky aquarium filters, relabeled German pumps made for constant hot water home use... a very bad joke> From the sound of your response, sounds like it might not just be useless, but harmful. Any UV preference for sterilization of pests?  <Yes... Read the site: TMC's...: http://wetwebmedia.com/UVFAQs.htm> <<Be chatting. Bob Fenner>> Rick

UV Sterilizers I currently have a 90 gallon overflow with a 30 gallon sump approx 35-40lbs of live rock, live sand and fish. I was thinking of adding a UV sterilizer and noticed that you dislike the Rainbow Lifeguard products. If I read correctly you recommend the Vectron UV sterilizers, what size would you recommend , my current return pump flow rate is around 300gph. Can you recommend a good online store to purchase these units from ? <Don't know of anyone directly who re-sells TMC's units in the U.S.. Ask your dealer to order a suited size (for something approaching a 100% kill rate per pass) from Quality Marine in Los Angeles. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Patrick Davis Buffalo, NY

UV sterilizer I have been working with saltwater and freshwater fish for two years now. Currently I have a 46 gallon bow front aquarium with a emperor 400, Prizm skimmer, and a VisiTherm heater.  <do upgrade the skimmer as soon as possible (before buying next fish/coral)> I also have about 15 pounds of live rock and some invertebrates. all my fish died from ich) Through the years I have had success and failure and really want to get the failure to go away. I have had the most problems with my saltwater tanks and have learned many lessons in the process.  <hopefully quarantine all fish for 4 weeks without exception was one of them <wink>> I have two questions I have been trying to get answers to for weeks now. The first is do you think I need to add a medium sized canister filter to my tank.  <nope... a fishless invert system would benefit by far with more rock before it would a canister filter> The second question is a little more complicated. I have just purchased a 30 watt U.V sterilizer for my tank with a Rio 1600 powerhead to run it.  <a huge UV for this tank and the water pump is too fast/strong for effective kill time I suspect (consult mfg recommendation for flow rates)> I haven't hooked it up yet but is 30 watts too much for my sized tank. <not too much... but larger than necessary. No harm though> I got a good deal on it and I hope it will keep the parasites off my fish and reduce the algae problems I have been having.  <you will be disappointed about the fish part but delighted about the algae control. UV filters can only kill free-floating parasites... but if you do not QT a fish and bring one into the display with parasites on the body, then they stay there, drop off and some jump back up onto the fish without ever passing through the UV. UV filters have a very strict range of terms under which they will control pathogens... do review archives and FAQ's on this topic (especially recent FAQ's). Any tank with gravel or sand will be difficult to control parasites in if you make the mistake of not QT them> Do U.V sterilizers really help with these problems.  <bulb must be less than 6 months old, water flow slow, water crystal clear and prefiltered (carbon weekly ideal), etc> Thanks for your time and I hope to hear back from you soon. <best regards, Anthony>

A Few Quick Questions (lionfish, UVs) I just added a lion fish to my tank that is full of inverts. The only one am scared he will eat is my cleaner shrimp. So far he has been fine with the shrimp and seems to be begging the shrimp to clean him. I have seen them face to face and the lion did not eat him. What do you think about this situation. <Sounds good now, but no telling if things will change later.> The lion is also the only fish in my tank because all the others died two weeks ago from ich. My fish store told me that after a few weeks the ich would be dead. Is this true? <More likely one month and you are safe.> Are lions pretty good about not getting diseases? <Hardy individuals, but will succumb if exposed and difficult to treat.> I also would like to add a U.V sterilizer to my 46 gallon tank. What size do you think I will need? <Varies by manufacturer.> Will it help in the prevention of diseases? <Somewhat, but not nearly as effective as quarantine and proper husbandry.> Last question is about bristle worms. I have some very small bristle worms in my aquarium they seem so far not to have done any harm. I have read that having some worms can be beneficial to my tank. What do you think? <Yes, almost all are beneficial.> Thanks for your time and I love the site keep up the good work. <Thank you, Steven Pro>

UV Sterilizers Thank you for your prompt response to my earlier question. Do you recommend Custom Sea Life or Aqua Ultra Violet UV Sterilizers? <I do not really recommend any UV's. Far cheaper and more effective to focus on excellent husbandry. If you want, ask around the various chat forum, message boards, or local aquarium societies for recommendations for your fellow hobbyists. -Steven Pro>

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