UV for Reef

Richard Kagen

Well-Known Member
BRS Member
#1
I have spent about 2 hours this AM researching UV sterilizers. I now known that they are the best thing since sliced bread, snake oil. They kill ICK, they do nothing...
Without opening a kettle of fish here, do people run them? Watt/gallons? Sump loop or branch on the return? Thanks
 

ReefAddict

Well-Known Member
BRS Member
#3
I've used my Aqua UV 25 watt in my 140 gallon system and I just got 57watt for my new build (~285 gallons). I think they are not necessary by any means but I feel like they help and keep my water extra clear.
 
#4
Do you think they kill of plankton and other microscopic critters that are beneficial to a reef tank. I agree with all the above statements just wonder if they could do more harm than good?
 

GraniteReefer

Well-Known Member
BRS Member
#5
Ran one for months on my Innovative Marine 40, I used the midsize 9w aquashield by IM. My clowns always had some unidentifiable skin parasite(only affected clowns for 2 1/2 years)that has disappeared even when UV is offline. Valuable tool in my opinion as it ended the free floating part of the life cycle for that parasite. Also the tank houses two mandarins, and while they are trained to pellet they still had plenty of pods while the UV was running. I plan on eventually running one on my new reefer 250 and probably 24/7
 

Arsalan

_____Reef Junkie_____ BRS Vice President
BRS Member
Officer
#6
I used to have ick break outs in my first tank before I got a UV sterilizer and fish would often die from it. After I got it, even if one fish had ick and a couple more got it from that fish, they would lose the ick after a few days and none would die from it.
I now run them 24/7 in all my systems. I have two 36w coralife fixtures on my 210 (~300g) system and haven't had any ick issues. I also have tons of pods. I think filter socks are worse for pod populations than UV sterilizers.
hope this helps!
 

Cpage101

Corey- 2019 BRS BOD
BRS Member
Officer
#7
I have run the Aqua UV 25 watt on my 120g system. I too did the same research as you. I was apprehensive but now that I am running a U.V. i’m wondering why I waited so long, since I already had the unit. lol!


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#8
UV Sterilizers are best thought of as Insurance to prevent or stop a fish parasite outbreak.
YES, they will kill some plankton larvae, but this effect is very very minor. Your Mandarins and corals will still have plenty of copepods and zooplankton to eat.
And since >90% of all aquarium problems are related to human error, it is a necessity.
The primary benefit of a UV Sterilizer (if sized large enough, and maintained properly) is that it will kill the fish parasites when they are in their water-borne larvae stage.
Ick for example has 3 stages to its life cycle:
1) in the substrate (dormant)
2) on the fish (active). This is the white specs.
3) in the water column (active). This is when the larvae are swimming looking for a host, and it is this stage that the UV can kill.

So a properly sized and maintained UV Sterilizer can prevent or even stop an ick outbreak.

How to size (the simplified version):
It is always (ALWAYS) better to go with an oversized UV rather than an undersized one.

LOW = kills water-borne bacteria (such as a bacteria bloom; tank looks like someone spilled some milk in it)
MEDIUM = kills water-borne algae cells (single cell algae growing in water column); tank looks like the water is died green.
HIGHEST = kills water-borne parasite larvae such as ick.

An undersized UV Sterilizer is useless and a waste of money (your tank will get no benefit).

Most off-the-shelf UV Sterilizers have a recommended tank size that is designed to keep the price as low as possible, thus only for killing water-borne bacteria and algae and are not strong enough for killing ick.
For example, if the box says this 40w unit is sized for a 300gallon tank (undersized for , then go with the next size up UV model and choose the 80w unit.

UV STERILIZER MAINTENANCE:
1) change bulb(s) every 12 months
2) replace gasket that seals around the quartz sleeve every 12 months. Some UV bulbs produce ozone, which degrades the rubber gasket.
3) check/clean quartz sleeve every 3 months for mineral/scale build up. In reef systems especially, mineral/scale build up on the quartz sleeve will block light from the UV bulb from doing its job. Quartz sleeve can be cleaned with an acid bath (soak overnight in vinegar/water solution). Some people even use Muriatic acid for instant results but this is very caustic/dangerous stuff.


A properly sized AND maintained UV Sterilizer significantly reduces the chances of an ick outbreak, and can even stop an outbreak, and in my opinion is well worth the expense.


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Arsalan

_____Reef Junkie_____ BRS Vice President
BRS Member
Officer
#10
thanks all, this is very helpful, just ordered an Aqua UV 15watt 2000 for my 60 cube, should be up and running this week on a sump loop i am building
In case you weren’t planning to, I’d include a valve in that loop to lower the flow. The lower the flow, the more effective the UV sterilizer will be, especially if it’s not very high wattage.


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Richard Kagen

Well-Known Member
BRS Member
#11
In case you weren’t planning to, I’d include a valve in that loop to lower the flow. The lower the flow, the more effective the UV sterilizer will be, especially if it’s not very high wattage.


Thank you for the suggestion. I have a DC pump that is getting a DIY acrylic prefilter box in the sump going to a 4 outlet PVC manifold with each outlet having a ball valve for UV, Media reactor, algae scrubber (future) and Spare (Bio pellet?). Each item will flow back gravity to the pump section of the sump so i can see the flow rate to monitor and adjust.

At some point I will post a build thread...
 

MURedhawk

Reef Rookie Forever
BRS Member
#12
I use classic Aqua UV 15W on my 100.3 Waterbox and run a loop back into the sump from a “T” off the return pump line.
It has ball valve to slow flow through it for better efficacy. You will like the Aqua UV.
 

Richard Kagen

Well-Known Member
BRS Member
#13
I use classic Aqua UV 15W on my 100.3 Waterbox and run a loop back into the sump from a “T” off the return pump line.
It has ball valve to slow flow through it for better efficacy. You will like the Aqua UV.
Thanks, I actually plumbed in in today. I am kicking myself for building my sump out of a 29. The a last ones I did were in 55s but i figured that the display is only 60... did not think through all of the appliance I want in this build.
 

Richard Kagen

Well-Known Member
BRS Member
#14
I have been messing with fish tanks since 1980 including starting with SW around 1984 (anyone remember PJ's Pets). I don't think I have ever seen water as clear as it is just 24 hours into life with UV.
 

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