Ultraviolet sterilizers for aquariums can help rid the water of microorganisms, but there are several pros and cons.

Experienced hobbyists have their preferences about various factors, and whether or not to use ultraviolet sterilizers for aquariums is one of them. If you have heard about the use of UV sterilizers and are wondering if you should get one for your aquarium, here are some factors you should consider first.

What is the purpose of ultraviolet sterilizers in aquariums?

 A UV sterilizer uses a germicidal fluorescent lamp that produces light at a wavelength of about 254 nanometers. To control infections, it kills microorganisms by cycling water past the ultraviolet bulb. It works in conjunction with a properly functioning filtration system.

The sterilizers only target free-floating bacteria, algae, and parasites. They are not effective in killing organisms that have already adhered themselves to fish or rocks.

You can hook them up to your filter or purchase stand-alone sterilizers.

What are the benefits of using UV sterilizers?

UV sterilizers offer several benefits for aquarium environments.

  • They aid in keeping the water cleaner.
  • They can keep the fish protected from organisms that might make them sick.
  • The appearance of the light can beautify the fish tank and bring out the color of coral and colorful fish.
  • They can be especially useful in a pond environment. The sterilizers can help minimize the natural growth that you might not want in the pond, and the light can make the animals more visible.
  • If you cannot see these organisms, it can be difficult to minimize them, hence the purpose of a sterilizer.

Are there any disadvantages?

There are several downsides to the use of ultraviolet sterilizers in aquariums, so consider them carefully before adding one to your aquarium.

  • In order to produce enough heat to kill the microorganisms, the bulb typically needs replacement every six months. The initial purchase can be anywhere from $25 to a couple hundred dollars depending on the quality and features.
  • Some people believe that having both a filtration system and a UV sterilizer in the tank is overkill, so to speak. You do want some algae and other organisms in the tank, so you may wish to control how often the sterilizer is used.
  • An important disadvantage of ultraviolet sterilizers is that they can make medication ineffective. The sterilizer will essentially break up the components of the medication, possibly even creating a dangerous environment in the tank. You should turn the sterilizer off before adding medication in the aquarium.
  • Depending on their size and other factors, some bacteria are more resistant to the radiation than others.
  • The light needs to be able to penetrate the water, so it will not be as effective in water that is murky or dirty. Along those lines, it also typically works better in freshwater tanks than saltwater tanks.
  • Prolonged exposure to UV light may possibly damage fishes’ retinas and may be harmful to embryos.

For more information about the pros and cons of ultraviolet sterilizers for aquariums, contact us by phone at (602) 628-7270 or send us a message through the Seatech H2O website.

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