Yahoo!-ABC News Network . Information how a UV Sterilizer & clarifier works. Why Aquarium, Pond UVC Sterilization is important for green water control, fish disease prevention, & Redox.
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Aquarium & Pond UV Sterilization. FACTORS DETERMINING THE BEST UV STERILIZER FOR LEVEL 1 STERILIZATION: Understanding the following points is ESSENTIAL prior to purchasing ANY UV Sterilizer.
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It is also noteworthy that many UV Sterilizers CANNOT achieve these points & in Fact are ONLY clarifiers and thus are a waste of money if one desires TRUE level 1 UV Sterilization (or higher)!! I will state based on many years experience and experimentation that will the calculations provided here are THE MOST accurate, not exaggerated claims by many UV manufacturers. Dwell/ Exposure Time is closely related to water flow, however with many of the compact UV Sterilizers and even more so pressurized pond or aquarium canister filters with UVs the difference IS important. Put simply if you have a 9 Watt compact UVC Bulb with approximately 5 inches of lamp exposure versus an 8 watt HO Straight tube with approximately 1. UVC Sterilizer is going to have a higher m. W/cm. 2 even with one less watt of energy.
This is a very simple explanation, and there is more to this including sterilizer design, etc., however this is where a High Dwell/Exposure Time UV Sterilizer will beat any compact UV Sterilizer. More in the section about UVC Penetration.
An example of design having an effect on exposure/dwell time is having water deflection shields where the water enters and exists the UV Sterilizer at the connections/hose barbs (such as in TMC UVs). These shields will not only help move water the entire length of the Sterilizer body, but also keep the water flow less linear and thus keep any particulates we wish to sterilize in the unit longer (more about design later in the article)Product Reference: TMC High Dwell Time UV Sterilizers. Please read this section for more on this important subject: DWELL TIME; A Controlled Experiment(This is a MUST READ for any pond or aquarium keeper serious about UV Sterilization and/or Clarification!).
The even higher efficiency (& dwell time) Pro Clear UV 3. Generally even the lower end models commonly sold at discounters such as Amazon can perform Clarification, albeit at much lower flow rates, which is why many of these models are incorrectly named and inappropriately come up in Google Searches as UV Sterilizers when in FACT these are UV Clarifiers ONLY, NOT Level 1 or Higher UV Sterilizers! Simply put, in clarification, algae cells are not killed (as the UVC strength and dwell time is not enough to kill), rather they are clumped by the UV energy, which causes the algae .
This is often not 1. UV Sterilizer should not be relied on as the sole preventative for these parasites! My observations and tests over the years has shown about a 1. Sterilization. While level one provides a definite difference over clarification for over all fish/aquarium health, the difference from level one to two is not as noteworthy. It is also noteworthy the incidence's of Ich/Crytocaryon are lower with level one over clarification or no UV at all, not because this level kills the parasite, but only that the fish is generally in better health to fend off the infestation.
See the Facts/Myths section later in this article for more about parasite control. Please see the section (. Admittedly this is a VERY basic and simplistic rule, with other factors such as flow design, interior wall gap from UV bulb, & even actual output of UVC per watt (Versus other wave lengths). For instance water pump or filter rated at 4. For a positive check of flow rate, simply use a stop watch (many cell phones have this feature), and place a container under the outlet. For example if one gallon is filled within 1.
Many people are surprised how slow their pump actually is after applying head pressure. Some pumps or filters lose head pressure more quickly than others (such as the Hagen Fluval), while other pumps are specifically designed to maintain higher head pressure over greater vertical distances (such as the Rio HF Series Water Pumps). See also this article about head pressure: Head Pressure in Aquarium and Pond Water Pumps.
Product Resource: Rio HF Series High Flow Water Pumps. For instance a pump with a 1 inch outlet port that is rated at 2. In fact a popular Pond UV that uses HO (High Output) UVC Bulbs (5. UVC bulbs of half the wattage.
The TMC 1. 10 Watt Pro Pond UV is much more effective than the popular HO UVs of 1. TMC uses two 5. 5 watt of 3.
This is better than adding just a ball valve which will add back pressure and then also slow flow rates making the filter system less efficient. A diverter of this method using a PVC T or Poly Insert Hose Barb 'T's is preferable to the use of a direct flow diverter built into the UV Sterilizer itself, whether it be a pond or high flow aquarium system. The reason is these flow through diverters cause turbulence where the water enters the UV and the result is a poor flow rate through the UV even if the valve bypassing the UV is partly closed. This principle applies to aquarium systems too! It is noteworthy that this does not mean you cannot use the UV Sterilizers that have this feature (which includes a couple of the AAP/Sun.
Sun Terminator UVs), just to not utilize this feature and to plumb as with a pvc or hose barb diverter (as shown in the picture)(B) Aquarium or Pond Water Turnover Rate. It is important to have a flow rate that will turn over the pond or aquarium at least once every 2 to 3 hours for green algae control, once every 1 to 1. Level One Sterilization), or 2. I have achieved effective level one disease sterilization as tested with a bacterial cloud with as little as once per two hours with a good installation in an otherwise well maintained aquarium). While higher turn over rates compared to slower flow rates in the UV might seem counterintuitive, it is not when one looks at the reason why. The reason for higher turn rates for higher levels of UV Sterilization is to provide a better chance for all pathogens to get proper UVC exposure and to not recover before passing back through the UV Sterilizer once again. Said another way, UVC light prevents that normal bacterial or other pathogen DNA splitting and the resulting DNA is so damaged that it cannot possibly combine with another strand of DNA to form a new organism.
So by having a higher turnover, along with longer dwell time, this more readily prevents the recovery of these pathogens. When applied, this means the same UV Sterilizer that might work for level one sterilization will not work for level two sterilization and a larger size is needed.
As one example, a Vecton 8 watt with a flow rate of 1. OK, so a larger UV with a higher flow rate of 1. This is explained with more examples in the What size UV is best. This too results in re- circulation of UVC irradiated water while most of the aquarium does not benefit from the use of the UV Sterilizer. This is also why a submersible UV Sterilizer will never work correctly when placed in a sump, especially for level 1 or higher UV Sterilization. While a well designed submersible UV (such as the Sun. Sun CUP series) might be OK for in tank operation, they are mostly useless in a sump!
With a sump the water needs to be returned directly to the aquarium after passing through the UV Sterilizer for maximum efficiency not connected with pick up and return from the sump). HOWEVER, I will point out one exception; A long sump (such as 2. The test is simple, by placing a dye into the inlet and watching to see if the water goes directly from the inlet to the pump, without any circular motion within the sump.
If this checks out, then connect the UV Sterilizer with a separate pump placed near the inlet and the outlet from the UV near the pump that is returning water to the aquarium. Please click on the picture to enlarge. Often this seeming contradiction of low flow rate versus higher turn over rate confuses some persons, but it is logical when one thinks about it, hopefully the table below or the more in depth sections further in this article will shed more light on this important aspect of correct UV Sterilization. Another way to look at this is if you have a 7. Then if using a high dwell time UV such as the the TMC Vecton or Aqua Ultraviolet, a 2. Keep in mind that two 2.
UVs can be placed on line or on separate loops at opposite ends of the aquarium for larger aquariums. Also note that this example is for level 2 Sterilization, and that most situations call for only level 1 Sterilization for which a high dwell time UV as small as 8 watts would be all that is needed. Also many connect their Aquarium UVs to high flow sump pump that provides a flow rate well above level one sterilization. As well many will correctly install a UV Sterilizer for their pond, ignoring the importance of good filtration combined with UV Sterilization. A correctly installed UV Clarifier often will not over come poor filtration and circulation.
The diagram/picture above left provides some flow rates for high pressure pond/pool pumps rated in HP (horse power) rather than flow rates that are occasionally used in larger ponds. This diagram can help determine flow rates at certain head pressures if you own such a pump (please click to enlarge). It is noteworthy that these pumps in 1/2 HP or higher do not even loose flow to head pressure until after 1. Flow Rate & Turnover Rate Table: This table assumes: Low water turbidity (meaning pre- filtration) A water temperature between 2.
C (6. 8 F) and 4. C (1. 04 F) A gap of 3 cm or less between the bulb or quartz sleeve and the wall of the unit A reasonable dwell time, as most low cost, filter equipped UVs, and submersible UVs have poor dwell time. Reference: UV Sterilizer Dwell Time A GOOD water flow pattern inside the aquarium or pond.
A clean Quartz sleeve/lamp. A hot cathode Low Pressure UV bulb/lamp with less than 6 months continuous use (NOT an old or cheap medium pressure UV bulb now so often sold on the Internet for $1. If a medium pressure bulb is used (commonly sold at discounters), you will need divide the maximum flow rate by 1/3 to 1/4.