UV Sterilizers for Aquariums; Forum/ Blog Hall of Shame -5; About.com, Fish Channel
Once again in my research I stumbled upon a gem of poorly researched anecdotal information posted by about.com, which unfortunately seems to be common with this website, which is sad considering their internet prominence, at least on Google, which is another reason to avoid using Google in serious searches.
As well Fish Channel among others also brought up incorrect anecdotal information about UV Sterilizer use.
While there is some excellent information in this article, such as "Most effective if UV bulb is new, or replaced regularly (at least every 6-8 months)", there are several misleading or factually incorrect comments or implications.
Here are some quotes from about.com and Fish Channel, then refutations:
*"Suggested wattages are 4-8 watts for 20-40 gallon aquariums, 20-25 watts for 50-100 gallons, and 40 watts for larger aquariums."
Refutation; Better is to consider flow rate and tank turnover rate. A flow rate of 25 gph per watt and a turnover of at least twice per hour (not counting recirculation on a sump) using a An average UV Sterilizer is a much better starting spot for UV Sterilizer wattage/size.
Often when I was called out on a service call and found an ineffective UV that a client installed on their aquarium or pond it was that the flow rate was too high. This was quite common with ponds and UVs installed on high flow rate sump pumps.
This was easily taken care of using a diverter valve so as to divert part of the water the UV Sterilizer/clarifier at a correct slower rater for the given wattage.
*"Using this method of treating water is quite controversial amongst aquarists. Some consider it to be a waste of money, not all that effective, or suitable for fish-only, but unnatural for reef tanks, while others feel it does have its benefits for either type of system."
Refutation; this actually is correct, as there are many anecdotal, misinformed aquarists who miss the researched benefits for use of UV Sterilizers in aquariums.
HOWEVER about.com words this in a way that would make any newbie wonder if this is a good investment rather than qualifying this statement as anecdotal.
There are those that say the Earth is flat (the Flat Earth Society), but that does not make it true any more than stating that being controversial sheds a question on whether or not UV Sterilizers are truly beneficial.
What is missed by such anecdotal comments as to this so-called controversy, is besides aiding in the spread of disease pathogens, cloudy water & "algae blooms", a UV Sterilizer can help with fish immunity by improving the Redox Balance in an aquarium.
See these articles:
The Aquarium Redox
Aquarium UV Sterilizer Articles
*"Should never be run when treating with any drugs or medications."
Refutation; this is only partially correct, and stating half truths is not good information in my opinion.
As stated in this article: ""Aquarium UV Sterilization; How it Works", chemical such as Malachite Green are not broken down where as Quinine Hydrochloride is broken down. For more information about UVC light sensitive chemicals, see the above referenced article.
*"The general consensus is that an aquarist that has a well maintained and un-crowded aquarium, as well as follows good quarantine procedures when introducing new specimens to their system, a UV light filter is not necessary."
Refutation; this comment left me both laughing and crying.
Whose consensus is this, the "Flat Earth Societies"?
I sure do not know any persons with UV Sterilization expertise asked this question, and if they were they certainly would not have agreed!!
This is not to say a UV Sterilizer is a must, HOWEVER every test I have conducted over the years (including an extensive one with goldfish), showed that the addition of a properly set up and well designed UV Sterilizer improved health & longevity even in well kept, fed, etc. aquariums.
The only possible exception might be a Reef tank used to raise large amounts of infusoria, ‘pods’, etc. (& even here my correct application of UV Sterilization caused little or no detectable problems).
*"Implementation of a UV sterilizer on your freshwater aquarium would be a waste of money. I would continue to keep good water quality in your freshwater aquarium, feed premium foods to your discus fish, and monitor where any new discus fish are coming from."
Refutation; This quote is from Fish Channel, another often anecdotal website.
This is another one of those statements I do not know whether to laugh or cry.
Yes good water quality is a must for Discus health, HOWEVER a UV Sterilizer is an important aspect of maintaining water quality, especially for sensitive fish such as Discus, in part by the FACT a level one UV Sterilizer can improve the Redox Balance which is a parameter of water quality!!
While his statement that a UV Sterilizer would be a "waste of money" is 100% incorrect, I would also not state it is essential, HOWEVER in my maintenance business I recorded considerable differences in Discus health, longevity, and Redox Balance in the aquariums with UV Sterilizers versus those without that along with marine aquariums, I later would not accept any service contract (since I provided fish guarantees at my expense) to any potential client unwilling to install a good quality UV Sterilizer!
BTW, since many of this persons who slam the use of UVC Sterilization state it is not natural, since when is a closed aquarium system natural??
Even if you could somehow provide the constant addition of positive mineral ions and other aspects of an open river or ocean system to a closed aquarium system (which you cannot), many fish would still benefit with longer lives because of the improvement to water quality a UV Sterilizer provides.
Thinking a UV Sterilizer is un-natural is analogous to stating we as humans should leave our modern societies and live in our own sewage and without modern medicine (this worked out real well in the middle ages didn't it??).
PLEASE read these articles for vastly better UV Sterilization information (with current research):
"ULTRAVIOLET STERILIZATION (How UV sterilization works)"
The above is a MUST read for anyone desiring researched and in depth information about the use and set up of a UV Sterilizer so as to step up to a higher level of aquarium care.
*AQUARIUM AND POND UV STERILIZER ARTICLES
*UV Sterilizer Directory
OR for an excellent pump to run your UV Sterilizer: Rio Pumps