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Ultraviolet Inline Clarifier?


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From what I've researched, UV sterilizers are good to have as they kill some bacteria and algae in the water column. They only kill bacteria that passes directly over the light, so they are typically housed in an enclosure that you hookup inline with your filter. They are meant to be on 24x7, and you may need to replace bulbs every 6 months or so. If memory serves me correctly Ben Ochart recommends them in one of his YouTube vids on water clarity. 

My Sunsun 304B has one built into the filter. I currently don't leave it on 24x7 because I've heard some people have had issues with it eventually melting the media trays, which are very close to it. I may look into a different external unit. 

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I owned one for a couple of years, and it did what it advertised to do. It messed with the DNA of some free floating bacteria and algae in the water and caused them not to be able to reproduce. That can help with water clarity, but in the end it wasn't worth it and water clears up rather nicely on its own eventually.

I like gadgets and will buy just about anything, but what I continue to use in the long run is a different story.

I just purchased some really cool looking gadgets that will probably turn out to be disappointing, but more on that later....

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Fluval just released one that I thought looks pretty neat. Haven't tested it though. I do believe UV sterilizers are a good thing and some day Aquarium Co-Op will release a version that aims to check all the boxes. For now, I reserve the use of them for fighting green water essentially.

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What @Cory said.  I had a tank that was prone to making green water, I did not want green water in this particular tank and it was becoming a water-change side show.  I put one of these on it and no more green water.  Just keep the flow rate low so you get good contact time.

https://aquaultraviolet.com/products/uv-sterilizers/advantage-series/

Edited by KBOzzie59
Price - You can get them off Amazon for a bunch less than their MSRP.
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No one has mentioned this but the UV light also kills free swimming disease organisms like ICK. So while you may not want or be able to put one in all your tanks you may want to put one in your main display tank especially if you’ve got some expensive fish in it. I use the Green Killing Machine. Just my 2 cents. 

Edited by Paul
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14 minutes ago, Paul said:

No one has mentioned this but the UV light also kills free swimming disease organisms like ICK. So while you may not want or be able to put one in all your tanks you may want to put one in your main display tank especially if you’ve got some expensive fish in it. I use the Green Killing Machine. Just my 2 cents. 

Posts 2 & 3 may have mentioned that.   @Daniel nailed it, it does not actually kill the organisms it just renders them unable to reproduce.

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2 hours ago, Cory said:

Fluval just released one that I thought looks pretty neat. Haven't tested it though. 

Ha, I thought so as well because I have four x07 Fluval filters that it is "designed" to hook up to using their tubing... when I clicked the "where to buy" link petco/smart came up but they don't have it... emailed Fluval, they said it won't be available to general public until November.

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33 minutes ago, KBOzzie59 said:

Posts 2 & 3 may have mentioned that.   @Daniel nailed it, it does not actually kill the organisms it just renders them unable to reproduce.

I’m going to have disagree with you here. Everything I’ve read on this subject says UV sterilization kills free swimming pathogens and micro organisms. 

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5 minutes ago, Paul said:

I’m going to have disagree with you here. Everything I’ve read on this subject says UV sterilization kills free swimming pathogens and micro organisms. 

I work in water/wastewater, it only sterilizes the organism.  A sterile organism is no longer able to reproduce and the organism goes away via direct treatment or the end of it's life cycle.

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As I said earlier everything I've read on the subject says the result of UV sterilization is the the death of the irradiated organism. 

This explanation sums it up the best.

A UV sterilizer is a component of your filtration system. You place it last in your filtration line, after your mechanical filter. Water then flows through the sterilizer and is exposed to ultraviolet light. The light sterilizes the water. This kills parasites, viruses, and algae, as well as any other microorganisms in the water.

It works by irradiating these microorganisms with light at a wavelength that mutates their DNA. This mutation makes them unable to reproduce. As a result, the growth and spread of infections are halted. Since it affects only free-floating microorganisms in the water that passes through the device, you don’t need to worry about your livestock.

So at the end of the day free swimming pathogens  are dead and no longer a threat to your fish after they pass through the sterilizer and that's all most fish keepers care about.

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"So at the end of the day free swimming pathogens  are dead"

No they are still very much a threat until they actually die.  Key word here is sterilize!  Did you not read what I posted?  Like I said I work in water/wastewater treatment and deal with this regularly.

The organisms only die at the end of their life cycle unless directly treated (usually chlorine).

But hey what do I know, it's only what I do for a living.

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37 minutes ago, KBOzzie59 said:

"So at the end of the day free swimming pathogens  are dead"

No they are still very much a threat until they actually die.  Key word here is sterilize!  Did you not read what I posted?  Like I said I work in water/wastewater treatment and deal with this regularly.

The organisms only die at the end of their life cycle unless directly treated (usually chlorine).

But hey what do I know, it's only what I do for a living.

Look I'm not looking to argue with you about this but  this is the information that's out there. I've even found scientific reports that say the same thing just a lot wordier. If you have an issue with the information I posted you can start with these people. They had the most succinct description of how UV sterilization works. https://livingartaquatics.com/how-will-a-uv-sterilizer-benefit-my-home-aquarium/ 

The accepted definition of sterilize as it pertains to this discussion is 

ster·i·li·za·tion
/ˌsterələˈzāSH(ə)n,ˌsterəˌlīˈzāSH(ə)n/
noun
  1. the process of making something free from bacteria or other living microorganisms.
    "disinfection and sterilization of surgical equipment"
     
Edited by Paul
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We're not talking about disinfection here we're talking about sterilization. Sterilization is distinct from disinfection, sanitization, and pasteurization, in that those methods reduce rather than eliminate all forms of life and biological agents present. After sterilization, an object is referred to as being sterile or aseptic.

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I’m not really enjoying the argument.  
 

question asked: are us sterilizers worth it?
short answer: yes, kinda.

UV sterilizers will clean up the water column.  Quoating  Green Killing Machine, “by killing or inactivating unwanted organisms.”  But the Uv light degrades over time, and needs replaced periodically.  
 

I had an issue with green water, bought an undersized sterilizer an put the UV light on a timer.  Water cleared up.  I recommend them if you have an issue.  But if it’s not broken, ....

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@Ken BurkeI wasn’t looking to get in an argument and I’m sorry if it looks that way. After I was called out on my first reply I thought maybe I missed something when I researched UV sterilizers before I bought the unit I now use so I spent over an hour (I was sitting on the beach) reading articles ,avoiding anything posted by a manufacturer,  on aquarium VU sterilization and they all essentially said the same thing. Which I posted. Granted it was a long time ago but I did major in Biology in college so I have some idea what sterilization entails. Again I’m sorry if this got out of hand. 

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11 hours ago, Jeremy B said:

https://www3.epa.gov/npdes/pubs/uv.pdf

So listed here on the first page it states its just for inactivation

https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/disinfection/disinfection-methods/miscellaneous.html

The CDC also only lists UV for disinfection, and not sterilization.

@Jeremy B  You're talking apple and oranges here. Both of these articles are about the use of UV in other applications. Our aquariums are neither sewage treatment plants (the EPA article) or operating rooms (CDC article). Although the CDC article did say this "Bacteria and viruses are more easily killed by UV light than are bacterial spores". The point of my comments are that I did not find a single source that said the aquarium UV sterilization lights don't do what the manufacturers said they do which is kill algae and pathogens of fish that are in the water column. How the UV sterilizer produces that result is irrelevant to most hobbyists. If you can find an article on aquarium UV sterilizers that say otherwise please share it with us.

Edited by Paul
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8 minutes ago, Paul said:

@Jeremy B  You're talking apple and oranges here. Both of these articles are about the use of UV in other applications. Our aquariums are neither sewage treatment plants (the EPA article) or operating rooms (CDC article). Although the CDC article did say this "Bacteria and viruses are more easily killed by UV light than are bacterial spores". The point of my comments are that I did not find a single source that said the aquarium UV sterilization lights don't do what the manufacturers said they do which is kill algae and pathogens of fish that are in the water column. How the UV sterilizer produces that result is irrelevant to most hobbyists. If you can find an article on aquarium UV sterilizers that say otherwise please share it with us.

https://www.int-res.com/articles/meps/6/m006p295.pdf
Spotte (1979) reviewed the use of UV radiation in aquatic animal culture. Some pathogens always sur- vive, despite kill rates that sometimes approach 100 % at the contact site. Animals maintained in closed sys- tems thus are subject to possible reinfection from water returning from the sterilizer, the degree of reinfection depending on the virulence and concentration of the pathogen and the immune status of the host. Bullock and Stuckey (1977) studied the effect of UV radiation on bacterial counts of salmonid hatchery water. In some instances, bacteria at the contact site were reduced 99.99 %, but the authors cautioned against placing undue emphasis on the results, because the number of bacteria necessary to transmit disease is difficult to predict. They pointed out that, in their experiments, a 99.99 % kill of a pathogen at a cell density of 104 ml-' would leave only 1.0 ml-'. They concluded that even this low concentration might be adequate to transmit disease during intensive culture if the pathogen is virulent, considering the growth potential of bacteria.

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Thanks for this but you couldn’t find anything more current? This study may have been relevant in the early 80’s but there’s 40 years separating this study from current tech. Think of it as comparing a car from the 80’s and a current model. Newer cars are more powerful and efficient than  anything that could of been produced in the 80’s. Isn’t 99.9% kill rate considered sterilized?

Edited by Paul
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1 minute ago, Paul said:

Thanks for this but you couldn’t find anything more current? This study may have been relevant in the early 80’s but there’s 40 years separating this study from current tech. Think of it as comparing a car from the 80’s and a current model. Newer cars are more powerful and efficient than  anything that could of been produced in the 80’s

So can you find me an article with sources that states the opposite? A legit paper not an aquarium blog.

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http://aquaticcommons.org/16352/1/BJFR1.1_001.pdf

Page 6 has a graph demonstrating the UV setup did not eliminate all, with a further reduction of using chlorine and UV. unfortunately the paper is more about usage of chlorine and uv combined but even still there wasn't a full reduction of bacteria

http://www.animalplanet.com/search/algae/

The UV sterilizer utilizes a germicidal fluorescent lamp that produces light at a wavelength of approximately 254 nanometers (2537 Angstroms). The water with the bacteria/algae passes over the bulb (or around the bulb if a quartz sleeve is used) and is irradiated with this wavelength. As the light penetrates the bacteria/algae, it mutates the DNA (genetic material), preventing growth/multiplication of the organism.

These guys sell UV, which I wouldn't hold much weight in due to the sales aspect but they agree:

https://www.aquaultraviolet.com/drupal/sites/default/files/instructions/Instructions-Classic-and-Twist-Series-06-25-2015.pdf

The Ultraviolet Lamp emits a germicidal ray which alters or disrupts the DNA or RNA of single celled organ-isms such as algae, bacteria and protozoa. By properly implementing an Aqua Ultraviolet System in-line, these organisms can be eradicated effectively without any harmful residuals.

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