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UV Disinfecting Unit - Preventative or Overkill?

Dee of CNY

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I've read Braids' discussion in the topic Whole House Nitrate Filter on order! GULP!

I'm still wondering if there is a benefit to installing a UV disinf. unit to keep things healthy or, as one contributer alluded, is it overkill? 

I have a 40 gal. fresh water tank and use our well water. The well is over 100' deep and we've been drinking from it for over 20 years.  We are surrounded by a small patch of woods and beyond those are crop fields.  I think there's a lot of filtration from tree roots and the soil's high lime content in central NY??

Anyhow, before finding Aquarium Co-op, I thought I could just buy live plants, plop them into the tank media and they'd grow just fine. They were dead within a few months. I've since learned they need fertilizing beyond just fish droppings. So I'd like to try live plants but feeding them this time.

I've also experienced my two oldest neons getting Neon Tetra Disease so when I saw that commercial fish stores use UV disinfecting units, I wondered if that would be a good catch-all for my tank. Any thoughts on this?

Thanks so much, Fellow Fish Peeps!!  🐡🐟 🐠


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UV lights are potentially very good, but need to be used right. The flow rate through the light needs to be right. Too fast and there's not enough time for the UV light to kill any pathogens in the water. The bulbs dim fairly quickly and typically need to be replaced on a yearly basis. Exposure time to the UV light and the light intensity needs to be right for them to be effective. I typically see them used more in koi ponds, but that's more for algae control than fish health. If there are no harmful pathogens currently in your water, then there's nothing you gain from using a UV light. Commercial stores use UV lights because often all of their tanks are on one system and they're constantly adding new fish to the system. There's not so much a risk of infection as a certainty of it. Even the simple act of netting fish for customers can spread disease from one tank to another. For them, UV lights make sense. For a typical home aquarist, not so much. 

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