It is always important that you keep the aquarium clean at all times to make sure that the inhabitants are living in a great environment.
One of the best ways to keep the aquarium clean would be using the UV sterilizer.
The UV sterilizer will help with controlling the infections by stopping the spread of any microorganisms in the water.
That is not all, as it can still be used to control the free-floating algae that is likely to form in the water.
The best part is that the UV sterilizer will not kill the fish and does not have any residual effect that might affect the fish.
We get to learn more about how to use a UV sterilizer in an aquarium today.
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How Does a UV Sterilizer Work?
The UV sterilizer comes with a germicidal fluorescent lamp. This lamp will produce a light with a wavelength of about 254 nanometers.
Whenever water with bacteria and algae is passed over the bulb, the microorganisms are irradiated at this wavelength. The light will easily penetrate the bacteria and algae and mutate its DNA.
This is what leads to slowed or no growth of the microorganism any longer. As you can see, this should keep the multiplication of such microorganisms from increasing their presence in the aquarium.
Factors that Influence Performance of UV Sterilizer
The type and size of the microorganisms
The UV radiation would easily kill the viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and algae with ease theoretically. Having the large organisms such as the protozoa would need a supply of more UV radiation to get the job done.
This is as compared to the smaller organisms such as the bacteria. Even with bacteria, there are still some bacteria that would be slightly resistant to the UV radiation. This would mean using more UV radiation to kill the bacteria.
The bulb power is important for those looking to kill different types of organisms. This is because various types of bulbs would have different bulb power. It all depends on the wattage of the bulb. Having a bulb with a higher wattage means that it will produce more UV light.
Keep in mind that the ability of the lamp to produce effective radiation can vary depending on the age. As time goes by, the bulb radiation becomes weaker. It is the reason you have to replace it at least after 6 months of operation.
The UV penetration
If there are scenarios the UV light cannot penetrate the water, then it becomes ineffective to have it in the first place. It all comes down to the water turbidity. Having water turbidity means that there is a decrease in penetration of the light to reach the bacteria and algae.
It is the reason you find most people placing the UV sterilizers after the biological and the mechanical filters as the water would be clear at this point.
Salinity is another thing that can affect the UV penetration. It is easier for the UV light to penetrate the freshwater rather than the saltwater. You also have to check the cleanliness of the bulb.
With time, you might notice there is a film of dirt that can cover the bulb. This is going to partially block the bulb which is not good for your UV penetration. You might want to clean the bulb if possible.
The contact time of UV light
It is no brainer that having a longer contact time of the UV light will lead to better killing of the microorganisms. It is all about the flow rate of the water.
This means that having a slower flow rate of the water will mean more contact time of the light. This should make it possible for the light to kill more bacteria and other organisms.
Also, the amount of time that the bulb is turned on during the flow rate is important. You have to find the appropriate amount of time. More exposure of the water to the bulb is often highly encouraged.
The bulb temperature
To have the best results, the UV light has to be produced at about 104 to 110 degrees F. The cooler temperatures will always result in less performance.
There is the need to use quartz sleeves as a way of helping to insulate the bulb from the cool aquarium water. This helps in maintaining a higher UV output.
How Does UV sterilization Affect the Water?
Chances are that some users might be uncomfortable to use the UV light because of fear of the unknown. So, how does UV sterilization affect the water?
What you need to know is that the UV sterilizer will not affect the nitrates, ammonia, nitrites, and pH. You might have to use other methods if you want to deal with nitrates and ammonia.
However, the UV sterilizer is going to affect the Redox balance. This is because it will react with the oxidants in the water. This will lower the oxidizing stressors important to the fish and the other inhabitants. Also, it will eliminate the bacteria and algae that could be harmful to the fish.
There is no doubt that by now, you have an idea what a UV sterilizer is all about. It can come in handy if you are looking to keep the aquarium free of bacteria and algae. Many of those who have used it before agree it helped them keep the aquarium cleaner. You could also have one today for your aquarium now that you know its effects.