Fish Tank UV Filter

UV filterAs with any fish tank UV filter, it is only effective if set up properly with proper water flows and exposure to the germicidal lamp.  Ever since it was discovered more than a century ago as an affective tool in the fight against the bacteria that causes tuberculosis, ultraviolet light has been utilized to destroy microorganisms.  Because of this, a UV filter is powerful against bacteria, viruses and even algae in water as it comes in contact with the light.

In a home or office aquarium, and in a larger scale at public aquariums, ultraviolet sterilizers are used to help maintain or control the quality of water for the tank inhabitants.  In saltwater aquariums, it is still widely believed that Ozone in conjunction with a protein skimmer is the most effective way of combatting bacteria, viruses and free floating algae.  But, UV when properly installed and maintained, can be and is an effective way to establish a balanced, healthy aquarium whether it is fresh water or saltwater.

The biggest concern the aquarist should worry about is that the UV  unit that they choose is properly rated to the volume of water that is in their aquarium.  A UV that is too small or has too slow or too fast of a flow rate will only end up using electricity and add heat to the tank.

The vast majority of aquarist-style UV filters use a germicidal or ultraviolet lamp that is enclosed in a quartz sleeve.  This sleeve is then UV bulbplaced inside a closed chamber that allows the water to flow around the bulb for maximum exposure.  Quarts is used instead of glass because of the higher penetration rate of the UV as water flows through the “exposure” chamber.  In this way a U.V filter can effectively remove bacteria, viruses and algae from the treated water.  The ability of a germicidal or ultraviolet to be effective depends almost entirely on the length of time the water is exposed to the light.  Slowing the flow of water through the UV chamber can increase the exposure but that in and of itself cannot eliminate all of the bacterium, viruses, parasites, and algae in a system.  If the water flow is slowed down too much then the overall amount of water that must be filtered is reduced to a point of being ineffective.  If the rate of flow is too fast, the bacteria, virus, etc. is not exposed long enough to have any effect at all.

Because aquarium water is typically turned over in the filter several times per hour, the UV filter that you choose must be able to handle the volume or be separated from the main filter pump so as to be able to control the flow rate effectively.  Manufacturers of high quality UV units often have charts that will guide you to the proper size needed for your aquarium.  Hopefully, this article has been informative regarding the fish tank UV filter.

Article Name
Fish Tank UV Filter
Basic UV ultraviolet information for the typical application for a home or office fish tank.

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