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How to Install a UV Sterilizer in Sump

Your saltwater aquarium is a life support system. This life support system includes circulation fans, pumps, heaters and a sump or canister. As well, life-forms in every aquarium or pond are supported by 3 invisible types of filtration plus lighting. Most noteworthy of all this, a marine environment requires particularly pristine, sterile water.

What are the benefits of a UV sterilizer?

Simply stated, UV sterilization provides four basic benefits to your aquarium or pond.

UV Sterilizers Remove Green Water

Please realize that not all UV sterilizers are made equal. In fact, this is the only benefit your aquarium or pond will gain from a low-cost UV Clarifier. Inexpensive UV products, often mislabeled as “sterilizers” will clump free-floating algaes. Clumped algaes may still reproduce, but they become trapped in the filter or sink. We install true sterilizers with germicidal bulbs rated for a 14 month continuous duty-cycle. Low-cost products use inefficient non-germicidal bulbs and do not exceed 36 watts. A true sterilizer goes beyond clumping algae: it will either kill algae or stop it from reproducing. Our installed UV sterilizers typically have an 8x performance increase over a low-cost model of the same wattage.

UV Sterilizers Kill Most Floating Bacteria

Good bacteria lives on all wet surfaces in your aquarium. Good bacteria is the responsible organism for healthy biofiltration. Biofiltration works best when surface areas are exposed to flowing, oxygen-rich water. Bad or good, free-floating bacteria does not belong in the water column.  A properly-installed UV sterilizer does not just kill algae, it also sterilizes, weakens and kills floating bacteria. This reduces the occurrence of infections in your fish.

UV Sterilizers Lower Oxidative Stress in Fish

Your aquarium water has a delicate balance of positive and negative forces. Manufacturers have decades of experience at designing aquarium systems with positive oxidation. However, nature also has reductive environments. UV sterilizers create very natural Redox reduction. This balanced Redox reduction will build properly-charged minerals, such as calcium, iron and magnesium. Fish and corals absorb these soluble minerals for use in their tissues. Minerals are critical for fish health and vitamin absorption. UV sterilizers improve fish immune systems.

UV Sterilizers Help Control Parasites

Strong sterilizers will kill some floating parasites and protozoans. Sterilizers are highly effective against ciliate pathogens as well. In addition, UV radiation breaks down floating organic material that some of these pathogens consume before infecting hosts. In combination with improved fish health, the ability to irradiate pathogens makes uv sterilizers a useful aid for parasite control.

Guide-lines to Install a UV Sterilizer in Sump

How to install a UV Sterilizer in Sump
A demonstration of how to install a UV Sterilizer in sump behind a refugium

We plumb UV sterilizers directly above the return pump in your sump. Alternatively, sterilizers connect to a dedicated accessory pump, with or without a sump.

  1. Select a sterilizer of an appropriate size for the aquarium. In our guide video, we install a 57-watt Aqua Ultraviolet sterilizer on a 160 gallon system.
  2. Calculate the desired flow rate. We follow the manufacturer’s suggested flow rate in most every case. Prior to making the example video, we calculated our desired flow rate of 20 gallons per hour, per watt. If your return pump has a flow-rate greater than 25 gph, consider plumbing-in a bypass tee with valve. The example in our video did not need a bypass valv. For optimal flow rates, Living Waters recommends 1″ PVC plumbing or larger. Flexible vinyl tubing suffers more frictional losses than PVC.   As an alternative, we recommend installing over-sized vinyl tubing.
  3. Install the UV sterilizer housing according to manufacturer’s directions. Because you will change the bulb and clean the unit yearly, place the sterilizer in an readily-accessible position. If accessibility is not an option, you may need to modify your plumbing with unions or flexible couplings. Exercise caution because the sterilizer houses a fragile quartz sleeve.
  4. Once the plumbing is complete, install the sterilizer bulb and power supply. Tighten all fittings snugly. Allow glued PVC fittings to dry for 2 hours before running the pump. Open the valves fully, run the pump, and check for leaks.
  5. Add a small amount of fresh carbon to your aquarium. Carbon will effectively remove any VOCs that your aquarium water may have absorbed.

Living Waters Aquariums & Ponds Installs UV Sterilizers in Wichita Kansas

Our complete installed UV Sterilizer packages start at $599. This includes a 25-watt Aqua Ultraviolet brand sterilizer with parts. We recommend this 25-watt unit for freshwater aquariums and planted tanks up to 500 gallons. It is excellent for saltwater fish-only and marine reef aquariums less than 150 gallons. The 25-watt Aqua Ultraviolet UV sterilizer is also used for ponds up to 1200 gallons.

For in-depth information on UV sterilization in the aquarium, as well as a selection of UV Sterilizers for sale outside of Kansas, visit http://www.americanaquariumproducts.com/AquariumUVSterilization.html

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