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UV Sterilizer Questions

Hello Cindy,

> Aquatic Plants Digest     Thursday, July 12 2001     Volume 04 : Number
> ------------------------------
> Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2001 13:13:15 -0600
> From: Cindy Camp <snoopy at ast_lmco.com>
> Subject: UV Sterilizer Questions
> Hi all,
> I need some advice... I have been battling a green water problem for about
> a month now... have tried many things (diatom filter, cutting off
> darkness), except algae killing chemicals and the UV Sterlizer, to no
> The cause was a complete anachris melt for unknown reasons.
> I am a bit lacking in knowledge about the UVS... I understand what it does
> but I haven't been able to find much info about how it is physically
> up.  Are they typically stand alone devices, or do I need to hook it up to
> my filter (Fluval 304)?

I had the same trouble, not green water, but green algae and a film on the
watersurface. So I bought an UV-sterilizer. My tank is of the same volume as
yours. I installed the UV in the outlet of the extern filter because the
water is most clean here and you have less pollution of the UV cabinet,
which is very important to get the full radiation to the water running

  Do those of you that have one, run it all the time or
> just as necessary, assuming it is standalone.

The best way is to run it fulltime, als o from the point of the valve.
Switching on/off continuesly will reduce the lifetime off the valve more
then continuesly switched on. But regard, there is a restricted lifetime of
the valve (about 8000 hrs).

  If it does have to be hooked
> up to a filter, can you turn them off when not needed and still have it
> attached to the filter?

You can do so if you expect, that the green water problem is not solved for
"ever". But I would prefer to remove the UV out of the water circulation in
order to prevent pollution by water in the UV cabinet. You can also install
the UV in a bypass, that should the best way.

from filter >----------X---------------> to tank
                  |             |
                  |             |
X = valve

> Anyone know where to get a cheap one?  I've seen them in the standard
> catalogs, but it appears that they are all at least $70+.

I am here in Germany and the prices are as follows:
- 5 Watt 150.-DM (Tetra)
- 15 Watt 199.-DM (JBL) (this one I choose)
- 11 Watt 269.- DM (De Bary)
- 15 Watt 389.- DM (De Bary)
Convertion factor DM - US$ about 2,3 : 1

 Also, one  last
> question, what size in terms of wattage is best for a 55 gallon tank?

The common advices are very different, they vary betwenn 5 and 15 Watt.
There is no fixed rule or calculation, how many watt for how many water. I
choose 15 Watt.
But ther are two points you should keep in your mind:
1. UV radiation is _very_ dangerous to your eyes. DON'T LOOK IN THE BURNING
2. UV radiation is not good for the fertilizer in the tank too. The
radiation will crack the chelates (f.e. Fe) very soon and as result, this
components are not longer present for the plants. So, running a UV is a
compromise between help against algae and killing a part of the fertilizer
components. My advice: Run the UV as a last help, but switch it off as soon
as possible.
> These are all probably pretty dumb questions, so I apologize if these are
> things that I really should know.

wellcome, questions cannot be dumb, but maybe sometimes the answers. (I
hope, this is not valid for my answers ;-)

Good luck and best regards, Klaus.

> Thanks in advance.
> - -Cindy
> PS - for those looking for SAE in Denver, I saw them at Petsmart near
> Park Meadows, advertised as Flying Foxes.  The employees there
> are not very compent, so I don't typically buy there, but I did notice
> that the SAE's looked healthy and cheap ($1.99).