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UV - A Philosphical Comment


After reading the recent posts about the use of various kinds of UV to
improve aquarium conditions, I began to ponder the question of whether
this was a good thing or a bad thing.

I first had to define for myself what was a "good thing" and what was a "bad 
thing."  The former was easy - a "good thing" is something that promotes the 
overall health of the specific aquatic ecosystem and the also the larger 
ecosystem in which it resides.  Then, by elimination, a "bad thing" was 
something that did harm to either of those.  

Then I tried to apply those definitions to posts that I read here.

Certainly using one for a brief period to eliminate an out-of-control 
situation like certain massive algae outbreaks is a good thing.  It can 
eliminate the problem fast with no significant side effects.  Using one every 
few weeks when the outbreak recurs is probably not a good thing, because 
something else is going in that should be fixed.   The use of the UV in that 
case is more like using a drug that masks a pain without remedying the 
underlying cause.

Using UV as a prophylactic for a certain period of time each day or 
constantly raises another issue.  Some of the posts suggest that it
significantly improves the health of the fish and the clarity of the water 
without harming the plants.  If that is true, it is a good thing as far as 
that particular aquarium is concerned, but I wonder if it might not also be 
leading to the breeding of fish with immune systems that were weakened by 
genetic flaws, fish that otherwise would have died before they could pass 
these on to their offspring.  If that happens, then it is a bad thing, by my 

None of this is intended to be a criticism of anybody.  If I had a tank full 
of valuable fish or longtime pets I might well do whatever I had to do to 
keep them healthy.  It is intended to raise the question so that folks might 
think about it.

So, does anyone have any thoughts?