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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V4 #1388--Aquanetics UV and Temperatures

Saman asked about Aquanetics UVs:
"> I recently ordered a Aquanetics UV sterilizer (15W
> non-quartz  [15IL is the exact model]). 
> Unfortunately, at the time, I didn't know much about
> sterilizers, but I did a bit of research online before
> buying.  However, after reading through the manual, it
> indicates that the non-quartz version cannot be used
> on cold-water.  In the manual, it mentions 72F as the
> threshold, but on their web site, it is 70F.  I guess
> that this will work ok for my tropical tank (roughly
> 72-74).
> However, I wanted to also be able to use this on my
> cold-water tank, and I was wondering if there is a way
> to do that without ordering another sterilizer (a
> quartz model this time).
> As I understand, the reason that cold water cannot be
> used is that it cools the UV lamp to a lower
> temperature and the lamp doesn't emit as much UV light
> at a lower temperature (or does it stop giving off UV
> light all together?).  I am also afraid that the cold
> water might actually crack the light and cause an
> electrical shock.  Am I just being paranoid about
> this? (the water temperature on my cold-water tank
> doesn't drop bellow 60F)
> In terms of my options, I basically have two (other
> than ordering a new quartz version for my cold-water
> tank)"

The cooler water holds down the temperature of the lamp, which reduces
how well the mercury in the lamp vaporizes.  Mercury vapor a
flourescent or UV lamp is what carries the charge from one end to the
other.  Below a certain temp, there is not much UV light in the
wavelengths that sterilize.

> option #1:  To buy a quartz sleeve.  I think the
> version for my unit runs around $36.  If I order the
> sleeve, will it fit my non-quartz unit? or does that
> only work with the quartz models.  Because basically,
> the sleeve serves to insulate the bulb from the
> water's temperature (and the reason they use quartz is
> because ordinary glass is opaque to UV light).  So I
> would just need to buy it and slip it around the bulb
> (the web site recommends some type of lubricant since
> the sleeve is very fragile).  Before I go crazy and
> give this a try, I was wondering if anyone has
> experience with this? (or if you could offer any
> advice at all)

I'm pretty sure the quartz sleeve will not fit, at least not without
further adaptaton -- the end plates inside the outer tube are different
for the quartz and non-quartz models.  The difference is simply to
accomodate whther there is a quartz sleeve or not.  Call Aquanetics. 
You might be able to exchange a new 15IL for a quartz model (paying the
difference in price, of course).  Or you might be able to replace the
end plates for ones that accept a quartz sleeeve.  But the cost there
will probably move you to just get another lamp.

> Option #2:  Just run it regardless.  I could just try
> it on my cold-water tank (unless 60F water can crack
> the bulb and cause shock???  Can anyone confirm
> this???)  Or would it just not work as effectively
> since the bulb would be colder and wouldn't emit as
> much UV light (or would it emit *any* UV light at
> all?)
Most of the energy in a UV lamp is given off as heat.  The remainder is
mostly given off as non UV light and UV light, not all of which is at a
high enough frequency to sterilze.  I think a 15 watt bulb gives off
about 4 watts of "usable" UV, if I remember correctly.  An watt bulb,
about half that much.  So cooling can drop you down to very low numbers
quickly, and I believe the higher frequency UV drops off first as the
temperature decreases.  Would a 15 watt lamp emit usable UV when bathed
in 60 degree F water?   Probably some, but not enough to be of

But I urge you to email ( aquanetics at aquanetics_com ) or call
Aquanetics ((619) 291-8444 Fax (619) 291-8335) for horse's mouth info.

Good Luck,
Scott H.

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