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UV Sterilizers/Fish Diseases

21106 Views 59 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  dwalstad
Here's an e-mail question that I just received. I thought this question deserved its own folder and a public answer.

mpe1329 said:
Sorry to bother you, but I read with interest your advice re fish TB and UV sterilizers. My experience has been that SW fish are hard to kill and FW fish hard to keep alive, which seemed counter-intuitive to me until I read your posts. May I ask what type/brand of UV sterilizer you use? Any recommendations about the wattage of the bulb would also be appreciated.

My Response:

During the MB (mycobacteriosis) outbreak two years ago I used two different brands of UV sterilizers. They were the 'UV Gamma 'and the 'Turbo-twist' with either 8 or 9 watt bulbs for my 45, 50, and 55 gal tanks. One sterilizer for each tank. The UV sterilizers stopped the disease in its tracks and saved my fish.

While the above filters worked wonders, they were hard for me to hook up to the biofilters I use. You see, these particular UV filters are really just a container that directs water in a spiral path around the UV lamp. You have to pump water through them from a separate apparatus.

Recently, an experienced hobbyist on this forum highly recommended the Submariner UV sterilizer. This filter combines the UV and biofilter into one apparatus. I just bought one ($80) and am going to set it up for my 50 gal tank. It has a 7 watt UV lamp. I'm going to use this tank as a quarantine tank for new fish.

Folks, many fish being sold are carrying diseases. UV sterilizers will kill not only bacteria but many parasites (e.g. Ich). UV sterilization is being increasingly used in wastewater treatment. Recently, wastewater treatment scientists showed that UV light is highly effective in killing Giardia cysts, a human parasite. My reasoning: if UV sterilization kills human parasites and their cysts, it will probably kill fish parasites and their cysts. I think SW (saltwater) hobbyists are ahead of us on this.

One minor caveat for UV sterilizers.... UV sterilizers can interfere with iron uptake by non-rooted plants (UV light oxidizes the iron chelators). Thus, you may need to add some chelated iron if your plants show iron deficiencies. However, I had no problems with iron deficiency when I used the UV sterilizers in my NPT tanks.

Below is a website that has more information on brands of UV sterilizers:
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cool, I was going to buy the submarianer UV sterilizer but wasn't sure at its (UV in general) effectiveness. I'm definitely buying one asap.

oh, ps.. Any studies on its effectiveness with certain algae?
So, do you leave the UV on till the bulb dies?

Or do you leave it on for a week or until the visible symptoms go away?
I'm having issues with some unknown protozoan, maybe Oödinium of some sort.
my Submariner arrived today. I plugged it in and the UV bulb died a few seconds later.... I'm returning it
The whole thing? Surely, they'd send you a new bulb.
yeah, the bulb is incased in a glass/quartz tube. It needs a special device (i don't have) to open it or a wrench would work.. I'm afraid if I accidentally break the glass tube, the warranty from dr. foster&smith would be nullified. Just to be safe, i'm sending the whole thing.
I guess UV sterilizers are only effective for water born pathogens..
MB is pretty common and they can survive 'dried out'. They can come in with newly purchased fish too. Clean out the mulm in a tank seems to keep down their numbers.
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Scary stuff! I know I’ve put my hands in with broken skin/gotten the water in my mouth too. 😱
Consuming them wouldn't be bad. They die in heat and stomach acid. They'll only attack colder extremity parts of your body.

Actually, a good way to sterilize your tank or net is with hot (200f) water for a few minutes.
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MB live in soil So they‘re everywhere. Yes, UV is a good tool to control them. Germicidal UV with wave lengths around 250nm. The sun does provide that but not to the extent of a UV bulb.
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Washing your hands with soap does wonders to get rid of any bacteria even with a cut.
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The slower the flow rate the better. You'll have to remove the sick fish and treat them with antibiotics. UV alone won't cure sick fish.

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I have a 15 gallon tank which is affected by Fish tb. I have lost 9 danios so far. I came across UV sterilizer treatment while reading an article on mycobateriosis by madam Diana Walstad. I have just installed a DIY UV sterilizer which is used for domestic RO purification of water . I have a 11 w UV lamp . At first I kept the flow rate at 30 gph and still it didnt seem to work.Now I have reduced the flow even further. what would be the correct flow rate of water ?

NOTE : I am willing to run the motor 24/7, with a 1 hr break every 4 hours, since my motor gets heated up . THANKS IN ADVANCE...
is there any effective antibiotic that is easily available?
I don't know what's available in your country. You'd want something like triple sulfa, kanamycin.
You'll have to work out the dosing.
triple sulfa, 1 packet is 3oz - 60% is salt
For each 10 gallons of water, empty one packet directly into aquarium. Repeat dose after 24 hours. Wait another 24 hours then change 25% of the aquarium water. Repeat this treatment for a second time, for a total of 4 doses. Then make a final 25% water change and add fresh activated carbon or replace filter cartridge.

Use a 1/4 teaspoon Kanamycin per 20 gallons of water.
· Treat every 24 hours with a 25% water change before each treatment. Use 1/2 dose on tetras, neons, ghosts, whales, and sensitive fish. Treat for 5 to 7 days. This medication may interfere with biological filtration. Antibiotics and treatments are always safest when used in a hospital tank. Monitor ammonia and nitrite. Change water as needed. Not for fish used for human consumption.
Thanks man!!!
Actually, you should dose 1.2oz (34g) for the triple sulfa. 60% of it is salt in the API packet. I'm assuming they don't add salt in it for humans.
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