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UV Sterilizers/Fish Diseases

21144 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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Just found out about the Wet Spot, as I recently moved to Portland. I checked it out, and it's really incredible, everyone I talked to seemed very knowledgeable (they also are doing great at social distancing). Also going to purchase my next fish from them.
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