Understanding UV Clarifiers & Sterilizers for Your Pond

Understanding what UV systems do and how to use them properly can be a little confusing. So we’ll go through what they are how to use them and the differences between sterilizers and clarifiers.

What is a UV Clarifier?

UV clarifiers (Ultraviolet clarifiers) use ultraviolet light to clarify your pond water; the light emitted by the UV bulbs is deadly to suspended algae, parasitic protozoa and bacteria so provided that the water passes through the bulb at the right speed the light emitted by the bulb will kill all of the above problem causers. No suspended algae means no pea soup effect in your pond (I think we can all be happy about that) and drastically reduced amounts of parasitic protozoa or bacteria means reduced chances of parasites or bacterial infections affecting your fish. UV Clarifiers do not harm blanket algae or string algae attached to rocks they only kill what is passed through the UV light.

What is a UV Sterilizer?

UV sterilizers are in essence the same thing as a UV clarifier. However, there are differences whereas clarifiers clarify sterilizers sterilize. Sterilizers are used to basically kill anything floating around in your pond or aquarium including more resistant strains of bacteria and parasites and they do this by putting out more UV light or by increasing the exposure time by reducing the flow through the unit. Sterilizers are usually used in ponds or aquariums that are purposely overstocked to help keep all of the fish as healthy as possible. It is important to remember that UV sterilizers should be turned off when medicating a pond or aquarium as it can affect the potency of the medication.

How to properly use a Sterilizer/Clarifier.

UV sterilizers should be placed after a skimmer or any kind of mechanical filter to reduce the chance of debris reaching the unit. Something a lot of hobbyists overlook is that any UV system needs to be properly sized with the amount of gallons in a pond and it needs to be used with a pump that will provide the right amount of flow. Let’s say that you have a pond that is 1000 gallons and you need a UV system generally what people do is they buy a UV system that says it’s good for 1000 gallons and they completely forget that their pump is putting out over 1000 GPH (Gallons per hour) UV systems need a specific flow to operate, if the system that they purchased is good for 1000 gallons it can probably only handle about 500GPH and they have just wasted a couple hundred dollars. ALWAYS CHECK THE REQUIRED FLOW. Also UV blubs are only effective for 8 to 12 months even if the light is on it still may not be working it’s recommended that you change the bulb once a year as well as clean the UV sleeve to increase the amount of light actually being used.

UV sterilizers can make a huge difference in the clarity of your pond in fact most manufacturers guarantee clear water, so if you are having algae related clarity issues a UV system might be the solution. Thanks for reading and happy ponding!

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