Can I plumb an UV sterilizer in the sump?

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I personally have 2 returns. One that goes directly into the tank, and the other goes into the UV directly into the tank, but also has a split
off where non UV water goes into the chiller back into the sump.
 
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I also run 2 return pumps. I added a 2nd pump right next to my existing return pump that passes through a valve to control flow, then the UV, then joins up to the main return line using a Y (wye) in reverse. This allows me to have full control of the UV (on, off, flow rate).

@Projects with Sam's way sounds good too

I find that the method of installing UV is very dependent to the design of your system and the space you have. What will work for some will not work for others. And for me, required a lot of thought. I think it's best to consider the list of "knowns" and cross as many of those off your list as possible: oversized is good, wide range control of flow rate is good, placing it between sump and display is ideal, and all your return water going through it is ideal. But as we can see, it's hard to check all those boxes. So check as many as you can manage to check.

I say all that because I think some people slap on a UV in a poorly conceived way and then contribute to that old notion that "UV doesn't do anything"

I know bubble algae is attached to surfaces so a Uv won’t get the intact bubbles. I’m looking to kill off the spores that are in the water column when a bubble breaks. Same with cyano. I know it grows on surfaces, but I stir the sand bed daily and want to stop spread by killing off what goes into the water.
So... The notion of bubble algae spores traveling around and spreading when a bubble bursts has been pretty much disproven. I don't think UV will make any difference at all with that, and probably the same with the cyano. There are other ways to attack both of those that will be more effective.

But UV is useful for sure, and is worth putting an effort into installing.

Sorry, this post is getting long... But a couple last thoughts...

Consider putting a flow meter after the UV. I can suggest inexpensive options if interested. I've also noticed after reading dozens of UV install threads that people are often shocked at what their flow actually is compared to what they expected.

Is that a big enough UV? I haven't done the math but I would get one where you never wonder if you got a powerful enough one.

Consider the maintenance in the install/design. You want to make sure you can shut off flow to it and get the bulb out without a monumental effort.

Sorry for the long post! Good luck!
 

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I’m thinking of getting an 8w Aqua uv sterilizer for my 40g with a 20g sump. I want to use it for algae control (nutrients are fine but I always have bubble algae and get cyano sometimes and feel it would help keep the tank cleaner). I know the water flow through the unit is faster for algae than using it for organisms like ich. My questions are about how to plumb it. My return pump is only c. 250gph. To use this unit for algae control, I’d need a pump that runs over 400gph. I’d like to plumb the whole unit in the sump but BRS videos say not to run it like that. I can’t think of how to plumb a pump that powerful in the sump without disrupting the flow through the sump. Has anyone been able to plumb the whole thing in the sump? If that’s a bad idea, what would be the best way to run the uv sterilizer? I just can’t think of how I could plumb it to and from the display tank. I’m pretty good with plumbing (DIY’ed my whole system!), but this has me stumped. Any help is greatly appreciated!
I was told UV wont control attached algae just out of the water. Would like to know if that is factual. It certainty did not help with mine on glass, and rock, and the light keeps burning out. Unit $ 150 complete Joke went through 2 of them. It did get the Algae out of one tank that was in the water itself quickly
 

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The flow rate is directly proportional to the amount of UV exposure. Faster flow = less UV exposure, hence why there's usually a recommended flow rate for "algae" and "parasites".

I generally go off the manufacturers specifications and recommendations for flow.
 

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I was told UV wont control attached algae just out of the water. Would like to know if that is factual. It certainty did not help with mine on glass, and rock, and the light keeps burning out. Unit $ 150 complete Joke went through 2 of them. It did get the Algae out of one tank that was in the water itself quickly
After I installed my UV I didn't think about it too much. Just left it on. A few months go by and all of a sudden I noticed something was up with my tank. Now this is my first tank and I have no expectations about what stuff is supposed to happen but the UV was doing enough of something that I checked all my equipment to find out why my tank was all of a sudden looking like hell. Turns out the UV bulb was burnt out. I got a new one the next day and within about 3 days everything was back to normal.
I have no idea what was going on but for me at least the UV has added a very astounding tangible benefit.
 
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Freenow54

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The flow rate is directly proportional to the amount of UV exposure. Faster flow = less UV exposure, hence why there's usually a recommended flow rate for "algae" and "parasites".

I generally go off the manufacturers specifications and recommendations for flow.
Mine was an all in one unit the flow rate was already done. Unfortunately is is not dollar wise to replace the bulb. If I was going to use one I would DIY and use a light meant for residential use I think then time it
 

undermind

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After I installed my UV I didn't think about it too much. Just left it on. A few months go by and all of a sudden I noticed something was up with my tank. Now this is my first tank and I have no expectations about what stuff is supposed to happen but the UV was doing enough of something that I checked all my equipment to find out why my tank was all of a sudden looking like hell. Turns out the UV bulb was burnt out. I got a new one the next day and within about 3 days everything was back to normal.
I have no idea what was going on but for me at least the UV has added a very astounding tangible benefit.
Was the bulb just not coming on? i.e. dead?

Was the burnt bulb fouling the water somehow? Or are you saying that NOT running a UV full time resulted in a less happy tank because UV is that important in your system?

Thanks! Just curious for some more detail
 

Projects with Sam

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Was the bulb just not coming on? i.e. dead?

Was the burnt bulb fouling the water somehow? Or are you saying that NOT running a UV full time resulted in a less happy tank because UV is that important in your system?

Thanks! Just curious for some more detail
Wasn't fouling the water; just a new tank that was dependent on the UV for bacterial & algae control.
I have a ton of livestock and I like to feed a lot.
 

oldmonk

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The flow rate is directly proportional to the amount of UV exposure. Faster flow = less UV exposure, hence why there's usually a recommended flow rate for "algae" and "parasites".

I generally go off the manufacturers specifications and recommendations for flow.
I guess you meant Inversely proportional. Is it? Or my undertsanding with respect to UV is wrong.?

Thanks
 
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David_CO

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I also run 2 return pumps. I added a 2nd pump right next to my existing return pump that passes through a valve to control flow, then the UV, then joins up to the main return line using a Y (wye) in reverse. This allows me to have full control of the UV (on, off, flow rate).

@Projects with Sam's way sounds good too

I find that the method of installing UV is very dependent to the design of your system and the space you have. What will work for some will not work for others. And for me, required a lot of thought. I think it's best to consider the list of "knowns" and cross as many of those off your list as possible: oversized is good, wide range control of flow rate is good, placing it between sump and display is ideal, and all your return water going through it is ideal. But as we can see, it's hard to check all those boxes. So check as many as you can manage to check.

I say all that because I think some people slap on a UV in a poorly conceived way and then contribute to that old notion that "UV doesn't do anything"


So... The notion of bubble algae spores traveling around and spreading when a bubble bursts has been pretty much disproven. I don't think UV will make any difference at all with that, and probably the same with the cyano. There are other ways to attack both of those that will be more effective.

But UV is useful for sure, and is worth putting an effort into installing.

Sorry, this post is getting long... But a couple last thoughts...

Consider putting a flow meter after the UV. I can suggest inexpensive options if interested. I've also noticed after reading dozens of UV install threads that people are often shocked at what their flow actually is compared to what they expected.

Is that a big enough UV? I haven't done the math but I would get one where you never wonder if you got a powerful enough one.

Consider the maintenance in the install/design. You want to make sure you can shut off flow to it and get the bulb out without a monumental effort.

Sorry for the long post! Good luck!
do you run check valves? I was considering this option but if one pump goes out all the water would just circulate in the sump.
 

undermind

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do you run check valves? I was considering this option but if one pump goes out all the water would just circulate in the sump.
I do not run check valves.

You can turn off either return pump without any effect on the other. I don't think there is any significant amount of water that goes back down the reverse wye and through the other pump if I turn one off. If you run only one pump while the other is off, the flow rate into the display seems to be the same as running that pump by itself in the closed system it was before this change.

Also, there is little to no reason to turn either pump off. I now run both all the time at lower power or flow rate. I can just flip the UV power on or off if I want that in line.
 

David_CO

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I do not run check valves.

You can turn off either return pump without any effect on the other. I don't think there is any significant amount of water that goes back down the reverse wye and through the other pump if I turn one off. If you run only one pump while the other is off, the flow rate into the display seems to be the same as running that pump by itself in the closed system it was before this change.

Also, there is little to no reason to turn either pump off. I now run both all the time at lower power or flow rate. I can just flip the UV power on or off if I want that in line.
very interesting, i assumed the path of least resistance would be down the pump thats off due to gravity. this is by far the simplest implementation considering my space constraints in my sump.
 

undermind

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very interesting, i assumed the path of least resistance would be down the pump thats off due to gravity. this is by far the simplest implementation considering my space constraints in my sump.
Very true. I admit I haven't stuck my hand down into the return chamber to try to evaluate how much water is coming out of the other pump's intake, but I've found the return flow to the DT to be normal in all situations.

I was a little uneasy about the whole situation because it feels unorthodox and I hadn't seen anything plumbed like that before. But I haven't experienced any negatives at all. And having valves on the leg that goes to the UV is handy for maintenance and such.
 

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Very true. I admit I haven't stuck my hand down into the return chamber to try to evaluate how much water is coming out of the other pump's intake, but I've found the return flow to the DT to be normal in all situations.

I was a little uneasy about the whole situation because it feels unorthodox and I hadn't seen anything plumbed like that before. But I haven't experienced any negatives at all. And having valves on the leg that goes to the UV is handy for maintenance and such.
If you could check next time you do any maintence I would really appreciate it. I had basically made my mind up on some ridiculous workarounds.
 
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I’m thinking of getting an 8w Aqua uv sterilizer for my 40g with a 20g sump. I want to use it for algae control (nutrients are fine but I always have bubble algae and get cyano sometimes and feel it would help keep the tank cleaner). I know the water flow through the unit is faster for algae than using it for organisms like ich. My questions are about how to plumb it. My return pump is only c. 250gph. To use this unit for algae control, I’d need a pump that runs over 400gph. I’d like to plumb the whole unit in the sump but BRS videos say not to run it like that. I can’t think of how to plumb a pump that powerful in the sump without disrupting the flow through the sump. Has anyone been able to plumb the whole thing in the sump? If that’s a bad idea, what would be the best way to run the uv sterilizer? I just can’t think of how I could plumb it to and from the display tank. I’m pretty good with plumbing (DIY’ed my whole system!), but this has me stumped. Any help is greatly appreciated!
A UV wont do anything for bubble algae - it replicates using cell division. I doubt it will do anything for cyano, as that is not mobile in the water column.
 

gbroadbridge

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So I could run a slower pump and still get help with algae? I know bubble algae is attached to surfaces so a Uv won’t get the intact bubbles. I’m looking to kill off the spores that are in the water column when a bubble breaks. Same with cyano. I know it grows on surfaces, but I stir the sand bed daily and want to stop spread by killing off what goes into the water.
Bubble algae does not release spores - It's a wives tale.
 

undermind

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If you could check next time you do any maintence I would really appreciate it. I had basically made my mind up on some ridiculous workarounds.
OK so I tested this out and there is indeed a good amount of flow that gets redirected in reverse through the UV plumbing when I shut the 2nd return pump (UV pump) off.

But of course that flow path is 100% shut down if I just close a valve on the plumbing going to the UV. Then the main return pump functions as normal.

I think that having valves immediately before and after the UV unit is pretty critical. Not only does it shut off the flow issue we're talking about but it allows me to do maintenance on the UV. I'm not sure it would be possible to maintain it without them.
 

David_CO

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OK so I tested this out and there is indeed a good amount of flow that gets redirected in reverse through the UV plumbing when I shut the 2nd return pump (UV pump) off.

But of course that flow path is 100% shut down if I just close a valve on the plumbing going to the UV. Then the main return pump functions as normal.

I think that having valves immediately before and after the UV unit is pretty critical. Not only does it shut off the flow issue we're talking about but it allows me to do maintenance on the UV. I'm not sure it would be possible to maintain it without them.
Thank you for testing. I will probably still go this route. I’ll definitely put in valves.
 
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