Here is why your reef need a UV unit !!!

PSXerholic

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Info on this tank here:
https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/psxerholics-210-gallon-reef-in-reefcity-houston.235601/

Some people say it's counterproductive, but here is why you need a UV sterilizer ;-)

Since this is a current subject on my tank system, I thought to share this info.
Overall, UV is a good thing to have the tank going through the years.
It helps to avoid or better minimize potential issues down the road.

All right………….UV…………….trying to keep it simple!

There are multiple reasons why it’s beneficial /precautional and unfortunately expensive to run a UV sterilizer.
I say Sterilizer since there is a difference between sanitizing and sterilizing.

1.) Bacteria control and prevention
In my case, many of you know that I run a bacterial method to manage my nutrients, means I overpopulate the good bacteria to breakdown waste.
This can be done in a variety of methods such asBiopellets, Zeo, Vinegar, VSV or any other liquid bacteria supplements etc.

So I use VSV, wich is a mix of different carbons in addition to amino acids to feed bacteria.
The bad part of any bacterial method is, that you do not just feed the good bacteria, also you feed the bad bacteria !!!

These bacteria can be worst case “Pest bacteria” such asRed slime or any other “Disease bacteria” that are harmful to our corals such as brown jelly disease, Vibrio and many other Bacterial-Coral/Tank diseases.
Many of the bacterial diseases are still unknown.

Bad part of bacteria is, they come in with the nice Coral from a store or coral dealer and even Hydrogen/Peroxide Bayer dip won’tkill it. Some Bacteria will survive deep down in the Coral and rock.
So unless these bacteria do not have a reason to excessively overpopulate by carbons, high temperatures, amino acid addition,many nutrients etc. they still will keep populating in the tank.

In my particular case, I did see (likely from too muchAminos and excessive feeding), a slight overpopulation of “Scavenger bacteria like they are in Waste Away”, which are heterotrophic bacteria types. These bacteria do only live in the water column, and do not settle on substrate. They can multiply by 10x within 15minutes with enough light and eat all kind of waste very effective.
However, if those are excessive in the tank, in a way that you see a slight hazel in the water when you look along the tank, then this can end up in a problem.
a. It can be easily come to a sudden huge bloom wiping out the tank since these bacteria consume a lot of oxygen.
b. Their Oxygen consumption will result in less oxygen,elevated Co2 and therefore causing low PH, especially over night!!! No good inHouston !!!
c. The waste oxidation process consume a lot of ALK,supporting a. & b.
d. A few more undesired effects on water chemistry such as low ORP etc.
e. Food for Corals and the good bacteria are limited since heterotrophic bacteria tend to eat and consume the goodies that the corals and other bacteria like to have. Means these bad bacteria can compete out the good and desired ones.

This effect can happen easily in fully matured tanksystems that ran for years with no issue. No warning, it just happens!!!!

So a good UV Sterilizer will be able, if correctly sized,help to prevent overpopulation of most bad bacteria in a matured tank system since those are mainly heterotrophic.
Do not apply this to a new system, since the “good” boys still have to grow everywhere in the substrate first.

Keep in mind that some scavenger bacteria cannot be competed out in a tank by other bacteria in the substrate. They do take the food source away from the bacteria that live in the substrate which makes it in some cases impossible to bring the tank back in balance. In those cases the only way is a Hydrogen Peroxide Injection reactor method or a strong UV ;-)

2.) Fish diseases and parasites……….do not forget all kinds of Fish fungus, viruses and parasites such as our friend ICH.

A UV will help to keep parasites and diseases in check.

3.) Better Water conditions
Utilization of a UV will increase the filtration and skimmer efficiency!!!
I observed right after starting the UV, that ORP went up,and skim-mate became more, darker and more stinky, lol.

Also it makes the water more crisp, helps to minimize or even in some case replaces the use of Activated carbon to remove yellow tint.

That means more PAR and more blue spectrum to your corals, which can make a big difference on certain coral colors.

Higher REDOX/ORP means also better Co2/O2 ratio which supports to elevate the tank PH.

4.) UV types
I did use a variety of UV lamps in the recent years and mostly did only turn on the UV when needed.
Keep your hands off the Coralife and cheap sterilizer.They might scare the bacteria but mostly do not really work well.
Some have even metal parts in there that will corrode and screw the tank water.
I can strongly recommend the Aqua UV type or TMC type sterilizer that come with a high pressure true UV-C lamp.

See this article about UV that I found useful and simply explains the importance and difference of bulbs and type of sterilizer.
http://www.americanaquariumproducts.com/AquariumUVSterilization.html


5.) Sizing is the biggest issue.
A UV unit should be good for preventive action, but also be properly sized to handle asap a bloom or parasitic issue when needed.
So for prevention you use high flow, and for asap action you lower the flow to have higher reaction time in the lamp.
From my experience the minimum size should be at least a57W for a 200G tank as a guide.

6.) Installation and dwelling time
Don’t run UV in the sump recirculating the water.
Have a secondary pump taking filtered water and feed it back to the tank.
I tried it and it makes a huge difference!
Another issue with a loop only in the sump, you likely run into over sterilization of the sump which is bad for regugia and biomedia sumps!
More about this can be found here:
http://www.americanaquariumproducts.com/AquariumUVSterilization.html

Also for the different purposes have the pump loop with a relief valve equipped to be able to vary the flow. In that case you can play with the flow and exposure time to avoid over sterilization in “preventive mode” if a strong UV is installed.

In order to avoid full sterilization between the sump and tank, I hooked up the UV on one of my two return pumps.
That will still allow planktons and bacteria from the sump to be imported back to the tank.

7.) Over sterilization
It is possible if the above mentioned is not considered, and if a very strong UV is being used. Another way to control sterilization is the Utilization in hours per day. Just run the UV on a timer.

8.) Observations I made by use of UV
Clearer water
Better and more vibrant colors
Better Polyp extension
ORP increased
Skimmer performance increased
Slightly Higher PH
Less use of Activated carbon
Healthier looking corals of course
Less to no issues with diseases of all kind (knock on wood)
Less issues with Algaes of all kind that spore through the water column
I can safely pop bubble algae, lol


I guess I covered most of the important stuff here,however read through the link above, that has very valuable info in there.

-Andre
 
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8.) Observations I made by use of UV
Clearer water
Better and more vibrant colors
Better Polyp extension
ORP increased
Skimmer performance increased
Slightly Higher PH
Less use of Activated carbon
Healthier looking corals of course
Less to no issues with diseases of all kind (knock on wood)
Less issues with Algaes of all kind that spore through the water column
I can safely pop bubble algae, lol
Glad its working. I wouldn't say need though. I have all that stuff too and don't have a uv.
 

Kmsutows

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Great write up! I'm picking up the 57 watt aqua uv tonight that I had ordered for my 150 + sump. What size pump would you recommend for best sterilization flow when needed. Thanks
 
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PSXerholic

PSXerholic

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Great write up! I'm picking up the 57 watt aqua uv tonight that I had ordered for my 150 + sump. What size pump would you recommend for best sterilization flow when needed. Thanks
Thx for the feedback guys.

Generally, most tanks might do not really truly need it, but there will be the day when the tank is matured, this piece of equipment can be a life saver.
Anyways, it is in my opinion a very valuable addition for the overall health of the reef.

Andre
 
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PSXerholic

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Great write up! I'm picking up the 57 watt aqua uv tonight that I had ordered for my 150 + sump. What size pump would you recommend for best sterilization flow when needed. Thanks
There you go, the most difficult and complex question ;-)

The subject of how much flow is needed to achieve standard sterilization for prevention is difficult and system depending.

I noticed that if I turn down the flow through the UV unit to the point that the ORP curve instantly goes up after firing up the unit, then I have reached the point of where the UV comes in effect.
The curve characteristics how quick ORP will rise can then also be used to indicate if UV dwelling time is too aggressive.
If it goes straight and sharp up to the roof, that might not be good.
As everything in the hobby, things should go slowly ;-)

Nevertheless, not everyone has the luxury of an ORP probe ;-(

My UV57 I used a pump with relief valve plumbed in to control the flow to the Sterilizer.
Approx 250gph - 500gph measured flow I used for asap bacterial control, a MAG9.5 for continuous run.
Preventive mode I run about 900gph.
It's really hard to say.
But keep in mind I do have then still another return pump recirculating the entire tank system.

Fortunately I did not have to use those for ICH or any other Fish diseases ever.
When I really stressed my fish in the past and saw white dots, they disappeared after a few days, the dots I mean, lol.

The UV instructions has more meat for "recommended" flow and dwelling time for the individual purpose of what you want to treat.


-Andre
 

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