Best UV Lamp For Aquarium-Beginners Guide

Is UV light good for aquarium?

The UV aquarium lamp is one of the most useful accessories that have appeared in recent years to help us maintain the water quality of fish tanks and aquariums.
Although it is not yet widely used, both amateurs and professionals are starting to give it the importance it deserves.
Many manufacturers of aquarium filters already incorporate it in their filters, although it is not very clear if it is the best option, since professionals do not agree on its continued use or only for a few hours.

UV aquarium lamp What is it for?

UV aquarium lamps are very useful for removing suspended algae, as well as preventing and treating some of the diseases typical of freshwater and saltwater aquariums.
Basically, UV lamps “kill” all kinds of bacteria, virus or algae cells.
It can kill any kind of bacteria, even the nitrifiers that are very useful for the cleaning process of the aquarium… but we see that now, in its operation.

How do UV lamps work in the aquarium?

Ultraviolet lamps produce ultraviolet radiation or UV radiation.
One of the applications of ultraviolet rays is sterilization (UV aquarium lamp). At certain wavelengths, it damages the DNA of microorganisms present in the aquarium water, such as bacteria or viruses, without leaving any residue and preventing them from reproducing.
UV lights in aquariums are usually isolated, so that only the water is affected by their radiation. It is important to remember that we should not look at the light directly, as we could be affected.

How to install a UV lamp in the aquarium?

UV aquarium lamps work independently of the filter. They have their own cable, which can be plugged in and out at our discretion.
Aquarium filters with UV lamps also have the option of switching the lamp on or off independently of the filter, so that we can decide how long to keep it on.

In any case, if we are going to install a UV aquarium lamp, it must be installed at the filter outlet. There are two important reasons why the lamp should be installed “at the filter outlet” and not at the inlet:

  • The filtered water is free of impurities at the filter outlet, so it is much more effective. It will not have any kind of particle that can act as a screen and hide bacteria or viruses.
  • The second reason is that ultraviolet radiation does not distinguish between good and bad bacteria, it eliminates all microorganisms that it affects … including nitrifying bacteria. Since most of the “good” bacteria for the aquarium are inside the filter, if we install the lamp before the filtration, the filter will gradually run out of bacteria.

How long should a UV light be on in an aquarium?

This is an open debate, there is no single criterion. Professionals, hobbyists and manufacturers have different opinions about how long a UV aquarium lamp should be running.
While some consider that a daily operation of 3 to 4 hours is sufficient, others think that it is fine if it works all day, that it does not affect the balance of the aquarium.
I am in favor of the lamp working 24 hours a day when we have a problem with algae in the aquarium, because it will help us to remove them. How many days it should be on will depend on the degree of invasion.
Against having it running 24 hours, there are the hobbyists who think that it creates a bubble in the aquarium (totally free of bacteria), and at the slightest infection it can cause a collapse of the aquarium.

Manufacturers’ recommendation: power/hours/litres

On the other side are the manufacturers, who have their own recommendations whether they are interested or not, which must be taken into account.
According to most manufacturers of UV lamps, they recommend a passage of 10 to 15 liters for each watt of lamp output, with the entire aquarium water content passing through the germicidal lamp at least once a day.
We only have to make the corresponding rule of three, depending on the water that will pass through the lamp and the size of our aquarium.

How often does the UV lamp bulb have to be changed?

Each bulb has a certain life, expressed in hours of use. Manufacturers usually indicate the life span of the bulb, so that we have an idea of how long it will last.
To get an idea, if a bulb has an average of 1,000 hours of use, if we connect it 3 hours a day, it will last us about 333 days.
In the case of UV bulbs, as they are used they lose effectiveness, so it is advisable to change them before the end of their useful life, even if they have not burnt out.