Last Updated: 1/14/09
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UV sterilizers can be used to kill suspended algae. They will also damage or kill any microorganisms, bacteria, viruses, etc. that pass by the light. I do not have a ultraviolet sterilizer but I thought I would list here what I believe are some of the pros and cons of adding one to your filter system. UV sterilizers or UVC's (for ultraviolet clarifier) kill living organisms including algae, animals, bacteria, viruses, etc. that pass by a UV bulb. To be killed, something must pass by the bulb and at a slow enough rate to be effected.
Most systems I have seen place the UV sterilizer at the start of the filtration process. I disagree with that. The cleaner the water is when it passes by the UV lamp, the more relative impact the rays will have on suspended green algae. Also, any small animals, plants, debris, etc. that come by the lamp will reduce its efficiency not to mention kill any such small animals. The UV lamp should therefore be after the mechanical filtration. It should also be after the biological filter if possible. This will make it easier for good bacteria to get into the biological media as the UV rays will kill the good bacteria as well as bad. If placed before the media for example, if a commercial preparation of good bacteria is added to the pond to help seed the biofilter, those bacteria would be killed by the UV before reaching their new home.
The bulb should also be placed where it will not get wet (above pond level if possible) and where it is easy to maintain.
UV lamps should be changed routinely, normally once a year, often at the spring start up. The age and cleanliness of the bulb effects its output. If the bulb has anything on it, that will block the UV rays from leaving the bulb to do their work. Bulbs that become really dirty can be cleaned with a dry or slightly damp clean cloth but only after the bulb is off and cooled. Even fingerprints on the bulb will reduce its efficiency so only handle the lamps by the ends. The UV lamp should be put up over the winter to reduce the chance of freezing or cracking.
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