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Is a UV light system necessary in a planted tank?

Zak Rafik

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11 Aug 2014
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466
Location
Singapore
Hi guys and ladies,:)


I would like to find out from my fellow members if having a UV light is of any benefit in a high light planted tank.


In my past experiences with having fish only tank (not planted), my fish would scum to Ich parasite. On hind sight maybe I can could have done things a bit different like, in the daily care and feeding patterns.

My most favourite fish was a big moonlight gourami and he/she was badly attacked by Ich and that experience left a bitter experience for me.


Therefore I bought a Eheim Reeflex 800 UV light system for my planted tank with hope that it would control and prevent any algae or parasite outbreak.


So far I have had Blackbeard algae, hair algae, thread algae, diatoms, green spot algae but all in moderate outbreaks.


As for my fish, since I currently have algae eater only, I have lost 6 Amano shrimps, 6 Siamese Algae Eaters, 1 Otto BUT these did not die of any disease but jumped out of my rimless 4feet panted tank at night.


I have been adviced by local LFS that an UV is not necessary for a planted tank and that it would slow down my water flow due to the added length for the filter to pump water through and also, to gain the full benefit of the UV light in killing the parasites, one would need a flow rate of 600 litres per hour.

Furthermore, I have a chiller attached to the system with the Eheim external filter 1200 (2080).


Now my question to fellow members is:

Do you have an UV system in your planted tank and if so what are the benefits and drawbacks you have experienced. If you don't have one, what made you choose that path.

I would very much appreciate your feedback and opinions.

Thank you

Raffik


http://i1295.photobucket.com/albums...0-2EF6-47F1-8DFF-CDE45697E572_zps22cejt0l.jpg

http://i1295.photobucket.com/albums...5-35FE-4180-A5C9-713CEBB9D816_zpsh6pv2fvq.jpg

http://i1295.photobucket.com/albums...1-8867-4C2E-99F1-D1BC7BFBC0AE_zps2njysply.jpg
 

ian_m

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Some points in no particular order

Most hobby UV sterilisers do not work and are a gimmick, as the water is not held long enough in the UV lamp.
http://www.americanaquariumproducts.com/AquariumUVSterilization.html

UV lamps to degrade very quickly with UV failing off to useless levels in as little as 6 months.

UV lamps can get rid of green water algae and ich, but it is better to treat the cause rather than the symptoms. No effect on algae already growing on things in the tank.

UV units can degrade the EI micro fertilisers, causing them to precipitate out of solution and become unavailable for plant use.

UV units do seriously reduce pump flow. In display tanks I have seen UV units in separate loops so as to not cause flow issues with filters.

UV units need cleaning regularly, some weekly, or else are ineffective. UV units in separate loops enable easy drain down and cleaning.

Speaking to a local aquatic shop owner, he has fitted UV units in separate loops for his open top tanks as he previously suffered fish health and algae'ed water issues presumably due to customers putting their hand in the tanks, sneezing in the tanks and general shop dirt falling in the tanks.. Not seen any of these issues with closed top tanks.

Many people don't have UV units and don't suffer green water and ich.

Most of the UV units I have seen fitted are Vecton (TMC) units.
 

GlassWalker

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30 Jun 2014
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Some of my filters have built in UV but I rarely switch them on since I have no need for them (filters were discounted at the time so effectively they didn't cost me anything). Remember they only kill what's going past them. So whatever is in tank, stays in tank. Only if it is in the water might it have a chance to go through.

I don't think UV units are quite as bad as made out by ian_m, but they might not serve much use either. The UV bulbs in the Vecton units are rated for 80% of original performance after 8000 hours, which is almost a year of continuous running.
 

tmiravent

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31 Dec 2013
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lisbon
I have one, Jebo UV 13W.
Like this:
jebo_uv_sterilizer_H13.jpg


One year ago my neon' start to scratch in the plants so i give it a try.
3 days later they stop doing it. I had put the UV 4 hours a day.
Them a stop the UV and they start doing it again in 2 weeks.
Put the UV again and stooped (also in 2/3 days).
Maybe it's coincidence or other factor (that i was missing), i don't know.
I haven't seen any difference with the other fish (cory's, khuli, rasboras, killies, shrimp, etc).
More clear water i can't be sure, maybe a little bit to my eyes, but again is the eyes of the one who paid for the UV so...
The one that you show in the picture (Eheim) i believe that loses less flow because of the 45º angle instead of 90º two times.
The connector's are also more easy to manage (if the diameter is the same).
With the jebo style you can have 3 different tubing.
My conclusion is that i would by it again (at least for my neon's).
Cheers
 

Zak Rafik

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Thread starter
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11 Aug 2014
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466
Location
Singapore
Hi ian_m,
Thanks for detailed pointers. Sure is an eye opener.

Hi GlassWalker
The UV bulbs in the Vecton units are rated for 80% of original performance after 8000 hours, which is almost a year of continuous running.
That's what the LFS told me, the Eheim's UV light can last for 1 year even when used for 24 hours a day:meh:. Currently I'm having it on a timer set for 12 hours in daytime so that I can prolong the life of the bulb.

Hi tmiravent

More clear water i can't be sure, maybe a little bit to my eyes, but again is the eyes of the one who paid for the UV so...
Exactly! This is how I feel too.
I notice that my tank's water is crystal clear but don't know if its due to the UV or all those lovely plants working hard to remove any toxins in the water and thereby making the water healthy.

I dont' mind having an UV system in my tank even if it's benefits are not that great but I'm facing flow problems in my tank now. Currently I'm using a Tunze Turbelle nanostream 6045 powerhead to assist the Eheim 2080 especially when the plants have grown quite tall. But I personally find the powerhead a bit ugly in my tank.

ceg4048 from this forum has informed me that the UV light is actually counterproductive for my case. I don't know what he meant by that. I may have to ask him for details.

I'm sure UV light will be most helpful in a fish only tank but how about a heavy planted tank?:wideyed:

Take care and Cheers everyone:)
Raffik
 

ian_m

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ceg4048 from this forum has informed me that the UV light is actually counterproductive for my case
As stated..

- Makes you chase and fix the symptoms rather than the cause of the symptom ie fixes green water, but much better to sort source of green water.
- Can degrade the nice fertilisers you have paid money for.
- One more thing to go wrong (worn tube) and mess your tank up.

I find I get best crystal clear water, after water change, after adding purigen to filter and adding API Accu-clear. No ich or green water.
 

ceg4048

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Yeah, I just do uber-massive water changes and my water is crystal and I don't get Ich either.

I don't really worry so much about UV effects on fertilizers. Just add more fertilizer. Solves that problem right away.

The main reason most UV installations are pointless is that UV effectiveness depends on the product of UV wattage and the Dwell Time. In order for Dwell Time to be high the flow rate through the light must be low, which is in direct conflict with the high tech plant requirement of high flow rate. So if your UV is connected to the main filter circuit then either the UV effectiveness or the plants will suffer. There is no middle ground. If it's run on it's own slow circuit separately then it might be useful from a pathogen control perspective.

In a high light CO2 enriched tank flow is King. Anything that interferes with flow throughput must be eradicated immediately.

Cheers,
 

GlassWalker

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Having checked the Vecton manual again, my earlier figures were slightly off. It turns out the bulb is at 85% (not 80% as I said) after 8000 hours, although they also do say for critical applications replace after 4000 hours. Like many things, you can mitigate the impact by over-specifying. The unit I bought long ago but never got around to installing is rated at a maximum flow of 1300lph. I don't think any of my filters will exceed that even if I emptied them of media! Flow reduction may be a concern but even here, the Vecton units allow for that by allowing you to use various width connections so you can minimise the loss.
 

Zak Rafik

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As stated..
- Makes you chase and fix the symptoms rather than the cause of the symptom ie fixes green water, but much better to sort source of green water.

I agree on this.
Its just like if one gets algae in their tank, they simply get chemicals to pour into their tank to get rid of algae, instead of fixing the Co2 / light / nutrition matters.
As long as the source of the problem is there, all these chemicals and UV lights simply mask the symptoms.

As for the UV messing with EI dosing, I'll change the ON period of 12 hours to late evening.
I have just put in about 30 Red Cherry shrimps into the tank last night.:)
Maybe after 3 to 4 days, I'll disconnect the UV and monitor the results.


it might be useful from a pathogen control perspective.

Do plants in the tank play any role in pathogen control? Sounds a like a silly question but asking out of curiosity.;)

Cheers
Raffik
 

ceg4048

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Well, they oxygenate the water and sediment thereby making life difficult for anaerobic pathogens.
It's better to think in terms of that the plants remove toxic metals as well as supplying oxygen. This enables the fauna to resist and keeps them healthier overall.

Cheers,
 

BugOut

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It's been a while since you guys talked about this... I'm curious what your choice was Zak Rafik...??? I bought a
Flexzion HW-303B Canister Filter with UV Sterilizer (370GPH) - (Inexpensive!!! and have had it running for 2 1/2 years... no problems!) I also have a second slightly smaller canister on a 75 gallon... I have Silver Dollars, Red tailed sharks and Frontosa... so sadly no plants... however... I am moving and just got a 40 gal that I'm going to move the lawnmower silver dollars into and add plants to the 75 Gal. that the Frontosa are in!
I found a HUGE drop in bacteria blooms which clouded the tank when I added the UV Sterilizer... HUGE difference. (Do plants fix that problem naturally???) (So if you have cloudy water... in my case this worked like a champ!) I didn't always use carbon in my filters because I couldn't put any meds in without removing it anyways... The Carbon made such a huge difference, (takes the yellow color and any smell out) when I used it too, so I just keep a hospital tank running in case of issues... Honestly I haven't had any sick fish in over a year... I quarantine anyone new for at least a week... So I'm wondering how plants might effect the tank... Thanks so much!
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I found a HUGE drop in bacteria blooms which clouded the tank when I added the UV Sterilizer... HUGE difference. (Do plants fix that problem naturally???) (So if you have cloudy water... in my case this worked like a champ!)
Welcome Trina.

Yes plants can make an enormous difference to water quality, and they will take a lot of the "heavy lifting" away from your filter.

The main difference between plants and U.V. would be that the plants are dealing with the underlying problem (that causes the bacterial bloom) and the UV. is dealing with the symptom.

Have a look through the last couple of pages of <"Bedside aquarium"> and the Lake Tanganyika links in <"Cichlid tank..">.

cheers Darrel
 

BugOut

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Thank you!!!!!
So how could I keep 6 silver dollars in a planted tank... I have a new 40 gallon that I am going to use for them. I'd also like to learn about a filtration system that I have seen at different fish stores... below the tank there are different open containers that seem to have media and live plants... Would that be the best thing for lawn-mowing silver dollars? to keep the plants out of their reach??? lol Also... what do you think about a fresh water drip ... is this effective for less water changes? I am going to check out the bedside aquarium and cichlid tank links... and would welcome any others! Thank you so very much ! ! ! ! ! ! !
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
below the tank there are different open containers that seem to have media and live plants... Would that be the best thing for lawn-mowing silver dollars? to keep the plants out of their reach??
That is a good option. They are called "sumps" and ,<"can be planted">. You can also have <"them over-tank"> (if you don't have a lid), there is less plumbing involved that way.

cheers Darrel
 

Chris Tinker

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leeds
appropriate topic, i use to have a vectron uv and the tank never had problems, but was that because i took my time?

i assume without microscopes checking the water we wont have an answer...
 

rebel

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UV lamps can get rid of green water algae
For this reason I have used it in a planted tank. It's very effective and the green water usually hasn't returned after a one or two treatments.
 

PARAGUAY

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The Discus fish house l minded while he went off a couple of weeks had UVs in most tanks, only a couple planted .l suppose with having a few grands worth of fish it made sense
 

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