The 8 Best UV Sterilizer Pumps

Updated August 04, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

8 Best UV Sterilizer Pumps
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 47 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Ensure the safety and health of your floating friends with one of these UV sterilizer pumps, which will keep the algae and bacteria in your aquarium to a minimum. We've included models capable of handling everything from smaller habitats up to high volume tanks and koi ponds, so there's sure to be one that suits your needs. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best uv sterilizer pump on Amazon.

8. Green Killing Machine

The AA Aquarium Green Killing Machine has a filtration system and a 9-watt UV light that can eliminate bacteria and cloudy water at the same time. It is only effective for aquariums up to 50 gallons in size, but serves those well.
  • reduces need for water changes
  • clips onto most waterfall filters
  • some units burn out quickly
Brand AA Aquarium
Model AAUV9W
Weight 2.7 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. Aquatop PFUV15

Boasting a clear design that allows you to see both its filtering and sterilizing action, the Aquatop PFUV15 can process up to 64 gallons of water per hour, making it ideal for smaller aquariums. It hangs right on the edge of your tank for easy access.
  • independent uv power switch
  • replaceable filter pad
  • a bit loud and difficult to clean
Brand AquaTop
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

6. Brand New JUP-23

The Brand New JUP-23 is suitable for tanks as large as 150 gallons, and works just as well in saltwater as it does in fresh. It comes with an adjustable flow-regulating nozzle and can be installed horizontally or vertically to accommodate your space needs.
  • easy mounting with suction cups
  • helps clarify water
  • may create too strong a current
Brand Super Aquatic
Model pending
Weight 2.8 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Pingkay 3-Stage HW-402B

The Pingkay 3-Stage HW-402B includes two sets of tubes and piping for transporting water from your aquarium into its filter and back again. It boasts a flow rate of 265 gallons per hour, and comes with enough filtration media for initial loading and several refills.
  • good for tanks up to 55 gallons
  • four built-in filtration trays
  • instructions aren't very helpful
Brand Pingkay
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

4. SunSun JUP-01 Submersible

The SunSun JUP-01 Submersible is affordable, effective, and reliable for most home aquarium use. For tanks of up to 75 gallons in capacity, it should be the only unit you need to keep your fish safe, whether they're in fresh or brackish water.
  • uses a 9 watt uv bulb
  • mechanical pre-filter sponge
  • plastic may degrade over time
Brand SUN
Model 07105
Weight 2.6 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

3. CNZ All-in-One Filter System

Suitable for small to medium tanks, ponds, and pools, the CNZ All-in-One Filter System has an adjustable flow rate of up to 660 gallons per hour. Despite its high-volume output, it boasts an impressively low power consumption of just 57 watts.
  • tool-free filter access
  • includes three fountain attachments
  • powered by a single cable
Brand CNZ
Model CUF-6011
Weight 5.1 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Grech CBG-800

The Grech CBG-800 clips easily to the edge of your indoor aquarium and begins filtering out both particulate matter and bacteria instantly. It features an adjustable flow and is preassembled and ready for action, so all you have to do is plug it in.
  • helps reduce algae buildup
  • surface skimmer removes oil
  • includes helpful instructions
Model CBG-800
Weight 3.3 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. Lifegard Aquatics All-in-One

Upgrade your filtration system with the Lifegard Aquatics All-in-One, which features a powerful 13 Watt UV light that clears large ponds of harmful bacteria and algae. It also uses two types of sponges for the removal of solids and particulates.
  • indicator shows uv light is working
  • integrated handle for easy transport
  • includes an aerating fountain head
Brand Lifegard Aquatics
Model All-in-One Single
Weight 17.1 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

Benefits Of A UV Sterilizer Pump

In essence, ultraviolet radiation has the ability to eliminate microorganisms that may be pathogenic to other living creatures. In the human world, UV radiation finds use in environmental ways such as preventing contamination in office buildings by reducing airborne fungi that contribute to respiratory sicknesses.

Using a UV sterilizer pump in aquatic applications does much of the same thing. It is a great way to reduce the spread of microorganisms in the environment itself. The function of UV sterilization acts to mimic the effects of natural sunlight, allowing for a safe environment for fish and aquatic life by eliminating microorganisms trying to reproduce. They also help eliminate algae buildup on the surface of the water or the glass of a tank.

Aquatic enthusiasts prefer this method of sterilization because it has no residual effects. Only the water which passes through the sterilizer is affected by the UV radiation. This will not affect any microorganisms living on the fish, rocks, or coral in the tank, only the water which circulates around them. This helps the aquatic environment as a whole build its own defenses, and makes for a more stable setup in the long run. As it is a method of sterilization and not specifically designed to kill microbes outright, its main action is to make microorganisms incapable of reproduction. This eliminates the worry about bacterial die-off overloading the tank. From this perspective, UV sterilization has no negative effects on the environment.

Additionally, the benefits of UV sterilizer pumps can change depending on the needs of the environment itself. By adjusting the flow rate and strength of the UV light, different needs can be met. For general upkeep on an already clean environment, a slower rate can be used. If signs of disease or microbial spread show up in the tank, the rate can be increase and the light strengthened. This can be likened to a booster shot for preventing disease.

What UV Sterilizer Pump Is Best For Your Habitat?

When choosing a UV sterilizer pump, there are many important factors which are going to determine how effective it is at its job. Taking these factors into consideration can mean the difference between a satisfactory purchase and a returned item.

One important thing to consider is the power of the bulb. The amount of UV light created is in relation to the wattage of the bulb itself. Bulbs with a higher wattage will produce more UV light. Interestingly enough, the temperature of the bulb also changes the strength of effect. UV light is best produced at a temperature range of 104-111 degrees Fahrenheit. In most cases, the ability of a bulb to create useful UV rays decreases over time, and replacement bulbs will need to be a long term consideration.

The type of organism the pump will need to handle can also be an important factor as well. In theory, UV radiation kills bacteria, viruses, algae and protozoa in water. In application, the type of organism which needs to be handled will affect how well UV sterilizers do their jobs. For instance, protozoa require a higher, longer dose of UV radiation, and there are even some bacteria which are more resistant to UV radiation treatment methods.

Another consideration is the penetration of the UV light itself. If a UV light has trouble penetrating water, it will not be effective. As a rule of thumb, fresh water is easier to penetrate than salt water due to the lower particle count. UV sterilizer pumps should be considered the last step in water treatment, coming after a particle filter and biological filter if possible. This will ensure the water is as clean as possible before heading to UV treatment; increasing its effectiveness.

How UV Sterilization Works

When most people think of UV light, they think of tanning salons. While this is one use for ultraviolet light, it may not be a smart choice. Frequent exposure to UV light can accelerate skin aging and may even increase the risk of skin cancer.

While excessive UV light may be bad for humans, this same light can actually be used as a safeguard against microorganisms and pathogens in many different environments. The process of sterilization caused by ultraviolet radiation may provide some insight into why that is.

Ultraviolet radiation emits a specific wavelength, from 328 nanometers to 210 nanometers. At this wavelength, UV radiation acts to break open and destroy the nucleic acid or DNA of individual cells. As DNA is the basic building block of every cell, it is easy to see how UV light can be both harmful and helpful depending upon how it is directed.

Luckily for humans who are exposed to UV radiation on a regular basis, certain cellular repair methods are also built into our DNA. The cells respond based on how the DNA was damaged. Specialized repair proteins continuously scan the cells for damage. When they find it, these proteins trigger mechanisms within cells which repair damage before it becomes extensive.

In the microbial world, these mechanisms are not as developed. Therefore it is much easier for UV sterilization to destroy microbial and pathogenic cells beyond repair. This method of disinfecting and sanitizing environments still has relatively little use in the medical world, mainly due to the fact that UV radiation is not selective in the DNA it damages. It will damage skin cells just as easily as attacking pathogens. This increases the risk of UV-induced skin disorders.

The use of UV sterilization has many non-biological applications, however. The destruction of airborne pathogens in hospitals and waiting rooms, cleaning medical tools, disinfecting water, and even keeping aquatic environments free from microorganisms are just a few of the ways UV sterilization is used today with great success.

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Last updated on August 04, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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