The 8 Best UV Sterilizer Pumps

Updated July 25, 2018 by Richard Lynch

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We spent 47 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Ensure the safety and health of your pet fish 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 small habitats up to high volume tanks and koi ponds, so there's sure to be one that will suit 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. Sun Super UP-01

7. Aquatop PFUV15

6. Sun JUP-23

5. Goplus Pond Pressure Bio Filter

4. CNZ All-in-One Filter System

3. Grech CBG-800

2. Lifegard Aquatics All-in-One

1. AA Aquarium Green Killing Machine

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 July 25, 2018 by Richard Lynch

Richard grew up in the part of New York state that doesn’t have any tall buildings. When he’s not writing, he spends most of his time reading and playing video games. A massive fan all things sci-fi, he’ll happily talk with you for hours about everything from the deserts of Arrakis to the forests of Endor.


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