Aqua Ultraviolet versus TMC UV Sterilizers, Reef Central

I was forwarded a recent thread from Reef Central where by moderators & forum members went on another of their misinformation binges.


RELATED ARTICLE:
Aquarium & Pond UV Sterilizer Review; Vecton, Advantage


From:
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2449440

In this binge, a Reef Central member made one of the more laughable misinformation statements I have ever read online.

QUOTE: “While AquaUV is not the cheapest UV on the market, like the link you provided say, they are quality units with great dwell time. What they fail to mention is their great support. Same can be said about Emperor Aquatics. Something that is non existent with Tropical Marine Centre who is over seas and depends exclusively on retailers for support.”

Sorry dude, TMC support is superior just because it is retailer based.
Let me ask readers what would rather have as a return policy using a laptop computer as an example:
You have a choice between two laptops of similar value, with one it can be brought back to the store for an exchange or parts replacement, or the other you have to send away to the manufacturer and wait several weeks to get your laptop back?
I think most would take the first quicker option; sorry dude.

Do not believe me, here’s a link to their warrant returns page:
http://www.aquaultraviolet.com/sites/default/files/instructions/Instructions%20Classic%20and%20Twist%20Series%20UV%2005-19-09.pdf

Let me address a few more comments from this terrible thread of misinformation.

  • This same character, makes more misinformation statements.
    “That said, the units mentioned in your links are cheap units meant to appeal the masses. Not necessarily quality units and they don’t have the same kind of dwell time as the higher end units from AquaUV or Emperor.”

    While admittedly the Aqua Ultraviolet and Emperor are excellent (I have used these too), the TMC is NOT a cheap unit meant to appeal to the masses, a quick peak on eBay or Amazon will find plenty of these cheap units often for under $50 such as the AquaTop, Killing Machine, and many others. These are cheap.
    The facts are the dwell time is the highest of any UV with the TMC Vecton, in fact higher than some of Emperors Smart UVs which use very short lamps and short exposure times.

    Has this guy even done a dwell time test?
    Has he even done his homework, such as reading the article he so conveniently bashes out of hand with ad hominem attacks on the author by him and others?

  • Here is another of this guys statements:
    “Here is the Tropical Marine Centre UV unit that I used to run on my tank. At the time, it was one of the only higher wattage units out there that used a crystal sleeve. These units are now relegated to Tropical Marine Centre’s commercial product line and not readily available in the states. The AquaUV’s equivalent (Classic Series) is better made, easier to service and backed by much better support. The comparable AquaUV is also much cheaper.”

    Incorrect again!!
    Does this guy do ANY HOMEWORK AT ALL? If so he gets an F.

    The TMC 110 UV is readily available in the USA for under $400 in some locations or websites.
    Since my commitment to readers of my website blog post is to not commercialize my results by posting links to resellers, I will simply state these are not difficult to find online.

    Reef Central, What should I do UV, Large TMC Sterilizer

    As for support, I have already addressed this falsehood, but will add that I have NEVER had an issue with parts or returns for ANY TMC product from lights, FSB filters, or their UV Sterilizers. This includes one rare instance of a hairline crack in the body for which I was given a brand new UV sterilizer, NO SHIPPING BACK FOR REPAIRS!!

  • This one is from a Reef Central Moderator:
    But does sell them, and is trying awfully hard to the make them out to the be best thing since sliced bread. While they can indeed be useful in some circumstances, they are not the wonder equipment with all the attributes he gives them.”

    This comment is not so bad IMO, since he is simply stating an opinion as an opinion.
    However I have read this article quoted and do not get the same thing at all out of the article or other articles published by the author.
    He clearly recommends “True” UV Sterilizers as he calls them as a useful tool, which includes other tools such as quarantine.
    As well we have another case of someone who appears to not research outside of Reef Central or even read an article in question or its cited references, otherwise he would never make such statements of “opinion”.

  • “Even so, the UV will have some impact on pods as well despite the high flow rates.”

    What are the “pods” doing in the water column?
    Has he heard of pre-filtration which is an essential ingredient for correct UV Sterilizer application?

    Sorry one again; WRONG!!

  • “Keep in mind, that article is written by a guy selling UV units.”

    A typical liberal ad hominem argument whereby you attack the person rather than the facts or cited resources.

    This has no bearing on the credibility of the article assuming the facts and references are sound.

    Using his own terminology: Keep in mind, that there is always a money trail anywhere, some are just less obvious or down right sneaky.
    Does this guy work for free, does he not expect the author to sell what he found to be a superior product?

    Back to following the money, Reef Central is supported by sponsorships; have you ever noticed that a member will get the “ban hammer” for speaking negatively against EcoTech, one of Reef Central’s major supporters?

I would say in the end, use common sense logic, actually do your homework, not give lip service like these members of Reef Central do.
Also do not depend upon Google for good search results when doing your research, since they too are beholden to deliver readers to their pals such as Amazon or others. Consider DuckDuckGo who does not spy on you and use your information to track your habits!

Further Reading/References:

#UV STERILIZATION; UVC Irradiation for Pond, Aquarium

Are UV Sterilizers Good for an Aquarium?

Are UV Sterilizers Good for Aquariums Question; Are UV Sterilizers Good for Aquariums?
As a generalization, this is a question that really should not be asked anymore based on research of the benefits of Level 1 Sterilization that includes disease prevention & control, fish immunity based on redox balance, and water clarification.

However while there are few reasons not to have a UV Sterilizer on your aquarium, most of the reasons NOT to have one of these devices is based on myths that simply will not go away despite verified controlled use of these devices.
The other reason to NOT have a UV Sterilizer is the plethora of low cost quality UV Sterilizers made by companies such as AquaTop, Jebo, Green Killing Machine, and others that simply do NOT provide level 1 sterilization; ONLY clarification.

What I will then look at based on my aquarium service business observations, as well as feedback from others I know in the business as to what are the positives and the negatives. With the negatives I will also look at negatives that are caused by UV Sterilizers of poor dwell time design, poor over all construction, poor quality, and simply poor installation.

UV STERILIZER POSITIVES (based on science and professional use, not here say)

  • At flow rates of 20-25 gph, depending upon dwell time inside UV Sterilizer, a UV Sterilizer will kill or render helpless most pathogenic bacteria
  • A UV Sterilizer will NOT kill beneficial bacteria since these aerobic bacteria reside in the substrate and filter media in a healthy established aquarium
  • A UV Sterilizer will NOT kill copepods in a marine reef aquarium.
    Simple use proves this, as well, the science behind how a UV Sterilizer shows that when correctly plumbed, the UV Sterilizer would not be powerful enough nor would a copepod even get into the UV Sterilizer chamber based on how and where they live and correct pre-filtration prior to water entering the UV.
  • A UV Sterilizer WILL improve Redox Balance resulting improved fish immune response
  • A UV Sterilizer can help slow or occasionally even stop Oodinium, Ich or other single cell aquarium parasite infestation.
    Level 1 Sterilization will slow many of these parasites, if only by improving fish immune response. Level 2 can even kill some single parasites, although not always completely.
    However I should caution a prospective buyer that even the best UV should not be purchased with the belief this will put an end to future Ich, Velvet, Oodinium or related infestations. Purchase a UV as a tool to aid in control and prevention (keyword: TOOL)
  • A UV Sterilizer will clarify an aquarium with cloudy or green water

UV STERILIZER NEGATIVES

  • A UV Sterilizer is NOT a cure all to poor water chemistry as per Redox, over crowding often resulting in poor water clarity, poor disease prevention, and other poor aquarium maintenance management
  • If not correctly installed AFTER filter inline or in a sump loop, too high a flow rate, poor dwell time, poor UV Sterilization chamber design; you often will have useless piece of aquarium equipment.
    This unfortunately happens way too often.
    I have made countless “house calls” where a customer incorrectly installed the UV Sterilizer or purchased one of the countless junk UVs such as the Jebo or AquaTop and then would tell me the UV did not improve my fish’ health. This resulted in this customer stating ALL UVs are useless, when in fact they made this anecdotal opinion based on incorrect installation or use of poorly designed UVs that are NOT capable of Level 1 Sterilization.
  • A UV should not be used while planktonic foods are added to the water column. This is common in many reef aquariums.
    However the UV Sterilizer can still be used and should be placed on a timer so that it is run two hours after the introduction of these foods.
  • Many UV Sterilizer have ballasts that do not last (such as the Coralife), or gimmicks such as baffles, twists, wipers, that do little or even lower UV irradiation efficiency.
    Do not waste your money on these UVs, otherwise you may end up with a poor opinion of what a good UV can do for your aquarium.

What is also important to know is lamp/bulb maintenance.
To purchase a UV Sterilizer, including a better model such as the TMC and then to rarely if ever change the lamp will slowly result in a device that does nothing for your aquarium.
With 24/7 use, these lamps will already be at 50% in just 6 months, which is when they should be changed. After a year of continuous use the lamp is mostly useless.

The other issue in our competitive marketplace, is that many if not the majority of online and sellers, especially Amazon and Ebay, sell medium pressure and cold cathode UV lamps so as to make a better profit all the while keep the selling price lower than the wholesale cost of the better high output replacement lamps/bulbs.
To make the mistake of purchasing one of these lamps like so many do based on my home and office visits where the aquarium service client is complaining that their UV no longer works as well or that the fish are getting sick more often, is to purchase a UV lamp with 1/4 to 1/3 the useful UVC output! In my opinion this is self defeating!!!

For more on this subject, I STRONGLY suggest reading this article:
Actual UV-C Emission from a UV Bulb; Aquarium or Pond

Before just taking my word and observations, I suggest reading these resources on this subject:

*Aquarium UV Sterilizer Use
*Redox in Aquariums
*UV Sterilizer Review
UV Bulbs; Problems of Quality?

Here are a few UV Sterilizer that I know from practical use work well and reliably.

*AAP/TMC Vecton, Advantage
*Aqua Ultraviolet
*Emperor Aquatics UV
*Gamma UV

Of the four above, I have had the highest longevity, least gimmicky features, and the highest dwell time with the AAP/TMC Advantage & Vecton UV Sterilizers.

Here are a few Economy UV Sterilizer that I know from practical use work reasonably well; at least level 1 sterilization and reasonable reliability:

*Via Aqua Terminator [discontinued]
*SunSun (Perfect) CUP Series (not the JUP series which do not provide level 1 sterilization)

UV Sterilizers to Avoid; either due to poor level 1 sterilization and/or poor reliability

*AquaTop
*Jebo
*Coralife Turbo Twist
*Green Killing Machine

AquaTop Hang On UV Filter Review

Hangon UV Filter Review:
PF-15, PF-25, PF-40, & PSE1 UV Hang-On Filter as well as IL5-UV & IL10-UV

PF40-UV Hang On Filter With UV SterilizationI felt this should be my first post based on what I have read and questions I have had asked of me by clients.

First these are a nice idea, that at first glance appears to be well made.

I will first start with the positives I do see:

(1) Simple to operate

(2) Compact Design

(3) Efficient Filter design for an economy filter

(4) Performs very basic water clarification (via UVC Sterilization)

Now the Overwhelming Negatives:

(1) No true Bio Filtration since there is no room for a Bio Sponge, Grid, etc.
This can be a major negative since aerobic bio-filtration is an essential aspect of aquarium filtration.

(2) Due to the nature of how an HOB power aquarium filter works, it is common for calcium deposits to build up on the quartz sleeve, slowly degrading what little actual UVC actually reaches any possible algae for clairifcation.
Eventually even the ability to perform UV Clarification is lost yet alone level one sterilization which this UV/Filter never truly attains, even out of the box.

(3) Now that these have been out for a while, I can comment on the “well made” aspect of these UV units.
The simple answer is leaks and ballast failures are all too common after 6 months to a year.

(4) As per the advertised UV Sterilization by the manufacturer and some sellers, this is where I really find the advertisements misleading as they claim these filters “aids in the health of your aquatic creatures by eradicating free-floating parasites”.

The FACTS are free floating parasites are only achieved by Level 2 UV Sterilization, and this filter cannot even truly perform Level One Sterilization (which is all most aquarium users require).
Level Two Sterilization requires a flow rate under 8 gph for most UVs, although some well designed UVs such as the TMC Vecton, True UV Sterilizer can perform this in under 12 gph.
Further Reference:
TMC Vecton UV Sterilizer Review

This brings me to another point; this is not a well designed UV, not because of any specific design flaw, but only due to this concept, as this concept WAS attempted 20+ years ago (by Nektonics), despite manufacturer claims.

The concept of a UV Sterilizer built into a Hang On (HOB) Aquarium Power Filter simply cannot have a good dwell time!

The dwell time of this filter is under 1.50 watts of UVC energy per second for this filter.
Compare this to 1.95 watts of UVC energy per second for the “Terminator 13 watt” versus 2.08 watts of UVC energy per second for the “8 Watt Vecton“.

What this boils down to is this is a blatant lie, as to parasite eradication; if the manufacturer would only state “Effective for Water Clarification” I would have less of a problem.
The bigger picture problem here is that over the years many aquarium UV Sterilizer manufacturers have made similar claims and then aquarium keepers have purchased these products based on these claims (example; Green Killing Machine, Submariner).
The Result? These persons then go on to state in forums, Yahoo Answers, or even me how UV Sterilizers are “Crap” as their fish continued to get sick after installing these types of UV Devices.
The end result is the continued “cut & paste” of misinformation that UVs are useless, when in fact it is what was purchased or how they are installed that makes the difference.

This would be analogous to purchasing a mini pickup to pull a 10,000 fifth wheel trailer and when it fails complaining about all pick ups, when in fact this person should have purchased a 350/3500 full size pick up truck.
There simply is a reason a UV such as this can have a filter and UV and cost less than $70 while a quality UV sterilizer (without any other gimmicks) of similar wattage costs about $125

Finally, I might add that before I push Level Two Sterilization,; for most aquariums Level One Sterilization is all that is necessary for disease prevention and fish immunity, via Aquarium Redox Balance.
However this Filter cannot even perform Level 1 Sterilization and thus should NOT be purchased if this is what you need for your aquarium.

Further Reference: Aquarium Redox Basics

The bottom line is ANY True in-line UV Sterilizer is better than these essentially decorative UV light emitting devices. This does NOT mean the low quality AquaTop IL5-UV or IL10-UV which although better than the AquaTop Hang On UVs, these still have poor dwell times and construction that is prone to leaks and ballast failures.
Simply put, from my use of many AquaTop products, they are a company to avoid , in particular for their line of so-called UV Sterilizers!!!

Better yet would be a high Dwell Time UV such as the TMC Vecton (see the link below)

Recommended Reading:
TMC Vecton & Advantage In-Line UV Sterilizer Review