Monday, July 4, 2016

Pros and Cons of UV Pond Clarifiers

Pros and Cons of UV Pond Filters are they really filters?

Myth One: 
UV sterilizers and Clarifiers  are often being referred to as a “UV pond filter.” 
Myth Two: 
UV sterilizers and Clarifiers lights will kill  ALL algae and microorganisms in the biological cycle. 

Some Facts About UV and Clarifiers

UV or Ultraviolet light has been used for sterilizing drinking water. It has also been used for aquariums and ponds for several years for algae control. 

There are four main basic components of the Clarifiers/Ultraviolet Sterilizer: A germicidal lamp, a quartz sleeve to protect the lamp from the water, a ballast to provide the correct electrical requirements for the lamp, and the housing which holds all of the other parts and the water flows through it.

There are a lot of misconceptions regarding the use of 
Clarifiers/Ultraviolet Sterilizer in Water Gardens or Dedicated Koi ponds. One of the concerns is that you will sterilize your pond and kill all of the beneficial bacteria. This is impossible. Not all of the water will pass through the Clarifiers/Ultraviolet Sterilizer in one circulation and there is always going to be beneficial bacteria inside your biological filter and on everything in the pond, including the liner,rocks,and gravel. 

Before adding a UV
4 days after adding UV
What the UV will do, when properly sized for your pond and flow rate, is reduce some bacteria, including harmful bacteria, as well as microscopic organisms that could be harmful to your fish. It will also destroy the single cell algae cells (DNA) thereby killing it very efficiently. This will provide clear water when the turbidity is due to suspended algae. Clarifiers/Ultraviolet Sterilizer provides 100 percent success for achieving clear water from single cell algae in a pond. 

While Clarifiers/Ultraviolet Sterilizer will provide clear water it does not filter the pond water. One concern of using Clarifiers/Ultraviolet Sterilizer in a pond is that some people will look at their perfectly clear pond and think that the water quality must be good for the fish. You can have clear water and still have water that would be detrimental to the fish. Always have good biological filtration along with the support of Clarifiers/Ultraviolet Sterilizer in your pond. You need the biological filter to break down the ammonia given off by the fish and to break down dead organics including the dead algae that is killed by the Clarifiers/ Ultraviolet Sterilizer. If you don’t have enough biological filtration then you may see one algae problem disappear (green water) and another one (filamentous algae) replace it.

What defines a Clarifier Vs. Ultraviolet Sterilizer?  
When shopping for a 
Clarifiers/Ultraviolet Sterilizer you may find some confusing statements. Some companies don’t even call their UVs sterilizers. They call them clarifiers. Company A says that their 25 watt UV is for ponds up to 1200 gallons and company B says that their 25 watt UV is for ponds up to 2300 gallons. What’s the deal? There are actually two reasons for the discrepancy. When a UV is sized as a clarifier it may not provide crystal clear water and a large number of plants are required to assist with the clarity.

Below is a simple chart to help you compare the differences from Ultraviolet Sterilizer to a Clarifier.

Use the clarifier column when the pond is partially in shade and has 50% plant coverage. This will improve water clarity resulting in a natural looking pond.
More then 50% Plant Coverage

No Plant Coverage
If a UV is sized for sterilization then you can have crystal clear water even without plants in the pond, although the plants will certainly make for a healthier pond.

Adding a UV to your pond can provide some real benefits but do your research and get the facts before making your purchase and be sure to include properly sized biological filtration as well. 
If you can maintain a balanced ecosystem through good filtration, plants, water circulation, water changes, and you don't over stock fish or over feed you can achieve clear water. With a natural biological cycle, the excess nutrients are consumed by plants and water changes. 

There are many products out there that our saying this is all you need to have "Naturally Balance Pond" so "Pull The Plug On your UV Light" Over 27 years that we have been in the Pond Business we have found very few of the products that lay claims to be the Only One really work as described or suggested. Most ponds will never be identical, you can build the exact same pond side by side and you will have two different reactions or results!  So before you pull the plug or even purchase a Clarifiers/Ultraviolet Sterilizer do some research and contact local Retailer or Koi club(s), ask the members as to what they found to work for them and why. Compare the information you have gathered and then you will better informed as to which direction you so choose to go.

Until next time...........Happy Ponding from Koiman!