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By Eric Marquis
Ultraviolet (UV) light is getting a lot of attention these days, mostly due to one segment that is extremely effective when it comes to destroying micro-organisms, including coronaviruses like the one that causes Covid-19. But before explaining how UV light applies specifically to the aquarium hobby, let us review the various types that exist.
The sun produces various UV light spectrums. UVA makes up much of the UV radiation reaching Earth and can penetrate deep into the skin, causing wrinkles and age spots. UVB more deeply damages the DNA in skin, leading to sunburns and eventually skin cancer. But a shorter and much more energetic wave spectrum, UVC, is most effective at destroying genetic material. While UVC is filtered out naturally by ozone in the atmosphere, when produced artificially, it breaks up the genetic makeup of bacteria in air, water and on surfaces so they can no longer function or reproduce. In short, UVC is a natural germicide that can eliminate up to 99.99% of bacteria.
Although science discovered the disinfecting powers of UVC light over a century ago, artificial applications have only become popular in recent years. The health care field, for example, was one of the first to employ machines that sterilize hospital rooms and equipment with powerful blasts of UVC light. More recently, countries such as China have widely used UVC in the fight against Covid-19, passing everything from city buses to airplane cabins to paper money under this cleansing light.
Once installed in-line to existing canister setups, water passes through the Fluval clarifier and is exposed to cleansing UVC light, which is produced by a Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp (CCFL). Unlike traditional fluorescent bulbs, the CCFL bulb operates at a lower temperature, allowing it to efficiently clear water for up to 30,000 hours (approximately 3 times longer) so there is no need to switch out expensive bulbs every 6-12 months. As an added bonus, the Fluval UVC is also timer compatible (included), which can be used intermittently by energy-conscious hobbyists who want to maximize the life of the unit.
Fluval applies UVC light with a specific wavelength of 253 nanometers, which is most effective at eliminating bad bacteria that cause algae and cloudy water. This process is chemical-free and will not affect beneficial, surface-dwelling bacterial colonies that have already been established.
Fishkeepers will appreciate the Fluval UVC’s compact space-saving design, which measures only 6.25″ x 5″ x 2.5″ (16 cm x 13 cm x 6.6 cm) and weighs a mere 0.6 lbs (0.295 kg). Unlike traditional clarifiers that project water in a straight line on one side of the bulb, Fluval’s condensed layout redirects water flow up, down and around the bulb to maximize contact time for effective water clarification in a smaller footprint. This allows the unit to easily fits within aquarium cabinetry. Coupled together with the fact the clarifier is multi-directional (meaning it’s capable of operating in both directions), there is no need to move existing filter setups or add any needless clutter. The unit easily connects in-line to external filter hosing with an internal diameter of 5/8” (or 16mm), which includes Fluval’s best-selling 07 and 06 performance filter series. Best of all, the Fluval UVC installs in just minutes and requires no upkeep once operational.
Bottom line – if you own an external aquarium filter, you owe it to yourself to discover a better fishkeeping experience with the Fluval UVC in-Line Clarifier.
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