Outline UV sterilizer for aquariums

Best UV Sterilizer for Aquariums

Anyone interested in buying an aquarium should know that one of the accessories your fish cannot do without is the UV sterilizer.

The UV sterilizer is a filtration tool that is supposed to maintain the aquarium healthy and clean, as fish cannot survive in a dirty aquarium. It’s only a matter of time until pollutants build up, raising the risk for disease, in which case the UV sterilizer starts to play its part.

TOP 7 Best UV sterilizer for Aquariums

   1. SunSun UV Sterilizer

It may sound incredible, but you can get fantastic UV sterilizers for an excellent price. The SunSun JUP-01 9W UV Sterilizer Submersible Filter Pump is one option that works for an aquarium without emptying your wallet.

The UV sterilizer is made for benefitting aquariums up to 75-gallons. It comes with a built-in pump and UV ballast, UV-C lamp, and mechanical pre-filter sponge. The pump pushes 210gallons per hour, and it runs quietly. The 9Watt UV light is sufficient, keeping the water free of floating algae and dangerous microorganisms.

It’s a compact and versatile sterilizer that is ready to install out of the box, and you don’t need any other circulation pump or additional tubing. A giant mechanical pre-filter sponge is going to collect debris to increase UV exposure. The built-in pump will direct waterborne organisms past the UV-C lamp, cleaning the water.

You may easily install the sterilizer horizontally or vertically, in both fresh and saltwater aquariums — the suction cup mounting brackets ensure a sturdy mount. The bulb is easy to replace for the best performance.

Here’s the list of pros:

  • It comes with pre-filter sponge and pump
  • You may install it horizontally or vertically
  • It works for fresh and saltwater
  • It’s easy to fit in and reliable

The cons aren’t major:

  • The build could be better
  • Not everyone is pleased with the results

Beggars cannot be choosers, and, for the buck you’re paying, the UV sterilizer is still a choice to put down on your shopping list when buying on a fixed budget.

   2. AA Aquarium UV Sterilizer

The AA Aquarium Green Killing Machine Internal UV Sterilizer is both affordable and reliable, which is why you should give it a look.


The UV sterilizer will eliminate algae, cloudiness, and bacteria, creating the crystal clear water that you fish need for a healthy life.

The machine is made with patented technology, and you don’t need any tools for installation. You simply follow the instruction and give the device a couple of days until the results show. The UV light rays are efficient and control free-flowing bacteria, molds, yeast, and various pathogens. The water becomes clean and clear of any chemicals. t

The UV sterilizer comes with three year-warranty pumps, which move 220L/hour and four pieces of sponge for pre-filter. It’s most effective for aquariums up to 50 gallons. The zigzag flow inside the bulb will maximize the sterilizing time, whereas the reduced flow increases the UV efficiency.

The LED signals will inform you when it’s time to replace the bulbs. The housing is well made and ensures safe bulb replacement every time. The lamp is actually sealed and doesn’t leak.

The unit has a subtle profile, and it’s easy to hide inside the aquarium. It’s the same for the tube that is easy to place outside the aquarium.

The UV sterilizer works for both fresh and saltwater, and it’s easy to maintain.

Here’s what we like the most about it:

  • It’s efficient and reliable
  • It’s subtle and natural to install
  • It works for fresh and saltwater
  • It’s easy to replace the bulbs and to take care of it

Don’t let the minor pet peeves stand in your way when deciding:

  • Some reported the motor stopped working after a couple of months
  • The water flow is low, which some consider it’s not effective

A penny saved is a penny earned, and the UV sterilizer is still a reliable option, especially considering the price.

   3. Coralife Turbo-Twist UV Sterilizers

The Coralife Turbo-Twist UV Sterilizers is made for removing bacteria, parasites, and free-floating algae.

Thanks to the twist-flow design, the exposure to UV is increased, and the efficiency of the filter is excellent. It works for both fresh and saltwater aquariums up to 125 gallons.

The versatility of the sterilizer isn’t skipped, and you may hang it or go with in-line applications instead. The mounting brackets are reliable and keep the sterilizer in place either way.

The build is impressive, and the UV sterilizer will make use for a long time. It presents a double-wall construction for a longer lifespan. The UV indicator light keeps you posted when the sterilizer is running or not.

The sterilizer doesn’t come with a pump, but only with a UV lamp. It removes harmful micro-organisms and single-cell algae from the water.

We’ve shortened the positive aspects to the following:

  • It eliminates bacteria, parasites, and algae
  • It has a twist-flow design for better performance
  • It features an indicator light
  • It benefits fresh and saltwater aquariums

The shortcomings are nothing to stress about:

  • Some noticed the bulb connection becoming corroded after some time
  • It doesn’t come with a pump

Regardless of the minor problems, the UV sterilizer is effective and dependable, which is why you should give it a try.

   4. Oxyful UV Ultraviolet Algae Bacteria Virus Sterilizer

Should you look for a UV sterilizer that isn’t submersible, you can give it a try with the Oxyful 36W Non-Submersible UV Ultraviolet 22″ Algae Bacteria Virus Sterilizer.

Oxyful 36W Non-Submersible UV Ultraviolet


The sterilizer will eliminate grime from the freshwater aquarium, saltwater reef tank, or pond. It maintains the nitrate levels down, making the water crystal clear.

The UV bulb is high-performant and prevents bacteria from growing in the aquarium. It eliminates, cyanobacteria, algae blooms, free-floating micro-organisms, red slime, pathogens, larvae, and more. It also benefits inverts and saltwater corals.

The maximum flow rate is 1,849 GPH, and the sterilizer is reliable for aquariums or ponds up to 14,529 gallons. The light bulb can last for one year, and the hard plastic housing protects it against water.

You may install it horizontally or vertically, and you should mount it after the filter. It has a good build and works with various sizes of hose. You can turn it on/off through the plug.

If you need to install it before the filter, you have to use pre-filtration for preventing the quartz sleeve from breaking on the cause of the debris.

Let’s give the positive aspects another look:

  • It’s made for fresh and saltwater aquariums
  • It allows the versatile mount
  • It fits various sizes of hoses
  • It’s effective and dependable

Don’t mind the flaws as they’re minor:

  • The risk for leakage isn’t null
  • It may not fit all systems

The good outweighs the bad, and the UV sterilizer isn’t going to disappoint most of the time, especially when you focus on the bigger picture.

   5. Aqua UV Sterilizer

Designed for aquariums, small ponds, and water features, the Aqua UV 15-watt Advantage 2000+ Hang On UV Sterilizer comes with many positive features and only a few shortcomings.

The UV sterilizer will eliminate viruses, bacteria, and protozoa, and its performance will satisfy the most experienced aquarists. It’s slim and lightweight and ensures excellent performance in 200-500 gallon ponds. It works as a sterilizer, controlling the number of harmful bacteria and leading to a healthier environment for the ponds. You can also use it as a clarifier, clearing ponds up to 2000 gallons with 50-75% plant coverage.

The UV sterilizer only needs 3-5 days to clean the water. It can even lead to crystal clear water in just one night. Putting it together is easy, and so it’s the maintenance.

The lamp is placed in the housing for better UV efficiency, whereas the slim profile provides a better UV dosage. It’s made for maximum flow rates, and you can use it in both fresh and saltwater aquariums. It’s easy to remove the remote power supply.

As long as you’re using it for the right side of the aquarium, you shouldn’t doubt its efficiency. Follow the instruction for both installation and operation so that you can get the best out of it.

We really appreciate some of the following aspects:

  • It’s designed for small ponds, water features, and aquariums
  • You can use it as a sterilizers or clarifier
  • The lamp is placed inside the housing
  • It’s dependable and efficient

The pet peeves aren’t something to stress about:

  • It’s not the cheapest UV sterilizer
  • Some think it’s not the best choice for corals

Even if the UV sterilizer isn’t all roses and rainbows, it’s still not very far from being one of the best options within its category.

   6. Aqua UV Classic Sterilizer

Truth be told, the price of Aqua UV Classic 25 watt UV Sterilizer may throw some people off, but the UV sterilizer surely deserves every single penny.

The UV sterilization if a physical process, and this one doesn’t alter the water’s chemistry, smell, taste, nor pH. Most of the time, the sterilizer needs 3-5 days to clean the water, but it can also do it in 24 hours when required.

You can use the UV sterilizer for 500-1200 gallon ponds or aquariums up to 150gallons. It can also be beneficial for ponds up to 4,000gallons, but you need 50-75% plant coverage for the best results. Please be aware that the UV sterilizer also needs a pump as it doesn’t come with one.

The instruction in the manual is easy to follow, which is why installation and use are straightforward. The housing has a rugged feel to it and comes with a limited lifetime warranty against UV degradation. It allows various mounts, and it takes the use for a long time.

The UV sterilizers put protozoa, bacteria, and algae under control.

Here’s our take on the pros:

  • It works as clarifier and sterilizer in aquariums and ponds
  • It’s easy to install and to operate
  • The instruction is easy to comprehend and to follow
  • It’s reliable and effective

The inherent flaws are nothing to worry about:

  • The bulb is a bit fragile
  • It’s expensive

All things considered, the UV sterilizer is a wise investment to make for your aquarium, especially if you only want the very best equipment.

   7. Emperor Aquatics Smart UV Sterilizer

If the price tag is the last thing you check on the accessories for your aquarium, then you shouldn’t have any problems whatsoever when buying the Emperor Aquatics Smart HO 150 Watt UV Sterilizer.

The Smart HO UV sterilizer comes with high output T6 style UV lamps, which will give almost as double as any regular lamps. The housings are 5in in diameter, which, together with the high output bulbs, explain the higher wattage for the unit. Despite the impressive power, the sterilizer is really slim and subtle in your aquarium.

You can use it confidently for aquariums up to 1,600 gallons, but only if you use it as a clarifier and sterilizer. Due to its performance and build, you may also use it for ponds up to 19,000 gallons.

It’s a 150watt T5 UV lamp that requires an in-line mount and a pump for best performance. It features 2″ union inlet and 2″ union outlet.

Even if the price will keep some aquarists at a distance, the UV sterilizer is a significant investment to make for your aquarium. It’s impressive with the performance, despite its slim profile, taking only so much space in your aquarium.

Let’s have another look at the right parts:

  • It has a high output
  • It’s reliable for aquariums up to 1,600 gallons and ponds
  • It’s easy to install and to use
  • It has a slim profile and doesn’t take much space

We’re not worried about the inherent flaws:

  • It’s not a cheap sterilizer
  • It needs a pump

As long as you remain focused on the positive aspects, you shouldn’t sit on the fence when buying. Sure, you need to check your wallet first, but the UV sterilizer will be one of the best tools to use for your aquarium.

What criteria to use when selecting the UV sterilizer for an aquarium?

When we talk about UV aquarium sterilizers, the discussion isn’t about whether you should get one or not (because you always should), but about what to consider when selecting it.

Here are the most significant aspects to check when shopping for a UV sterilizer for your aquarium:

  • The size of the aquarium

To get the best out of your UV sterilizer, you need to use it in an aquarium matching its power and performance. If it’s too weak, it may need to work more for cleaning the aquarium, which means it will increase your utility bill.

It’s common for reputed manufacturers to rate the products so that you know which model suits your aquarium the best way.

  • Submersible or non-submersible

From a general point of view, there are two main categories of UV sterilizers for aquarium: submersible and non-submersible, with each of them having ups and downs.

The submersible type is considered to be safer since, in case of leaks, the water will not go on the floor. Many models are slims and easy to hide behind plants. However, not all aquarists go for the looks. It’s why others go for the non-submersible UV sterilizer that doesn’t affect the appearance of the aquarium in any way.

At the end of the day, it’s about how you like it best. But keep in mind that you don’t need to run the UV sterilizer the whole time. For the large aquariums, the non-submersible models seem to work better, thanks to their mobility.

  • Flowrate and dwell time

The performance of the UV sterilizer is related to the dwell time of the micro-organisms.

Here’s what counts for the dwell time:

  • The size of the tube
  • The flow rate of the pump pushing water into the machine
  • The wattage power of the UV bulb

In the case of the slow flow rate, the pathogens will be exposed to the UV light for a long time. Therefore, the number of parasites lower.

Should the flow rate be higher, the organisms will not be exposed to the UV much time. However, a high flow rate is recommended for the “green algae soup” syndrome, as microalgae spores aren’t as resilient and can be eliminated with high GPH.

The need for filtration is more significant for large aquariums, nevertheless.

  • With or without powerhead

Many recommend selecting a UV sterilizer with its own pump. If you go with a separate powerhead, the flow rate is according to the manufacturer, which counts for the pathogens you want to remove.

When you don’t use a powerhead, the speed for the UV sterilizer depends on the filter’s water turnover.

Here are some tips regarding the flow rate when selecting the UV sterilizer:

  • Should you have a large aquarium (more than 55 gallons), you need one with the powerhead. It’s the best for controlling the flow rater as recommended by the manufacturer. It can also permit you to use a less powerful UV bulb since you can actually control the dwell-time
  • When the UV sterilizer doesn’t come with its powerhead, the canister filter’s flow rate is fundamental for its efficiency. A high GPH rate requires a powerful UV bulb, and it’s the only way to control the dwell-time. And high-watt bulbs don’t come cheap, for sure.
  • Long-lasting or cheap?

In all fairness, the bulb has to be changed from time to time. You should only do it once a year. If you’re planning to use the UV sterilizer daily, you may have to change the lamp twice a year, though.

As long as the UV sterilizer fits the size of the aquarium and doesn’t run 24/7 for cleaning your aquarium, you may perfectly go with UV sterilizers cheaper than $100. Truth be told, it’s not much, especially considering the importance of the UV sterilizer.

A single outbreak could cost you a couple of hundreds of dollars in reefing when not using the right UV sterilizer. It doesn’t mean that it’s cheaper to have a freshwater aquarium instead. Don’t forget that harmful parasites can also live in salt and freshwater, so you are never out of the woods when not using a UV sterilizer.

FAQs on UV sterilizer for aquarium

Q: What’s the mechanism behind UV sterilizers?

A: An ultraviolet light is powering the UV sterilizers, removing all the bacteria and floating algae that goes through it. The lights are powerful and may efficiently eliminate the cloudiness in your aquarium. The power of the light relates to the amount of watt it needs to run. More watts mean stronger UV light. Not only that, UV light destroys algae, but it also blocks their production.

Q: What are the prices for UV sterilizers?

A: The price for your UV sterilizer depends a lot on the size of your aquarium. All UV sterilizers have an individual capacity that proves the efficiency of the UV light. It makes sense that you pay more for a UV sterilizer for a large aquarium than for a smaller aquarium. Just to give you an example, a 75-gallon sterilizer is around $35-$50, but you may very well pay more than $100 for one with lots of bells and whistles.

Q: Should you have any safety concerns when using a UV sterilizer?

A: UV sterilizers are safe for your home and aquarium, and most models are submersible. They’re made so that the risk for leakage is minimal so that no water gets to the bulb connections. The better the build and the construction, the safer it is to use it in an aquarium.

Q: Do you need to take care of UV sterilizer in any way?

A: Once you install a UV sterilizer, there’s little to no care at all when it comes to the sterilizer. However, UV light does come with a particular runtime once it’s replaced. Better models feature LED indicators that remind you when it’s time to replace the UV bulb, and this is pretty much everything you need to do for maintenance.

Q: Are particular tools required for installing UV sterilizers?

A: Nine times out ten, UV sterilizers come with a design that eases out the installation. Nevertheless, they also come with an instructional manual from the manufacturer that shows and explains the proper installation of the tool. You don’t typically need any unique accessories for the mount, but you should always go over the instruction at first.

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