5 Best Aquarium UV Sterilizers 4

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AquariumUVSterilizerFeatIn the movie Finding Nemo, the Tank Gang worked all night to make their aquarium green and dirty but was completely surprised to find their tank squeaky clean in the morning. How did that happen?

Well, Peach, the Starfish, gave a factual answer – it’s a UV Sterilizer!


Indeed, this machine that eradicates algae, fungi, and other water contaminants in any type of tank has become the ultimate hi-tech answer to any aquarium-keeper’s woes.

No more fears of fish infection, no more murky waters, and no more sudden algae blooms.

An ultriviolet (or UV) sterilizer not only complements the effectiveness of routine aquaria maintenance but brings fish-keeping to a whole new level.

It is a technological innovation that was not enjoyed by fish-keepers of the past generation and now makes life much easier for people who loves caring for their fish but are always hounded by the thought of losing them to some micro-organism that invades the aquarium.

How It Works

The cleaning process using high-intensity UV light is definitely far better and much more effective than the usual water filtration because it kills micro-organisms or pathogens that may cause harm to your fish.

Water-borne bacteria are eradicated by the UV light by altering its cell structure (or DNA). In scientific terms, this process is called irradiation which does not have any effect on the fish but can be nasty to bacteria and other microbes.

Things To Consider

Now that you know what an aquarium UV sterilizer does, your next question might be,

As any responsible fish owner would do, you should first do a little research on what type of UV sterilizer would be a best match for your aquarium.

These units come in different sizes to match different flow rates and tank size. You may refer to the below Table to check which UV Sterilizer would best suit your tank.

UV SizeBarbed FittingsFlow RateAquarium Size (Gallons)
9W1/2 or 5/8100 - 200 gphup to 125
18W5/8 or 3/4200 - 400 gphup to 250
36W3/4 or 1-1/4400 - 1200 gphup to 500

There are three types of UV sterilizers in the market today: the quartz-lined tube type-dry bulb, the tray type, and the non-quartz line tube type-wet bulb.

You must consider as well both the physical features of your tank and the type of fish you’re keeping when choosing the style of UV sterilizer you’d like to have.

There’s the hang-on unit that you can conveniently hang over the back of the tank; and the in-line unit that you can submerge and attach to your main filtration system. Both the in-line or hang-on units are available in most pet stores.

Best Aquarium UV Sterlizers

To further help you make the right choice, we scoured aquarium stores and UV manufacturers to find the 5 Best UV Sterilizers available in the market today.

1. Coralife Turbo-Twist UV Sterilizer


Coralife Turbo Twist

Great for: Small to Large Aquariums

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Coralife is a recognized expert in aquarium systems and has been known for its innovativeness in design and functionality.

The Coralife UV Sterilizer has an impressive “Turbo-Twist” design. The “Turbo-Twist” is made up of a quartz sleeve which is surrounded by a special turbo twist’ design of flow.

This turbo twist moves the water in the tank around a nine watts ultra violet bulb from three to about twelve times in every pass through the unit (this depends on the model of the sterilizer).

But don’t get scared by its hi-tech name. The Turbo-Twist is easy to install and user-friendly.

It can be installed hang-on or in-line. It’s specifically designed to give complete UV exposure even through tank corners and coral edges. It may be used for fresh and saltwater alike.

It comes in three different models:-

ModelAquarium SizeMax Flow RateLength
3Xup to 125 G200 gph11in
6Xup to 250 G400 gph13in
9Xup to 500 G800 gph15in

One caution though – be sure to use a correctly-fitted mounting bracket and position the cord end of the sterilizer at the top of the unit.

2. Lifegard QL UV Ultraviolet Sterilizer

Lifegard QL UV Sterilizer

Lifegard QL UV Sterilizer

Great for: Small to Large Aquariums

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The Lifgard QL UV Sterilizer series is another well-known brand used by many hobbyists.

The Lifegard UV Sterilizer helps to destroy disease-causing microorganisms and waterborne pathogens in the water and kills free-floating algae, thus reducing any problems brought along by algae in your aquarium.

The Lifeguard Aquatics UV sterilizer has a special quartz sleeve, test tube style and a pure quartz bulb that is capable of emitting two times the UV other equivalent wattage bulbs for thirty percent more life.

Bulb changing is also a breeze with this model. Unlike other models, the Lifegard QL doesn’t require you turn off the pump or shut down the filter system. You can simply slide the old bulb out and in with the new.

The QL series comes in a variety of models catering for different aquarium sizes and needs:-

DescriptionDimensionsMax Flow RateMaint. Clearance
QL-817in x 7in x 4.75inUp to 240 gph27in
QL-2526in x 7in x 4.75inUp to 760 gph42.75in
QL-4034in x 7in x 4.75inUp to 1500 gph64.5in
QL-8045.25in X 6in X 15.25inUp to 3000 gph75.25in

3. Aquatop Submersible UV Lamp


Aquatop Sumersible UV Lamp

Great for: Small to Large Aquariums

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Aquatop has manufactured several types of sterilizing pumps like that are versatile and are perfect for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums.

This particular Aquatop UV lamp is, as the name suggests, fully submersible.

All you have to do is attach it to a compatible pump or power head to the of the lamp and let the water pump through this green algae and pathogen killing machine.

These Submersible UV lamps series from Aquatop comes in three different wattages 3, 5 and 10 and are suitable for both freshwater and saltwater tanks up to 100 gallons.

The best part about the Aquatop Submersible UV Lamp is it’s fairly inexpensive compared to all the other brands.

4. AA Aquarium Mini Green Killing Machine


Mini Green Killing Machine

Great for: Small/Nano Aquariums

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The AA Aquarium Mini Green Killing Machine is another submersible UV sterilizer that’s perfect for 20 gallon tanks or less.

Your aquarium water is kept crystal clear through its unique patented technology which allows water to flow in direct contact with the UV lamp, ensuring full exposure.

Setting it all up is pretty easy too as it requires no tools, you’ll be all set and ready to go in less than 5 minutes . Another great thing about the Mini Green Killing Machine is the LED indicator that lets you know when the bulb needs replacing.

True to its name, this UV sterilizer truly is a Green Killing Machine.

5. Oceanic BioCube Mini UV Sterilizer

BioCube Mini UV Sterilizer

BioCube Mini UV Sterilizer

Great for: Small/Nano Aquariums

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This sterilizer offers a UV-upgrade for the Coralife BioCube Aquarium and enhances water quality of your aquarium. It fixes directly to the BioCube pump for simple use and setup.

The compact aquarium UV sterilizer emits UVC light that destroys and kills parasites, the free floating green water algae and any bacteria that is harmful.

A five watt Oceanic Mini Ultra Violet Sterilizer offers a versatile use in nano aquarium setups. It’s designed to be used with submersible pumps and 1/2″ ID tubing with a rate of flow that is not exceeding 300 gph.

Final Words

In conclusion, utilizing an aquarium UV sterilizer is a great idea. However, it is important to note that these sterilizers need the attention of the aquarium owner to ensure that they are always functioning properly.

Make sure that you take the time to research your options and purchase a high quality sterilizer if you want to get the best results.

If not, then you may be stuck with a low quality UV sterilizer that simply does not kill the pollutants in the water. Plus, the you’ll be saving money in the long run by getting the right unit the first time.

Do your research online, look through all the reviews and make an informed buying decision. You can use the aquarium uv sterilizers listed above to start with, just be sure to do your homework if it would fit in your aquarium setup.

Your Thoughts

Have you had any personal experience with using UV Sterilizers in your aquarium?

Feel free to share it with the rest of us in the comments section below.

About Dennis Hanson

Dennis is an experienced aquarist with many years of knowledge and experience in keeping successful tanks. He also has no relations to the pop group Hanson.

4 thoughts on “5 Best Aquarium UV Sterilizers

  1. Reply Kyleene Barton Mar 23,2014 3:37 am

    I really enjoy all the essential information that was in your news letter. I especially enjoyed the information on the uv stabilizers.

  2. Reply chris Apr 29,2015 9:46 am

    Every one these UV “sterilizers” are pure junk..hahaha Turbo twist is about the worst sterilizer on the market hahaha never mind not one of these is a true sterilizer. these are nothing more than over priced water clarifiers completely incapable of providing level 1 or level 2 sterilization….


  3. Reply Ben Nov 16,2015 12:15 am

    I tried the recommended one on that American Aquarium Products page. Not only was plumbing a pain, but the unit started leaking after a month of use. Had a bad seal. Manufacturer never responded when I contacted them about it. I am now skeptical about all of his reviews.

  4. Reply hannibalecter Jan 4,2017 6:39 am

    AquaTop is probably the worst UV sterilizer out there. There own AquaTop UV bulb wouldn’t even work with their sterilizer. Definitely a brand to avoid.

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