Top 5 Best UV Sterilizer For Your Aquarium

Whether you’ve had an aquarium for a while or you’re new to having one at all, you know that the water in your fish tank has to be clean and healthy for your fish. More specifically, you know that you know that the water in the tank should be changed every so often and you probably know that the tank should have some type of filtration system attached to it.

But most people are not aware of the highly beneficial features that a UV sterilizer can offer for your fish tank. Not to mention, some people don’t even know what a UV sterilizer is.

Dwarf gourami swimming
source wikimedia

Ultimately, it’s defined as a device that’s able to effectively eliminate microscopic organisms from your fish tank by using a UV light bulb. It can even remove particles that your standard filter can’t.

Given its various different benefits, you should consider purchasing a UV sterilizer for your tank. But it can be difficult to choose the best one for your specific tank, so here is some helpful information about UV sterilizer that I’ve compiled together for you. Not only that, but here are some of the best products on the market as well as the best UV sterilizer aquarium.

How Does a UV Sterilizer Work?

UV sterilizers are equipped with high-intensity UV light bulbs that are capable of offering superior power over other types of light bulbs. These UV lights are so bright and powerful that they can effectively filter your aquarium water of any harmful pathogens or even microorganisms that you might not be able to see with your eyes. Not only that, but they may even remove particles and organisms that even your filter can’t remove.

The UV light bulbs is able to eliminate these harmful organisms by altering their cell structures with the light. They don’t have any harmful impacts on your fish, so you don’t have to worry about your fish being negatively affected by the device (1).

Benefits of Using a UV Sterilizer

Eliminates bacteria and microorganisms

The UV sterilizer is suitable for effectively getting rid of all types of viruses, bacteria, and other harmful organisms that can negatively affect the water of your tank as well as the other organisms that you have in it.

Keeps your fish safe

These UV sterilizers are capable of keeping your fish safe from getting illnesses or even more harmful diseases, since they remove the organisms from the water that typically cause these types of diseases.

Prevents algae growth

Not only are UV sterilizers capable of protecting your fish from getting sick, but they’re also capable of eliminating the opportunity for algae to grow in your tank. Algae can spread quickly and cause many negative effects to your water and organisms, so keeping its growth at a minimum is recommended.

Acts as a backup filtration system

Since UV sterilizers are able to successfully remove organisms, bacteria, and other microscopic organisms from your tank that your standard filter can’t remove, they can essentially act as a separate filtration system. Given that, they can keep the water in your tank extra clean, and they can keep the fish in your tank extra healthy (2).

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing

Aquarium size

It’s important to consider the size of your aquarium when searching for the right UV sterilizer because you’ll have to find one that’s able to filter all of the water in your aquarium at an effective rate. Not only that, but larger tanks usually have a greater possibility of there being larger harmful bacteria in them to filter out. Because of that, you’ll need to consider purchasing a UV sterilizer that’s able to offer a higher dose of UV light to the microorganisms.

Power of the light bulb

Not all UV sterilizers have the same light bulbs. They all typically have a UV light bulb of some sort, but the power of the particular light bulbs differs among each device. Because of that, you’ll want to consider how strong of a bulb you need in order for the device to be effective in clearing your aquarium.

In addition to that, you’ll also want to keep in mind that the power of your UV light bulb will decrease with age, so you will have to replace the UV bulbs in the sterilizer if the level of power they’re giving off decreases. Overall, you’ll want to make sure that your bulbs are releasing temperatures around 104 degrees Fahrenheit to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

UV contact with water

You should also consider the fact that the UV sterilizer won’t work if they can’t penetrate the water. More specifically, UV sterilizers need to come into contact with the water to penetrate it and work effectively. Given that, sterilizers are able to provide the best results when they’re placed after the biological and mechanical filters. When it’s physically placed after these filters, UV sterilizers are able to work with water that’s as clear as possible.


It’s also important to keep in mind that UV sterilizers aren’t able to work as effectively in aquariums that have saltwater rather than freshwater. This is because salinity negatively affects the penetration of the water in the sterilizer. Sterilizers are able to more effectively penetrate freshwater conditions rather than saltwater conditions (1).

UV sterilizer types

You’re also recommended to search through the different types of sterilizers, since some of them work differently than the others. You’ll want to choose one that works for your specific needs. For instance, there are three main types, including the tray type, the tube type-wet bulb, and the tube type-dry bulb. The wet and dry bulb types do not come with a quartz lining so you shouldn’t use these if you have a colder water system.

Hang-on design

There are also some UV sterilizers that come with the ability to be clipped on or hung on the back of your aquarium. These are generally easier to install, so you should consider purchasing one of these if you’re confused about the installation process (3).

Contact time

It’s important for you to consider the amount of time that your UV sterilizer has to contact the microorganisms in your water. Generally, the more time that they have to contact the water in your aquarium, the more effective they are in removing all of the harmful organisms. Different bacteria require different levels of power to be killed. Because of that, you’ll want to consider purchasing a UV sterilizer that offers the maximum amount of time to kill the unwanted bacteria and microorganisms (4).

Commonly Asked Questions About UV Sterilizers

Can I use a UV sterilizer in my pond?

Yes. UV sterilizers can be used to remove harmful bacteria and microorganisms in practically any aquarium, even ones that are outdoors. They’re actually recommended for people that have outdoor ponds because outdoor bodies of water are usually packed with harmful organisms.

What should the flow rate of my UV sterilizer be?

You should determine what your flow rate should be by figuring out the amount of sterilization that you tank has. More specifically, the slower your water moves through the sterilizer, the more effective it is in removing all of the bacteria from your water.

What should my turnover rate be for UV sterilization?

For UV sterilization, you should typically have a turnover rate of at least 1.5 times per hour. This means that your aquarium water should be filtered every hour at a rate of 1.5 times per hour (5).

Best UV Sterilizer For Aquarium Reviews

1. AA Aquarium Green Killing Machine Internal UV Sterilizer


This UV sterilizer is highly recommended for you because it has the ability to not only eliminate algae and bacteria from your tank’s water, but it can also reduce the amount of cloudiness that your tank’s water has. Additionally, this UV sterilizer has patented technology that very few products have on the market.

Furthermore, this UV sterilizer has a patented sealed UV bulb that’s able to rock for tanks that have high water levels. Not only that, but it can be assembled in a matter of minutes, since it requires no tools or other hardware for installation.


  • Requires no gloves or additional tools
  • Comes with a 3 year warranty
  • Reduces the amount of cloudiness in your tank


  • Previous customers complain that the product stopped working after only a few months of use

2. SunSun UV Sterilizer Filter Pump


You should check out this SunSun UV sterilizer because it’s suitable for aquarium that have up to 75 gallons of water. It has a flow rate of 210 gallons per hour, so you don’t have to worry about any of your water not being filtered in time.

Additionally, this pump comes with a 9-watt UV light, so it’s extremely powerful and can effectively eliminate the amount of bacteria and algae that accumulate in your tank.


  • Affordable
  • Easy assembly
  • Suitable for tanks holding up to 75 gallons of water

3. Coralife Turbo-Twist UV Sterilizer


This is the best UV sterilizer aquarium because it’s specifically designed in order to remove practically any harmful particles from your tank’s water, including floating algae, parasites, and bacteria. This sterilizer also represents a twist-flow design that’s able to increase the exposure of the water to the UV light.

Moreover, this product is recommended because it has an indicator light that notifies you when the product is working. Lastly, it can be used for both saltwater and freshwater aquariums.


  • Has mounting brackets for easy setup
  • Can be used for saltwater and freshwater aquariums
  • Has a twist-flow design to increase effectiveness


  • More expensive than some of the other products

4. Aqua Ultraviolet Advantage Aquarium UV Sterilizer


You’re advised to check out this sterilizer because it can be used for both freshwater or saltwater, and it can even be used for outdoor or indoor use. This UV sterilizer comes with 15-watt YV bulbs, so it has enough power to effectively eliminate any unwanted bacteria, viruses, or protozoa from your tank water.


  • Comes with a 15-watt UV Bulb
  • Easy setup
  • Suitable for practically any pond, tank, or aquarium


  • More expensive than most other UV sterilizers on the market

5. Jebao Aquarium Koi Fish Pond UV Light Sterilizer


This Jebao UV sterilizer is highly recommended for you because it’s able to permanently get rid of any algae or green water that your pond, tank, or aquarium is experiencing. Not only that, but this product has a 22-foot cord as well as a UL listed sealed transformer that gives you the ability to reach the product from long distances. This product works best when it’s placed on the outside of the water and after the filters, since the water is clearest then.


  • Permanently eliminates algae and green water
  • 36-watt UV bulbs
  • Comes with a 22-foot cord for setup at long distances


  • Non-submersible, so the setup may be more difficult for outdoor ponds


Overall, each of the UV sterilizers included on this list are capable of offering you a wide range of benefits, including the ability to effectively remove any unwanted and harmful microscopic particles from your tank water. Not only that, but each of these products is able to provide you with the ability to easily setup the device, since they include the tools and instructions.

Given these benefits, you should purchase one of the products from this list. But it can be difficult to choose the best product for your specific needs. Consequently, you’re most recommended to purchase product #3: Coralife Turbo-Twist UV Sterilizer. This sterilizer is most recommended for you because it has a twist-flow design that increases the amount of UV light exposure to your tank’s water. Additionally, it comes with mounting brackets for an easy setup.

Furthermore, this UV sterilizer is recommended because it can be used for either saltwater and freshwater aquariums, so you can utilize this device for practically any aquarium on the market. Given these benefits, you should purchase the Coralife Turbo-Twist UV Sterilizer on the market.

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