Best UV Sterilizers For Aquarium – Review & Guide

A UV sterilizer for an aquarium is a water filtration device designed to exterminate any harmful organism roaming in the water. With a UV light bulb, it exposes microbes to ultraviolet light, killing them. It is essential to keep your aquarium clean for the overall health of your fish. The absence of a sound filter system can lead to the spread of disease and algae.

UV sterilizer help eliminate and control of parasites, algae and fungal, clear cloudy water. Based on where you have a saltwater or freshwater aquarium , you will need a different UV sterilizer. The voltage of the bulb and the strength of the pump are important consideration when picking a sterilizer right for your needs.

UV Sterilizers For Aquarium Reviews

TotalPond UV Clarifier

Manufactured by TotalPond, this UV clarifier operates with a 9W UV bulb that can last up to 8,000 hours. It posses an Ultra Violent technology capable of destroying microorganisms.

It uses a green UV light to purify your aquarium. The UV light prevents nasty odors and dirty water.  When the water flows over the UV light, the organisms that cause murky water are eliminated.

This UV clarifier is prescribed for aquariums or ponds that can hold up to 2,000 gallons of water. It also has an indicator that notifies you when it is operational.

A distinctive feature of the UV clarifier is the fact that it can be installed in or out of the aquarium. Overall, it sterilizes your water and transforms your dirty green water into a clean one.


  • It operates both underwater and out of water.
  • It has a light indicator that informs the user when it is running.
  • It can be easily dissembled for cleaning.


  • The sterilizer floats to the top when in water.
  • The UV bulb is required to be replaced every year.

Aqua Ultraviolet 25W UV Sterilizer

This UV sterilizer manufactured by Aqua Ultraviolet has a 25-watt bulb that can be used for aquariums that hold up to 1200 gallons of freshwater and can purify up to 150 gallons of saltwater.

Its ultraviolet lamp expels a germicidal ray that eliminates waterborne bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. This is done without the need for any harmful cleaning agents, protecting the fishes in the tank.

The 25W UV sterilizer has a long lamp life of 14 months. This unit has a lamp quartz sleeve and transformer already installed. This feature makes the sterilizer easy to install.

One of the alluring aspects of this unit is its durability. It is created with sturdy plastic that cannot be easily destroyed. The aqua ultraviolet 25W UV sterilizer can be trusted upon for both indoor and outdoor use.


  • It can be used both inside the aquarium and outside.
  • It is easy to install.
  • Suitable for both freshwater and saltwater.
  • Clears your water between 3 to five days.


  • The 25W UV bulb is difficult to replace.
  • Its instructions are not easy to understand.

AA Aquarium Green Killing Machine 24 Watt

GKM 24 watt is manufactured by Pro-Motion Distributing – Direct for aquariums that hold up to 450 liters of water or less. The pump is rated at 220 liters an hour for effective water sterilization.

It employs the use of short-wavelength ultraviolet light to disinfect the water and eradicate microorganisms. It is also suitable for aquarium housing, both freshwater, and saltwater.

This unit is not large, and it is 16x10x14 inches making it suitable for your indoor tank. The GKM 24 watt comes pre-assembled; all you have to do is install it in on your tank.

Its unique design prevents leaks and allows the unit to be concealed behind decoration or plants. The best part is that this unit has an indicator alerting you when the bulb needs to be replaced.


  • The GKM 24 watt comes with easy to follow instructions on how to attach the unit to your aquarium.
  • LED light to inform you when the bulb needs replacement.
  • This UV sterilizer comes with a powerhead.
  • It is extremely efficient and durable.


  • It can affect the pressure of the water.
  • It can cause fluctuations to the temperature of your water.

Coralife Turbo-Twist 12 times UV Sterilizers

This unit is manufactured by Coralife and designed to kill any bacteria in your aquarium. With its 36 watts UV bulb, it enhances the water’s exposure to the UV light, effectively sterilizing your aquarium.

It’s 36 watts UV bulb can be easily replaced. The best part is that its bulb is secured by a quartz glass sleeve, which prevents or shields water from getting in.

This unit comes with a mounting bracket for hanging the sterilizer on the side of the aquarium. It also comes with sections that provide for in-line use.

One unique feature of this unit is its capability to disinfect an aquarium holding up to 500 gallons of freshwater and saltwater. This UV sterilizer is efficient, durable, and easy to install.


  • It has an indicator light to inform you when the unit is in operation.
  • Suitable for aquariums holding freshwater or saltwater.
  • Suitable for large tanks.
  • This unit comes with Hang-on or in-line for its application.


  • This unit does come with a water pump.
  • The bulb is not well tightened to the socket.

Sun 13W UV Sterilizer Adjustable Pump filter

This efficient UV sterilizer is manufactured by SunSun for an indoor aquarium. This unit is perfect for an aquarium holding up to 75 gallons of water.

This unit does not require you to purchase a circulation pump. It comes with an in-built pump of 8-watts that guides the water over the UV bulb to terminate any microorganism.

The sun 13W UV Sterilizer has an adjustable water flow regulating nozzles. This gives you the option of regulating the flow of water the pump sends back into your tank.

The UV sterilizer can be placed vertically or horizontally inside the tank. This unit is capable of purifying your aquarium in less than two weeks, giving you clean and clear water.


  • The unit is pre-assembled and ready to be installed.
  • Built-in pump
  • Suitable for both freshwater and saltwater


  • Its instruction is difficult to understand
  • It is designed with materials not suitable for outdoor use.

Grech CBG-800 5W UV Sterilizer

This UV sterilizer is manufactured by Ming Trading LLC for the killing of all sorts of bacteria and algae spores. With its 5W UV bulb, it eliminates algae, promoting clearer water.

It is designed with surface skimmer that helps with killing microorganisms and cleaning surface films. In other words, it reduces the surface oil on your tank.

It is also designed with an adjustable flow. This helps you control the flow rate of the water in other to make it compatible with your aquarium.

The Grech UV sterilizer comes with its own biological and mechanical filtration. It can be used in aquariums that hold either saltwater and freshwater or tanks holding up to 50 gallons of water.


  • It comes with bio media and active carbon
  • It is created with an adjustable 211 gallons per hour flow rate
  • Suitable for aquariums holding up to 50 gallons of water
  • No noise during operation


  • Its media basket is too tight
  • Its carbon filter is of low quality.

Aqua Ultraviolet Advantage 15W UV Sterilizer

This unit manufactured by Aqua Ultraviolet is lightweight and slim. This feature makes it suitable for small aquariums or ponds. This unit will not take up space in your aquarium.

The advantage 15W UV sterilizer is designed to operate in aquariums that can hold up to 75 gallons of water. This unit is also suitable for both saltwater and freshwater.

With its 15-watt bulb, it can eliminate any protozoa, virus, or algae. The side effect of this is that all bacteria are eradicated because it doesn’t distinguish between the good bacteria and the bad ones.

This unit comes with its own transformer. Only a tube and some hose clamps are needed to have the advantage 15-watts UV sterilizer operational. A typical aquarium plastic hose is best when purchasing a hose.


  • The advantage 15-Watt can kill any bacteria.
  • It is easy to install
  • Capable of cleansing your water between 3 to 5 days


  • This device doesn’t have an indicator light
  • It is designed to eliminate any bacteria, including the good ones

SunSun UV Sterilizer Submersible Filter Pump

SunSun UV sterilizer is manufactured by monster pet and designed with a 9-watt ultraviolet bulb. This bulb is efficient in eliminating harmful organisms and bacteria.

This UV is compatible with small fish tanks. It can be used with tanks holding up to 75 gallons of water and tanks. It can be placed both outside and inside of the aquarium.

This device works for both freshwater and saltwater. It also doesn’t require any external hardware. This unit comes complete and even includes its own pumps.

The SunSun UV sterilizer’s water pump transfers 132 gallons of water per hour. It is also very easy to mount. It comes with suction cups that are used to attach the device to the aquarium


  • Easy to install
  • Designed with built-in pump
  • It is suitable for either freshwater or saltwater aquariums
  • Can either be installed vertically or horizontally


  • Not suitable for large tanks
  • Its motor is not durable and wears out after a while

Jebao 36W Aquarium Koi Fish Pond UV Light Sterilizer

This UV sterilizer is manufactured by Jebao for the permanent elimination of algae or bacteria. It comes with an in-line, which allows you to install this device easily.

With its 36-watt ultra bulb, it emits an ultraviolet ray to kill single-cell organisms like bacteria. For efficient performance, it’s UV bulb should be replaced once every 6-9 months.

Jebao UV sterilizer is suitable for aquariums holding both freshwater and saltwater. It can be installed vertically or horizontally. However, it should be placed after the filter to ensure faster results.

A unique feature of the Jebao UV sterilizer is its different fittings. The unit is fitted with universal hose tails. It has 3/4”, 1”, 1-1/4” and 1-1/2” fittings.


  • It comes with a long power cord
  • It can either be mounted horizontally or vertically.
  • It takes less than a week to see significant change.


  • Can’t handle heavy water pressure.
  • The unit is prone to leakage.
  • This UV sterilizer cannot be submerged underwater

Emperor Aquatics Smart 24 Watt UV Sterilizer

This UV sterilizer manufactured by Emperor Aquatics has a 25-watt bulb. This bulb emits a strong UV light that kills off any bacteria in your aquarium.

 It is suitable for tanks holding up to 125 gallons, and you can operate this UV sterilizer at high flow rates without its performance decreasing. This makes Emperor Aquatics UV sterilizer perfect for large tanks.

The best part of this UV sterilizer is its heavy plastic casing that promotes durability. This makes the unit watertight and corrosion-resistant. It was carefully designed to last for an extended period.

This UV sterilizer can operate in both freshwater and saltwater aquariums. It is also capable of removing organisms even at high rates of 200 gallons per hour.


  • Its UV bulb has a lifespan of up to 9,000 hour
  • It is designed with heavy plastic making it extremely durable
  • This UV sterilizer comes with a quartz sleeve.


  • This unit does not include a mounting bracket.
  • Its 3-inch body is narrow, and this may cause you to waste electricity. 

How does a UV Sterilizer work?

A UV sterilizer is one of the most guaranteed ways of keeping your aquarium clean. The most appealing part is that this can be done without any harm or damage to your fish. UV sterilizers play the role of a standard pump or a filter.

A UV sterilizer is used to kill unwanted microorganisms in your aquarium. The UV sterilizer operates in a simple manner. They come with a UV bulb that expels radiation into the water. When contaminated water passes over the UV bulb, the radiation will mutate the DNA of these organisms or algae. This would either destroy them or slow down their growth.

The UV sterilizer has no residual effect. The implication of this is that it can not kill the bacteria already attached to the fishes. The bacteria can only be eliminated when they are in the water that flows over the UV bulb.

The UV light can only be effective if it is able to penetrate the water. Cloudy water may decrease penetration. As a result, the UV sterilizer is be installed after the mechanical and biological filters to ensure the water that passes over the UV bulb can be as clear as possible.

However, it should be noted that the slower the water passes through the unit, the more efficient a UV sterilizer would be. If the force of the water is not too powerful, the more time the device will have to concentrate its radioactive light on the water and it’s contents. When the water current is too high, the faster the water passes over the UV bulb, and the longer it takes for your aquarium to be cleaned.

Benefits of a UV Sterilizer

Ultraviolet sterilizers can be used to purify your aquarium, or it can be used as a preventive measure. Ways in which it can purify your aquarium includes

Elimination and control of parasites.

UV Sterilizer is a safe and easy way of eliminating or controlling the parasites in your aquarium. Almost all parasites can be destroyed if they are adequately exposed to the radioactive light emitted by the UV bulb. If your aquarium is routinely maintained and cared for, it becomes difficult, almost impossible for a parasite to thrive in it.

Elimination of algae and fungal

The presence of little algae in your aquarium can easily and quickly spread, causing green and dirty water. Most times, algae can be resilient and difficult to eradicate. But the UV sterilizer can easily cure your tank of this problem in a limited amount of time.

This can be achieved in two ways, first by destroying the spread of nutrients that serves as food to algae or fungi. Secondly, the ultraviolet sterilizers either eliminates the algae or suppresses their growth, killing them eventually.

Clearing cloudy water

A UV sterilizer is also the best option for murky or cloudy water. By eliminating. Fungi and other bacterias, the UV sterilizer, makes your water clear and odorless. It’s UV bulb only targets and kills microorganisms that are floating in the water. This feature makes it safe for nitrifying bacteria that can be found on the exterior of biological filter media and gravel.

Prevention and elimination of bacterias

Bacteria’s left unattended to or permitted to flow about freely in your aquarium can lead diseases that can be harmful to your fishes. By using a UV sterilizer to disinfect your tank and destroy any harmful organic matter, you can prevent or eliminate these diseases.

Features to Consider when Purchasing a UV Sterilizer

The following features of a UV sterilizer should be considered in order to select the perfect one and prevent the wastage of time and money.

The power of the bulb

The wattage of the UV bulb determines the amount of UV light that is produced. Therefore, when purchasing a UV sterilizer, the amount of UV light the bulb can emit should be put into consideration. For instance, a large aquarium will require a bulb that can produce a high percentage of UV light.

Adequate research is also needed to determine the durability of the bulb. Just like anything in this world, the UV bulb also decreases in efficiency over time. Most UV bulbs have a lifespan of 6 months and have to be replaced at the expiration of the period. As a result, you should select a device that comes with a bulb that can last for a long period.

The size of the UV sterilizer

Picking out a suitable UV sterilizer shall depend on the type and size of your aquarium. The UV sterilizer must be able to keep up with the flow rate of the water in order for you to see precise results. This flow rate must also match with the size of your tank to ensure there are adequate turn-overs of the water. Ensure that whatever UV sterilizer you purchase can match with the required flow rate of your aquarium.


What are the styles of UV sterilizers available? The styles of UV sterilizers available are based on its orientation when in use. For instance, a UV sterilizer can be placed horizontally or vertically. Some UV sterilizers have a hang-on or in-line for applications. There is also a style called Double Helix. This elongates the time the water spends in contact with the UV light.

What are the factors that affect the operation of a UV sterilizer? The size of the bacteria may affect the performance of the UV sterilizer. A larger organism may demand a stronger UV bulb to be destroyed. Also, some organisms may be more resistant to the radiation light emitted by the UV bulb.

Can the UV sterilizer cause any harm to the fishes? Apart from the possibility of changing the temperature of the water and making it hotter, the UV sterilizer is safe. It causes no damage to the fishes.

Where should a UV sterilizer be installed? Most UV sterilizer comes with an instruction manual guiding you on how to place the device. This manual should be read, and the instructions followed. A UV sterilizer should be placed after a biological and mechanical filter or any heat exchanger.

How can a UV sterilizer be maintained? Maintaining your UV sterilizer is not a complicated task. Firstly you need to ensure your quartz sleeve is inspected, removed, and wiped with rubbing alcohol monthly. Secondly, ensure you replace the UV bulb as directed in the instruction manual. Failure to do this will reduce the efficiency of your UV bulb, leading to poor results. Lastly, the aquarium should be discontinued from electricity before any maintenance is done.

Click on the link below for a better understanding of the benefits of using UV sterilizers for aquariums


If you own an aquarium and you’re looking for an efficient and easy way to clean it, UV sterilizer is the answer. This device gets the job done without harming your aquatic pets.

Now that you have learned all there is to know about UV sterilizers; I am sure you are eager to buy one. Follow the buying guide above to pick out the perfect match.

The comment section below is available to you for any questions you might have regarding the product. Don’t hesitate to use it, and you can also share any experience you have about this product.

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