reviews: aqua ultraviolet uv's

January 2007
[revised January 2012]
I decided to a review on the Aquaultraviolet pond line of UV's. This company has been around a long time and has put out some decent products. I have a fair amount of experience with these units over the years, setting them up, changing sleeves, bulbs and ballasts

This review assumes you know the basics of UV design and are familiar with lamps, quartz sleeves and ballasts etc. As always, these reviews represent my honest opinion and product experience at the time of writing

Overview of their Pond UV's

Aqua Ultraviolet produce a range of UV's for all pond volumes from 100 to 17,000 gallons. Their smaller pond units are 8, 15, and 25 watts. The larger sizes, 40, 80, 120, 160 and 200 watt models are all basically using the same sized body with 40 watt bulb - they just string several of them together in series 40 watt 80 watt 120 watt

  • AquaUV-40watt.jpg
    The ballast on the 40 watt unit is nice and compact with no anti kink hose ! This is a great unit for ponds up to about 2,000 gallons
  • AquaUV-120watt.jpg
    The 120 watt makes for a lot of cost when it comes time to replace the bulbs. This unit has built in wipers for easy quartz sleeve cleaning

These units also come in black and several years ago, AUV introduced wipers to keep the quartz sleeves clean. AUV also introduced quick release couplings as people often made the mistake of gluing solid pipe into them. The I.D. [internal diametre] of these units is 2 inches. This allows for good flow through for the typical 1.5 or 2 inch bore pump. There is an external ballast housed in strong metal box. A ballast regulates the operational current which saves energy and stops the bulbs from potentially burning themselves out. For the most part, the unit is robustly built. Performance is good to excellent - these units work as advertised
Design Issues
There are some very poor design choices with this unit that frankly shouldn't have passed prototype stage.
The first is the potential to flood your ballast ? Hard to believe. AUV has chosen to use anti-kink hose to connect their electrical lines to the bulbs. We don't sell anti-kink hose because it becomes brittle and cracks after a few years, especially if exposed to the sun

It is not uncommon for a quartz sleeve to crack. They are extremely thin and need to be in order to allow maximum UV light transmittance. But when the sleeves crack, the anit-kink serves as a conduit for the water, bringing it right into the ballast box and shorting out your ballast. AUV revamped the ballast for the 40 watt model making it much smaller and this refresh ballast can't be flooded - larger models continue to exhibit this potential problem and replacement ballasts are not inexpensive

The bulb harness is also very difficult to detach for bulb access, Constructed with anti kink creates a rubics cube type of assembly that is far more complex than it needs to be. There is a series of threads and rotating parts - picking the right one and physically turning it although recent models have an easy-twist connector which has improved things

Replacing a bulb for myself personally has resulted in a broken sleeve and clients have complained of this too. Bulbs should be installed with the unit horizontally placed. If you try to do it vertically, the mere act of letting the bulb drop 1 inch will crack the quartz sleeve. AUV's warns of this near the back of their manual but they show an exaggerated drop of the bulb, it really takes no force at all to do break the sleeve. Some manufacturers supply O-rings and/or a rubber like thimble which fits on the end of their bulbs to prevent this from happening

the verdict
Build Quality:
The unit is solid and for all intents and purposes, unbreakable. The strong point of this line and separates it from the cheap plastic units available. As mentioned, I don't like the anti-kink hose. Ballasts on 80 watt units and above are heavy gauge metal. The newer smaller ballasts are an upgrade and made of the same material as the UV bodies

This UV works well and has realistic flow and sizing charts. 2" ports are great and don't restrict flow. However, other models on the market have larger diametre bodies which allow for larger volumes of water to be sterilized using just 1 bulb. This advantage becomes more apparent with ponds over 4,000 gallons. It's less expensive to change 1 bulb than 2,3 or 4

For ponds under 4,000 gallons we can recommend these units. They work, the price point is good and inline with competing units. However, for large ponds, 1 bulb units like DeltaUV's EP line are a better choice. AUV's 120, 160 and 200 watt units mean 3,4 or 5 bulbs to replace - this is very expensive. Additionally, there are multiple quartz sleeves that can be broken and leak

I give AquaUV a 7/10 for ponds less than 4K
For ponds over 4K, we have difficulty recommending these units due to the high cost of replacing 3 or more bulbs