Innovative Marine just released a pair of UV sterilizers called AUQA Shield that you install by merely dropping them into the overflow column of their DeskTop and MidSize aquariums. We spoke to Royce Suzuki, Innovative Marine's Director of Marketing, about how ultraviolet sterilization works and why the company decided to create units you can simply throwaway after using.

Marine Depot: For readers that may be unfamiliar with ultraviolet sterilization, can you briefly tell us what it is and in what circumstances a hobbyist might want to use it in their aquarium?

Innovative Marine: UV sterilizers/clarifiers have been around for a while. They offer unique benefits from water clarification, help protect aquarium inhabitants from potentially harmful microorganisms (like Ich) and eliminate free floating algae and parasites.

The way a UV Sterilizer works is water is pumped through a chamber and the infected aquarium water exposed to a UV-C, germicidal lamp, the UV-C’s light wavelength penetrates pathogens and microorganisms mutates their DNA destroying their ability to multiply and after time will eventually perish.

2 Results NEW AUQA Shield UV Sterilizer - Innovative Marine AUQA Gadget - Midsize 11W AUQA Shield Midsize Installed

MD: Let's talk about disposable UV sterilizers. On one hand, it seems like the most brilliant idea ever. On the other, I don't want to be wasteful. Since I actually own one of your aquariums and am interested in this product, help me not feel guilty about using it.

IM: Our UV Cartridges are made from 90% recyclable material. The bulbs are recyclable as well. Certain states in the U.S. have programs in place to recycle all the materials. Check with your city to see if they have a program in place.

AUQA Shield UV Sterilizer - Innovative Marine AUQA Gadget - Desktop 9W AUQA Shield DeskTop Installed

MD: So this idea of using UV sterilization only in times of need rather than it running it 24/7 makes this whole "throw-away" concept more palatable. But let's talk about UV sterlizer waste in general. How much more waste am I actually producing by throwing away an AUQA Shield vs. just a UV bulb?

IM: Since you only have to change out this bulb every 9-12 months [depending on usage] waste would be minimal. We weighed out the pros and cons and ultimately we decided to go this route. Having a disposable cartridge allows for many thing for the hobbyist, the main reason is safety. When changing out a bulb many unsafe practices occur and we are trying to minimize the dangers of operating a UV. Risk of your eyes being exposed to accidental light, lamp breakage, unsafe installation of lamp, skin and oil contact on lamp…. The list can go on and on.

AUQA Shield MidSize UV How It Works

MD: These drop-in UV sterilizers are another novel Innovative Marine invention. What inspired the AIO models and how long have you been working on them?

IM: When we build a product it almost takes a year. We think of the hobbyist and also the hobbyist who are in the Innovative Marine eco-system. When developing any AUQA Gadget it must meet our criteria: simple, easy to understand and easy to install. We strive knowing that all of our AUQA Gadgets have a turnkey aspect to them.

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MD: I've been to your office so I know you guys are super into testing stuff. Tell me about your experiences using the AUQA Shield. Was there anything that suprised you? Is there something you found it particularly effective in treating?

IM: Initially we created the first AUQA Shield to work in one of our skimmer/reactor chambers everything was going well and after a few days we came to an epiphany. By putting a UV in filter chamber you can channel the water to pass over lamp having maximum contact time in the chamber and thus eradicating a larger group of organisms in one shot.

More Info About AUQA Shield UV Sterilizers/Clarifiers

Your First Line of Defense
Cloudy water, Algae and parasites lead to the frustration of many hobbyists. The main reason why these problems occur is that each multiplies quickly; free floating in the tank, unseen to the naked eye. Only when it’s too late, the hobbyist becomes aware of their presence. By adding a UV Sterilizer into your aquarium, you can minimize the risk of these problems occurring.

Germicidal UV lights have been used for decades by the medical industry as a method for killing micro-organisms. This type of light has proven that it is effective in reducing the free-floating micro-organisms that pass directly through the light rays.

The AUQA Shield harnesses the UV-C technology and encompasses it within a germicidal fluorescent lamp that produces light at a wavelength of approximately 254 nanometers. The infected water passes over the bulb, the wavelength travels through the water, penetrates the pathogens and mutates their DNA destroying their ability to multiply and after time will eventually perish.

The AUQA Shield was designed to target free floating aquatic nuisances, by dramatically halting the spread of infections , saving your livestock from fatal health diseases, improving the clarity of your water and overall health of your aquarium.



  • High Intensity 11 Watt UV-C Bulb
  • Drop-In Installation (Overflow Column)
  • Gravity Flow (No Pumps Required)
  • Disposable UV Cartridge (Quartz Sleeve and Bulb)
  • Quick Disconnect
  • Mechanical Filter Sponge
  • Realistic Wattage Rating
  • Fits in ALL MidSize NUVO Fusion Aquariums