How Ozonizers Work and How to Set one Up
Ozone, when used properly, is one of the best methods of improving water quality. An ozonizer is a piece of equipment which produces ozone that is capable of reducing or possibly eliminating unwanted algae, killing bacteria, algae spores and other harmful pathogens in your aquarium. The addition of ozone will raise an aquarium’s ORP (oxidation and reduction potential) level; which is correlated to the break down harmful waste in the water. Additional benefits include: improvements to water clarity for better light penetration and most hobbyists experience better efficiency from their protein skimmers. Let's take a look at how ozonizers work and what you need to set one up.
How does it make ozone?
An aquarium ozonizer is equipped with a UV light. When oxygen is exposed to the UV it separates into two oxygen atoms. In this state the single atom is unstable and searches for other atoms or molecules to attach to. When the single atom (O) comes in contact with oxygen gas (O2) it will join it, forming ozone (O3). Ozone in its triatomic (three atom) form of is highly unstable and must be applied quickly
What You'll Need for Setting Up:
Set Up Tips:
When setting up, choose an appropriate sized ozonizer for your aquarium. Ozonizers can either clarify or sterilize the aquarium water depending on how large the tank is. The ozonizer should be mounted higher than the water line to not allow water to enter into the unit.
An ozone safe skimmer should be used to allow contact time with ozone and water allowing it to oxidize, disinfect, take away odors and get rid of water discoloration. Using ozone safe tubing, the skimmer can be connected to the ozonizer by either the air silencer or if equipped with a dual port venturi, the second available port.
A monitor to control ORP levels (the Oxidation Reduction Potential), or the ability of one substance to oxidize or reduce another substance; or in basic terms the cleanliness of the water. For aquarium use, many reef hobbyists try to stick with the ORP levels of the ocean, at about 300 to 450 mV. The ORP controller will turn the ozonizer on or off when the levels are out of range.
Non-pelletized carbon is highly recommended, as it has no binder which would otherwise break down causing the carbon to turn into dust. The carbon should be placed on top of the skimmer in order to trap any ozone gas from escaping into the air. Carbon should also be used at the water outlet of your skimmer as extra precaution. Escaping ozone can be harmful to non-ozone safe equipment, pets and people.
A Word of Caution
There are two types of ozone, "good" ozone (in the upper atmosphere) and "bad" ozone (ground level). Ozone gas at the ground level can be harmful when breathed in. Even low amounts can cause chest pain, coughing, throat itchiness and swelling or make it difficult to breathe. So caution should be taken when using ozonizers with people whom have asthma, young kids, and the elderly.