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Old 04-09-2011, 12:46   #1
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Water System Mayhem !

My boat has two 75 gallon water tanks. When I bought the boat the tanks were a little like a high school science experiment. Previous owners had been giving the tanks a steady diet of Chlorine so I had lots of Aluminum chloride crystals and a clear jelly/slime growth. In May I went to this site, read a little, located some 35% Hydrogen peroxide, and shocked the system. During this process of pumping 150 gallons of water out I learned how to rebuild my water pump!

In-line, I have a mesh strainer and a 30 micron charcoal filter before the pump. Today noticed that the pump was running longer pressurize the system after use. The mesh strainer had a clear gel clogging it. So did the carbon filter that has been in for about a week. This is restricting water flow into the pump.

Not sure what to do, shock system with chlorine, try the hydrogen peroxide again? Need a solution before I move on to disconnecting the bilge pump and opening up a couple of through hulls!!

Thanks for any suggestions!!
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Old 04-09-2011, 12:58   #2
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Re: Water system mayhem!!

i use vinegar to actually kill the stuff growing and to clean it out and make ready for use. works great. i compared with bleach, vinegar lasdted longest and smelled freshest. good luck. oh yes--change out your intake and vent hoses.
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Old 04-09-2011, 13:02   #3
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Re: Water system mayhem!!

Vinegar is great stuff. Always use that first cos its the most natural product. If it doesnt work you can always trade up to nukes.
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Old 04-09-2011, 13:12   #4
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Re: Water system mayhem!!

nukes arent fun...vinegar works. n ukes make a bigger mess to clean
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Old 04-09-2011, 13:57   #5
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Re: Water system mayhem!!

If you have slime mold in there you need something real tough. There is one way of using high dosage chlorine bleach, flush, vinegar, and flush, repeat for a long time. Other school of thought is to go to pool/spa store and get heavy duty chemicals.
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Old 04-09-2011, 13:59   #6
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Re: Water system mayhem!!

Have you access, to pressure wash the tank?

I have heard that enzyme-based spa or hot tub products (ie: SpaMagic or Nova Spa) to be effective on “biologicals” in aluminum tanks.
For scale, you might try a weak solution of potassium hydroxide, and then rinse - rinse - rinse. You might also consider installing a magnesium anode in the tank.
You could then rinse with a weak acid solution (vinegar 2%), before flushing with the enzyme products.

See also ➥ Fresh Water Tank Cleaning
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Old 04-09-2011, 19:34   #7
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Re: Water system mayhem!!

Another vote for vinegar. Bleach usually only hides the problem for awhile. The growth will come back in fairly short order. The only real way to clean the tank is elbow grease and scrubbing it out. Unfortunatly many tanks are inaccessable for this task. The next best option as Gord stated is a internal pressure wash and lots of flushing. Most people are surprised to see what's really in their fresh water tanks. I carry a long bore scope with me on all my calls so owners can get a view of where the water they drink comes from. SeaGull should pay me a commision.
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Old 04-09-2011, 21:57   #8
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Re: Water system mayhem!!

vinegar it is...... for the first salvo!! How much would I need to treat the tanks. Need to cover the top of the tank, so how much to add to top up to 75 gallons and get a decent concentration for killing the "bugs"?
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Old 04-09-2011, 22:11   #9
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Re: Water system mayhem!!

you wont add to 75 gallons-- make sure tanks are about 1/3 or so full-i put in about 2 cups or a qt-- the crud is on the bottom and almost half up tank side usually-- can you get inside to clean them...is a good idea, then run water thru constantly for a bit to flush em out.you will need to change out hoses also. those exiting and those entering the tank-look at your fill hose---does it look clean from topside--check it at tank-- see if the hose has any crud in it. vent hoses also.
if i can get into the tank i wipe it with vinegar and a clean cloth. i like water filters in line under my sink in my boats, as then i can drink the tank water.
i use mine for cooking and coffee and tooth brushing. i have drunk my tank water but i dont usually.
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Old 04-09-2011, 22:35   #10
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Re: Water system mayhem!!

Chlorine in an aluminum tank cannot be a good idea. Actually any strong acid or base sounds foolish. Aluminum is quite reactive so some odd compound, likely insoluble, will be formed. Hand scrubbing with strong detergent might be best.
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Old 04-09-2011, 23:18   #11
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Re: Water system mayhem!!

We sell an awful lot of Puriclean for cleaning water tanks.
If the vinegar doesn't do the trick you might want to try this stuff.

Here is what their website says:
  • Unique dual purpose formula which both cleans and sterilises in one easy action
  • Cleans the complete water system: tank, pipes, pumps, taps
  • Eradicates bacteria, viruses, biofilm, algae and fungi
  • For maximum results, simply soak and flush
  • Powerful action without harming the components in the water system
  • Proven in use world-wide for 3 decades
  • http://www.cleantabs.co.uk/default.htm
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Old 05-09-2011, 06:44   #12
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Re: Water System Mayhem !!

As others have said get in there and scrub, rinse, treat with vinegar and scrub again, then rinse for a while. Filter the water as it goes in to your tank. Make sure your hose is clean. Run a vinegar solution through the hose a few times and be sure to flush the hose before connecting to your input filter.

I have seen boats with the input filter mounted on a board and they run the dock hose to it, then a short hose to the tank fill.
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Old 05-09-2011, 07:11   #13
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Re: Water system mayhem!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
... For scale, you might try a weak solution of potassium hydroxide, and then rinse - rinse - rinse ...
RETRACTION!

DO NOT USE Potassium Hydroxide!


Potassium hydroxide in contact with many common metals (aluminum, tin, and zinc) reacts to produce flammable and potentially explosive hydrogen gas.

A second type of reaction involves the dilution of potassium hydroxide with water. As harmless as this may seem, this reaction can be dangerous and even deadly due to the violent exothermic reaction created. This type of exothermic reaction generates heat that is referred to as the "heat of dilution" and is often masked by adding potassium hydroxide solution slowly to water.

Always use caution when reacting other materials with potassium hydroxide.

I apologize for any confusion I may have cased.
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Old 05-09-2011, 08:18   #14
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Re: Water System Mayhem !!

What is the appropriate proportion of Vinegar to water for the purpose of cleaning ones tanks?

For the first time we have had water go bad on us this summer although I have done an annual shock to the tanks/system with a dose of unscented bleach (4 Oz/50 Gal of Water) as always. We pre-filter our water when filling the tanks, add a small amount of unscented bleach to the tanks upon filling per Red Cross suggestions for water storage, and run all of the water through an activated charcoal filter which is changed at routine intervals. Our drinking water goes through a second--Seagull--filter. Never-the-less, for the first time we have a definate "rotten egg" smell in the water that flushing only defeats for a short while.

Thoughts?
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Old 05-09-2011, 09:10   #15
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Re: Water system mayhem!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
RETRACTION!

DO NOT USE Potassium Hydroxide!


Potassium hydroxide in contact with many common metals (aluminum, tin, and zinc) reacts to produce flammable and potentially explosive hydrogen gas.

A second type of reaction involves the dilution of potassium hydroxide with water. As harmless as this may seem, this reaction can be dangerous and even deadly due to the violent exothermic reaction created. This type of exothermic reaction generates heat that is referred to as the "heat of dilution" and is often masked by adding potassium hydroxide solution slowly to water.

Always use caution when reacting other materials with potassium hydroxide.

I apologize for any confusion I may have cased.

GEEZ GORD,

ONE major mistake in 19,000 posts? No apology needed!!!
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