What is in my bucket?

Discussion in 'Tank Talk' started by Pennyworth, Apr 26, 2015.

  1. Pennyworth

    Pennyworth Wonderpus Registered

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    Can anyone help identify what is in my bucket, and how to get rid of it?

    This started one day when I was making up some new saltwater. It was a while ago, and I'm not sure exactly what happened with my mix, but I ended up getting a brown slime across my bucket, and across the powerheads I had in there. I may have added some buffer before I knew better.

    I cleaned this out as much as I could, but it hardened into something that is very hard to remove. I would be fine with this, but whenever I make new water, more 'slime' is created. I can remove the new slime easily before it hardens, but I have not found a way to remove the hardened slime, which I as assuming is responsible for the new slime being made each time I mix water.

    The easy solution is to buy another bucket, but I am more interested in what this reaction is and what is causing it. Has anyone seen anything like it?
     

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  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    What brand of salt are you using? I had problems with brown floating "stuff" when I used Kent salt but have never had it with IO (Instant Ocean). A quick search comes up with this and it appears to happen with a number of mixes (I have gone back to IO).

    The white hard stuff is going to accumulate with most salts and more so if you add buffer. Every now and again, I will scrape the sides of my bucket but without adding buffer, the build up is minimal. There is buffer in your salt so you will still get a small amount that does not stay in solution.

    If you are getting a lot of brown slime, you may have some issues with mildew. This is easily taken care of by soaking the bucket in a clorox mix, rinsing well, adding a dechlorinator and then letting dry completely (you should NOT smell any chlorine after it dries. If you do repeat the dechlorination step).
     
  3. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    I also had brown slime when using a different brand than Instant Ocean.
     
  4. Pennyworth

    Pennyworth Wonderpus Registered

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    Huh, interesting, thank you all. I don't know how I didn't find those threads when searching D, guess I was just putting in a different term.

    I have only ever used Instant Ocean, but changed from Reef to Marine.

    I am not having issues lately, but it has been frustrating me that I can't get the white hard stuff off (which was once brown slime, I think..). If it is normal though, I won't worry about it.

    I do sometimes get brown slime but it isn't a lot and cleans off easily, and seems to be common. It was when it turned to white hard stuff that I became worried.

    Edit: After following through some links from that top link D provided, I found this explanation, which states in part:

    Most salt mixes leave behind a solid residue when dissolved, although the extent to which this occurs varies from brand to brand. I use Instant Ocean and rarely clean out the 44-gallon trashcan that I mix it in, so a significant residue builds up over time (Figure 1). In preparation for this article I removed some of this solid material, and found that it could be almost completely dissolved in hydrochloric acid with lots of bubbling. This demonstrates that these solids were probably calcium carbonate (CaCO3), perhaps also containing magnesium. Pure magnesium carbonate is undersaturated in seawater (which is detailed in later sections of this article) 1 and should dissolve in marine systems, so it isn't likely to be the precipitated material, although there may be significant magnesium in the calcium carbonate.

    The photo on that page matches what I see, so this seems like a likely solution.
     
  5. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    The brown stuff and the white hard precipitation are two different things. You will definitely see more of the white precipitation if you add buffer so I am not sure about the magnesium diagnosis. It is common and when I clean out my bucket (once every couple of years :grin:, I pound on the sides to get as much as I can to crack off but do little else.

    The brown slim is something else and I am not clear what causes it. In the tank it is waste or algae and suggests larger water changes are in order. If you see it in your new salt bucket, I would recommend the clorox cleaning to see if it goes away. I have only had a problem with mildew once in my holding tank (not my mixing bucket) and the clorox cured it. The brown stuff I saw with another salt was not so much a slime as brown foam, much like described in the link. I likely hosed out the mixing bucket when I switched back to Instant Ocean but I really don't remember. I do not see it at all with IO but I don't use the Reef mix (I think the Kent was their Reef formula) so this may be the difference.
     
  6. Pennyworth

    Pennyworth Wonderpus Registered

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    Huh, I was sure they were the same.

    The first time I encountered this problem I added buffer "just to be safe", when I was new to everything and a little bit more paranoid.

    The brown slime seemed to turn to hard white stuff, and has permanently stained the bottom of my bucket and my powerheads.

    The life in my tank has seemed fine and all my parameters are fine, so I don't think I have any reason to panic.

    I've only used IO, and some people on reefcentral were also using IO...it could perhaps be a water source thing and not a salt brand thing?
     
  7. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I don't think water source would be involved since changing salt brands ended the brown for me. Reef salt vs non-reef may be the addition of minerals that can precipitate out though. You will experience the white hard stuff either way.
     
  8. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    I also experienced brown slime with Kent salt, after which I changed to Tropic Marin and had no more problems. I've never experienced the white precipation, perhaps due to the different brands of salt. It might also be because of water hardness.

    Nancy
     

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