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Thread: Greenish unknown substance stuck to the inside of my tubing

  1. #1
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    Greenish unknown substance stuck to the inside of my tubing

    Does anyone know of anything that would be sticking to the inside of my tubes in a thin greenish layer? (Please don't tell me it's algae...) The stuff flakes off cleanly when I squeeze or otherwise deform the tubing it's stuck to. The tubes, once the stuff is flaked off, look brand new.

    Here are two JPEGs to show you what I mean a little better:
    http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y23...weirdness1.jpg
    http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y23...weirdness2.jpg

    Two possible problems with my loop that I've known about for a while:
    1. I'm not certain if my loop is 100% air tight at the cap on the t-line (or the bubbles could be due to the following number 2)
    2. The radiator traps air and sometimes circulates it around to the rest of my loop.

    I think a lack of air tightness might cause things to grow in there, but I don't think random (sealed in) air bubbles would. In fact, I'm not even sure that the stuff in there is some kind of living organism. It shouldn't be any kind of mineral deposit because I used distilled water and glycol-based automotive antifreeze only (about a 60/40 mix of each, respectively). I specifically used a butt load of the anti-freeze to keep living organisms from appearing...

    Regardless of what the stuff on my tubing is, I think I'm going to have to give my rig another full tear down and refit at Christmas. Water blocks are fairly easy to clean out, but the rad and tubing are more difficult.

    Is there anything I can do to get rid of this stuff and/or make sure it never appears again?

    Thanks for your thoughts, XS community...
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  2. #2
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    LOL, algae no doubt.

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  3. #3
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    I'm glad you're enjoying yourself, nikhsub1, but is there anything I can do at this point?
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcnbns View Post
    I'm glad you're enjoying yourself, nikhsub1, but is there anything I can do at this point?
    Drain/clean the entire system, refill, use more biocide than you did before.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by LynkDead View Post
    Drain/clean the entire system, refill, use more biocide than you did before.
    +1
    .

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by LynkDead View Post
    Drain/clean the entire system, refill, use more biocide than you did before.
    I guess algae is a tougher little thing than I thought...

    Is there any biocide that's more effective than glycol-based antifreeze? Thanks again.
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  7. #7
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    A lot of folk rely on Nuke a copper sulphate additive available from PTS.
    .

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  8. #8
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    Practice safe gaming and intraweb surfing so you do not get the ITDs that result in green discharge . . .

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedda View Post
    A lot of folk rely on Nuke a copper sulphate additive available from PTS.
    That looks like exactly the kind of thing I need. Thanks for the tip.

    EDIT: One last question: does UV cathode lighting encourage algae growth?
    Last edited by mcnbns; 10-20-2007 at 05:04 PM.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcnbns View Post
    That looks like exactly the kind of thing I need. Thanks for the tip.

    EDIT: One last question: does UV cathode lighting encourage algae growth?
    Yes, it does.
    .

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  11. #11
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    Thanks a lot for the replies, guys.

    I guess all I can do for now is keep a close eye on it. Hopefully my computer can survive until the Christmas holidays when I can give it a complete tear down and clean out.

    All I know is that I've spent so much time telling people that water cooling is worth the time and effort that I can never go back to air.
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  12. #12
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    A lot of folk rely on Nuke a copper sulphate additive available from PTS.
    I will be aswell..... read some ppl getting algae even with the nuke....I'll make sure i put enough in the loop....
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  13. #13
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    Microwave your watercooling loop.

    Then pour algaecide over what's left of it.

    Or you can drain, clean, and use a higher concentration of PT Nuke or whatever than last time.
    Quote Originally Posted by dengyong View Post
    Started life as a FTW and ended up as a WTF.

  14. #14
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    Stay with ethylene glycol. I would use 1% (10ml per 1L) of toilet bowl cleaner with bleach.

  15. #15
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    it's algae

    scrub it out with a bore(gun) brush

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by YugenM View Post
    Microwave your watercooling loop.

    Then pour algaecide over what's left of it.

    Or you can drain, clean, and use a higher concentration of PT Nuke or whatever than last time.
    You can really microwave your loop?

    Or am I just being gullible?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by nestcrw View Post
    You can really microwave your loop?

    Or am I just being gullible?
    Quote Originally Posted by KaptCrunch View Post
    he means the fluid .....nuke it b4 pouring
    I was joking
    Quote Originally Posted by dengyong View Post
    Started life as a FTW and ended up as a WTF.

  18. #18
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    How long b4 this "algae" started? 6 months?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarthBeavis View Post
    Practice safe gaming and intraweb surfing so you do not get the ITDs that result in green discharge . . .
    LOL!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarthBeavis View Post
    Practice safe gaming and intraweb surfing so you do not get the ITDs that result in green discharge . . .


    I'd just save yourself some hassle and buy new tubing, cleaning the old stuff would be so much work. Clean all components of the WC setup thoroughly, flush the rad with boiling water several times, scrub the inside of the block, rinse out everything.
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  21. #21
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    Some of you folks are just too complicated.

    Antifreeze in the concentrations we use won't kill a thing. I have used for years now simple Walmart bought fish aquarium algaecide ($4). It only takes one drop, and every now and then when I have to top off the fluid, I add another drop for good measure. I also throw in a few drops of alcohol-free povidone-iodine to act as a biocide. Do this and you won't have growth-period.

    You will have to take your entire loop apart and clean everything well with hot soapy water and/or vinegar soak and some scrubbing (toothbrush?). Replace your tubing.

    For the radiator, I squirt the rad full of DOW Scrubbing Bubbles, let it soak for a few minutes, then rinse and repeat with hot soapy water, and then hook my rad up to the kitchen faucet and force flush it out. Scrubbing Bubbles works wonders at getting stuff out.

    When I initially setup a loop, I hook it up to a kitchen faucet (using a waterbed fill kit adapter) and force flush it out with warm water. This way I don't have any foreign gunk in my loop once I drain and refill with distilled/antifreeze/algaecide/iodine.

  22. #22
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    it may not be algae if he has just done up the loop?

    probable something from inside the rad? he mentioned flakes so.. its some sort of chemical in the rad imo that reacts with water that gives u a stained tube no matter what.
    Buildin

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElEctric_EyE View Post
    How long b4 this "algae" started? 6 months?
    About that. I put the loop together in February and it's gotten progressively cloudier since then. I thought it was just the green antifreeze staining the tubing (which I've seen before many times using cheaper tubing).

    Quote Originally Posted by voigts View Post
    Some of you folks are just too complicated.

    Antifreeze in the concentrations we use won't kill a thing. I have used for years now simple Walmart bought fish aquarium algaecide ($4). It only takes one drop, and every now and then when I have to top off the fluid, I add another drop for good measure. I also throw in a few drops of alcohol-free povidone-iodine to act as a biocide. Do this and you won't have growth-period.

    You will have to take your entire loop apart and clean everything well with hot soapy water and/or vinegar soak and some scrubbing (toothbrush?). Replace your tubing.

    For the radiator, I squirt the rad full of DOW Scrubbing Bubbles, let it soak for a few minutes, then rinse and repeat with hot soapy water, and then hook my rad up to the kitchen faucet and force flush it out. Scrubbing Bubbles works wonders at getting stuff out.

    When I initially setup a loop, I hook it up to a kitchen faucet (using a waterbed fill kit adapter) and force flush it out with warm water. This way I don't have any foreign gunk in my loop once I drain and refill with distilled/antifreeze/algaecide/iodine.
    That sounds like an excellent procedure. I'm going to pick up some algaecide, then.

    I've been trying to prevent buying new tubing, but it sounds like I'd be foolish to reuse this stuff.
    Quote Originally Posted by NightRaven View Post
    it may not be algae if he has just done up the loop?

    probable something from inside the rad? he mentioned flakes so.. its some sort of chemical in the rad imo that reacts with water that gives u a stained tube no matter what.
    Well, after I clean the rad out thoroughly I'll have a better idea of whether that was the cause.

    I guess the overall consensus is purge, clean thoroughly, rinse, then refill with new chemicals.

    Thanks for all the advice, everyone.
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  24. #24
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    If you have 40% glycol I suspect it is not algae. UV light is used on swimming pools to reduce algae build up so it should do the same in a watercooled PC. I think the build up you are getting is from copper components corroding (partly as a result of your high gylcol level), it gets left on the walls of the tubing as the water evaporates through it. This is part of the reason the car industry switched to aluminium radiators despite lower thermal conductivity.

    Re fill with DI water, copper will not disolve or corrode in pure water, but once it is oxygenated it can, especially in turbulent areas (e.g. this heat transfer plate on my Apogee).



    PTS stuff looks good, add some corrosion inhibitor designed for copper based heating systems, bleach would be OK but try and keep the pH as close to neutral as possible.
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  25. #25
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    Now that I'm thinking of it, I'm pretty sure my rad is aluminum. That would definitely explain corrosion.

    Right now I'm seeing a vivid mental image of a veteran mechanic covered in engine grease saying, "Now there's your problem."
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