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Thread: Watercooling and Algae

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    Xtreme Member Eversor's Avatar
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    Watercooling and Algae

    Hi all,

    With every watercooling setup I've assembled, I've always experienced problems with algae growth. What do you do to kill it? I mean really kill, not prevent, I'm looking for definitive solutions because if by mistake I forget to change some liquid I don't want to have blocks and radiators filled with goo.

    Thanks in advance.
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    Kill Coil, set and forget no additional additives needed or replacement

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    If you've already got algae growth, then there's no other options. You have to drain, disassemble, and clean every part of the loop.
    Once it's in there, even dead, it will still be clogging things up. What you want to do is prevent it from growing in the first place.

    If you've "always experienced problems with algae growth", then you've been doing it wrong. I've been running water for 4 years and have never had any algae growth at all (not the same water for 4 years obviously, but I only drain and refill maybe once every 6-9 months).

    You need to use a good biocide agent in any water loop. Either use one of the chemical agents like PT Nuke or else use a good .99% pure silver kill coil. If you use a kill coil, then it's a good idea to "pre-soak" the coil for awhile in the water (in a sealed container) so that it's nice and ionized before you actually use the water. Get a gallon of distilled water, open the container just long enough to drop in a kill coil, close it back up and let it sit for a few days before using it. That way, when you use it in your loop, it's already toxic to algae (obviously you want to have another coil in your loop itself so things stay toxic).

    If it's too late though and you already have growth, then you'll have to take everything apart, discard and replace the tubing, give all the metal a good cleaning, and then put everything back together again.
    Last edited by Soulwind; 04-12-2011 at 08:40 AM.

  4. #4
    Xtreme Member Eversor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soulwind View Post
    If you've already got algae growth, then there's no other options. You have to drain, disassemble, and clean every part of the loop.
    Once it's in there, even dead, it will still be clogging things up. What you want to do is prevent it from growing in the first place.

    If you've "always experienced problems with algae growth", then you've been doing it wrong. I've been running water for 4 years and have never had any algae growth at all (not the same water for 4 years obviously, but I only drain and refill maybe once every 6-9 months).

    You need to use a good biocide agent in any water loop. Either use one of the chemical agents like PT Nuke or else use a good .99% pure silver kill coil. If you use a kill coil, then it's a good idea to "pre-soak" the coil for awhile in the water (in a sealed container) so that it's nice and ionized before you actually use the water. Get a gallon of distilled water, open the container just long enough to drop in a kill coil, close it back up and let it sit for a few days before using it. That way, when you use it in your loop, it's already toxic to algae (obviously you want to have another coil in your loop itself so things stay toxic).

    If it's too late though and you already have growth, then you'll have to take everything apart, discard and replace the tubing, give all the metal a good cleaning, and then put everything back together again.
    The growth I have right now is rather small and only on tubbing and maybe the pump. I haven't looked much at the pump since the reservoir is an XSPC one, which looks sealed to me, so I was thinking of cleaning the little algae present with some kind of acid or abrasive liquid by circulating it for a couple of hours. It is not at a state where goo is present - that were bad experiences with other blocks and stuff.

    The rest of the setup is a brand new Swiftech radiator, new tubing, and a impecable Apogee GT.

    I was looking at the kill coil but was thinking of alternatives because I thought I wouldn't be able to get one shipped here but it seems I just found one on ebay

    At first I was considering liquids like Feser One but they say "prevents algae growth", which is not exactly what I have in mind. I want it dead.

    I guess the little algae that I won't be able to clean will just die to the kill coil, right?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    I guess the little algae that I won't be able to clean will just die to the kill coil, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Soulwind View Post
    If it's too late though and you already have growth, then you'll have to take everything apart, discard and replace the tubing, give all the metal a good cleaning, and then put everything back together again.
    Eversor, read closely. Soulwind is right on the money with his answer.

    Take it all apart. Clean everything. Throw away the tubing. Start from scratch.

  6. #6
    Xtreme Addict CrazyNutz's Avatar
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    +1. You have to disassemble and clean once you get growth, no way around it.

    Also If you had algea once and you did not thoroughly clean It would just keep comming back. You see, once algea starts it embeds it's self in tiny holes, and crevices, just waiting for the next time conditions are good for regrowth, and to make matters worse your hiding algae can become immune to some types of algaecide overtime.

    I've never had it in my loop, however I have a pool, and I have to battle these little buggers from time to time. If I get it in my pool I have to put on the goggles and inspect every inch for hiding algae.

    Oh, and one more thing keep your hands clean when handling the parts, any organic material from your hands will eventualy decompose into food for algae.
    Last edited by CrazyNutz; 04-12-2011 at 09:14 AM.
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    Chasing After Diety NaeKuh's Avatar
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    no if you had growth the reason why u need to redue it, is because if u add chemcials to kill it, it will stink up your case when it dies.

    Silver does not work alone if u have UV lights on all the time, or if ur using tap water, as the mineral concentration might accelerate microbes.

    Distilled is natrually aggressive, so when in contact with silver, it picks up more ions then tap water.
    This is why distilled works great with silver.

    But tap water does have flourite, which is also a pretty good microb killer, for a while.
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  8. #8
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    My first loop ran for like 4 months and nothing ever grew in it. Drained it this past weekend and the water was pretty damn clean. I didn't use any gay coloring or other additives aside from a few drops of this fish tank algae stuff I bought at Petco for $8. I also used distilled water.

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    Xtreme Member Eversor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaldor View Post
    Eversor, read closely. Soulwind is right on the money with his answer.

    Take it all apart. Clean everything. Throw away the tubing. Start from scratch.
    I did, was hoping that silver would save my day.

    The tubing I'm throwing away either way but the pump I am reluctant to, would like to have it clean

    Either way, when one adds anti corrosive, does one not stop the effect silver will have? I mean, it just stops the corrosion and not the releasing of silver ions?

    Thoughts about dark opaque tubing and reservoirs? No light no algae? Seems so from self contained kits.
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  10. #10
    Xtreme Member Eversor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vulcZ View Post
    My first loop ran for like 4 months and nothing ever grew in it. Drained it this past weekend and the water was pretty damn clean. I didn't use any gay coloring or other additives aside from a few drops of this fish tank algae stuff I bought at Petco for $8. I also used distilled water.
    Hmm... Thanks for that, will also look into that. I've had my loops cleaned too many times, need something definitive now.
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    Xtreme Member Eversor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NaeKuh View Post
    no if you had growth the reason why u need to redue it, is because if u add chemcials to kill it, it will stink up your case when it dies.

    Silver does not work alone if u have UV lights on all the time, or if ur using tap water, as the mineral concentration might accelerate microbes.

    Distilled is natrually aggressive, so when in contact with silver, it picks up more ions then tap water.
    This is why distilled works great with silver.

    But tap water does have flourite, which is also a pretty good microb killer, for a while.
    I'll use distilled, that's for sure.

    UV I won't be using either. Aside from stinking, any problem from killing algae? And stinking how, if the system is closed? You mean when it's opened?
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    Xtreme Addict CrazyNutz's Avatar
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    Again. If you have algae now, and you don't clean and rebuild your loop, you will probably be sorry. Just saying.
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    Xtreme Member Eversor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyNutz View Post
    Again. If you have algae now, and you don't clean and rebuild your loop, you will probably be sorry. Just saying.
    Right, I will clean it as thoroughly as I can, the question is how? Any tips? Chemicals, scrubing?
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    Xtreme Enthusiast MagisD's Avatar
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    To quote one if my friends, goop loop !!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    Right, I will clean it as thoroughly as I can, the question is how? Any tips? Chemicals, scrubing?
    You need to eliminate particulate matter. The most gentle way (such as around pumps or blocks) is a toothbrush and dish soap. For material not accessible to physical removal please review this thread for tips:
    http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/...d.php?t=265263

    Vinegar is less popular now to clean. I may be wrong but there is concern that the acetic acid (vinegar) will continue to erode copper if not neutralized or diluted adequately after irrigation? I used 50% vinegar to initially clean new rads (water alone failed). I shook the rad like crazy but did not run vinegar inside any loop. Then I followed the vinegar with a thorough distilled water flush of the rad before using it hoping dilution will neutralize acetic acid/vinegar and remove debris. Not sure how that compares to the sodium citrate in the commercial radiator flush to kill and remove algae from the rad. Perhaps others will comment on vinegar and rads.

    Current loop using distilled & silver only x 8 months with no water change so there is hope. Good luck.

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    Chasing After Diety NaeKuh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    I'll use distilled, that's for sure.

    UV I won't be using either. Aside from stinking, any problem from killing algae? And stinking how, if the system is closed? You mean when it's opened?
    stinking.. as in fishy smell stinking..

    its bad... depending on how much growth u had.

    and if u see it on your tubing.. chances are u got hair building up inside your blocks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    Right, I will clean it as thoroughly as I can, the question is how? Any tips? Chemicals, scrubing?
    rince everything out.

    algae can not grow in blocks, or inside a rad, or inside anything which doesnt have a light hole for photosynthesis.
    If its inside your block, this is the loose hair im talking about...

    Go out to a store... buy a soft tooth brush. and start scrubbing.
    no alcohol, just warm water + soap..
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    If you cant get a killcoil shipped to you an alternative is to go down to the local goldsmith/jewellery-store and buy a piece of pure silver. Goldsmiths have large sheets of 99.99% pure silver that they can cut a piece off for a few bucks.

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    Xtreme Member Eversor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xrim View Post
    If you cant get a killcoil shipped to you an alternative is to go down to the local goldsmith/jewellery-store and buy a piece of pure silver. Goldsmiths have large sheets of 99.99% pure silver that they can cut a piece off for a few bucks.
    Thank you! I've put a word on my local water cooling shop to see if they can get it, if not I will try that as you say, plenty of jewellry stores around
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    Xtreme Member Eversor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NaeKuh View Post
    stinking.. as in fishy smell stinking..

    its bad... depending on how much growth u had.

    and if u see it on your tubing.. chances are u got hair building up inside your blocks.



    rince everything out.

    algae can not grow in blocks, or inside a rad, or inside anything which doesnt have a light hole for photosynthesis.
    If its inside your block, this is the loose hair im talking about...

    Go out to a store... buy a soft tooth brush. and start scrubbing.
    no alcohol, just warm water + soap..
    Ok. I was just trying to understand the degree of cleaning that would be required on blocks, rads and pumps(especially the pump as it's sealed), since I've had pretty bad corrosion and fungus on a block I had once. Guess probably the corrosion wasn't the algae's fault then.

    I don't have much growth in the system, it's mostly the pump, so I guess I'll try some sugestions of cleaning what I can't access with some of those acids.
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    Xtreme Member Eversor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by musicfan View Post
    You need to eliminate particulate matter. The most gentle way (such as around pumps or blocks) is a toothbrush and dish soap. For material not accessible to physical removal please review this thread for tips:
    http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/...d.php?t=265263

    Vinegar is less popular now to clean. I may be wrong but there is concern that the acetic acid (vinegar) will continue to erode copper if not neutralized or diluted adequately after irrigation? I used 50% vinegar to initially clean new rads (water alone failed). I shook the rad like crazy but did not run vinegar inside any loop. Then I followed the vinegar with a thorough distilled water flush of the rad before using it hoping dilution will neutralize acetic acid/vinegar and remove debris. Not sure how that compares to the sodium citrate in the commercial radiator flush to kill and remove algae from the rad. Perhaps others will comment on vinegar and rads.

    Current loop using distilled & silver only x 8 months with no water change so there is hope. Good luck.
    I see, thanks a lot!

    That commercial radiator flush, easy to find? Can you give me some names as examples?
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    Chasing After Diety NaeKuh's Avatar
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    prestone super rad flush.

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  22. #22
    Xtreme Member zads's Avatar
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    Flush your system out and rid the algae with the following:
    1.Drain your system
    2.Fill your reservoir with pure baking soda
    3.Add red dye to the baking soda
    4.Add a ton of vinegar to the reservoir all at once


    ...lol
    (don't actually try that, for some reason this thread made me think of this)

    Anyway, I've never had any traces of algae in my loop, (DI+Killcoil).
    But I'm guessing if you used opaque tubing and a mostly blacked out/painted reservoir, you would never have problems with algae either, right?
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  23. #23
    Xtreme Member Eversor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NaeKuh View Post
    prestone super rad flush.

    Thanks
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  24. #24
    Xtreme Member Eversor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zads View Post
    Flush your system out and rid the algae with the following:
    1.Drain your system
    2.Fill your reservoir with pure baking soda
    3.Add red dye to the baking soda
    4.Add a ton of vinegar to the reservoir all at once


    ...lol
    (don't actually try that, for some reason this thread made me think of this)

    Anyway, I've never had any traces of algae in my loop, (DI+Killcoil).
    But I'm guessing if you used opaque tubing and a mostly blacked out/painted reservoir, you would never have problems with algae either, right?
    Hmm... I'm considering blacking out the reservoir, although it is kind of a bumer to check water levels afterwards, guess it's still better than having the system filled with goo

    Let's see if I can get that kill coil then, everyone talks so much about it.

    Any thoughts on Feser One cooling? The guys at the local store say it's the only stuff they have because its good with everything: no coloring goo on the loop and tubing, no algae growth and not conductive(though they don't exactly believe this part that much).

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  25. #25
    Xtremely High Voltage Sparky's Avatar
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    My main rig I have a bad algae problem that I need to clean up, but haven't yet. Temps are slowly getting worse, I can only imagine what the blocks look like

    A server rig that I have also is running pure distilled + a killcoil, the res is clear, tubes clear, and still are after at least 6 months now of running.
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