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Old 03-16-2019, 02:02 PM   #1
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Does anybody know what these are from my fresh water tank?

I just installed a inspection plate in my fresh water tank and In the process of cleaning it out I was finding these deposits. They break apart easy. Maybe calcium? I also am wondering what to clean it with.

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Old 03-16-2019, 02:45 PM   #2
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I don't know, but the picture makes me want to not look inside my tanks!
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Old 03-16-2019, 03:15 PM   #3
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Calsium and magnesium carbonate, it’s in most water systems usually seen as small particles in your faucet aeriators.
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Old 03-16-2019, 03:53 PM   #4
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Tank oysters. What kind of antifouling paint do you use in your tank?
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Old 03-16-2019, 06:33 PM   #5
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Do you think lime will dissolve them?
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Old 03-16-2019, 06:51 PM   #6
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If the lime doesn't get them....surely the gin or tonic will !!
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Old 03-16-2019, 08:57 PM   #7
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If the lime doesn't get them....surely the gin or tonic will !!
now that's funny right there.
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Old 03-16-2019, 09:09 PM   #8
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Pretty sure these are aliens eggs, I would not look in the tank not to risk one of these jump and stick to your face, you have been warned!

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Old 03-16-2019, 10:43 PM   #9
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If you really want to look inside your tanks, do it with a flashlight and mirror. That way the alien eggs will attach to the mirror, not your cheeks.
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Old 03-17-2019, 05:14 AM   #10
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If your tanks are aluminum and there is chlorine in the water you may be seeing aluminum chloride.
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Old 03-17-2019, 08:55 AM   #11
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Yes my tanks are aluminum
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Old 03-17-2019, 10:55 AM   #12
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Hi Bud,

Rather than a facetious, flippant answer to your posted question, which does little than waste bandwidth, I would suggest an honest response.

I agree with others, that what you have discovered is probably aluminum chloride, a precipitate that forms from the reaction of hypochlorite (a generic name for bleach, or chlorine) that is commonly found in city water systems and the aluminum alloying elements found in marine aluminum alloys. Over time, the aluminum chloride (which is harmless in of itself) forms in your water tank, and most of the time, is invisible in your fresh water system. In some cases, if your water appears cloudy, and your sink fixture strainers become clogged, the chloride becomes visible. It looks like snow in the water, and if the water is allowed to evaporate, feels like a soft gypsum-like powder residue.

In your case, as you state the deposits "...break apart easily.", that's a good clue. Other than that clue, and the white color, you're only recourse to knowing definitely the answer to your question is to submit your sample to a testing facility to perform a spectrographic analysis. I'd love to hear the outcome of such an analysis.

Unfortunately, the downside to the development of an aluminum chloride precipitate in your water tank is the likelihood of development of other, related precipitates that are NOT soft and easily removed. These tend to form "crusticles" (for want of a better term) on the interior of aluminum tanks, leading to corrosion pockets under them, eventually failing the tank.

I'm attaching a picture of such a crusticle, and wonder if you've seen any such attachment to the interior of your tank? In my opinion, the aluminum chloride is simply an irritant, but difficult to flush from marine water systems, and possibly a harbinger of worse to come. But again, just my opinion...

Regards,

Pete
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Old 03-17-2019, 12:58 PM   #13
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Now I definitely don't want to look in my tanks
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Old 03-17-2019, 01:46 PM   #14
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I appreciate the helpful answer.
Here are some more pics
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Old 03-17-2019, 01:54 PM   #15
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More pics of inside water tank
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Old 03-17-2019, 02:50 PM   #16
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Thatís why I avoid aluminum water heaters. They do the same hing. Iíve also seen a jelly like substance clinging to the walls of aluminum water tanks.

I donít know why boat builders use aluminum water tanks. A good plastic tank should be cheaper and easier to keep clean.
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Old 03-17-2019, 03:46 PM   #17
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I'm not sure how basic Aluminum Chloride is, but if you put some of it in a acid, say vinegar, and it fizzes then it's either some sort of carbonate or bicarbonate. The stronger the acid the more the reaction. I can't imagine A C doing that.
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Old 03-17-2019, 05:11 PM   #18
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Hi Bud,

Thanks for posting some additional pictures of your tank interior. I would suggest that leeman's suggestion regarding an attempt to dissolve the material in distilled white vinegar may provide some clarity, and may well shed light on this issue.

A question for leeman-what do you hypothesize as the source of the carbonate ion, which bonds with water, to potentially form a carbonate residue inside a boat's fresh water tank? Carbonates typically are found in such as terrestrial caves, the result of relatively-acidic water dripping through limestone. I'm open to suggestions!

I've asked many folks for their opinion on "stuff" such as found in Bud's tank, but haven't had confirmation of anything yet. Lots of opinions (like mine!), but little evidence. I've been told such deposits could be aluminum oxide, washed off the surface of the tank as it oxidizes. But oxides of aluminum are REALLY hard (they're used as abrasives), and the deposits I've seen in free-floating form inside water tanks aren't. In addition, aluminum oxide is tenacious stuff-it doesn't want to leave it's aluminum home! Other possibilities for Bud's deposits are possibly some form of a magnesium chloride, as magnesium is the major alloying element in the (typical) 5000-series marine alloys, and the chlorine is floating around in city water inside the tank.

So back to Bud's original question-wha zis? My answer-beat's me, but IMO it's aluminum chloride. Given he's got access to the interior of the tank, a thorough cleaning with good old soap and water may be in order, and perhaps an attempt made to dislodge one of the crusticles seen in the tank seams. And an attempt to crush one of his nodules would be instructive as well.

Regards,

Pete
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Old 03-17-2019, 05:33 PM   #19
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Hi Bud,

Thanks for posting some additional pictures of your tank interior. I would suggest that leeman's suggestion regarding an attempt to dissolve the material in distilled white vinegar may provide some clarity, and may well shed light on this issue.

A question for leeman-what do you hypothesize as the source of the carbonate ion, which bonds with water, to potentially form a carbonate residue inside a boat's fresh water tank? Carbonates typically are found in such as terrestrial caves, the result of relatively-acidic water dripping through limestone. I'm open to suggestions!

I've asked many folks for their opinion on "stuff" such as found in Bud's tank, but haven't had confirmation of anything yet. Lots of opinions (like mine!), but little evidence. I've been told such deposits could be aluminum oxide, washed off the surface of the tank as it oxidizes. But oxides of aluminum are REALLY hard (they're used as abrasives), and the deposits I've seen in free-floating form inside water tanks aren't. In addition, aluminum oxide is tenacious stuff-it doesn't want to leave it's aluminum home! Other possibilities for Bud's deposits are possibly some form of a magnesium chloride, as magnesium is the major alloying element in the (typical) 5000-series marine alloys, and the chlorine is floating around in city water inside the tank.

So back to Bud's original question-wha zis? My answer-beat's me, but IMO it's aluminum chloride. Given he's got access to the interior of the tank, a thorough cleaning with good old soap and water may be in order, and perhaps an attempt made to dislodge one of the crusticles seen in the tank seams. And an attempt to crush one of his nodules would be instructive as well.

Regards,

Pete
I would think the carbonate is CaCo3 or CaMgCo3. Could also be ?HCo3. Likely from the water. Well water in my neck of the woods is very high. Although the rivers are significantly lower, because they originate in the mountains they still contain low levels of carbonate/bicarbonate. At higher PH's it tends to express as bicarbonate. You may have very pure water in your home port, but where you tie up for the night might be getting their water from a well.
I'm retired so getting a little rusty at this...
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Old 03-17-2019, 07:41 PM   #20
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Is there any simple test I can do to find out what it is or at least rule something out.
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