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Old 11-19-2019, 10:59 PM   #1
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Algae In Freshwater Tank

I have a pretty serious Algae issue in my freshwater tank. The drain line is clogged and I can't run the water through the pump either (nor would I want to). I've tried everything to free up the drain. The drain is very small to begin with and makes an immediate 90 degree turn off the tank via a fitting. So, I'm sure it is clogged with algae. I have used a hand pump to gently pump air up through the drain line. It does nothing to free the drain after 15 seconds it is clogged again. I have used a wet vacuum to try to suck the debris through the drain and it frees up the drain slightly for about 2-3 min. and then I'm back to a slow, slow drip. I've got a bleach solution in the tank with about 30 gallons of water sitting overnight. I'm going to drive the trailer briefly tomorrow to see if the movement will free up the drain, but I'm not optimistic.

I've decided the only way I'm going to get this tank draining and clean is to cut an access hole in the top of the tank. That is the easy part. I need advice for how to seal up the access hole once I'm done? My current best idea is a marine deck-plate which would allow future access if this ever happens again. I am also thinking I could just buy a square piece of plastic and use silicone and self-tapping stainless screws to patch the top of the tank.

Any other ideas?

P.S.- Don't forget to sanitize your fresh water tank....even if you drain it, sanitize it! I will never make that mistake again!
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Old 11-20-2019, 10:24 AM   #2
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Before I cut a hole in the tank, I'd put a strong bleach solution in there and drive the RV around a while and then let it sit for a while and then blow air into the drain to expose the algae to the bleach solution. It may take a day or two but that should clear it out.
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Old 11-20-2019, 10:31 AM   #3
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Before I cut a hole in the tank, I'd put a strong bleach solution in there and drive the RV around a while and then let it sit for a while and then blow air into the drain to expose the algae to the bleach solution. It may take a day or two but that should clear it out.
X2

How much bleach have you used to try to break up the algae?
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Old 11-20-2019, 10:51 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bama Rambler View Post
Before I cut a hole in the tank, I'd put a strong bleach solution in there and drive the RV around a while and then let it sit for a while and then blow air into the drain to expose the algae to the bleach solution. It may take a day or two but that should clear it out.
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Old 11-20-2019, 10:53 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Bama Rambler View Post
Before I cut a hole in the tank, I'd put a strong bleach solution in there and drive the RV around a while and then let it sit for a while and then blow air into the drain to expose the algae to the bleach solution. It may take a day or two but that should clear it out.
X4
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Old 11-20-2019, 10:56 AM   #6
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How long did it take for this to happen? It seems like it would take a while!
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Old 11-20-2019, 11:21 AM   #7
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Before I did anything else I'd remove the plugged drain valve and see if the tank is actually filled with algae. Could just be the valve where the algae is visible.

Algae USUALLY requires sunlight to grow as it reproduces through photosynthesis. Most water tanks are not exposed to light.

I definitely wouldn't cut a hole in the tank as the material they are made of is extremely hard to "repair" well enough to prevent leaks.

A good sanitizing and flush a few times with water should kill any organisms inside without the need for "major surgery".


This is why I choose to continuously chlorinate my tank water. I add 1/2 tsp of unscented, regular, Clorox, per 5 gallons of water when filling using a small, inexpensive meter. Chlorine mixes in the water as I drive and my factory installed filter removes any residual taste. No algae or any other "bugs" from the tank.
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Old 11-20-2019, 01:50 PM   #8
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Can you snake anything up thru the drain? How about a small diameter piece of tubing? If you could get something like that up in there and above the blockage, that might let you drain the tank down. Just a thought.
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Old 11-20-2019, 02:14 PM   #9
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Sounds like You've got Your own version of "Wild Kingdom" going on inside that plastic beauty! To be honest,these guys have been right on the money! Don't compromise the vessel by cutting a top hole in it. Go after that drain valve first. Get the largest diameter evac path that You can to pass that stinky,creepy and hairy growth. Protect all surfaces from being attacked by stream and splash from the active bleach component that's mixed with the crud. Protect Your hands and eyes,too. Wear old clothing. Use a small gauge wire to snake the drain prior to taking it apart. If You can get flow,You go! You'll want to repeat this several cycles so that You really evac'd all of the problem! Good Luck!
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Old 11-20-2019, 02:16 PM   #10
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Try swimming pool shock. Sodium hypochlorite. Better than bleach.
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Old 11-20-2019, 02:25 PM   #11
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Nice Job,MedalGuy! I knew I'd forget something! You just smashed it out of the Park! Gawd,I hate having CRS!!
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Old 11-20-2019, 02:26 PM   #12
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Try swimming pool shock. Sodium hypochlorite. Better than bleach.
How about taking the drain valve out altogether? I feel like a small drain hole will continue to clog. I think you need a bigger opening to get something in there you can keep jiggling around.
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Old 11-20-2019, 02:34 PM   #13
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I still want to know where he lives (climate). Usually sunlight is required for algae to grow. And how long it took to get to this awful state. Did it sit with water in it long time without being used?
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Old 11-20-2019, 03:22 PM   #14
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I still want to know where he lives (climate). Usually sunlight is required for algae to grow.
He called it "algae," but it may be a mold of some kind. I had a problem with something black and purple growing in my water tank. I left well water in it for three months during the heat of summer. Rookie mistake.
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Old 11-20-2019, 03:29 PM   #15
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He called it "algae," but it may be a mold of some kind. I had a problem with something black and purple growing in my water tank. I left well water in it for three months during the heat of summer. Rookie mistake.
I've been leaving well water in my fresh tank all season long for the better part of 40 years. My fresh tank always has some water in it and we often fill it to go. No algae. I do add Camco TastePURE Drinking Water Freshener on each add of water.

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Old 11-20-2019, 03:38 PM   #16
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Something usually has to be introduced to the tank to make something like that grow. Maybe filling it with a contaminated hose. People sanitize their tanks, but forget the hoses. Worse yet, some people connect the ends of the hoses. So they stay wet inside, usually summer heat, who knows what's growing in them! Nothing good!
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Old 11-20-2019, 03:46 PM   #17
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5Picker, you got me curious about that. What it actually is. I found the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for it:

Section 3 - Composition, Information on Ingredients
Name CAS Number % Volume
Sodium Hypochlorite 7681-52-9 <0.4%

It's dilute bleach!
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Old 11-20-2019, 03:50 PM   #18
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5Picker, you got me curious about that. What it actually is. I found the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for it:

Section 3 - Composition, Information on Ingredients
Name CAS Number % Volume
Sodium Hypochlorite 7681-52-9 <0.4%

It's dilute bleach!
Yep... just bleach.
Just more convenient for me, that's all.
Pre mixed... smaller bottle... marked well so nobody (kids) mistakes a Coke bottle with bleach in it for water... you get the idea.
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Old 11-20-2019, 03:52 PM   #19
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I'd be inclined to disassemble the fitting and drain and clean them up - there's a strong possibility that there's plastic debris in there as well as what's growing...
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Old 11-20-2019, 04:00 PM   #20
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4 bucks a pint though instead of 99 cents a gallon! Save the container and pour a little bleach in it and top off with water. Buy me a beer with the money you save!
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