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Old 11-04-2010
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WaterTank Gunk (not for faint of stomach)

This summer the forward tank on our 1985 Pacific Seacraft 37 would not empty. There was no inspection port so we added some bleach, sailed in rough weather, and hoped that might take care of it. With the boat home I just cut a 6" inspection port and you can see the lovely "stuff" I found. Imi said "please tell me I have not been drinking that stuff," so I did.

I *think* the moral of the story is to cut inspection ports in all tanks though there may be others.

P.S. A pint or so of Vinegar later, the tank is spotless.

Jay, PSC 37 # 171, Kenlanu
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Old 11-04-2010
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Scarey stuff

That stuff looks nasty.
I'm cutting inspection ports in my tanks this weekend.
From 1988 til now I'd have to guess mine looks equally as bad.
I'm going to try to fabricate a clear lexan inspection plate to cover the hole.

Thanks
Keith
'88 PSC 34
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Old 11-04-2010
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hey, that looks like mine! Except mine might be even worse (1979). I can't clean mine either, since the baffles prevent access to most of the tank from the inspection port. I shocked it with chlorine and I've been seeking a really heavy-duty filter that will make it drinkable (I have a thread on that subject going in the gear and maintenance forum).

How did you use the vinegar to remove it? Pour it direct only, scrub, rinse? I take it adding a bit of vinegar to the water when you fill it wouldn't produce "spotless" results.
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Old 11-04-2010
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Whoa, that's nasty.

Keith - you mention a plan to add a clear lexan plate. My tanks came with white beckson screw on deck plates to allow inspection/cleaning. However the gaskets had worn out so they were leaking. I replaced them with clear plastic versions, hoping to be able to see inside the tank through the clear plastic. Well, what happens is there is always condensation on the plate when I want to see inside - which means I need to unscrew them to look inside. Its no big deal, they come off easily. However if your lexan plate doesn't come off easily, you might find the condensation interferes with seeing inside easily. Just a thought.


Cheers,
Craig.

s/v Luckness,
PSC 37, #234.
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Old 11-04-2010
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In brewing we use a combination of TSP and Oxiclean (50/50). If you fill your tanks and run this solution throughout your boat, then let it sit for two days, it will clean everything spotless, assuming the solution actually came in contact with 100%. If not then sailing it over a day or so would definitely help.

The important thing is to rinse it well, so drain it 100%, refill with clean water and rinse, repeat.

Then, top things up by using a sanitizing agent like Saniclean, which is completely non-toxic and is safe for most materials and won't impart a chlorine smell to everything. Let that soak, sail around a bit and you are good to go. It kills most in 3 minutes and just about everything in several hours.

Sani-clean is no rinse sanitizer, meaning just dump what is left in the boat and fill with water.

Also - you should not use bleach in stainless steel - it will corrode it.
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Old 11-04-2010
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What you see is called 'calcyx' a massive bacteria colony, a thick accumulation of living and dead cells.

Only sure way to get rid of such is to mechanically scrub, then MULTIPLE sanitizations.
Otherwise, a long term 'soak' with a CAUSTIC (LYE, TSP, SodiumSilicates, etc.) to dissolve the cells ... then many many rinses followed by MULTIPLE sanitizations. But even then you cant be sure that you dissolve 'all' of it. If you dont get it ALL, it can become the nutrient source for other species of biofouling.

Last edited by RichH; 11-04-2010 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 11-04-2010
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That is disgusting. I am hopping to clean the tanks in my crealock 37 but since the lids are very nicely secured, I hesitate to break the seal and open them up. I would like to cut inspection ports in the lids without removing them. Is this a safe thing to do and if so, where should they be located on the lid?

Thanks

grant
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Old 11-05-2010
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Thanks to everyone for some great information on a) what it is b) how to *really* get rid of it and c) how not to look in next year and see "I'm back!!"

Grant and others wondering about the inspection ports, I used 6" "Sea Dog" Deck Plates with a clear screw-out center. I got mine from Hamilton Marine (no financial or other interest but include the item number 'cause my first search did not turn them up: Item #: SD-337161-1). After cutting the hole with a saber saw I sealed the edge of the plywood with a couple of coats to epoxy and then mounted the deck plates in silicone (as per the instructions). As for location, I positioned them in the middle of each section (the aft tank has a baffle) so I could reach the edges.

Thanks again for great information,

Jay

PSC 37, Kenlanu
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Old 11-05-2010
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An alternative you might also consider is steam cleaning. With a 6" inspection port, you should be able to get the hose, nozzel of a cannister type steam cleaner into the tank to blast out and break-down the debris followed by suctioning the waste-water out with a shop-vac. Given the slime accumulation, if it were my boat I would steam-clean the tank(s) and replace the water lines which are likely coated with the same slime. Chemical cleaners will kill the stuff but do not guaranty removal of the debris which can/will become the medium for future problems. The situation in your tanks is certainly evidence of why one needs to filter and treat the water brought aboard the yacht, eh?

In any case, good luck. Whatever you do, add good filters to your system!
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