Quick Guide to cleaning marine pumps and equipment with household vinegar (Acetic acid)

Discussion in 'Equipment Articles' started by leslie hempel, 15 Feb 2016.

  1. leslie hempel

    leslie hempel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Guys and girls as you would have come to realise by now as a seasoned aquarist husbandry and maintenance are the order of the day when it comes to marine aquaria and actually anything in life if you want to preserve and achieve an optimal lifespan out of a working motor etc,


    The process for cleaning is very simple,


    Here I have a Jebao RW15 pump which I’ve had running in my system for 6 months

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    Its encrusted with coralline and other slime algae through me dosing calcium based additives in order to grow the skeletal structures of my stony corals, awesome for the corals but what does this mean for the pump?


    We a few things to consider that it could possibly do:


    Reduces flow output

    Possible wear on impellor’s and impellor blades

    Far fetched but possibly overheating of the pump reducing its lifespan.


    What I did in the past with my Tunze pumps was bathe them in a 100% solution of clear vinegar for about 20 - 30 min, then using a household nail brush scrub off the more stubborn parts of coralline,


    This method can be implemented with all marine equipment as long as a food based acid is used, hence household vinegar being my chosen “cleaning chemical”


    Coralline algae is a build up of calcium carbonate and by adding acid you are dissolving this hard structured algae into a liquid, in really extreme cases you may need to soak the item being cleaned overnight, and if still battling id change the vinegar as the more it is used without being changed the weaker it becomes losing its effectiveness.


    For skimmer bodies i like to soak them with vinegar with a bit of warm water, try resist the temptation to scrub the skimmer as the tiny calcium growths will scratch the acrylic or plastic skimmer body, this may seem trivial but believe me it will greatly reduce your asking price if you were wanting to sell to upgrade.

    Here is the pump disassembled and soaking
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    Here are the results of a 30 minute clean
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    And there you have it, a simple and effective method in keeping your equipment in peak condition inexpensively,

    This pump definitely seemed to pump more water when I was finished with the clean...
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: 13 Jan 2017
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  3. 459b

    459b Moderator

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    Nice article Les.
    That scum from soaking is impressive!
     
  4. leslie hempel

    leslie hempel Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    shot david, trying to find the vid i took of the acid dissolving the corraline, its pretty impressive but ive misplaced or deleted it !
     
  5. 459b

    459b Moderator

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    Also pretty impressive growth for six months with a move in between.
    Those fingers are pretty wrinkly, did you soak them as well?
     
  6. leslie hempel

    leslie hempel Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    my tanks been in a bit of a state of late so was actually cleaning (hence the wrinkly fingers) when i got a bee in my bonnet to clean the pumps, i actually like the corraline look on the pumps and always left it on the brackets of my Tunzes washing only the pumps, but these pumps require you to clean the entire pump which isnt a bad thing, looks like ive just taken them out of the box and popped them in.
     
  7. EFJ

    EFJ MASA Contributor

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    You missed a spot there...:tt2:. Nice cleaning guide+pics and impressive coraline growth on the pump:thumbup:.
     
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  8. leslie hempel

    leslie hempel Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    my hands were so sore i reckon ill be a bit more thorough next time lol, still had to get my entire tank back up to scratch.. neglected it a little latley.
     
  9. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Vinegar works. But be careful with the cords. Some power cords do not like vinegar and the vinegar makes the plastic hard. Which then cracks as the wire is bent during normal handling. Normally happens at the point were the wire enters the pump body.

    Hang the pump so that the power cord does not lie in vinegar. Use clothes pegs to secure the cord to the top of the plastic bucket used.
     
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  10. Trigger1

    Trigger1

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    helpful, thanks
     
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