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How to get black gunk out of water tank(s)?

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  • How to get black gunk out of water tank(s)?

    We have a few water tanks that we use for trailriding/whatever and they all have a build up of black gunk/mildew?/mold? on the inside. Since it's impossible to get inside to scrub them, what is a good way to remove that gunk? I don't really want to water horses with water that has that nastiness in it. Would vinegar do the trick? What works? Thanks.
    Yogurt - If you're so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera? Steven Colbert

  • #2
    After a suggestion here on COTH, I took my water tanks to the car wash to use the power washer for cleaning off that gunk. My tanks had most of the non-scrubbable coating inside come off with the power washer. The spray just peeled it off the tank walls. I had tried a variety of brush scrubbings, different cleaners, none of which made much difference in getting the coating off the tank's inside walls.

    So give power washing a try, see if it helps. I went to the car wash because we didn't have a power washer at home, got 4 smaller tanks washed clean for a couple dollars. Put the tanks against something solid, so you don't blow them away!

    With that inside scum removed, the tanks stayed MUCH cleaner for a couple months of summer heat and sun. Hauled the tanks back to the car wash then and power washed them clean for winter. Seems to just be the force of the water that gets the scum off, since I didn't use the soap setting while washing the tanks. I also rinsed my tanks again at home with our plain water, so any soap residue would be removed before filling them for the horses.


    • #3
      I've always had good luck with a cheapo copper mesh scrubber--usually somewhere near the sponges in the grocery store. You do have to rinse very well as they're not ultra heavy-duty and can fall apart if it's a tough job. But, that black gunk just flies off!


      • #4
        In the summer months I add about a cup of apple cider vinegar to my water tanks. It really helps to cut down on the black gunk (I think it is the PH level of the vinegar). I've also found it to be a good cleaner for the water troughs,


        • #5
          We have a couple of tanks. We'll empty out one and then put the dirty empty tank in the sun to dry. When it is dry, the black film will flake off. We'll take a stiff brush and flake it off the dry stuff then wash it really good. This works well for all but the coldest months of the year.


          • #6
            We have food grade plastic 50 gallon drums that we were able to buy for less than $20 each since the drums cannot be refilled with the product they are discarded.

            When returning from a ride we just empty the drums then put a small amount of bleach in with a gallon of water then roll the thing around some then empty and seal .... Never have had a problem with build up of junk


            • #7
              Bleach. Fill with water and add a cup or two of bleach and you will get rid of it. rinse a few times then use. Algae needs sunlight to grow and it really is algae that gets started and eventually goes black. If you buy the foil covered bubblewrap used as insulation, then cover your tanks with that (use foiled tape also) you can keep the interior of the tanks dark and cool. However, I really prefer the bigger tanks that have the large screw-on lids. You can get your arm and a scrub brush inside of the tank.

              A friend warned me that horses would taste the bleach if I scrubbed my tanks with it. Doesn't bother my boys. I use it on stock tanks and the round tanks I put into my truck bed. In fact. I have found I can ad a tablespoon of bleach to a large tank of water and prevent algae growth. Horses drink just fine. This is a very small amount of bleach in a 75-100 gallon tank and is safe to use. However, I am going to try the bubblewrap myself.



              • Original Poster

                Good suggestion, thanks. However, these are enclosed tanks with a small opening for filling so I can't reach inside to scrub. I may be able to use the pressure washer on them though if I can snake the wand through. I was hoping there was something I could add to the water and shake it about to loosen and remove.
                Yogurt - If you're so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera? Steven Colbert