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Foam during new tank start up


A777flygirl
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I would say there is some kind of soap in one of the pieces of equipment, possibly the filter socks. Its not normal at all.  It happened to me when I first started and was, washing my filter socks with soap, now I usually wash them in just hot water, but sometimes I use a little bleach and let them air out for about a week before using them.  

Edited by WingRider62
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3 hours ago, WingRider62 said:

I would say there is some kind of soap in one of the pieces of equipment, possibly the filter socks. Its not normal at all.  It happened to me when I first started and was, washing my filter socks with soap, now I usually wash them in just hot water, but sometimes I use a little bleach and let them air out for about a week before using them.  

At first glance, this is what I would be concerned about as well.  Seem like a lot of foam for just an overflow (if I am interpreting this pic correctly).  Sometimes certain compounds that act as surfactants (like soap) can get into the system - one example is the two part epoxy for gluing together rock work.  That tends to cause skimmers to go crazy.  Did you use anything besides salt?  Maybe a water conditioner of some sort?

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We used JB waterweld to seal a couple of the pc pipes....that is a 2 part epoxy....I saw it recommended in a post on one of the forums....could that be it?

It is doing it in the compartment where the return water comes into the sump and also filling up the skimmer cup with foam and going over the top in about 2 minutes when I turn it on....

It surprises me that there are holes at the top of the skimmer cup and it overflows onto the floor once it gets to the top....

Not sure what to do at this point...

Thank you so much for recommendations 

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Edited by A777flygirl
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At this point something is off, as much as it would suck, id do a drain, vinegar bath, and refill. How did you cleanse the tank prior to filling? Also what salt did you use? None should foam like that but curious to know.

 

also, skimmer lids have to have the air holes in the lids to relieve pressure from the foam overflowing or else they would be popping up and down to relieve the pressure. I've always perferred an internal skimmer for this reason, extra safety if you have a disaster. 

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Also, when you say you used water weld for pipe sealing, do you mean an actual 2 part liquid glue or the white putty stuff you mush up in your hands to activate? Typically PVC is glued with your standard PVC glue. With most glues, they become inert upon curing. I've used the water weld putty stuff before for rock work and it does make your skimmer go a little crazy. Usually just letting it go crazy for a bit and refilling the tank with salt water as I dump it alleviated this issue.

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1 hour ago, A777flygirl said:

I used the putty that you mush up to start it to cure.  I read people use it for holding rock together and so I thought it was safe

I would put money on this.  If it is like most brands, it will go away after a while (normally a couple hours) but you typically need to run the skimmer to facilitate that.  If you can, I would set the skimmer up in the sump and just let it overflow into that until things calm down.

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Have you been cycling the tank with ammonia? Some ammonia that claim to be 100% actually have additives that can cause this exact thing. If you're using bad ammonia, that'll be one your foaming. Apart from that, you must have soap coming from some equipment.

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11 hours ago, Higher Thinking said:

Have you been cycling the tank with ammonia? Some ammonia that claim to be 100% actually have additives that can cause this exact thing. If you're using bad ammonia, that'll be one your foaming. Apart from that, you must have soap coming from some equipment.

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This is an interesting possible source - especially if it hasn't cleared yet. Any updates?

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No, I have not used ammonia.   I use a lot of hand cream because my hands are so dry.  I am thinking that ma have contaminated the water.  It just started when I turned in the skimmer.  Was running fine with just the pump.  No even running the pump causes foam.

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1 hour ago, A777flygirl said:

No, I have not used ammonia.   I use a lot of hand cream because my hands are so dry.  I am thinking that ma have contaminated the water.  It just started when I turned in the skimmer.  Was running fine with just the pump.  No even running the pump causes foam.

My hands get really dry as well.  I wear gloves in the tank, my hands do get wet, but most importantly I use coconut oil to moisturize my hands and then wash them with clear water for at least 2 minutes before I go into the tank.  I will put an Aveda hand cream at night, and then make sure I was really well in the shower.  

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5 hours ago, A777flygirl said:

No, I have not used ammonia.   I use a lot of hand cream because my hands are so dry.  I am thinking that ma have contaminated the water.  It just started when I turned in the skimmer.  Was running fine with just the pump.  No even running the pump causes foam.

Any effect from the epoxy should have cleared by now so if you are still having issues the hand cream seems like the most likely source as it probably isn't as volatile and hence would linger.  As ninkylou suggests, you have to be really careful with any kind of hand cream, moisturizer, sun screen etc. to avoid contamination.  The good news is that it sounds like you don't have any livestock in the tank yet so it is a good time to discover this!

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The only thing I am aware of that causes foaming in falling water is surfactants. Those chemical compounds in soaps that break down surface tension. Epoxy does not contain surfactants.

I would buy a jug of activated carbon and run it until the foaming stops, replace it and run some more

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I would be more worried about the PVC that has jb weld on it. Depending on the location, I would not trust jb weld to seal PVC, especially if you have nice flooring in your house.


Wait.. you joined the pvc with jb weld...
No, no, no!!

I would ABSOLUTELY drain it and replumb it. I thought you jb welded the bulkheads in or something. You can not in weld pvc. I mean, you can, but absolutely should not.

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10 hours ago, pdxmonkeyboy said:

The only thing I am aware of that causes foaming in falling water is surfactants. Those chemical compounds in soaps that break down surface tension. Epoxy does not contain surfactants.

I would buy a jug of activated carbon and run it until the foaming stops, replace it and run some more

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While true about the surfactants in a strict sense, I can attest to the effect of curing epoxy putty on over-foaming of skimmers - done it many times. I do agree that it doesn't seem to be a strong enough effect to cause foaming from falling water alone - at least not with the brands and amounts I have used.  FWIW

The carbon certainly is a good idea. Seems like there could be multiple contributing factors here which may make a "do over" the most practical approach - as frustrating as that may be. 

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I did not use the jb weld in all places...only in 1 place on the drain line in case I need to take the plumbing apart.  At first i just stuck it together thinking if it came apart it would just drain into the sump but it leaked too much. The hard pvc plumbing goes all the way into the sump so that you could never be able to remove the sump if the plumbing doesn't come apart some how.  I used blue pvc plumbing glue in other places.

I am getting the activated charcoal today

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I would have to agree with the use of Activated Charcoal. It can gently sanitize your tank and remove any debris from the cleaning materials you've used. The activated charcoal can also effectively remove the foul and stinky smell from tanks.

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