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Old 12-04-2003, 01:23 PM   #1
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Calcium deposit problems

Hey guys,

Came into work this morning and, to my horror, I found that my sump pump was not working. It must have failed sometime between when I left yesterday in the evening and when I came in this morning. I broke down the pump and found that calcium scaling and deposits were all over the inside portion of the pump as well on the impeller. I soaked the entire pump and impeller in vinegar to get rid of the deposits and it fired right up.

I got to thinking, if my sump is like that, I wonder what my PH's look like. Well I broke them all down and found the same thing was starting on them. So I soaked them all in vinegar as well.

So for the last few hours, I have been tearing down all my pumps and giving them a good cleaning. The vinegar seems to be working great. It breaks up the deposits and makes the pumps look good as new.

But I guess my question is, do you guys have the same problem? The deposits are worse in my sump. My guess is that this is because I am dripping Kalk down there. Is there anything I can that will stop the calcium from building up, or is this just a by-product of dripping Kalk and I will always have this problem?

I will say that I haven't cleaned any of the pumps in a long, long time. This may be while the deposits were so bad. I guess if cleaned them out once every two weeks at a minium, it would be fine.
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Old 12-04-2003, 02:23 PM   #2
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Calcium precipitation is going to be almost impossibe to prevent in a reef tank. This is due to the fact that the levels of calcium and alkalinity in a reef tank keep the water super saturated with calcium and carbonate. Heat, for one example, will help drive the precipitation, that is why you will notice more solids in and around heaters and pump impellers. I think a regular cleaning schedule is the best prevention to pump failure.
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Old 12-04-2003, 02:38 PM   #3
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Thanks for the comments, Jack. I figured as much but thought I would get some opinions from the rest of the community.

Regular (err.. More regular than before I guess) cleaning schedule it is then.
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Old 12-04-2003, 05:43 PM   #4
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I clean mine out thorough about every couple of months... As for the Skimmer, this is another story, I am constanly having to clean out the venturi intake to the pump....it will completely close up on me an cause the skimmer to not get any air....
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Old 12-04-2003, 08:17 PM   #5
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I suppose I do, but I haven't soaked any of my powerheads or main pump for over a year and haven't had a failure...and I'm running a couple of rios 8O FWIW, I think it is a pump problem more than a calcium thing. If it were me I would replace the pump, regular maintenance on your pumps is important....but yours is still fairly new isn't it?? Less than 6 months?
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Old 12-04-2003, 11:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
I think it is a pump problem more than a calcium thing. If it were me I would replace the pump, regular maintenance on your pumps is important....but yours is still fairly new isn't it?? Less than 6 months?
Yes it is less than 6 months, but I am not sure if it is the pump that is caused the problem. Calcium scaling was pretty bad on the impeller and inside the pump. I assume that the calcium built up so much, that it basically "jammed" against the impeller shaft causing it to stop. As soon as I cleaned it up, it ran again with no problems.

Dunno. Hopefully I won't get calcium precipitation like that again.
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Old 12-05-2003, 12:06 AM   #7
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Re: Calcium deposit problems

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Originally Posted by Biggen
Is there anything I can that will stop the calcium from building up, or is this just a by-product of dripping Kalk and I will always have this problem?
Actually it's not what you are dripping so much as where. When using kalk it increases the ph even if only slightly in that given area temporarily. You then end up with a mild form of abiotic precipitation and due to the heat of the pump causes it to get the "scaling" effect. If you drip the kalk so it does not interact directly with the pumps in a more turbulent area (at the overflow pipe into the sump mabye) it should eliminate the problem.

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Old 12-05-2003, 09:08 AM   #8
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If you drip the kalk so it does not interact directly with the pumps in a more turbulent area (at the overflow pipe into the sump mabye) it should eliminate the problem.
Good idea Steve. I didn't think about that. I currently drip near the output of the skimmer in the sump. Perhaps there is not enough water turbulence there. I'll see if I can move the doser.
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