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Old 09-18-2006, 09:26 PM   #1
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Mold/Algae/Bacteria in CSM+B mixture?

OK, multiple questions here.

1. I have heard that adding Muriatic Acid stops this form happening by lowering the pH. Does this affect your tank pH? also how much do you add to the mixture (in my case a 8 oz bottle)?

2. If you already have had some growth in your bottle how do you get rid of it? I can't seem to get a scrub brush to reach where I need it to. Could I throw some of the Muriatic acid in there to remove it? I have heard bleach kills the bacteria but will it be strong enough to actually remove it?

any other info people have on this would be great!
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Old 09-18-2006, 09:28 PM   #2
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I only make enough csm+b to dose all at once. I dose 1 teaspoon and mix it with tank water. Try making your dose one at a time.
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Old 09-18-2006, 09:39 PM   #3
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I end up wasting quite a bit is my main problem. The smallest amount I can create is 20 ml's of the stuff with my 1/8 tsp. I only use 2ml in my 20 and 1 ml in my 10. Gives me roughly .049 ppm with each dose.

I guess another way would be to measure it out in mg's. Anyone know of a real cheap mg measuring device?
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Old 09-18-2006, 11:46 PM   #4
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You can buy digital scales on ebay for under $30. The ones I am thinking of (do a search for " .01 scale " ) do not measure down to mg but do have a resolution of .01g - which is plenty good for our purposes.

I know I would not want to waste a dosing solution I had already mixed. Is the mold (or whatever) stuck to the outside of the container? You may be able to simply change containers and filter the solution through a piece of cloth.

I would suggest that you try adding a healthy amount of fluorish excel (if you have any) to your dosing solution. Things similar to excel (glutaraldehyde) are used in hospitals to sterilize equipment. I would expect that excel would sterilize the solution - given enough time. Seachem also claims that excel will keep your iron in solution longer. I know of some people here who have done this. If I recal correctly, it worked very well. Does anyone (hint, hint, Joe) know for sure?

If you don't want to use excel to sterilize it, you can boil it in the microwave. I just tried this to make sure that I was not suggesting something dangerous, and it worked just fine (although, I have just lost feeling in the left half of my body - don't know if it is related). Can anyone confirm that boiling temperature will not hurt the solution? I think it would be OK.
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Old 09-19-2006, 01:18 AM   #5
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I don't know if I would boil it per say but you could dissolve it in really hot water. I dissolve mine in hot tap water. You might try a bottle that is as opaqua as possible and sealed as tight as possible. I have never had mold, slime or anything else grow in mine and I keep mine above my tanks. I use an old white bottle that had Leaf Zone in it.

Why do you dose so low? I dose 0.2-0.3 ppm iron every other day. I mix 200 ml with 2 tsp and it lasts about 6 weeks. When it gets low, I start to see some crusting on the top and some precipitation but then I just dump it and remix it. I waste about 20 ml so no big deal. I think I might use my pound CSM+B in 2-3 years.
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Old 09-19-2006, 01:40 AM   #6
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Wow, interesting point about Excel as a sterilizer hashbaz. I generally user shorter lating mixes, but have never had mold. (With or without Excel.) My CSM+B+Extra Fe mixes have turned funny colors though.

No help with HCl or boiling, but am I reading correctly that your mix gets mold before the 7th dose/~2 weeks? Thats crazy. Are you keeping it in an airtight container? Is light leaking through? Do you keep it in a cool place? How about the fridge?

FWIW, I keep my mix in an opaque bottle in a box under my tank, use much higher concentration, and target a month or two for my mixes. I do these things more to keep the Iron available but again don't have mold either.

If you want a scale locally, a head shop -- smoking paraphenelia store -- usually have them. On my first scale I easily haggled them down to $30 or so. (I do not remember.)
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Old 09-19-2006, 01:57 AM   #7
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I have had mold in mine before, but that's because I made so much that after 4 months, it started to form in the solution. And I didn't store it in the refrigerator either. I kept it in a dark paper bag, and in a dark cupboard. Only took it out for dosing, then put it back.

Currently I've been keeping it in the refrigerator, and have had no mold or discoloring. All's looking good still, and the solution is almost 3 months old. I mix 1500ml at a time, which lasts me a while, as I dose in 4 tanks, 3.5ml in each 10G tanks, 10ml in my 29G, and 26.25ml in my 75G.
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Old 09-19-2006, 02:20 PM   #8
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I have heard you want ~.1 ppm Fe in your tank and figured dosing .05 Fe three times a week would work out about right.

I like the idea of excel as that is something that I would dose anyways. Any idea on the concentrations needed?

The mold is growing on the inside surface of the bottle and I can't seem to get it off. I have thrown in hydrogen perioxide to try and kill it off but it doesn't appear to be coming off. I haven't yet tried bleach but I will give it a shot tonight.
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Old 09-19-2006, 04:13 PM   #9
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If I was dosing such a low quantity, I might consider something less scientific like tossing a small pinch in every couple days.

If you can measure say a two week supply, eyeball cutting that in half. You now have a 1 week dose. You can then mix one week at a time.
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Old 09-19-2006, 04:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
I have heard you want ~.1 ppm Fe in your tank
This target is usually recommended for every other day dosing. You can safely assume Fe falls out quickly -- this is slightly different than the other nutrients, which stay available until the plants use them. A fast growing plant like Wisteria is a good Fe indicator -- if new growth turns yellow, you should increase the target Fe ppm from CSM+B.
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Old 09-20-2006, 02:03 PM   #11
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You mainly get mold in CSM solution because you introduce contaminents from teh tank water.

if you use the cap to measure, and rinse the cap in the tank you introduce wild yeast and bacteria.

if you use a pipette and rinse the pipette in tank water, you introduce wild yeast and bacteria.

if you keep the solution in a dark bottle and/or in the fridge, the bacteria/yeast/mold won't be able to grow.

and FWIW I've poured tons of that bacterial growth into my tanks and never had an issue. my cichlids will simply eat it and be none the worse.
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Old 09-20-2006, 03:40 PM   #12
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I have had little fuzzy black balls grow in my CSM+B as well. I agree that it likely won't hurt your fish. I keep mine in the refrigerator at home but not at work, and I got mold in both places. My "home" bottle is 500 mL and takes me about a month to use up.

While outside contamination could certainly cause mold to grow, my bottles came from my lab, the water is DI, and I use a graduated cylinder to dose....so not likely any contamination there. And I still got it. Opening the bottle is probably all it takes, especially considering that it's a bottle packed full of yummy nutrients.
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Old 09-20-2006, 04:54 PM   #13
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Could this be the results of some people mixing to different concentration? I mix 200 ml of water and 2 tsp of CSM+B and have never seen anything but a small amount of precip after a month or so. Could a stronger or weaker mixture cause a beneficial environment for the algae and other contaminants?
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Old 09-20-2006, 07:08 PM   #14
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fish_4_all,

I have no clue, but CSM solution concentration seems like it should be a factor.
the stronger the CSM, the less likely to get mold, likely cuz the iron or copper is toxic at that concentration.
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Old 09-20-2006, 10:39 PM   #15
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That makes sense, my mix is very diluted. 8 oz (roughtly 236ml) with .25 tsp of CSM+B. equates to .061 ppm every 1/2 oz dosed in my 20 gallon, if I did my math right.

I can still see the mold/algae/bacteria in the bottle, but I'm sure it is dead (let a bleach solution sit in it for a few days). Should I be able to make a new solution without much worry and throw in some excel?
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Old 09-21-2006, 02:30 AM   #16
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I doubt any simple mold can survive that. I think after rinsing and dechlor you'll be alright.

Your math is correct by my calcs, fwiw.

If you put 32mLs of Excel and 204mLs water for your trace mix, you'll dose Seachem's recommend Excel dose with each 1/2oz mix dose. If you used a 1/2tsp of CSM+B for the mix you'd be in the classic PMDD range for CSM+B (~0.12ppm Fe) with such a dose.. Excel is photosensitive so you'll want to block light, but you want to do this with Plantex anyway. RO/DI for the mix would be a good idea for the Excel as well.
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Old 09-21-2006, 10:42 AM   #17
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NaOH, bleach, and/or HCl will kill anything in that bottle if given a good amount of time to sit (10min is MORE than enough). If you want to get it out I'd recommend rinsing with tap water and then pouring in some boiling water and shaking the bottle. This should free and dissolve the majority of the bacteria/mold sticking to the sides.

I have just added some HCl to my latest batch of CSM+B mix (4oz hot tap water to 1/2tsp). I dosed for the first time this morning and notice a crystal precipitate on the bottom. So I don't know if the low pH has caused the mixture to fall out of solution, but I'm sure nothing will grow in it.
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