I was two days late changing my water this week. I changed the water 72 hours after filling and dechlorinating my two 5 gallon refill water bottles. During the water change I notice filmy slimy white stuff floating around inside the second of the two bottles. I had to dump the second bottle. I'm assuming it was bacteria. I've been using the bottles for over six months without cleaning them just letting them air dry.
To remedy this I plan on cleaning my water bottles with formaldehyde or brine water at least once a month. I am considering putting some Excel in the refill water to discourage any future bacterial growth. My Excell is just languishing on the shelf anyway. Might as well use it for something other than preserving my diluted phosphate fertilizing solution. The refill bottles are already soaking in 30 ml/10 l formalin for 2 hours. I vigorously rinse each bottle twice with a gallon of water after pouring out the formalin solution into the next bottle to be cleaned.
My questions are. What was that stuff? Has this happened to anybody else? What do you do about it? If I poured some of the bacteria water in my tank, could it have caused problems? Why does white scummy bacteria grow in our dirty refill bottles but not in our aquariums? Is using the Excel to prevent it necessary or will cleaning the bottles be enough? What other chemicals could I use to disinfect my plastic bottles? Would doing a water change faster after dechlorinating refill water prevent bacteria?
What is the source for the water in the bottles? It doesn't happen in your tank because you're circulating and filtering the water. Doing a water change sooner after dechlor will help prevent it. (That's why the chlorine is there!)
Do you turn the bottles upside down to dry? It may stay moist inside for a long time if it has to evaporate much water, you won't get much air exchange down through the small opening and neck of the bottle. At least if it's upside down gravity will help with the excess moisture.
Oh yes, I have seen it on suction cups. I do have a stand to dry bottles upside down. I bought it from home brew store. I guess I'll start using it and then keep the bottles capped after they are dry. The water was 72 hour old dechlorinated tap water.
To take matters further, I have a 55Gal tank setup just for water changes. I fill it up and let sit for at least 24 hours before use. It has an airline with two sponge filters, NO fish, and three C2 HOB filters. Filter 1 has carbon, Filter 2 has Ammonia remover & Filter 3 has Clearmax. The tank has the same slime you're talking about, which is what Dman911 is describing as "good" bacteria, completely harmless. Everything in the tank has that slime bacteria on it. The Active Aqua Submersible Water Pump, 550 GPH, the airlines that lives in the tank along with the vinyl hose I use, has the slime on it. Once a month I run some piping hot water through the hose to clean it out and prevent mode from building up.
When I do H2O changes, I shut the tank down, fire up the pump, use 90% of the water or less for my water changes. Usually, when I do a water change depending upon which tank I have, I use a small amount of dechlorinating solution, e.g. AqualSafe+ or Prime, etc. and pour that into 'the tank where I'm performing a water change'.
DigityDog70, your water changing reservoir and procedures sound really interesting. You have more water for water changes than I have in my whole system. I was going to build a stand for a fifty gallon this week but my wife doesn't think I'll keep up with it. It sounds like your bacteria is a film on surfaces. Mine was free floating but I think we're talking about the same stuff.
It takes 5 ml of excell to preserve an 8 ounce bottle of Phosphate fertilizing solution. That would be too much Excel for an aquarium. I guess I'll just keep my bottles clean. My goal has always been not to have scum growing in my replacement water. Maybe the rule should be do your water change with a cleanish bottle within 36 hours or add a normal dose of Excel if you can't get around to it and you don't want scum to grow in your bottle. No, That rule is too long. Maybe I should divide it into smaller sentences. Just what we need. Another regulation in a time of deregulation. I say just let the banks do whatever they want. Leave 'em alone.
If anybody wants the recipe for disinfecting salt water solution it's 350 mg salt dissolved in one liter of water. I boil 270 mg water softening pellets per one liter of water for 20 minutes. This is the most I've been able to dissolve due to evaporation I think. Beware the water softening pellets do have a tiny amount of detergent. But you always rinse. I've been using the same solution for years to disinfect glass hummingbird feeders. A 24 hour soak disinfects absolutely. Metal rusts of course. I might make 5 gallons of it to soak my bottles on a rotational basis. Or maybe not.