Question Black oil in custom loop?

Jun 30, 2020
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I am going to keep this brief with the Crucial information. In short, I have a custom loop with EK Quantum Torque Fittings, EK Magnitude CPU block, EK VTX 120 pump/res, and XSPC EX280 radiator, all connected with EK ZMT soft tubing. The system seems to be running fine with no issues. The system has been running with only pure distilled water for now. I recently opened up the loop to add another fill port at the top of the loop. However, I noticed this black oil like stuff in the system. The water has also darkened. Is this algae growth or corrosion? Is this normal? Should I be concerned? I am going to be draining the system in about a week since I am taking it on a trip and am taking it drained. Should I use something like Primochill's Reboot cleaner to be safe? My best guess is it is due to the ZMT tubing. Many thanks for any help!
 

Lutfij

Titan
Moderator
You will need to parse an image and/or a video of the black oil you speak of. If my assumption is right, that you didn't use a biocide or a silver kill coil in the loop, then yes you have bacterial/algae growth. You should be ale to show what res looks like. System's placed next to a window with ample light? If you do have algae growth, the only way out if this is to tear down the entire loop, then use a tooth brush to scrub the block's innards, gently.
 
Jun 30, 2020
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Contaminant images: View: https://twitter.com/SRVILLA12g/status/1402716558946934787?s=19


There was enough light for growth, so I have come to that same conclusion . It was my first long term loop build, and the lack of additive was not entirely obvious as being essential. Was under the assumption under tons of research that it was recommended and a good addition, but that it would be fine if not. I wasn't being cheap, but seeing as though I was going to drain the loop after 2 weeks of use to take it on a trip with me, I decided to just use distilled water. I just needed the confirmation of the assumption. I have already disassembled the loop, have disassembled and scrubbed my block, along with the pieces from the pump/res. After that, I plan to reassemble and use Rad clean, then System reboot, and then system prep from Primochill to try to restore the loop. Then I plan to use Primochill's Utopia additive with distilled water as coolant going forward. Please do let me know if you have any other suggestions for what I should do, if I am doing anything wrong to fix the loop, or if my game plan will even work for removing the gunk in the loop. Thanks once again!
 

rubix_1011

Contributing Writer
Moderator
It is very difficult to tell from the photos, other than the one where you can see inline the Tee-fitting. It doesn't look like growth necessarily at first glance, but it could be oils from manufacturing which have collected in locations like this. Does it feel oily for sure, or are the color striations visible (black vine pattern in the one photo) able to be easily cleaned? The 2nd image looking into the reservoir cap kind of looks like small particulate there, but not sure what I am looking for in both of the reservoir photos without some assistance...I only see the part inside the fitting.

Were radiators thoroughly cleaned with soapy water multiple times until clean? Blocks also? If this is a brand new build with brand new hardware, radiators often have a lot of oily residue from manufacturing.
 

Eximo

Titan
Ambassador
Tubing, o-rings in the fittings and pumps, all could have contributed some gunk to be floating around.

If you have a bottom drain port, just run more distilled water through it to give it a quick clean. Then add a biocide of some sort. I use the stuff that came with my PrimoChill tubing. I think I have the prep stuff as well, never tried it.

I actually get nickel in solution / nickel salts floating around in my loop after a year or two. Kind of a yellow gold that precipitates out.
 
Jun 30, 2020
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I had used this same hardware in another case, which I had running with EK cryofuel clear, and no issues appeared after a few months of use while I waited for my new case, which I where I moved my loop into. All that changed was the switch from hard tubing to ZMT, cryofuel to distilled water, and nothing else. It all seemed to come clean off, and didn't feel gunky, just like dark water. I can't show it anymore, as I've already disassembled the loop, of course unfortunately. It could also have been oil of some sort, but it would be hard to know for me since I'm still a newbie, although everything I use is cleaned before installation. Could it have come from the pump being in a less than preferred orientation? I included some pictures to show what the system looks like assembled. The pump never runs dry and seems to get enough fluid to lubricate properly, although it does seem to be louder than if upright. That's why I went through the hassle of adding the t-fitting at the top to use as another fill port to get the loop as full as possible to help out with that, since I have no choice but to keep the pump/res in that orientation.
 

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