Slime and Water UV sanitation

Experiments/Tests:

1. Preventing slime buildup through better water and regular cleaning

Steve B from Novato, CA, one of our customers, experienced slime build up in his fountain (he uses his fountain without any filter) and asked what to do:

Are there any safe additives that you would recommend, to reduce or eliminate clear slime?
I clean the fountain thoroughly every 7 days. (Complete, inside tubing, motor etc) Every few cleanings, I will pre-rinse in vinegar or a mild Clorox/water solution. I’ve even tried hydrogen peroxide. None help, I still get a slime build-up.
I also use Brita filtered water. I’m about 95% sure it’s the water, not the cat causing this. I can leave a bowl of water not accessible to the cat and it will start to slime in 7 days or so. Any suggestions appreciated.

We'd sent him our antimicrobial tubing and made some suggestions. So he started a test series that ran over several weeks.

Summary:

Last response for now. I’m where I need to be.
I didn’t have any noticeable slime this week. Very pleased since I didn’t clean the fountain last week, only changed the water. I could have gone another week but cleaned instead. Once again, the control dish of tap water only, didn’t have slime either but may have been starting to get cloudy. (Stretching the imagination)
Final conclusions:
Brita filter water is absolutely worthless for my fountain.
Distilled, human grade is the answer to 99%+ of my slime issue. I use Arrowhead.
Good quality food grade tubing is adequate for my fountain and normal cleaning routine. The silver infused gives me a little added piece of mind and might allow me to extend cleaning even further during unusual conditions. (Hospitalization, vacation etc.)
I wish to thank you for the tubing and the motivation to do these tests. If you have any new ideas or products, please let me know.


2. The germicidal charcoal-filter/UV lamp/pump unit

Test configurationUV-filter parts The low-voltage germicidal ultraviolet lamp produces ultraviolet wavelengths that are lethal to microorganisms. The ultraviolet energy emitted is at 365-369 nanometers. This wavelength is highly lethal to virus, bacteria and mold spores. As a result, the microorganisms that pass through the filter housing are deactivated, preventing them from reproducing and rendering them harmless.

Click to see the UV filter unit: Our germicidal UV-Bio filter unit

We'r running a test momentarily to find out how long a fountain can run continuously until slime builds or the water gets cloudy.

We're using a plastic bucket (plastic usually forms slime much quicker than ceramics) and one of our ceramic test lids. The bucket was rinsed, equipped with a freshly filled charcoal filter/UV lamp/pump unit and antimicrobial tubing, filled with filtered tap water and placed in a quiet corner of the studio.

UV-housing after 5 weeks

Results so far:

After 7 days the tubing had a very slight slime feel to the touch.

After 2 weeks the water line of the lid had a very slight slime feel to the touch, but the water is still crystal clear.

After 3 weeks nothing has changed, the water is still crystal clear.

After 4 weeks nothing has changed, no particles (slime, algae) are showing up, the water is still crystal clear.

After 5 weeks, no significant changes. I opened the housing and checked the parts inside; they were free of deposits. The water was still crystal clear, with no slime or algae showing up.  Just the slightest feeling of slime to the touch on the filter housing and tubing surfaces and a tiny deposit at the filter inlet (see picture to the right).

After 6 weeks, the flow started weakening so I opened the housing and checked the parts inside; just a bit of slime deposit. The water was still clear, with no signs of slime or algae. Just the slightest feeling of slime to the touch on the filter housing, tubing surfaces and pump, as well as a tiny deposit on the backflow prefilter and on the outside of the carbon media bag (see pictures below).

Prefilter after 6 weeks    Pump after 6 weeks    Carbon after 6 weeks


We've been testing this filter combination for approx. 5 months now in our own cat's fountain.

Throughout this period, we cleaned the fountain 3 times. So the filter was in use for 6 to 7 weeks each time before changing or cleaning.

Result:

The water was alway crystal clear and no particles (slime, algae) appeared. Only some lime build up along the lid's and spout's (flower cascade) water edge.

If you practice a regular 2 to 3 week cleaning schedule, this combination gives you some added time in case you're too busy or out of town.