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Greenish Tint/Murky Water

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Nov 12, 2009
Hey everyone, just wanted to seek your advice as I have been out of the watercooling gig for a few years now. I have an older rig that uses the following components:

1. Koolance i380 waterblock (nickel plated)
2. Alphacool triple rad monsta
3. EK reservoir with Laing D5 Vario pump
4. Mayhem white absorbent tubing
5. Mayhem XT-1 Nuke clear coolant (100ml coolant to 900ml distilled water)
6. Bitspower fittings

I have a single loop from CPU block to radiator to pump. I drained the loop completely and used vinegar/distilled water (30:70) to rinse and clean out my radiator for several hours and then flushed it all out with a few rounds of distilled water ensuring to remove all of the vinegar/distilled water solution. I then used Mayhem XT-1 clear coolant mixed with distilled water to fill in my loop again. Immediately, I can see that the water is very murky with a slight greenish tint. I think the coolant is causing the metals to react or is reacting with the metals itself but I don't know why. The XT-1 nuke is supposed to be compatible with copper and nickel plated and I'm not using any aluminum in my loop.

Here is a picture of it:

Any ideas why this is happening?
be prepared this isnt an easy fix. you most likely had left over crud in your rad from your last run. could be plasticizer leaching or something leftover.
your best bet is to pull the rad out of the loop. get some CLR. fill the rad with the clr (it wont hurt anything). let it sit for a half hour or so. shake the bejesus out of it for a good 5 min. grab a glass bowl and drain it into the bowl. see if theres any gunk/discoloration. if so refill the rad with plain old faucet water. shake it, shake it, shake it. rinse the bowl out and drain the rad into it again. see what kind of particles you find. if none then just keep rinsing the rad until you get all of the clr out. if there is gunk in the bowl...guess what? shake it, shake it, shake it. rinse and repeat until you only see clean water coming out of the rad.
your also going to have to pull your cpu block apart and clean the inside of it as thoroughly as possible. same with your res, fittings, and pump. be very thorough, any left over crud will likely cause the same kind of mess again later on down the line. get some new tubing. you can try to clean the tubing but it is much easier to just replace it. ive had really good luck with primochill lrt for soft tubing.
look inside your rad(as much as you can) and make sure its all shiny and clean. lastly go with a different coolant. obviously something isnt jiving here. it may be that the coolant is too old(who knows). being that you have ek gear i would use their CLEAR coolant or go with the tried and true distilled with petras pt nuke.
good luck!
Kinda looks like Lemonade in that reservoir.

I am fully aware of the traditional passed on expected radiator cleaning, adding this chemical mixture and that, and doing the shaky shaky dance, but I have never done that to any of my radiators. I flush my radiators by taking them outside and hooking up to the house water using a water hose and the necessary hook ups to connect to the radiator. I do not run maximum house pressure as ours runs 60psi some can run as high as 80psi, but most pressures are around 40psi, so you don't actually run it full blast unless you have low pressure, but you open the valve enough to get a good solid flow out of the radiator. Run it for a while in one direction then swap the lines and run it in the opposite direction, if the flow isn't good enough increase the pressure a little, swap the flow a few times until the water coming out is crystal clear and then drain it and use it.

Note: This is also good to assure you actually have a good sealed radiator from the factory as they are all supposed to be pressure tested before they leave the factory, but that falls to the employees that are responsible to get that quality control check done, but you do not want to install a radiator that has a pin hole leak from the factory, because your radiator came off the assembly line 10 minutes before quitting time and missed the pressure test.

Every radiator I have ever owned has been flushed under pressure this way, and I have had zero problems using this method.
Personally I've never thought adding chemicals in the radiator of any kind was a good idea, because if you don't get it all back out you just installed yourself problems.

For the rest I suggest taking the reservoir, and water blocks, apart and thoroughly cleaning them being careful with the rubber seals, and replace all the tubing as well.

When I was in the Navy they used a concentrated koolaid mixture to clean stainless steel, if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes I would have never have believed it. (Rest assured I never drank that koolaid again after seeing that!). It did however give me a direct concern of just what I decided to clean my water cooling parts with.

Edit: Everyone has their own way of doing things, I am not saying maxfly is wrong, I am simply saying I do not do it that way, there are other ways to reach the same goal, a clean running system.

As far as water blocks are concerned if the inside is copper you can use ketchup as it is acid based if the block is not too bad ketchup full strength leaving it on the surface for a while works great. If the contamination is really bad on the copper use white vinegar and regular iodized table salt but once you get the copper clean rinse the part thoroughly and use a little Dawn dish washing liquid soap, to be sure no residue is left behind.

With Nickel plating use Dawn and a childs tooth brush, do not use ketchup or vinegar on Nickel blocks.
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After disassembling my entire system, here are some pictures. I did find some rusting (??maybe this is just the bare copper underneath??) in the radiator threads and on the Bitspower barbs (inside the barb and on the threads as well) and I'm not sure if this is the issue causing the murky water. I basically took these pictures of the radiator, waterblock and barbs/fittings right after I disassembled the system (without cleaning) to examine the parts:

Copper doesn't rust. It will tarnish, corrode and turn green. Bitspower fittings are brass with nickle plating. I'm leaning towards that Mayhems fluid causing all the trouble. I had Mayhems colored fluid in my system and in less than 6 months just broke down, turned into a jell substance and clogged everything. It looked like watered down vomit (ugh). I had to take everything apart and wash/scrub it all to hell to get it cleaned. I did the boiling hot water into the radiator dance for hours. What a pain in the @&& that was. I went back to distilled water and biocide (PTH-Nuke). I went with blue tubing from Primochill. Never again will I use any colored fluid/dye I don't care how "good" it is.
Thanks for the reply guys. Yeah, I was pretty sure i thoroughly cleaned out the vinegar from my system, I even flushed it with a hose from both inlet and outlet multiple times, rinsed and shook it, ran it through a pump with water and repeated several times. So im pretty sure the vinegar has been discharged.

In terms of the fittings, are they still useable given the corrosion?

The "PTH-Nuke", is it this one?

After you've completely cleaned all your gear, go with PrimoChill's soft tubing and EK's clear or Aquacomputer's clear DP Ultra. You could go with distilled but you'll have to create your own balance with biocide and corrosive inhibitor.
Thanks for the reply guys. Yeah, I was pretty sure i thoroughly cleaned out the vinegar from my system, I even flushed it with a hose from both inlet and outlet multiple times, rinsed and shook it, ran it through a pump with water and repeated several times. So im pretty sure the vinegar has been discharged.

In terms of the fittings, are they still useable given the corrosion?

The "PTH-Nuke", is it this one?


it will depend on the corrosion. if you can see the brass on the threads/inside the fitting you should replace them or the nickel/chrome plating(not sure which it is) will continue to come off and cause issues. i try to do a complete teardown of my loop evey year or so now. so that i can check my blocks and fittings for plating issues. in my experience most fittings will fail no matter how well we clean our loops. the better the loop is cleaned and flushed the slower the degradation is. my assumption is that because of the turbulence caused by most fittings it just wears the paint/plating away over time. the same will happen to blocks but its usually a much slower process. i think cpu blocks are more inclined to get eroded or gummed up(turn black) because of the huge amount of turbulence they create by default. gpu blocks are less so because of the way they are built(full coverage not gpu only). my current loop has been free of any kind of break down thankfully. i attribute that to having taken much better care of it. ive replaced the fluid in it 3 times in the last 18 months because of leaky 90 degree fittings. im certain that those failing helped the rest of my loop stay cleaner by forcing a flush and fill lol. im going to do my best to flush and fill every 6 months regardless. ive invested alot of money in blocks and fittings and would like them to last as long as possible!
being that those fittings have plating issues i would pull all of the ones like those. replace them if there is even a pin prick of corrosion on them or black discoloration. check any others(45s,90s) very closely for paint or plating problems as well.

yep thats the pt nuke. just make sure you mix it correctly and youll be golden. you really have to maintain your loop well with any of the options weve mentioned otherwise all your hard work will be for naught. we usually recommend every 6 months but some may go as long as a year. i learned the hard way that not doing regular maintenance is a costly mistake.

bp usually have really solid fittings but as you now know even the best can fail over time. so recommending a better fitting is difficult. maybe alphacool or xspc? ive had good luck with alphacool all around but my usage is limited to a handful of 90s and 45s. avoid xspc 90 and 45 degree fittings(ive had both leak). their straight compression fittings still look like new after a year and a half tho. i have a hard time recommending bp anymore due to the same kind of issues youve had with them.

be sure to get all of the white crusty crap off of your rad threads or it will cause the same with your new fittings. that is where clr comes in handy. it will get all of that gunk off without having to pry or scrape at it.