Something in the world of floating have you stumped?
When dealing with the carefully constructed micro-environment of a float tank, any tiny addition can really throw off the appearance or chemistry (just ask anyone who’s had to deal with their water turning orange or green!). The types of soaps you use in your float rooms, along with shampoos, conditioners, and lotions can and will enter your tanks, so it’s important to consider what impact they’re going to have.
Graham and Ashkahn walk through troubleshooting water chemistry problems for this question, to help solve a particular issue.
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Transcription of this episode… (in case you prefer reading)
Graham: Today’s question is, “I have a sort of stringy white substance that’s been popping up in my float tanks. Is something gross happening? It seems too frequent for that and is in all of the tanks.” Interesting.
Graham: So first of all, we don’t know. So it’s almost hard without seeing something in person to tell what’s going on.
Ashkahn: Yeah just to hear someone describe something.
Graham: And even then it’s, there’s complicated chemistry going on with all that salt water, so you know there might not even be one set answer to this.
Ashkahn: It sounds like they’re hinting at a certain human substance.
Graham: Ejaculate. It’s okay, we can say that. We’re adults here.
Ashkahn: Yeah, well and that’s I don’t know. The way they are phrasing it, like all the tanks and frequency. That doesn’t sound right to me, like it doesn’t feel like that. All of a sudden one float center has this huge problem.
Graham: And it sounds like it doesn’t sound right to them either. You know like, yeah. Yeah.
Ashkahn: So my mind would go somewhere else I guess.
Graham: Yeah and like a couple things pop into my mind, which I guess both of them just involved something coagulating in the float tank water. Like we definitely know of some weird kind of chemical reactions that happen as the result of all the magnesium sulfate that might be happening with this case.
Graham: And so one of those, it doesn’t sound like, kind of because of the regularity, but is worth mentioning which is we know of some enzymes, and it’s not uncommon to use enzyme cleaners to keep the float tanks hopefully a little clearer or something like that. But there are some enzymes that we’ve even tried in our float tanks at Float On, that immediately coagulate, and kind of leave this, like not a small amount of sort of white goopy substance in the tank. And that’s not as common, like I think we’ve only played with one thing that did that?
Graham: And the other thing that I’ve seen is, with soaps, which is maybe the more common thing that we’ve run into. So soaps kind of coagulating and in the salt water, and leaving behind a little, almost white papery sort of streaky things.
Ashkahn: Yeah I’ve heard of different soaps having a lot of different effects. Like sometimes when I hear from people having kind of almost like an oily layer or something like that, they have trouble with. My mind usually jumps to thinking about that as one thing worth changing and seeing what the effect is. Like you might just have shampoo that has something in it that’s kind of reacting strangely with the Epsom salts. Especially if it’s persistent and frequent and in all the float tanks, like that’s kind of my mind is like okay, I don’t know if it’s the answer or not or if it’s actually what’s leading to it, but it’s a real easy thing to change and test out, and then if it does go away, then I have a strong suspicion that, that’s probably what was causing it.
Graham: Yeah I mean so that’s the nice thing about starting with the soaps, it is it’s incredibly cheap and easy to run a test on seeing whether that’s the case or not. And a really easy way is just take some Dr. Bronner’s, which is not uncommon to use, kind of just a pure castile soap, and put that available in only one of the rooms, and see if that just stops the problem.
Ashkahn: ‘Cause we’ve definitely taken some soap we’ve had before and just like tried putting it into a little bit of Epsom salt, or the float water, and it just did immediately coagulate into this white kind of cloudy thing.
Graham: Yep so I guess that’s another test, one of the old bucket tests you know. Take anything that’s in the room really, your lotion, your shampoo, your conditioner, your body wash, whatever you have in there and try adding it to a bucket of saltwater, and see what the reaction is. You might again see an immediate result, that is enlightening.
Ashkahn: Yeah, so that’s definitely a great, easy, low risk place to start.
Graham: Which is not always the case with float tank tests, like lots of times, you’re like, “Wow, I have to completely redo my entire filtration system in order to figure out if this is the case.”
Ashkahn: And beyond that, it can be kinda hard to answer, you know there’s so many variables when it comes to float tank, the solution that’s in them, and what’s going on with it, from filtration to what type of sanitation method you’re using, to …
Graham: What kind of salt you’re adding.
Ashkahn: Yeah, the salt, like you know is there something in your water, if you’re not filtering your water, like there’s just so many kind of variables in there that it’s hard to pin something down very easily, but I have seen soap be a problem and create issues in people’s, soap and shampoo, stuff like that, create issues in people’s float tanks before. So it’s certainly on the list of possibilities.
Graham: Yep, and when I’ve heard this before, those are kind of the first two questions that I ask people. Probably because they are both easy to test is, are you using some kind of enzyme in the float tanks, what kind of soap are you using.
Ashkahn: And I’ve heard it ranging, not even just from film stuff. I’ve even heard of people having like suds, little bits of suds or something.
Ashkahn: So it can have different kind of effects.
Graham: That’s true, yeah in addition to kind of the white stringy type of soap reaction, yeah there’s like the oil on top soap reaction. There’s the sudsy soap reaction. I guess that’s it.
Ashkahn: Yeah. He missed.
Graham: I was like on a roll. there, I wanted to like go into like three more things soap can react with, you know. So, try it out, write back to us if it doesn’t solve it, and feel free to send along some photos too, and we’ll take a look, and maybe take another crack at the exact same question, you know.
Ashkahn: Alright if you guys have other questions for us, you can go to floattanksolutions.com/podcast and submit them there.
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