brown crud in water tank

We have a well and a water tank with a diaphragm. Our water pressure was getting low, so I checked the air pressure in the tank. It was a little low, so I added air. At first it was working well, but later in the day the water pressure dropped to almost nothing. I found that the filter between the tank and the house was clogged up with brown crud. I replaced the filter last night and it was OK. But this morning the filter I put in last night was filled up with the brown crud and pressure was almost zero again. This stuff must be coming from within the tank. I've checked the water coming directly from the pump and it is clear. I think the stuff is probably algae that I must have knocked loose when I added air.
Right now I have no filter in the line because I think it will probably just get clogged up again. The tank is 11 years old. What are ways to solve this problem?
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Flush the tank using a water outlet before the filter.
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Bob F wrote:

And put at least temporarily a filter in the tank inlet to verify it's not silt/sand from the well---which is my guess what it actually is/where it's coming from.
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I took a big sample of water directly from the pump and I couldn't see anything.
I don't think there is any way to put a filter in the tank inlet.
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wrote:

Water that looks clear in a bucket or glass can still have enough silt in it to clog a filter.
My supply water looks great but I still get dirt / silt build up in the toilet tanks.
If there is plumbing to the tank from the well there is a way to install filter......it's just going to take some work.
If you " took a big sample of water directly from the pump " (how big?) you could plumb a filter at the same point that you "took the sample" ....let the water run & see if you clog a new filter
How much water was used between the filter changes?
Your tank "might" be the source of the brown crud but I'll put my money on dpb's suggestion that the well is the source and putting a filter between well & tank will verify the problem. Or just filtering the well output (temporarily)
Unless your tank is "generating" the brown crud how would it be coming from the tank & not the well? Organic growth? Infiltration?
cheers Bob
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wrote:

Yes, but that isn't something I'm able to do.

Half a gallon in a clear glass container.

Well, I took it from a hose faucet at the pump. There is nothing other than that.

Not that much. Approximately two baths and maybe one load of washing dishes and one load of clothes.

I believe it is algae in the tank.
I did what I thought would flush the tank. I ran water through for 10 minutes, then cut off the pump until no water was coming out, then cut the pump on for 10 more minutes. I haven't tried putting a filter back in the canister yet.
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wrote:

Now we're getting some useful details......
run the output of the hose through a filter for about the same amount of the water ...two baths, dishes & clothes washing 200+ gallons?
See if it clogs the filter....if not then the well water would appear to not be the source.
What has changed recently to cause the situation you have? Why the algae growth? Why is it now clogging the filter & not previously?
I don't know how large your filter element is but typically filter loads are measeured in grams....... small filters ~50 grams, larger ones 250 grams + depending on the size of your filter you could clog it quickly
cheers Bob
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wrote:

I don't have any practical way of doing that. These filters go into the water line and the faucet at the pump is a garden hose.

The only thing was me adding air to the tank, which I think knocked the stuff loose.

It was clogged with things about the size of a quarter, see the message I added an hour or two ago.
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wrote:

There isn't an outlet there. Right now I have no filter in the canister. Can I just run the water for a while to flush it? If so, should the pump be on or should I drain the tank?
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On Sun, 02 Nov 2008 11:34:17 -0500, Jud McCranie

I need to describe the "brown crud". Suppose you took brown paper and let it soak in water and it broke up into pieces about the size of a quarter. This is what the brown crud looks like, except that it is slicker than the paper.
It is in flat pieces roughly the size of a quarter. It looks like it was attached to the wall of something. When I got water directly from the pump there was nothing like this in it. When I added the air to the water tank the filter was OK and the pressure improved. Within a couple of hours, the pressure dropped to almost nothing and the filter was clogged with these pieces of brown crud. I changed the filter and overnight it clogged up again with the pieces of brown crud. I think me adding in the air knocked it off the inside of the diaphragm.
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On Sun, 02 Nov 2008 16:17:00 -0500, Jud McCranie

The filter also filled up with brown particles overnight too.
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On Sun, 02 Nov 2008 11:34:17 -0500, Jud McCranie

This morning I replaced the filter that got clogged overnight. Today I did what I could to flush the tank. I went without a filter most of the day. An hour or so ago I put a filter back in and in a short time some of the flakes of brown crud are already in the filter. Only a couple of them are the size of quarters - most are smaller fragments.
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Jud McCranie wrote:

You need a new tank. Sounds like your bladder is ruptured and you are getting the rust from the metal part of the tank.
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On Mon, 03 Nov 2008 08:31:59 -0500, Claude Hopper

It doesn't seem to be rust. It is slick and breaks apart easily. Also, even with the water out, the bladder holds its air pressure, so there can't be a large hole in the diaphragm.
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Jud McCranie wrote:

There must be a slow leak anyway or the air pressure wouldn't have been low.
If all that was done was to pressurize the bladder/diaphragm side, shouldn't have had any effect on the water side.
It's still not clear as to what precipitated the problem, but whatever this mysterious crud is, probably ought to have the water tested and if a flushing of the tank doesn't clear it up, there's a problem that needs attention.
Growing stuff inside the tank indicates a contamination of some sort if it isn't just silt--that can't be good. It may not be pathogenic, but I'd surely want to know it wasn't if it were my potable water supply.
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A small one. It took it years to get down to 20+ PSI.

The diaphragm is flexible, right? So pumping the air in it may have knocked the algae (or what ever it is) loose.

There is still a little crud being caught by the filter, but most of it is gone and the water pressure is back.

Yes, we mostly drink water from gallon jugs, but not always.
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Jud McCranie wrote:

Don't know that (yet, anyway).
If may have just developed so the actual time was much shorter.
They can go for quite some time, but once started, they'll eventually waterlog.
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wrote:

some crud that was growing on the water side of the bladder that got knocked off the bladder when you inflated it?
Mark
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Ditto what Claude said...YOU NEED A NEW TANK...Been there , done that...Got the t-shirt.....
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