New member
I posted this on a local forum, thought I'd post here and see if I get some differing opinions...

A mate and I bought 1,000 litre (about 250 gallons or so) food grade containers a week ago, I gave it a pretty quick rinse and filled just over half with NSW. He filled up his new tank (he was right in the process of upgrading and used about 90% new water, 10% old) and I did about a 15% water change on mine (about 40 gallons). Both our tanks are cloudy - not excessive in mine although moreso in my mates tank. Both our euphyllia's are withdrawn, my BTA's have shrunk, few other soft corals and LPS have receded and are not happy (although dont appear to be dying). All macro algae has died or is dying in my mates tank, he also says that all his diatoms are gone and even valonia is letting go and floating around. Everything looks reasonably ok in my tank (all fish are ok) although the acro's have lost a bit of colour (of course, I only took 15% of that water, he took 90%) Checking the side of the container, it says it had "sorbitol" in it. Seems the residue may have caused the cloudiness. My bad for not doing a thorough rinse out :(

"Sorbitol, also known as glucitol, is a sugar alcohol the body metabolises slowly. It is obtained by reduction of glucose changing the aldehyde group to an additional hydroxyl group hence the name sugar alcohol"

Basically an artificial sweetner, although plenty of other uses as well. I'm guessing the extra sugar content is simply a carbon source for the bacteria to grow, although I have had no algae blooms. He has been doing partial 30% water changes daily for now. Both our skimmers have gone NUTS, my Deltec AP902 is pulling out some seriously slimey crap!

We're going to give the containers a decent rinse out tomorrow and get some more NSW and do a decent water change, however based on the description of what Sorbitol is, can anyone see it being or causing a problem?
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Premium Member
I think that the tanks should recover. I agree that the sorbitol is likely just acting as a carbon source.


New member
I've done 40% water change and am going to do another 40% change tonight. The 40% water change certainly has helped, the tank is less cloudy. However some things we've noticed...

- kH in both our tanks have hit 12-13 (we both usually keep around 8-9)
- A thin invisible coating of slime has appeared in the sump (like jelly) this is obviously the sorbitol as the same residue is in the container we changed water from
- My RBTA has died or is dying (gutted)
- My other BTAs have shrunken very small
- Acro's have lost a good deal of colour
- The skimmers are going mental, here's a pic of my mates RO:


Going to redo/refill my mates tank completely since he had most of his water come from the container. Mine was only 15% from the container so I'll persist with water changes.


Premium Member
I'm sorry to hear about your losses. I'd run a bunch of carbon, if possible, and keep up the water changes. The high dKH might be due to the sugar alcohol decomposing into carbonate or some other buffer. I don't know enough chemistry to know if that's possible.