I’ve never had trouble with stuff growing in the bags themselves, probably because we treat our water with a chlorine-based treatment. But the tubes... yuck. @idahowalker, when you said you cover the tubes in black tape I was thinking that was just to keep from seeing the stuff :D Which actually works for me...
If I filter all the water that goes into my bladder and my filter does away with bacteria, how come algae can grow in my bladder?
I think the answer is related to the old joke about how much rat feces is acceptable in orange juice. (The best brands still have a little.)
A standup comedian I used to follow always replied "I would like 0 PPM of rat feces in something I drink!" However, as my dad, who worked as a health inspector for the state here, would explain if he was still alive: "That never happens - there's always bacteria present everywhere. In fact, that's not all!"
I read once, that if you could instantly make the earth and all living critters except bacteria (and other microscopic organisms) disappear, and assuming you could still see the microorganisms, you'd still be able to see the trace, the shape, of everything, including the earth's surface, as well as all its living organisms other than the microscopic - as well as the trace of all their innards. They are that omnipresent.
Next subject: "Why we have clean rooms and sterilize surgical instruments"
If I lived in wetter climate I would look for something or techniques to promote drying, but as Rebecca pointed out, the tubes are the hygiene issue. I flush mine with either a denture tab solution or vinegar and water. I have a Camelback that is third or fourth tube and mouthpiece and second O-ring. My Platy 2 liter is first generation and there is no drying out but it gets used the most and has a fleet of tubes is always washed out with solution. My city tap water even in my old building is low bug. I freak a lot more over ranch water and won't take hose or gas station fills direct into my bladders.
one time ago "blue_sage" in previous forums. Bighorn Mountains, Powder River, and Big Horn River to the Yellowstone.
I usually put something like a golf ball inside so that the sides of the bladder don't touch...to allow air to circulate, and set it out in the sun.
That’s the one thing I don’t like about my cheap and light Platy bags—the opening is soda-bottle sized, so it’s hard to put anything in to prop it open. I’ve given up. As noted, the bags don’t seem to grow stuff, only the tubes. Some of which need replacing about now 😛
I have a line in my gear room with those "binder clips" and hang water reservoirs and containers upside down, opened up as much as possible, after rinsing them first in hot water (as hot as I can get out of the tap.) I don't use bladders often but my water filters have tubing and I disconnect them all and rinse/hang dry as well. Seems to work for me.
I will say, though, that our tap water smells pretty chlorinated. Maybe if you're on a well, you might rinse with very lightly chlorinated water before drying. I don't have any residual chlorine smell or taste after drying.
I don't need it that dry. I clean them as best as I can, then freeze them. Keeps any plant life from growing.
That sounds easier than what I've been doing (washing with soap, sanitizing with bleach solution, hanging to dry with reservoirs propped open mechanically). Is there any part of a typical hydration reservoir system or filter tubing (other than the filter itself, obviously) that is adversely affected by freezing?
I have a compressor, I blow all the moisture out of the tube, which gets most of the water out of the bladder as well. Then just hang my bladder upside down with it propped open and let it dry for several days.