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Bromine Question After New Refill


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#1 Brookdog

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 06:28 AM

We just got a new 425 gallon spa about a month ago. The spa came with a 24/7 ozonator and a 24/7 circulation pump. It has 3 pumps for the different jets, but there is no 'air' control. When I opened it the first time, we just washed the inside and filled it up. This turned out to be a big mistake because the spa would always foam up, even though I put Foam Away products in every day.

The spa came with the Renew/Release products for a bromine spa. I thought I followed the label directions correctly, but was never really able to get very much of a bromine reading on the test strips. When the free sample starter kit ran out, I switched over to Sodium Bromine (99%) and a floater with Leisure Time Brom Tabs (the ingredients are too long to list, but I think it's BCDMH+DCDMH+DCEMH). I also have been using OZ tabs (32.25% Potassium Peroxymonosulfate) for shock treatment. And I ordered the Taylor K-2106 testing kit. I could keep the bromine levels in the 2-4 range for about a week or so by adjusting the floater setting and adding 3-4 OZ tabs every 5-6 days, but the pH was always high, 8+ and the TA was low, 80-90 with a CA of about 250 (raised up because I thought it would help the foaming problem).

Well, Tuesday was going to be the last nice day of the forseeable future, so on Monday night, I added one liter of Spa Purge and let the spa cycle overnight to start the Decontamination process. Tuesday morning, I drained the spa and refilled with fresh well water. I have a whole house filter that just filters out fine particles, not a softener. After it was full, I added about 40 oz of 5.25% bleach and let that run for 4 pump/jet cycles, each lasting about 15 minutes. I forgot to check and balance the pH/TA before adding the bleach, so I added some Baking soda because the test strip showed high pH and low TA. After each cycle, there was a brown/tan build-up at the water line that I kept wiping off. That seems to have been my foaming problem.

I drained the bleach water, after washing down the cover and the entire tub, and refilled with new water. I added 8 ozs of Metal X during the fill. I then checked the initial readings with the Taylor kit.

pH=7.6
TA=70
CA=70

I check with the Pool Calculator and added 2 ozs of Baking Soda, waited 15 minutes and then added 5 ozs of Calcium Boost. Four hours later the test results were:

pH=8.0
TA=100
CA=120

I left th pH and TA alone for now and added 2 ozs of Sodium Bromide (99%), put 5 Brom Tabs in the Brilliance floater set at 2 and threw 5 OZ tabs in the spa and started the pumps. I also added 2 ozs of Enzyme and 1 oz of Bright and Clear, pretty much all of the above within 15 minutes. Let the pumps run for 15 minutes and closed it up for the night.

This morning, my reading are a little suprising:

Br=0 even after adding 4 scoops of power to the test
pH=8+ needing 2 drops to get to 7.4-7.5
TA=90
CA=110

The good news is the foaming is gone. Nice clear water with just a normal amount of bubbles. I do notice a small bromine (maybe ozone) smell when I open the top, but don't understand why the bromine test comes up as zero.

My main questions are:
Does it sound like I have done things right so far?
Why don't I have a measurable bromine level?
Should I add more Sodium Bromide?
Should I add more MPS tabs?
What can I do with the leftover Reserve Sodium Bromide (32.18%)?

Sorry for the long post, but I know you folks like to get as much info as possible. I have been reading alot on the forum and appreciate the advice I have already received. Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.





#2 Hillbilly Hot Tub

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 10:27 AM

PH is to high, adjust this before you have scale issues and cloudy water. When you add baking soda to raise the ALK it also raises the PH. I would have left it at the 70. If you have no bromine reading it means something is using it up. You have to keep shocking the tub till you get it to keep a reading in 24 hours. It could be many things using up the bromine. New tubs have oils etc. You said you used a soap to clean it, it could be the metals in the water. you added a lot of stuff all at once so its hard to tell at this point. You are going to have to continue to add bromine (reserve) usually on a weekly basis

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#3 quantumchromodynamics

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 12:26 PM

You should have left your alkalinity at 70. If your pH is constantly going too high, that means your alkalinity is too high. Lower it to wherever it keeps your pH stable at the desired level.

2 to 3 ounces of sodium bromide on startup should be sufficient until your next water change.

You can use bleach to get a quick bromine level, for routine shocking and maintaining proper bromine levels.

Always allow plenty of time between additions of different chemicals. If you add a second chemical before allowing the first one to properly mix and react, then you could get unwanted reactions.



You can't manage what you don't measure. Get a good test kit. I recommend the Taylor K-2006 for chlorine or the Taylor K-2106 for bromine.

#4 Brookdog

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 06:50 AM

Thank you all for your replys. I hope to someday be as knowledgeable and comfortable as you guys with this stuff.
Last night, I added 4 oz of the Reserve and let that run for 15-20 minutes. Then I added 1 oz (all by volume) of the dry acid and let that run. After 15 minutes, I added 1 oz of Sani-Shock (Calcium Hypochlorite 47.6%), because I was worried that there wasn't any sanitizer in the spa and it might activate the bromine, and called it a night.
This morning, my levels looked like this:

Br=0!
pH=8 needing 1 drop for 7.6
TA=60
CH=110

So, I added 3/4 oz of acid and let that run for 15 minutes.

ph=7.5
TA=50
CH=120

I then added 5 OXY tabs, crushed up, and let that run for 15 minutes.

Br still =0!
pH=7.5 - stable!
TA=50 - Low?
CH=120
This gives me a SI of -0.4. I think I need to change something.

Any idea why my Br is still at 0? Should I add some (how much?) bleach to try and activate it?
I'm starting to second guess myself as to whether I put the Sodium Bromide in at all, but I know I did.
Would it be bad to add more?
I'm getting a grip on the pH and TA (thanks for the info), but I am lost on the Bromide.
Any other advice would be great.
Thanks.....




#5 quantumchromodynamics

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 04:17 PM

If you get your pH up to 7.6 to 7.8, then your CSI will be better. 0.6 ounces of Borax should put you at about 7.7.

It's OK if you want to add more sodium bromide, it won't hurt anything, but it should not be necessary to add more than 2 to 3 ounces to get a good level. It's just salt until it's activated by chlorine, ozone or MPS.

The 1 ounce of 47.6% Calcium Hypochlorite should have given you a bromine level of 18 ppm, so I'm not sure why you're not seeing anything.

Try adding 3 ounces of regular, unscented 6 % Clorox bleach. That should give you a bromine level.

There is also the possibility of a test error. Do you have any other method of testing your bromine? If not, get a cheap OTO chlorine test kit to determine if there is a bromine level at all.


You can't manage what you don't measure. Get a good test kit. I recommend the Taylor K-2006 for chlorine or the Taylor K-2106 for bromine.

#6 chem geek

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 06:22 PM

When using a DPD test for either chlorine or bromine, high levels above 10 ppm can bleach out the indicator to remain clear as if there is no chlorine or bromine when in fact it is quite high. This is one reason to use a FAS-DPD test instead since it does not bleach out.

So you can dilute the water significantly to see if the DPD test will register anything. If you have distilled water or filtered water you know has no chlorine or monochloramine (i.e. test it separately to make sure the test remains clear), then dilute your water sample by 10:1 which should be able to register anything up to 100 ppm. If you see some very light pink, you can use 5:1 or some lower dilution level.

#7 quantumchromodynamics

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 06:32 PM

QUOTE (Brookdog @ Dec 16 2009, 07:28 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
And I ordered the Taylor K-2106 testing kit.

Br=0 even after adding 4 scoops of pow(d)er to the test


I am assuming that the poster is using FAS-DPD. It should not be bleaching out.

I suggested OTO as a verifier in case of some sort of test error.

Dilution could also be helpful if the bromine is super high.

Brookdog, does the bromine test turn pink and then go clear, or does it stay clear?



You can't manage what you don't measure. Get a good test kit. I recommend the Taylor K-2006 for chlorine or the Taylor K-2106 for bromine.

#8 chem geek

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 07:28 PM

Thanks, I missed that a FAS-DPD test was already being used. Well, that's very strange. I wonder if the 8 ozs of Metal X during the fill created a huge oxidizer demand. The Spa Purge should have gotten rid of a lot of what might create a large oxidizer demand in a new tub. I'm puzzled.

As QCD asked, when adding powder, is there not even a flash of pink? If there is a flash of pink, add more powder, though that probably means the bromine level is very, very high.

#9 Brookdog

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 05:16 AM

I did some reading in the forum about bromine and found someone who said the 3/4 cup of 6% bleach in 350 gallons would activate the bromine. I added 8oz of 5.25% for 425 gallons after lunch yesterday and let that run for a while. Funny, after adding the bleach, the spa sort of smelled like the pools/water rides at Disney. You know, not like the local town pool, but kind of clean and inviting. I guess that's why I like the bromine. But, I digress...

At dinner time, the test samples looked like this:

Br=11
pH=7.8
TA=50
CH=120

I'm thinking, Way too much bleach! I took the floater out and let it ride for the night.
This morning, the test shows:

Br=0!!!
pH=7.5
TA=50
CH=120

I used a test strip from the Aquatest bottle and the Br was very yellow (0), pH ~7.2, TA ~50 and CH was a little over 100. I can now attest to the higher accuracy of the drop tests.
When I test for Br with the drop test, the water turns a very, very light pink, almost un-noticable, when I add the powder. I did use this Taylor kit before the drain/fill and was able to read a bromine level, so I'm pretty sure the kit and my methods are correct.

I'm going to bring a sample to the spa store and see what they have to say. The folks there seem pretty knowledgeable, but I would still like to hear what the guys here think about this.

Should I raise the CH a little? That might help with my SI.
I might look into Borax, to help stablize the pH.
Should I try and raise the TA? I know Nitro says to leave it where the pH is stable, but is this too low?
Another question, though... If I'm shocking the spa with MPS and bleach, is it alright to use the spa, even though there isn't any bromine measurment?
Thanks again for all the help. I'm just trying to get this figured out so we can use the spa again. It's like getting a new car for Christmas and not having any gas!

#10 Hillbilly Hot Tub

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 09:16 AM

Something is chewing up the bromine in the tub, have you cleaned your filters in amongst all this? Did you pull the filters out when you added the swirl away cleaner? Adding bleach which has a high PH and having the PH drop down a little is also an indicator that the sanitizer is being used up since the effect of using up the sanitizer is lowering the PH. Also, using Calcium Hypo is not a good idea. It is going to keep raising the CH in the tub, plus it will severly effect your PH. the renew/reserve program has you adding reserve on a consistent basis if I remember right. Bromine will eventually get totally used up and shocking will not re=establish it.

I don't think you have to much bromine as suggested since when you first tested you got a reading of 11, then it was zero. I think something in the water is chewing up the bromine. I personally would shock with even more untill you can hold a risdual the next day, a few days of that and no results, I would decontaminate, drain and start over.

Read Nitro's, Chlorine demand (applies to bromine too) I think it may help
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#11 quantumchromodynamics

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 04:59 PM

Clean the filters as noted in the previous post.

Then shock to 20 ppm bromine with bleach. Recheck the level in about 10 minutes and add enough bleach to bring the bromine back up to 20 ppm. Continue to add bleach until you can maintain a steady bromine level.

Do not use the tub until your bromine level can go overnight without dropping below 3 ppm.

0.391 ounces of bleach will raise bromine levels in your tub to 1 ppm.
7.82 ounces of bleach will raise your bromine by 20 ppm.

I think that you should raise your alkalinity to 60 ppm and keep your pH at 7.6 to 7.8. I would not add more calcium.


You can't manage what you don't measure. Get a good test kit. I recommend the Taylor K-2006 for chlorine or the Taylor K-2106 for bromine.

#12 Brookdog

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 05:12 PM

To answer Hillbillys questions, Yes, I had the filters out and soaked the large filter over night in Robar EZ Filter Cleaner. The small, Eco-Pur filter I just rinsed well and left in a bucket of clean water. In the morning, I rinsed the filter well with a hose. After draining the Spa Purge, I did put the filters back in, according to Nitro's Decon procedure while running the spa with the bleach water. I did rinse them again after draining the bleach and refilling. Maybe some residual schmeg was still in them, but I thought they were pretty clean. I'm not using the Renew/Reserve any more, I switched to the 3 step method.

I brought a sample to a spa store and they tested it. She said "There is no bromine or clorine reading, the pH was about 6.8, the TA was about 40 and the CH was about 200". She used test strips, not the computer test my usual spa store uses. I don't know if the strips were old or what, but she suggested TA up and pH up. So much for test strips.

I got home this evening and tested one more time. This test results are:

Br=11 ! Yes!
pH=7.8
TA=50
CH=120

Either the Green Meanies are done chomping on my bromines or I just had to wait until the bromine bank was set. Either way, I will wait until the morning and test it again and see if I can keep a residual before I add any more MSP.

I have a aching desire to fiddle with the TA or the calcium to try and get my SI closer to 0, but I think I should take it slow and see how things level out.

Does anyone know how long it takes for bad things to happen to your heater if the pH is too low? Is a day or so OK? What about if the pH is too high? Are we talking hours here or days?

Thanks again for everyones help!

#13 chem geek

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 06:39 PM

A pH of 6.8 for a short time of even a day or two isn't a problem, especially for metal corrosion. Corrosion takes time unless the pH gets very low. People using Trichlor pucks in pools and not paying attention to their pH sometimes get their pool pH below 4.5 and over periods of weeks they can have the copper heat exchanger corrode to the point of having copper stains in the pool or even springing a leak in their gas heater. A similar effect can happen if one uses Trichlor pucks in their skimmer regularly, though that usually takes longer before a problem shows up. If one poured Muriatic Acid into the skimmer, that could strip copper from the heat exchanger almost immediately with each addition as the pH even with slow pouring would be around 1.

Even the effect of a low saturation index on pool plaster isn't something that happens in days, but usually months unless the index is very low and the pH is very low.

Having the pH too high, however, can lead to scaling that doesn't take as long, depending on how over-saturated the water is with calcium carbonate. Swinging to a high pH when the CH and TA are already on the high side in combination can scale rather quickly -- pretty much as soon as that pH, CH, TA combination gets too high.

#14 quantumchromodynamics

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 08:30 PM

QUOTE (chem geek @ Dec 18 2009, 07:39 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If one poured Muriatic Acid into the skimmer, that could strip copper from the heat exchanger almost immediately with each addition as the pH even with slow pouring would be around 1.


I'm not so sure that muriatic acid, by itself, would have that fast of an effect.

I put a piece of copper bond wire in a cup of muriatic acid the other day and the only noticeable effect was that the acid cleaned the tarnish off the copper. Based on the standard electrode potential, the hydrogen ions don't have the ability to oxidize copper.

Now, the copper may have been being damaged more than I could tell, but it wasn't much of a reaction. I will drop the copper bond wire into a bottle of acid for a few days to see what happens.

I'm sure that low pH will greatly increase the oxidation of copper by oxidizers such as chlorine or dissolved oxygen, but I'm just not sure how much effect hydrogen ions have by themselves.

Just to be clear, I am not saying that acid won't damage copper, but Iím not sure that it would begin stripping copper out as fast as you think. Perhaps it would. I will report back after giving the copper a few days to soak in the straight acid.

I also put a piece of aluminum in a cup of muriatic acid. The reaction was quite different. The aluminum immediately began to bubble, slowly at first, and then rather vigorously. The bubbles were hydrogen gas being generated by the reduction of hydrogen ion to H2(gas).

Based on the standard electrode potentials, iron, steel and aluminum are much more at risk than copper.





You can't manage what you don't measure. Get a good test kit. I recommend the Taylor K-2006 for chlorine or the Taylor K-2106 for bromine.

#15 chem geek

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 08:51 PM

It's the chlorine that does the oxidiation, but the acid accelerates (catalyzes) the reaction significantly. There's also dissolved oxygen, but it's the chlorine that does most of the damage and the water flow (from the pump) replenishes with more chlorine as you are pouring in the acid. Nevertheless, when I say "strip" I'm talking about a very thin surface layer of copper. It would take multiple additions to do serious damage, but it takes less to get copper ions in the water that can produce staining if the pH goes up at some point.

#16 splodge

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 02:45 PM

Problem: Bromine level is too low.

Got a new (my first) hot tub - CSXi80 (Costco/Evolution/Strong). ~1300L hot tub. Read a bunch of the threads here and decided on the 3 part Bromine system:

after adding balancing chemicals, baking soda, etc
pH is good
Alk is a somewhat high
Calcium fine

Added small packet Bromine Booster (Capo industries), presumably this is Bromide to establish bank/reserve
Used liquid bleach (perhaps now a total of 2 cups over 2 days - 1 + 1) but can't seem to get Bromine level up and it's been 4 days now. I've also got Bromine tabs in a floater.

My spa has an ozonator (btw, how can I tell if it is actually working?!).

I've been using test strips (sorry don't have the brand at hand at the moment). Is it possible the test strips are erroneously showing low bromine levels? I don't yet own a good test kit and wasn't sure if that was necessary, especially when one can just go a pool/spa shop to have one's water tested.

I don't know what I should do? Add more of both the Bromine Booster and bleach, or just bleach, etc. I guess I should probably go and get my water tested but then I don't want them pushing stuff on me to buy that I don't actually need.

Hoping someone can offer this newbie some advice.

Thanks.




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