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What's The Step By Step To Bromine Treatment?


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Waterbear

Thanks for this great write-up again. Finally had the chance to implement it on a fresh fill today. Unforetunately things did not go as planned.

First, not directly an issue with your instructions but I wonder if the Pool Calculator is producing accurate numbers for me. I used it to calculate the amount of Baking Soda to put into the tub to bring the TA from 20 to 100 and my tub ended up at 140ppm... This of course made the PH go way high. Ended up bringing it both down (by trial and error.) I seem to be hovering at a 80ppm TA and a 7.8 PH right now.

I then used the calculator to determine the correct calcium hardness, had to bring it from 20 to 130. It ened up at 110-120 (better but still a tad off.)

More relevant to your instructions I put in the correct amount of Sodium Bromide in my case 1.5oz (300 gal hot tub) and added MPS (in my case about 1.25 oz) to create the bank... Nothing happened really. The bromine went to maybe 1 ppm...

I threw in the floater and am hoping you can shed some light...

Thanks!

Michael

How are you testing the water? (certain types of tests for bromine can bleach out at high sanitizer levels and make you think there is little or no bromine in the water when it is high.)

What are the ingredients on your sodium bromide and what is the name of the product? Have you tried adding more MPS? Is your MPS a pure product or is it 'diluted' with fillers (Some of the buffered MPS products don't have has much MPS in them.) ( Did you measure by weight or volume? (measurements should be by weight)

pH of 7.8 is fine for a bromine tub but a TA of 80 ppm is the low end of acceptable if you are using MPS and bromine tabs, which are acidic. Keep an eye on it. You do not want the pH of a bromine spa to crash because it can form elemental bromine.

Exactly how much baking soda and calcium chloride did you add (by weight) and was the calcium anhydrous or dihydrate?

Can't really help without more info.

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Hi Waterbear,

Ok answers:

I am using a Taylor CK-2005. Bromine is tested using a DPD test. Measured it this morning at 1 ppm still after having the puck in overnight.

Sodium Bromide is called Spa Choice - Bromine Booster, in powder form and is apparently close to 100% Sodium Bromide.

I have not tried adding more MPS but can do that this morning. the MPS is Spa Depot's Oxy-Spa and is 42.8% Potassium Peroxymonosulfate, 57.2% Inert, 4.3% Active Oxygen.

All ingredients added by weight with a very accurate scale.

I am assuming elemental bromine is a bad thing?

According to the Pool Calculator I added 5.6 oz of baking soda to raise TA (took it to 140 ppm) and 4 oz of Calcium Chloride (took it to 110-120 ppm, Pool calculator said to add 4.9 but judging on how it over did the baking soda requirement I lowered the amount a tad.) to raise hardness. This according to the Pool Calculator.

I don't know what type of calcium it is. It is also Spa Choice - Increase Calcium and is apparently 100% Calcium Chloride.

Numbers as of this morning:

Total Bromine: 1 ppm

TA: 70 ppm

PH: has gone way up and appears to be past the highest scale on my unit of 8 ppm

CH: 130ppm

The spa is a Sundance Denali and apparently has a fill capacity of 298 gal.

Thanks so much!

Mike

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Hi Waterbear,

Ok answers:

I am using a Taylor CK-2005. Bromine is tested using a DPD test. Measured it this morning at 1 ppm still after having the puck in overnight.

I suspect that your bromine is high. DPD bleaches out at high santizer levels. Get yourself an OTO 2 way tester (chlorine/bromine comparator with shades of yellow on it and a pH test). OTO won't bleach out. It is not really useful with chorine since it only measures total chlorine/bromine but we are interested in total bromine readings so it's great for bromine. If the one you get does not have a bromine scale then multiply the clorine reading by 2.25 to get the bromine reading. I suspect that the color will be off scale (deep yellow, orange, reddish, or brown).

Sodium Bromide is called Spa Choice - Bromine Booster, in powder form and is apparently close to 100% Sodium Bromide.

It's the right stuff for creating the bromide bank.

I have not tried adding more MPS but can do that this morning. the MPS is Spa Depot's Oxy-Spa and is 42.8% Potassium Peroxymonosulfate, 57.2% Inert, 4.3% Active Oxygen.

Pretty much standard MPS. I suspect that your DPD test is bleachng out.

All ingredients added by weight with a very accurate scale.

Liquids need to be measured by volume.

I am assuming elemental bromine is a bad thing?

Yes.

According to the Pool Calculator I added 5.6 oz of baking soda to raise TA (took it to 140 ppm)

If your testing is accurate then you spa only has 220 gallons of water acutally in it. The maunfacturer's volume is usually higher than the acutal water because we do not fill tubs to the very top or they would overflow when we got in them!!

and 4 oz of Calcium Chloride (took it to 110-120 ppm, Pool calculator said to add 4.9 but judging on how it over did the baking soda requirement I lowered the amount a tad.) to raise hardness. This according to the Pool Calculator.

I don't know what type of calcium it is. It is also Spa Choice - Increase Calcium and is apparently 100% Calcium Chloride.

If I am not mistaken this is a liquid product so it is a solution of calcium chloride in water so anhydrous and dihydrate to not apply. This is a diluted product. Calcium Chloride is a solid. Pool Calculator cannot be used to calculate this. You need to dose according to the bottle which is one oz raises calcium 7 ppm in 500 gallons. so in your "300 GAL. spa" (which, by my calculations only really has about 220 gallons of water in it) figure each oz is raising your water by about 10 or 11 ppm (acutally, with the actual amount of water it is closer to 14 ppm). It is measured not by weight but by volume.

Numbers as of this morning:

Total Bromine: 1 ppm

TA: 70 ppm

Leave it for now.

PH: has gone way up and appears to be past the highest scale on my unit of 8 ppm

This is another indicator that your DPD test has bleached out. The color is purplish, correct? This is a known interference when sanitizer levels are high. pH reads high falsely and the color is off scale.

CH: 130ppm

Fine!

The spa is a Sundance Denali and apparently has a fill capacity of 298 gal.

That is if it is fulled to the top. Actual water in your spa is most likely cloisonne to 220-250 gallons which is why you got the dosing error (assuming no testing error).

Thanks so much!

Mike

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Thanks again Waterbear,

I confirmed with the manufacturer and you are indeed correct, apparently the typical fill is about 230gal. I will keep that in mind for next time.

I happen to have an OTO for Chlorine and ran the test. I have a hard time reading those yellow colours but seems to me to be about a 1.5 on the CL scale so that would still only make it 3.375 which the DPD test should be able to handle... Since the scale goes to 10. Its not off scale at all though. For sure a light yellow colour. I just ran the DPD test again as well and still a light pink which would put it at about a 1. Both my strip tests seem to confirm the 1ppm reading as well.

They sell a liquid Calcium Chloride as well this is the powder form which according to their website is 100% Calcium Chloride...

Not sure what my next steps should be here. If indeed my spa is only 230gal then I have added more than enough Bromine booster and MPS...

OK I wonder if the Taylor kit is broken. I used the OTO kit to test PH and it seems to be about 7.6 on the nose. I retested with the Taylor kit and PH seems to be an 8.0 maybe slightly under now... My strips indicate about a 7.6 - 7.8 range as well...

Bromine still around a 1-2ppm.

Mike

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Setting up my first hot tub. Big Thanks to those who posted all of the information. One question on the 100% bromine to set up the reserve. My dealer sells bromine tablets that ars 96% bromine. He said tablets and a floater will void the warranty as the floater always stays in one place. This will cause a discoloration or damage to the shell. He wasn't very kind to bromine usage. "Too strong ", "people are going away from it". He did try to set me up on the silver. After reading here, I decided against it. Anyway, is there any truth to what he's saying for shell damage?

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returned my sodium bromide "mix" and got the pure (well, 99%) sodium bromide granules as instructed. in the "bromide 101" post it states if your bromide levels are low, to add a little bleach. Why wouldn't one add teh sodium bromie granules? I thought that was fast acting, unlike the NaBr tablets?

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basics of bromine chemistry.

Sodium bromide just adds bromide ions to the water, it is not a sanitizer. The bromide in the water is referred to as a bromide reserve or bank.

When you aadd an oxidizer like chlorine, MPS, or ozone the sodium bromide is oxidized into hypobromous acid, which IS your sanitizer.

When the bromine sanitizer gets used up it reverts back to bromide ions in the water. To regenerate more bromine saintizer you need to add more oxidizer.

Your one step product was mostly chlorine (oxidizer) and a small amount of sodium bromide, When they dissolve they form the bromine sanitizer.

The bromine tabs are slow dissolving and add bromide, chlorine (yes there is chlorine in most bromine tabs) and also directly add bromine sanitizer, hypobromous acid.

If you use a bromine tab that does not contain chlorine then you need to add the oxidizer on regular basis to convert your bromide bank into bromine sanitizer.

Here is an excerpt from the second post of this thread that explained all this. Once again I suggest you reread it. It really is not rocket science.

3. Shock the spa to 'activate' (oxidize) the sodium bromide into hypobromous acid (this is your 'bromine' sanitizer that you test for with your strips or test kit.) You can use MPS to shock but chlorine works just as well if not better and is much less expensive. One of the best sources of chlorine you can use with a bromine spa is sodium hypochlorite and that can also be found in the laundry aisle. It is ordinary liquid chlorine bleach. You want the regular, unscented bleach, not a thickened or scented one. It will come in either 5.25% or 6%. Read the label to see which you have. Use 2.5 oz (5 tablespoons) of the 5.25% or 2 oz (4 tablespoons) of the 6% per 100 gallons of spa water to shock. Your bromine will go very high. Uncover the spa and circulate until the bromine drops below 10 ppm before you use the spa. Now heat the spa up to temperature.

4. Put in the floater with your bromine tabs (which usually contain BOTH bromine and chlorine to activate the bromine, btw) and adjust the floater to maintain your bromine at about 4-6 ppm. this can take a bit of trial and error. Check your pH and bromine before you go ineach time and if bromine is low add a few tablespoons of bleach and retest until it is above 4 but below 10 ppm. It really only takes seconds for the chlorine to oxidize your bromide reserve into bromine sanitizer. If pH is not between 7.2 and 8.0 then you should adjust it before entering the spa and wait abot 30 minutes then retest it to make sure it is in the proper range. If both are off then adjust pH first then the bromine. If your bromine is always low open the floater a bit more. If high then close it down a bit. If it is above 10 then take out the floater and open the spa until the bromine level drops below 10 before entering the water and close the floater down a bit. Once you get the floater adjusted the bromne level will stay pretty constant and it becomes much easier! Remember to keep tablets in the floater at all times!

As I said before, good luck to you.

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making some progress...My local Spa dealer / chain sells the Taylor test kit, but basically said it is an overkill for normal home use if you live nearby, as they do in store testing for free. Among other items, my pH was 7.7, not too bad, but still need to lower it a bit. In my earlier post, you recommended against the Spa-Kem pH decreaser, which is 10 % Sulfuric acid, but in the same post you state dry acid, which you do recommend, forms sulfuric acid when added to water. So was your recommendation against Sulfuric acid for safety reasons, or other?

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making some progress...My local Spa dealer / chain sells the Taylor test kit, but basically said it is an overkill for normal home use if you live nearby, as they do in store testing for free. Among other items, my pH was 7.7, not too bad, but still need to lower it a bit. In my earlier post, you recommended against the Spa-Kem pH decreaser, which is 10 % Sulfuric acid, but in the same post you state dry acid, which you do recommend, forms sulfuric acid when added to water. So was your recommendation against Sulfuric acid for safety reasons, or other?

Why not just listen to your local spa dealer. It will be easier for you and good luck. I am sure he would like to test your water and then tell you what chemicals you need to buy every week when you go in to have your water tested.

I would be very surprised if he sells the K-2106 test kit. More likely he sells the K-2005.

The reference I made to KemTek and their sulfuric acid is more applicable to pools since they sell it for pool use and dilute it and sell it for spa use. Dry acid is easier to measure and harder to overdose than Muriatic acid (given the small volume of water in a spa) which is what is normally sold for pool use which is why I recommend it over muriatic for spas BUT muriatic has less negative impact on the water in either a pool or spa..

KemTek sells some, IMHO, questionable, products. They used to be sold at KMart Walmart but now I think only Costco carries it.

Sulfates can potentate metal corrosion but since spa water is changed every 3-4 months it is less of an issue for spas then pools.

Your local dealer/chain can surely advise you what you need to do with your spa when they test your water. Just be sure and buy everything they tell you to buy and forget the fact that they are in the business to sell you as many chemicals as they can because that is their bottom line. I am sure your dealer will get you well taken care of so you really don't need to post your progress. Good Luck to you.

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making some progress...My local Spa dealer / chain sells the Taylor test kit, but basically said it is an overkill for normal home use if you live nearby, as they do in store testing for free. Among other items, my pH was 7.7, not too bad, but still need to lower it a bit. In my earlier post, you recommended against the Spa-Kem pH decreaser, which is 10 % Sulfuric acid, but in the same post you state dry acid, which you do recommend, forms sulfuric acid when added to water. So was your recommendation against Sulfuric acid for safety reasons, or other?

Why not just listen to your local spa dealer. It will be easier for you and good luck.

The data provided, while I'm sure is accurate, is followed by recommendations from some software provided by BioGuard/BioLab, and all the recommendations are for the type and quanitities of the BioGuards products. I don't have a lot of confidence in the 18 year old young man who ran the tests to be able to provide a lot of additional insight, and I have some Spa-Kem chemicals I would like to use up, rather than trash. You, and others on this board, certainly appear to have significantly more experience than the average guy (at least the average high school employee) at the local spa chain, and likely even have some more formal chemistry training. That is why I was trying to understand the ramifications of using my Spa-Kem pH decreaser, in light of the information previously posted that seemed (at least, and maybe incorrectly, to me) a bit contradictory regarding use of sulfuric acid for this purpose.

Thanks for your help. I do appreciate it!

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Why not just listen to your local spa dealer. It will be easier for you and good luck.

The data provided, while I'm sure is accurate, is followed by recommendations from some software provided by BioGuard/BioLab, and all the recommendations are for the type and quanitities of the BioGuards products.

Yes, and be sure to buy everything that the Bioguard ALEX system tell you you need!

I don't have a lot of confidence in the 18 year old young man who ran the tests to be able to provide a lot of additional insight,

Why not, he works in a pool/spa store so he is an expert, right?

and I have some Spa-Kem chemicals I would like to use up, rather than trash.

Then use them and when you run out you can get more at Costco!

Gool luck to you.

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  • 4 months later...

Hello Folks,

Happy Halloween!

So this is my second fill with this Bromine system and once again I did not get the reaction when shocking with the MPS shock.

I have a 235 gal tub (the fill amount)

I added

-1.25 oz by weight of Spa Choice Bromine Booster

-.7 oz by weight Spa Depot MPS Shock

Barely got up to 1 ppm total bromine...

Can this indeed work with the MPS shock? Anyone else out there using MPS instead of chlorine to shock?...

Thanks,

Michael

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Hello Folks,

Happy Halloween!

So this is my second fill with this Bromine system and once again I did not get the reaction when shocking with the MPS shock.

I have a 235 gal tub (the fill amount)

I added

-1.25 oz by weight of Spa Choice Bromine Booster

-.7 oz by weight Spa Depot MPS Shock

Barely got up to 1 ppm total bromine...

Can this indeed work with the MPS shock? Anyone else out there using MPS instead of chlorine to shock?...

Thanks,

Michael

ARe you doing 2 step or 3 step bromine? How are you testing the water? If you are using strips or DPD then bleachout is a possibility also.

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ARe you doing 2 step or 3 step bromine? How are you testing the water? If you are using strips or DPD then bleachout is a possibility also.

Hi Waterbear,

I'm using your well detailed process. Which I suspect is a 3 step system...

I'm testing with a Taylor C-K2005 I also have a a cheaper kit for chlorine that I used.

I suspect that I'm supposed to see a spike to at least 10 ppm after shocking right? Does this happen immediately?

I tested again this morning (shocked last night and its still about 1 ppm... weird. Maybe my chemicals are bad...

I could be wrong but I suspect its not bleaching out.

Thanks!

Michael

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:

I have a 235 gal tub (the fill amount)

I added

-1.25 oz by weight of Spa Choice Bromine Booster

-.7 oz by weight Spa Depot MPS Shock

Barely got up to 1 ppm total bromine...

Can this indeed work with the MPS shock? Anyone else out there using MPS instead of chlorine to shock?...

Was the Spa Depot MPS shock Oxy-Spa Non-Chlorine Shock? If so, then that is a standard 43% MPS shock. The 1.25 ounces of Spa Choice Bromine Booster in 235 gallons would create a 32 ppm bromide reserve. 0.7 ounces weight of the MPS in 235 gallons would be equivalent to 4.5 ppm FC so should register as a little over 10 ppm bromine.

Did you wait before measuring the bromine level? The MPS does not react immediately with bromide to create bromine. It would probably be safer to wait an hour before testing bromine level. [EDIT] Never mind. I see from your last post that you measured after overnight and it was still low. [END-EDIT]

As waterbear noted, it's possible that the 10 ppm bromine is bleaching out your DPD bromine test in the K-2005 (though that's not quite at the level where a lot of bleaching out occurs), though the cheaper OTO (shades of yellow) test should have shown the level without bleaching out.

Perhaps you had something in the spa water that needed to get oxidized so the MPS got used up mostly doing that -- oxidizing some organics in the water, though you said this was a fresh fill so normally that wouldn't have much to oxidize unless it was well water or something like that. Try adding some more oxidizer (MPS or chlorine) and see if you get a higher reading.

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Thanks for the reply!

The OTO test measured it at about 4.5 using the multiplier, go figure...

Just to eliminate another variable. Could anyone tell me what agents I would need to mimic the FAS-DPD bromine test in the K2106. I'll order those and give it a try.

I'm going to shock again later to see what happens I think I have another brand of shock that I could try. I don't have any bleach here right now. Plus I'm not entirely comfortable using something not specifically designed to go into a spa. I just would never know what else is in a bottle of laundry bleach.

Thanks,

Michael

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Thanks for the reply!

The OTO test measured it at about 4.5 using the multiplier, go figure...

Just to eliminate another variable. Could anyone tell me what agents I would need to mimic the FAS-DPD bromine test in the K2106. I'll order those and give it a try.

I'm going to shock again later to see what happens I think I have another brand of shock that I could try. I don't have any bleach here right now. Plus I'm not entirely comfortable using something not specifically designed to go into a spa. I just would never know what else is in a bottle of laundry bleach.

Thanks,

Michael

Laundry bleach is sodium hypochlorite, liquid chlorine for pool/spa use is sodium hypochlorite. They are the same thing. Ditto for baking soda and alkalinity increaser, exactly the same. Ditto for washing soda (soda ash) and pH incraser, exactly the same thing.

You want plain, unscented, unthickend laundry bleach that is either 5.25% o 6% sodium hypoclorite. The only other thing in the bottle is water, salt, and a bit of lye, just like pool/spa liquid chlorine. You don't want scented, thickened, outdoor, or other speciality bleaches. Generic bleach or store brand is fine. Retail Clorox does contain an additive BUT the same chemical is used as a pool/spa clarifier so it's not really a foreign substance in your spa. Professional Clorox does not contain the additive but you would have to get it from a janitorial supply.

To do the FAS-DPD test you would need FAS powder and the DPD reagent, a vial (the one in your comparator used for pH, TA, and CH is fine), and the instructions on how to do the test. I don't have the reagent numbers on hand but can get them later (or you could look on the Taylor website where you can see the contents fo the 2106 kit and also read and print the instructions for it.()

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Thanks Waterbear,

Ugghh you mean do my own research to get the re-agent numbers... ;)

Ok, I feel better about using bleach. Though when I made the chemical purchases to switch over to this system I bought 3 bottles of the Oxy Spa... Hey its online and cheaper to buy in larger quantity.

I do use other household chemicals like borax, baking soda, etc. I also bought a pail of Boric acid but can't remember what it was used for :)

Hoping another shock does the trick otherwise I'll have to suspect that the bromine booster is a dud.

Cheers,

Michael

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I do use other household chemicals like borax, baking soda, etc. I also bought a pail of Boric acid but can't remember what it was used for :)

To raise your borate to 50 ppm

Hoping another shock does the trick otherwise I'll have to suspect that the bromine booster is a dud.

Cheers,

Michael

More likely, if your test results are correct, is that you have something growing in the tub and causing a high sanitizer demand. If that is the case then perhaps a decontamination might be called for.

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Tried the other MPS shock product I have and had the same reaction went up to about 2 ppm... Next attempt is to try the Chlorine Bleach all I could find was Ultra Clorox Bleach with 5.5% Sodium Hypochorlite.

I suppose there could be something growing but the fact that this is the second time I have done this procedure with the exact same results and in between the tub was behaving normally it seems unlikely.

Unfortunately no local hot tub companies carry Sodium Bromide, so I can't quickly test my theory of bad product. This procedure is great just frustrating that I can't seem to get the start-up Bromide reaction I'm supposed to get.

Would having an ozone device make any difference? As It does have one installed.

Thanks again for the attention!

Michael

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Tried the other MPS shock product I have and had the same reaction went up to about 2 ppm... Next attempt is to try the Chlorine Bleach all I could find was Ultra Clorox Bleach with 5.5% Sodium Hypochorlite.

Ultra Clorox is fine as long as it is the plain, unscented, unthickened one and NOT one of their specialty bleaches.

I suppose there could be something growing but the fact that this is the second time I have done this procedure with the exact same results and in between the tub was behaving normally it seems unlikely.

The fact that you have had startup problems twice in a row indicates either that there is a big santizer demand from something in the water or you are not creating your bromide reserve. I would try (on a fresh fill) to add just bleach to the water and see if it also disappears quickly or if you have a santizer level (use the OTO to test) IF it disappears then decontaminate. If it does not then your probably don't have a bromde bank in the water and your sudium brmide is suspect.

Unfortunately no local hot tub companies carry Sodium Bromide, so I can't quickly test my theory of bad product. This procedure is great just frustrating that I can't seem to get the start-up Bromide reaction I'm supposed to get.

You put in the sodium bromide, shock and test the level. Test it in about an hour (and make sure the tub is not in direct sunlight, try this in the evening since sunlight will destroy bromine rather quickly.) If it is not working then you either have soemthing destroying or using up the bromine or you have bad chemicals.

Would having an ozone device make any difference? As It does have one installed.

Ozone would also activate the bromide reserve in the water. The net effect is that you would not need to keep your floater as open as you would without the ozone to maintain the same residual bromine level.

Thanks again for the attention!

Michael

Borate does several things:

Helps stabilize pH by introducing a secondary pH buffer that works in conjunction with the bicarbonate buffer (TA) that is in the water. Bicarbonate tends to move pH upward, borate tends to move it downward. Together they tend to "lock" the pH at about 7.7 for an extended period of time.

It acts as an algaestat (Keeps algae and mold at bay.)

Makes the water "sparkle" (A subjective effect that has been reported over and over.)

Improves the "feel" of the water (Once again subjective but reported over and over.)

You want the borate to 50 ppm and the best way to test it is LaMotte Borate test strips, they are easier to read than the AquaChek ones.

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Unfortunately no local hot tub companies carry Sodium Bromide, so I can't quickly test my theory of bad product. This procedure is great just frustrating that I can't seem to get the start-up Bromide reaction I'm supposed to get.

Michael

Same problem here, and cannot get it shipped from the US to Canada.

Did some digging around on these forums and discovered a great little tidbit: mustard algae treatments for pools are 98-99% sodium bromide. It may be easier to find at your local pool store marketed/packaged as a mustard algae treatment.

(Note: don't tell them you're looking for sodium bromide; most seem to not have a clue. Even if you do ask for sodium bromide, and they tell you they don't have it, ask if they carry treatment for mustard algae and then get them to read you the chemical composition off the bottle).

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Hmmm Spa Depot shipped to me here in Victoria... Or maybe they didn't and that's why I'm not getting my bromide bank up! ;)

I thought I'd do one more test. I added 6.25 fl.oz of bleach and will test in an hour or so. A bit high for my 235 gal but close.

Ok so I just tested and my bromine shot WAY up to at least 10ppm or past it.... So seriously, anyone else here use MPS to shock?

Regarding the Boric acid, those sound like worthy benefits. Can I add this at any time?

Thanks!

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So seriously, anyone else here use MPS to shock?

Regarding the Boric acid, those sound like worthy benefits. Can I add this at any time?

Perhaps MPS takes longer to create bromine than it does for chlorine to do so, but I didn't think that was the case. As for the boric acid, that can be added anytime.

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