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What's The Step By Step To Bromine Treatment?


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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.

True that BUT read the label. Not all mustard algae treatments are sodium bromide, some are organic or inorganic ammonia compounds so be sure to read the label. Jack's Yellow Stuff and Proteam Mustard and Black Magic are sodium bromide (and there are some others also).

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Well things seem to be functioning normally now that I have switched to bleach as the shocking chemical...

Couple things I was hoping to clarify:

1. Regarding spa temp does it matter if the spa is cold or warm when performing the fresh fill steps?

2. I assume with regards to the liquid products that oz means fluid ounces (fl oz)? Just want to make sure my math conversions are accurate.

Thanks!

Michael

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  • 8 years later...
  • 2 years later...

Complete newbie here trying to follow the first post in this thread to have my spa use bromine as I'm having real trouble keeping it in balance using chlorine.

All other places I have seen always say heat up the spa before balancing the water, is there a reason you say not to please as I have just brought it up to temperature before I was going to start following the instructions, does this change anything?

Also for the shock it says you can use chlorine, do you mean a chlorine based shock or actual chlorine granules because I thought the latter was a complete no no?

Thanks for your help and possibly subsequent patience lol

Regards

Mike

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On 6/17/2022 at 3:14 AM, mikensam said:

All other places I have seen always say heat up the spa before balancing the water, is there a reason you say not to please as I have just brought it up to temperature before I was going to start following the instructions, does this change anything?

Sometimes it can take up to a week to balance the water (for example, lowering very high total alkalinity) and the spa needs to be uncovered so why pay for heat and also increase your evaporation until you are where you need to be and can keep the spa covered. It's just common sense.

On 6/17/2022 at 3:14 AM, mikensam said:

Also for the shock it says you can use chlorine, do you mean a chlorine based shock or actual chlorine granules because I thought the latter was a complete no no?

 

Why do you think that adding chlorine to a bromine system is a "complete no no"? While it is true that you do not want to add bromine to a chlorine system because it will convert it to a bromine system it is also true that chlorine or MPS is necessary in a bromine system.

To shock, or more correctly oxidize, the bromide bank in the water you need to add an oxidizer. Chlorine fits the bill. In fact bromine tabs are mostly chlorine, one step bromine products are mostly dichlor with some sodium bromide, and commercial two step bromine is sodium bromide and either dichlor or MPS (non chlorine shock).

There is no such thing as a 'chlorine based shock', it's just chlorine (usually calcium hypochlorite or dichlor) and often contains unwanted ingredients such as copper based algaecides and water clarifiers. Shock is not a product, it's something you do to a spa or pool. In other words, it's not a noun, it's a verb! 😉

As far as chlorine sources that can be used I prefer sodium hypochlorite (liquid pool chlorine or plain, unscented, unthickened laundry bleach) but you can use dichlor since the stabilizer (Cyanuric Acid or CYA) is not an issue in a bromine system, unlike a chlorine system that quickly becomes overstabilized since dichlor adds 9 ppm CYA for every 10 ppm free chlorine added. I tend to stay away from calcium hypochlorite since it adds 7 ppm of calcium hardness for every 10 ppm of  free chlorine added. Lithium hypochlorite is a good choice if you can afford it.  It's the most expen$ive form of chlorine and has no negative effect like liquid chlorine in a fast dissolving powder form

 

Here are some posts that you might find helpful:

https://www.poolspaforum.com/forum/index.php?/topic/52522-some-truths-about-ph-and-ta/

https://www.poolspaforum.com/forum/index.php?/topic/28846-lowering-total-alkalinity-howto/

https://www.poolspaforum.com/forum/index.php?/topic/53410-how-to-use-bromine-3-step-method/

https://www.poolspaforum.com/forum/index.php?/topic/53108-some-truths-on-bleach-dosing/

 

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Thank you for the reply, makes absolute sense why i would want to keep the hot tub cold to balance the water, i think that might be the source of my problem too, I couldn't seem to get the TA down initially going by the amount recommended on the back of the bottle for the water in the tub I have but I have since read that if you have a poor water source and especially hard water (which I have both) TA can be so high that it can sometimes take oz's and oz's of acid, (im using Ph down as i already had it) to get the reading in range. I have just doubled the initial amount of Ph down I used and 150g in total in a 315 gallon tub so far is making a bit of a difference on the my strips but I think I may require more. (I cant get a taylor kit in the uk).

Re the 2nd paragraph, so i can use the standard choline granules I already have (photo attached) to oxidize the sodium bromide?

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8 minutes ago, mikensam said:

Re the 2nd paragraph, so i can use the standard choline granules I already have (photo attached) to oxidize the sodium bromide?

Post the ingredients. If they are dichlor and nothing else yes. If they are trichlor I would not since trichlor is slow dissolving and extremely acidic. If they are fast dissolving they are most likely dichlor. You can always search for the sds (safety data sheets on the internet. I did fine the Clearwater SDS and it is dichlor.

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So i can use the ClearWater stuff which is good news as that's almost a full tub. do the dosages on the side still apply as we're using it in bromine system and not a purely chlorine one, how much should I be using?

here is the back of the label for the Acti-Spa stuff :) Thank you again for your help

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, mikensam said:

here is the back of the label for the Acti-Spa stuff 

This is also dichlor, sodium troclosene is anther name for it along with Sodium 3,5-dichloro-2,4,6-trioxo-1,3,5-triazinan-1-ide and Sodium dichloroisocyanurate. To paraphrase William Shakespeare

“What's in a name? that which we call Dichlor
By any other name would sanitize as well.”

😁

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4 hours ago, mikensam said:

how much should I be using?

Depends on whether you are doing 2 step bromine (create bromide bank with sodium bromide and daily addition of oxidizer to maintain bromine level) or 3 step bromine (create bromide bank with sodium bromine, shock, then add floater with bromine tabs to maintain bromine level and shock weekly with chlorine to above 10 ppm bromine to destroy organics from bathers in the water). When you add chlorine to a bromine system with an established bromide bank the chlorne converts the sodium bromide to bromide sanitizers (hypobromous acid) very quickly. IF there is not an established bromide bank (often the case when you are only using bromine tabs in a floater where it can take weeks to establish the bromide reserve) you have chlorine in the water, which will also sanitize, so all is good.

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8 minutes ago, waterbear said:

Depends on whether you are doing 2 step bromine (create bromide bank with sodium bromide and daily addition of oxidizer to maintain bromine level) or 3 step bromine (create bromide bank with sodium bromine, shock, then add floater with bromine tabs to maintain bromine level and shock weekly with chlorine to above 10 ppm bromine to destroy organics from bathers in the water). When you add chlorine to a bromine system with an established bromide bank the chlorne converts the sodium bromide to bromide sanitizers (hypobromous acid) very quickly. IF there is not an established bromide bank (often the case when you are only using bromine tabs in a floater where it can take weeks to establish the bromide reserve) you have chlorine in the water, which will also sanitize, so all is good.

For the 3 step process please, I added 45g (for a 315 gallon tub) of sodium bromide earlier but was waiting on your reply to make sure i use the correct amount of chlorine to properly shock.

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2 hours ago, mikensam said:

or the 3 step process please,

You would use the dichlor for weekly shocking or after a very heavy bather load (such as a party). You want to use enough to raise the bromine above 10-15 ppm. I would start with a teaspoon per 100 gallons (about 375 liters), wait a few minutes and test the bromine level. If too low add a bit more dichlor and retest. If too high use less next time you shock. It's a bit of trial and error but you will quickly learn how much you need for normal maintenance in YOUR tub.

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2 hours ago, mikensam said:

if you dont mind, could you also give me your thoughts on this please?

https://www.happyhottubs.co.uk/pool-lab-1-0-photometer-electronic-water-tester

Its kind of the closest thing i can find to the taylor testing equipment that offers an option for all of the tests recommended.

I'm not a fan of meters but I know that good test kits are hard to get in the U.K. This looks like an excellent unit however and the price is not that bad. The tests you are interested in are Total bromine, pH, TA, and Calcium Hardness so you will have to buy some additional reagents to test Calcium hardness. As far as needing the glycine reagent for bromine, I've never heard of that since chlorine oxidizes the bromide bank into bromine sanitizer and the fact that bromine tablets are mostly chlorine! The ONLY way you would have a bromine spa without adding chlorine is if you are shocking with MPS, which also creates an interference and causes the sanitizer to read high or if you are using a salt water generator and using pure sodium bromide and not a mixture of sodium chloride (to produce chlorine) and sodium bromide (to create a bromide reserve to be oxidized by the chlorine  produced). I would use the Free Chlorine test and multiply the results by 2.25 to get your bromine reading (multiplying by 2 is close enough and much easier, btw).

Before you  buy it make sure you have a source to get the reagents since the website you linked ablve does not seem to carry many of them.

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Thanks for the advice re the tester, i can readily get the tablets for all the tests except the calcium hardness ones, they only seem to be available in australia 🙄 Is the calcium hardness a really important part of testing as im not testing for it now with strips but I do know we live in a very hard water area so...?

I shocked the tub this morning going by the above so used 15g of chlorine granules (1 teaspoon apparently around 4.18g)

The readings looked good immediately afterwards, the Total Bromine was around 9, Free Chlorine about 3, and pH/TA were a little high so I added another 25g of pH down.

Just tested again a couple of hours later and took photos this time, the TA and pH high and the Bromine/free chlorine have considerably reduced. 

What would you suggest I do next?

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1 hour ago, mikensam said:

Total Bromine was around 9, Free Chlorine about 3

Not from where I'm sitting. First, disregard the Free Chlorine reading if you have a scale for Total Bromine. If you don't then multiply the Free Chlorine reading by 2.25 to get Total Bromine. My guess is that your readings are  much higher since the colors on the strip are very pastel which indicates bleachout because of high sanitizer levels that are off scale. The other possibility is that your photo of the strip was taken after 15 seconds and the strip

 

1 hour ago, mikensam said:

The readings looked good immediately afterwards, the Total Bromine was around 9, Free Chlorine about 3, and pH/TA were a little high so I added another 25g of pH down.

had started to dry, in which case the readings are inaccurate.

1 hour ago, mikensam said:

 Is the calcium hardness a really important part of testing

Yes, Total hardness, which is what strips test, is a combination of calcium and magnesium hardness. Magnesium does not cause scale deposits, high calcium hardness does. If your water is very hard then you would want to add a weekly dose of metal sequestrant or hardness reducer to help prevent scaling. It won't remove the calcium but will chelate it so it doesn't deposit as scale. On the other hand, low calcium (soft water) can lead to increased foaming in the tub. Ideally, calcium hardness should be around 130 to 200 ppm.

1 hour ago, mikensam said:

The readings looked good immediately afterwards, the Total Bromine was around 9, Free Chlorine about 3, and pH/TA were a little high so I added another 25g of pH down.

First, there is no way to accurately determine that your Total Bromine was around 9 based on the resolution of the color blocks on the bottle, best you can do is a halfway point so if you were darker than 5 and lighter than 10 the best guess would be around 7. The Free Chlorine at 3 is much easier to determine since there is a color block for 3. IF we take that Free Chlorine reading and multiply it by 2.25 we get a Total bromine reading of 6.75 so given the accuracy of test strips (which is not great) it's safe to say your bromine is around 7 ppm at that point. My guess is that the chlorine you \added had not fully dispersed though the water at that point and when you retested later it had and the readings was much higher . You pH test indicates this since there is a known interference between the phenol read indicator used to test pH and high sanitizer levels. Both chlorine and bromine react with phenol red and convert it to either chloropheol red or bromophenol red. Both of these indicators have the same color changes as phenol red but at a much lower pH range and top out at pH of 6.7 and 6.8 respectively so the color in your picture that indicates a pH of around 8.4 would mean that all we know about the pH is that it is AT OR ABOVE 6.8.NEVER test pH after shocking. A good pH test should be accurate up to about 10 ppm bromine but many of the ones on the market exhibit this behavior as low as 3 to 5 ppm bromine. An alternative, if you want to spend the money, is a glass electrode pH meter but you will also need the buffer solutions to calibrate it and the actual electrode  needs to be replaced, usually yearly.

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I'm not sure how can it be off the chart? I've been very careful to measure and weigh everything.. I tested again before typing this and its still low on the total bromine and free chlorine chart, if its bleaching out, shouldnt it briefly go through all the colours in the gradient and then bleach off the chart?

I think I'm at the point of buying the expensive tester and if i cant get it right with that cutting my losses, a pool table would look nice in its place anyway haha

I can get this reagent which tests for Total Hardness, could it be used/adapted for Calcium Hardness?

https://www.happyhottubs.co.uk/hot-tub-chemicals/hottub-swimming-pool-testing/pool-lab-total-hardness-reagent-1-2

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This kit will fit the bill for you:

https://www.lovibond.com/en/PW/Water-Testing/Products/Test-Kits/Pooltester/Pooltester-Multipooltester-5-in-1-in-plastic-case

IF you want a specific test for bromine you can add this one (which I would highly recommend because it will give you a bigger bromine scale than the 5 in one which will only test to  6.75 ppm by multiplying the FC by 2.25:

https://www.lovibond.com/en/PW/Water-Testing/Products/Test-Kits/Pooltester/Pooltester-Bromine-pH

Here is a stand alone Calcium Hardness test kit if you decide to go with the pool lab meter:

https://www.lovibond.com/en/PW/Water-Testing/Products/Test-Kits/MINIKIT/MINIKIT-AF-416

I found these with a search on google and I'm in the US. You will probably have many more results that I get. Also check Amazon.

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