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White flakes - maybe WWM - in desperate need of HELP!


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First off - I have been reading posts on this forum for the past week, and the knowledge this community possesses, is amazing!

I recently inherited a 10 year old Hydropool hot tub. The tub had a water test on average once a year and saw varying amounts of use. That being said, they did stay up on their service to the tub. I worked at a pool store that sold this brand of tubs for 10+ years, so I felt reasonably confident that I could figure things out. Boy have I been wrong ...

I began by filling the tub up and putting in 4 capfuls of Brominating Concentrate (I am using the Bioguard product line). I then ran both pumps on high for 30 minutes. Then ran Swirl Away as per the instructions on the bottle (and the pool company). I drained the tub and balanced the water. I thought I was ready to go. I used it that evening. The following morning, I went in with my young kids (we had the temp at 88 - kind of like a small yard swimming pool). We turned a waterfall jet on and the top popped off (they said they had issues with this and kept the jet closed). Afterwards, I noticed a lot of white flakes (thinking the tissue paper other people have mentioned on here). I looked at the old filter and figured I should have bought a new one and thought maybe it was disintegrating. I purchased a new one, and used the spa for a few days for an hour or so nightly. Had a tough time maintaining the bromine levels (it has an automatic feeder in the filter for bromine). Thought maybe the filter was clogged. Wound up using up the rest of the Brominating Concentrate (800g bottle) in the next week.

I read more and thought maybe I had a BioFilm. I went in and purchased AhhSome. Ran this through the tub, with bromine levels up. Noticed a lot of foaming, so I added AntiFoam Concentrate to keep it down. At the end of the half hour, I noticed a lot of 'sludge' at the waterline on the walls of the tub. I got rid of this. Let the tub sit for another hour, then ran the jets again for a 15 minute cycle. Drained the tub. Scrubbed everything. Rinsed. Drained again.

Refilled. Still noticed the flakes that evening. I have included two videos. I think the dust particles are skin particles, but the larger ones seemed like they were something else.



I went back into the pool store, and was given SpaPurge by SpaSolution.com. The directions were to add two bottles if the tub hasn't had it run through it in over 5 years. I added these with the filter out. The tub has been circulating for 4 days (directions said to run all jets for min of 8 hours per day for 5 days) with a min temp of 90. I notice more flakes, but this could be from having the filter out, but otherwise have not noticed much change, aside from cloudy water immediately after adding the Purge.

I got curious today and took off two of the diverter valves. I could see the PVC coming into them, but couldn't tell if there was anything on the inside of the pipes. I took a stick and rubbed it up and down along the side of one of them. Once I pulled the stick out, I noticed what looked like a Baking Soda paste (what you get when you mix Baking Soda and Water). There wasn't a ton of it, but enough to exist on the stick. I tried the other valve. The stick came out clear, but once I pulled it out, I noticed a lot of flakes and the 'tissue paper' floating in the water in the lines where the diverter goes.

I read some other posts that talked about WWM, so I added three caps of Brominating Concentrate, and dropped the PH slightly with Lo N Slo. I have been able to maintain the Bromine Levels and Chlorine levels above 10 ppm all day, despite having the lid of the tub off and in direct sunlight all day.

Tomorrow's the fifth day of the Purge and I need to drain the water but I am so stressed out in not knowing what to do next. I contacted SpaSolution and they gave me a link to a document to follow for WWM. Do I try that again tomorrow?? Do I try AhhSome?? Does this sound like WWM or something else??

It looks like this forum has come up with some amazing solutions for others, and am hoping this community can do the same with me!!

I have uploaded a video with three images. They show:

-the flakes in a mason jar

-the inside of the filter canister where you can see some of the flakes floating, despite the filter having just been in

-the tube on the ozonator that has some type of white film in it


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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Bassie. I haven’t really solved my problem. But I’m leaning towards calcium based on what I have tried. I have been getting some help in Nitro’s “decon” post. You can see what I have done there. 

I thought maybe my issue was calcium stearate as well but my tub is ten years old. How old is yours?

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  • 2 weeks later...

If I read your post correctly RobinDz, you purged with ahh-some but the foam produced by ahh-some bothered you so you added a foam reducing agent?  it wasn't clear to me if you added this during the purge or after.  what I would point out here is that foam produced by ahh-some is a natural component of what makes ahh-some work -- its the surfactants that foam, so you shouldn't let foam bother you if it is produced by ahh-some during a purge.  it is what it is, and if you reduce the foam you may reduce the ahh-some's effectiveness.

the other point I would make is that you got some bad advice I'm afraid to switch purge products.  if you purge with ahh-some and you still don't have a clean spa, the answer is not to switch products the answer is to keep purging with ahh-some!  if you're interested in my purge experience, and testing several products -- and learning that it can take several purges to be effective (especially on a 10 year old spa) you can read my experimental results in great detail here


FYI this is a hobby photography site -- i just took photos of my purge experience and documented the results. 

one thing I have learned very clearly:  you don't have a clean spa until you have filled your spa, installed filters  into their normal positions, and dosed your new water with ahh-some and you see no new material released.  once you go through this exercise you will learn what it takes to achieve a clean spa - I have coached others through as many as 10 purges before success was achieved.


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Hi dlleno! Thanks for the response. I used the purge product on the different recommendation of the pool company. Their suggestion was based on the existence of white flakes, even after the purge with AhhSome. I get that it was not the proper route to go down. That being said, I did run through three additional AhhSome purges since that point.

I used Anti-Foam based on some other posts on here that I had come across. I had a lot of foaming the first time, and was able to get the brown sludge off of the sides of the tubs easier after using this. I have done three purges since then with AhhSome and no anti-foam, and am now getting foaming, but no brown sludge.

I tried adding acid and bleach to the flakes, but neither reacted to the liquids.

I came across one of your posts where you mentioned your blog previously, and that is the reason I have run through more purges with AhhSome. It's quite the read - super helpful through this process. As you mention near the conclusion re: clear water and sanitizer demand ... I can maintain a bromine level, despite frequent use, with a floater open to 2. I dropped from 22 ppm of chlorine to 18.5 ppm in a 24 hour period, before I ran through an additional purge with AhhSome. I have run through Nitro's decon procedure. I have super chlorinated and left the water in for 24 hours with a lot of aggravation on the jets and in using both pumps and the blower.

I guess I'm wondering where to go from here. Will these flakes eventually stop, assuming they are 'dead' WWM that the AhhSome purges/super chlorination have eradicated? I had a co-worker who used AhhSome as well; two purges, both with super chlorination and no foaming agent. He now has white flakes as well, where he did not prior to the purges.

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