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Yellow/white slimy flakes in my hot tub (Giant but break down easy)


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Has anyone seen this before!?! My hot tub is less than a year old it's a Dynasty Palm Island II everything works great it has lots of extras like the ozone thing a gecko motor blah blah blah... But after only about 2 months in these little flakes started to appear, I have been a stickler for checking the water chemistry at least 2 times weekly. At first I really thought it was like someone's dead skin that came off ūü§Ę but it gradually got worse even after shocking, lowering the PH,¬† water changing. We stored it for the winter after about 3 water changes for cleaning and pulled it back out, they are still here!! Bigger and way more, 4 water changes, shocking, vinegar, bleach testing for biofilm (didn't desolve by the way) it's still here, less but they are so big. I haven't found anything on the same level. My dealer is dumbfounded, I'm stuck.

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Could be:

1) calcium stearate from lube used in the manufacture of the pipes (however, this mostly affects tubs built between 2016 and 2018)

2) calcium silicate (a type of scale that does not dissolve in muriatic acid)

3) scale (calcium carbonate) that will dissolve in muriatic acid but not necessarily in vinegar

A full set of test results will tell us more so we are not just guessing. However, I suspect that your calcium hardness is high and your pH has been high also. I will also bet that your TA is high. (most of the 'recommended' ranges for these parameter put them way too high for tubs. The ranges recommended are more applicable to pools that are running trichlor tabs.  DO not test with strips, they don't have the resolution needed to determine what is going on and they cannot test calcium hardness, only total hardness. They are also prone to testing the pH lower than it really is.

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  • 7 months later...
Quote

 

Both individuals with the same issue say they have drained their tubs to change the water but are not mentioning as to whether or not they have employed an effective plumbing purge product.  Draining the water is absolutely recommended periodically but the one thing you should do just prior to draining is putting in a plumbing and jet cleaner to clean the insides of the plumbing infrastructure.  I tend to share Waterbears hunch that it may be a calcium issue. It is very unlikely that you have a calcium stearate issue.  Most manufacturers purchase their tubing from a very large and popular manufacturer.  If there was another calcium stearate issue this forum would be lighting up with lots of affected tubs.  Be sure that you are both using chlorine or bromine in the correct ongoing dosages.  

 

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  • 6 months later...

I was one of the people that discussed having these on February 5th. The  Hot Springs/ Watkins dealer came and tested everything and tried various things. They determined that maybe it was a (rare) manufacturing issue so they gave us a new tub - still under warranty.

New tub came in March. The same exact issue started to develop in June. We got the water (and our source water) tested at a pool store and it came back that we had very high Phosphate levels in our source water (even higher in our pool - like 1500 PPB) and very low chlorine levels in both our source and spa - like .07 PPM. Did some online research and found these high phosphate levels often reduce the chlorine levels as the chlorine has to work to eliminate the phosphate.  This is interesting as despite adding shock regularly, the chlorine levels in our spa always remained super low. 

My next plan is to drain the tub and start over, getting a Phosphate reducer while also adding more shock that stated in directions. Hopefully, the yellow flakes are indeed some some of algae / biofilm and the increased chlorine and reduced phosphate levels will eliminate these flakes.  Also got phosphate strips to monitor the PPB levels. 

Fingers crossed!!

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I would do what RDspaguy says.  You have biofilms.  Purge the tub plumbing with an effective cleaner.  Your issue is so easy to eliminate.

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Unfortunately I already drained my tub. I'll use the phosphate reducer and more chlorine when I refill it...and hopefully that reduces /eliminates the bio film if that's what it is. And if comes back , I'll try the cleanser and drain it again. I hate wasting 450 gallons of water given our CA drought...but it needs to be useable

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  • 2 months later...

Hi there We went to Leslie's pool which is a national retailer and they did a pH analysis of both our tap water and the hot tub water and it showed that our phosphate level was really high. When the phosphate level is really high then the chlorine needs to work even harder to reduce the phosphate which then allows kind of slime and fungus and that kind of stuff to grow (and also explains why it's so hard to get the PH strips to register our chlorine levels even if we put a bunch in). So I think that's what it actually was. So now all I do is just put a lot more chlorine than I ever did and that's working - after I emptied out the hot tub. If I run the Jets once in a while I'll get a little bit of residue from the past cuz the stuff that's stuck in it. But overall it's it's been cleared

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Gadino22:  Contact Watkins (Hot Spring) in California.  Ask their customer service person you speak with about biofilms in the plumbing and on the shell.  They will advise you correctly.  You need to purge the tub.  Yes you will drain the water after this simple maintenance procedure.  Getting rid of the biofilms is one of the best things you can do in order to achieve crystal clear healthy and satisfying water without the hassle of extreme sanitizer decay and other issues.  Just do it!  You will see the difference.  Call them tomorrow.  They will assist and you can follow what they tell you. These people are great and they deal with issues like this daily.  You have a wonderful hot tub my friend. 

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Fully understand.  You do not need a new hot tub.  The yellow gunk you see is typically found and seen in every single hot tub and swim spa periodically.  Look at it this way.  We all brush our teeth daily, sometimes more than once daily.  However, every 6 months or so we are encouraged to go to our dentist to get a cleaning to eliminate plaque. Plaque is biofilm that has attached to our teeth.  It is scraped off and the entire process starts all over again.  No matter how well you brush, floss and use mouthwash, the plaque returns.  Your hot tub plumbing is like this.  You maintain excellent water chemistries and perform all the necessary steps to maintain a healthy hot tub environment but biofilms are always present where you cannot typically see them.  Biofilms in hot tubs and swim spas are a huge issue.  People are always trying to conserve and keep the water for longer periods before dumping.  The reason I wanted you to contact Watkins is for their cs people to reinforce the need for purging periodically, not to replace your hot tub.  For those hot tub owners who are reluctant to drain their tubs it should be noted that many thousands of gallons of water are used on a weekly basis for simply daily showers and other typical daily living.  Dumping 250-450 gallons of water every 4-6 months is really not a huge waste of resources.  There are huge benefits when hot tub water is drained on a periodic basis.  I encourage you to read about biofilms in hot tubs.  

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Phosphates do not deplete chlorine! Algae and biofilms deplete chlorine. Read that a few times and let it sink in!

Listen to @Ahhsomeguy, he speaks the truth!!!!!!

Phosphates are a non issue. Phosphates are one of two algae foods that can be found in a tub or pool. The other is nitrates. We don't test for nitrate since the only way to lower them is by changing out the water with nitrate/phosphate free water. Phosphates can be precipitates and then filtered out by Lanthanum salts (a messy process at best). However, it does give pool stores another product they can sell you! (I used to work in that sector of the industry so I do have knowledge on this). The way phosphate removers work is they remove one of the food sources for algae growth.  However this will only work if phosphates are the limiting factor in algae growth. Often they are not and nitrates are the problem. I'm not saying that phosphate removers are a scam but the are unnecessary almost all the time. If algae is the problem maintaining proper chlorine levels for the CYA level will take care of the problem as will addition of a polyquat 60 (Polyloxyethylene Idimethyliminiol ethylene· (dimethyliminiol ethylene dichloride) based algacide if needed (stay away from linear quats and copper based algacides).

Phosphates and nitrates usually find their way into  pools and spas by runoff from fertilizer.

Since spas are kept covered most of the time one of the necessary items for algae growth, sunlight, is absent so the problem in spas is the formation of biofilm in the plumbing. This can occur whether the phosphate levels are high or non-existent. The solution is to purge the spa on a regular basis as @Ahhsomeguysuggested.

FWIW, my pool and spa have phosphate levels of over 10,000 ppb (that is  parts per billion, not parts per million or ppm) and have for about 20 years now and I do not use phosphate remover nor do I have algae or biofilm Phosphate removers are usually recommended for phosphate levels of 100 ppb but research has indicated that if they are going to have any impact on algae growth (i.e. they are the limiting factor) it does not occur below 1000 ppb.

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