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Help - White Water Mold or Perhaps Mustard Algae?


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A month ago, I noticed a buildup of a flakey cream/yellow colored substance on the edge of the gaskets behind my jets. When touched with a finger, it floats off into the water.  Some of it was also showing up in the filter.  The dealer identified it as white algae and gave me a process of adding 3/4 cup of dichlor letting it sit with the cover off for 10 hours, repeat the dose and then do a purge (used ah some), drain and refill.  I did this and it seemed to have cleared up the problem.  Today, 1 month later I noticed the substance is coming back.

I am using the dichlor then bleach method and check the Cl levels daily.  I am pretty sure that CL levels have not fallen to zero ever and certainly confident they have not over the last month.    Other parameters:

TA:70

CH: 160

CYA: 30

BOR: 40

pH: 7.8

If this is white mold or algae, how is it getting into the tub and re-growing in maintained chlorine levels?  I did top up the water a time or two over the last month with a hose that I use only for the hot tub.  I drain it before putting away and run the water through it for a couple min before putting in the tub.  Could this be where it is coming from?  How do you prevent that?  Is the decontamination process in this forum better to do if I have to do it again?  Is it the solution?

Here is a photo of what the material looks like with a jet removed.  This was from the first round of having it.

Thanks in advance.

 

IMG_2390.jpg

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  • dashmer changed the title to Help - White Water Mold?

I can't say from the pic, but your description sounds like deteriorating gaskets. 

If you have mold in between the flange, gasket, and shell you'll have a hard time getting rid of it, as so little of your treated water will get in there. 

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Thanks for getting back to me RDspaguy.  Funny you should say that as at first that is what I thought too.  It was when I showed the pics to the dealer last time that they said white algae.  The slightest touch and it flakes off and the gasket looks perfect below. It only seems to want to grow or attach to the edge of the gaskets. I have not seen it anywhere other than the filter where little particles like this show up (waterfall outlet).

IMG_2382.thumb.jpg.133504201a12a1c9eef6ac760b13f319.jpg

 Nothing really came out of the pipes when I purged with ahsome a month ago. Tub is 12 months old.

What is frustrating is we went for one month after the decontamination and it came back.  Cl never dropped below 2 ppm. Water clarity is perfect. Could it be coming from my garden hose?  I do store it inside after using it and am thinking it might be growing in it and then getting back into the tub when I do a top up.  I really am not looking forward to doing another decontamination and water change after only one month, especially if I don't know why it is coming back..don't want to see it again in another month.  Hoping to get some input from @waterbear too...  I am at a loss 😞

Thanks again.

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  • dashmer changed the title to Help - White Water Mold or Perhaps Mustard Algae?
  • 3 weeks later...

Post what sanitizer and other products you have added to the water (any balancers, clarifier, algaecides, etc.). DId you add the dicHlor and what did it do to your CYA? (Dichlor adds 9 ppm CYA for every 10 ppm FC added!)

 

Mustard Algae usually does not just grow on gaskets. It will usually be on the walls and floor of the tub and is a bright mustard yellow color. White water mold (which is bacterial) is usually seen as free floating flakes in the water that disintegrate when touched. I've never seen them collect on a gasket like in your picture. I suspect it's more likely some sort of scum in the water from bathers (suntan products. lotions, creams, hair products, normal body oils, etc). They usually form a scum line in the tub but can collect behind jets since, as @RDspaguysaid, not much water gets their and it's very possible for matter to collect. Do you also have any kind of scum line in the tub? One of the purposes of the filter is to collect such matter, so finding it in the filter means the filter is doing what it is supposed to be doing. White water mold would not really collect in the filter nor would mustard algae. 

 

I prefer to drop a Scumbug, Zorbie, or Sunsorb  or one of the other oils absorbing sponges in the water to deal with scum. They are inexpensive and is the first thing I would try to see if it eliminates or lessens the problem You can also try an enzyme product but I haven't found them to be any more effective than an oil absorbing sponge and they cost a LOT less.

scumbug.jpg

sunsorb.jpg

zorbie.jpg

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17 hours ago, waterbear said:

Post what sanitizer and other products you have added to the water (any balancers, clarifier, algaecides, etc.). DId you add the dicHlor and what did it do to your CYA? (Dichlor adds 9 ppm CYA for every 10 ppm FC added!)

Thanks for getting back to me waterbear.

We use bleach as a sanitizer (as in dichlor then bleach method) and the levels are checked every day. We use a pH down product from the dealer on occasion to knock the pH down. We also use a natural enzyme product (SpaGuard) semi regularly.   CYA levels should be around be around 30ppm.   For clarity, the big decontamination slug of dichlor was done on a previous body of water (that was dumped right after the process) to kil supposed "white mould"

On your suggestion of it being a scum of some kind, it has me thinking.  It has only been my wife and I using the tub and we take showers and dont use any products before getting in.  We also use a scumbug and have no visible water line.  We do feel a scummy film above the water line on occasion that we wipe off with a microfiber cloth. 

We did some brainstorming as to when this started happening and realized that we used a liquid aromatherapy product on occasion and started doing that shortly before we started seeing this material around the gaskets.  Could this be the cause of material around the gaskets and in the filter and the scummy film?  We have been using the tub for 9 months prior to this happening without issue.   In any case, we are not going to use anything but the bleach for the next while to see if that helps.

Thanks again for your help.

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3 hours ago, dashmer said:

We did some brainstorming as to when this started happening and realized that we used a liquid aromatherapy product on occasion and started doing that shortly before we started seeing this material around the gaskets. 

We have a winner!

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Wow. A lot of chlorine was thrown at the tub thinking it was something organic and it was something we put in...jeez...so much for not affecting water chemistry.  I wonder if it also caused an extra load on the Cl.  We have used several other brands of aromatherapy on occasion during the first 9 months without issue, but the one we used in Dec. just before the issue was a different one. We are not going to use any of them for a while and see if the problem disappears.

Thanks for your help again waterbear....just needed someone to put me on the right path.  Hope you are right!

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Just about all aromatherapy products will increase sanitizer demand and the sanitizer will oxidize them. It's a fragrance so it probably has essential oils (most likely synthetic) or derivatives. When they break down it's very poosible for them to form scum.

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I feel like I am the first to run into this on the forum, even thought we only use one of these products a few times a month at the very most.  I would have expected others to be complaining about the issue.  Have you seen this come up before in the forum?

Here is a video of what it looked like back in January when I first noticed it.  Might be helpful for someone else in the future if they run into the same thing.

Thanks.

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I was thinking more of the strange accumulation on the gaskets...  

Note that the accumulation was on the gaskets behind the jets as well as the one behind the light and in the skimmer area.  All gaskets has some accumulation but not "visible" anywhere else.

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not unusual either. stuff can accumulate in areas of low water flow, especially on a material such as a gasket that has an affinity for deposits to adhere. Your situation is fairly common. gunk accumulates when there is not a lot of water flow and on materials that the gunk can stick to readily. If it makes you feel better thinking your situation is unique then go for it but it's really not.

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