Let me begin by stating that I have read over many threads, comments and questions on here and I am simply amazed by the overwhelming knowledge that some of you have about water chemistry, pools, and hot tubs. I am grateful that there are people like you who are willing and able to help others and me try to understand topics on this site which will help us become better pool/hot tub owners. I appreciate it.
With that said, I am a first time hot tub owner. We purchased a brand new custom order Caldera Martinique 395 gallon, pearl shell, two pump hot tub with an inline Spa Frog bromine and mineral cartridge. It does NOT have an ozonator. I got the tub delivered and installed about 2 weeks ago. I followed the manual step by step to fill the tub and test the water chemicals and sanitizer. I will lay out the steps that I took originally.
1.) I filled the tub through the filter compartment until 1 in above highest jet and waited for temp to come up to 100 degrees. The water seemed to be a clear faint blue.
2.) I tested the water out of the hose for TA, pH, TH with test strips and adjusted them to 120, 7.4, and 120. I know the test strips are not accurate, but I was uneducated at this point as I had not found this site yet). Once the numbers were in accordance with the range in the manual I moved on to the next step. Everything seemed fine at this point.
3.) I shocked the water with MPS and ran the clean cycle(most jets on) for 10 minutes like the salesman said.
4.) I noticed a faint brownish ring around the water line. It was fairly easy to get off by just rubbing it with my finger, but came right back within seconds of me wiping it off. The water also turned a clear greenish color. See picture.
5.) I installed the Frog cartridges and dialed the bromine to 3 and mineral to 6.
6.) Not knowing what was wrong, I called the salesman and he told me that I just needed to add more MPS and run it through some more clean cycles and give the filter time to work. I did, but the brownish ring and the green color did not go away. He got ahold of one of his “techs” and they said I had metal in the water, prob copper. I got a home water test kit and the water out of the hose “passed” the copper, iron, and so on “test”.
7.) Anyways, they instructed me to get a metal gone product so I got Proteam metal magic, poured it in the tub according to the guidelines and ran the jets for 30 mins or so. After doing this, the water seemed to look much better, and the filter was brownish. I cleaned the filter very good and then installed it again, ran the jets, and the brownish ring did not come back near the water line.
8.) After about 24 hrs, the water color seemed to turn slightly clear green again, but not nearly as bad. I decided to drain the entire tub and refill.
9.) When I filled this time I used a pre filter that the dealer sold me for $75 that was supposed to filter out metals and such.
10.) I also added the metal gone during the fill as well.
11.) I did the same startup procedure as I described above.
12.) The water color was clear and blue. See picture
13.) After 24 hrs the water color changed from the blue picture to the sort of aqua picture and has stayed the same color for several days.(Last photo)
14.) During all this time I was treating the tub with MPS and sodium dichlor(granules) in accordance with the manual. I was having a hard time maintaining the bromine levels but didn't pay much attention to it because I had so many other issues going on .
15. I also added Leisure Time bright and clear and Enzymes during the second fill.
Note- pH and TA seem to have been dropping through the last week
16.) Added borates(after I found this site). Level is about 50ppm according to test strip(recommend test strip from this site, tested today)
Not knowing why the water kept changing colors after the two different fills and to try to get a better understanding of how to maintain a hot tub, I went to the internet searching for answers since the salesman hasn’t been that helpful. I found this site! I have read many threads about water chemistry, how to use bromine in the tub, and many other threads that provided me with very useful information.
I NOW know test strips aren't reliable, there aren't many fans of the Spa Frog inline system on here, and the mineral cartridge may be contributing to the metals in the water. In the past two weeks since getting the tub I have struggled so I have read and read and read. I did not post on here yet because I know from reading here that often times the test strips are inaccurate and I was waiting for my Taylor K-2106 kit to arrive which it did today to get “real” numbers. I performed the following test:
1.) pH-water tested below the minimum 7.0(dont know exact level)
3.) CH-175- I read the extended test kit directions and I seem to have a fading endpoint.(I guess would make sense if I have metals in the water, maybe from mineral cartage???) When I added the R-0011L, the water did turn pink. When I added R-0012, it started to turn purple and as added more drops, the water turned blue, then back to purple about drop 4. It did that at drop 4,5,6 and at 7 , it turned and stayed blue. The water definitely did not got directly from red to blue. It def was purple during the process. I also conducted the test in accordance with the fading endpoint instructions and got the same result. I did not have distilled water to complete the test that way. Do you think my CH is really 175.
4.) Bromine- I read in the extended test kit directions under chlorine, that MPS would show up. I assume that is the case for bromine as well. The reason I say that is because when I tested for bromine/chlorine on a test strip immediately before the drop test, the strip read under 1ppm. I had a MPS test strip and it tested “OK”. When I tested with the Taylor, the Bromine tested around 4ppm. So I am assuming the bromine test i ran with the Taylor measured the bromine and MPS in the tub, right?
Borate-50ppm via test strip
My goal from writing this response is to:
1). Find out what is going on with the water color. Is the "aqua" green color of my water in the last picture how my water should look?
2.) Knowing my situation, find the best way to sanitize the tub…bromine(2 step, 3 step), chlorine(BBB dichlor then bleach) etc…
3.) Any answers to the problems Ive laid out
FYI..my manual says do not add sodium bromide because it is an active sanitizer and will combine with and inactivate the silver ions. Also it says do not use bleach-liquid sodium hypochlorite because it will damage the tub and void warranty???
I have try to do my best to lay out what I have done over the past two weeks. I am sorry for the long winded response, but I wanted to try to be as detailed as possible so you would have the “data”. I am sure I left out some info that you may need, so please ask me any questions that you need. Thanks again for all your help and I look forward to any advice!