Bromine levels refuse to raise!/cloudy water

Bailey937

Member
Jun 24, 2021
5
Dayton Ohio
New 6 person hot tub owner here. We have had it filled for 5 days now and used 1 time due to utter confusion over chemicals, haha

Here is what we did:
DAY 1
-Filled the tub and added the shock: 2 oz Spa Frog Fresh Start (sodium dichlor) with jets running
-An hour after we shocked it, we added 2 oz metal remover with jets running
-No use, just hot tub running overnight

DAY 2
-Cleaned out filter with a hose to remove metals
-Added Spa Frog bromine and mineral floating cartridges on setting #2
-Tested chemicals and all was in perfect range
-Did not use

DAY 3
-Used the hot tub, forgot to add a dash of Swimway nonchlorine shock after use

DAY 4
-Water was dull and cloudy in the morning. Added a dash of nonchlorine shock.
-Tested chemicals and everything was great except for the bromine level was super low, the lightest shade on the test strip, called the place we bought from and they said it's normal for bromine to test at 0 on the test strips, just add clarifier for the cloudy water
-Added 3 tablespoons of clarifier in early afternoon with jets on for about 10 minutes
-Did not use due to water still cloudy at night

DAY 5
-water still cloudy
-brought sample to pool and spa place, again all levels normal except nonexistant bromine. They gave me 2 Leisure Time 2 oz packets of sodium bromide and advised me to open Spa Frog bromine and mineral cartridges to 4. Went home and added the 4 oz of sodium bromide and opened the cartridges more. Also added defoamer. This was at 11am.
-it's 8:30 pm and the water is still cloudy and I retested the water and the bromine level is still nonexistent.

What the heck went wrong? Do I have to wait 24 hours to expect clear water after adding sodium bromide and opening the cartridges? Is the water safe to use?

We followed the exact instructions our pool/spa people gave us. Please help!
 

Dan Morrill

Well-known member
Jun 8, 2020
68
London Ontario
Pool Size
23000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Yikes. That is a lot of extra "stuff" that you put in your spa.....

There is a sticky thread at the top of this sub-forum about how to run Bromine spas. It really lays out the basics for you.

Your sodium bromide was put in the build up your bromine reserve in the spa. That's good. But that doesn't clean your pool. It needs to be oxidized, usually with chlorine. I am assuming the Spa Frog Bromine also has a bit of Chlorine in it that will do that. Turning it up may not be releasing it quick enough. A bit of the dichlor product you added earlier may be all you need to increase your bromine sanitizer levels.

The sticky thread outlines 2 different ways to run the bromine spa. One uses two products, the other uses a third one. That's all. Neither has any need for minerals, clarifiers, defoamers.

Proper sanitizer levels will keep the spa from going cloudy. No need for anything else. And I know for me, if I mess up and forget to bump up my bromine after a use and it does go cloudy and doesn't go away in a day, I drain and refill. Much cheaper than trying a bunch of other chemicals to try and bring it back.

Spa and pool companies will try and sell you endless different products to use in specific orders and situations because that is how they make money. Less is always better.
 

Bailey937

Member
Jun 24, 2021
5
Dayton Ohio
Yikes. That is a lot of extra "stuff" that you put in your spa.....

There is a sticky thread at the top of this sub-forum about how to run Bromine spas. It really lays out the basics for you.

Your sodium bromide was put in the build up your bromine reserve in the spa. That's good. But that doesn't clean your pool. It needs to be oxidized, usually with chlorine. I am assuming the Spa Frog Bromine also has a bit of Chlorine in it that will do that. Turning it up may not be releasing it quick enough. A bit of the dichlor product you added earlier may be all you need to increase your bromine sanitizer levels.

The sticky thread outlines 2 different ways to run the bromine spa. One uses two products, the other uses a third one. That's all. Neither has any need for minerals, clarifiers, defoamers.

Proper sanitizer levels will keep the spa from going cloudy. No need for anything else. And I know for me, if I mess up and forget to bump up my bromine after a use and it does go cloudy and doesn't go away in a day, I drain and refill. Much cheaper than trying a bunch of other chemicals to try and bring it back.

Spa and pool companies will try and sell you endless different products to use in specific orders and situations because that is how they make money. Less is always better.
Thank you for your response!

So it seems as if I have two choices: Refill the spa and start again or perhaps use bleach to shock the water and clear it up?

My husband and I both read the bromine sticky thread and are pretty overwhelmed to be honest. 😬

Correct me if I'm wrong, but are these the correct steps to refilling and using, based on that thread?

Fill and measure/balance initial levels of water from hose
Add a couple packets of sodium bromide
(Do I wait or test between these steps? Keep cover off? Keep jets on? So many questions...)
Shock using bleach
Wait for level to drop for use, otherwise good to go
Test before every use
After every use add a dash of nonchlorine shock
Shock with bleach once a week

And that's it? What about the spa frog cartridges?

Thanks!
 

Bailey937

Member
Jun 24, 2021
5
Dayton Ohio
Yikes. That is a lot of extra "stuff" that you put in your spa.....

There is a sticky thread at the top of this sub-forum about how to run Bromine spas. It really lays out the basics for you.

Your sodium bromide was put in the build up your bromine reserve in the spa. That's good. But that doesn't clean your pool. It needs to be oxidized, usually with chlorine. I am assuming the Spa Frog Bromine also has a bit of Chlorine in it that will do that. Turning it up may not be releasing it quick enough. A bit of the dichlor product you added earlier may be all you need to increase your bromine sanitizer levels.

The sticky thread outlines 2 different ways to run the bromine spa. One uses two products, the other uses a third one. That's all. Neither has any need for minerals, clarifiers, defoamers.

Proper sanitizer levels will keep the spa from going cloudy. No need for anything else. And I know for me, if I mess up and forget to bump up my bromine after a use and it does go cloudy and doesn't go away in a day, I drain and refill. Much cheaper than trying a bunch of other chemicals to try and bring it back.

Spa and pool companies will try and sell you endless different products to use in specific orders and situations because that is how they make money. Less is always better.
Thinking more about your response.

So I probably have a good bromine bank... I just need to shock it, right?

Seems like for shock options, I can use bleach or that dichlor. I will go buy some bleach and shock overnight. Maybe that will clear up the water and give me a fresh start. I really don't want to drain, clean, and refill.

Does this sound like the right steps?
 

jseyfert3

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 20, 2017
1,804
Southern WI
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Welcome to TFP!

First off, TFPC methods are based on knowing your water so you can add chemicals/adjust as needed. We've found test strips just aren't accurate, and recommend a good drop based test kit containing the FAS-DPD test. If you're sticking with bromine, the Taylor K-2106 is what you'd want. If you want to try a chlorine hot tub, the Taylor K-2006 (or K-2006C with larger bottles) or the TF-100 from TFTestkits.net are good choices.

Proper sanitizer levels will keep the spa from going cloudy. No need for anything else. And I know for me, if I mess up and forget to bump up my bromine after a use and it does go cloudy and doesn't go away in a day, I drain and refill. Much cheaper than trying a bunch of other chemicals to try and bring it back.
This. Cloudy water, especially in a hot tub, is almost always a sanitation issue. I started with an inflatable tub on and off for a year and some, then got a house with a outdoor hot tub I've had running full time for a year and a half now. In all this time the water has always been very clear, following chlorine methods outlined here, with one exception. We had a few people in it for a few hours, "several" drinks were had, and I forgot to add the usual dose of chlorine upon getting out. I also forgot to check it for the next two days. When I did I looked like this:
full


Again that's a lack of sanitizer causing the cloudy water. A long soak can easily use up all the sanitizer in the tub, so adding more on getting out is required. Running to zero and letting it sit for any length of time can certainly make it go cloudy as all sorts of things start growing.

I tried to SLAM it and after a few days the water finally cleared up, but I had to continue due to high levels of CC's. After a couple weeks I ended up dumping and refilling to clear the CC's. With bromine you won't have CC's but depending how cloudy the water is it's likely going to take a while to clear up, and almost certainly much faster and easier to dump and refill.

So it seems as if I have two choices: Refill the spa and start again or perhaps use bleach to shock the water and clear it up?
Maybe that will clear up the water and give me a fresh start. I really don't want to drain, clean, and refill.
I'd recommend you dump and refill. Before dumping I'd recommend doing an Ahh-Some purge, especially as you probably didn't do one with the new tub. There's junk in the lines of even new tubs it's best to flush out, and if you got it used you definitely want to get that flushed out.

My husband and I both read the bromine sticky thread and are pretty overwhelmed to be honest. 😬

Correct me if I'm wrong, but are these the correct steps to refilling and using, based on that thread?

Fill and measure/balance initial levels of water from hose
Add a couple packets of sodium bromide
(Do I wait or test between these steps? Keep cover off? Keep jets on? So many questions...)
Shock using bleach
Wait for level to drop for use, otherwise good to go
Test before every use
After every use add a dash of nonchlorine shock
Shock with bleach once a week
I understand, there's a lot to take in here. Don't worry though, we'll get you sorted out and into happy hot tub users!

I'm not a bromine user myself, most people here, at least the active posters, just use chlorine. That sounds more or less what I remember from reading that thread, except you're going to want to test between uses and add MPS or bleach to maintain your bromine sanitizer levels. In other words, if you test and things are good, you soak, get out and add MPS, and then don't test the tub for a week cause you didn't use it for a week you're going to run out of bromine and have cloudy water again. If you have a bromine floater that will help maintain the bromine levels of course, but you will still want to test to ensure it's set right or the bather load from that long soak didn't overload the tub.

And that's it? What about the spa frog cartridges?
They are not needed. There have been some people here who have tried the chlorine version of Spa Frog but from what I've seen nobody has been particularly happy with them.
 

Bailey937

Member
Jun 24, 2021
5
Dayton Ohio
Welcome to TFP!

First off, TFPC methods are based on knowing your water so you can add chemicals/adjust as needed. We've found test strips just aren't accurate, and recommend a good drop based test kit containing the FAS-DPD test. If you're sticking with bromine, the Taylor K-2106 is what you'd want. If you want to try a chlorine hot tub, the Taylor K-2006 (or K-2006C with larger bottles) or the TF-100 from TFTestkits.net are good choices.


This. Cloudy water, especially in a hot tub, is almost always a sanitation issue. I started with an inflatable tub on and off for a year and some, then got a house with a outdoor hot tub I've had running full time for a year and a half now. In all this time the water has always been very clear, following chlorine methods outlined here, with one exception. We had a few people in it for a few hours, "several" drinks were had, and I forgot to add the usual dose of chlorine upon getting out. I also forgot to check it for the next two days. When I did I looked like this:
full


Again that's a lack of sanitizer causing the cloudy water. A long soak can easily use up all the sanitizer in the tub, so adding more on getting out is required. Running to zero and letting it sit for any length of time can certainly make it go cloudy as all sorts of things start growing.

I tried to SLAM it and after a few days the water finally cleared up, but I had to continue due to high levels of CC's. After a couple weeks I ended up dumping and refilling to clear the CC's. With bromine you won't have CC's but depending how cloudy the water is it's likely going to take a while to clear up, and almost certainly much faster and easier to dump and refill.



I'd recommend you dump and refill. Before dumping I'd recommend doing an Ahh-Some purge, especially as you probably didn't do one with the new tub. There's junk in the lines of even new tubs it's best to flush out, and if you got it used you definitely want to get that flushed out.


I understand, there's a lot to take in here. Don't worry though, we'll get you sorted out and into happy hot tub users!

I'm not a bromine user myself, most people here, at least the active posters, just use chlorine. That sounds more or less what I remember from reading that thread, except you're going to want to test between uses and add MPS or bleach to maintain your bromine sanitizer levels. In other words, if you test and things are good, you soak, get out and add MPS, and then don't test the tub for a week cause you didn't use it for a week you're going to run out of bromine and have cloudy water again. If you have a bromine floater that will help maintain the bromine levels of course, but you will still want to test to ensure it's set right or the bather load from that long soak didn't overload the tub.


They are not needed. There have been some people here who have tried the chlorine version of Spa Frog but from what I've seen nobody has been particularly happy with them.
Well, we decided to add bleach thinking we just needed to shock it and the water is tinted a sea green now.

We freaked out and googled it and are wondering if we are damaging our tub.

Time to drain and try again.
 

Dan Morrill

Well-known member
Jun 8, 2020
68
London Ontario
Pool Size
23000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
How did you fill your spa? Town water or well water? Sometimes a dose of chlorine will cause a colour change if there is iron in your water.
 
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