Hot Tub Rash??? (kind of long)

Meme26

Member
Dec 10, 2017
13
Luther, OK
Pool Size
250
I am having a problem with breaking out on my legs after using my hot tub. I'll try to be as brief as possible with the details but descriptive enough to get informed input.
I first broke out in November and began doing some research. I have had some different things happening with my hot tub and I'm not sure what the problem is.

I used to use the dichlor/bleach method and it was easy because I was the only person using it and I used it pretty much every day. Recently I moved back to my home state close to my children and grandchildren and have been way less consistant on how often I used it and forgetting to add bleach when I wasn't using it. So my daughter suggested that I switch to the [email protected] system which is what she uses. I did that in July. Around the middle of October my daughter joined me in the hot tub one evening. A couple of days later I got in by myself and it really foamed up. At the time I thought it was probably from detergents or hair and body products that my daughter had used. I tested the water and found that both PH & TA were way too low. I added baking soda and got them both to come up and then didn't have a chance to use the hot tub for a few weeks. The next time I got in it foamed up again and again it PH and TA were very low. So I drained and refilled. Got it heated and the water balanced added some shock put the FROG back in and started using it again.
Shortly after is when I began breaking out. It took a few times of this happening for me to connect it with the hot tub use. So I researched about Pseudomonas folliculitis. I thought this could be the cause so I purged with AHHSOME, scooped out all the foam and biofilm, raised my FC to 10-12 with bleach and kept it that high for 48 hours, then I purged with Ahhsome again. I drained it, cleaned all of the surfaces with bleach water solution. replaced filter with a new filter and filled it back up.
I got it all started back up again and my pump went out. So Fast forward to now. I have finally gotten it repaired and started back up and the first time I used it I broke out again. No one else who has used it during the time period I have been breaking out has had any type of rash. So now I am wondering if Psuedomonas is really the problem, If I didn't do enought to get rid of it, or if I could be allergic to some chemical in the frog system. is there a way to have your water tested for psuedomonas specifically?

I am at a loss. Any help would be appreciated

Carrie
Current Chems
TH 50
FC 4
TA 120
PH 7.2
 

wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
4,633
Spring Valley, NY
First off how are you testing as no mention to what your method is. I use the TF-100 and love it. The frog system here is being frowned upon and doesn't do anything for keeping the spa chemistry healthy. You don't mention CYA and an FC of 4 will be very harsh without CYA.
 
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Mdragger88

Bronze Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 1, 2018
6,950
Hernando, Ms
Pool Size
26000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Intex Krystal Clear
Hey meme 👋
Sorry u are having issues. Many who rely on the frog 🐸 for “hands off” sanitation experience issues.
You listed your fc of 4ppm but without knowing your cya it’s impossible to say whether or not that is sanitary.
Following the FC/CYA Chart is a must for sanitary water conditions regardless of using the frog system.
What kit do u have?
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
51,247
Laughlin, NV
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Reconsider the @ease stuff
 
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Meme26

Member
Dec 10, 2017
13
Luther, OK
Pool Size
250
My CYA is likely Zero since I haven't used any Dichlor and I don't believe the frog system adds CYA.
I use a FAS-DPD test for Chlorine a separate ph drop test and strips for the TH & TA ( the strips show the other things too but are not as specific as I like for the FC) I also have the test for CYA but didn't test since I didn't think there would be any.
 

Mdragger88

Bronze Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 1, 2018
6,950
Hernando, Ms
Pool Size
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Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Intex Krystal Clear
I would purge, drain & refill then follow this guide 👇 & ditch the 🐸
Here’s some info on the contents- they’re the same as 2000 flushes - i know I don’t wanna relax in that 😬
If u want something to do the background chlorinating for u, consider a drape over swg like the saltron mini.
 
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Ahhsomeguy

In The Industry
Jul 26, 2016
356
Vero Beach, Florida
Hello Meme26: A few questions. When you first purged the tub, did you seem to get a good release of gunk? Upon adding another Ahh-Some dose for the second time, did you continue to see discoloration or was the first purge better? How old is the hot tub and were you performing periodic biofilm purges on it? Pseudomonas are nasty bacteria that can sometimes hide deep within a biofilm. As good as Ahh-Some is it can sometimes require additional purges using less gel for each successive purge. Be sure to open ALL air intakes and create maximum turbulence while purging. Keep the foam in the tub. Do not scoop it out. It is ok to simply let it rise over the shell and fall to the ground. Just hose the foam and it is gone.
Once you purge again and get the new water balanced I recommend that you look at our Aqua Clarity Concentrate product for your weekly maintenance. You still maintain adequate chlorine levels at all times but this product continuously sweeps all surface inside your plumbing and on the shell for organics that are trying to attach and begin colonization, a precursor to biofilm formation. We have had tremendous feedback from hot tub owners who were having the same issue you are in regards to the rash and now they are enjoying the tub without worry. I hate to make this post look like a sales push but we really need to help hot tub owners with this problem. Call us if you wish and we can go over all your issues and come up with a plan to get your tub healthy again.
 
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Mdragger88

Bronze Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 1, 2018
6,950
Hernando, Ms
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26000
Surface
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Chlorine
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Intex Krystal Clear
As Mdragger88^^^^^ but would take advantage of the water before draining and do a Ahh-some purge.
Igen Yes GIF by Pécsi Egyetemisták Magazinja
I have edited my post 😊
 

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Meme26

Member
Dec 10, 2017
13
Luther, OK
Pool Size
250
Hello Meme26: A few questions. When you first purged the tub, did you seem to get a good release of gunk? Upon adding another Ahh-Some dose for the second time, did you continue to see discoloration or was the first purge better? How old is the hot tub and were you performing periodic biofilm purges on it?
The hot tub is 2 years old. It was purged with ahh-some when new and has been purged with ahh-some with every drain and fill. I saw a moderate amount of gunk with the first purge (about what I see with drain and refill) and no gunk with the second purge. All air intakes were fully open.
I have always used the Bleach/dichlor method until a few months ago. Have never used MPS. I use chlorine shock on startup and test weekly after that. I do add bleach after a heavier bather load. But usage is normally only me using it 30 min/day about 5 days a week. I have never used any other chems except the baking soda.
I can go back to bleach/dichlor But need to figure out if this is really psuedomonas and if so how to get rid of it.
 

Newdude

Mod Squad
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Jun 16, 2019
18,167
NY
I still believe that without CYA the slightest amount of chlorine can be very harsh.
It is and exactly the reason we still reccomend 20-30 for bather comfort in spas and indoor pools.
I can go back to bleach/dichlor But need to figure out if this is really psuedomonas and if so how to get rid of it.
Bump your CYA and see if you have a slight chlorine sensitivity that goes away once the FC is buffered. If the rash continues, dump the frog and see if you have a sensitivity to their system. I'd bet a paycheck you will no longer care about psuedomonas.
 

Newdude

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
18,167
NY
I will try these suggestions and see what helps
Keep us posted. No matter which way you sterilize............. make darn sure to sterilize. None of that 'you need less FC because the metals in the frog system inhibit algae RUBBISH' We aren't fans of frog here, but in a hot tub that's getting dumped every 3-6 months, the long term affects on the water are less of a big deal.

But again. Either way, you are not relaxing in the tub 5 nights a week. You are making people soup. Just you in a 500 gallon tub is the same as 70 folks in my 35k pool. And you are sweating and exfoliating much more in the tub than the swimmers are. Yeah. It's pretty nasty when you think it through. Keep it sterile. :)
 

Meme26

Member
Dec 10, 2017
13
Luther, OK
Pool Size
250
Hello all,
Here is an update. I tried to check my CYA level and my dot tube was cracked all the way down the side. So I ordered another one and while waiting on it I added 1.7 oz (weighed on a digital scale) of dry stabilizer which pool math told me would raise the CYA 50ppm. I was assuming there was none in there.
Today I received the new test tube and when I checked it said 100 ppm. Now I know this is too high, but I have no idea how it already had CYA in it since the Frog supposedly doesn't add CYA. But if it raised 50ppm it must have already been at 50 ppm which according to the FC/CYA chart would have made free chlorine of 4 the minimum amount.
Also when I checked the FC today it was at 11 and I don't know how that happened either since I have not changed the setting on the Frog and I have never had FC test that high since I have been using it.

All I know is I have had a hot tub up and running for about 5 years and never had any of these problems until the frog. So I am going to have to drain and refill as soon as we get through the cold snap we are having. After that I will be going back to the diclor/bleach method.
What I need to know now is do you all think it is necessary to purge it again since I just did that twice less than a month ago?
 

5tan

Well-known member
Jan 9, 2021
63
Canada
Pool Size
1643
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I added 1.7 oz (weighed on a digital scale) of dry stabilizer which pool math told me would raise the CYA 50ppm. I was assuming there was none in there.
Today I received the new test tube and when I checked it said 100 ppm. Now I know this is too high, but I have no idea how it already had CYA in it since the Frog supposedly doesn't add CYA. So I am going to have to drain and refill as soon as we get through the cold snap we are having. After that I will be going back to the diclor/bleach method.
What I need to know now is do you all think it is necessary to purge it again since I just did that twice less than a month ago?

If your CYA truly is 100 or above, you need to purge and completely drain. Even at >50 CYA I'd say purge and drain. At 100+ CYA, your chlorine is almost totally ineffective at sanitizing, thereby allowing all kinds of bacteria and biofilms to grow inside your plumbing, jets, etc. Combine a high CYA level with a high pH level, and your chlorine will be even more useless, increasing biofilms and bacteria levels even more. Just a few days of low chlorine (<2ppm FC) or a few days of ineffective chlorine (>50ppm CYA) is enough to grow biofilms in your plumbing and filters that require purging.

The higher the CYA, the less capable chlorine is at sanitizing. The lower the CYA, the more powerful chlorine is. Interesting to note that it is illegal in most if not all cities and jurisdictions in North America to have an above zero (0) CYA level in indoor public/commercial hot tubs, and operators caught having an above zero CYA level can catch a serious fine.

You should never need to add dry stabilizer to a hot tub unless you are near the equator and the water catches many hours of sunlight per day. The small amounts of stabilizer in dichlor is more than enough to achieve a 20-30ppm CYA.

The higher the pH, the less capable chlorine is at sanitizing. The lower the pH, the more powerful chlorine is. Do not go below pH 7.2 though.

Someone else here recently posted about itching, see my response at Chlorine Itch. You want to thoroughly sanitize your spa by holding 10ppm FC with ABSOLUTELY ZERO CYA. Don't even consider adding any CYA until your spa can hold 8-10ppm FC for at least 2-3 days. You want to hold 0 CYA, pH of 7.2, and 10ppm FC for several days of low speed no-aeration circulation, to ensure a thorough kill of all pathogens. Once you are sure everything is killed off, then substitute liquid pool chlorine with dichlor to maintain your daily FC levels, and keep track of the cumulative number of grams you've added. When you've added enough grams of dichlor to reach 20-30ppm CYA, stop using dichlor and resume using liquid pool chlorine. Never add dichlor again until your next refill.
 

Newdude

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
18,167
NY
Interesting to note that it is illegal in most if not all cities and jurisdictions in North America to have an above zero (0) CYA level in indoor public/commercial hot tubs, and operators caught having an above zero CYA level can catch a serious fine.
This is entirely true. However, the governement guidelines for sanitation being used haven't been updated since the 80s. Science has made some real advances in that time, but the government has not caught up yet.
 

CristyW

Member
Jul 25, 2021
10
TX
You can buy bacterial test kits for your spa water... (IDK how well they work)

It might also be possible to get the rash cultured by a physician for P. aeruginosa.

For less spa maintenance, I use a floater with bromine tablets (covered fiberglass spa). When we purchased our home the tub had a bromine floater PLUS a Frog Serene system. I didn't want all those throw-away plastic cartridges so just went with buying bromine tabs to refill the floater. Still use chlorine shock weekly and MPS shock after use.
 

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