Natural Minerals/ Epsom Salt ?

pooleman9

Member
Jul 31, 2018
15
Indianapolis IN
I'm in the process of getting a 2000 gal swim spa . The salesman is giving me "Natural Spa Minerals" to add at a level of 160 lb in 2000 gal. If this is all MgSO4.7H2O that would be something like 4700 ppm (somebody please check my math). Obviously way over the recommended TDS. Should I reduce the level or just skip it all together?
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,048
Bedford, TX
9,

So what does the salesman say is the purpose of his "Natural Spa Minerals"??? Is this going to be a saltwater spa? Are these minerals supposed to replace chlorine as the sanitizer?

Anytime I hear "Giving me" and the word "Natural" my red-flag detector goes off.. As a general rule salesmen do not give away anything.. Their goal is to hook you on something so that you will come back and buy more at an exorbitant price. :mrgreen:

Let's see if we can get some of our other members to chime in.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
16,763
Is there any reason that you can't ask them what the minerals are and exactly what they're supposed to do?
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
16,033
Tucson, AZ
There is no reason to put magnesium sulfate in a recreational body of water...EVER. If you have a sprained ankle and you want to soak it, use a 2 gallon basin and buy a 5lbs bag of Epsom salt at your local drug store for $5. If your back aches and you want to soak it, do it in bath tub. But never, ever intentionally add sulfates to a standing body of water that will be in contact with pool/spa equipment.

I assume your swim spa is heated, correct?? If so, and as is the case for most spas and hot tubs, the heater will be an Incoloy or steel resistive heating element. Sulfates will cause advanced pitting corrosion in almost all ferrous metals and so adding sulfates to the swim spa water is a great for prematurely degrading the heater element.
 
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pooleman9

Member
Jul 31, 2018
15
Indianapolis IN
Thanks for the responses. It's touted as "a blend of natural ocean minerals "; therapeutic, softer silkier water, no sodium, etc etc. I'm assuming it may be a blend of Mg and K salts.

It's going to be Baquacil (which I hesitate to mention on this forum), Mg is compatible with that but the corrosion is a concern especially at the level recommended. Probably going to pass on this, and maybe look at some of the enzyme/ aromatherapy options.
 

pooleman9

Member
Jul 31, 2018
15
Indianapolis IN
I plan on calling the factory tech support on Monday (they make them locally in Indy) just to close the loop. The salesman said Epsom salts but after doing a lot of research I'm skeptical- more likely some blend of Magnesium, Potassium and other salts.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
4,662
Central California
Based on TFP teachings, my goal is to add the absolute least amount of chemicals to my pool water to keep it clean and healthy for my peeps. It's hard enough keeping the water that way without adding variables to the mix. So, for me, it's chlorine, acid and salt. Period. And that has been very successful. Paraphrasing JoyfulNoise's sound advice: if you want to take a bath, do it in a bathtub. That said, the great thing about owning and running your own pool, is that you can do it any way you want! 2000 gallons is not so much that you could always drain it and start over if you don't like what you've done...
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
16,033
Tucson, AZ
Baquacil is problematic because dealers have end-users rely strictly on blind dosing of the sanitizer and oxidizer without any testing. What we know is that the biguanide sanitizer tends to breakdown slowly enough that the usual dosing keeps it at the right level (at least in pools) but that the recommended level doesn't really seem to be strong enough to protect against bacterial growth. The oxidizer, hydrogen peroxide, is very unstable as there is no easy way to stabilize it against UV and thermal losses and it usually fluctuates all over the place because, once again, people rely on simple time-based dosing rather than measurement to guide dosing. The oxidizer is the only thing that will breakdown bather waste and if it is insufficiently low, then that bather waste is food for the bacteria. Oils and lotions tend to provide the basic lipid materials needed for biofilms to form in the plumbing. Once bacterial biofilms form in the plumbing, you then have a constant, fast-replicating reservoir of bacteria to deal with and the tub must be purged and drained. The spa dealer will try to sell you all sorts of clarifiers and enzymes to deal with the issues but none of those products either works or gets to the root cause of the issue. So you wind up going through the revolving door of poor water quality, spending lots of money to marginally fix it and then slowly returning to poor water quality again. It becomes a major hassle and a major drain on the wallet.

One way to do a better job of dosing and maintaining a baquacil pool is to use a biguanide and peroxide test kit; the strips that vendors provide are all but worthless. Unfortunately the test kit for biguanide and peroxide is quite expensive, about $180 last time I looked. The other issue is that you absolutely can not use any of the Baquacil algaecides or metal controlling chemicals that are sold to users as "fixes" to their problems as those have very strong, positive interference with the biguanide titration test. If those chemicals are present, you'll never get a reliable baquacil reading (it will read off-the-charts high).

Given all that, baquacil sanitized waters are always a lot more work and much more expensive to maintain since the raw chemicals are very pricey. It's certainly your spa and your prerogative to manage it the way you want, but don't be surprised by very poor water quality and expensive "solutions" from the spa dealer to fix it....or more frequent water exchanges.
 

pooleman9

Member
Jul 31, 2018
15
Indianapolis IN
I've been using baquacil in several pools and a spa for 27 years now, but can always learn something new - Ahhhsome has been a game-changer for the pool in my current house ( thanks TFP)! I have purchased the LaMotte 2082 test kit to help with the new swimspa, but will avoid metal control & other additives per your recommendation. Ahhhsome for spas and regular water changes should help too.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
16,033
Tucson, AZ
I've been using baquacil in several pools and a spa for 27 years now, but can always learn something new - Ahhhsome has been a game-changer for the pool in my current house ( thanks TFP)! I have purchased the LaMotte 2082 test kit to help with the new swimspa, but will avoid metal control & other additives per your recommendation. Ahhhsome for spas and regular water changes should help too.
The main ingredient in Ahhsome will also cause a strong positive interference with the biguanide titration test. If you do use it, I suggest purging and draining your swim spa aggressively with fresh water after doing the ahhsome treatment and try to suction out or otherwise drain or blow out any purge water that may be in the plumbing.