New Hot Tub Few Questions

Aug 1, 2010
8
#1
Hi there,

About a month ago purchased a Caldera Vanto Spa and have some issues/questions.

The "startup" kit was pretty lame. Didn't come with any type of instructions. It was just two frog cartridges and a bottle of test strips. Thats it. I went to my local pool supply and had them test the water. They got be dialed in with Spa Up, Down, alkalinity stuff and non-chlorine shock. Followed all the directions that they told me to do after the water test. About a week later water had a nice greenish tint. Went back had water tested again.. they said all looked great and must be copper in the water. So I went with my instincts after owning pools at all my previous homes and went and bought dichlor and shocked the spa. Guess what? The green went away and the water was crystal clear again. Lesson learned for me right now is dont trust what they say at the pool store.

So after that introduction here we go...

1. Test strips for me seem to be worthless. What is the best test kit for a bromine spa? As much as I shock and mess with chemicals I still have alot of foam when i run the jets. Also like a scum ring around the water line. Not just dirt but like oily sticky gunk. So I am at a loss. I feel a tester will help me figure this out quicker.
2. Pool Store told me the Frog system is a joke and is a ripoff. They told me to ditch the cartridges and get a bromine floater. Does that sound right?
3. Whats the best sanitizing routing? I read on the forums that 7oz of non-chlorine shock per person per 1 hour. I use the hot tub daily, wife every other day with me. Kids usually once or twice a week.
4. Bromine. Again this is what the spa came with and the pool store said its the best. Keep bromine or go to chlorine.. or see question 5
5. (Most Important) ITCH. Since using the tub it has made me very itchy and it doesnt go away after getting out of the water. My past two homes that had pools I had sensitive skin to normal chlorine used in pools. I'd get a burning sensation after a little bit. Converted both to salt and never had an issue again. I am thinking this is the same thing going on but instead of burning its an itch because of water temp. Do I sound crazy or does this sound accurate? I have very sensitive skin and the itch almost makes me not want to go in. Any drawback (besides cost) of putting in a salt generator on my spa?

I know its a lot to ask and I am sorry to do so but I'm so lost. I seem to obsess over the test strips and find myself tweaking things every day.
 

dunginhawk

Bronze Supporter
Jul 10, 2018
255
CLIVE/IA
#2
1. Test strips suck. get a tf100 kit 1a. Get ahhsome and use it (even in a new tub) and every time you refill ur tub. stuff is incredible... would have gotten ride of that gunk.

I cant ultimately help much with the other questions, as i use a chlorine SWG.
 

santacruzpool

Gold Supporter
Feb 24, 2015
549
Santa Cruz, CA
#3
You need a good test kit - the TF-100 is the best value, or as an alternative you could look at the Taylor 2006 or 2006C.

Pool School - Test Kits Compared

I have had a TF-100 for over 3 years of pool use and it works great for getting the values right for my new to me spa. My spa came with a Taylor 2005 kit which has some different size bottles, a different test block, and is missing the FAS/DPD Powder test that allows for much more accurate Chlorine/Bromine tests. So make sure you get a kit with the FAS-DPD Powder test.

From what I have read on this site the two most popular options that would work to properly sanitize your water is either going with Bromine or Dichlor/Bleach - that is something you need to decide on.

How do I use Chlorine in my Spa (or pool)?

How do I use Bromine in my spa (or pool)?

I will tell you that I am using a modified version of the Dichlor/Bleach method above (using CYA that I had on hand instead of Dichlor) and I find it really easy to follow. I have been using the Trouble Free method on my pool for over 3 years and find it very similar...

- - - Updated - - -

I second dunginhawk on the Ahh-Some - I used that on my tub twice and it did a really good job of cleaning the pipes - I plan to use it again soon when I do a water change.
 

jza1736

Silver Supporter
Apr 21, 2017
536
Greenlawn, NY
#4
Make sure you get the 872 reagent with your Taylor test kit.

871 is for chlorine
872 is for bromine

They will test close but the chlorine will sometimes be off by 1ppm

If you have an Ozone generator, try to keep your bromine between 2-4.

No Ozone, 3-5

It's a pita with the cartridges and you never really know when they are going to run out. I did not like them and I converted to salt water bromine generator. I'm very happy with it and it is really easy to maintain.

Chlorine vs bromine is a personal preference. I'm happy with it and it is more effective at higher Temps. Where chlorine starts to lose effectiveness as the temps go higher. Not to much that it can't be used. Many people do.


Definitely give a small dose of non chlorine shock after soaking. I used to do 1 oz after me and the wife for an hour. Now the swbg has a boost function. 1 press and double the sanitizer for 24 hours.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
10,959
Bedford, TX
#5
Jeremy,

I bought a used spa and converted from Bromine to Saltwater chlorine before I fired it up.. I also cleaned it first a couple of time with Ahh-Some.

I would NEVER use mineral cartridges...

I have a saltwater pool, and love it, so it made sense to run my spa about the same way...

I almost never have to add any addition liquid chlorine, or MPS, or anything other than run the salt cell each night...

I only have the salt cell, no UV or Ozone...

Good luck with your tub,

Jim R.
 
OP
OP
J
Aug 1, 2010
8
#6
Jeremy,

I bought a used spa and converted from Bromine to Saltwater chlorine before I fired it up.. I also cleaned it first a couple of time with Ahh-Some.

I would NEVER use mineral cartridges...

I have a saltwater pool, and love it, so it made sense to run my spa about the same way...

I almost never have to add any addition liquid chlorine, or MPS, or anything other than run the salt cell each night...

I only have the salt cell, no UV or Ozone...

Good luck with your tub,

Jim R.
Thanks everyone for getting back to me. What brand/model salt cell did you go with? I'm assume an inline one?
 

tmm1

Gold Supporter
Dec 21, 2018
25
Santa Barbara, CA
#9
I was considering the Saltron Mini, but went with the ControlOMatic SmarterSpa a few weeks ago and have been very happy with it.

Agree with all the advice above. Get a reliable testing kit, do a cleaning or two with ahhsome, then fill and balance using the guides on this site. Once you get TA/pH stable, you can either do dichor+bleach or drop in an SWG and you'll be good to go.