Some questions with new spa (bromine) and FrogEase

Psychguy

New member
Sep 10, 2021
4
CT
I discovered TFP just before recently getting a new hot tub and appreciate all of the information! I have started by using the TFP "how do I use bromine in my spa" sticky instructions. It's going well but I have a couple of questions/issues around bromine, foam, and the effect of FrogEase.

I have an Artesian Captiva Elite (400 gallons). On my first fill I followed the bromine sticky instructions (including adding gentle spa). My current tests are: pH=7.8; TA=60; CH=260. Bromine has been fluctuating a lot. I have a bromine floater that I have been mostly using, except when the bromine level seemed to stay too high. pH seems to stay high, 7.8-8.0. When it goes above 7.8 I am adding a little dry acid. I have been using bleach to shock.

My questions:

1) What is the effect of the built in FrogEase with smartchlor? I just realized that this was in my tub today and am now worried I screwed up by adding bromine to start. Does this mean I can't use bromine? And since I started that way, do I need to drain & start over?
2) Why is there so much foam? Even with my test numbers in the good range it seems to be there
3) Bromine fluctuates a lot - e.g. 7.5 before going in, 2 of us went in for 20 minutes and now it's close to zero. Should I be adding a little bleach after each use, and if so how much?

Thanks for any help with these questions!
 

A.O.

Well-known member
Apr 12, 2016
516
Kershaw, South Carolina
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I dont do the bromine just the chlorine, I add about 2 1/2-3 oz after every use.
 

FROGProducts

In The Industry
Aug 31, 2021
4
Minnesota
I discovered TFP just before recently getting a new hot tub and appreciate all of the information! I have started by using the TFP "how do I use bromine in my spa" sticky instructions. It's going well but I have a couple of questions/issues around bromine, foam, and the effect of FrogEase.

I have an Artesian Captiva Elite (400 gallons). On my first fill I followed the bromine sticky instructions (including adding gentle spa). My current tests are: pH=7.8; TA=60; CH=260. Bromine has been fluctuating a lot. I have a bromine floater that I have been mostly using, except when the bromine level seemed to stay too high. pH seems to stay high, 7.8-8.0. When it goes above 7.8 I am adding a little dry acid. I have been using bleach to shock.

My questions:

1) What is the effect of the built in FrogEase with smartchlor? I just realized that this was in my tub today and am now worried I screwed up by adding bromine to start. Does this mean I can't use bromine? And since I started that way, do I need to drain & start over?
2) Why is there so much foam? Even with my test numbers in the good range it seems to be there
3) Bromine fluctuates a lot - e.g. 7.5 before going in, 2 of us went in for 20 minutes and now it's close to zero. Should I be adding a little bleach after each use, and if so how much?

Thanks for any help with these questions!
Congrats on the new hot tub! You have great questions – please call us at 800-222-0169 or email [email protected]. We’d love to answer your questions so that you have a good understanding of how to use FROG @ease – especially with the issues and if you’re experiencing foam. General answers help in general, but the specifics of your hot tub - gallons, usage, water balance – are what make the difference in getting accurate information. We look forward to talking with you!
 
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Donldson

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 12, 2009
5,150
NW Ohio
Welcome to TFP! I suggest the most important thing you can do is to ignore sales reps who try to get you to take the conversation off the forum. Dan (EDIT to say I mean the Frog rep, not Dan from directly above) knows we'll call his advice out for the sales pitches they are and wants to make sure he controls the conversation. His job is to get people to continue using Frog products, after all.

TFP does not have such a conflict of interest, so when any of us tell you that metal introduction systems are a bad thing for pools and spas we aren't saying it because of who signs our paychecks. And I will absolutely say, as a someone who has had better water in the decade since he removed the frog than he ever did before, that dumping metals in to your water isn't a good thing.

So that out of the way my first question is: why do you want to continue to use the frog system in your spa if things are already not working right? What value does it bring to the chemistry?
 
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Psychguy

New member
Sep 10, 2021
4
CT
Thank you. I'm not set on using the frog system. I included that info about it because I just realized that it was in my spa after struggling with the issues above for a couple of weeks. I don't know much about it and have no idea how it is affecting my current bromine/chemistry. I would love some advice about what to do, including not using (or removing it?) now that I have started with bromine and given the current water chemistry I posted. Any guidance and suggestions are appreciated!



Welcome to TFP! I suggest the most important thing you can do is to ignore sales reps who try to get you to take the conversation off the forum. Dan (EDIT to say I mean the Frog rep, not Dan from directly above) knows we'll call his advice out for the sales pitches they are and wants to make sure he controls the conversation. His job is to get people to continue using Frog products, after all.

TFP does not have such a conflict of interest, so when any of us tell you that metal introduction systems are a bad thing for pools and spas we aren't saying it because of who signs our paychecks. And I will absolutely say, as a someone who has had better water in the decade since he removed the frog than he ever did before, that dumping metals in to your water isn't a good thing.

So that out of the way my first question is: why do you want to continue to use the frog system in your spa if things are already not working right? What value does it bring to the chemistry?
 

Donldson

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 12, 2009
5,150
NW Ohio
Any guidance and suggestions are appreciated!
Did you do any kind of flush of the system when you first got the tub? Often times there's some residue left in the tub from the assembly line and a good flush with something like Ahh-some will get that cleared out.
 

Psychguy

New member
Sep 10, 2021
4
CT
Unfortunately, I didn't flush it before it was filled. Is that the best option to drain and start over?

And oops, I just checked and I don't actual have the Frog Ease chemicals in the tub. Just the holder for them was part of the tub I got, but the chemicals didn't come with it so I guess that is not part of the problem.
 

Donldson

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 12, 2009
5,150
NW Ohio
I'd drain it, refill and run a batch of Ahh-Some, drain that, and refill and then start it as per the bromine sticky (or chlorine, whichever you want to use). That should get anything that was left from the manufacturing process out and give you a fresh start.

And please let me apologize if you felt any of my sharper statements were in any way directed at you. I promise they were all directed towards the frog salesperson. Unfortunately he's decided to use this forum to promote a product that's expensive, unnecessary, and highly discouraged. After being taken for a ride by that company and then learning about water chemistry here and just how badly those products prey on the uneducated (which is all of us at the beginning) I get a bit extra animated at warning people away from it and others like it. Needless to say, I encourage you to just leave the system empty and follow the methods found here. Keeping things in balance is the best way to produce comfortable and sanitary water to soak in, you won't regret it.
 
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dan1333

Gold Supporter
Nov 1, 2020
47
Orange, CA
You probably do want to flush with ahhsome. I totally get why you may be reluctant doing it with a new tub but the first flush I did with my new tub brought out the most disgusting thick green slime. Just from reading here and online I think the hot tub companies test their tubs and reuse the same water from tub to tub. The tub then gets shipped with residual water still in the pipes where it grows nasty biofilm.

It then arrives at your house with a raging biofilm infection inside the plumbing.

Interestingly enough, after religiously following the methods from here, my subsequent flushes at my water changes have been completely boring, with very very minimal biofilm or scum being released.

I've never used bromine so can't give any advice about that. To me using chlorine as the sanitizer seems easier to dial everything in perfectly.
 
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Psychguy

New member
Sep 10, 2021
4
CT
Thank you both. I will drain it and start over. Waiting on my Ahh-Some to arrive this week and then will update once I get everything back up and running.
 

phonedave

Well-known member
May 30, 2012
1,016
Montville NJ
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
Are you sure you don't have the frog system in your spa. Some of the holders hide the cartages and others do not.

I will say, the Frog is not 100% bad. They do get the whole CYA / Chlorine thing correct, but then they go off the rails with the mineral system and their lower levels of chlorine that are needed because of the silver and limestone that they stick into your spa. Their smartchlor makes it impossible to test for CC as well.

Foam can occur even if your water tests fine. Make sure your bathing suits are free of detergents, make sure your body is free of detergents. It can also be from other stuff such as organic material in the spa.

Try to stay away from dry acid, it is not good for your heat exchanger. Go with Muriatic Acid instead.

As others have said, purge your spa with AhhSome - that way you know you are starting clean.

I use chlorine, not bromine. I use tabs after a water change until I get my CYA up to where it should be (alternatively I have used granular CYA, because mini tabs are a bear to find lately)

Once my CYA is where it needs to be, I used liquid chlorine, or bleach, depending if I want to go to the pool store or the Home Depot (in the off season around here pool store hours are very limited)

I use muriatic acid to adjust my pH down as needed.

I will use a defoamer sometimes, especially when I am getting near a water change time. I do not rely on it as a regular thing to add, but sometimes I do get a bit of foaming, likely from a detergent. A capful of defoamer added right to the foam knocks it down.
 

Donldson

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 12, 2009
5,150
NW Ohio
They do get the whole CYA / Chlorine thing correct
How so? All I ever see is their recommendation for 0.5 ppm FC. I've never seen any reference to FC levels as a function of CYA.

I've never seen any good in them. Overpriced products, unnecessary products, and their entire business model is built on convincing people that chlorine is bad. What good do they provide?
 
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phonedave

Well-known member
May 30, 2012
1,016
Montville NJ
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
How so? All I ever see is their recommendation for 0.5 ppm FC. I've never seen any reference to FC levels as a function of CYA.

I've never seen any good in them. Overpriced products, unnecessary products, and their entire business model is built on convincing people that chlorine is bad. What good do they provide?

They say that their chlorine has no CYA in it. They say that "regular" chlorine has CYA and as CYA builds up you need more and more chlorine to be effective. I agree that their product is unnecessary and does not work well, but they do at least mention that high CYA can be an issue.

Then they get into that whole "since our chlorine is special, and we don't add any CYA, and we have fancy minerals, we can keep it at 0.5 ppm" - that is where they loose it.

I can't find where they mention it on their site, but I remember reading it because it surprised me that somebody actually mentioned the relationship between CYA, FC, and solid chlorine.

Found it

 

Donldson

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 12, 2009
5,150
NW Ohio
They say that their chlorine has no CYA in it. They say that "regular" chlorine has CYA and as CYA builds up you need more and more chlorine to be effective. I agree that their product is unnecessary and does not work well, but they do at least mention that high CYA can be an issue.

Then they get into that whole "since our chlorine is special, and we don't add any CYA, and we have fancy minerals, we can keep it at 0.5 ppm" - that is where they loose it.

I can't find where they mention it on their site, but I remember reading it because it surprised me that somebody actually mentioned the relationship between CYA, FC, and solid chlorine.

Found it

They say a lot of things. Let's just check the SDS for their SmartChlor cartridges: https://www.kingtechnology.com/sds/@ease_SmartChlor_Cartridge_R1-10092018.pdf

It appears that these cartridges contain 1,3-dichloro-5,5-dimethylhydantoin. Well that does explain a lot. These are... bromine tablets! Ok, not exactly but they are a chemical found in bromine tablets. After research and asking some more knowledgeable people it appears that it is indeed a very weak chlorine compound (same one as in toilet bowl tablets!) that is capable of maintaining about 0.5 ppm FC at best. With the CYA added in the start up pack (yes, they have you add dichlor initially so this is not a CYA-free system) it would not be enough to sanitize by itself. Luckily in a hot tub the presence of silver does offer some sanitation, so it's not a completely unsanitary situation but I sure wouldn't trust it.

Frankly it's a solution looking for a problem. As usual they come up with a problem (too much CYA is bad) and then engineer an expensive and proprietary system as the solution to sell. They aren't interested in better sanitation, they are interested in creating residual sales. There's nothing positive to be taken by their recognition of CYA as a problem, it's only a sales tool and if it didn't assist in them selling toilet bowl cleaner in a proprietary container then they wouldn't say it.

And let's not forget that their pool products use trichlor. They have an entire page dedicated to the dangers of CYA to sell a product that doesn't contain it, while on another page selling extremely overpriced trichlor pucks. Marketing at it's finest!

Going down this rabbit hole has certainly not softened my view on the company.

EDITED to correct some ideas I had that upon discussion with others appears to be unlikely.
 
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dan1333

Gold Supporter
Nov 1, 2020
47
Orange, CA
I'm disappointed that the Frog spokesperson hasn't further engaged in discussion on here, I thought it funny to see him here at all and was hoping to see further posts from him. Thought it would be entertaining.
 

A.O.

Well-known member
Apr 12, 2016
516
Kershaw, South Carolina
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I'm disappointed that the Frog spokesperson hasn't further engaged in discussion on here, I thought it funny to see him here at all and was hoping to see further posts from him. Thought it would be entertaining.
I do not believe he wanted to talk in an open discussion, just posted so psychguy would contact him for some indoctrination.
 
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BravoRomeo

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 15, 2012
91
San Juan Islands, WA
Razors and blades, Keurig Coffee capsules, ink jet cartridges… seems to me Frog fits right in that model. Who wouldn’t want to own the Keurig of pool chemicals? And there is a certain consumer appeal to a no-fuss cartridge system, if it only worked reliably and consistently.

That I found @ease to more or less work insofar as maintaining sanitized spa water, the chlorine was never high enough to oxidize bather waste, which slowly built up along with biofilms in my spa’s plumbing. Chasing the waste issue was far more work, frustration, and annoyance than just following the TFP method.