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Spa Chemistry

Foam/Slime Problems

Yellow-White Foam In Hot Tub
Soft Water / Foaming
Foamy Bubbles in Spa
Slime In Spa
Thick Foam In Spa


Yellow-White Foam In Hot Tub
Q:
I am experiencing milky yellow-white scummy foam bubbles in our hot tub. The hot tub is about 425 gals, has an ozonator that runs separate from the circulation pump (it runs 24x7) and keep the water at ~98 degrees. The spa was installed 3 months ago. Shortly after filling it up and bringing it up to cozy temperature, we were 'sold' into using an oil-based aromatic spa scent. We used a small amount - about 2 oz - and enjoyed the fragrance and the effect on our skin. After one month or so we started to see the scummy bubbles. They are not everywhere, but slowly gather in the corners of the tub where the current takes them.

Since then, I have changed the water twice and the filter once. I have applied an algaecide (30%) and keep the pH, bromide and alkalinity in check. I did notice a buildup of the scum deep in the pleats of the old filter. But the scum still comes back.

Is this a buildup of oils? Algae?
A:
There could be several factors: body oils, algaecide (depending upon the type), and cosmetic residues.

I suggest that you drain and clean the unit. After refilling operate in the normal manner. An algaecide should not be required. Some products cause foaming and others can act as coagulants and cause deposits. Their use should not be necessary in your case -- avoid their use! Discontinue any use of oil based scents.

The Scentsations line of spa fragrances are completely soluble and oil-free.

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Soft Water / Foaming
Q:
We live in an area of Canada that has very soft water. We recently purchased a outdoor hot tub in November '98 and since then have changed the water twice because of foam.

Our water hardness is below 1/2 grain and we have done everything as instructed in adding proper chemicals etc. Now here we are two days into new water and chemicals and the bubbles have started. We also wash our suits in vinegar and water. Do you have any suggestions?
A:
Some foaming is inevitable.

Foaming is caused by the reaction of the body oils and the natural alkalinity of the water -- this forms a soap and can lead to foaming. Very soft water will make this worse.

What you need to do is add a Product such as Spa Clear Liquid Calcium Booster and raise the hardness level to 150-200 PPM (9-11 grains). This should reduce the problem.

Spa Clear Foam Buster will help control occasional foaming.

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Foamy Bubbles in Spa
Q:
I have a new spa, and after a few days it began to develop a lot of bubbles. Not air bubbles, but foamy bubbles. Is this due to soap residue remaining in the clothes that are being worn in the spa? What can be done to remove them?
A:
Soap residues are always a possible cause of foaming, but are unlikely.

The presence of body and cosmetic oils, in conjunction with the natural alkalinity of the spa water, can be converted into soaps. This in turn will lead to foaming.

Proper spa sanitation requires that the water be defoamed regularly. The regular use of SUN Defoamer or Spa Clear Foam Buster will defoam the surface. Only a small amount should be used as directed. More is not necessarily better.

Soft water is more prone to this problem. Have the spa water tested for calcium hardness. If the calcium level is low boost to 150-200 PPM. This will help reduce the foaming tendencies.

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Slime In Spa
Q:
I just bought a hot tub and have had problems figuring out the water. After I filled it, it was real clear. I added the metal magic to get rid of metals and then I added bromine. I did a dip test and found out that the Alkaline and PH were high. I was told to add Muriatic acid to lower it. It did work then the water got greenish, I was told to add more bromine. Then the water got greenish and cloudy. I was told to put more metal magic in it. Then the water looked awful. I decided to drain it. I did drain it and now I have fairly clear water except the inside of the tub is slippery. When I take a sponge and wipe it it comes off and it appears to be clear slime. Can you tell me what it is. Also in the new water all I put in was metal magic and bromine. The alkaline seems good but the ph seems a little high yet and the bromine seems low even though I put in 5 cubes. Do you have any answers.
A:
The slime that you are describing is probably due to algae or bacteria. The fact that you are adding bromine and not getting a high reading, more or less confirms this.

Try adding Spa Clear OXY-SHOCK or Sun for the Spas SUN BRITE. This is quick dissolving and will boost the bromine level. Raise the level to 5-10 PPM and keep it elevated until all slime disappears and you are able to maintain a bromine reading of at least 5 PPM for an overnight period. Make sure the pH is 7.2-7.8. Run filter continuously until the conditions improve.

The condition was probably cause by inadequate sanitation and/or high bather load. Always try and keep the bromine level in the 3-5 PPM range and if necessary add a quick dissolving product to boost the level.

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Thick Foam In Spa
Q:
When we circulate all are water through our hot tub (by completely closing the valves to the attached pool) our hot tub built up a thick white foam. What causes this? We do not believe it is a soap or oil problem. We just opened the pool last week, there has been no swimmers in it yet.
A:
It seems certain to me that at some recent time in the past you added an algaecide or winterizer that contained dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride or other similar sounding compounds. These products have a tendency to foam. The air and water jets of the spa will cause excessive foaming.

Discontinue use of all such algaecides. Try adding a product such as Spa Clear Foam Buster. It is very effective as a defoamer.

There are algaecides such as Swim-Free Black Algaecide, Swim-Free Non-Foaming Copper Algaecide, SUN Algaecide 60 or SUN Copper Algaecide that do not cause foaming in pools or spas.

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Sun Quest Hot Tubs & Accessories
209 W. Georgia Street, Woodruff, SC 29388

General Information: sunquesthottubs@aol.com

Phone: 864-476-2734

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