Chemical differences between swimming pools and hot tubs


Although the basic principles of maintaining the chemicals in a swimming pool and hot tub are pretty much the same, the chemicals in which we add are different between the two. Chlorine is not just chlorine – there are multiple types – some for pools, some for hot tubs. Chlorine isn’t the only chemical that is different however!

Sanitizer (Chlorine)

There are 2 types of chlorine – Tri-Chlor and Di-Chlor. These can not be used interchangeably or at the same time (especially if you have an auto chlorinator on your pool – mixing the two in a pool feeder can cause an explosion).

Tri-Chlor is in tablet form and is specifically designed for use in a pool. Di-Chlor is designed to be used in hot tubs and is in a granular form. Chlorine tablets of any form should never be used in a hot tub as it is the wrong type of chlorine, is too concentrated for the smaller body of water, and can cause serious skin reactions and can cause equipment failure or shell damage to your hot tub.



A pool clarifier and hot tub clarifier are not created equally! You cannot use a smaller dose of a pool clarifier to be more “economical”. The consistencies between the two clarifiers are extremely different. Professional pool clarifiers are extremely thick and tacky and can cause filter restrictions even with small doses. You also would not want to add bottle after bottle of spa clarifier to try and equal the same consistency as the pool clarifier – it simply just won’t work.


Algaecides are not needed in hot tubs and can actually be dangerous to add. All bacteria issues can be prevented and solved with a sanitizer (chlorine or bromine for example) and do not ever require an algaecide additive. Algaecides are reserved for pools only, where we are dealing with larger bodies of water, out in the sun and takes longer to filter all the water thru vs a hot tub.

Muriatic Acid:

Although this is used in pools to lower the pH level, it is NOT safe to use in any hot tub. This is due to the size of the body of water we are treating as well as the structure of the shell that hot tubs are created from. Even a small amount of acid can cause delamination of the shell, can peel away the protective coating, or cause bleaching of the color. Only use muriatic acid in swimming pools when necessary!

Liquid Chlorine

This type of chlorine is hard to find and there is a good reason for that. It is very low strength, requires a lot to get the same results compared to granular chlorine, and is hazardous to store. Liquid chlorine and liquid shock are not recommended in EITHER body of water – do not add to your swimming pool or hot tub.



Pool shock and hot tub shock are definitely NOT the same! In a pool, we use a cal-hypo shock which has to be added after dark as it is not sunlight stabilized. If it is added any time during the day, it is very ineffective. The shock we use for hot tubs is a non-chlorine shock – totally different components! Non chlorine shock can be added and then you can use the hot tub right away with no skin reactions.


If you look at the label of this product, you will find that the chlorine consistency in this product is 4%-8%. That is why when you bleach household items, you have to add such a large consistency compared to the amount of water you are soaking your items in for them to be effective. If 4%-8% of the product is the actual sanitizer, what makes up the additional 92%-96%? Those inert-ingredients are what is most harmful! Bleach is mostly comprised of detergents! You wouldn’t let your kids or grandkids swim in your washing machine right? Why would you add bleach to your hot tub or swimming pool then!?

You made a big investment in your hot tub or swimming pool – don’t ruin it by adding the wrong chemicals! We don’t advise purchasing chemicals from a big box store (hardware store, Kmart, or Walmart for example). These stores do not carry quality products – there is a reason they are less expensive (or appear to be!) You will have to add MUCH more product to equal the same ratio as our professional strength chemicals – so are you really saving much then? Come to the pro’s – A professional pool and spa store have the knowledge to back the professional quality products!

Call Aqua Palace Today (712) 329-4180!

Want more information? Contact us. Aqua Palace is family owned and operated, offering above ground and in-ground pools, hot tubs, spas and saunas specializing in pool design, installation and repair to local (Omaha and Council Bluffs) and long distance residents (within the US). We are the only Marquis dealer in the Omaha Metro Area with the largest showroom east of the continental divide. Not located in Omaha? No worries, check out our online store for pool and spa chemicals, supplies and accessories.


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Aqua Palace Spas & Pools in Council Bluffs, just minutes from Omaha, is a family-owned business that’s all about the fun, relaxation and therapy found in water and in saunas. We are conveniently located right off I-80 in Council Bluffs with a 5,000 square foot indoor showroom as well as a large outside pool garden. We host the largest indoor and outdoor showroom for hot tubs, saunas, above ground pools and in-ground swimming pools.

At Aqua Palace you can be assured of getting small town integrity, an educational presentation and a totally enjoyable buying experience.  Are you in need of Parts and Supplies, remodeling, pump repair or even swimming pool construction? Come to us for all of your spa, pool or sauna needs including our extensive selection of spa & pool chemicals and accessories!

Serving the Omaha Metro community since 1994!


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