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Thread: Cloudy fixer

  1. #1

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    Sep 2003
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    Cloudy fixer

    I opened a new bottle of Kodak Rapid fix today that I've had on the shelf for a year. When I mixed it up it was cloudy. I checked the bottle and found white sediment on the bottom. So, I opened a new bottle of Ilford Rapid fix and found the same thing. The Ilford I've had new/unopened about 14 months. I didn't think that liquid chemistry (other than liquid bleach in E-6) had this crystallization problem.

    In the mean time I've mixed a bag of dry fixer but had to wait for it to cool down. Any suggestions as to how this fixer can be used or do I toss it? I bought it because it would be ready to use (in theory).

  2. #2
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    Re: Cloudy fixer

    The sediment is probably sulfur. I've got a couple bottles of sulfuring rapid fixer, and while there are dire warnings about it all around, if you filter it (through a coffee filter should be fine) to remove the sulfur, and then add a teaspoon of sodium sulfite per quart of working solution when you dilute, it should be fine (actually, mine is a lot more than cloudy; it's got big patches of sulfur precipitated on the bottom of the bottle).

    All fixers will do this eventually; the thiosulfate degrades to sulfate with oxidation, and the sulfur that gets kicked out forms the precipitate. Oxidation starts when the sulfite in the mix has been used up (also converted to sulfate). As long as the rapid fixer, freshly mixed at film strength dilution, will clear a piece of Plus-X or Tri-X in under a minute, it's fine to use, though it's still prudent to perform clearing tests regularly and discard the fixer when the clearing time (for a given film) has doubled from what it was when freshly diluted.

    You'll doubtless get folks who'll say "toss all that spoiled liquid -- chemicals are cheaper than lost images" -- and they're right, as far as that goes. It's a matter of what you're willing to do to be sure they're okay, and what your budget will permit in the way of replacing chemicals.

    Meantime, sure wish Kodak would put an expiration on their Rapid Fixer...
    If a contact print at arm's length is too small to see, you need a bigger camera. :D

  3. #3
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Cloudy fixer

    Just in case...you may not have done this, but worthy of a mention...

    If mixing Kodak Rapid Fixer -- always add the Part A to water first, then after a little mixing, add the part B (hardner). Adding the A and B together before the water will always give you cloudy Fixer...and I am not sure if it is really "fixer" anymore at that point.

    Vaughn

  4. #4

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    Re: Cloudy fixer

    I should have made that distinction in the original question. The part A was cloudy in the bottle before I ever had a chance to pour it in water. I found it that way in both new bottles of Ilford and Kodak rapid fix. I've learned that a sale in a photo shop isn't necessarily a way to save money.

  5. #5
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Cloudy fixer

    No problem, Dave. I gave it about a 1 in 1000 chance of it being the case. But I figured that someone might read this post eventually who did just that (added A and B together before the water)...that is what is great about this forum. Even posts that go off topic can have something in them that someone might find useful down the line!

    Vaughn

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