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04-07-2021, 06:06 AM   #1
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Question regarding storing liquid dev.

I recently developed two rolls of B&W film using:

Arista Liquid Developer
Arista Liquid Stop Bath
Arista Liquid Fixer
Heico Permawash (liquid)

During processing, I only made enough of each for the single session -- so I made a 500ml mixture of each, used it for processing, and disposed of the mixtures once I was finished.

This obviously left me with nearly full bottles of unmixed developer, stop bath, fixer, and perma wash.

Can these unmixed liquids be stored and used periodically over time? Or will they quickly spoil once opened?

Can these liquids be left in their original bottle, or do they need to be transferred to another container?

Ideally, I would store the unmixed liquids, and dilute only enough for each developing session.

04-07-2021, 07:25 AM - 1 Like   #2
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All but the developer will keep well and can be used for at least several months (assuming we're talking about the unmixed concentrates) and should be ok in the original bottles if they seal tightly. Developer can also be kept for some time (especially a concentrate) but loses its effectiveness due to oxidation. For best results, the developer should be stored in as full as possible glass bottles (the original bottles can work and you might be able to squeeze out any excess air) in a cool (not cold) location. It's probably best to run some tests with it to check on its activity before using it for irreplaceable work. In any case, the developer is the only thing you really need to worry about semi-long term, and even then concentrates can last quite a while.
04-07-2021, 07:42 AM - 1 Like   #3
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As noted by Bob 256, developer will deteriorate by oxidation- both the original liquid concentrate once the bottle is opened, or diluted and ready for use. If in a plastic container, squeeze out as much air as possible and cap very tightly. Another trick we used back in the Film Era was to keep a supply of marbles and put them into a bottle to top up the liquid. If the bottle neck is too small for marbles, you can use ball bearings, fishing weights or BB's. You might also be able to get buckshot from an on-line supplier of hunting/shooting/ammunition materials. It would be a one-time purchase as any of these would still be usable by your great-great grandchildren, and then some.
04-07-2021, 08:55 AM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bob 256 Quote
All but the developer will keep well and can be used for at least several months (assuming we're talking about the unmixed concentrates) and should be ok in the original bottles if they seal tightly. Developer can also be kept for some time (especially a concentrate) but loses its effectiveness due to oxidation. For best results, the developer should be stored in as full as possible glass bottles (the original bottles can work and you might be able to squeeze out any excess air) in a cool (not cold) location. It's probably best to run some tests with it to check on its activity before using it for irreplaceable work. In any case, the developer is the only thing you really need to worry about semi-long term, and even then concentrates can last quite a while.
+1 What he said ^^^^

You might check with the tech sheet from the developer manufacturer about keeping properties for that particular product. Most are short lived - a few months after opening - but some stock solutions keep for very long periods, up to several years (e.g. HC110, Rodinal). I'm not familiar with Arista stuff, so can't advise on it, but take a look at their website. In addition to Bob's suggestions about keeping the air out, some people use compressed inert gases to purge the air out of the bottles and replace it with a gas that will not oxidize the developer. Protectan is photography specific, but some use compressed gas (nitrogen I think) meant for keeping wine fresh in the bottle, which is probably a lot cheaper.

BTW, there is no need to dispose of diluted working strength fixers and stop bath until they are exhausted. You can run many films through working strength fixer and stop baths before they are exhausted. Again, check Arista's tech sheet on fixer capacity for how many films a dilute solution will cover, or do a clip test on a piece of film leader (if you're not sure how to do that, ask away...it's dead simple). Finally, check if your stop bath is an indicator type -- it will turn purple once exhausted...pretty unambiguous as to whether it's still good. Again, don't dump it after only one film run -- that's a pretty expensive and wasteful way to process films

04-07-2021, 09:22 AM   #5
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Thanks for the responses so far, pretty much clears up my questions. Going to have to figure out what's the best way to evacuate as much air from these concentrations, although I'm leaning towards towards trying out the marble method.

Also, @Viking42 , I've seen different resources mention a clip test I believe for the developer and fixer. I'm going to look into it, but if anyone wants to explain it for me here, I'd be really grateful as well.😁

I've been trying to keep my costs as low as possible, and I'm actually a little proud of what I've been able to get so far:

$50 Canon 9000F scanner
$8 thermometer
Free changing bag
Free bulk roll of expired film
Free bulk film loader
Free binder & storage pages

I'm trying to see how far I can keep going, but I'm starting to crack. Might have to shell out a few bucks for those air evac, accordion bottles... Although some guy is selling assorted amber bottles and flasks for $20.🤔

Thanks again everyone, cannot thank you all enough for taking the time to respond.
04-07-2021, 09:37 AM - 2 Likes   #6
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Accordion bottles are nice, but collapse s-l-o-w-l-y. You don't want to develop a developer geyser.
04-07-2021, 09:56 AM - 1 Like   #7
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As noted you need to get the air out of the developer bottle. One solution is to repurpose glass marbles and put them in the bottle. You can get them in various sizes.
04-07-2021, 09:58 AM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by santinowuzhere Quote
Also, @Viking42 , I've seen different resources mention a clip test I believe for the developer and fixer. I'm going to look into it, but if anyone wants to explain it for me here, I'd be really grateful as well.��
Clip test means that every time you prep a roll of film for developing you will have a little piece of clipped off leader (both 35mm and 120 film) that doesn't go onto the reel. Don't throw this out, but use to test your developer activity and fixer for exhaustion. All tests are done in room light, not in the dark.

Developer test:
-- take a small amount of your developer (working strength, preferably, and at your working temperature) and put it in a little dish or ramekin
-- drop a piece of your clipped off film leader into it and swirl it around occasionally (agitate) for the approximate time you would develop the roll for
-- if it turns completely black the developer is good; if a shade of grey or no change, then your developer is toast and should not be used
Easy peasy. You don't have to be diligent about agitation or anything -- this is just a test to see if it goes black or not....just give it a swirl every minute or so.

Fixer test:
-- take another (separate) piece of your film leader, dry, and put a single drop of working strength fixer in the center on the emulsion side (the matte side, not the shiny side)
-- start a timer and check it at about 3 minutes, again at 5 minutes, and again at 7 minutes
-- the spot where you put the fixer should be completely clear and transparent, whereas the surrounding emulsion will be dark grey; if the spot is not fully clear after the full 7 minutes, the fixer working solution is exhausted and should be dumped. Fresh fixer will clear a film easily within 3 minutes. Also, if you're using tabular grain films like Kodak Tmax or Ilford Delta, the clearing time is a little longer, so add about 2 to 3 minutes to all of my above times for these films.

And that's it. Very simple. I do clip tests as a matter of routine whenever there is even a hint of a question of developer or fixer age. I do them while I'm prepping all my other session bits and pieces so they take no extra time really.

Hope this helps -- highly recommended to get into this habit. It may save you a lot of heartbreak running a film through old chems that comes out badly.


Last edited by Viking42; 04-07-2021 at 10:19 AM.
04-07-2021, 10:49 AM - 1 Like   #9
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Follow good storage procedures and you won't have to bother with the burden of test strip and what-not. In fact, for infrequent developing, your best solution is a long shelf life, single-shot developer. HC110 can be mixed in small enough quantities to be considered single-shot. And when stored in an air tight bottle, the stock solution has a good shelf life. Rodinal, PMK Pyro and D-23 (an easy to mix two powders chemicals on the fly) are other developers with long self life.

You can test for exhausted fixer at any time with a liquid hypo checker. Developing a negative with exhausted or near exhausted fixer may take months for spots to show up on the negative.

Last edited by tuco; 04-07-2021 at 10:58 AM.
04-08-2021, 02:03 PM - 1 Like   #10
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False economy

QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
Accordion bottles are nice, but collapse s-l-o-w-l-y. You don't want to develop a developer geyser.

Many years ago when I was a poor student in an effort to save money on developer I tried Falcon Air-Evac bottles.
The foam liners of the caps leaked air, causing spoilage. When filled the bottles would bend in the middle and fall over as well.

Chris
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