Ilford Rapid Fixer - storage life contradictions

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by carl_neilson, Nov 6, 2007.

  1. I'm new to developing my own b&w (have 95% of the tools/chemicals I need but
    I'm still yet to do it for the first time) and during my research I have
    discovered that two different sources of info from Ilford seem to condradict
    each other when it comes to storage life of the Rapid Fixer.

    On my bottle of Rapid Fixer it says...

    "Concentrate will keep:
    24 months in full airtight bottles;
    6 monts in half full tightly capped bottles;
    7 days (1+4/1+9)" that led me to believe that once I mix up my 1+4 working solution for
    fixing film I have to use it within 7 days.

    But then I read this on the Rapid Fixer fact sheet on Ilford's own site...

    "Unreplenished ILFORD RAPID FIXER working
    strength solutions should last for up to:-
    6 months in full tightly capped bottles
    2 months in a tank or dish/tray with a floating lid
    1 month in a half full tightly capped bottle.
    7 days in an open dish/tray."

    I'm quoting from this...

    ...So that led me to believe that as long as I keep my 1+4 solution in a full
    tightly capped bottle I can keep reusing it for 6 months as opposed to 7 days.

    Unless I'm missing something fundamental here or reading something wrong those
    two bits of Ilford-sourced info don't match up at all. The only way they would
    agree with each other is if the info on the bottle was actually only referring
    to keeping the stuff out in the open air and ignoring any kind of bottle
    storage, but it doesn't actually specify that.

    In the experience of the experts out there, how long can I safely keep reusing
    this fixer for if I store the 1+4 solution in full bottles? I won't be
    developing enough film to actually deplete it so I'm more interested in the
    time factor.

  2. I've kept bottles of fixer concentrate for years, let alone motnhs. The only time I had it go off on me was during one very hot summer. As for the working solution, I keep diluted fixer (1+4) in old 2 litre domestic bleach bottles with air-tight child-proof caps. It's exhausted by use long before it goes off due to oxidation.

    If it ever turns cloudy and yellowish and smells sulphurous then it's gone off.
  3. I've been using 1 month old diluted fixer (1+4) without any problem, i just used a slightly longer time but that might even not be nessecary.
  4. Fixer is cheap I use it 1 shot.
  5. I've had no problems keeping (ilford) fixer either in concentrate or working strength in tightly
    capped bottles. There are several ways you can test its condition.

    Fixer is one of the chemicals you have to be more careful about in its disposal because of the
    silver content it acquires.
  6. If in doubt test your fixer. A good way to do this is to put the (35mm) film leader in new
    diluted fixer and note the time it takes for it to clear. Do the same test with old diluted fixer
    and see how long it takes. If it takes more than twice the time it took with new diluted fixer,
    then you better not use the fixer. Safe fixing time is twice the clearing time.

    That fixer is cheap is no reason to dump perfectly good fixer. Water is quite cheap where I
    live, but I still save rain water and use it for the garden rather than use drinking water.
  7. Dilute what you need, when you need it - right before developing. I use fixer on a one session basis once diluted, as I never know when my next session will be and I don`t want to take chances. I have had no issues with Ilford Rapid Fixer stored in its stock concentrate form for years on end. I know that my method is not the most economical, but the stuff is cheap and plentiful so for convenience and assurance of fresh fixer I prefer it. I don`t have time to gather rain water, use an exercise bike hooked up to a generator or keep track of fixer:)
  8. Thanks for all the responses.
  9. Sometimes I like to do just a few prints or one roll of film, so I don't want to through away good fixer. Better safe than sorry, but some try to be too safe.

    I looked up this discussion to see if Ammonium based (rapid) fixer had a shorter life than sodium based fixer.
    I bought my first bottle recently, getting back into (home) darkroom work after not doing it for many years.

    Thousands of color negatives and a few boxes of Panalure and everyone is happy!

    -- glen
  10. Thanks for the link, Carl. In retrospect I realize I threw away quite some good fixer... I was fooled by the 7-days rule which was ill-explained in the 90's Ilford brochure I had...

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