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Thread: Spa interior deteriorating?

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    ITR's Avatar
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    Spa interior deteriorating?

    Hi guys. I thought I might have had a black algae problem even though CC has been in check or possible metals, however, I am getting this in my spa (attached to the pool). It appears the pebble is off and it feels very rough. The pool is seven months new....ideas what could cause this before I call the PB tomorrow?




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    15' x 29' 10,300 gal w/ spa, IG-Plaster (Stonescapes Tropics Blue), 2spd WhisperFlo pump (1.5hp WFDS-26), Pentair Clean and Clear CC200 cartridge filter, Pentair MasterTemp 300BTU heater, Clear o3, RS-8 iAqualink

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Spa interior deteriorating?

    Hard to tell from the pictures, but are the pebbles falling out of the plaster?
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

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    ITR's Avatar
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    Re: Spa interior deteriorating?

    Yes they are.
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    15' x 29' 10,300 gal w/ spa, IG-Plaster (Stonescapes Tropics Blue), 2spd WhisperFlo pump (1.5hp WFDS-26), Pentair Clean and Clear CC200 cartridge filter, Pentair MasterTemp 300BTU heater, Clear o3, RS-8 iAqualink

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Spa interior deteriorating?

    I would call the pool builder and have them look at it. Can you post full test results and let us know some history on how it's gone since you opened the pool?
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

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    ITR's Avatar
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    Re: Spa interior deteriorating?

    They came out today and used a scrub stone (like pumice) to grind it down and and then applied acid to lighten it back to the original color. Numbers have been in check. Now...any ideas what caused this and is this "normal" after just seven months?
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    15' x 29' 10,300 gal w/ spa, IG-Plaster (Stonescapes Tropics Blue), 2spd WhisperFlo pump (1.5hp WFDS-26), Pentair Clean and Clear CC200 cartridge filter, Pentair MasterTemp 300BTU heater, Clear o3, RS-8 iAqualink

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Spa interior deteriorating?

    Numbers "in check" or "normal" is not helpful. We need actual numbers to help you diagnose the problem. High or low PH, CH and TA in the wrong combinations can contribute to CSI readings that over time can lead to plaster issues. Even if in "normal" range or "in check". Some historical data will help to diagnose the potential problem and possible solutions.

    But, to answer your question, no it is not normal after 7 months.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: Spa interior deteriorating?

    Attached is a screenshot of my results over the last two months:

    Screen Shot 2015-07-26 at 11.10.47 AM.jpg
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    15' x 29' 10,300 gal w/ spa, IG-Plaster (Stonescapes Tropics Blue), 2spd WhisperFlo pump (1.5hp WFDS-26), Pentair Clean and Clear CC200 cartridge filter, Pentair MasterTemp 300BTU heater, Clear o3, RS-8 iAqualink

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    Re: Spa interior deteriorating?

    With a CYA of 40, you should be maintaining a FC level of 5 at all times. There were only 2 times in your report where you were at that level. You need more chlorine. You also let your Ph get out of control (both high and low) a couple of times. I think you need to check your levels more often. The CYA/FC chart can be found here:

    Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart
    Replastered 2015: Sunstone Quartz Midnight Blue 16x32 rectangular gunite with in-pool spa....18,000 gallons. Autopilot Total Control System with SWG and acid pump. Pentair Clean & Clear 420. Auto cover. TF-100.

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    ITR's Avatar
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    Spa interior deteriorating?

    Okay, but FC is not attributing to my problem, right? I'm not having any algae or organics problems (due to the Ozonator I'm sure). And if the CSI is clearly within range, isn't that the overall indicator of being balanced...at least from protecting the plaster...or am I missing something? Given that CH is so high, I need to adjust pH and TA accordingly, right?

    I do agree with you, I probably need to start checking and balancing more frequently, but again, I'm looking for the cause so I can pay particular attention to it.


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    15' x 29' 10,300 gal w/ spa, IG-Plaster (Stonescapes Tropics Blue), 2spd WhisperFlo pump (1.5hp WFDS-26), Pentair Clean and Clear CC200 cartridge filter, Pentair MasterTemp 300BTU heater, Clear o3, RS-8 iAqualink

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    Re: Spa interior deteriorating?

    Well, since we don't definitively know what the problem was - black algae, metal stains, or something different - it is possible that the low FC levels let some algae take hold. The other alternative is that when you let your Ph get so high, some of the metals in your water could have leached out and into the plaster. If these stains reappear, do a quick check with a vitamin C tablet (just rub it on the black spot) to see if it goes away. If it does, then iron metal is the likely culprit. If there is no change, rub a chlorine puck on it. If that gets rid of it, it's probably algae related. Lastly, if none of those work, there's a good chance that it's copper staining. There's no way any of us here can tell you the definitive cause without you doing some checking of these various possibilities.

    A good CSI number does not mean your water is in good shape from a sanitizing or metal standpoint. It has more to do with calcium scaling. When your CSI is out of range, it can cause the plaster to deteriorate. An unbalanced Ph is the fastest way to get your CSI way out of whack, which you did have several times during your test. It looks to me like there were times when your Ph was too high or low for a week at a time. You should absolutely pay more attention to this.

    It sounds like you are putting too much importance on the CSI reading. To me, is more important to take care of the FC, Ph, etc. If you keep all of those things in line, the CSI will take care of itself. Each component is as important as the next.
    Replastered 2015: Sunstone Quartz Midnight Blue 16x32 rectangular gunite with in-pool spa....18,000 gallons. Autopilot Total Control System with SWG and acid pump. Pentair Clean & Clear 420. Auto cover. TF-100.

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    Re: Spa interior deteriorating?

    Thanks! I did try the trichlor tab on the area for five minutes prior to me calling the PB back, so I'm pretty confident it's not algae, unless trichlor is different from what you call a chlorine puck.

    BTW, the team that fixed the interior left my pH severely low, I assume due to the acid they added. It was less than 6.8 this morning (it was yellow...not even orange). I am aerating the pool right now to bring it down. Thinking of turning on the spa blower even to create more since it hasn't come down much in the last three hours.

    Thanks again for all the help. Especially understanding CSI. The first two months I had a serious calcium scaling problem and they had to drain the pool and do an acid wash. Since I didn't want that to happen again, that was the number I was most focusing on. Should I be testing for other metals and what-not? I don't believe the TF-100 has tests for that. And if so...how should I be testing?
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    15' x 29' 10,300 gal w/ spa, IG-Plaster (Stonescapes Tropics Blue), 2spd WhisperFlo pump (1.5hp WFDS-26), Pentair Clean and Clear CC200 cartridge filter, Pentair MasterTemp 300BTU heater, Clear o3, RS-8 iAqualink

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    Re: Spa interior deteriorating?

    Yes, the trichlor tab is what I was referring to. If I were you, I'd purchase a metal identification kit like the Jack's Magic Stain ID Kit or search around on here for another recommended test kit. This will tell you whether you have iron or copper in the water, or none at all. It's important to know the difference because the treatments are different. If it turns out to be iron, you can use the Ascorbic Acid treatment that's described in good detail in pool school to remove the stains. It's a relatively inexpensive treatment. If it is copper staining, then the treatment is more cumbersome and you have to purchase copper stain removal, which is more expensive. Either way, after the treatment, you have to give the pool an initial dose of sequestrant and weekly additions - something like Jack's Magic Purple Stuff - to keep the metals from falling out of solution.

    Unless the PB told you to keep the Ph low for a specific time, I would try to raise it up to 7.2 or 7.3 max. If you have metals, the lower end Ph will help keep them from leaching out of the water and onto the plaster.
    Replastered 2015: Sunstone Quartz Midnight Blue 16x32 rectangular gunite with in-pool spa....18,000 gallons. Autopilot Total Control System with SWG and acid pump. Pentair Clean & Clear 420. Auto cover. TF-100.

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    Re: Spa interior deteriorating?

    He didn't say anything but they did add two bottles of magenta stuff during startup (which the second one was five months ago). I will get the test kit and see what it says.

    Thank you for being so patient and helpful!


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    15' x 29' 10,300 gal w/ spa, IG-Plaster (Stonescapes Tropics Blue), 2spd WhisperFlo pump (1.5hp WFDS-26), Pentair Clean and Clear CC200 cartridge filter, Pentair MasterTemp 300BTU heater, Clear o3, RS-8 iAqualink

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    Re: Spa interior deteriorating?

    Hey, I'm happy to help. So many people on this forum have helped me through the years, I'm glad I can finally give back.

    Five months between additions is definitely too long. I wish the PB would have told you that. I think one bottle of Magenta Stuff treats 15,000 gallons. After the initial treatment, you have to add 6-8 oz weekly thereafter. But do get the metal test kit before you start putting the Jack's Magic in your pool. It can get quite expensive (having just had to go through an Ascorbic Acid treatment myself) - so just make sure you need it before you add it. It does work well, though; I've not had a single stain come back and it's been about a month.
    Replastered 2015: Sunstone Quartz Midnight Blue 16x32 rectangular gunite with in-pool spa....18,000 gallons. Autopilot Total Control System with SWG and acid pump. Pentair Clean & Clear 420. Auto cover. TF-100.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Spa interior deteriorating?

    Hey ITR, that is a nice spreadsheet! I like it.

    Thanks for jumping in there PoolESQ, nice work!
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: Spa interior deteriorating?

    pooldv - like I said, I'm happy to help out now that I have a handle on some of the basics. It's also nice knowing that the experts monitor all of these threads and if I've misadvised anyone, you all will step in with corrections. I know how busy everyone is this time of year responding to all of the issues, so I'll gladly jump in when I have something to contribute!
    Replastered 2015: Sunstone Quartz Midnight Blue 16x32 rectangular gunite with in-pool spa....18,000 gallons. Autopilot Total Control System with SWG and acid pump. Pentair Clean & Clear 420. Auto cover. TF-100.

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    Re: Spa interior deteriorating?

    okay, bare with me here. I have been looking for test kits. I'd like to have a kit that tests metal levels, not just the stains (I want to be pro-active instead of reactive). It looks like the Jack's Magic kits test sequestrant levels...am I reading that right? Since it hasn't been added since startup I know it's probably zero. If the Jack's kit only tests sequestrant, what test kits test metals in a pro-active way and doesn't just measure the level of sequestrant. Given there is blue, pink, purple, magenta...I want to test to see what I have so I know what to buy.

    Make sense? (or am I overcomplicating this...which I seem to do sometimes)
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    15' x 29' 10,300 gal w/ spa, IG-Plaster (Stonescapes Tropics Blue), 2spd WhisperFlo pump (1.5hp WFDS-26), Pentair Clean and Clear CC200 cartridge filter, Pentair MasterTemp 300BTU heater, Clear o3, RS-8 iAqualink

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    Re: Spa interior deteriorating?

    LOL Ok.

    The test kit you need to start with is the stain identifier:

    Amazon.com: JACK Garden

    Once you identify the type of metal causing the stain, you then use the appropriate treatment (ascorbic acid for iron stains or copper treatment for copper stains.)

    Next, once the stains are out, you immediately add the metal sequstrant - one of Jack's color stuff. I use the purple. If you keep the metals in the sequestrant, I don't believe they will show up on a metal test anyway. (Someone more knowledgable in chemistry may want to chime in here...)

    Finally, as you have found, the Jack's sequestrant level test in your post above. This is to be used after all of the other steps are followed. Its purpose is to ensure that you always have a sufficient level of sequestrant in your water to keep the metals from falling out of solution.
    Replastered 2015: Sunstone Quartz Midnight Blue 16x32 rectangular gunite with in-pool spa....18,000 gallons. Autopilot Total Control System with SWG and acid pump. Pentair Clean & Clear 420. Auto cover. TF-100.

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    Re: Spa interior deteriorating?

    Okay...so they removed the stain yesterday with a pumice-like stone and some acid. So the stain is gone...I just don't want it to come back. So how do I know if I get blue, purple, pink, etc since there is no stain to test now? That's what led me down the road of asking if there is a proactive way to test. *confused*


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    15' x 29' 10,300 gal w/ spa, IG-Plaster (Stonescapes Tropics Blue), 2spd WhisperFlo pump (1.5hp WFDS-26), Pentair Clean and Clear CC200 cartridge filter, Pentair MasterTemp 300BTU heater, Clear o3, RS-8 iAqualink

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    Re: Spa interior deteriorating?

    Magenta is for pool start up.

    Pink stuff more aggressive with iron stains

    Blue stuff does same as Pink stuff but is more aggressive with copper stains

    Purple stuff - for salt water pools

    Since you don't know what metals you have, you should go with the Blue stuff since it covers the most possibilities.

    Since the stains are gone, you will need to test the water for metal type. Here are some test strips that use color matching to determine what metals you may have in your water:

    Amazon.com: SenSafe Water Metals Test Kit: Home Improvement

    I can't endorse these as I've never used them.

    Edited to add:

    If I were in your shoes, I'd go ahead and add a couple bottles of the blue stuff ASAP just in case you do have metals in your water. This will keep them from getting back on your plaster. Then once you get the metal test strips, you can test your fill water to see what metals, if any, are in there. Don't use the treated pool water for the test.
    Replastered 2015: Sunstone Quartz Midnight Blue 16x32 rectangular gunite with in-pool spa....18,000 gallons. Autopilot Total Control System with SWG and acid pump. Pentair Clean & Clear 420. Auto cover. TF-100.

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