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Thread: Slightly Cloudy Water

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Slightly Cloudy Water

    Hey Guys,

    Been lurking for a year and a half. Ever since we got our pool. The knowledge on this site is incredible. Ive never needed to ask a question before because I always found the answer just by searching. I have and use the TF-100 test kit and I started reading this site during our pool build and my pool always has been trouble free. It still is I guess but I have noticed a change.

    The problem is that the water is slightly cloudy. I can only notice it at night near the lights. There is a haze in front of the lights that seems to be made of fine particles. This is new to me. My water has always been crystal clear. I have also noticed that my SWG is having a harder time keeping up with chlorine demand. My pool always runs 24/7 and normally a setting of 10% on the SWG maintains a FC level around 5. In the summer with kids swimming I would be around 15% to maintain the same level. Currently I am at 30% and FC is hovering around 3-4. We just finished pollen season and last year all I did was bump up the output on the SWG slightly and clean the filter and that took care of it. This year I did the same but still have the cloudiness. So I decided to shock just in case I was seeing the beginings of an algea bloom. I raised the FC level to 16, the shock value for my CYA level of 40, for 48 hours. I still have the same symptoms.

    My numbers look good I think.
    FC 4.5
    CC 0
    pH 7.6
    T/A 70
    CH 300
    CYA 40
    Temp 70
    Salt 3140
    CSI -.11 (pool calculator)

    When I say my pool has been trouble free I mean it. Ive only had 2 problems and they were related. The first was Gustav which nailed us and put about 2 feet of debris in the pool and left us without power for 12 days. I cleaned the leaves and branches out, shocked, then vacuumed to waste using a portable pump and all was back to normal. Except for the metal stains that appeared in areas where the calhypo settled on the bottom. Didnt worry about the stains and the pool worked like normal for several months untill after reading everything on here about the ascorbic acid treatment I tried it. It worked great and the stains were gone. So was all of my chlorine. I thought I was bringing it back slowly but after being out of town for a weekend I came home to a green pool. I shocked and cleared the pool and the stains came back but only on the plastic jets and drains. We were in the middle of pollen season so I waited to clean the filter. Ever since then I have noticed the cloudiness at night and the higher chlorine demand. This is when I cleaned the filter and shocked as described earlier.

    At this point I am wondering.

    Did I damage my SWG with the ascorbic acid treatment? I inspected it at the last filter cleaning and it looks perfect.

    Did I contaminate my cartridge filter with the treatment?

    Have I just not shocked long enough or high enough? Its hard for me to want to raise the FC too high with the pool looking almost perfect and the risk of metal staining.

    Any help or opinions would be greatly appreciated.

    Ron
    15,000 Gallon In-Ground Plaster Pool with Spillover Spa
    Pentair Easy Touch Automation
    Pentair Intelliflo 4-160 Main Pump
    Pentair Intellichlor IC40 SWG
    Pentair Clean and Clear Plus 520 Cartridge Filter
    Pentair Whisperflo Spa Jet Pump
    Pentair Master Temp 400K BTU Natural Gas Heater
    Pentair Legend Platinum Pressure Side Cleaner with Booster Pump
    Sta-Rite Water Feature Pump

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    May 2007
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    SWSuburban Chicago, IL
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    Re: Slightly Cloudy Water

    Hi and Welcome!

    The CYA level for SWG is recommended to be about 70-80. So that could have something to do with it "working harder". Otherwise your numbers do look very good.

    What is interesting is you only see the "cloudiness" at night?

    Did you perform an overnight test of the FC to see if it held? An overnight loss of more than 1ppm FC would indicate organics consuming the chlorine, and perhaps like you thought, the cloudiness is algae trying to take hold but the SWG is just barely staying ahead of it. Shocking should have taken care of it...but what's also odd is the 0 cc reading....if there were something happening I would think that would be higher.

    So I don't honestly know if doing the AA treatment would damage the SWG. I don't know why it would. But in the future be sure to use Polyquat 60 algaecide as a preventive when doing the treatment, that will help prevent that green pool from showing up. Also supplement with liquid chlorine to bring the FC up to the proper level, rather than allowing the SWG to "bring it up slowly".

    Have you tested the water for metals? You could try a sequesterant, though they are expensive.

    Well hope this helps, others will chime in shortly!
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

  3. #3
    Administrator JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Slightly Cloudy Water

    Welcome to TFP!

    As frustratedpoolmom said, your CYA level is low. That will mean that you have to run the SWG on a much higher percentage.

    How long as it been since you did the ascorbic acid treatment? It is not uncommon for there to be some cloudiness for a little while after an ascorbic acid treatment.

    Nothing you describe could possibly have damaged the SWG and the worst thing that might have happened to the filter is that it might need cleaning. Of course, a hole in the filter is one of the less likely likely possible explanations for the cloudiness. That doesn't seem at all probable, and it wouldn't have anything to do with the AA treatment, but it wouldn't hurt to give the cartridge a careful examination and cleaning.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    TFP Admin. Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  4. #4
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    Re: Slightly Cloudy Water

    Thanks for the comments guys.

    I know my CYA is a little low. I am bringing it up now. Historically I have maintained it between 60 and 70. I had just added some to the pool last week but when I shocked then cleaned the filter the undisolved particles came out. I am adding CYA now to a level of 70.

    Did the overnight test again last night. FC4.5 at 9:00pm and 4.5 at 8:00am with the SWG off overnight. CC are still 0.

    Its been 5 weeks since the AA treatment. Ever since then I have had the higher chlorine demand. I have shocked the pool twice since then however. Once to get rid of the algea bloom after the treatment and once this week to try to clear this slight cloudiness.

    I am leaning towards thinking I may have a damaged filter cartridge. Maybe a hole in one. I have never seen a hole but I guess it could be hard to see. I do a very thorough cleaning and we have great water pressure at the house. Maybe I blew through on of the pleats?

    Back to the AA treatment. Since my stains are now limited to the plastic parts of the pool I can remove them and rid them of the stains out of the pool then reinstall. The 4 bottom drains in the spa will be challenging but doable. I am also thinking of trying the sequesterant with out the AA. From what I have read here that my solve the problem. Will the sequesterant have the same chlorine robbing effect as the AA treatment? Dont really want to go through that again. I have yet to find the Polyquat 60 locally. The stains really arent that bad. Only noticable because of how perfect the pool looked after the AA treatment.

    As far as the cloudiness only being visible at night the pool looks great during the day. Only right in front of the lights is the hase visible. When you get down close to look at it you can see that it is fine particles in the water.

    Thanks again for the comments,

    Ron
    15,000 Gallon In-Ground Plaster Pool with Spillover Spa
    Pentair Easy Touch Automation
    Pentair Intelliflo 4-160 Main Pump
    Pentair Intellichlor IC40 SWG
    Pentair Clean and Clear Plus 520 Cartridge Filter
    Pentair Whisperflo Spa Jet Pump
    Pentair Master Temp 400K BTU Natural Gas Heater
    Pentair Legend Platinum Pressure Side Cleaner with Booster Pump
    Sta-Rite Water Feature Pump

  5. #5
    Administrator JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Slightly Cloudy Water

    It is completely normal to see some fine particles in front of an underwater light at night, even when the filter is working perfectly.

    Extra chlorine demand and cloudiness are both common for a week or two after doing an AA treatment, but should have gone away after five weeks.

    What kind/brand of sequestrant are you using? Some kinds create some excess chlorine demand each time you add them. Sequestrants based on HEDP, phosphonic acid, or phosphonic acid derivatives are the most effective and don't create any extra chlorine demand.

    Adding sequestrant alone is usually sufficient to remove stains that have just appeared. Once the stains have been around for a while you usually need more ascorbic acid. Lowering the PH down to around 7.2 before adding the sequestrant can help it lift stains.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    TFP Admin. Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  6. #6
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    Re: Slightly Cloudy Water

    Jason,

    I know what you mean about some particles being visible in front of a light at night. I have always seen some but this is much more. It is not visible during the day but at night you can see the haze cloud in front of the lights from across the yard. I keep the blue plastic filters on the lights and this gives the pool a cool blue glow at night. Now however there is a large whiteish cloud in front of the lights visible from anywhere in the house or yard. I can easily tell something has changed.

    The sequesterant I used was Metal Free. I know its not one of your recommended ones but it was all that was available at the local pool store. I have been told to try one of the Jack's Magic products.

    I know the general feeling here about phosphates and I agree that they should not be a factor in algea control if you keep your FC stable. However I bought a test and of course it was at the top of the scale around 2500. Now I dont believe that I need to clear these phosphates to remain algea free but maybe thats whats clouding the water. Any opinions on this?

    Ron
    15,000 Gallon In-Ground Plaster Pool with Spillover Spa
    Pentair Easy Touch Automation
    Pentair Intelliflo 4-160 Main Pump
    Pentair Intellichlor IC40 SWG
    Pentair Clean and Clear Plus 520 Cartridge Filter
    Pentair Whisperflo Spa Jet Pump
    Pentair Master Temp 400K BTU Natural Gas Heater
    Pentair Legend Platinum Pressure Side Cleaner with Booster Pump
    Sta-Rite Water Feature Pump

  7. #7
    Administrator JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Slightly Cloudy Water

    Metal Free does create a small excess chlorine demand. I am a big fan of Jack's Magic products, though they do cost a little more than some of the others.

    I have had my phosphate level up above 4,000 and still had sparkling clear water. Phosphates alone do not cause cloudiness.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    TFP Admin. Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  8. #8
    Guest

    Re: Slightly Cloudy Water

    Metal sequesterants that are phosphonate based can sometimes cause some cloudiness to the water that eventually clears. However, Metal Free is EDTA based and I am not really sure if they can also.

    Ascorbic acid will not damage a SWG or a filter. Since ascorbic acid is an anti oxidant (reducing agent) it will destroy chlorine (oxidizing agent) and create a chlorine demanduntil all the ascorbic acid is gone. Green pools are not uncommon after a metal stain treatment because of the destructionj of the chlorine by the ascorbic acid and this creates it's own chlorine demand which is why we recommend dosing with Polyquat60 when you do the treatment to help prevent or minimize the algae bloom.
    The catch-22 with the treatment is that you have to live with the chlorine demand and not shock or the stains can return. If they do and you catch it immediately you can drop the pH to around 7.0 and add another bottle of sequestant per 10k gallons and they will often go away.

    Your higher chlorine demand suggests that you still have a slight algae bloom and the above normal cloudiness you are seeing confirms this. Your lower CYA is probably also a contributing factor.

    It is possible that you may have damaged one of your carts by cleaning it improperly. the only way to really know is to replace all the carts but that is an expensive solution. It is also possble that the carts are not seated properly in the fllter (or are upside down) and some water is bypassing them. You might want to check that.

    I am not eager to suggest this but you could try a chitosan based clarifier (NOT a polymeric one) and see if it has any effect. It will not be a cure to the problem, which I suspect is just algae, but it might mask it for a while, assuming the carts are not damaged.

    Phosphates are NOT the issue and I would only suggest using a phosphate remover if you want REALLY CLOUDY water since they will cloud the water!

  9. #9
    Junior Member
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    Re: Slightly Cloudy Water

    Thanks for your comments waterbear.

    I think I will wait untill I sort out this cloudiness before I tackle the metal stains.

    So you seem to think I have an algea problem? I did too but after shocking for 48 hrs and holding FC at high and normal levels overnight several times I think it may be something else. Also this whole time my CC was at 0.

    I was certain I reassembled the filter correctly. I have done it several times and it went back together perfectly. However you mentioned that I may have a cartridge in upside down? I was under the impression that on my filter (Pentair Clean and Clear +) it did not matter. The carts appear to be identical on either end. I'll have to pull my owners manual and check. As far as replacement goes the carts are expensive. I have found prices ranging from $70.00 to $120.00. The cheaper one were a replacement brand while the $100.00 pluss ones were listed as Pentair brand.

    Does anyone know who makes the OEM Pentair cart?

    Ron
    15,000 Gallon In-Ground Plaster Pool with Spillover Spa
    Pentair Easy Touch Automation
    Pentair Intelliflo 4-160 Main Pump
    Pentair Intellichlor IC40 SWG
    Pentair Clean and Clear Plus 520 Cartridge Filter
    Pentair Whisperflo Spa Jet Pump
    Pentair Master Temp 400K BTU Natural Gas Heater
    Pentair Legend Platinum Pressure Side Cleaner with Booster Pump
    Sta-Rite Water Feature Pump

  10. #10
    Guest

    Re: Slightly Cloudy Water

    I know in the regular clean and clean filters (single cart ones) the carts can be inserted upside down but this also is a function of who made the cart. The oems and the unicel ones are stamped with 'this end up' on one of the endcaps. I do not believe that the Worldpool replacements are (it's in the filter now so I can't easily check) . This is probably because of how the endcaps are molded. I assume the 4 cart monsters are the same. I know many carts for different manufacturers filters do need to be inserted properly since the two endcaps are not identical but it does depend on the model of the filter and the manufacturer of the cart to some extent.
    From my own experience, I have not seen a a difference between the Unicel, Worldpool and OEM carts in my Clean and Clear 150 so I shop for price. (I have one of each and they are used in rotation.)

  11. #11
    Senior Member gtm's Avatar
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    Re: Slightly Cloudy Water

    Hello Ron,

    I've been following this thread all day and dithering on whether or not to chime in. JasonLion and waterbear are experts, and I'm not, so please weight the following appropriately.

    I did the ascorbic acid treatment a couple of months ago and had some similar, but apparently more extreme, experiences. After I added the sequestrant (Proteam Metal Magic) the pool severely clouded. Visibility was about a foot. I started filtering 24/7 but with little effect. The stuff was white and very fine, and my filter didn't seem to catch much of it. I finally went back to a regular pump cycle and let it settle to the bottom and vacuumed (very slowly!) to waste. Two cycles of that over a week's time and the pool was clear as ever again. Whatever this stuff was, though, it seemed to be too fine for the filter. I have a sand filter, but I use the "add a little DE powder" trick, and the filtration is generally quite good.

    Concerning the excessive chlorine usage, I also saw that. I added Polyquat-60 prior to starting the treatment, as per the instructions. I brought the FC level back up slowly (over about 5 days), but was then adding about 5 ppm FC per day to keep it up. I initially assumed that some algae got started, but didn't want to shock, again as per the instructions. After a couple of weeks of this I finally decided to shock. What was amazing to me was that it took 6 days for the FC level to hold overnight. I've had two minor problems with algae since joining the forum, but those were cleared in 1-2 days.

    The good news, though, is that once it started holding everything was fine. I'm back now to a perfectly clear pool and my normal chlorine usage.

    I guess that the main two points I wanted to pass along based on my experience are:

    1) My filter didn't do very well with whatever was clouding the pool as it seemed to be too fine.

    2) My chlorine usage didn't drop back to normal until after a rather long period of shocking. Several times longer than what I've needed for algae in the past.

    My CC was never above 0.2 ppm throughout this process. Also, my CYA dropped by more than half during the same time period, and this is much more than I can account for from the water lost to waste. Probably just a coincidence, but coincidences make me suspicious. I've come up with a crackpot theory to try and account for all of this, but it's not relevant to this thread, and I don't really have the nerve to put it in front of the pros anyway!

    I hope some of this helps, but whatever you do, listen to JasonLion and waterbear, not me.

    Good luck ... Gary
    15,000 gal. IG fiberglass pool w/ 1 hp Hayward Max-Flo and 250 lb. Hayward sand filter
    Located in St. Petersburg, Florida, and enclosed in a birdcage

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