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Thread: Since it shouldn't be algae, what is it?

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    Since it shouldn't be algae, what is it?

    Here is my situation.

    I really try my best to maintain a sanitary pool. FC is measured everyday around 4:00pm-ish, chlorine additions are usually early evening when the sun is off the pool. My wife says I obsess with the pool.

    Early last week while I was enjoying an early evening swim I thought to myself, 'the pool looks a little cloudy' (gasp).

    I SLAMmed the pool earlier in the year when some local birds were using it as their restroom, meeting all 3 criteria.

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...t-of-this-pool!

    The pool has been crystal clear since, up to last week when I thought it was not. I've found that when the sun get low and the pool is in the shade the water never looks as good as it does in the direct sunlight, and that is what I thought I was seeing.

    Last Thursday my granddaughter says "pop- the pool floor feels a little slimy".......

    Not what I wanted to hear one day before a holiday weekend that has friends and family in the pool all weekend.

    I pulled the ladder to scrub it down (water from inside was clear, but no FC) and immediately rose FC to my shock level based on CYA.

    Here are the testing notes from a two day SLAM. (Remember, I'm working around an active pool here):

    9/3 (last CYA=40ppm)
    ******* Start of SLAM *******
    6:30pm
    FC 6.5ppm(+80oz)
    Kids complained floor slimey & water hazy
    CC 0.5ppm

    ******* Start of OCLT *******
    7:30pm
    FC 18.0ppm
    CC 0.5ppm

    9/4
    6:00am
    FC 16.5ppm (FAIL OCLT)(+28oz)
    CC 0.0ppm

    4:45pm
    FC 14.0ppm (+20oz)
    CC 0.5ppm

    ******* Start of OCLT *******
    8:00pm
    FC 15.5 ppm

    9/5
    6:30am 78F
    FC 15.0ppm (-0.5ppm)
    CC 0.0ppm
    Water is GLASS CLEAR
    ******* End of OCLT *******
    ******* End of SLAM *******


    Fast forward to last night. I'm enjoying an evening swim now that I have the pool to myself and I say, 'pool looks a little cloudy'.........

    The pool is under two large trees, always dropping something in the water. I vacuum every 10-15 days, but remove larger debris daily as the circulation deposits it all in a neat little pile in the middle after the pump shuts off & a Hayward skimmer takes good care of the surface.

    I always have a very fine 'substance' that collects in the wrinkles on the floor. It is always brown in color, and dissipates quickly when I brush. After a vacuum this 'substance' will begin to accumulate within a few days. I cover my pool every night (not during a SLAM) & notice a fine dirt/dust on the cover, as well as the patio furniture by the pool.

    I brush daily, and only backwash when my pressure rises over 20%. Pool is chlorinated with 12.5% liquid.

    Below is about a month of testing notes.

    Any thoughts on what could make the floor feel slimy as well as cause a reduction in clarity & 1.5ppm overnight loss?

    I have never seen any green in this pool, and wish to keep it this way. Looking at my data all the way back to the "poop" SLAM, I have a hard time believing this could be algae as I have never been at my min of 3ppm, and rarely below target of 5ppm.



    8/9
    10:15am 75F+
    FC 9.0ppm
    CC 0.0ppm
    pH 7.4
    TA 100ppm
    CYA 40ppm
    CH 20ppm

    3:15pm 78F
    FC 7.5ppm
    CC 0.0ppm

    5:45pm
    Added 20oz chlorine

    8/10
    6:15pm 79F
    FC 6.0ppm (+38oz)
    CC 0.0ppm

    ****************************
    8/11 (covered-4" rain)
    ** VACUUM & BACKWASH
    5:30pm 76F
    FC 10.0ppm (+12oz)
    CC <0.5ppm
    pH 7.4ppm
    ****************************

    8/12
    5:00pm 82F
    FC 7.0ppm
    CC 0.0ppm

    6:00pm
    Added 28oz Chlorine

    8/13
    5:15pm 83F
    FC 7.0ppm
    CC 0.0ppm
    pH 7.4

    6:00pm
    Added 24oz chlorine

    8/14
    5:00pm 84F
    FC 6.0ppm
    CC <0.5ppm

    7:00pm
    Added 28oz chlorine

    8/15
    10:30am 82F
    FC 8.5ppm
    CC <0.5ppm

    3:00pm 85F
    FC 7.0ppm
    CC <0.5ppm
    pH 7.4

    6:00pm 85F
    Added 24oz chlorine

    8/16
    9:30am
    FC 8.0ppm
    CC <0.5ppm
    CYA 30ppm

    3:00pm 84F
    FC 6.0ppm (+32oz)
    CC 0.5ppm
    TA 90ppm

    8/17
    5:40pm 86F
    FC 4.5ppm (+40oz)
    CC <0.5ppm

    8/18
    4:15pm 89F
    FC 6.0ppm
    CC 0.0ppm

    5:30pm
    Added 24oz chlorine

    8/19
    3:45pm 88F
    FC 5.0ppm
    CC<0.5ppm
    pH 7.4

    Added 4oz CYA

    5:45pm
    Added 32oz chlorine

    8/20
    5:30pm 87F
    FC 5.0ppm (+36oz)
    CC 0.5ppm

    Top off about 1"

    8/21 Covered all am
    4:45pm 84F Uncovered
    FC 7.0ppm (+20oz)
    CC 0.0ppm

    8/22
    2:30pm 85F
    FC 6.5ppm (+24oz)
    CC <0.5ppm
    pH 7.4

    8/23 Covered all am
    3:30pm 84F
    FC 7.0ppm (+20oz)
    CC 0.5ppm

    8/24
    6:30 86F
    FC 5.5ppm (+30oz)
    CC <0.5ppm

    8/25
    5:00pm 86F
    FC 7.0ppm
    CC 0.5ppm
    pH 7.4

    6:30pm
    Added 20oz chlorine

    8/26
    3:45pm 85F
    FC 6.5ppm
    CC <0.5ppm
    CYA 30+
    TA 100ppm

    5:45pm
    Added 24oz chlorine

    8/27
    6:15pm
    FC 6.0ppm (+30oz)
    CC 0.0ppm

    8/28 covered until 4:30pm
    7:15pm 82F
    FC 8.0ppm (+16oz)
    CC <0.5ppm

    8/29
    4:45pm
    FC 7.5ppm (+16oz)
    CC 0.0ppm

    8/30
    1:45pm 83F
    FC 7.5ppm (+16oz)
    CC <0.5ppm

    8/31
    6:15pm 85F
    FC 6.0ppm (+28oz)
    CC 0.5ppm

    9/1
    6:00pm 85F
    FC 7.0ppm (+24oz)
    CC <0.5ppm
    pH 7.4

    9/2
    6:15pm 85F
    FC 5.5ppm (+32oz)
    CC 0.5ppm
    CYA 30 (+4oz)

    9/3
    ******* Start of SLAM *******
    6:30pm
    FC 6.5ppm(+80oz)
    Kids complained floor slimey & water hazy
    CC 0.5ppm

    ******* Start of OCLT *******
    7:30pm
    FC 18.0ppm
    CC 0.5ppm

    9/4
    6:00am
    FC 16.5ppm (+28oz)
    CC 0.0ppm

    4:45pm
    FC 14.0ppm (+20oz)
    CC 0.5ppm

    ******* Start of OCLT *******
    8:00pm
    FC 15.5 ppm

    9/5
    6:30am 78F
    FC 15.0ppm (-0.5ppm)
    CC 0.0ppm
    Water is GLASS CLEAR
    ******* End of OCLT *******
    ******* End of SLAM *******

    6:15pm 82F
    FC 11.0ppm (+36oz)
    CC 0.0ppm

    9/6
    9:40am
    FC 13.5ppm
    CC <0.5ppm

    4:45pm 82F
    FC 11.0ppm (+36oz)
    CC 0.0ppm

    9/7
    6:45am 79F
    FC 13.5ppm (+20oz)
    CC <0.5ppm
    CYA 40ppm
    Pool looks cloudy

    9:30am
    FC 16.5ppm
    CC 0.0ppm

    2:00pm
    FC 14.5ppm (+16oz)

    3:00pm
    Add 8oz chlorine

    5:30pm
    FC 15.0ppm (+30oz)
    CC 0.0ppm

    9/8
    5:00am
    FC 18.5ppm (+8oz)
    CC 0.0ppm


    Dom
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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Since it shouldn't be algae, what is it?

    Well Dom, no one can accuse of you of not keeping good notes. I can't talk, my spreadsheet is full of test results. I would suspect the brownish stuff on the floor in the wrinkles may just be dirt from dust settling over time as you noticed on some of the surrounding areas of the pool. As for the slippery feel, only two things come to mind - What if your CYA was a little higher and therefore your FC is slightly too low? That probably seems like a stretch because you have been doing this for a while, but I had to mention it. The other would be poor circulation. Kids swimming/splashing helps, but what about the times when no one is in the water? Are chemicals getting circulated well I wonder? As pool owners, we get that "gut feeling" when something isn't right, and clarity is one of them. Sometimes the cloud-cover over my pool makes my pool seem less crystal, then once the sun pops-out it's a lot different (better). But other than these things, we know the TFP philosophy, algae will not grow in a properly chlorinated pool. Your last OLCT was on the 5th, so I suppose you could always do another one just to rule-out organics. That's about all I can come-up with at the moment. Maybe some other suggestions will prove helpful.
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    Re: Since it shouldn't be algae, what is it?

    Silly question. Could the 'feel' be coming from sunscreen? I know the stuff we bought for our granddaughter, feels kinda slimy under water. I tried to pick her up and she kinda slid through my hands.
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    Re: Since it shouldn't be algae, what is it?

    I have the same problem with "brown" stuff settling in wrinkles and along the seams that poofs up when brushed. I used a turkey baster and put some in a glass following Chemgeeks advice of trying to culture it to see if it was in fact some type of algae. I have come to the conclusion that it is in fact very very fine clay or sand particles. It did not grow when in the glass and took a few days to settle back out to the bottom. After a period of time I dumped the solution through a paper towel and felt the stuff that was caught on the paper towel. It felt gritty to the touch. This makes sense as I have two rather large dogs that use the pool area as their personal track when giving chase to one another. They have worn the grass away in a path all the way around the pool. That, combined with the fact that they are also using it as a large water dish at times lead me to believe I wasted a bit of money this summer slamming my pool needlessly.
    17K gal, AG, 1.0HP pump, 300lb, 3.14 sqft, 62GPM sand filter, Pool Pilot Nano SWG, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Since it shouldn't be algae, what is it?

    Well I passed the OCLT this morning, CC 0ppm & water remains clear except for this substance in the wrinkles. I'll let the FC drift back down to the 6-7's and try to enjoy what's left of the season.

    I think that sunscreen & hair products are at work here (house full of girls), as well as finding out that last week one of the grandkids went in the pool in the same un-laundered suit she wore at the beach earlier in the day. I made sure everyone now understands the term "cross-contamination" LOL.

    I'm not so convinced that the bathing suit contaminated the pool though, as my FC/CYA ratio was properly maintained and should have handled the organics in short time.

    As far as the (now declared) dirt, I'm comfortable to say that it is very fine dirt/dust from the trees above.

    Dom
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    Re: Since it shouldn't be algae, what is it?

    I do a OCLT about every two weeks just because..............ONE time I had a higher FC lose than I am used to so I did a SLAM for two days just to be on the safe side.

    When I notice my water is not as jewel like I test everything. Most of the time it is the PH is a little lower than I like. Push PH up and it sparkles again.

    The slipper feel is properly like Bob said------sun screen or something along those lines.

    Run a full set of tests and see what you find. Make sure the FC is under 10 for the tests though.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Since it shouldn't be algae, what is it?

    I vacuum every 10-15 days,
    That jumped out at me on the first read. I understand the reasons why but that still doesn't seem often enough. My pool needs vacuuming (with a robot) every day. The brown stuff that "poofs" away sure sounds like dead algae to me.

    Here's a pretty cheap experiment. Raise your FC tp 8 ppm and maintain it between 6-8 ppm for a week. If the brown stuff goes away, you had algae......if it stays the same, it's dirt.

    Yours is puzzling but each time there is a clarity issue, chlorine always seems to be the answer.
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    Re: Since it shouldn't be algae, what is it?

    The tree debris constantly falling in the pool is probably raising your chlorine demand. Try raising your FC to 8 and keeping it there a couple of weeks and see how the pool responds.

    Just to add to what Duraleigh said, since the pool was failing the OCLT and cleared up with a slam, that indicates you need to keep the FC a little higher. There is a +/- 10ppm accuracy on the CYA test, so if it is accutally lower than you thought you could be losing chlorine to the sun, and if it is higher than you thought you would need to stay within 4-8ppm.
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    Re: Since it shouldn't be algae, what is it?

    This was most likely an algae attack. I think that the primary cause for this attack was poor water flow close to the bottom of the pool. Since you do not have a main drain (?) you can redirect down a return jet and/or brush the bottom of the pool. This will mix the water layers and prevent further algae attacks.
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    Re: Since it shouldn't be algae, what is it?

    How often do you brush?
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    Re: Since it shouldn't be algae, what is it?

    I brush the pool every day, and circulation is great in the pool, so good that I can see bits of debris on the floor move with the rotation of the water. I have my 3/4" eyeball pointed downward and to the side.

    I'll try to collect some of the substance off the floor (don't know if we have a turkey baster) to get a better look.

    I just have a hard time believing it's algae as I religiously maintain FC as shown in my testing notes, as well as passing two OCLT.

    The pool was at 17.0ppm at 4:30 this morning when passing the second OCLT (17.5ppm at 8:00pm last night), and it looks like there is something already accumulating in the wrinkles but I'll need to confirm when I get home as it was dark and I was using a flashlight.

    Dom
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    Re: Since it shouldn't be algae, what is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    That jumped out at me on the first read. I understand the reasons why but that still doesn't seem often enough. My pool needs vacuuming (with a robot) every day. The brown stuff that "poofs" away sure sounds like dead algae to me.

    Here's a pretty cheap experiment. Raise your FC tp 8 ppm and maintain it between 6-8 ppm for a week. If the brown stuff goes away, you had algae......if it stays the same, it's dirt.

    Yours is puzzling but each time there is a clarity issue, chlorine always seems to be the answer.
    Quote Originally Posted by zea3 View Post
    The tree debris constantly falling in the pool is probably raising your chlorine demand. Try raising your FC to 8 and keeping it there a couple of weeks and see how the pool responds.

    Just to add to what Duraleigh said, since the pool was failing the OCLT and cleared up with a slam, that indicates you need to keep the FC a little higher. There is a +/- 10ppm accuracy on the CYA test, so if it is accutally lower than you thought you could be losing chlorine to the sun, and if it is higher than you thought you would need to stay within 4-8ppm.
    I'm with you guys, I'm going to shift my target range from 5-7ppm to 6-8ppm & vacuum more frequently to combat the organic debris.

    If the debris in the wrinkles on the floor is consuming FC, would that mean that even though I measure no lower than 5ppm at elbow depth that I could have localized lower FC at that debris? I brush it everyday to try to avoid that.

    Dom
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    Re: Since it shouldn't be algae, what is it?

    When I checked the pool around 6pm last night the FC was 12ppm, and there was already an accumulation of something in the wrinkles on the bottom. The water is glass clear. I also have noticed many leaves in the skimmer, as well as small sticks in the pool. I removed the sticks and brushed the pool.

    I added (at 6pm) 40oz of 12.5% (target 17-18ppm) and put the solar blanket on around 8:30pm. I rose the pool to shock level to sanitize the cover, and we have some thunderstorms coming through today which will just add to the debris so I left the pool covered for today. I'll open it for a few hours when I get home from work to let it breathe a bit.

    As I thought, we don't have a turkey baster so I'll pick one up and see if I can collect some of the stuff in the wrinkles.

    I plan to vacuum to waste soon after the rain, looks like we are going to get a few inches. I'm beginning to suspect dead algae (as suggested) or fine dirt that my filter will not catch. I have some DE that I may add to the filter this weekend to see if it helps collect anything.

    Dom
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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Since it shouldn't be algae, what is it?

    I can see all of our shopping list now:

    -toothbrush
    -turkey baster
    -nylon brush

    ALL for our pool! LOL

    Kim
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    Re: Since it shouldn't be algae, what is it?

    Knee highs?
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    Re: Since it shouldn't be algae, what is it?

    I agree with Bob above. Possibly adding either a knee high, or a skimmer sock to your skimmer basket might help capture a lot of those smaller particles. Here is a link from a thread I wrote that tells how effective that small change can be. http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...g-trip-anymore I hope this helps. Have a wonderful day
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    Re: Since it shouldn't be algae, what is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by domct203 View Post
    I have some DE that I may add to the filter this weekend to see if it helps collect anything.
    If it is similar to the stuff I have in my pool adding DE probably isn't going to help much (been there, done that, have the coffee mug and the t-shirt). I've found vac to waste is the only thing that really gets rid of it, then by the end of the week I have more. I'm going to try and order one of those 1 micron filter bags from Duda Diesel and somehow rig it to my return and see if that captures this stuff.
    17K gal, AG, 1.0HP pump, 300lb, 3.14 sqft, 62GPM sand filter, Pool Pilot Nano SWG, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Since it shouldn't be algae, what is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by ScottCh View Post
    If it is similar to the stuff I have in my pool adding DE probably isn't going to help much (been there, done that, have the coffee mug and the t-shirt). I've found vac to waste is the only thing that really gets rid of it, then by the end of the week I have more. I'm going to try and order one of those 1 micron filter bags from Duda Diesel and somehow rig it to my return and see if that captures this stuff.
    I have a 5 micron bag that I use after I backwash (for some reason the filter passes a small bit of sand immediately after a backwash), but it kills the overall circulation of the water (no jet to get the water moving).

    I didn't get the 1 micron because the max flow is listed at 20GPM for that bag.

    Dom
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    Re: Since it shouldn't be algae, what is it?

    I'm gonna' add a generalized thought to this thread and that is that ALL filters are capable of capturing ALL visible particles in your pool.......they do not make filters that don't filter. Dead algae is no exception. My sand filter catches it just fine with no additives or tricks.

    Now, I understand that accepting those thoughts may be difficult but I really believe them to be true. If visible particles could not be captured in a working filter, I believe all pools would be VERY dirty in no time at all.

    So, if you accept what I believe, then what is causing that "stuff" to reappear on Dom's pool floor? It is dead algae that has yet to be filtered. So Dom vacuums it up and it comes right back. Why is that? It's because Dom's pool has live algae in it that is continually dying and settling to the pool floor. It is not "coming right back" but it is NEW algae that has died in his pool and settled to the floor.

    Unless the "stuff" on Dom's floor turns out to be something other than dead algae, then adding filtration capability (knee-highs, skimmer socks, DE, etc) just will not work. What will work is increasing the chlorine level to a point wqhere ALL the algae is killed and only then can it be permanently filtered from the pool.

    I am not saying I am right on this but there is no reason to believe Dom's filter is inadequate or is the source of this problem.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Since it shouldn't be algae, what is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    I'm gonna' add a generalized thought to this thread and that is that ALL filters are capable of capturing ALL visible particles in your pool.......they do not make filters that don't filter. Dead algae is no exception. My sand filter catches it just fine with no additives or tricks.

    Now, I understand that accepting those thoughts may be difficult but I really believe them to be true. If visible particles could not be captured in a working filter, I believe all pools would be VERY dirty in no time at all.

    So, if you accept what I believe, then what is causing that "stuff" to reappear on Dom's pool floor? It is dead algae that has yet to be filtered. So Dom vacuums it up and it comes right back. Why is that? It's because Dom's pool has live algae in it that is continually dying and settling to the pool floor. It is not "coming right back" but it is NEW algae that has died in his pool and settled to the floor.

    Unless the "stuff" on Dom's floor turns out to be something other than dead algae, then adding filtration capability (knee-highs, skimmer socks, DE, etc) just will not work. What will work is increasing the chlorine level to a point wqhere ALL the algae is killed and only then can it be permanently filtered from the pool.

    I am not saying I am right on this but there is no reason to believe Dom's filter is inadequate or is the source of this problem.
    I am always willing to be open minded and learn something new, and your logic makes good sense.

    What is confusing to me is that when I completed my SLAM the water was clear, nothing in the wrinkles. But as the FC dropped I did notice something beginning to collect in the wrinkles, and I assumed it was dirt as I passed an OCLT and my CC's were 0.

    However, looking back I did vacuum right at the beginning of the SLAM, and I passed the OCLT after only two days. Had I gone another day or two I would have seen this "stuff" as algae and continued to SLAM until the water was clear.

    Dom
    Dom - TFP Guide
    Intex 18' X 48" Ultra Frame AGP 6700 gallons | Two Intex CS8110 SWG's | Hayward Pro Series 21" Sandfilter | Hayward 1.5HP Power Flo Matrix pump | Hayward Thru-wall Skimmer | Wanda the Whale | 72 sq ft of Sungrabber Solar Panels with Hayward GLC-2P-A | Taylor K2006 Test Kit, Sample Sizer & Speed Stir | Click Here To Become a TFP Supporter!

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