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Thread: Cloudy Water Help

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    SnoopysGirl's Avatar
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    Cloudy Water Help

    Hello and thank you for the help in advance!

    Here are some facts about my pool:

    In ground
    Vinyl liner
    33,000 gallons
    Auto cover
    Sand filter
    Variable speed pump
    Heater & Chlorine auto feeder (both off now)

    Basic care (normal): I shock using 10% chlorine liquid, use 3 inch pucks until CYA reaches 100, then for the rest of the season add liquid chlorine accordingly. I maintain my pool on a weekly basis, but we use it in season daily, so I'm always cleaning/checking it. Since we have an auto cover, I backwash every 2 weeks. I brush after I add chemicals, which is (as above) chlorine, an algaecide, and some SeaKlear clarifier (3 oz.)

    This spring on opening, the water was very cloudy. After two weeks and with normal levels, I ended up bringing a water sample to my pool supply place. I had very high phosphates. They sold me a bottle of PhosFree and I have had crystal clear water for the rest of the season. I should note we've had a lot of rain in our area.

    Thursday, September 24th, I opened my pool and found it to be completely cloudy. I was heading out of town for the weekend, so I backwashed, poured 2 gallons of 10% chlorine, algaecide and closed it until I returned on Monday.

    Since Monday 9/28, I have been trying to "supershock" the pool to get some free chlorine in it. Nothing seems to be working for me. I'll give you some numbers:

    9/28 Monday: 4 gallons 10% chlorine pm (that's all I had)
    9/29 Tuesday: 6 gallons 10% chlorine in the am, 8 gallons 12.5% in pm
    9/30 Wednesday: 6 gallons 12.5% pm (all I had) & backwashed
    10/1 Thursday: 3 gallons 10% pm (all I had)
    10/2 Friday (last night): 5 gallons 12.5% & backwashed

    I have purchased all of the liquid chlorine I could find in my area, driving as far as 1 hour away (it is end of season, so finding some liquid chlorine has been a challenge). As of this morning, here are my numbers (using a Taylor test kit) :

    FC 0.6 ppm
    CC 0.8 ppm
    pH 7.4
    TA 190 ppm
    CH 240 ppm
    CYA 0

    I am thinking I might have a bacteria in the pool, as my CYA has been super high for most of the season (running around 100), and now it is 0. I have turned off my chlorine feeder, as I am not sure I should add any stabilized chlorine to the pool. Please help. Again, I am having a tough time finding liquid chlorine because of Minnesota being at the end of the season. Most stores have shipped their remaining supplies back to the warehouses for the season, and my pool store has given me everything they have on hand. I am expecting more on Monday, but I don't know what I am doing wrong.

    As far as the water, I can now "see" the bottom of the 8 ft., but it is still cloudy.

    Thank you again for any advice you can give me.

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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Cloudy Water Help

    Hey Snoopy, welcome! . We can help, but you need to break some old pool store habits. You've been steered in the wrong direction and spent a lot of $$ not needed. 10% chlorine bleach - good. Pucks/tabs - bad. Very bad. They raise your CYA to unmanageable levels. Just see the Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart and you'll see why. Please do not ad ANYTHING else to your water other than regular liquid bleach (generic is fine). The pool store 10% liquid chock in the same thing, only stronger, so that's fine too. No pucks, no bags of shock, no algaecides (they add metals). All bad.
    Now your last readings ... are they from your Taylor K-2006 test kit? I was concerned why your CYA was at 100 above, then shows zero now. CYA should be around 30-50 ppm. Your chlorine (FC) is low and CC elevated which explain the organic material in the water. So here's what you need to do:
    1. Verify CYA again. It needs to be at least 30. If you show zero, add stabilizer for a target of 30ppm.
    2. Perform a SLAM via Pool School - SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain. Read this page carefully. It will work, and you can do it before the extreme cold sets-in so you can close your pool if needed. You need to kill that algae that is making the water cloudy.
    3. Remove anything from the in-line chlorinator.

    You will continue the SLAM until you pass the 3 SLAM criteria noted on that SLAM page. The key is daily brushing, backwashing, and keeping the FC at the SLAM/Shock level as noted on that CYA/Chlorine Chart. Those links are also in my sig below. Look it all over and let us know if you have any more questions. Welcome to TFP!
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
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    Re: Cloudy Water Help

    Welcome to TFP!

    Yes, it sounds like bacteria ate your CYA and is consuming chlorine as fast as you are adding it. The good news is your CYA is 0 now so you should be getting close. The only thing to do is keep adding chlorine until it holds. You can use plain, unscented bleach. It is chemically the same as liquid chlorine, just a lower percentage, usually 8.25%. Buy the cheap store brand. Do NOT buy the splashless or easy pour varieties.
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    Re: Cloudy Water Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Texas Splash View Post
    Hey Snoopy, welcome! . We can help, but you need to break some old pool store habits. You've been steered in the wrong direction and spent a lot of $$ not needed. 10% chlorine bleach - good. Pucks/tabs - bad. Very bad. They raise your CYA to unmanageable levels. Just see the Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart and you'll see why. Please do not ad ANYTHING else to your water other than regular liquid bleach (generic is fine). The pool store 10% liquid chock in the same thing, only stronger, so that's fine too. No pucks, no bags of shock, no algaecides (they add metals). All bad.
    Now your last readings ... are they from your Taylor K-2006 test kit? I was concerned why your CYA was at 100 above, then shows zero now. CYA should be around 30-50 ppm. Your chlorine (FC) is low and CC elevated which explain the organic material in the water. So here's what you need to do:
    1. Verify CYA again. It needs to be at least 30. If you show zero, add stabilizer for a target of 30ppm.
    2. Perform a SLAM via Pool School - SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain. Read this page carefully. It will work, and you can do it before the extreme cold sets-in so you can close your pool if needed. You need to kill that algae that is making the water cloudy.
    3. Remove anything from the in-line chlorinator.

    You will continue the SLAM until you pass the 3 SLAM criteria noted on that SLAM page. The key is daily brushing, backwashing, and keeping the FC at the SLAM/Shock level as noted on that CYA/Chlorine Chart. Those links are also in my sig below. Look it all over and let us know if you have any more questions. Welcome to TFP!
    Thank you for the help!

    The only time I used the pucks is at the beginning of the season to increase the CYA. I accidentally let it go too high this year - my bad. I always just use liquid chlorine to shock.

    If I add stabilizer, and there is a bacteria in the pool that is feeding off of the CYA, then wouldn't it be a bad idea to add stabilizer at this point? Thanks!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    Welcome to TFP!

    Yes, it sounds like bacteria ate your CYA and is consuming chlorine as fast as you are adding it. The good news is your CYA is 0 now so you should be getting close. The only thing to do is keep adding chlorine until it holds. You can use plain, unscented bleach. It is chemically the same as liquid chlorine, just a lower percentage, usually 8.25%. Buy the cheap store brand. Do NOT buy the splashless or easy pour varieties.
    The hardware store is ordering some in for me, will be in on Monday. So, I will spend that day shocking hourly. I really am hoping to make some headway that day.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I should be backwashing daily?
    In ground pool, 33,000 gallons, sand filter, variable speed pump, heater. Pool owner for 5 years :)

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Cloudy Water Help

    Backwash when the pressure rises 20-25% over clean pressure.
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    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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    Re: Cloudy Water Help

    SnoopyG, along with Pooldv's advice, keep this one handy (before adding stabilizer) and use only if you discover that you cannot hold you FC:
    1. Begin a SLAM and dose FC up to SLAM level. Do not add additional CYA at this point.
    2. Retest FC at 10-minute intervals.
    a. If FC loss is greater than 50%, add FC to bring back up to SLAM level and continue retesting FC @ 10-minute intervals.
    b. IF FC loss is 50% or less, add FC to bring back up to SLAM level. Go to Step 3.
    3. If CYA is below 30 ppm, add enough CYA to bring level up to 30 ppm.
    4. Continue SLAM as directed in the SLAM article until the SLAM Criteria of Done are met. Test as directed in the SLAM article - no longer need to test FC at 10 minute increments at this point.

    This is a treatment plan for those whose CYA and/or FC got so low that it converted to ammonia. You'll know it if you add bleach and just a few minutes later there is zero FC showing. If that happens, use the steps above until it holds.
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
    If you enjoyed your TFP experience, please consider donating to Support TFP!

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    Re: Cloudy Water Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Texas Splash View Post
    SnoopyG, along with Pooldv's advice, keep this one handy (before adding stabilizer) and use only if you discover that you cannot hold you FC:
    1. Begin a SLAM and dose FC up to SLAM level. Do not add additional CYA at this point.
    2. Retest FC at 10-minute intervals.
    a. If FC loss is greater than 50%, add FC to bring back up to SLAM level and continue retesting FC @ 10-minute intervals.
    b. IF FC loss is 50% or less, add FC to bring back up to SLAM level. Go to Step 3.
    3. If CYA is below 30 ppm, add enough CYA to bring level up to 30 ppm.
    4. Continue SLAM as directed in the SLAM article until the SLAM Criteria of Done are met. Test as directed in the SLAM article - no longer need to test FC at 10 minute increments at this point.

    This is a treatment plan for those whose CYA and/or FC got so low that it converted to ammonia. You'll know it if you add bleach and just a few minutes later there is zero FC showing. If that happens, use the steps above until it holds.
    So basically, I need to dose with chlorine constantly until I reach 10 ppm. It seems to disappear almost immediately (as you mentioned above). What you are saying is that I will be needing to add quite a large quantity of chlorine at once and then test right away. correct? Then, wait 10 minutes and test again for FC, seeing how much I have lost in that time, using your calculations.

    Do I do this at night, or can I do it during the day? Since I have no stabilizer in the pool, I would think I would be doing this at night?
    In ground pool, 33,000 gallons, sand filter, variable speed pump, heater. Pool owner for 5 years :)

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    Re: Cloudy Water Help

    You're absolutely correct. Ammonia will eat-up chlorine (FC) almost immediately. So the only way to defeat it is with more bleach. You'll use a lot at first until it holds, then eventually you'll win the battle, but you have to check it every few minutes and replenish as needed to maintain the FC of 10. You can do it any time you are ready, but once you start, you don't want to stop until the FC holds on its own. Have drinks and snacks ready to hold you over for an hour or two as you babysit your pond.
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
    If you enjoyed your TFP experience, please consider donating to Support TFP!

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    Re: Cloudy Water Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Texas Splash View Post
    You're absolutely correct. Ammonia will eat-up chlorine (FC) almost immediately. So the only way to defeat it is with more bleach. You'll use a lot at first until it holds, then eventually you'll win the battle, but you have to check it every few minutes and replenish as needed to maintain the FC of 10. You can do it any time you are ready, but once you start, you don't want to stop until the FC holds on its own. Have drinks and snacks ready to hold you over for an hour or two as you babysit your pond.
    Thank you - I'll have to wait until Monday when the shipment comes in. Thank you very much - I will update you when I finally get some progress made
    In ground pool, 33,000 gallons, sand filter, variable speed pump, heater. Pool owner for 5 years :)

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    Re: Cloudy Water Help

    Btw, use a 10ml water sample for FC/CC and multiply the drops by 0.5. It will save on reagents.

    - - - Updated - - -

    You don't have to use liquid chlorine. Regular old laundry bleach will do, just not scented or splashless.. Check the percentage (you want 8.25%) and freshness. There will be a 5 digit code on the bottle like 15223, that is the 223rd day of 2015. Look for the freshest you can find. Liquid chlorine has the same coding system.

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    Re: Cloudy Water Help

    Thanks for all the help - SLAM in progress, although the pool is looking clearer, I need to get the pool to hold fc. Actually, this morning for the first time since I opened, I have a little FC, so hopefully this will take care of the rest of the bugs in the water!
    In ground pool, 33,000 gallons, sand filter, variable speed pump, heater. Pool owner for 5 years :)

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    Re: Cloudy Water Help

    Don't forget those steps above. If the FC gets chewed-up really fast, use those steps above checking every 10 minutes, then your FC should begin to hold better. Good luck!
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
    If you enjoyed your TFP experience, please consider donating to Support TFP!

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    Re: Cloudy Water Help

    I began SLAM-ing last night. I started with 0.4 ppm FC. I added chlorine until I reached 10 ppm (my CYA level at the time was below 20). I tested every 10 minutes until the FC level didn't drop more than 50%. I then added CYA. My CYA value is now at 40 ppm. I estimated that my shock level should be 16 ppm FC for the rest of the SLAM process.

    Per the Pool Calculator, I estimated how much chorine to add to the pool (using 10% liquid). I seem to be stuck in a rut. I will show you what I mean:

    10/5:
    10:50 pm FC 8.5ppm (added chlorine)
    10/6
    12:15 am FC 9ppm (added chlorine)
    7:40 am FC 6 ppm (I had to sleep at some time - added more chlorine, whatever was recommended via calculator)
    9:40 am FC 9 ppm
    10:40 am FC 12 ppm
    12:18 pm FC 12 ppm
    2:00 pm FC 12 ppm
    4:37 pm FC 12 ppm
    7:55 pm FC 13 ppm
    after adding chlorine 8:35 FC still at 13 ppm ....

    It seems as though I have plenty of FC, but it isn't going up very much. The values you see are prior to adding more chlorine, except the last one at 8:35 pm. I guess I'm not sure when I should be testing, and why my FC value doesn't seem to be moving upwards at all, even though I just added chlorine. It should have bumped up to 16 at 8:35. Let me know what I might be doing wrong. Thank you!!

    - - - Updated - - -

    I should also add, I am a little concerned, because since beginning this process, the pipes for my intake and outgoing lines seem to be leaking at the filter - just a little bit, but it is still concerning me. Not sure if it is the chlorine that is causing it? Thanks
    In ground pool, 33,000 gallons, sand filter, variable speed pump, heater. Pool owner for 5 years :)

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    Re: Cloudy Water Help

    5900 G Fiberglass IG pool (circa 1990), SWG Hayward Aqua Rite GoldLine (2013), IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pump (2013), Hayward Pro Sand Filter (circa 1990), Well water (no iron or other metals fortunately), test with Taylor K2006C, Charleston, SC

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    Re: Cloudy Water Help

    Okay SnoopyGirl, so you're adding bleach and can't seem to get over that FC 12-13 hump huh? There's a coupe thing that may be contributing to that. First is the low CYA. Since it was below 20 yesterday, and you just added some more, it will take a few days for that new CYA (target of 40) to really kick-in. So the sun may be grabbing some of your FC. The other could be the amount you're adding, although I don't know the specific amounts. But as an example, when I use the calculator, for your 33K pool, to go from FC 12 to FC 16 it says to add 1 1/2 gallons of 8.25% bleach. Hopefully that's what you are seeing as well. Remember algae is likely to reduce FC at the same time.

    As for the leaks, the bleach won't have anything to do with that. If you can post a pic or try to describe exactly where the leak is coming from (i.e. threaded union fitting, or where the pipe is glued together), that may help.

    Do the best you can to keep that FC at your SLAM FC target of 16 and you'll do fine. Don't forget to scrub the pool often as well and check any areas that may be a home to algae (lights, ladder, etc). Let us know if you have any more questions.
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
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    Re: Cloudy Water Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Texas Splash View Post
    Okay SnoopyGirl, so you're adding bleach and can't seem to get over that FC 12-13 hump huh? There's a coupe thing that may be contributing to that. First is the low CYA. Since it was below 20 yesterday, and you just added some more, it will take a few days for that new CYA (target of 40) to really kick-in. So the sun may be grabbing some of your FC. The other could be the amount you're adding, although I don't know the specific amounts. But as an example, when I use the calculator, for your 33K pool, to go from FC 12 to FC 16 it says to add 1 1/2 gallons of 8.25% bleach. Hopefully that's what you are seeing as well. Remember algae is likely to reduce FC at the same time.

    As for the leaks, the bleach won't have anything to do with that. If you can post a pic or try to describe exactly where the leak is coming from (i.e. threaded union fitting, or where the pipe is glued together), that may help.

    Do the best you can to keep that FC at your SLAM FC target of 16 and you'll do fine. Don't forget to scrub the pool often as well and check any areas that may be a home to algae (lights, ladder, etc). Let us know if you have any more questions.
    Thank you, TS - I finally made it over the hump last night. I am using the calculator, and what I did was bump up my pool value from 33,000 to 35,000. Probably more accurate

    I am still having significant loss overnight, though my pool is crystal clear, and when I backwash, the water looks really good. Last night I went from 16 ppm FC down to 10 ppm. Not sure how long this will keep up, as the pool will be closed on Tuesday...

    One LAST LAST question:

    It is fall here and I was very fortunate to have had a solid week of nice weather. Today it is very windy, so I decided to put the cover over the pool, as to keep out all of the leaves and dirt (there is construction behind our house). Is this okay?? I'm wondering if having the pool covered contributed to my troubles in the first place, and I don't really want to leave the cover on while I go through this process. But I also don't want a pool full of leaves and yucch :P
    In ground pool, 33,000 gallons, sand filter, variable speed pump, heater. Pool owner for 5 years :)

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    Re: Cloudy Water Help

    Generally we like to keep the cover off during a SLAM to let the pool "breathe" a bit and let the oxidation process go unimpeded. But I understand your concern about the construction and wind. Maybe cover during the day (or when you must) and leave off at night? A few leaves, if scooped-out the next day, won't have a drastic effect on the SLAM. Only if you left them in there to rot. As for the cover contributing to algae, if the cover has algae on it, it will transfer to the water. I suppose a good inspection and cleaning may be needed if it's been a while.
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
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    Re: Cloudy Water Help

    I am getting a little worried, as I was hoping I could have the SLAM process complete prior to closing the pool for the season this Tuesday, but I'm not sure I'll get there.

    I went away overnight Friday through Saturday, and I left instructions with my husband on when to add more chlorine, and how much. I estimated how much I was losing over time, and got my values from that, hoping that maybe I would be getting closer to not losing FC at night (passing my overnight FC test). Unfortunately the directions I left were not followed correctly - used the 8.25% bleach half-gallons instead of the 10% full gallons of chlorine I had set right next to the directions...), and when I tested early this morning, I was down to 3 ppm (target of 16), which means I was not at shock level for who knows how long. Super frustrated.

    So, I am two steps forward, and two steps back. I'm nervous my pool will be a swamp come spring.

    Is there anything I can do to keep chlorine in the pool after closing? Is there anything more I can do to keep FC in the pool? I added chlorine to get up to 16 ppm, and now already 4 hours later I am down to 10. I have been sweeping, no ladder, cleaning the skimmers - I am not sure what I am missing. I don't need to backwash yet, but I am planning to do that today or tomorrow before closing.

    Any ideas will be greatly appreciated, because I am at a loss now.
    In ground pool, 33,000 gallons, sand filter, variable speed pump, heater. Pool owner for 5 years :)

  19. Back To Top    #19
    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Cloudy Water Help

    I doubt you are missing anything except simply patience and consistency. Those darn hubby's ... bwwaaahaaha. Well, try to hang in there and stay on top of that FC while you can. It's best to close the pool "algae-free" otherwise it will make opening a bit challenging in the spring. Chlorine (bleach) is your best friend right now as long as you maintain.
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
    If you enjoyed your TFP experience, please consider donating to Support TFP!

  20. Back To Top    #20
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    Re: Cloudy Water Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Texas Splash View Post
    I doubt you are missing anything except simply patience and consistency. Those darn hubby's ... bwwaaahaaha. Well, try to hang in there and stay on top of that FC while you can. It's best to close the pool "algae-free" otherwise it will make opening a bit challenging in the spring. Chlorine (bleach) is your best friend right now as long as you maintain.
    All right, I'll just keep on keepin' on - maybe testing more frequently today and adding more chlorine throughout the day.
    In ground pool, 33,000 gallons, sand filter, variable speed pump, heater. Pool owner for 5 years :)

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