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Thread: Black Algae & Balancing

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    snichols1219's Avatar
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    Black Algae & Balancing

    I am about to tackle the black algae that has taken up roost in spots in my pool. It all started when the salt cell went out at the start of last summer and the chlorine level dropped to zero multiple times. Not only was the pool store wrong about the diagnosis that my salt cell was fine, they were also wrong that is not black algae ~ I have tried everything they recommended and nothing has worked. I have already read about how to go about tackling this, but before I start, just want to confirm that the pool should be in balance before starting it?
    Thanks for any help!
    Shannon
    ~ 22,000 gallons, gunite, white plaster, 22'x38' freeform (103' pb) 3'6" shallow 7'0" deep
    Aquarite Generator, Hayward cartridge filters, Hayward Northstar 1.5 hp main pump,
    Waterfall/slide/bubblers with dedicated pump, Polaris 280 vacuum, Hayward 400K BTU heater

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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: Black Algae & Balancing

    Hey Shannon,

    Welcome to TFP!

    Yep, that's how BA gets a foothold...consistent low Chlorine. You'll need to balance for sure, and you should begin a SLAM procedure once it is. First, do you have a good test kit, and have you begun reading any information here? I would suggest starting with the ABCs in Pool School first thing. Let us know about your test kit, and we can begin helping you get started on killing the BA. Just know, that BA will take time to kill completely so you'll need some patience for sure.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: Black Algae & Balancing

    Welcome to the forum Shannon

    What Patrick said is good advise. With a good testing kit you can handle it yourself and not end up in a cycle of getting "Pool Stored".
    '70s IG Vinyl 32K gal, Lazy L, Hayward SuperPump 1.5hp 120V, S240 Sand Filter W/DE
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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Black Algae & Balancing

    HI! We have your back in this battle with BA.

    Make sure you have a good brush for you pool as that will help quite a bit also.

    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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    snichols1219's Avatar
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    Re: Black Algae & Balancing

    Thanks for the quick response! I wouldn't consider the test kit we have to be a "good" one, it's just a basic one ~ uses the drop solution for chlorine & pH not the strips. I have been reading the forum for a while now, just have never signed up or posted until now. I'm heading off to the pool store to get the proper brushes and have the water tested so I can get it balanced and get the process started! What type of test kit do you recommend I pick up?
    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick_B View Post
    Hey Shannon,

    Welcome to TFP!

    Yep, that's how BA gets a foothold...consistent low Chlorine. You'll need to balance for sure, and you should begin a SLAM procedure once it is. First, do you have a good test kit, and have you begun reading any information here? I would suggest starting with the ABCs in Pool School first thing. Let us know about your test kit, and we can begin helping you get started on killing the BA. Just know, that BA will take time to kill completely so you'll need some patience for sure.
    Shannon
    ~ 22,000 gallons, gunite, white plaster, 22'x38' freeform (103' pb) 3'6" shallow 7'0" deep
    Aquarite Generator, Hayward cartridge filters, Hayward Northstar 1.5 hp main pump,
    Waterfall/slide/bubblers with dedicated pump, Polaris 280 vacuum, Hayward 400K BTU heater

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Black Algae & Balancing

    Look in my siggy for where to buy a GREAT test kit.

    You are going to need to buy the TF-100 XL. If you do not you will run out of the test stuff during your battle.

    I would not put much stock in what the pool store says. They are there to make money from you. We are here to help you get your pool right for the least amount of money possible.

    I would start looking around your area to see where YOUR best price and availability for chlorine or bleach is. For some it is Wal-mart, other the pool store.

    Just make sure it is fresh and plain bleach (no smells or splashless) and the % is listed. Walmart's Greater Value is 8.25% and has a high turn over so should be fresh.

    You are going to need a LOT to beat the BA.

    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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    snichols1219's Avatar
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    Re: Black Algae & Balancing

    Just ordered the test kit. Obviously I'm not going to have that to check it today, so I will have the pool store check it and then post my results. I know my pH is high and most likely with all the rain we have been getting I need stabilizer, phosphates will also be high because of all the leaves we still have falling around here. I won't do anything else until I post the results and get y'alls advice on where to go from there. I am also going to get the proper brushes while there to start brushing. Should I go ahead and turn the generator up to 100%?
    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    Look in my siggy for where to buy a GREAT test kit.

    You are going to need to buy the TF-100 XL. If you do not you will run out of the test stuff during your battle.

    I would not put much stock in what the pool store says. They are there to make money from you. We are here to help you get your pool right for the least amount of money possible.

    I would start looking around your area to see where YOUR best price and availability for chlorine or bleach is. For some it is Wal-mart, other the pool store.

    Just make sure it is fresh and plain bleach (no smells or splashless) and the % is listed. Walmart's Greater Value is 8.25% and has a high turn over so should be fresh.

    You are going to need a LOT to beat the BA.

    Kim
    Shannon
    ~ 22,000 gallons, gunite, white plaster, 22'x38' freeform (103' pb) 3'6" shallow 7'0" deep
    Aquarite Generator, Hayward cartridge filters, Hayward Northstar 1.5 hp main pump,
    Waterfall/slide/bubblers with dedicated pump, Polaris 280 vacuum, Hayward 400K BTU heater

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    Re: Black Algae & Balancing

    Hold off buying any chemicals from the pool store.
    In ground, 14,000 gallon, white plaster, unheated, stone waterfall, DE Filter, Rainbow 320 Cl, Polaris 3900, FloVis flow meter, F100 test kit, Circupool RJ30+ SWG, Circupool VJ1/Speck Badu EcoM3V variable speed pump.

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Black Algae & Balancing

    You have a solid plan! Do not do anything without running it by us! LOL

    You can turn your SWG up BUT it will NOT be enough AND it will wear out your cell faster.

    It would be much better to get some bleach and add a jug a day until your test kit gets there.

    You can get a simple PH test kit for right now if you want. Walmart sells them sometimes.

    You are NOT going to worry about your phosphates right now.

    The only things you will worry about is your PH and FC until your test kit gets there.

    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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    snichols1219's Avatar
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    Re: Black Algae & Balancing

    Okay, just got back from the store. And all was I expected ~ EXCEPT that I currently have ZERO chlorine (water is crystal clear)! Grrrrr! FAC 0, CYA 20, pH 8.2, phosphates 2500. So, I need to add the conditioner to keep the chlorine from burning off, right? Without doing this first, me pouring a gallon of bleach in a day is pointless, right? All of this rain this week has also tanked my salt level once again, so I need to add a couple bags to bring it back up. Gotta love El Nino!
    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    You have a solid plan! Do not do anything without running it by us! LOL

    You can turn your SWG up BUT it will NOT be enough AND it will wear out your cell faster.

    It would be much better to get some bleach and add a jug a day until your test kit gets there.

    You can get a simple PH test kit for right now if you want. Walmart sells them sometimes.

    You are NOT going to worry about your phosphates right now.

    The only things you will worry about is your PH and FC until your test kit gets there.

    Kim
    Shannon
    ~ 22,000 gallons, gunite, white plaster, 22'x38' freeform (103' pb) 3'6" shallow 7'0" deep
    Aquarite Generator, Hayward cartridge filters, Hayward Northstar 1.5 hp main pump,
    Waterfall/slide/bubblers with dedicated pump, Polaris 280 vacuum, Hayward 400K BTU heater

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Black Algae & Balancing

    Shannon hold off on the CYA (conditioner) as that is the test the PS seems to get wrong the most.

    When you do a SLAM to clear algae the amount of chlorine you use will depend on your CYA. The higher your CYA the more chlorine you will need so..........at least you have some CYA but not too much for the SLAM.

    I would work on your PH right now. It might even be higher than 8.2 as that is about as high as the test goes.

    One thing FC over 10 will mess up your PH test. So get your PH down to 7.2 and start adding chlorine.

    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: Black Algae & Balancing

    Shannon,

    Slow down just a bit. I know you are ready to defeat this problem but please start with VERY solid footing.......and that solid footing is test results from your kit that's on the way.

    You have had this problem a long time, please wait another couple of days and get precise results with your kit so your initial doses will work as expected.

    While you are waiting, I suggest you put a small bottle of Clorox in the pool each evening until you kit arrives.....it's cheap insurance.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Black Algae & Balancing

    I got the wire brushes and brushed the pool this afternoon. I added 2 bags of salt to get the level back to where it should be and the acid to get my pH down (I have a basic kit and will check that level tomorrow). Before the sun went down I added a bottle of bleach as suggested.
    Shannon
    ~ 22,000 gallons, gunite, white plaster, 22'x38' freeform (103' pb) 3'6" shallow 7'0" deep
    Aquarite Generator, Hayward cartridge filters, Hayward Northstar 1.5 hp main pump,
    Waterfall/slide/bubblers with dedicated pump, Polaris 280 vacuum, Hayward 400K BTU heater

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Black Algae & Balancing

    You go girl! Just what you needed to do for now!

    Okay here are some links you need to print out and read.

    Print these out:

    Pool School - Recommended Levels

    Pool School - Basic Pool Care Schedule

    Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart

    Bookmark these:

    Pool School - Recommended Pool Chemicals

    Pool School - ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

    THIS is the one you will need when you get your test kit:

    Pool School - SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain

    It is a lot to take in. Read them a little at a time. I had to reread so of them several times for them to sink in. Once you get your test kit it will make even more sense.

    HUGS!

    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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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: Black Algae & Balancing

    Your Salt generator may not work much or at all if your water temp is near 50 or below. In fact it may not come on at all if the temp is too low. Don't add any more salt yet either. No more than a jug of bleach every other day until your kit arrives just to be safe. I really think it's great you want to jump on this, but waiting for solid test numbers is the best approach. A couple of days more wait won't make a difference on this, do just try to be patient. Use the time to educate yourself even more in pool school. It sounds like you're off to a great start with that, so keep it up.
    TFP Moderator
    Essential Links:
    ABC's Of Pool Chemistry, Test Kits, SLAM Your Pool
    28K Gal IG FreeForm, CLI Quartz, Pentair 36"SF & VS Pump, Dolphin M5, Rheem

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    snichols1219's Avatar
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    Re: Black Algae & Balancing

    Funny, I had already printed out what you suggested, including the ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry & the SLAM. I'm keeping it in a binder in the garage with the rest of my stuff. My new test kit should be here tomorrow! In the meantime I have gotten the pH down to 7.2 and have been brushing with the wire brushes and adding bleach. Just getting the top layer off has already made it look so much better ~ especially on the tanning ledge and top step of the deep end where I can really reach it well instead of having to use the pole.

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    You go girl! Just what you needed to do for now!

    Okay here are some links you need to print out and read.

    Print these out:

    Pool School - Recommended Levels

    Pool School - Basic Pool Care Schedule

    Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart

    Bookmark these:

    Pool School - Recommended Pool Chemicals

    Pool School - ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

    THIS is the one you will need when you get your test kit:

    Pool School - SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain

    It is a lot to take in. Read them a little at a time. I had to reread so of them several times for them to sink in. Once you get your test kit it will make even more sense.

    HUGS!

    Kim
    Shannon
    ~ 22,000 gallons, gunite, white plaster, 22'x38' freeform (103' pb) 3'6" shallow 7'0" deep
    Aquarite Generator, Hayward cartridge filters, Hayward Northstar 1.5 hp main pump,
    Waterfall/slide/bubblers with dedicated pump, Polaris 280 vacuum, Hayward 400K BTU heater

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    snichols1219's Avatar
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    Re: Black Algae & Balancing

    I've been watching the temp and it seems to be holding about 54, according to the panel it's generating. The salt I added got me back to where I needed to be, so no need for any more. And only adding bleach every other day.
    Thanks!
    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick_B View Post
    Your Salt generator may not work much or at all if your water temp is near 50 or below. In fact it may not come on at all if the temp is too low. Don't add any more salt yet either. No more than a jug of bleach every other day until your kit arrives just to be safe. I really think it's great you want to jump on this, but waiting for solid test numbers is the best approach. A couple of days more wait won't make a difference on this, do just try to be patient. Use the time to educate yourself even more in pool school. It sounds like you're off to a great start with that, so keep it up.
    Shannon
    ~ 22,000 gallons, gunite, white plaster, 22'x38' freeform (103' pb) 3'6" shallow 7'0" deep
    Aquarite Generator, Hayward cartridge filters, Hayward Northstar 1.5 hp main pump,
    Waterfall/slide/bubblers with dedicated pump, Polaris 280 vacuum, Hayward 400K BTU heater

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    snichols1219's Avatar
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    Re: Black Algae & Balancing

    Okay, my kit got here (that thing is awesome!). I tested everything and got it balanced.
    FC 10
    CC 0
    CH 250 (question about this)
    TA 150
    CYA 70
    Dumped in the initial mass amount of bleach last night to bring it up to shock level. So now I need to check daily the FC level, keep it at the shock level, and brush with the wire brushes until it's no more?
    As far as my CH goes (which I know I'm not concerned with at the moment, asking for reference when I'm done here) isn't that low? According to the pool store report 200-400 (they also said it was 250) is okay, so I'm in level, but reading in the ABCs for a plaster pool with a SWG it should be 350-450.
    Thanks!
    Shannon
    ~ 22,000 gallons, gunite, white plaster, 22'x38' freeform (103' pb) 3'6" shallow 7'0" deep
    Aquarite Generator, Hayward cartridge filters, Hayward Northstar 1.5 hp main pump,
    Waterfall/slide/bubblers with dedicated pump, Polaris 280 vacuum, Hayward 400K BTU heater

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    Re: Black Algae & Balancing

    You should test FC frequently so you can add additional Chlorine throughout the day. The closer you maintaine the shock level, the quicker you will get done.
    In ground, 14,000 gallon, white plaster, unheated, stone waterfall, DE Filter, Rainbow 320 Cl, Polaris 3900, FloVis flow meter, F100 test kit, Circupool RJ30+ SWG, Circupool VJ1/Speck Badu EcoM3V variable speed pump.

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Black Algae & Balancing

    Agree, check the FC every hour or two and add bleach to bring it back up to where it needs to be.

    If you can, go ahead and turn off your SWCG as at this point you need massive amounts of chlorine and all the SWCG is add is minute amounts. Save the life of the salt cell.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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