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Thread: Cloudy pool, first-timer here

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    Cloudy pool, first-timer here

    Hello, all. Just received and used my first K-2006 test kit. I'll try to keep this short and sweet. Had the pool (constructed sometime in the 90's, perhaps?) 5 years now, a few algae problems here and there, otherwise no real issues. Last few months pool has become very cloudy. Took sample to pool store, pool chemicals ok. Cloudiness not getting better. My new test kit shows these results, which are totally confounding me. Feel free to gently criticize, please!!

    FC: 16.5 ppm (had to use 31 drops at 10 ml mark)

    TC: no reading

    ph: 7.6

    TA: 40 ppm

    CH: 260 ppm

    CYA: too low on scale to read. I suppose I should say >100.

    I'm posting to see what the HECK to do first. I understand that chlorine reading is off the charts. In the past I have shocked the pool to get this value down, but I don't want to do anything that's not purposeful. Thank you in advance. I'm hoping to get a handle on this! Suggestions, please.
    IG, 13000 gal, cartridge filter, polaris 360

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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Cloudy pool, first-timer here

    Hello and welcome! K-2006 .. alright! Now the readings:
    FC high - perhaps unless you are dong a SLAM for algae. Since your water is cloudy, that may be the case.
    TC - don't worry. Test FC and CC only.
    pH - normally good, but will read high when FC is over 10 (which it is). If you want to know your true pH, let the FC sink down to 10 or less.
    TA - on the low end, but not your biggest priority at the moment.
    CH - fine
    CYA - THIS is the BIG ONE. The black dot disappearing so fast means your CYA is way too high. The only way to reduce CYA is by water exchange. (Sorry). Depending upon your ground stability (water table), you may want to drain about 1/3 or your pool, refill, then check CYA again. See, the problem is that when your CYA gets that high, you can never keep enough FC to match it. This usually happens from years of pool store products like tabs and shock powders that contain trichlor or dichlor.

    I would recommend exchanging some water first before anything else. Adding more chemicals is just a waste with drained water. Then check CYA again. Try to get your CYA at least in the 50 range or so if possible. Anything over 90-100 is basically unmanageable.

    - - - Updated - - -

    The Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart will be one of your most important references. Please see this chart and look at the FC/CYA relationship for a non-SWG pool. You can see how they go together. And since you are over 100 - maybe MUCH higher really, the only way to resolve is by water exchange. But once this is done and you follow TFP methods, your CYA will not go over that threshold again as long as you use the Pool School - Recommended Pool Chemicals.
    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 pool, first-timer here

    With a CYA of 100, that is unfortunately high and could actually be even higher but once you start diluting samples, you lose some accuracy. With a CYA so high, your FC technically isn't that high and you're on the verge of an algae bloom. Your first real step is to do a partial water replacement and recheck the CYA and get it under 50ppm. While you are doing that, read the ABC's of Water Chemistry in Pool School. You'll also find a link in my signature.
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Cloudy pool, first-timer here

    You are off to a great start now with your great test kit! We will help your pool clear again.

    The number one thing that jumps out to me is your CYA at 100+. That is what is throwing the monkey wrench into your pool.

    I see that your are in CA so you are going to HATE my next words...........you will have to drain your pool to get the CYA down.

    OR you can call around and see if anyone in your area does RO (reverse osmosis). It is costly and not many areas has that option but it might be worth it to call around in your area.

    You can cut your pool water with distilled water (50/50) to see just how high your CYA is. You will double your finial number to get your true CYA level.

    Please let us know which way you end up going so we can help you plan what happens next.

    I am sorry to be the one that gives you this bad news

    Kim

    For your FC testing from now you use the 25ml tests. It will use less regents
    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: Cloudy pool, first-timer here

    Welcome to TFP! You have gotten great advice so far, unfortunately water exchange or RO treatment are the only options to reduce CYA. I just want to add one misconception I see:
    Quote Originally Posted by Scubie View Post
    I understand that chlorine reading is off the charts.
    FC strength is heavily regulated by CYA. With your CYA so high your current FC level is not even close to being off the charts, in fact you could easily swim in it! The SLAM level for 100 CYA is 39 FC so you don't even have enough FC to get ahead of the algae, which is why your water continues to be cloudy. Plus you say it is greater than 100 so it could easily be far more given the logarithmic design of the test.

    So follow the suggestions to get a better reading of your CYA level, but understand that decreasing it will be your only real option to get things cleared up and under control.
    JD - 28' Round Above Ground Pool, 17,000 Gallons. Dual speed Jacuzzi pump with cartridge filter. Dual speed 1 HP pump, Hayward S210T sand filter
    Pool School - PoolMath - HIGHLY Recommended Test Kits

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    Re: Cloudy pool, first-timer here

    Thank you very much for the prompt and complete replies. I guess my new goal this year will be pool school! We are preparing for a partial water exchange now, and will keep you posted. Hopefully 1/3 water exchange will do it, yes? Or should we aim for higher if we want to do this in one shot? One additional thought/question for now: added a clarifier for the last few days to get some relief from cloudiness, after getting a new filter cartridge......lots of smooth gray matter coming out of filter when cleaning. Any thoughts about what this could be?? Could this be a result of my being so out of balance? Just posting this in case it's important.
    IG, 13000 gal, cartridge filter, polaris 360

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    Re: Cloudy pool, first-timer here

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    For your FC testing from now you use the 25ml tests. It will use less regents
    Whoops. Brain fart! Keep on using the 10ml.

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    Re: Cloudy pool, first-timer here

    If you want to do it all in close to one shot, you will need to do a diluted CYA test. See post #8 here: Extended Test Kit Directions

    Keep in mind that there will be an increased margin of error on the test, but it will give you a better gauge for doing only one drain/refill. Use PoolMath at the top of this page to help calculate how much water to drain.

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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Cloudy pool, first-timer here

    I wouldn't bother with a clarifier. Your first assignment will be the water exchange with an ideal CYA goal of 30-50. After that, we get you all ready to perform a Pool School - SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain which will clear your water and rid it of any organic material. As for the grey matter ... hard to tell at this point. Perhaps some algae in a transitional stage. But I wouldn't be too concerned yet until you get the CYA under control. Once the CYA is better, it's full-steam ahead with a SLAM and better water chemistry.
    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 pool, first-timer here

    Hello, all, just checking in with my (slow) progress. We have drained about half the pool water. I did a CYA test before this (with 1/2 tap water and 1/2 pool water) and estimated CYA to be about 140...I see the pool calculator says to drain 64% of the pool, so we will make a guesstimate to get close to that. Here's my guess on what will happen next.......I will refill the pool......then let the pump circulate for a bit to mix (how long?).....then do a full test of chemicals (let me know if I only need to start with partial).......then correct the pH levels.......then get ready to SLAM. I will need a little handholding..............thanks so much in advance. You are all going to save my pool!! I will have lots of questions. I'm assuming I (we) will do some calculations to determine how much chlorine I'll need to have on hand (or bleach???). Wait, one more thing.....I do NOT have a vacuum. Do you think it's necessary to get one before starting this whole thing?
    Last edited by Scubie; 02-20-2016 at 01:33 PM. Reason: Added vacuum question
    IG, 13000 gal, cartridge filter, polaris 360

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    Re: Cloudy pool, first-timer here

    Let it circulate for about an hour, test and adjust pH and verify new CYA level so you know what your shock level is for FC. Then SLAM away.

    Ignore all other testing other than FC/CC until the SLAM is over.
    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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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Cloudy pool, first-timer here

    You can get a cheap vacuum head from Walmart along with the hose. It will be helpful to get the dead algae off of the bottom.

    We can and will hold your hand while your beat back that algae monster.

    For right now just refill you pool, let the pump run for about an hour and retest. Give us our FULL test results and we will go from 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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    Re: Cloudy pool, first-timer here

    Finished water exchange - CYA still at 90, which is better, but not good enough. Will do it again and update then. Ugh. Thought we took enough out, but I guess not.
    IG, 13000 gal, cartridge filter, polaris 360

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    Re: Cloudy pool, first-timer here

    Quote Originally Posted by Scubie View Post
    Finished water exchange - CYA still at 90, which is better, but not good enough. Will do it again and update then. Ugh. Thought we took enough out, but I guess not.
    It's a PITA all rihght, but once you get the CYA to a manageable number, the rest of it will be a breeze. A couple weeks of testing and dosing and the lihghtbulb will go off and you'll get it. And after that, your pool will be the envy of the neighborhood. The water won't smell, it won't dry skin, it will be crystal clear and sparkling, and all for just a couple minutes a day. Seriously. You'll be able to toss a quarter in the deep end and call heads or tails while standing on the deck.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Cloudy pool, first-timer here

    OK! Second drain refill complete!! Here are my test results:

    FC: 4

    CC: 0

    pH: 8.0 (needed two drops to lower to approx 7.4)

    TA: 120

    Calcium: 70

    CYA: 40!!!! (doing cartwheels right now...)

    So, I am assuming I should add my muriatic acid now to regular pH. We have approximately 13-14k gallons of water, so I'm estimating that's about 24 ounces of acid??

    Then how soon before I start SLAM process? Let the handholding begin, please......

    Also, will I leave the low Calcium until after SLAM?
    Thank you thank you thank you!
    IG, 13000 gal, cartridge filter, polaris 360

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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Cloudy pool, first-timer here

    Hey, Scubie's back! Great work on that CYA! You're right .... before you SLAM, adjust the pH to 7.2-7.4 with acid per the Poolmath Calculator. Do that first, and once it's there, don't bother testing pH anymore until after you pass the SLAM. So once the pH is good, bump your FC to the proper FC SLAM level of 16 and keep it there. Follow all the instructions on the SLAM page. Don't skip anything, and do all you can to maintain the FC of 16 during the SLAM until you pass all 3 criteria. Good luck!

    PS - I estimated 34 ounces of acid, but start cautiously and go with your 24 ounces and re-test. Better to be safe than to go too low.
    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 pool, first-timer here

    Just thinking out loud........so pool was cloudy, but I'm not sure what was causing it. If my numbers seem good now, and I have NO combined chlorine, 4 ppm free chlorine, and no verified algae bloom, do I still SLAM? Shall I assume the cloudiness was caused by algae? Is SLAMing ok if the cloudiness was NOT algae?? Just musing....

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thanks, Texas Splash! I see where your acid level comes from.....I think I was lowering to 7.5, not the lower value. Ooh, I'm excited!
    IG, 13000 gal, cartridge filter, polaris 360

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    Re: Cloudy pool, first-timer here

    To verify nothing bad n the water we conduct an Overnight FC Loss Test (OCLT).
    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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    Re: Cloudy pool, first-timer here

    What does your water look like now? If your water is clear, you may have caught an algae bloom right in its infancy. Do the OCLT and see if you pass. If you do, keep your FC in line with the CYA by using the chart in Pool School and continue reading pool school (ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry), test every day and brush your pool regularly. Keep posting questions.
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

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    Re: Cloudy pool, first-timer here

    We love hand holding but you will only need us for a little while..

    cloudy water could be many things

    High CH
    Algae bloom

    a CH of 70 is not high

    So, it looks like you have some greenies partying in there Do the OCLT and see what you get, if it drops SLAM away..

    remember, keep your FC above the recommended level at all times, your should be 16 so you will need to take it above 16, around 20 will be a good level to go to and let it drop to 16, then add to take it back to 20..
    Pool: Intex 16x32 15000 gal, 2 speed 340042, Pentair CC320 Filter, CircuPool SJ45 Salt System, Intermatic PE653RC; Hot Tub: 650 Gal SWG Megachlor
    links: pool school * Recommended-Levels * SLAM * CYA chart * Test kits * How To Post Pictures * Poolmath * OCLT ** Support your website if we helped you :) **

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