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Thread: Need Help!

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    Need Help!

    Hi, I'm not new to pool ownership, but new to the forum. I'm here to find help for my algae problem. I've had an above ground pool for almost 20 years now. Last year our pool finally fell apart, so I bought another one - larger - on craigslist and had it installed. We went with the Wilkes pool because of the claim of low maintenance, which was true for the most part, but this new pool has had me vacuuming way more than I ever wanted to.

    Looking forward to getting some answers, and maybe I can provide some.

    Lynne
    Above ground Wilkes pool, 16x24, 11.5k gal

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    Re: Need Help!

    Welcome to TFP

    We are all about taking care of our pools needs by testing our water with a good home test kit. Do you have a test kit and be able to post up a full set of test results? With that info we can have you on your way to a clear sparkling troublefree pool.

    PH
    TA
    CL
    CC
    CYA

    Have you had the chance to read a bit in pool school? Here are some good links to start with

    Pool School - ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry
    Pool School - SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain
    18*36*23 true "L" vinyl IG 29,000 gallons. SWG. TF-100 test kit.
    http://tftestkits.net/splash-page.html

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    Dead Algae Dust

    I started reading through the Pool School, and it seems like everything points back to making sure that the FC is high enough, but my FC (according to test strips) has been no less than 3 ppm, and right now it's at 10 ppm. The CyA, however, has been at 0 the whole time - which, if the FC wasn't staying high, would concern me, but even with a 0 CyA, FC has been fine. How do you fix an algae problem with advice to raise the FC when your FC is already high?
    Above ground Wilkes pool, 16x24, 11.5k gal

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Need Help!

    Congrats on the new pool upgrade!

    +1 to testing your own water with a good test kit. I use the TF-100 from TFTestkits.net and it's a great kit. There is a west coast distributor too. Please add your State to your location, climate and region is often and important factor when we are helping you with your pool.
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    Re: Need Help!

    Well, you have some issues with a 0 CYA. That said, no one really knows if your CYA is zero because you are apparently using Test Strips. Just about everything we teach revolves around testing with a precision kit so you post results we can depend on.

    read "The ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry" up in Pool School. That'll get you started and then plan on getting one of the suggested test kits so we can get a much better idea of your issues.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Need Help!

    I'm just going to keep shocking it - I read the ABC's, and my FC if fine, so I just have to get rid of the algae.
    Above ground Wilkes pool, 16x24, 11.5k gal

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    Re: Need Help!

    Your chlorine numbers needed are dependent on your CYA number. Test strips unfortunately won't give you that accurate of a measurement. If your water is cloudy then you need to follow the SLAM process. Which means, yes, you need to elevate your CL to shock level for you CYA number and keep it there until you pass all three tests.

    Clear water
    Pass overnight chlorine loss test
    CC of less that .5
    18*36*23 true "L" vinyl IG 29,000 gallons. SWG. TF-100 test kit.
    http://tftestkits.net/splash-page.html

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    Re: Need Help!

    Water has been crystal clear all through this.

    No offense, but it doesn't seem like rocket science. I know I'm going to sound like an old fogy, but the test strips have worked for 20+ years (my father used them before me), and I shouldn't need to spend $70-100 for a testing kit to get rid of algae. I rather spend that money on shock.

    I'm attaching a couple pictures - one is of the piles at the bottom of my pool, and the other is of the skimmer basket when I used a filter and vacuumed the pool. When I rinsed out the basket the next day, I saw live worms in it. You can see them in the picture too (if you enlarge it).

    Even though I cleaned my cartridge, I've ordered a new one as it probably will continue to harbor algae. It was 3+ years old (not sure exactly because the guy who installed our pool gave it to me last year), so it probably needs to be changed anyway.

    20160602_111649.jpg20160602_113728.jpg
    Above ground Wilkes pool, 16x24, 11.5k gal

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    Re: Need Help!

    Here at TFP we take care of our pools with accurate testing and adding only what is needed to our pools. In order to follow our advice which is science driven with proven methods you'd need a good test kit. I can understand not wanting to spend what seems like a lot of money but it has saved many many people the expense of blindly throwing chemicals in their pools and not getting the results they expect. It is however your pool and you must take care of it as you see fit.

    As stated before the amount of chlorine need to either sanitize or eliminate algae is entirely dependent upon accurately knowing your CYA and a test strip is not accurate for that.

    How do you normally chlorinate?
    18*36*23 true "L" vinyl IG 29,000 gallons. SWG. TF-100 test kit.
    http://tftestkits.net/splash-page.html

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    Re: Need Help!

    I use pucks in the skimmer basket.

    I shocked it on Thursday, and the test strips continue to show 10 ppm FC. I figure if they are only 50% accurate, that's still 5 PPM, which is still within reason.

    I figured out the worms are sawfly larvae, which makes sense since we have a lot of pine trees in our yard. We are getting lots of pine pollen everywhere.
    Above ground Wilkes pool, 16x24, 11.5k gal

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    Re: Need Help!

    If you are using pucks and they are not cal-hypo tablets, then they are constantly adding CYA to your pool. So your test strips are not reading that. They are unreliable in general but also could be bleaching out the CYA on the strip because of high chlorine.

    Simply.....your FC is NOT adequate or you wouldn't have algae. Chlorine at the right level for your CYA prevents algae from growing and chlorine at shock level for your CYA will kill algae faster than it can multiply by maintaining FC at that level until you pass the three tests. I linked the SLAM article above.

    When you say you "shocked" it, I'm guessing you added another stabilized (more CYA) granular chlorine product to your pool but without a proper test kit we don't know what your CYA level really is.

    You CAN clear algae and take control of your pool with proper testing and thousands of members on this forum do just that and are willing to answer questions and help others. The other options are to keep putting different chemicals in your pool and not knowing the true effects on your chemistry and not clearing algae or......take your water to the pool store with a picture of the water and algae and buy what they say which I'd suspect will cost more than a test kit.
    18*36*23 true "L" vinyl IG 29,000 gallons. SWG. TF-100 test kit.
    http://tftestkits.net/splash-page.html

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    Re: Need Help!

    You're right, AimeeH, you made me realize that since my FC levels are good, that it can't be algae that I'm fighting. The pool store is who said it was algae. I think I have a filter problem. I'm noticing a lot of other debris that should be getting caught in the filter, but is not. The new cartridge should arrive on Thursday. Once I have that in for a few days, if I'm still having a problem with debris, I'll get my water tested.
    Above ground Wilkes pool, 16x24, 11.5k gal

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    Re: Need Help!

    Ok, so I got the new cartridge, and put it in Wednesday night. I vacuumed yesterday afternoon, and today there are a lot less piles of debris, and they are significantly smaller. I think one more vacuuming with a skimmer sock, and I should get all the debris filtered out of the pool.

    I still don't think it's algae, but I was looking in the algae thread, and it seems like there's a lot of people who have been SLAMing for weeks and still have not achieved algae-free pool. OR there are threads where they successfully SLAM'd, and then 5, 7, 9 days later, they have algae back. This seems totally antithetical. Some of the suggestions are about taking lights our or stairs - that algae can "hide". But, if the right amount of chlorine kills algae, why wouldn't it kill all algae? It doesn't make sense.

    Also, if chlorine kills algae, why not just dump 3 gallons of bleach in the pool at night, and then for a couple more nights until it kills the algae?
    Above ground Wilkes pool, 16x24, 11.5k gal

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    Re: Need Help!

    There is always something missing when algae comes back. It is not always easy to identify. The SLAM process has been developed and evolved over time with lots of feedback from lots of folks for many years. It works, there are tons of success stories. We have many, many members here who have only SLAMed once or never in many years. I SLAMed my pool in 2012 and again last summer after I got lazy/over confident and let my FC drop as temps and swimming rose. My pool has been crystal clear and easy to take care of since 2012 following TFPC. That is why I am still here today. I have never drained, never been unable to swim and never been to a pool store.

    All that has ever been put in my pool is
    Salt
    Bleach
    muriatic acid
    Borax
    Calcium chloride
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    Re: Need Help!

    You're probably right that there are many more successes than failures - people tend to post about their problems, not when they don't have any problems. But, it's the failures that scare me. Seven of the the first 10 posts in that forum are from people who have not been able to get the SLAM to work. The advice seems like anything but trouble free, in fact it reads like a full-time job. Then lengths these people are going to are on the verge of absurd. "Hop on your right foot when the moon is full and circle the pool 3x, then come back and test, then test again." Yeah - some of them have run out of testing solutions they've had to test so often.

    I guess if my water wasn't sparkling clean, I'd be more inclined to try it, but it doesn't seem worth the effort/risk at this point.

    Also, what about my chlorine question - why can't you just kill the algae with massive doses of bleach?
    Above ground Wilkes pool, 16x24, 11.5k gal

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Need Help!

    There are risks associated with having FC much above shock level for your CYA including bleached liners and it is just a waste of chlorine because the decay rate increases significantly the higher you go. And there is not much benefit seen. The most important part of a SLAM is to to Maintain and brush to kill all of the algae. A one time shock, even at a high level will only kill some, or maybe most, of the algae and it will be back soon.

    I SLAMed last summer and it was great and easy and it has been fine ever since. We swam every day while SLAMing and I brushed several times per day, especially anything green, and maintained FC at 28 for CYA at 70. There were no issues at all.
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    Re: Need Help!

    Today, this morning, the pool has just minimal piles - really few and small - almost not sure if they are a pile or the micro pine cone things that have been dropping into the pool sunk to the bottom. There is, however, bigger stuff - true debris, that has collected near the bottom drain (which hasn't been on - I've been doing 100% skimmer due to the massive amounts of debris falling from the trees). I will vacuum up that debris and the few small spots today. I have not chlorinated the pool three days (today would be day 4) after double shocking on Monday and having a puck in the skimmer until Tuesday. I'm trying to let the levels go down (10+ FC). I'm thinking I'm a day away from not having to vacuum daily and/or brush anymore.
    Above ground Wilkes pool, 16x24, 11.5k gal

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    Re: Need Help!

    Some photos from this morning.
    Clockwise from lower left:
    The skimmer basket from ~5 PM Friday - 10 AM this morning, Close up of debris, test results from this morning; picture of the clear pool water, extreme close up of the piles.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Above ground Wilkes pool, 16x24, 11.5k gal

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    Re: Need Help!

    Today the pool looks the best it ever has - there are no spots on the bottom at all. Yesterday I cleaned out the pump basket and put the filter on 1/2 drain and 1/2 skimmer. There is some debris on the bottom, but no fine stuff, it's more like the picture in the upper left above. Test strips are still showing 10+ FC, and yet I am day 5 of no added chlorine. This fact alone has me decided to go get my water tested at a pool store - I'm just curious how it will match up. I know that my water would not be so clear if I didn't have enough FC, but I also don't know why it wouldn't be dropping. We had some sun yesterday, and more today. It's been very windy, and I have had to manually skim the surface due to the debris falling from the trees. The water is also much colder today.
    Above ground Wilkes pool, 16x24, 11.5k gal

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    Re: Need Help!

    lovlilynne:

    Aimee and the others that have jumped in on this thread are giving you good advice. One fundamental decision you will need to make is to either follow the pool store method -OR- our method. Trying to combine the two simply will not work as they are incompatible. If you decide to follow our method, you will need one of the Recommended Test Kits as the TFP method is based on working from reliable test results obtained from a trusted test kit.

    As for those stating they have experienced difficulty with the SLAM...well there are several possible reasons for that.
    1. The SLAM usually requires continuously maintaining target FC levels greater than 10 ppm. Most test strips, including yours, will not read above that level.
    2. They did not continuously maintain FC at the target SLAM level until all of the SLAM "Criteria of Done" are met.
    3. They halted the SLAM before all of the the SLAM "Criteria of Done" were met. Clear water is one of the criteria of done, but it is not the only one.


    The SLAM is effective if it is done properly, but it is not necessarily a convenient process.
    Gold Supporter, TFP Lifetime Supporter, 26,680 gal Plaster IGP 3.5 - 10' depth / Attached Waterfall Spa, Manually Chlorinated, Triton Sand Filter, 1.5 HP * 1.1 SF = 1.65 SFHP 1-speed Pentair WhisperFlo WF-26 Pump, 400K BTU NG Teledyne Laars Series One Heater, Polaris 360, Test Kit Comparison, Chlorine/CYA Chart, SLAMing Your Pool, OCLT
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