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Thread: New House and First time Pool. Read tons but still fighting algea

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    New House and First time Pool. Read tons but still fighting algea

    We just bought a house with a 26-27k gallon inground vinyl pool so this is my first time maintaining one. I did a lot of reading over at the thepoolforum and here. Luckily the pool was well maintained and looked clear when i pulled the winter cover in April. I almost got pool stored and was training to get levels up using test strips, and then a poor 5 test kit. I was trying to base chlorine off of color matching, got my alkalinity too high, and then dropped to almost no FC. I got a full algea bloom across the whole pool. It was a thin green layer that kept coming back and I needed to change my DE 3 times. My FC had dropped to 1.4 but luckily my CYA was only at 35 before i used any more shock bags and about 40 after my pucks dissolved in the cholorinator.

    Now I have my alkalinity down to 100, CYA around 40, temperature is 80, Hardness 280. I've been trying to add enough borates to get to 50 ppm and am about 10 boxes away using the slow method. I had dropped my PH to somewhere between 7.0 and 7.2 (or so I thought as I really hate color tests), added 2 more boxes of borax, and now i swear i'm high 7's. I was fine with the low PH as I read it helps fight algae, but then i read once you have cya, it doesn't matter so added the borax as i've read it also helps prevent algae. 3 weeks ago I hit my slam levels of 16ppm of FC, and maintained between 10-16 since. I have some days that end up being really busy and there is not a timer on the pool pump yet so it can get neglected, and the chlorine levels get neglected. because of this and the terrible strips, i had that first bad algae bloom 3 weeks ago. I still have some late days, but either i or the girlfriend turn the pump on, but I can't scrub everyday. The frustrating part is I thought I was rid of the algea, but now it is blooming and entirely different. Instead of a thin layer it is now dark green patches that look like moss or mold. The cover was left on for 2 days with the pump run and I uncovered it yesterday to find lots of these thick algea blooms and this gray slimey dust bunny looking clumps at the bottom. I am also getting sand in the bottom as they had pavers which were not maintained that I was trying to fix but it has rained several times. Yesterday I shocked to 20ppm FC and scrubbed and ran the vaccuum. This algae seems entirely different than the first bloom though as it is isolated and the water is crystal clear. I got all the gray gunk and algea brushed vacuumed or scooped out yesterday when I did the shock. I left the cover off overnight. I checked today after work and there were those same dark green isolated algea splotches. I again brushed and vacuumed and have left the pump running. My FC had dropped to 15, so I shocked again and this time i'm at 23ppm. I'm leaving the pump run all night this time. I think one of the problems is this inground pool did not have built in stairs, and so they had wedding cake vinyl stairs which are getting algae on them (I had it gone once but its come back and inside the part where you have to put rocks to weigh it down). I actually stuck a puck in there and squeeze bleach out directly in here to try to combat this. Everytime I check my Combined Chlorine it is between 0 and .5. I would think if i'm fighting chlorine I would see a raised CC, but its never been higher than .5. Am i fighting mustard algae here? I can't think of anything else as the normal algea should not have survived my almost 3 week slam (even though I wasn't at 16 the whole time i was always above 10). It is also odd my pressure on my pump has not spiked like it did with the thing layer of full covering algae. I'm aslo wondering what the gray sludge was? Is it possible it was dead algae that had been killed by the FC over the 2 days and just clumping in the deep end? Should I pull out the vinyl stairs, and what can i do to clean them? I do get a good amount of pollen and debris in the pool as it sits in a valley in the backyard at basement level. Can I do something else here like add an algecide or something? The first picture is a kind of close up of the green algea clumps that are now growing, and the second is these clumps on a different day next to the gray sludge puffball. I do get lots of dead caterpillars and slugs in the pool but don't think that is probably an attributing factor. I'll test my FC loss in the morning as well.
    IMG_0882.jpg
    IMG_0886.jpg

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    needsajet's Avatar
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    Re: New House and First time Pool. Read tons but still fighting algea

    Hi there and welcome to TFP. Good to have you here.

    Please look at my signature and click "Read before posting". That link will tell you how to add your pool info and test kit name to your signature. There's also some other tips to help you get good advice.

    From what I can tell, there's nothing there we can't fix, but in the meantime:
    1. Keep your FC at 16 PPM
    2. Hold off on any more borates and don't add any algaecide
    3. Post complete test results the way it shows in "read before posting"
    4. Brush the pool at least once per day and preferably more than that
    5. Let us know your filter clean pressure and current pressure.

    Your problem isn't too bad and you will achieve a safe and sparkly pool using TFP methods.
    12k IG salt; glass beads in plaster; K-2006C, K-1766, CCL, and Aussie 4in1 (HTH); Pentair Eco800 1.2HP VS; Zodiac SWC 1.3 lb/day (25 g/hr); 25" filter recycled glass; OKU solar panels; 1/2 HP solar pump; Rebel (Warrior) pool cleaner; FlowViz; prior pool AG 10k | Read Before Posting to get the best possible advice | ... and this helped me a lot!: TFPC for Beginners

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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: New House and First time Pool. Read tons but still fighting algea

    DB, you mention a poor test kit and strips earlier in your process, which makes me assume you're using either the TFTkit or Taylor k2006 now, right?

    If so, there's a piece of this puzzle I want to make sure you completely understand so that here foreward your pool is trouble free:

    algea should not have survived my almost 3 week slam (even though I wasn't at 16 the whole time i was always above 10
    In actual fact, any time your FC falls below your slam level, you are no longer slamming.

    So if your slam level is 16 and your FC is 10, you simply are NOT in the kill zone. You're letting the algae multiply faster than you're killing it.

    The reason the TFP slam works is two fold. 1. The FC/CYA Chart ratio is key, that's why the need for good test kit and 2. The MAINTAIN the slam ratio part is what assures the eradication of algae and further growth.

    So if you can devote a couple of days on the front end testing and raising the FC to just a point or so above the slam rate for your cya per the chart, every few hours, then you'll find fewer top ups are needed through the workweek etc. but in essence, if you totally maintain the rate, you will spend less time slamming and won't waste chlorine.

    Once you've passed the Overnight Chlorine Loss Test - life will be great, because then all you will need to e trouble free is a quick test and dose each day.

    Hope that helps. Cheers to clear!
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
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    Re: New House and First time Pool. Read tons but still fighting algea

    Thanks Needsajet and swampwoman. I didn't see the signature option initially, and did all that at the other forum and then couldn't post.
    I guess I didn't realize reading the pool school that the SLAM level was a minimum FC value, it almost seemed like I shouldn't be going over it to be able to swim. I tested my FC this morning and it only dropped by .5 to 23 from 23.5. I had another tiny algea bloom this morning which I don't understand how its growing in such high chlorine levels, and why I don't have combined chlorine if i'm fighting algea. I appreciate the response though and did not realize the need to maintain at least 16ppm. I was assuming since we keep it 4-5 ppm once clean, this would prevent algea from growing typically. I plan to get a full set of numbers today. from my k2006 and the pool store.

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    Re: New House and First time Pool. Read tons but still fighting algea

    from my k2006 and the pool store.
    I shuddered when I read that. Stay out of the pool store. Practically every third post on this forum tells you the trouble you get into believing pool store test results.

    Trust your own testing!
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: New House and First time Pool. Read tons but still fighting algea

    I know I know, but I want to trust the people at this store. They seem genuine but I do see the misguidedness. I buy my muriatic acid from them as i think it was only 4.99 a gallon. She asked what it was for so mentioned borates, she was clueless. She mentioned about the classes they send them to (sounded like chemical suppliers)... She has given me some good advice and tips, but does tend to try to steer me to the shock bags but they do carry liquid chlorine, although more costly than walmart and our local hardware store. I plan to stop by to get the muriatic acid today so i figured it can't hurt to let them test. Again I hate the subjective tests and struggle with exactly identifying PH. Also sorry about late response on full test results but I ended up getting busy with other things yesterday. I left the cover off all day in the sun, vacuumed and brushed twice but didn't add chlorine overnight (i really should have checked this). I recovered at night and looked this afternoon and don't see any algea spots. Although it seems i burned off a lot of chlorine and i'm surprised by the level this morning so much so i may need to retest. These are my full results:
    Borate: 30
    PH ~ 7.7 (again i'm shocked by this as I thought i was around 7.2 and added only 8lbs of borax which should have only take me to around 7.4-7.5)
    FC = 13.5 (shocked at the drop from yesterday of 23.5 to 13.5 although it was in the sun all day i need to get this back up to at least 16 asap).
    CC = 0 (i've never seen higher than .5 again confusing as i expect it to be in use fighting algea)
    ALk = 140 (i swear i was at 100 but i've added the borax could this have caused such a jump?)
    CYA = 35 (pretty confident in this number)

    My plan is to test real quick at pool store while i'm there anyways. I'm going to add chlorine back up to 16%, pull the cover and brush it down. I'm trying to fix the pavers as well so i need to clean those out and re-sand and then seal. I don't want to get too much junk in the pool and hope it wouldn't affect my chemical levels at least. I also want to give my filter another good backwash and clean the fingers with the muriatic acid as I don't really know what state they are in. A question earlier was asking about my pressure and its hard for me to say as the previous owner put globs of lube around the pump seal. I found that I had been running with an air leak the whole time. I cleaned this up and got a new gasket (which by the way these haywards don't fit right at all), and now only see a tiny air bubble at the top of the window. I know I must still be pulling a little bit of air from somewhere as my second return jet has some bubbles but not nearly as much. But now clean I think i'm just below 10psi and I change the DE above or at 20. I'm sitting right now at about 16, but just before my last vacuum where I picked up a bunch of gunk I was about 13-14 so I don't think its gone up much at least not as much as I expected. I do think now maybe I was closer than I realized but the change in the look of the algea concerned me it may be another type.
    Pool: Inground 18x16 26730 gallons vinyl liner that is 2 years old (pool itself I believe is over 10) and Cupcake plastic stairs. Hayward DE EC65A 6lb filter with 1 1/2 hp super pump and chlorinator turned off. Taylor k-2006 test kit with DPD.

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    Re: New House and First time Pool. Read tons but still fighting algea

    I am sure they will help you the best they can.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: New House and First time Pool. Read tons but still fighting algea

    My Pool store numbers
    FC 8.5 (quite a bit lower than i thought retesting here quite shortly)
    CC 0
    PH 7.7
    Hardness 230
    ALkalinity 136
    CYA 15 (they said their test is off due to high FC)
    they also told me my phosphates were up high like 500 and that could be feeding the algea. apparently our town started adding them to the water this year and at opening I had to add about 1/4 of the water from the tap.
    Pool: Inground 18x16 26730 gallons vinyl liner that is 2 years old (pool itself I believe is over 10) and Cupcake plastic stairs. Hayward DE EC65A 6lb filter with 1 1/2 hp super pump and chlorinator turned off. Taylor k-2006 test kit with DPD.

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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: New House and First time Pool. Read tons but still fighting algea

    DB, the phosphate bit is nonsense. I'm not even gonna tell you my phosphate level due to sequestrants but I'm am living proof that cya:FC ratio per TFP will kill algae before it can nibble on phosphates. This pool str baloney is distracting you from the basics you need to master here.

    I don't understand why you're even testing all the other parameters in your water or going to the pool store right now and NOT ADDING CHLORINE to your pool it is the only thing you need to be doing until you pass a NEW Overnight Chlorine Loss Test

    You have visible algae. Once youve adjusted your ph to 7.2 again, You need to only test FC, dose to the correct slam level per FC/CYA Chart and maintain that level, only testing FC and bringing level back up.Ph readings are incorrect if FC is over 10. Once you pass the OCLT and dose daily to normal TFP recommended levels you simply will not have do this again.

    I fear you're complicating the simplest, more reliable pool guidance you're gong to find. Do yourself a favor and restart the slam, trust your kit, and understand that a slam is active only so long as you're actually maintaining the FC level to the slam ratio.

    Once you have this nailed, everything is easy, promise
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
    If TFP has helped you, please click to SUPPORT TFP!
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    Re: New House and First time Pool. Read tons but still fighting algea

    Quote Originally Posted by db5304 View Post
    ...I almost got pool stored and was training to get levels up using test strips, and then a poor 5 test kit. I was trying to base chlorine off of color matching, got my alkalinity too high, and then dropped to almost no FC. I got a full algea bloom across the whole pool.
    This was not your fault; you did get pool-stored. Your own testing is reliable and cleaning up your pool won't work out well by mixing your own good test results with their less reliable results. On top of that, they'll throw you off your main goal with the phosphate rouse again and again.
    12k IG salt; glass beads in plaster; K-2006C, K-1766, CCL, and Aussie 4in1 (HTH); Pentair Eco800 1.2HP VS; Zodiac SWC 1.3 lb/day (25 g/hr); 25" filter recycled glass; OKU solar panels; 1/2 HP solar pump; Rebel (Warrior) pool cleaner; FlowViz; prior pool AG 10k | Read Before Posting to get the best possible advice | ... and this helped me a lot!: TFPC for Beginners

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    Re: New House and First time Pool. Read tons but still fighting algea

    just some quick thoughts-
    1) leave the pool uncovered during the SLAM, the sun will help burn off any CCs
    2) stop playing with borates when you have other issues going on. Borates are something you can add when everything else is stable for a month or two.
    3) stop going to a pool store that you know is clueless or do everything they say. Mixing the two methods don't work, as you can see by your pool.
    4) Re-read how to do a SLAM and recognize that this stands for "Shock Level And MAINTAIN"... not bring up to shock level then let it drop over the next two weeks. It means you need to test *at least* 3-4 x day, more often if possible and return the FC level up higher again if it drops.
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    Re: New House and First time Pool. Read tons but still fighting algea

    Thanks all again for the advice and encouragement. I tested my FC when i got home after the pool was sitting in the sun and it was just over 12 ppm. The 8 I got from the pool store was taken shortly after i measured my 13.5. I now know their numbers must be off. I added 128oz of 10% (1 gallon) to bring me back up to that 16 level. I'll retest before bed to ensure the level and then hopefully I have enough DPD agents left to test in the a.m. Luckily I got an order in from the TFP store and my 2x large reagents will be here tomorrow already. Way cheaper prices for twice the reagents and super fast shipping, can't complain there at all.

    I forgot to mention the other good news that I saw no algae blooms at all today. I had the cover on last night and peeked when I did my morning testing. I pulled it off after I got back and I still didn't see any. I'm hoping I can pass the FC loss test tonight even. Thanks also for the tip on the PH with FC. I know i read it can inflate some number but i guess the pool store had me thinking it was the cya. She's such a nice lady its hard not to believe her (I think she doesn't actually know she's wrong).
    Pool: Inground 18x16 26730 gallons vinyl liner that is 2 years old (pool itself I believe is over 10) and Cupcake plastic stairs. Hayward DE EC65A 6lb filter with 1 1/2 hp super pump and chlorinator turned off. Taylor k-2006 test kit with DPD.

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    Re: New House and First time Pool. Read tons but still fighting algea

    Sorry for the late follow up but thanks everyone for the responses. I was only 1 or 2 days away from my goal. I spent as much time as I could dedicated to the pool and did full sweeps and vacuums. I haven't noticed any algae in the pool since. I had run out of DPD that night and couldn't even finish my test. I didn't get a chance to fully confirm but i'm pretty sure i'm passing my FC loss test. I will confirm tomorrow morning. I've had some really sunny days and am having to use almost a gallon of 12% chlorine a day. I've tried to research but it seems granules wouldn't be any cheaper unless they were the ones that add CYA or hardness is that correct? Would I need to worry about hardness? I'm going through a lot of bleach but it seems correct since i'm getting almost full sun and leaving the cover off most of the day. By my calculation a gallon should raise my FC by about 4.6ppm and I should expect to lose from 3.5-4 ppm at 35 cya in sun. I'm going to try to lower my ph from 7.7 to 7.5 tomorrow as well using muriatic acid. Overall the pool looks crystal clear with a few vacuum's here and there for debris.
    IMG_0892.jpg

    Much better than before. I also fixed my air leak thanks to a post on this forum who mentioned checking a filter basket drain plug (didn't even know it existed). It was my problem and no more bubbles in the return or air in the basket. I'm thinking about adding a few pucks to the chlorinator turned to 1/2 to up my cya a little. I can't find true numbers but I think 2 pucks should all I do as it seems 2 3" pucks will add about 4.5 ppm of cya to my 26.7kg pool.

    Also these plastic stairs still have a little green on them and I don't know how I can get rid of it all. It is hollow and I can't scrub the whole thing. I don't know if I need to be worried or not. I just got a pressure washer so I might pull them and try to pressure wash them down. Any thoughts on how to rid these? Would a bathroom cleaner with bleach help if i pull them and spray them down? One other thing, I've read about others getting bulk chlorine, but can't find where. Can anyone tell me what to search for to find it? I would think Pittsburgh would have a place that sold this if it was available. So far I've been paying 3.99 a gallon for 12.5% at my local hardware store (pool stores want 5-6 a gallon). If I knew I needed so much I would have stocked up the first time when it was on sale for 2.99. Walmart has 10% at 2.50 but its a long drive. Our local grocery stores has some either top value or great value for .99 for 96 ounces but I have no clue the concentration. I can't find it at our local home depot or lowes in liquid form either. Any tips? I hate going through so many plastic jugs even though we are recycling.

    Thanks again all.
    Pool: Inground 18x16 26730 gallons vinyl liner that is 2 years old (pool itself I believe is over 10) and Cupcake plastic stairs. Hayward DE EC65A 6lb filter with 1 1/2 hp super pump and chlorinator turned off. Taylor k-2006 test kit with DPD.

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