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Thread: Noob with initial chem treatment questions

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    Noob with initial chem treatment questions

    Hi all,

    Set up an Intex pool this weekend and have some strange results. I've read and re-read the Getting Started sections, ABC's, Pool Chemistry, Recommended chemicals, etc. Let me start off by saying I'm using an HDX 5-way test kit. It's all I have at the moment while I wait for my TF-100 to ship. Here's what I've done so far:

    Began filling Friday night with our well water. I have both a rust filter and softener, each w/ ~ 1,000 gal capacity so I stopped filling 4 times to regenerate both and used my treated hose bibb. I filled with warm water and finished filling yesterday afternoon. Water was 88 degrees and crystal clear.

    1. TA was 540! My initial pH was 7.2 so I didn't do anything to adjust it. Knowing I had zero Cl I began by adding 1 lb. of CA granules. I broadcast the CA, which immediately settled across the floor. I used PoolMath to add 26 oz. of 7.86% bleach. Poured slowly in front of the inlet (not suction) and about 30 seconds after I finished pouring the bleach the water turned green brown as it circulated back out the inlet. That was mid-afternoon. I bought a brush and used it to stir up the CA on the floor last night and all the granules had dissolved to the point that they suspended instead of settling. I left everything alone to let the pump circulate overnight.
    2. Still green brown this morning. Most of my readings seem to be fairly close to targets with the exception of TA. Here are my readings:


    • FC: 1.1 (as best I can tell from my HDX)
    • Combined Cl: same as FC
    • Br: 2.2
    • pH: 7.4
    • Acid demand: none (this is kind of an ambiguous test reading with the HDX, so I don't have a lot of confidence in the accuracy)
    • TA: Again @ 540!


    If the readings above are accurate what is my next step? Do I bring my Cl level up first or my TA down? While FC is low, TA is off the charts. I've read the Lower TA page. It says to lower pH to 7.0 - 7.2, but I'm not entirely sure how much acid to add, how long to wait, etc. PoolMath pH section says the pH calculations are based on both TA and Borate results. I don't know what the Borate test is or how to take it, so I currently have the Now and Target values at zero. I'm hoping to get some idea of how much acid to add.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Altarocks; 06-12-2016 at 12:41 PM. Reason: color change was actually to brown, not green (see post #5 for clarification)
    4,400 gal AG Intex 15x48 UltraFrame, 2150 GPH Intex sand filter

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    BoDarville's Avatar
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    Re: Noob with initial chem treatment questions

    Welcome to TFP!

    Since you've already ordered your TF-100, I would focus solely on keeping about 2-3 ppm of chlorine in your pool for the next couple of days until your kit arrives - they ship fast. Once you get your TF-100, run a full suite of tests and post the results here.

    That TA result is extremely suspect. Don't worry about it now - retest with the TF-100. As for borates, it should be zero unless you have added any. Borates are not a required chemical, so unless you have a specific need for borates, I would skip it.
    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
    A good test kit is an investment, not an expense.

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    Re: Noob with initial chem treatment questions

    Thanks BoDarville. Kids are all over me anxious to swim. I would have let them in with no chems added, but my green brown cloud incident makes me think I should keep them out until I get things under control.
    4,400 gal AG Intex 15x48 UltraFrame, 2150 GPH Intex sand filter

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    BoDarville's Avatar
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    Re: Noob with initial chem treatment questions

    If you have a green cloud, it is very likely algae and possibly additional organic contamination that may be present with it. If that's the case, I would not let anyone in the water until we see your test results from the TF-100, get a better handle on what's really going on, and remedying the situation. Maintaining a baseline chlorine level that I suggested is a temporary stopgap measure to prevent things from getting much worse. Without reliable test results from a trusted test kit, I don't want to have you haphazardly dumping various chemicals into the pool. You can use Pool Math to help you determine the amount of chlorine you need to add to maintain a baseline 2-3 ppm until the TF-100 arrives.
    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
    A good test kit is an investment, not an expense.

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    Re: Noob with initial chem treatment questions

    Looks like the water has actually turned brown, not green - I can see it in the clear hoses. It looks green against the blue liner. I don't think algae would form that quickly - it turned color immediately after adding my first dose of bleach. That was less than 24 hours from the time I finished setup and began filling. Whatever it is though it isn't water I want to enter. Gonna keep it covered until I can get reliable readings - kids will have to suck it up and wait!
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    4,400 gal AG Intex 15x48 UltraFrame, 2150 GPH Intex sand filter

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    Re: Noob with initial chem treatment questions

    A picture of you pool would help but I believe you have iron precipitating in your pool.

    Are you filling from a well?
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Noob with initial chem treatment questions

    After seeing it is brown and not green iron was my first thought as well. Yes, we have well water with really high iron levels. I had an iron filter put in last fall that seems to work really well. I also pay a premium to use Morton Rust Remover salt in our softener. Our water conditioner said our softener alone was filtering out almost all the rust, but we added the iron filter as a primary rust removal system. The filter treats 1,000 gal between regenerations & shows capacity remaining. It did reach zero gals remaining before 3 of my 4 regenerations, so I did get some untreated water in the pool, though it probably wasn't much. The weird thing is how sudden the color change occurred - as the cloud formed in front of the return you could see a distinct line of crystal clear and cloudy brown (which looked green). In less than 1 minute the pool changed from clear to what you see below. Maybe there was iron present and some sort of reaction with the chlorine made it turn immediately to rust and become visible?

    No sun today and it's hard to see at the low res attachments, but you can really see the brown against the white suction strainer when zooming in on a high-res image. The bubbles on the sidewall really look green against the blue liner - I would never have believed it was brown until I saw it against something white. Most of the color change on the wall is about 6" below the water surface, roughly at the middle of the strainer.
    20160612_120639.jpg20160612_120354.jpg
    4,400 gal AG Intex 15x48 UltraFrame, 2150 GPH Intex sand filter

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    BoDarville's Avatar
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    Re: Noob with initial chem treatment questions

    Thanks for posting the pic. The clear green (as opposed to cloudy green that is associated with algae) is an indication of iron in the water. Short of replacing with metal-free water, you will need to use sequestrant to bind to the iron and prevent it from depositing as stains. Unfortunately, sequestrant breaks down over time, so you will need to replenish it periodically. Sequestrants based on HEDP, phosphonic acid, or phosphonic acid derivatives are the most effective. ProTeam's Metal Magic and Jack's Magic The Pink Stuff (regular) are some of the top sequestrants that would work well in your pool.

    I would still suggest posting test results when your TF-100 arrives. That, combined with this pic, will give us a comprehensive read on the overall health of your pool and determine the order in solving any issues that may be present.
    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
    A good test kit is an investment, not an expense.

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    Re: Noob with initial chem treatment questions

    Thanks guys. With your help iron seems to make sense. And of course TFP has threads on that too . I'll keep reading and learning and post back with TF-100 results!
    4,400 gal AG Intex 15x48 UltraFrame, 2150 GPH Intex sand filter

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    Re: Noob with initial chem treatment questions

    In less than 1 minute the pool changed from clear to what you see below. Maybe there was iron present and some sort of reaction with the chlorine made it turn immediately to rust and become visible?
    That's exactly what happened. I think you have put too much faith in your iron filter.

    Is the fill water from your pool going through a whole house softener? I cannot understand from your post.

    One thing to remember. A whole house softener (r/o) will remove iron but at a low capacity. a mechanical filter will remove some but the capacity is usually just as low. Once you reach it's capacity, it passes into your pool VERY readily.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Noob with initial chem treatment questions

    My water goes from my well tank thru the iron filter then through the softener before going to all my interior plumbing fixtures as well as the hose bibb I used to fill the pool. Yeah, I agree that I expected the combination of iron filter and softener would eliminate all iron - guess that was wishful thinking. I did exceed capacity for a time while filling, but I stopped filling 4 times while I manually regenerated both the filter and softener. I'm guessing the amount of iron that normally makes it thru my filter and softener plus the unfiltered iron that entered once I reached capacity combined to introduce enough iron to cause my current condition.

    Our untreated water is awful - it's hard, has iron and a trace of hydrogen sulfide. I would probably need a chlorination system to get better quality. My iron filter and softener have improved our daily use water quality to the point that I forgot how bad our water is. I overlooked water quality as the most obvious factor in the pool. I'll see how things turn out when I retest. Maybe in the future I'll look into having it trucked in.
    4,400 gal AG Intex 15x48 UltraFrame, 2150 GPH Intex sand filter

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    Re: Noob with initial chem treatment questions

    I just worked through iron in my pool. Iron Removal

    I'd dangle a white sock in front of the return. If after a few hours in the flow it starts to turn red you have iron and you can remove it.

    That said- you do have a fairly small amount of water and short season in IL so a sequestrent shouldn't be too much of a hassle.
    30K? gal (20x40, 3ft shallow to 8-9ft hopper), Vinyl IG, single speed 1HP pump, Hayward Micro Clear DE-3600 filter, Hayward Aqua Rite SWG T15 Cell, Rheem/Raypack M206A heater

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    Re: Noob with initial chem treatment questions

    Finally back up and running. I got my TF-100 so I can at least proceed with confidence in my levels.

    I bowed to pressure installing the Intex. Trying for a quick install I chose to shim the low side up to ~ 8" with plywood stacks rather than leveling the ground - stupid lazy mistake. 15 minutes after my youngest got in the water one shim settled and a leg kicked off. Had to drain, take down, and start over the right way - bit the bullet and leveled the ground over 4 evenings with a shovel, wheelbarrow and a lot of liquid incentive. I know, it's faster to do it right the first time...

    Anyway, filled yesterday. Noticed this time that my iron filter capacity only lasts about 3 hours between regenerations at full flow. I let water run 5 hours overnight, so that 2 hours of unfiltered filling is probably where the majority of my iron came from, both this time and the first time.

    After initial doses of bleach, algaecide and CYA my pH was 7.5, FC was 2 and my new TA was 420 - a little lower than my initial filling, but still high. Added acid late afternoon to bring pH to 7.1 then made an aerator and allowed the pump with aerator to run overnight. Aerator was putting out a decent amount of bubbles before I went to bed. This morning pH is only up to 7.2 but TA is down to 340. My return flow was pretty reduced this morning so I replaced filter cartridge. It was probably filling up with iron, undissolved CYA, general detritus, etc. With better flow through the aerator I'm hoping the pH rises a little faster now.

    I did notice a big drop in FC overnight. It was at .5 this morning. Added more bleach to target 3 and started floating the tablet dispenser (and I just saw the caution about trichlor!) CYA is at 25 so I'll leave that alone for a few days while I maintain the FC and continue to bring down TA.

    I'm waiting to add Metal Magic, but I think I need to get my TA to target level first. Metal Magic says to add at pH at or above 7.5. Might be a few more days before I can get there.

    I think I'm on the right path.
    4,400 gal AG Intex 15x48 UltraFrame, 2150 GPH Intex sand filter

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