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Thread: Starting my 1st SLAM :(

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    Luric's Avatar
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    Starting my 1st SLAM :(

    We are about 3 wks into our 1st full season, and our 1st time doing TFP. And we have an algae bloom. The pool got progressively more cloudy over the last week (we had a lot of rain so I wasn't sure if that was just the problem), and failed on OCLT last night, losing 1.5. My FC was 7.5 last night, 6 this morning, 2 an hour ago when I was able to actually start the process (just put kids to bed).

    Since I'm not positive of my pool volume I'm splitting the difference & using 35k gal. I've tested CYA at 30 however 2 pool stores tested at 40. Nevertheless, this site has recommended I proceed with my own levels, so I'm using 30 which gives me a shock level of 12.

    First I brushed the pool to hopefully loosen anything clinging to walls (1st time ever!) I then added 3.5 gal of 10% LC. Filter is running.

    Questions:

    1.) Should I run our polaris to keep anything from sticking to walls (or help dislodge anything my novice attempt missed)?
    2.) When should I 1st spot check my FC? I know the rules say at least 2/day, no more than hourly, but what is the recommendation, esp at the beginning?
    3.) I don't recall my FC getting below 2. Is this algae problem still a possibility anyway or is my color perception perhaps a little off? Should I consider using the more accurate weekly test daily at least until I get a better feel for our pool?
    4.) Do I really NEED to vacuum? I figured out the brushing, but I've never vacuumed, I'm not 100% sure we have all the required equipment, and finding the time during daylight hours with small kids including a (time-consuming!) newborn is a bit tough.
    5.) We're supposed to be having people over Wednesday (it's currently Saturday night) and in-home swim lessons for the kids Friday. Is it realistic to think our pool will be ready?

    Other tips/tricks or recommendations?
    Inherited 30k gal IG gunite black bottom pebble w/ waterfall & attached spa, built 1993ish; Pump: Pentair Intiliflo VS pump; SWCG: Pentair IC60; Filter: Pentair FNS Plus 60 SQFT DE; Heater: Pentair Mastertemp 400,000btu; Robot: Dolphin Nautilus Plus; Waterfall Pump: Hayward Super Pump 1.5 HP; Testing: TFTest Kit TF-100

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    Re: Starting my 1st SLAM :(

    Hi! Wow lots of questions, which is great. I am new here so will only answer a couple of them

    Since you failed OCLT then there are organics (algae) growing in the pool, so slam away. Test your ph when your chlorine is below 10ppm and adjust your ph to 7.2

    Brush once a day to help the bleach get to the algae, you will be a brushing pro by the end of this I understand about finding time around the kids, but you can break the pool up into areas and do sections at a time when you can

    Run your polaris in addition to brushing

    It is safe to swim when you can see someone at the bottom of the pool, ph is between 7.2 and 7.8, and your chlorine is above your minimum but below your shock value. Your pool wont look perfect, but it will be safe if you meet the above

    Backwash your filter when it is 10% above your clean value

    Find some pool DE, it will help clear the pool towards the end of your slam

    Under the pool school link, handy reference page there is a visual guide to equipment, this will show you what your vacuum equipment is

    Some newbie help
    Pool School - Recommended Pool Chemicals
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/calc.html
    Pool School - ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

    Post a full set of test results so the experts have something to work with

    BTW Great start to getting your pool clear and safe
    6000 gal, AG vinyl, Intex ultra frame 16ft, 1200 Gallon Sand Filter, DIY Solar, Clear Choice Labs Testing Kit

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Starting my 1st SLAM :(

    Quote Originally Posted by Luric View Post
    We are about 3 wks into our 1st full season, and our 1st time doing TFP. And we have an algae bloom. The pool got progressively more cloudy over the last week (we had a lot of rain so I wasn't sure if that was just the problem), and failed on OCLT last night, losing 1.5. My FC was 7.5 last night, 6 this morning, 2 an hour ago when I was able to actually start the process (just put kids to bed).

    Since I'm not positive of my pool volume I'm splitting the difference & using 35k gal. I've tested CYA at 30 however 2 pool stores tested at 40. Nevertheless, this site has recommended I proceed with my own levels, so I'm using 30 which gives me a shock level of 12.

    First I brushed the pool to hopefully loosen anything clinging to walls (1st time ever!) I then added 3.5 gal of 10% LC. Filter is running.

    Questions:

    1.) Should I run our polaris to keep anything from sticking to walls (or help dislodge anything my novice attempt missed)?You can run it as often as you want. It can only help. This IS a vacuum so you are set there.

    2.) When should I 1st spot check my FC? I know the rules say at least 2/day, no more than hourly, but what is the recommendation, esp at the beginning?I check at least every two hours. IF you see there is not that much of a change then you can stretch it out to every 3 hours. As you see it holding the FC better you can stretch it out even more. The more you test and redose the FC the faster your pool will clear up.

    3.) I don't recall my FC getting below 2. Is this algae problem still a possibility anyway or is my color perception perhaps a little off? Should I consider using the more accurate weekly test daily at least until I get a better feel for our pool?I ONLY do the power FC test. I do not like the drop test for FC. As you have found it is not accurate enough. Make sure to keep a good log of your tests and results. This will show you what your pool likes and does not like.

    4.) Do I really NEED to vacuum? I figured out the brushing, but I've never vacuumed, I'm not 100% sure we have all the required equipment, and finding the time during daylight hours with small kids including a (time-consuming!) newborn is a bit tough.Let your machine do the vacuuming. Save your time for the daily brushing and the many FC test.

    5.) We're supposed to be having people over Wednesday (it's currently Saturday night) and in-home swim lessons for the kids Friday. Is it realistic to think our pool will be ready?It depends on how bad it got. It does not sound like it went all the way to swamp so you just might clear it up by then! It depends on how diligent you are about the testing, dosing, brushing.

    Other tips/tricks or recommendations?
    I answers are in purple.

    Show us a pic of the pool as it looks during the day. After that I will talk to you about the DE in the sand filter.

    Caco, You did a great job with your answers! I was just easier for me to take them all instead of having to keep checking what you said LOL THANKS for your help! I hope you stick around here to help more. We need more people like you!

    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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    Luric's Avatar
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    Re: Starting my 1st SLAM :(

    Overnight we lost about .5 this time which is an improvement.

    After about 3+ hrs of morning sun we've lost about 3. Does that seem high? When water was in good shape we were going from about to about 2 over the course of the day. I retested CYA and am still getting 30.

    Talk to me about adding DE to my sand filter. We're running out to Home Depot to pick some up and would like to get on that this afternoon.

    I've included some photos. While the shallow end does seem less hazy (still with a green-tinted cloudiness), I honestly feel like the deep end is actually worse. Before I could just barely make out the main drain, however now I can only see the small white circles on either side (btw - what are those? I have about 5 or 6 along the bottom of the pool, always near one of the 3 drains along the bottom. I also have 2 main-drain looking things on the side walls of the shallow end. Which one is the actual main drain or do I just have a bunch of them? I'm so confused!)

    Being a black bottom pool and very reflective, I find it doesn't tend to photograph very accurately. You should notice the progression of cloudiness as the steps get deeper in the shallow end and you should notice the white circle in the deep end. The MD is right next to it, but you can't really make it out.

    Attachment 52209
    Inherited 30k gal IG gunite black bottom pebble w/ waterfall & attached spa, built 1993ish; Pump: Pentair Intiliflo VS pump; SWCG: Pentair IC60; Filter: Pentair FNS Plus 60 SQFT DE; Heater: Pentair Mastertemp 400,000btu; Robot: Dolphin Nautilus Plus; Waterfall Pump: Hayward Super Pump 1.5 HP; Testing: TFTest Kit TF-100

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Starting my 1st SLAM :(

    Yeah, do it,now is the right time . Here's how, Pool School - Add DE to a Sand Filter

    Sounds like you might have an in-floor cleaning syatem.
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    Re: Starting my 1st SLAM :(

    As I was just brushing the pool I peeked in our waterfall - what a mess! We almost never use it, but turned it on when we had friends over last weekend. Is that the likely source of our algae problem? What is the protocol for keeping infrequently used waterfalls in check since the water sits stagnant most days. I don't know why it didn't occur to me till now.
    Inherited 30k gal IG gunite black bottom pebble w/ waterfall & attached spa, built 1993ish; Pump: Pentair Intiliflo VS pump; SWCG: Pentair IC60; Filter: Pentair FNS Plus 60 SQFT DE; Heater: Pentair Mastertemp 400,000btu; Robot: Dolphin Nautilus Plus; Waterfall Pump: Hayward Super Pump 1.5 HP; Testing: TFTest Kit TF-100

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Starting my 1st SLAM :(

    Yes, could be. Some folks try to run for 30 min daily to keep chlorine running through it. We rarely use ours and get a little algae in the rocks. I usually splash a little pool water up there and brush it, maybe weekly-ish. Sometimes if it seems persistent I'll put some diluted bleach in a bottle and spray it, maybe 1 to 4 or so.
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    Luric's Avatar
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    Re: Starting my 1st SLAM :(

    Is it normal for the pool to be worse now than it was this morning? I've been checking the water every 3ish hours, and it's been pretty consistently down to 9 so I top back up to 12. Should it be getting greener before it gets better? When I brushed there were definite clouds of debris churned up when I did each step. I'm really fighting against wanting to run to our local pool store before they close for the day. It's monopolizing a lot of my time, and I don't feel like what I'm doing is working at all. I'm happy to do whatever it takes, but only if I will actually see positive results.
    Inherited 30k gal IG gunite black bottom pebble w/ waterfall & attached spa, built 1993ish; Pump: Pentair Intiliflo VS pump; SWCG: Pentair IC60; Filter: Pentair FNS Plus 60 SQFT DE; Heater: Pentair Mastertemp 400,000btu; Robot: Dolphin Nautilus Plus; Waterfall Pump: Hayward Super Pump 1.5 HP; Testing: TFTest Kit TF-100

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    Re: Starting my 1st SLAM :(

    Quote Originally Posted by Luric View Post
    Is it normal for the pool to be worse now than it was this morning? I've been checking the water every 3ish hours, and it's been pretty consistently down to 9 so I top back up to 12. Should it be getting greener before it gets better? When I brushed there were definite clouds of debris churned up when I did each step. I'm really fighting against wanting to run to our local pool store before they close for the day. It's monopolizing a lot of my time, and I don't feel like what I'm doing is working at all. I'm happy to do whatever it takes, but only if I will actually see positive results.
    That looks fairly greenish. It won't clear up overnight. And I promise you the pool store doesn't have any magic potions that are better than truly going through the SLAM process.

    You said in the op it was the first time you brushed? Brushing is a necessary evil of owning a pool. I neglected that task and fought algae several times in several seasons as there are simply going to be some dead areas that don't get proper circulation. At the very minimum once a week. But I'm a brushing convert.......more obsessive about it this year which is year 5 of the pool.
    18*36*23 true "L" vinyl IG 29,000 gallons. SWG. TF-100 test kit.
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    Re: Starting my 1st SLAM :(

    The guy who did our pool inspection when we bought the house last year said running the polaris everyday would negate the need to brush and/or vacuum. Is that not true? What's the point then of having one? I definitely didn't realize I was supposed to be doing anything. Should I be brushing the walls & the floor? With the landscaping around the raised wall for the waterfall, there are parts of the pool that are very tough to get to, and the telescopic pole still doesn't quite reach unless I were to climb up through the thorns & jaggers to get there.

    I just did a 2-hr check of our FC, and it is holding steady at 12, so I'm taking that as a good sign even though the pool itself has gotten cloudier, and we can no longer see anything in the deep end at all. Should I be using a higher shock level? Two pool stores read our CYA as 40, but I tested myself again this morning and I can still CLEARLY see the black dot until it comes up on 30 at which point it finally disappears a hair past 30 (but definitely much closer to 30 than 20).

    I added the DE and will monitor my pressure gauge over the next day.

    Reading past threads re: SLAMing, do I really need to remove our pool lights to check for algae? We had an issue with some of the screws being corroded in place, so I know at least 1 of them would need a professional to remove.
    Inherited 30k gal IG gunite black bottom pebble w/ waterfall & attached spa, built 1993ish; Pump: Pentair Intiliflo VS pump; SWCG: Pentair IC60; Filter: Pentair FNS Plus 60 SQFT DE; Heater: Pentair Mastertemp 400,000btu; Robot: Dolphin Nautilus Plus; Waterfall Pump: Hayward Super Pump 1.5 HP; Testing: TFTest Kit TF-100

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    Re: Starting my 1st SLAM :(

    Quote Originally Posted by Luric View Post
    The guy who did our pool inspection when we bought the house last year said running the polaris everyday would negate the need to brush and/or vacuum. Is that not true? What's the point then of having one? I definitely didn't realize I was supposed to be doing anything. Should I be brushing the walls & the floor? With the landscaping around the raised wall for the waterfall, there are parts of the pool that are very tough to get to, and the telescopic pole still doesn't quite reach unless I were to climb up through the thorns & jaggers to get there.

    I just did a 2-hr check of our FC, and it is holding steady at 12, so I'm taking that as a good sign even though the pool itself has gotten cloudier, and we can no longer see anything in the deep end at all. Should I be using a higher shock level? Two pool stores read our CYA as 40, but I tested myself again this morning and I can still CLEARLY see the black dot until it comes up on 30 at which point it finally disappears a hair past 30 (but definitely much closer to 30 than 20).

    I added the DE and will monitor my pressure gauge over the next day.

    Reading past threads re: SLAMing, do I really need to remove our pool lights to check for algae? We had an issue with some of the screws being corroded in place, so I know at least 1 of them would need a professional to remove.
    I'm just a huge advocate of brushing. I don't have an automatic cleaner so I can't comment on that negating the need to brush. But.....I'm wondering how it could. Algae doesn't like to be brushed. It developers a biofilm that protects its growth........unless brushed to break that up.

    You may not have to remove your pool lights. I found that I needed to.....kept having algae return. Removing them (in my case) proved those niches were full of crud.

    I've found in my pool after fighting al algae bloom that not only brushing but paying attention to nooks and crannies made a difference. I bought a small plastic kitchen brush and put the kids to work while they were in the pool on small hiding places for algae.
    18*36*23 true "L" vinyl IG 29,000 gallons. SWG. TF-100 test kit.
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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Starting my 1st SLAM :(

    What about brushing while in the pool, that is what I do. I am no fan of brushing but as Aimee points out it is a necessary evil. I had trouble last summer myself after 3 seasons algae free. So, now I brush every week or two from in the pool. I don't hate it as much as I used to. I only brush regularly during swim season then maybe once a month otherwise. The pool wall that gets direct afternoon sun seems to have a little more "dust" when I brush it.

    My pool cleaner didn't help enough, but it has no brushes on the bottom. Some robots have brushes.
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    Re: Starting my 1st SLAM :(

    I HATE brushing the sides of the pool (that is why that is husband's job LOL) BUT it is needed every once in a while. You will find what your pool needs.

    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: Starting my 1st SLAM :(

    I can't believe I never knew I was supposed to be brushing. I think getting in the habit of doing it while in the pool will work the best for us. That & putting the kids to work like AimeeH

    The big news is that I can vaguely see into the deep end again! I feel like the water has lost that green tint and just looks cloudy (not however milky the way it did when the pool guys opened our pool after the long winter). I can make out all the detail in the shallow end.

    Questions:

    1.) Do I need to be doing the OCLT each night? It gets sunny early, so I'd need to set my alarm for like 4:30am. I skipped it this morning. When I tested after about 2 hrs of sunlight we'd gone down to 10 from a previous 12 last night.

    2.) While my FC was at 9 I tested my pH. Before starting I'd adjusted to 7.5 and SLAMmed away. Then my husband saw it & called that same one 7.6. The retested at the 1st chance that it naturally dipped down below 10 this morning and I'd read it awfully close to 7.8, def higher than either of us were judging it 2 days ago. Does this process raise FC? Is a reading at 9 pretty reliable? Should I adjust it back down a bit again?

    3.) I added the DE per the instructions, and the gauge went up about 1psi (actually a touch higher). I went out to check it an hr or so later, and it was back where it had started. Is that normal or should I add a little more to get it back up that 1 psi?

    That's all I've got. Being able to see in the deep end again has definitely restored a little faith in the process for me. Thanks so much for everyone's input & guidance!
    Inherited 30k gal IG gunite black bottom pebble w/ waterfall & attached spa, built 1993ish; Pump: Pentair Intiliflo VS pump; SWCG: Pentair IC60; Filter: Pentair FNS Plus 60 SQFT DE; Heater: Pentair Mastertemp 400,000btu; Robot: Dolphin Nautilus Plus; Waterfall Pump: Hayward Super Pump 1.5 HP; Testing: TFTest Kit TF-100

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Starting my 1st SLAM :(

    1. No, not until the pool is clear and CC is low, people should not do thinks at 4:30 am!

    2. Yes, lower PH to 7.2.

    3. I would add a little more.
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    Re: Starting my 1st SLAM :(

    We did it!

    I passed my OCLT with 0 loss, and my CC is .5. The shallow end looks perfect, and the deep end is definitely getting there. I can easily see to the very bottom, just lacking the complete clarity I have in the shallow end.

    We are currently at our shock level of 12, so am I correct in thinking we can go in as soon as FC's at 11 or lower?

    I had been upping to 5 ending up at 2 each night. Clearly the level slipped lower on at least 1 occasion. Would it be a good idea to aim higher now? I'm thinking of shooting for 6 or 7 now to end up at 3 or 4 so I have some breathing room on really hot, high bather load days.

    My CYA is currently at 30 which was handy for minimal chlorine use for my SLAM. Should I leave it there or bump it up to 40 now?

    Should the addition of DE be a regular thing or just when there's algae issue? Should I deep clean my filter in the next few days?

    I'm now aware of the need to be regularly brushing the pool, shooting for a slightly higher FC - anything else you would recommend to avoid this situation in the future?

    Thank you everyone for all of your help!
    Inherited 30k gal IG gunite black bottom pebble w/ waterfall & attached spa, built 1993ish; Pump: Pentair Intiliflo VS pump; SWCG: Pentair IC60; Filter: Pentair FNS Plus 60 SQFT DE; Heater: Pentair Mastertemp 400,000btu; Robot: Dolphin Nautilus Plus; Waterfall Pump: Hayward Super Pump 1.5 HP; Testing: TFTest Kit TF-100

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Starting my 1st SLAM :(

    Congrats. You can swim at shock level.

    Yes, aiming a little higher FC is good. I would raise CYA to 40. You will find that once your pool is completely free of algae and bacteria and you consistently maintain your FC that the pool will be ridiculously clear even without DE. But, it is fine to add DE anytime. You should deep clean the filter once a year and now is a good time to clear out the dead algae. Brushing is key, I have become firmly convinced of that in the last year or so. I brush weekly-ish.

    With SWG and CYA at 80 here is how I mange my chlorine
    Min is 4 target is 6
    I target 8-9 as a daily goal
    When we are going to have people over or swim all weekend I add a jug of bleach which adds 4 ppm to my pool. I check after the party and if it drops back to 8 or 9 quickly I add another jug. Any time my FC drops to 6ish I add a jug of bleach. If it drops to 6ish more than once I turn up the SWG a little. If it consistently hits 10 a few days in a row I turn the SWG down a little.

    I think it is time to take newbie out of your sig!
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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Starting my 1st SLAM :(

    Yes, yes, yes, you said all of the right thing! You have really figured this out. Jump in and enjoy THEN when you get out push the FC to the SLAM level at again. You want to keep going until it is looking like a jewel

    I have a set of links you might find helpful being a new pool owner.

    Print these out:
    Pool School - Basic Pool Care Schedule

    Pool School - Recommended Levels

    Bookmark these:
    Pool School - Recommended Pool Chemicals

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/calc.html

    Pool School - ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

    Make sure to ask any and all questions you might have no matter how small! We have all been where you are at one point.

    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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