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Thread: Cloudy, brown / green pool - need help

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    Cloudy, brown / green pool - need help

    I have a approx 12,000 gallon in ground fiberglass pool and having more problems this year trying to get the water clear and balanced. I have been switching chemical products base off different reviews and opinions and still with problems. I test my water with the K-2006 test kit and reading are as followed: free chlorine 1.5, combined chlorine 3.0, ph 7.0, alkalinity 80, calcium hardness 270, CYA reading < 30. Initially when the pool was installed it was filled with my well water and since have been always problems with metal staining on the walls, I have done as natural chemistry stain free in the past and this year with excellent results and then followed by adding metal free routinely but when trying to balance other levels and maintaining the chlorine (shocking) the walls have become stained ago. Also up until this year I never had to add water to the pool but with No rain and the heat I had to add about 2-3" of my well water again. My pool company began my pool using the 3" tricolor tablets - #2 tablets in my automatic feeder weekly with weekly shocking. This year I initially stopped the tablets due to learning how acid they are and switch to granulated chlorine (sodium diclor). To start the pool I used natural chemistry instant conditioner, I have treated the pool with Phos free and weekly pool perfect / Phos free by natural chemistry. I have been using hth algae guard and clarifier, separating dosing of them from the metal free by few days. Last night I added hth ultimate shock treatment - 1 bag (56calcium hypochlorite) and added two 3" tablets to the automatic feeder, this morning walls and water are brownish green stained. Wondering if possible to get pool clear and maintain non stained pool wall or should I have pool drained and filled with non well water. Any help will be greatly appreciated, thank you.

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    Mod Squad Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Cloudy, brown / green pool - need help

    Hello and welcome to TFP! One thing for sure ..... if you have the ability and funds to have water trucked-in as opposed to filling with a well .... do it. Well water (iron) will only give you headaches and cause water management issues later. In addition, if you have a water softener at your house, some folks will run a line from the softener to the pool for periodic "topping-off" of levels from evaporation.

    But let's remember one important key .... if you have algae, and it sounds like you do with a very low FC and high CC level, then you need to remove the algae first before you can properly treat the pool for metals. So a SLAM (link below) would be your first order of business. Because a SLAM requires increasing the FC level to kill the algae, you can expect the water color to become more prominent, but after the successful completion of the SLAM, you would begin adjusting chemistry for the metal in the water. Some items like Phos-Free and Pool Perfect won't help you at all.

    First thing to do is kill/remove the algae. Assuming you don't drain the pool or have fresh water trucked-in, you want a minimum CYA of "30" and a SLAM FC level of "12". Your pH is already at the correct SLAM level. While you wait for the SLAM to do its job, you can consider metal filtering at the skimmer by placing some paper towels and/or cotton material items to catch the iron. It might help. I would refrain from using the tabs/pucks and anything else right now other than just regular bleach for the SLAM.

    After the SLAM, we'll help guide you through metals management with info from the TFP Pool School - Metals in the Water and Metal Stains page. Your best and most reliable method of metals management is to add sequestrant to the water and replenish it periodically. Sequestrant is a chemical that binds to the iron in the water so that it can't form stains or turn brown. Sequestrant breaks down slowly, so you need to add more regularly. ProTeam's Metal Magic and Jack's Magic the Pink Stuff (regular), the Blue Stuff (fresh plaster), and the Purple Stuff (SWG) are some of the top sequestrants. You can also find other brands with similar products, some of which are noticeably less expensive. Sequestrants based on HEDP, phosphonic acid, or phosphonic acid derivatives are the most effective.

    Stick around and let us know how things are going or if you have more questions. Lots of folks here who would like to help. Have a nice day.
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    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
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    Re: Cloudy, brown / green pool - need help

    Thanks for the help, I began the slam yesterday, my cya was 40 so was going for free chlorine level of 16, I use the pool calculator and determine to need about 2 1/2 bottle of bleach, I was using 8.25 percent at 121oz bottle. I added the two bottles and recheck the fc after about 1-2 hours and the level was at .5, I then added another bottle and a half of the bleach and recheck hour later to get fc at 3 - this was around midnight. In am checked before work and level was .5, so added my last bottle. Checked tonight and level at .5 so added two more bottles. I know I should be checking every half hour to hour until up to my goal of 16 but unable to do so and the wife and kids want to use pool asap. The pool is looking alittle better so I went and bought 9 more bottles of bleach. I was wondering if what I added is being used up quickly because what's in the water or because I need to raise fc quicker by adding every half hour until goal. My filter has been on 24/7 on filter. I am using chlorox branch bleach.

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    MarianParoo's Avatar
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    Re: Cloudy, brown / green pool - need help

    As to your question, it is a combination of both. The gunk in your pool is being attacked by the chlorine and the chlorine gets depleted. However, the gunk recovers because your FC drops.

    Do you have a window in the near future where you can check FC and re-add on a frequent basis?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Are you using Pool School - PoolMath to get to your target of 16ppm?
    27K IG rectangular; vinyl liner; sand filter; 1hp pump; auto-cover; heater; K-2006C.

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    Re: Cloudy, brown / green pool - need help

    I did use pool math to calculate the amount of bleach and cya chart showed to slam to a fc of 16. I work 9-5 tomorrow but off on Sunday so I guess I will have to wait till Sunday to restart the slam. My pool is 12,000 gallons

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    Re: Cloudy, brown / green pool - need help

    So with using the calculator, at 12,000 gallons and a starting fc of .5 and using 8.25 percent bleach, it's says I need 275oz to get to fc of 16? So initially when I added the 242oz it did not change the fc, I use the fas dpd testing to get the fc.

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    MarianParoo's Avatar
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    Re: Cloudy, brown / green pool - need help

    Yes, 275oz sounds correct. Not sure where you got the 242 number. Either way, your FC did not change?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Hit the slam at 5-ish tomorrow!!!!
    27K IG rectangular; vinyl liner; sand filter; 1hp pump; auto-cover; heater; K-2006C.

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    Re: Cloudy, brown / green pool - need help

    The highest my free chlorine went was 3, I fill the tube to 10ml then add two scoops of the powder and it turns pink, then use the .5 to 1 drop of solution until colorless change.

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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: Cloudy, brown / green pool - need help

    I will address water change downcopy, but first, when did you last use the Metal Free, and how much? Metal free is actually citric acid according to the MSDS, not the kind of "HEDP" based metal sequestrant we normally recommend at TFP (Jacks Magic or Metal Magic).

    Citric acid can consume/fight chlorine and could possibly be contributing to those fast FC drops.

    Regardless of why your chlorine is not getting up to level (chemical interaction or organics or both), if you're not changing your water and you're going to move forward with your slam, you need to keep adding chlorine until you reach your slam level...not over time, if its dropping immediately, but in a single session, where you ad, read, add, read, add, read until at 16. Then check back in an hour or so.

    The SLAM will ultimately clear/sanitize your water as a baseline start over (though it ay tint water from oxidization of metal), but going forward with well water means less reliance on pool store elixirs you've been using and adopting the TFP way of water care...where you very deliberately only add base elements to reduce unintended consequences. You sound ready for the wee learning curve that involves and this forum is a great tool for getting there.

    So, first off, the decision to truck water is a blend of convenience, cost, and only sometimes, necessity But the trick to figuring out if you can manage the current load of iron is to have a clear idea of your iron level in pool, in your well, and out of your hose if the latter is filtered.

    If you know your well level, please report back. Also either try to get a read on the pool level either through purchasing Lamotte instatest iron strips or checking at the pool store (please don't buy anything there or listen to their well meaning but frankly guessing advice). Your pool read might not be accurate at the moment with the Metal Free, but its worth a shot.

    Once you have an idea of your iron read at well, and possibly in pool, there are steps to managing a pool with iron.
    I will post back more when you give more info -- the steps come AFTER the slam is complete: Overnight Chlorine Loss Test

    But I will give you a taste of what it takes to successfully manage well water with iron and still have a sparkly crystal clear pool...you kinda need to know this stuff anyway even if you start with fresh trucked water because you're on well and metals accumulate over time

    Post Slam iron management options:

    - If water is tinted brown, extra filtration with The Slime Bag | The Easiest Way To Maintain Crystal Clear Pool Water. attached to a pool return will help remove rust color, but sometime proper metal sequestrant alone will also clear, as will your filter over time

    - For stains, high dose of Metal Magic works for many after a sponge test (http://www.proteampoolcare.com/image...SpongeTest.pdf) then maintaining sequestrant with much smaller weekly doses...this is easier than the Ascorbic Acid treatment for stains, IMHO, but that is another option for further future discussion

    - using TFP water care method of maintaining FC/CYA Chart with unstabilized products, eg bleach, not dichlor... to avoid ever having to shock/slam again will help -- shocking oxidizes metal and consumes sequestrant...that's why this happened when you threw in the shock combined with the well water top up...and why you aren't supposed to shock after a metal sequestrant

    -- keeping ph lower, eg 7.2-7.4 to avoid staining

    And

    -- pre-filtering your top up hose for pool refills, either with something like PreFresh filter (disposable, good for 8,000 gal) or attaching a big blue 10" filter housing with a filter that gets down to 1 micron (costs same as prefresh but can change filters forever, so cheaper in long haul and better water pressure) -- this is to help reduce SOME, but not ALL of an iron load...because nothing completely prevents or removes iron. Ever.

    In my case, with a well at 2 ppm (iron stains at .3 ppm) I actually fill from a dual softener plumbed to my pool spigot. That gets it down to a range of .3 to .5 ish (it varies)..then the big blue Pentek filter ataced to hose seems to get down to about .1 ppm for me. At this level, I can now go weeks without adding sequestrant.

    Hope the iron tutorial gives you some kind of baseline to decide on the water haul or not...even if you get new water, filter your additions to keep it as metal free as possible

    But do pst back with your details and slam progress for immediate interim help. This post was meant for big-picture, longterm in order to help you decide.
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
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    Re: Cloudy, brown / green pool - need help

    Thanks for all the helpful information. I am still doing the slam, after work yesterday I began the slam again and here are my results: 8/6/166pm .5 fc - added 2 1/2 gallons bleach
    6:45pm fc 15 - added 10oz
    10:45pm - fc 5 - added 1 3/4 gallons
    11:50pm - 12.5 added more
    8/7/16 - at 7:30am fc 5 added 1 3/4 gallons bleach
    I'm able to check more often and keep up today because of no work but will be getting more bleach this am because already went through 15 gallons, the pool is looking much better, I can see bottom on the shallow end (3'6") and also see a little on the other end (6'). The walls are brownish stained from the metals when the walls should be light blue. In the past I have did the asorbic acid treatment and the walls within half hour to hour the stains would be completed gone. Once I finish the slam and passed overnight free chlorine lost test then I will look into doing the metal magic so will check on ordering it to get it for when I'm ready.
    To answer the questions - I'm not quite sure how deep my well is, going to either buy iron test strips or see if I can get to pool company to get iron tested. I haven't used metal off for at least two weeks when the pool water began to get cloudy.

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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: Cloudy, brown / green pool - need help

    Glad to hear its clearing.
    One thing that will help speed up the process is to either add a few ppms above your target (dont go crazy) or to check and dose a little more frequently today because when you get down to 5, for example, you've spent more than half the time BELOW slam level. The key is "maintaining" the slam FC target level continually. So-doing will shorten your slam
    Cheers to clear!
    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!
    Helpful Links:
    GET A TEST KIT Chlorine/CYA Chart How to SLAM About Metals & Stains

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    Re: Cloudy, brown / green pool - need help

    Hi, it has been awhile since I was on here, I want to thank everyone for their help, I finished the slam and maintained my pool with bleach throughout my pool season and my water has been the best it has since installing the pool. I did buy iron test strips and checked my water and was not getting any significant iron level in my pool. When finished the slam and maintained the chlorine level my the brownish color on my walls cleared over time. Now being in northeast PA I need to close my pool for the winter. I was wondering what I should put in my pool to winterize it because in the past I would add two bags of shock and half bottle algaecide but now I have maintaining with bleach. The other question that I have is about blowing out the lines. I have close my pool myself past 3 years and never had a problem. I use a shop vac / gas powered blower to blow out the returns and skimmer basket and place a gizmo bottle in the skimmer basket. I was wondering about if is was necessary to actually see bubbles come out of my bottom suction (my pool is 6' deep with a suction and circulator on the bottom). I have in the past left the shop vac run a while and then air lock the bottom return but never see bubbles come. I have read the because of the water pressure it would take significant force to blow out bottle line. Just wondering what everyone else does to winterize their pool.

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