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Thread: Sand vs. Zeolite comparison - anyone tried both?

  1. #1
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    Sand vs. Zeolite comparison - anyone tried both?

    I've only used Zeolite, and am considering switching to sand, but I have never used sand. I welcome any opinions. The only issues I have had: 1) I removed the top of the filter to look and the laterals came right out with the top since the stuff is so light and fluffy. Then I had to dump all the zeolite out to get the laterals back in. 2) I always wonder about using additives like algeacide, floc, clarifier, DE because I don't know if it will conflict with the zeo....with sand I know it wont. 3) Everyone with sand filters talk about filters working better when dirty and backwashing when the pressure increases. My pressure NEVER increases, even if I add a bunch of DE. This makes me wonder if the zeo is too loose to filter adequately.

    As for performance, it does a great job, except for dead algae which requires blue clarifier. Then again, I have nothing to compare it to since it is all I have ever had. Has anyone tried both? Is the filtration really superior?
    33' above ground pool, 52" deep, about 27500 g
    sand filter w/zeobrite

  2. #2
    Administrator JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Sand vs. Zeolite comparison - anyone tried both?

    Zeolite does filter better than sand, though many people will not notice the difference. It is compatible with all of the usual pool chemicals, including algaecide, floc, clarifier, DE, etc. Zeolite also gets many more complaints than sand does, though you didn't mention any of the common ones.

    How large is your filter? Large filters don't need to be backwashed very often, so you wouldn't normally see any pressure difference.

    Having the laterals come up like that is very unusual and may indicate that something was installed incorrectly. That really shouldn't happen, and might be the cause of all of the problems you describe.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Sand vs. Zeolite comparison - anyone tried both?

    Yes, I think it was installed incorrectly. I measured the distance from the laterals to the top of the valve with it stuck together so I could make sure I put it back the same way. Pool store told me the lateral base should rest on the bottom (Hayward 24T). Assembled this way the measurement is 4-5" longer!

    It appears the laterals were installed after some of the zeolite was placed, and then the valve was forced down over the tube. I REMEMBER the guy doing something like that. This means the laterals were possibly on top of the most of the zeo.
    33' above ground pool, 52" deep, about 27500 g
    sand filter w/zeobrite

  4. #4

    Re: Sand vs. Zeolite comparison - anyone tried both?

    In testing, Zeolite definitely filters finer particles than sand, although given how screwed up the install sounds, just getting a full depth sand bed to filter with might make things better than what you have so far.
    In-ground Filters Engineer
    Pentair Water Pool and Spa, Inc.
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    Re: Sand vs. Zeolite comparison - anyone tried both?

    Quote Originally Posted by BriceJohnson
    In testing, Zeolite definitely filters finer particles than sand, although given how screwed up the install sounds, just getting a full depth sand bed to filter with might make things better than what you have so far.
    Ah, a Pentair person. Welcome to TFP.

    Are you going to be helping and advising us with our Pentair products? Hope so.

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    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

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    Re: Sand vs. Zeolite comparison - anyone tried both?

    What I can tell you is that the 3 year old zeo I dumped out on the ground looks just as fresh and lovely as the $100 worth of zeo I just bought to replace it. Feels good between your toes...have a nice little beach area now. I also found out it pays to shop around. Pinch a Penny charged $35/50 lb bag. The Mom and Pop pool store wanted $75.
    33' above ground pool, 52" deep, about 27500 g
    sand filter w/zeobrite

  7. #7
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    Re: Sand vs. Zeolite comparison - anyone tried both?

    I've used both and think zeo lite does a better job polishing the water, though it may be just my hoping it was better

    It does seem that I can back wash less with the ziolite than sand, but again I never did any measuring of it this is just seat of my pants stuff. I only need to back wash my filter twice a season and we have a long season here in central texas.
    15,500 gal, inground gunite pool with 7 ft spa, 2 speed pump 2hp/.33hp, 3/4 hp booster pump, Intermatic P1353 timer, AutoPilot SC-48, Sand filter with ZeoBest, Heater, that I never use . . .

  8. #8
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    Re: Sand vs. Zeolite comparison - anyone tried both?

    I had an extra 5 gallon bucket of zeolite saved from the sand change. It still looked fabuloust so I dumped it in on top of the rest of it. Installer said it couldn't hurt to overfill zeolite since it is light and extra may help with filtration. We will see. My pump pressure has NEVER gotten past 15, but I will keep an eye on it and remove the excess if I see a change. Opinions?
    33' above ground pool, 52" deep, about 27500 g
    sand filter w/zeobrite

  9. #9
    Administrator JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Sand vs. Zeolite comparison - anyone tried both?

    If you overfill, the sand/zeo can come out when you backwash. In most cases that isn't a big deal, since it only happens when you backwash. Assuming that doesn't happen, it should help with filtering compared to straight sand.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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  10. #10
    Mod Squad Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Sand vs. Zeolite comparison - anyone tried both?

    Also, if you have so much sand in you filter that the sand surface is above the widest part of the filter (I hope that makes sense), you'll be losing filtering area.
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
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  11. #11
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    Re: Sand vs. Zeolite comparison - anyone tried both?

    That makes alot of sense! I am still below that point so I should be okay. Now how to get the frogs out of everything before I put it back together.....I think some crawled in to various parts of the plumbing while disassembled. I hear croaking and I am afraid I will have frog clogs.
    33' above ground pool, 52" deep, about 27500 g
    sand filter w/zeobrite

  12. #12
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    Re: Sand vs. Zeolite comparison - anyone tried both?

    Last summer for the first time I used zeobrite and it worked well until about a month ago when we began having a light brown discoloration to the pool water though all chemicals were perfectly balanced. After exhausting all efforts I opened the filter housing and noted an almost paint like opaque character to the water. I then removed the zeobrite added water to it and stirred, reproducing the light brown discoloration in the top of the filter. I flushed and stirred until the water ran clear over a period of 3-4 hours. When I opened the filter, I found that the laterals had worked their way up from the bottom considerably. I added white filter sand to the bottom and then returned the zeobrite to the top of the sand. The brown discoloration is slowly disappearing though it seems it is of such a fine character that it is extremely slow. Other observation: The particles of zeobrite are very much smaller than they were and more rounded. My water supply is from a artesion well of higher quality than public water here. Primary disinfection is by ozonation, copper sulfate, salt, sodium bicarbonate and dry sulfuric acid. Chlorine tabs are added in trace amounts to discourage insects. My conclusion is that 9 months is too short a time for failure for and filtration product and sand is best for this area of coastal florida.
    16x32 inground, vinyl, brand new Hayward Pro-grid, multiport valve, no idea what our pump is (will figure it out when we need to replace it).

  13. #13
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Sand vs. Zeolite comparison - anyone tried both?

    Most artesian wells are laden with minerals and that may be the problem with your media failing.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 1.5hp Dynamo pump. 24" Pentair Sand Dollar Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
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    You can stop SLAMing your pool when you pass the OCLT (You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & You have .5ppm CC's or less) & your water is clear.

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