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Thread: Pollen???

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    new2pools's Avatar
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    Pollen???

    Is pollen out this time of year??? For the last 3 weeks I have been fighting yellow stuff on the bottom of my pool. It seems to settle in the wrinkles on the bottom. When I swish it with my foot it disperses like powder and makes the water a bit cloudy for a second.

    Is it pollen or mustard algae??

    Our pool is 27 feet round and I have always just gotten in and vacuumed by hand with not much of a problem. Now, I am getting to really be sick of the pool because every time we want to swim I have to get in and spend 1-1/2 hours vacuuming every square inch of the bottom.
    By the time I'm done, I'm over it and just want to get out.

    BTW, I have a "lovely" auto cleaner that came with our pool package and it sucks. It is called the Dirt Demon. The first day I hooked it up several days ago it worked fairly well. Only missed a few areas. The subsequent days I tried to use it.....no good. Put the pump on high and it moves around for about 20 seconds and then stops like it's suctioned to the bottom of the pool and won't budge. Then put it on low and it moves around again for about 20 seconds and the "flappy circle thing" starts to float up away from the bottom of the pool and nothing gets picked up. ARGHHHHHHH! I am about at wits end with the thing. I have unhooked, filled to make sure no air was in there, etc. Pretty much have done everything I can think of to make sure it's working correctly......I'm thinking it's just a piece of junk at this point. (I did do a search and found one online for sale for 149.99 though...what a ripoff!)

    Any advice?? (on the cleaner and the pollan junk)
    27' Round AGP, 17200 GAL, 2 HP/2 SPD Pump/Cartridge Filter.......BBB!

  2. Back To Top    #2
    gonefishin's Avatar
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    I would suggest that you get a sample of the "substance" on the bottom. After you collect the sample and let it settle in a glass jar it may become clear if this is pollen...or algae. The earlier you can make a proper identification the earlier you can start taking corrective measures (or just enjoy your pool if it's pollen).


    To collect the yellow substance from the bottom of the pool you could get any type of plastic (squeezable) bottle with a nozzle top. Now just give the bottle a squeeze while your on top of the surface and slowly slowly slowly approach the substance. If you approach to fast the substance will disperse as you get closer to it. Once you've got your squeeze bottle near the substance you can start releasing the pressure to draw a sample of the water/substance into the bottle. Repeat this step until you happy with the amount of "substance" that you collected.

    After collection in the squeeze bottle you can empty the contents into a glass jar. Let everything settle in the jar. Once it has settled you should be able to get a good luck as to if it's pollen/dirt or algae. If you are able to make a better identification on the substance...then you could better treat it.

    Pictures help to. They not only help others help you better...but your pictures may help the next person that has a similar problem. If you're able...it would be great if you could post some pics of the substance in the bottom of your pool and of the glass jar (if you collect it).

    good luck!
    dan
    33' Aqua-Leader AGP
    Hayward cartridge filter and IntelliFlo VS pump.
    Solar Heat coming ; used to own Aqua-Cal HeatWave 100k (HeatPump)
    Aqua-Rite t-15 SWG

  3. Back To Top    #3

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    We get tons of pollen, when in season. It almost always floats on top. "Skimmer socks" are awesome for getting it before it gets to the filter.

    Another possiblity is white paper mold. Looks like tissue paper dissolved in the water.
    20 x 40 vinyl IG. SWG. Solar. Ikeric VS pump.

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    new2pools's Avatar
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    Thanks, I'll take a sample (I vacuumed yesterday ---took me an hour and a half!--- before I read the post) But I have some more, a little anyway, again today. Probably what got pushed around yesterday just resettled in the folds.

    I'll take a pic too.
    27' Round AGP, 17200 GAL, 2 HP/2 SPD Pump/Cartridge Filter.......BBB!

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    I'm by no means an expert...but what your describing is exactly how I described the start of my last big algae issue. The bleach worked though and once I really stayed on top of it I had it cleared up in no time.
    Good Luck!
    [color=#0000BF]16x32 inground vinyl liner approx 23 000 gallons
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    new2pools's Avatar
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    Here are some pics......



    27' Round AGP, 17200 GAL, 2 HP/2 SPD Pump/Cartridge Filter.......BBB!

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    new2pools's Avatar
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    And, it's not really stuck to the bottom....it swooshes around when you brush or move it with your foot.

    Oh, there is not and has not ever been, any on the walls or anywhere else except the bottom of the pool as shown. Well, I did see some in the bucket I keep at the steps of the pool but I still figured it could be pollen or algae there too.
    27' Round AGP, 17200 GAL, 2 HP/2 SPD Pump/Cartridge Filter.......BBB!

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    AnnaK's Avatar
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    I get something similar looking every now and then. Stuff which disperses when you swish it around with your feet. Doesn't really feel slick or slimy. Sure, it could be pollen, 'tis the season around here for mustard grass and goldenrod. But I treat it like algae on the priciple of 'better safe than sorry'.

    My personal approach is to:
    1. Vacuum the visible spots with a sock in the skimmer.
    2. Raise the FC to 10 using Jason's Pool Calculator.
    3. Set the pump to high and brush the pool bottom and as much of the sides as I can get.
    4. Run the hose with a sharp spray nozzle behind the wedding cake steps to flush them out.
    5. After some hours of running the pump on high, I switch to low and add 3 oz of Poluquat 60.
    6. Let the pump run overnight.

    The next day I usually have a lot of greenish-yellow silt like stuff in the skimmer sock but nothing on the bottom of the pool. This has happened twice this season. I actually believe it's pollen, the reason being that it doesn't come back anytime soon, which it would if it were algae because no way to I maintain the high FC level like I would if I were doing a shock.

    Anna
    AnnaK

    12,500 gal AGP, Hayward sand filter, Pentair 2-speed pump, timer.
    Please visit our Pool Issues pages for information about step weights, managing the solar cover, and PoolSkim.

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    new2pools's Avatar
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    Okay, so I've been getting this for about 3 weeks now. The routine....... I spend an hour and a half vacuuming and the next day there is a little bit already and by the next day it is covering the pool bottom again (well by covering I mean the entire pool floor has yellow settled into the crevices, etc) It is such a pain!! I was sooo enjoying (and surprised) at how nice it was and how easy it was to keep my pool clean....and now this.

    Okay, so the sock.....where exactly do I put that? Does that cover the opening of the skimmer after I've vacuumed?

    Good idea about spraying behind the stairs...I have not done that and probably should.

    I did try to shock to see if that would make a difference but I didn't measure just poured an entire (large) jug of Clorox in (my cya is low, about 25). Bad, I know. I will use the calc. and shock to 10 tomorrow and hopefully that will take care of it.
    I sort of think it's some kind of pollen but 3 weeks??? And if it is....oye, is it a pain!
    27' Round AGP, 17200 GAL, 2 HP/2 SPD Pump/Cartridge Filter.......BBB!

  10. Back To Top    #10
    the skimmer sock goes into the skimmer basket, sort of like a coffee filter, but you fold it over the rim of the basket.

    8200 gallon 20' x 48" round vinyl frame pool, manually chlorinated with 10% liquid, salt added to ~2000, 12" sand filter, 1600gph pump, TF100 test kit
    Handy Links: PoolMath, TF-100 Test Kit, Pool School, Chlorine/CYA Chart
    "Shock" is a process, not a product!

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    New,

    I'm gonna' jump in late but It sounds like you may be on the wrong track. I think you have mustard algae. I don't know where you live but this is not pollen season anywhere in the US that I know of. Secondly, your description and pics fit mustard algae to a T.

    Your solution is chlorine...lot's of it. The algae will quickly consume it so you must replenish the chlorine daily at the very least and twice or three times daily if you can fit it in your schedule.

    Without Test results, we all can only guess at what level you should bring your chlorine up to. Fifteen would be the bare minimum if it were my pool. Posting a set of test results, including CYA, is paramount to get you some very accurate guidelines.

    Skimmer socks may well turn yucky and collect some of it but don't be deceived.....more will grow until you get you get your chlorine up.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  12. Back To Top    #12
    AnnaK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by new2pools
    I will use the calc. and shock to 10 tomorrow and hopefully that will take care of it.

    Keep in mind that all pools are different. The FC=10 works for my system but may not work for yours. All of those values we test for work together and are interdependent but they are unique to each system.

    Anna
    AnnaK

    12,500 gal AGP, Hayward sand filter, Pentair 2-speed pump, timer.
    Please visit our Pool Issues pages for information about step weights, managing the solar cover, and PoolSkim.

  13. Back To Top    #13
    I think Dave hit the nail on the head... mustard.

    You said in an earlier post that you tried to shock, but it did not help.

    Many folks, thanks to the most helpful pool industry, do not realize that shocking your pool is not a one-time thing... dump in some bleach and problem solved. You need to keep your FC levels up to shock level until it has killed all the nasties.

    How do you know when to quit shocking? When your FC holds overnight (same value first thing in the morning as it was before bed) and you have 0 CC's. (I say that your water should also be crystal clear.)

    Use Jason's calculator and find your shock level for mustard. Get that amount of bleach in there, and test as often as possible to keep the FC up. Keep brushing or vac'ing to get the stuff out.

    Good luck... we're here to help you on your way to a TFP!!

    8200 gallon 20' x 48" round vinyl frame pool, manually chlorinated with 10% liquid, salt added to ~2000, 12" sand filter, 1600gph pump, TF100 test kit
    Handy Links: PoolMath, TF-100 Test Kit, Pool School, Chlorine/CYA Chart
    "Shock" is a process, not a product!

  14. Back To Top    #14
    Riles_J's Avatar
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    I would suggest you test your overnight FC loss before you undertake the massive mustard algae shock.

    I fell for that earlier in the season, now I am quite certain I just had pollen/silt. Not a big deal, but I wasted quite a bit of bleach, testing chemicals, and more importantly time.

    You may very well have mustard algae, but if you do there should be some FC loss during the night.

    Good luck.

    Riles
    16x32 IG vinyl, 19,000 gal, 1.0 hp pump, sand filter, 2 returns, 1 skimmer, diving board, slide

  15. Back To Top    #15
    gonefishin's Avatar
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    I am not saying that it cannot be mustard algae. But I am a believer in trying to make a proper identification. I know that when I had what I thought was mustard algae my mind was set at ease the moment that the substance settled in the bottom of the glass jar, after collection.

    Previous to the identification I had what looked like a fuzzy yellow substance that collected in the cracks of my above ground pool. I also couldn't get rid of it with normal shock treatments sustained for over a week. So I did more investigating at poolforum (I don't think troublefreepools was started yet). I then started to treat as was recommended for mustard algae with the high shock levels sustained again for a couple of weeks. My fight seemed to go back and forth...I shock and vacuum over and over. A couple of times it looked as if I was winning the battle. But only to find the stubborn mustard algae to come back. Boy is this stuff stubborn, I thought! Just what the others described. Another poster had even posted pictures of his mustard algae...no doubt about it...it looked (and was described) just like my mustard algae (and yours too by the way)

    But after this fight continued I started to re-read the threads that I have been through many times already. I started to noticed that many of the people had times when it looked as though the were winning the battle...only to find the problem was back full force. One poster mentioned how their problem had stopped after high shock treatments (finally) but also mentioned that they had heavy sustained downpours (I think they used the word torrential). But it returned again but after some time. Then...as many of the posters they would finally win the fight and all was gone. Almost as if what they were doing had finally worked, even though the mustard algae didn't seem to have any correlation to what they (I) were doing in the past.

    This is when I started to think...pollen? The pattern of these problems seemed to behave more like pollen than algae. Clearing after a heavy rain for a few day...persistance that wasn't directly tied to treatments given. It also almost always seemed that after the fight had gone on for some time the person finally started treating it as mustard algae. Which also had little effect except that one day the problem was gone. Their long battle must have worked? It's gone, right.

    I am not saying what you have is not mustard algae...but I think collecting a sample is a great way to help with identification. If you decide that it is pollen you can proceed differently and start enjoying your pool. If you come to the conclusion that the substance is mustard algae (or that it is still unidentified) then you can start on a course that includes lowering your Ph to 7.2 and running days of elevated shock levels to treat for mustard algae.

    Once the substance is collected in the jar and has settled you can take a look at it. Pollen should be very defined ball shapes that feel a little gritty...almost like a cornmeal. The algae should be less defined and slimy. Also when you either scrub the bottom or collect the substance you may notice that the algae is a little more stubborn and almost stuck on the bottom (you'll need to scrub more than with pollen). With pollen collecting in the cracks the substance will look fuzzy (and algae-like) from the top of the pool. But when you swipe your foot by it, it will totally disperse into the water dissipating like a debris cloud. When collecting it will be hard to approach without stirring it up (go slowly).

    If your substance is mustard algae go in and get a few more samples. Here you can do a couple of experiments for us. You can set them out...some uncovered, some partially covered and observe their growth. After the observation is done you could start exposing them to different shock levels of chlorine to see you start to get a kill and if you can accelerate that process by even higher levels. It would also be neat to see if a solution with borates at 50ppm would be more resistant to the mustard algae growth. I'm thinking maybe start what would be a two jars of good (algae-free) pool solution with the appropriate levels of CYA, chlorine, Ph and add 50ppm of borates in one of them. Then introduce the mustard algae to one of them keeping your chlorine levels appropriate at a "maintenance" dose.

    Hmmm...Could you FedEx mustard algae? lol

    But first...first...I would start with collection and identification.

    Right now pollen in the Joliet, IL. area is at a medium to medium-high risk. The pollen in question is ragweed, nettle and Chenopods (your area may have different sources right now. Where are you?). Across much of the continental US there is a medium-high to high forecast with very few places ranging in the good category. http://www.pollen.com/home.asp

    Again...I don't know if your substance is or isn't mustard algae...but I believe that very very few members here and at poolforums that have claimed victory over their fight with mustard algae actually had it. I can't remember the posts here...but there was either one or two people that described what seemed to be actually mustard algae.

    just my $.02
    dan
    33' Aqua-Leader AGP
    Hayward cartridge filter and IntelliFlo VS pump.
    Solar Heat coming ; used to own Aqua-Cal HeatWave 100k (HeatPump)
    Aqua-Rite t-15 SWG

  16. Back To Top    #16

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    I think gonefishin is right. A little investigation is worth a lot of time and chemicals.

    I was worried that I had mustard algae at one point, but it was clear pollen. Again, if you use the skimmer socks, pollen will form an almost uniform layer over the sock. When you take it off the basket and turn the sock inside out, you can "roll" the pollen off, almost like it was cotton. The color ranges from almost white through "mustard" yellow (deli style) to dark brown. It will not feel slimy, even when wet, but more like a wet cloth. During the peak of the pollen season here in NY, I was pulling off sheets of the stuff, maybe 1/4" thick.
    20 x 40 vinyl IG. SWG. Solar. Ikeric VS pump.

  17. Back To Top    #17
    new2pools's Avatar
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    Thanks so much everyone for the help.

    The "pollen/algae" is back. I will go out and get a sample and see if I can tell what it is.

    Just to note, I have not noticed any larger amount of FC usage. It seems to be just as it has been since the beginning. So, it doesn't seem as if algae or something else is "eating it up". But it still could be....I just haven't noticed it disappearing quickly, etc.


    it will totally disperse into the water dissipating like a debris cloud.
    That is exactly how it reacts. Not stuck to the bottom but I brush my foot over it and it swooshes around and makes a little cloudy area and disappears.

    The pool water is clear by the way. Not cloudy or anything else. Everything looks normal except for the bottom of the pool.

    I did go to the pool store today to find out about my automatic cleaner...all is fixed now I think!

    Here is what I think I am going to do....let me know what you all think--

    Clean my filter
    Vacuum with the sock on the skimmer basket.
    Clean the filter again
    Shock to .....don't know how much 20ppm?? (my CYA is around 25)
    That way I can cover both bases....if its pollen hopefully I can stop if from recirculating and if it's algae hopefully the bleach will kill it.
    27' Round AGP, 17200 GAL, 2 HP/2 SPD Pump/Cartridge Filter.......BBB!

  18. Back To Top    #18
    new2pools's Avatar
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    Forgot to add that I am on the east coast of VA and I checked our pollen...it says med-high to high for ragweed and grass.

    Oh, and I just tried to collect a sample. That's a lot easier said than done!LOL I might have gotten some, not sure yet. My bottle wasn't wanting to cooperate.
    27' Round AGP, 17200 GAL, 2 HP/2 SPD Pump/Cartridge Filter.......BBB!

  19. Back To Top    #19
    froggybabies's Avatar
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    I, too encounter this problem! I was sure it was mustard algae...but in my case, it's not. I brought my pool FC up to 24 one night to start treating it. The next morning when I tested, I had not lost any FC and never had any CC, either. I was able to collect a sample of the stuff and it didn't "grow". I had a sample in a container that I added tap water to so that the FC level would be diluted and allow for growth. What is going on in my case, I think, is one of two things: either the ginormous oak tree next to the pool is acting like a giant feather duster and dumping whatever it collects into the pool (b/c it definitely dumps everything into the pool) or it is the remenants of these little things that I find floating around in the pool. I will do my best to describe: they are about 1/8 inch long, tubular with 5 sections connected to a center tube. When I squished one of these thingy up in a glass of water, it looked suspiciously like what I was convinced was mustard algae. I think these things might be some kind of pollen pod (or maybe bird poo?), but I can't find them on any trees in the area. Although, I haven't been able to check said oak tree; the lowest branch is 20 ft off the ground. I may get a couple and take them to a botanist I know and see if she can tell me what the heck they are.

    Long story short, I think that you are on the right track to diagnose the problem properly before applying a treatment! Keep us updated...

    Take care!
    Froggybabies
    24000 gal inground vinyl
    Sand filter

  20. Back To Top    #20
    Riles_J's Avatar
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    new2pools,

    If it were me I would not shock yet, but that is certainly the conservative approach.

    Riles
    16x32 IG vinyl, 19,000 gal, 1.0 hp pump, sand filter, 2 returns, 1 skimmer, diving board, slide

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