My dad recently passed away and he was the one doing all the upkeep on the pool. My mom has asked me to take care of it.
In ground pool, roughly 20k gallons.
I opened it up from winterization a couple weeks ago and the pool was crystal clear other than some leaves and dirt that made their way in. I immediately shocked just to stave off any algae growth because our test kit was a couple years old and I didn't know how effective it would still be. I checked for reviews on dip test strips and got a set of those, even though I knew they weren't the most accurate. Just needed something. Everything tested as zero (or below the threshold where applicable.) I know I need to get the alkalinity sorted early on as that influences much of the chemistry (or so I have been told.) I read that I do not need to add cyanuric acid if the chlorine I was adding was di or tri-chloro, but after shocking with that chlorine the levels on that still read zero so I added half of what the pool would require. No change on the test strip. Chlorine levels read fine for the first day after I shock but they rapidly decrease. I have currently added 10 lbs of bicarb to the pool and see no change in the alkalinity on the test strip. I also used ph booster to get the ph up and there was still no change.
After seeing relatively no change after my additions I went to our old liquid test kit. I tried the alkalinity test only. I was to use a chlorine eliminator and then a single drop of a violet solution to turn the test water violet and then count the drops of another solution to determine the alkalinity. However, the instant I put one drop of the violet solution into the test water it turned yellow. The violet solution didn't even have time to disperse, looked like that magic ink stuff you can get in trick shops, just disappeared!
I am at a loss and I do not want to spend a ton of money making mistakes, and I have little money. I have all of the basic chemicals such as muriatic acid, ph booster, shock, granulated chlorine, chlorine discs, cyanuric acid, baking soda.
Where should I start and what should I do?