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Thread: Complete newby, already messed up the water-super cloudy

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    Complete newby, already messed up the water-super cloudy

    Ok..So here's the disclaimer: I've never owned a pool before in my life. I'm an idiot when it comes to chemistry. I've used the HTH PH and Clorine tester before and that's IT. I did some REALLY stupid things and am aware of it. What I need is help to fix what I've messed up. I've already read pool school but it doesn't tell me how to undo what I've already done, so being the new kid, I'm asking (begging) for help. So here goes:

    The genius that I am, I decided this year I wanted a pool because my neighbor told me how simple they were to maintain. So I purchased an above ground Intex liner 12'x36" metal frame, 2000gal pool from walmart, as well as a bag of shock and some chlorine (yellow bucket top of HTH) tabs. I proceeded to set it up and fill the pool (I have VERY hard water and live in Kansas). I only got half of it filled in one day, so i shut the water off and finished the next day..well the same evening I finished filling it, it rained. So the next morning I got out my nifty little chlorine tab dispenser and put 2 tabs in it and sent it on it's way (other than that, it had had NO chemicals). I ran the filter (500 gal/hr) the first couple of days about 8 hours a day.. on the third day when I went to actually swim in it, I did a test reading to see where the chlorine and ph levels were. Chlorine was virtually at zero and PH was about 7.8..so I did what the internet said to do and I shocked it. Used the HTH super shock and swim. Well..I obviously didn't read the directions very well and added all 1lb of the bag via the skimmer method that it said to use (shake shock into skimmer and run skimmer through water slowly dispersing shock). So after I added the whole bag, I turned on the filter and let it run all night.

    The next morning I came out to a pretty cloudy pool. So I did a test reading- Chlorine less than .5ppm, ph around 7.8 again. So I checked the chlorine floater- a few pieces of the tab left- so I added another one). Didn't swim. The next day I came out- chlorine was even LOWER than the day before. So my genius decided to run to walmart and look for liquid chlorine- couldn't find any, but found the yellow HTH bottle of "chlorine granules". Well since the chlorine in the pool was almost non existent- and everything I read told me the pool was cloudy due to lack of chlorine- I added about half of the smaller 2lb bottle they sell via the skimmer. Ran filter all night (usually runs about 8 hrs/day) came out- pool was waaay cloudy, chlorine around .5ppm. So by now I'm getting SUPER frustrated. So the next evening I added more of the granules..which once again did nothing. So I melted a whole chlorine tab in a bucket of water and now it's around 1.5ppm.

    So now that I finally found this site and realized all I needed to do in the first place was add some bleach, I'm a bit frustrated at how to clear the cloudiness at this point. The chlorine level is still a bit low but I'm sure bleach would fix it at this point. But how do I get rid of the cloudiness? I see chemicals settled on the bottom (I have no vacuum, do have a brush)

    I'm willing to try anything at this point to save the water. I already dumped it once because I didn't think it was level enough so that's the last resort but one I may have to do..I'm not sure what other information you need since I don't have one of those huge testers with all the levels- just CL and PH. The water's not green..just one big cloud. Help? Please? Pretty please?

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Complete newby, already messed up the water-super cloudy

    I'm wondering if you don't actually have super-high chlorine that's bleaching out your test reagent. With fresh fill water it seems hard to believe you have enough **** in the water yet. And high calcium is no excuse - I have it too; my pool is about 950 CH at the moment - far,far from ideal but it's still sparkling clear.

    First thing to do, proactively, is break out the credit card right now and go order a test kit. Don't waste time and money getting a lesser kit at the pool store or at wally world.

    With a full set of accurate numbers, it ought to be a pretty easy matter to set things right in short order. Accurate is the key word, here. The pool store clerks may not give you that, to put it mildly. A full set of numbers, Pool Calculator, and us, you're set to take it on.
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    Re: Complete newby, already messed up the water-super cloudy

    If your pool is only 2000 gal, is a drain/refil possible?
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    Re: Complete newby, already messed up the water-super cloudy

    I'd like to know what has been added to the pool so far...
    What is in HTH shock? or Super Shock and Swim?
    How big are the tabs you use? Weight per tab?
    What is in the HTH chlorine granules? chemicals and concentration?

    What I am trying to do is to calculate how much CYA has been added to the pool, as well as CH. A trip to a pool store that offers free testing can help, maybe, if they are accurate, some are some are not. If you can supply the facts as above, then we can use the Pool Calculator, Effects of Adding Chemicals down at the bottom, to find out what the totals of CYA and CH might be so far.

    If Shock and Swim is cal-hypo (1 lb), and HTH chlorine granules is cal-hypo (2 lbs), and tabs are 0.5 oz (3 tabs total but weight could be 0.5 oz to 8.0 oz each). If that is correct you've added 3x39 + 5 = 117 ppm FC ppm FC, 3.1 ppm CYA, and ppm 3 x 27 = 81 CH. Very hard water could have high CH to begin with so this might be way more in total. Still I doubt that you have calcium clouding. Probably algae due to low FC.

    If CYA is still that low, at 3ppm which is not measurable on testing, then any chlorine will have burned off from sunlight pretty fast. Meanwhile, a 12 oz of bleach will add 3 ppm to the pool. Do that and test after 30 minutes of circulation. If we see most of that still in the water in 30 minutes, then you are not bleaching out the tests but just losing chlorine due to sunlight and low CYA. Heck, with a pool that small you can probably stir it real well and figure it has mixed enough to test correctly. It would be better as a diagnostic to do this after sundown but doing it now probably won't hurt if you stir really well and test again.

    If this shows that FC does show up, then you are suffering from low CYA. Buy 1 lb of HTH stabilizer/conditioner and add 10 oz by volume (1 1/4 cups) per Pool Calculator or 13 oz by weight per label directions. That will get you to 40 ppm CYA.

    Now, it gets real easy. To add 4 ppm FC to your pool, add 2 cups of 6% bleach and circulate. Expect it to drop by about 2 ppm a day, so you will want to keep it between 3 and 7 ppm, when it hits 3 add bleach to go to 7. Test daily, evening is best.
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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Complete newby, already messed up the water-super cloudy

    Drain and refill and then follow the steps in this article:
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/pool-...ary_pool_guide
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
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    Re: Complete newby, already messed up the water-super cloudy

    kenmar-
    that's an option, but I would really like to avoid it.

    anonapersona-
    What has been added so far (Here is what I've found on the internet regarding the strength of the chemicals):

    Chlorine tabs: maybe 5 tabs in 2 weeks? Calcium Hypochlorite approximately 9.5-10 oz. HTH® 3-in-1 Chlorinating Skimmer Tablets, 45% available chlorine

    Shock: 1 bag: HTH Super Shock It has 53% available chlorine

    Chlorine Granuals: approx 1.5lbs of a 2lb container: HTH® Chlorinating Granules, granules are 54% calcium hypochlorite.


    I know I need to get a better test kit..but I would have to order it from online and that will take a few days. I have a local pool store but figured I'd come here first incase they're idiots. I honestly think the clouding is the chemicals. I added them with the skimmer and if you run your hand through the water- you see white particles. There's also settling of white particles on the floor. Use a brush and the water gets SUPER cloudy...
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: Complete newby, already messed up the water-super cloudy

    The 3 in 1 tabs clearly have some CYA in them since the directions address using less if you have used stabilizer. Does it say anywhere how much cyanuric acid it contains? Anyhow, you have used only 3. What is the weight per tablet?

    The particles could be calcium, though I wouldn't think that is the problem. You may be able to let it settle to the bottom and try to suction it off the bottom, if you have a gas siphon type hose that is new, or if you have some area below the base level of the pool to use a hose to siphon to.

    Did you add 12 oz of bleach and see if it shows up? That would at least tell you if the chlorine test was bleached out or if your chlorine was all burned up from the sun and was actually as low as you are showing on test.

    Still, we need to know what the CYA content of the pool is now. Taking water to the pool store probably wont work since it won't show on test for awhile, so you have to calculate it. Might ought to search the forum to see if anyone has ever posted it.

    Perhaps FPM is right, drain may be easier. Then you just start over with the instructions in the Beginners Guide to Seasonal/Temporary pools in Pool School. You will know that CYA is zero, and FC is zero so you begin there.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

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    Re: Complete newby, already messed up the water-super cloudy

    As best I can tell, all these products are cal-hypo, but I can't be sure. By my calculations you have added about 40oz of 53% ("shock" & granules) and 30oz of 48% (pucks). Using the pool calculator I get 132 ppm total chlorine in a 2,000 gallon pool over two week period. My guess is that you are way over chlorinated. You could try mixing 1 part pool water to say 4 or 9 parts tap water and test for chlorine and multiply it out. Not perfect but it will let you know if you are super duper chlorinated.

    If there are no water restrictions I would just drain and refill. Either way, once you get the chlorine in line you will need to add some CYA (stabilizer) if all these products are cal-hypo and not trichlor.
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    Re: Complete newby, already messed up the water-super cloudy

    What is the weight per tablet?
    10oz per tablet

    Did you add 12 oz of bleach and see if it shows up?
    No, I haven't. Should I go ahead and do that? How soon will it show up on a chlorine test?

    As best I can tell, all these products are cal-hypo, but I can't be sure.
    I believe your right. I went by the local pool store today (forgot to grab sample this morning) and he told me based on the products I described, I've added about 3lb's of shock, and only 3 actual chlorine tablets to the pool- Which is accounting for the low chlorine read. He said shock makes the level REALLY high, then plummets


    I'm going to run another test when I get home and try adding the bleach and see what it does. He told me to bring him a water sample over the weekend and see what it says before we go any further.

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    Re: Complete newby, already messed up the water-super cloudy

    Before I start I wanted to say I also vote for dump and refill, it will be the easiest if not the only solution.

    The guy at the pool store is wrong, at least when talking about the kind of shock you have been using. I can't really blame him for not knowing much, first off shock is a process not a specific product, this is confused by the industry which markets every type of chlorine product as shock (tri-chlor, di-chlor, cal-hypo, lithium hypochorite, and non Chlorine MPS). Several companies market products with variations on the name Shock-and-Swim, most of these are non-chlorine shock that use MPS in place of chlorine (which in effect does what the guy claims) , the kicker here is HTH makes a Shock-N-Swim product that is Cal-Hypo not MPS.

    Ike

    p.s. Before doing anything else I would try watering down a sample 4:1 or more with chlorine free water and see if it reads on your test. I suspect you have VERY high chlorine levels which show as a false low on many tests
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    Re: Complete newby, already messed up the water-super cloudy

    The guy at the pool store is wrong, at least when talking about the kind of shock you have been using.
    Well what he was referring to was the "chlorine granules" being a shock, and not really a true chlorine.

    I was able to write down the exact composition of the chemicals I used- the granules- 47.8% calc hypochlorite, 52% other ingredients, minimum chlorine 45%


    So are those granules a shock or a chlorine???

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    Re: Complete newby, already messed up the water-super cloudy

    p.s. Before doing anything else I would try watering down a sample 4:1 or more with chlorine free water and see if it reads on your test. I suspect you have VERY high chlorine levels which show as a false low on many tests

    Ok..so I took a sample with full pool water- .05 chlorine. Watered it down at 4:1? ZERO chlorine. So it's not a false negative...there REALLY is no chlorine. So on the plus side. The water cloud has mostly cleared. But now ALL the granules have settled to the bottom..

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    Re: Complete newby, already messed up the water-super cloudy

    There is no such thing as a "shock" it is a marketing term the pool industry have created, shocking is a process. In this case it is cal-hypo (which breaks down into calcium and chlorine in the water) in a quick dissolving powder form. I am not sure what the other ingredients are in this case, but it is likely inert and a by product of producing cal-hypo since Cal-Hypo is usually available in 47%-75% strength. It helps to understand the way Chlorine works in pools, in low doses it acts as a sanitizer, in high doses it acts as a oxidizer, hence shocking, which breaks down the combined chlorine. There is no such thing a pure Chlorine that is available to the public, pure chlorine is a highly corrosive gas, and its use is becoming very rare even in industrial environments due to all of the handling requirements. Instead pool chlorine is offered in combined compounds which break down in water to chlorine and something else. Bleach/Liquid Chlorine breaks down to salt and chlorine, Cal-Hypo breaks down to calcium and chlorine, di-chlor and tri-chlor primarily break down to CYA and chlorine.

    I hope this helps some
    Ike
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    Re: Complete newby, already messed up the water-super cloudy

    Given what we know now, I suspect you have more than one thing going on, something is consuming the chlorine in the water (without having a good timeline it is hard to know) , and my guess is if you do have very hard water you may have reached the saturation point for calcium by using the cal-hypo and that is why it has settled out on the bottom and not released its chlorine. You probably need to get the stuff off the bottom, you don't want a chlorine compound to stay in contact with the liner. Once you have it clear of the pool you may want to try using liquid chlorine/bleach for your chlorination and shocking needs, the saturation point for salt is much higher than it is for calcium.

    Ike

    p.s. your high chlorine consumption may be explained if you have never added any stabilizer or used stabilized chlorine (di-chlor or tri-chlor), it is very common for us to see people with too high of stabilizer level here due to excessive use of tri-chlor pucks, but in this case you may have the opposite problem. I still think the easiest fix is dump and replace the water, but if your not going to do that the next best thing is to switch to bleach, add some stabilizer and run the filter 24x7 and brush until the residue on the bottom is removed.
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    Re: Complete newby, already messed up the water-super cloudy

    p.s. your high chlorine consumption may be explained if you have never added any stabilizer or used stabilized chlorine
    Nope, never put anything in besides the chlorine tabs, shock and the granuals

    You probably need to get the stuff off the bottom
    So I've spent the morning "vacuuming" the bottom with a hose. I've gotten most of it but there are a few remaining pieces..Going to try the bleach thing today (didn't want to if i was going to suck a bunch of water out.

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    Re: Complete newby, already messed up the water-super cloudy

    The HTH 3-in-1 tabs contain SOME stabilizer. You need to know how much.

    I disagree with Issac, I doubt that it is the hard water, I suspect the cal-hypo is sitting on the bottom as you put in so much and did not brush enough to get it into solution. Vaccuming that out is probably good, not good for a liner.

    Your chlorine level is truly ZERO, due to the very low CYA level. So, let's assume it is near zero. I know the HTH 3-1n-1 tabs have some, but I have no idea how to know that. I doubt that the store will tell you. ChemGeek here would probably know, or JasonLion, or some of the other gurus. But let's assume zero for now.

    That brings us to the point of water with no FC, no CYA, and all green. Dump and refill.

    Then read Pool School, Beginners Guide for Temporary/Seasonal Pools. Follow those directions. Start clean, then keep it clean from the get-go.
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    Re: Complete newby, already messed up the water-super cloudy

    Quote Originally Posted by anonapersona
    The HTH 3-in-1 tabs contain SOME stabilizer.
    I do not believe that the HTH 3-in-1 tabs contain any stabilizer. The ingredients only list Cal-Hypo plus other ingredients. It could not contain stabilized chlorine with Cal-Hypo (that would be explosive) and should not contain any acid including Cyanuric Acid. The 3-in-1 claims "Kills Bacteria, Control Algae" which would be from the Cal-Hypo, "Contains Skin Softener" which may just be salt that is in Cal-Hypo anyway, "Now with scale inhibitor" which could be a variety of different types of chemicals including calcium sequestrants (such as polyphosphates) that interfere with scale formation. The product also says "Will not cause overstabilization". You can see photos of the container here (click on the large photo to see it zoomed and click Prev/Next to see different views). You can also search their EPA Registration Number 1258-1259 here.

    The product is a slow-dissolving tablet designed to be used in the skimmer basket. It is likely that a substantial amount of the filler are binders to hold the Cal-Hypo together and slowly dissolve. It is 47.6% Cal-Hypo.
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    Re: Complete newby, already messed up the water-super cloudy

    ok....so the 2 cups of bleach brought the total chlorine to between a 1 and 2 ppm. And now the water is mostly clear because the particles settled and are now vacuumed up. But now the PH is through the roof. Between a 7.8 and 8.2. Would like to add another cup of bleach..what do you recommend to bring the ph down?

    There is no algae at all. It's only been full for 2 weeks now and it's totally clean from everything but the extra particles.. so do i REALLY need to dump it if all it seems as though I need to do is bring down the ph at this point???

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    Re: Complete newby, already messed up the water-super cloudy

    To bring down pH you can use Muriatic acid from any hardware store, it sells for about $3 per quart around here or you can use dry acid pH down from anywhere that sells pool supplies The Muriatic is cheaper and better for the pool, but slightly more dangerous to handle. Many people suggest diluting in a plastic bucket before slowly pouring it into the pool in front of a return jet. (remember always add acid to water, never water to acid). The pool calculator should tell you how much you need , I get 3 oz for a pool of 2,000 gallons so you don't need much (assuming 31% 20 baume which my local Ace store sells).

    Ike

    p.s. remember high chlorine levels can cause high pH readings, which you may be having once you stirred up that cal-hypo, so go slow on the acid

    You may be getting close now if the water has cleared up, get some stabilizer in there and keep using the bleach for chlorine and you will probably be good. Note stabilizer will also bring pH down some
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    Re: Complete newby, already messed up the water-super cloudy

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    I do not believe that the HTH 3-in-1 tabs contain any stabilizer.
    Ah well, where is the "bowing down" smilie when I need it? I know to listen to my betters... so what he said.

    So if the water is not green and mostly clear, no need to dump. Yipee!

    And at this point, Issac is right, go slow on the muriatic acid. Add maybe half of what you think you need to get the pH adjusted, wait and circulate, test again and adjust the rest of the way.

    Keep the FC up to around 2ppm and get that stabilizer in there now, since the sun will use up the chlorine pretty fast.

    Read the Pool School, Beginners' Guide for Seasonal/Temporary Pools.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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