First off, thank you for this forum and special thanks to everyone who gives their time to help.
This is our first post, bear with me as I explain where we've been and where we're at now and finally ask a real question wayyyyyy down below this novel. TY for reading.
We aren't completely new to pools, but this year's pool is the largest we've had yet (also largest our yard can handle). We have also historically not used BBB but are now almost two weeks into the conversion with some chemicals left over that may or may not be used.
We also have always used the HTH 6 way test strips but now have use of my dad's Taylor 2005 kit. We bought new R0001 and R0002, PH, and CYA Reagent to replace the nearly empty bottles so those reagents are fresh. Additionally, he had an old MasterTech kit that he gave us which reads higher and lower than the Taylor and seems to have a very nice reader that is perfect on the chlorine, yet seems off for PH (reads low). Everything else works fine. That being said, the results we're going with are from the Taylor.
15' Intex metal frame pool
Intex pump, plus a second pump from an old pool to augment the Intex
So, the kids left for a week for camp, the pool sat silent and due to the strips saying CL was over 10, we took the floater out a couple times thinking it had enough chlorine for no swimmers.
This was... Before all the serious reading here and at The Pool Forum where I can't register to ask questions. So we had an algae bloom of sorts after they returned and swam. We then managed to shock the swampy smelling pool (HTH brand) into suspended cloudiness that would not clear. Yuk. That's when we really started looking into how to fix it and ran across BBB.
So, we found out some things. Our CYA was way too high (we did it at setup, our fault and you can call it simply "miss-informed"). We weren't shocking high enough to kill the algae properly with it at 70 (strips told us it was somewhere between 50 and 100 but till we got the kit we didn't know exactly). OK. So, with bleach and high PPM's we couldn't measure (no kit yet, just strips) we shocked the chit out of the pool for a couple days, then maintained about 8ppm for a couple days, finally settling on 5 the past two days ending up with a nice crystal clear pool in about one week. CYA being 70, meant maintaining 5ppm minimum and shocking at 25 which would be a lot of chlorine so we decided to do the drain and refill at 56% according to the calculator.
Additionally, our normal water hardness is 9-14ppm so we had pushed that to 250 because the strip box and pool research told us we needed hard water. Reading here... well no, not THAT hard. The 56% drain took care of that for us as well as dropping CYA to a perfect 30ppm. WOOT!
Our tap water seems to go green instantly when we fill new pools. Happens at about 4" of fill water. It's a hint of green, but it's absolutely algae because the Algaecide always works to brighten the new water. As it filled today, it hinted at green even though we dosed with bleach to raise the remaining water to 8ppm before we started filling. Understanding algae and it's relationship to chlorine better now is quite helpful.
Today's readings after 56% refill and tweaking
ALK 75 (was 40 earlier)
Both pumps are running nicely, but the pool seems cloudy again. We plan to shock tonight. We hope to be able to maintain 2-4ppm CL and add borates to 50ppm when we get it dialed in again.
It WAS so sparkly and clear! We did good with what we had which was wrong, but it sure was looking fabulous due mostly to the information we found here. Now now we're sort of starting over, hoping for less CL demand and softer water (closer to what comes out of the tap for sure!), and wanting to use borates to help stabilize things a bit.
Main question here after all this...
1- The pool calculator says (at the bottom, where you input your quantities and chemicals) that if we add 256oz 20 Mule Team the Alkalinity will be raised by 112ppm. However the "So you want to add borates" thread instructions say alkalinity will increase "slightly". 112ppm puts us way over the top for alkalinity (add to 75ppm current) and it ain't "slight". HUH???
Which is true? 112ppm or "slight"??
Second question might come later. For now, we shock tonight and see what happens with the clarity. We will not add borates till the pool is dialed and cleared unless someone tells us it would be better.
TY for any help you have to offer.