I noticed that the original post I made of this has disappeared from the forum so I am redoing it. I guess it was lost when we switched servers way back when we were first staring up.

When asking for help with pool problems be sure to include the following information:

Type of pool (Above Ground or Inground and surface type: Plaster, Fiberglass, Vinyl--aggregate finishes like DiamondBrite and PebbleTec ARE Plaster as is Marcite)

Type of filter (Cartridge, Sand, DE--the kind of filter you have may have an impact on how certain problems are treated)

Number of gallons (If you have a spillover spa don't forget to include that in the total gallonage!). If you don't have the gallonage then give us measurements such as 15x 30 oval with a depth of 3 to 6 feet. We can take it from there. If it's a free form it's a bit more complicated but just ask and we can tell you how to approximate it!

If you have any water features that might aerate the water or an attached spillover spa (Aeration can have an impact on many of the things we need to do with pools--sometimes it helps, sometimes it hurts so knowing this can be useful)

Any additional equipment such as salt water chlrine generator, ozonator, ionizer, 'Mineral Sanitizer', heater (and whether it's solar, gas, or heatpump), in floor cleaning system, automation, etc.

How your water looks (clear, cloudy, foamy, colored--green, pink, yellow, brown, violet {actual colors pool water can turn}, or any other description that might be appropriate and whether any visible algae is present (remember, algae is not always green, it can be mustard yellow, or black spot; and some bacteria are incorrectly called pink or red algae and white water mold so give us a description of anything unusual in your water! Also remember that the color of your pool will influence how the water looks. If you have a blue pool surface and the water is clear yellow (from iron) it could actually look clear green (which is usually copper). So include this info also!

The type of chlorine you use for normal sanitation and for shocking--trichlor, dichlor, cal hypo, liquid chlorine, etc. (or what alternative sanitizer you use if you don't use chlorine such as bromine or biguanide)

What part of the country (or world) you are in. Regional differences can play an important part in the way pool problems are handled!

Finally, and this is the BIGGIE!!!!!, A FULL SET of test results done with a DROP BASED TEST KIT (or with a colorimeter that uses liquid or powdered reagents at the pool store) and NOT DONE WITH TEST STRIPS, EVEN IF THE STRIPS ARE READ BY A MACHINE!!!!!!!!!!!!
I can't stress how important this is if you want accurate and precise water testing results!

The test results should include at a minimum:
Free Chlorine
Total Chlorine
Combined Chlorine
Total Alkalinity
Calcium Hardness (NOT Total Hardness, which is all strips can measure!)
Cyanuric Acid (CYA, Stabilizer)

If you have a salt water chlorine generator also include the salt reading. Testing this with a strip if OK since this is one of the tests that strips can do well. If you use the readout on your unit be aware that it can be off by as much as 600 ppm and still be considered to be in factory spec.

If you use a borate product in your water such as Supreme, Optimizer, Maximizer, Endure, or 20 Mule Team then include a borate reading if possible (once again borate test strips are ok for this one).

If you have an ionizer, 'mineral' sanitizer, use copper based algaecides, or have any type of staining issues then tests for metals (iron and copper) would be extremely useful. Your pool store should be able to test for these.

If you use an alternative santizer instead of the chlorine and cyanuric acid test results substitute your total bromine reading or your biguanide and peroxide readings, depending on which system you use. Once again these should NOT be done with strips but with either a drop based or dry reagent (either powder or tablet) test. All other test results are going to be the same!

I know this seems like a lot to ask but we really need all this info to know what is going on in your pool and to give you the help you seek!