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Thread: The dreaded MUSTARD ALGAE

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    The dreaded MUSTARD ALGAE

    Each spring, when everything else is in bloom, you just might think there is POLLEN in the water. Because thats exactly what mustard algae resembles. It usually starts in the shallow end, perhaps on the steps and stirs up like dusty yellow fine sand when you traverse it.
    It took a bit of research but I came up with the perfect solution that has been working for me for the past several years and it goes beyond the sticky on the home page.
    Here is my florida formula should i encounter Mr. Mustard.
    First: Stop by your local poolsupply store and pickup either a small bag or better still a 2lb. container of NaBr(sodium bromide). At pinch-a-fanny, its a yellow container called Yellow stop. Based on pool size, of course, add a couple of capfuls per 10K gal. The trick is to mix it with chlorine or chlorox to ACTIVATE it.
    Ok.. Now distribute that lovely mixture into the pool where you first noticed the algae. In the meantime, if you have a cartridge filter, be soaking it in a chlorine solution to kill it there. I use a deep bucket, immersing 1/2 of the cartridge at a time.
    Chemically, for the time being anyway, you NOW have a BROMINE banked pool. That state, has effectively robbed your pool of chlorine in the conversion, SO, its time for a nice normal SHOCK. Thats it folks, works every time and doesn't return in a couple of weeks to bite you in the butt again. I think the secret is in the timing. So shock that dude right after the bromide treatment. And, don't forget to add a mild bleach to your bathing suits washwater.. or better still,if you have a nice private facility, swim buck naked....No tanlines.
    40K Gallon Pool w 1200 Gal Spa on shared equipment, Delta UV System, Raypak Propane 400K BTU Heater, Pentair 120K Heat Pump, Tagelus Sand Filter, 2 x Pentair Intelliflo VS Pumps--- 1 for Main pump and one for spa jets, Booster/ Cleaner Pump

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    ivyleager's Avatar
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    Re: The dreaded MUSTARD ALGAE

    That recipe worked for me. Sure, it goes against the grain here, but I didn't want to maintain my FC on the high side (or higher) and weeks of shocking at mustard algae levels didn't kill it. I quit banging my head against the concrete and used the sodium bromide also. Worked like a charm. Had to work overtime to keep the FC up. So worth it. I can now maintain my FC at the low end. Best pool water ever. Not one outbreak of ANY algae since.
    CaryB
    36 x 18 IG vinyl, 25K, 1 HP pump, sand filter
    1 skimmer, 2 returns, no main drain
    Old school: PoolSolutions test kit

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    Re: The dreaded MUSTARD ALGAE

    There is one FINAL solution(literally) when all else fails with Colonel Mustard. I don't like to use it, but its completely safe and Canada has been using it for years with no problems. Cutrine-Plus(very xpensive at $60/gal), available at Tractor Supply . Formerly affordable, until copper prices skyrocketed. Its is a chelated salt of Copper, NOT copper sulfate(which is never recommended).I have seen it sold in quarts( 9% cu conc.) in poolsupply houses marketed as an 'algaecide'.. It takes very little, perhaps a little as 12 oz/10k gal. pool. It finishes off the algae by interferring with the photosynthetic process required for its propagation. The caveat, is, that if you wear a white swimsuit, there may be a slight stain. I've never experienced that particular problem, but it bears mentioning since it is a metal. The proper protocol is to exercise caution. Once it reacts with algae it is 'used up', however there might remain a slight residual in the pool over time. Its really not a bad idea to drain an inground pool, at least every 2 years due to chemical buildup. It just gets harder and harder to balance the equation after the continued introduction of chemicals. Who wants to swim in H30?...just kidding. Bear in mind , folks, i'm no expert , but, through trial and error, these formulas have worked for me over the past 23 yrs. of pool ownership. So , whatever works for you.. go with it. Don't rely on Free pool testing services to rule your day.. they will always offer a solution that will compromise your pocketbook...thats why its FREE(oxymoron)
    40K Gallon Pool w 1200 Gal Spa on shared equipment, Delta UV System, Raypak Propane 400K BTU Heater, Pentair 120K Heat Pump, Tagelus Sand Filter, 2 x Pentair Intelliflo VS Pumps--- 1 for Main pump and one for spa jets, Booster/ Cleaner Pump

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    Re: The dreaded MUSTARD ALGAE

    NOPE! A pool with adequate levels of chlorine will never develop algae to begin with.

    Mustard algae is one of thousands of types of algae and simply happens to be a little harder to get rid of but, if for some reason, you neglect your pool (as I have) and get algae of any type, Shocking the pool correctly will get rid of it.

    Then, maintaining correct FC levels will prevent it's return.

    One of the principles of BBB is simplicity. All of us know that there are other "tricks" that can be helpful but what we try to teach (to mostly newbies) is that you don't need to learn sophisticated tricks when the solution is right at your fingertips....chlorine.

    The use of copper in any form in a swimming pool is problematic and this forum has NEVER promoted it.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: The dreaded MUSTARD ALGAE

    In all due respect. Raleigh , is NOT central florida by any stretch of the imagination. Different rules for different areas. The idiosyncrasies of the wide varieties of algae, warrant different tactics. What always works for You doesn't necessarily mean it works for all. There are many other factors to consider based on total pool chemistry. Calcium hardness, total alkalinity, total solids, avg. pH must all be in a respective relationship before SHOCK. With solar, i swim in and use our pool DAILY right up through december 15 every year. TEMPERATURE , not shock, is the controlling factor, in this environ. Posts are made to be helpful to all and not designed to engage in wars of wits using the powers of the keystroke. Speaking of temperature, I found it wise to use solar to Reduce the temperature by running it during hot august nites , thus bringing it down to an optimal 85. Although the human body avg.s 98.6... skin temperature is actually 85.
    40K Gallon Pool w 1200 Gal Spa on shared equipment, Delta UV System, Raypak Propane 400K BTU Heater, Pentair 120K Heat Pump, Tagelus Sand Filter, 2 x Pentair Intelliflo VS Pumps--- 1 for Main pump and one for spa jets, Booster/ Cleaner Pump

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    Re: The dreaded MUSTARD ALGAE

    If we were having a "war of wits", I would be entering the battle unarmed.

    This forum is, once again, about simplicity and requires no special "tricks" regardless of the area in which you live.

    Copper is not a good things for residential pools and this forum will never encourage it's use. Bromine as you have described may be effective but, the point is, it doesn't matter. Chlorine is the simplest, least complicated and most effective way for the average owner to manage his/her pool. Advocating something more complex takes away from the idea of simplicity.

    As you read through the forum, you will find hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pool owners from Florida who don't have algae (of any kind) and have no need for bromine or copper products. It isn't necessary.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    ivyleager's Avatar
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    Re: The dreaded MUSTARD ALGAE

    I agree with the no need for copper, but I politely disagree with the "no need for bromine". I got fed up with my near monthly battle with mustard algae (maintained mustard shock level, passed the OCLT twice, and NEVER HAD CC!!!!!) AND due to my high phosphates, I was NOT willing to maintain my chlorine consistently on the high side. I'm no newbie and weighed the pro's and con's of the situation, and the single application of bromine did the trick. I have had no issue with algae since and am happy there was a product out there to make my life easier because chlorine was NOT effective in my pool.
    CaryB
    36 x 18 IG vinyl, 25K, 1 HP pump, sand filter
    1 skimmer, 2 returns, no main drain
    Old school: PoolSolutions test kit

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    Re: The dreaded MUSTARD ALGAE

    There are quite a few people who have gotten rid of their yellow/mustard algae by the higher shock level (roughly an FC that is 60% of the CYA level, but lowering pH first) and getting behind light niches, under removable ladders, putting in poles and other cleaning equipment, washing swimsuits, etc. However, if that doesn't work, then sodium bromide is effective not only because it isn't moderated by CYA so can be stronger than chlorine (yellow/mustard shock is roughly equivalent to 1.4 ppm FC with no CYA if the pH is initially made lower), but yellow/mustard algae seems to be particularly susceptible to bromine which is why most yellow/mustard algicides contain sodium bromide.

    Eventually, the bromine will go away either outgassing or getting converted to bromate though in the meantime it can increase chlorine demand. From reading ivyleaguer's Mustard/Yellow algae and pool equipment thread, I suspect the algae stayed in the light niches that were not removed and cleaned so didn't quite get completely killed off by the chlorine and that the pH may not have been initially lowered significantly before shocking with chlorine at a high level. Others who have killed off yellow/mustard algae and got behind light niches or under removable ladders have reported copious amounts of algae in those locations as this algae prefers shade or low-light conditions (though not no light at all).

    Since chlorine does work for most people and doesn't have the side effects of other products, it's what is recommended first.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: The dreaded MUSTARD ALGAE

    Bromine can be very problematic sometimes, occasionally causing problems much worse than the ones you had to begin with. It also increases your chlorine usage for months, or sometimes years. It completely fails the "trouble free" test and I do not at all recommend it. The only time bromine has any advantages at all is when your CYA level is very high, and at that point it is far better to lower your CYA level, which you will have to do eventually anyway, rather than try bromine.

    If you are getting mustard algae in the first place, it is because you are not maintaing your FC level at something appropriate for your CYA level. It doesn't matter if you live in Florida or not. The only way you are getting any kind of algae is if you let FC fall to low.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: The dreaded MUSTARD ALGAE

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    Others who have killed off yellow/mustard algae and got behind light niches or under removable ladders have reported copious amounts of algae in those locations as this algae prefers shade or low-light conditions (though not no light at all).
    Yep, I can attest to that. Constant mustard problems for a long time - it would come back with a vengeance in a week even at with FC well above the "mustard min" on the chart. Then I finally bit the bullet and really buckled down on brushing EVERYWHERE and pulling out the light - which produced a massive plume of completely opaque water from all the algae behind it.

    Not a single speck since. Diligence is really the key.
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    Re: The dreaded MUSTARD ALGAE

    I'll tell you from the Texas side (52 days above 100 this year so far and counting) that plain old bleach will get rid of mustard algae. I had a big outbreak here when the sellers didn't maintain the pool during our purchase of this home. I shocked at mustard algae levels until the process was complete. and I have not had another hint of mustard algae since. My water is absolutely sparkling clear, and I have had no need for any bromine or copper in my pool at all.

    FWIW, my water is sitting at 96 degrees, it's NOT cool here. And, I'm keeping 44,000 gallons clean.
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
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    Re: The dreaded MUSTARD ALGAE

    thanks, what is the best fc level for shocking - 20 or greater ?

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    Re: The dreaded MUSTARD ALGAE

    In Mississippi with mustard algae i assume. It is all over the pool, pool walls etc. But none of our poor is in shade. Have tons of people coming in for the weekend. Need to clear it up ASAP! Tripe shock it? No vacuuming? Don't have a manual vac.
    Our poor is an in-ground, 18 x 36 ft., vinyl liner, chlorine pool, Hayward sand filter, Polaris vacuum. It was built in 2004; we put in a new liner in 2011. Sand has been replaced once.
    We do not close the pool in winter. We run pump year round and keep it going throughout the year.

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