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Thread: Algae or pollen?

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    Algae or pollen?

    Trying to figure out what's going on with my pool and could use some help! Has a greenish yellow tint that has persisted for several days. I have yellow patches mostly on the floor of the pool, a little on the walls. It's definitely pollen season around here, and my pool cleaner has been sucking up a lot of pollen. Added liquid chlorine Thursday and Friday, then was out of town for the weekend so the only chlorine was some tabs in a floating chlorinator. Just tested the water and got these results:

    FC = 5.5
    CC = 0.5
    TC = 6
    pH = 7.2
    T/A = 80 (this is unusually low, typically runs about 120)
    CH = 220
    CYA = 55
    Temp = 72

    I was surprised my chlorine was so high, figured I was going to need to add chlorine today. Anyone have suggestions on how I can tell for sure if it's pollen or algae, and what to do to get rid of it?!
    ~13,000 gallon IG plaster, in the country with LOTS of trees. Cartridge filter. Built-in, spillover spa.

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    Butterfly's Avatar
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    Re: Algae or pollen?

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolSchool......mustard algae...
    Pollen is often mistaken for mustard algae, since it often collects in very similar looking patches. Mustard algae tends to grow on the walls and floor of the pool on the shaded side.

    Pollen can look very much like mustard algae, but it will only settle on the bottom of the pool, not the walls, and appears everywhere, not just on the shaded side.

    Another way to distinguish between the two is that when you go up to shock level and brush the pool, mustard algae won't come back as long as you stay at shock level. Pollen continues to accumulate, even at shock level.
    Also, if you can collect some and feel it, pollen feels squishy & algae feels slimy.
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    You're done SLAMing when:
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    Samantha_in_AL's Avatar
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    Re: Algae or pollen?

    My vote would be pollen. I live in northeast Alabama and it's really bad here. My pool was very clear early yesterday morning, but it had a slight sheen on top of the water. I decided to install a skimmer sock in hopes of removing it. I checked it last night just before dark and was surprised to find a 3/4" layer of yellowish green pollen had accumulated on the sock during one day! I never would have thought there would be that much.
    AG 18' X 52" Round Pacifica Pool w/ Metal Diamond Unibead Liner. Installed in March 2007.
    2.5 HP Baquapure 2 Speed Pump, 200 GPM Waterway ProClean Cartridge Filter System.


    Former Baquacil user
    Converted to BBB in Fall of 2009 - Now I have a truly trouble free pool!

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    Re: Algae or pollen?

    Water was actually clear this morning, but still greenish. I have now shocked it to 20 FC, and it's been holding there for several hours. Also brushed the pool and ran my robotic cleaner to help filter as much of the gunk as possible. Now very cloudy, I'm guessing the cleaner and the brush stirred everything up.

    My question now: if it is pollen, are there great ways of getting rid of it or do I just keep the filter running and cleaning it as often as possible until the pollen is gone and the pool turns back to blue?!
    ~13,000 gallon IG plaster, in the country with LOTS of trees. Cartridge filter. Built-in, spillover spa.

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    Re: Algae or pollen?

    Check your FC when the sun is well off the pool tonight. Do not add any more chlorine. Check it again tomorrow early before a lot of sun is on the pool. If you lose a lot of Chlorine between the two tests, it is probably not pollen and you need to shock
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Algae or pollen?

    Followed Dave's advice. Last night well after dark my FC was still 20, no CC. Just checked it again (pool is still in the shade this morning) and got FC=16, CC=0.5. There's a little bit of dust settled on the floor of the pool, but no new yellow as far as I can tell. Water is still greenish in tint and cloudy. What do you think? Is that lose "a lot" to indicate algae, or not that much?
    ~13,000 gallon IG plaster, in the country with LOTS of trees. Cartridge filter. Built-in, spillover spa.

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    Butterfly's Avatar
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    Re: Algae or pollen?

    Yep, that's a lot so something organic is eating your chlorine and needs to be 'shocked to death'. Keep shocking per Pool School.

    See red lines in my sig to let you know when you are done shocking

    Skimmer socks help dramatically to catch/remove pollen from the water. If you are having very heavy pollen, be sure to check them often for cleaning.
    TFP Moderator TF100 Test Kit TF100 TestKit YouTube Channel PoolMath
    You're done SLAMing when:
    1)You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & 2)You have .5ppm CC's or less, & 3)your water is clear.

    ~ One should not use a sledge hammer to swat a mosquito. ~

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    Re: Algae or pollen?

    Shocked and brushed yesterday, FC went down from 17 to 15 overnight with no CC. Water was clearer than yesterday, but still green and with some yellowish accumulation on the bottom. Added more chlorine, brushed some more, sent the robotic pool cleaner on its way and installed a skimmer sock. Here's to hoping I'm on the right path!
    ~13,000 gallon IG plaster, in the country with LOTS of trees. Cartridge filter. Built-in, spillover spa.

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    Re: Algae or pollen?

    My pool is blue and clear again! It's taken almost a week of attention, but last night FC only went down 0.5 and it's looking really good. I've been running the pump 24/7 for the last week and would like to cut back the time some, but may wait a couple more days and then slowing shave off a couple of hours at a time as long as there are no ill effects.

    Thanks everyone for your help!
    ~13,000 gallon IG plaster, in the country with LOTS of trees. Cartridge filter. Built-in, spillover spa.

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    Re: Algae or pollen?

    Nice work! That's the way to hang in there until the shock process is complete
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Butterfly's Avatar
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    Re: Algae or pollen?

    Congrats! Can we see a pic of your pool?
    TFP Moderator TF100 Test Kit TF100 TestKit YouTube Channel PoolMath
    You're done SLAMing when:
    1)You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & 2)You have .5ppm CC's or less, & 3)your water is clear.

    ~ One should not use a sledge hammer to swat a mosquito. ~

    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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    Re: Algae or pollen?

    [attachment=0:3exq7qk6]pool2.jpg[/attachment:3exq7qk6]Of course! Here's the pic of it now - kinda wish I had a pic of it before to show the difference.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    ~13,000 gallon IG plaster, in the country with LOTS of trees. Cartridge filter. Built-in, spillover spa.

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    Butterfly's Avatar
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    Re: Algae or pollen?

    Very nice!
    TFP Moderator TF100 Test Kit TF100 TestKit YouTube Channel PoolMath
    You're done SLAMing when:
    1)You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & 2)You have .5ppm CC's or less, & 3)your water is clear.

    ~ One should not use a sledge hammer to swat a mosquito. ~

    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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