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Thread: Pool store says I have a severe case of ammonia

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    Pool store says I have a severe case of ammonia

    I am having the same problem. I have a FC level of zero and a TC level of 2.9 Pool store says I have a severe case of ammonia in the pool and that I need 143 bags of shock! I've been reading different posts on your site concerning ammonia and came to the conclusion that LOTS of chlorine is the only way to get rid of the ammonia. I'm wanting to know if I can use bleach as an alternative to the shock and how to calculate the amount of bleach I would need to replace 143 bags of Bioguard Burnout 35...along with any other help you can give me! Other readings on my water test today are:
    TDS: 900
    CYA: 40
    pH: 7.7
    TA: 217 (I've been putting Muratic Acid in to lower this...I know it's extremely high!)
    Borates: 0
    30,000 gal IG, vinyl, sand filter

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pool store says I have a severe case of ammonia

    Welcome to TFP!

    Using bleach is fine and is way less expensive than Burnout 35. Just don't go adding anything like that much chlorine (in any form) all at once.

    It is unlikely that it is exactly 143 bags of shock, or that nearly that much chlorine is required, though it is remotely possible. The best way to approach this is to add chlorine up to mustard algae shock level, give it an hour, test the FC level, and if it is low repeat.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Pool store says I have a severe case of ammonia

    Sorry...and thank you! I have read many, many posts on here...all very informative...but I'm still not "getting" something! I will take your advice but I have no idea how to interpret the mustard algea shock level. I used your pool calculator and in the blue section at the bottom "Suggested Free Chlorine level" it says: Shock 15...Mustard Algea Shock 24. The FC section at the very top says: Add 187 oz. of 6% bleach for a goal of 3 with a 30,000 gal pool.

    So...does the Mustard Algea Shock 24 mean to shock 24 times with 187 oz. of bleach?!!? I'm sorry...I'm missing a detail somewhere and just can't figure it out.

    Thank you so much for your expertise and advice...and apologies for my ignorance (or lack of knowledge)!
    30,000 gal IG, vinyl, sand filter

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Pool store says I have a severe case of ammonia

    No. It means you need to change the target of 3ppm FC to 24ppm FC and then it will tell you how much bleach to add ... it will be A LOT.

    After 30 minutes, pretest your FC. Put your new measurement in the NOW column and it will tell you what to add to get back to 24 ppm.

    Repeat thus process until the FC stops being used up and you pass the 3 conditions to stop the shock process.

    Posted with Tapatalk ... sorry if I sound short ... hate typing on phone
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    Re: Pool store says I have a severe case of ammonia

    Welcome to tfp, doloreslane

    Just as jbliz says.

    Quote Originally Posted by doloreslane
    So...does the Mustard Algea Shock 24 mean to shock 24 times with 187 oz. of bleach?!!? I'm sorry...I'm missing a detail somewhere and just can't figure it out.
    You are confused by product that you can buy with the name "shock". Here shock is a verb not a noun. So when we discuss shocking a pool we mean bring it up the the recommended FC level (for your cya level) and hold it there until you pass the finished shocking criteria (see my sig). In your case you should go to the mustard algae shock level your pool's cya concentration.

    Let us know if you have more questions!
    TFP Expert who uses Pool School and my TF100 test kit along with PoolMath for my: Round 11K gallon AGP with deep end, 20" sand filter, Matrix 1hp 2spd, 6 2ftX20ft solar panels (and solar cover!), Intex SWCG (copper bars disconnected) and a Rubadub hot tub (chlorine). The SLAM process is not finished until: 1. CC < 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT < 1.0 ppm and, 3. The water is crystal clear.

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    Re: Pool store says I have a severe case of ammonia

    Ok, here are a couple of things:

    1, You need a good test kit like the Taylor K-2006 or the TFTestkits TF-100 (I use the TF-100, it cost a little more, but is a better value in that you get more of the reagents you use the most, and it helps suppor this board). Trying to manage a pool without a good test kit is like trying to learn to drive with blinders on, relying on a pool store to do the test is like trying to learn to drive while your half senile uncle relays instrucitons on how to drive over a cell phone.

    2, You need to read pool school, the link is in the upper right hand corner of every page, when you get done take a break, let it sink in for a bit, then read it again, it will make a lot more sense the second time around.

    3, trying to skip steps 1 and 2 and will likely result in great frustration, lots of wasted money and possibly damage to your pool

    Ike
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: Pool store says I have a severe case of ammonia

    Quote Originally Posted by doloreslane
    TA: 217 (I've been putting Muratic Acid in to lower this...I know it's extremely high!)
    Borates: 0
    This confuses me.
    Isn't MA used to lower PH?
    12500 AGP 2HP Sand filter
    Five years on BBB & loving it!

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    Administrator Leebo's Avatar
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    Re: Pool store says I have a severe case of ammonia

    Can you tell us Why they say you have ammonia? Did they give you a full test with your FC, CC, and CYA readings? What does your water look like (photos help). This pool store list all of us at 143 bags of shock! For one, I don't think there's a way to just guess the amount needed....second....looked up the price! WoW, that's around a tune of about a grand!

    Pass on that store....buy a kit and do it all yourself.


    Acid lowers both PH and TA

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    Re: Pool store says I have a severe case of ammonia

    Quote Originally Posted by heikejohn
    Quote Originally Posted by doloreslane
    TA: 217 (I've been putting Muratic Acid in to lower this...I know it's extremely high!)
    Borates: 0
    This confuses me.
    Isn't MA used to lower PH?
    MA lowers both pH and TA. More info in Pool School.
    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.

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    Re: Pool store says I have a severe case of ammonia

    I have ordered the Taylor K-2006 test kit...took your advice! I have also started reading POOL SCHOOL from the BEGINNING!! I LOVE the description Isaac-1 gave about skipping those 2 steps and as a teacher myself, I should know better...HA! Have been to 3 different stores buying up their entire stock of bleach and getting ready to start the shock PROCESS! One more question at this time: I am going to put the required amount of borax in my pool also (have never done this before and ordered those test kits as well), do I wait until I can achieve a FC status in my pool or is it OK to start adding borax along with, or during, my bleach additions every hour? I don't think the Borax tutorial really answered that question for me.

    Thank you sooooo much!
    30,000 gal IG, vinyl, sand filter

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    Re: Pool store says I have a severe case of ammonia

    Do not add borates to your pool until you have shocked and your pool is crystal clear and you have maintain your pool water successfully for a week or so.

    Borates is an optional item (I have never used them) and should not be included as paert of the shock process or balancing your pool chemistry.
    Dave S.
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    Re: Pool store says I have a severe case of ammonia

    To Leebo: They did an ammonia test and I have no idea what that test actually is but they showed me the test tube and it was an army green color. Apparently, if the water turns any shade of green with this test, it means you have ammonia?!!? Yes, they did a full test for the FC, CC, CYA, PH, TA and TH. Then to get the number of 143 bags of Burnout 35, they did what they called a "chlorine demand test". Again, I have no idea what this test entails or anything about it. When I quickly estimated the cost of 143 bags of shock, I knew I had to turn elsewhere. Finding this forum has given me hope again!

    P.S. My water is very cloudy...can not see the bottom in the shallow end.
    30,000 gal IG, vinyl, sand filter

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pool store says I have a severe case of ammonia

    There is an ammonia test, and there is also a chlorine demand test. However the chlorine demand test is not at all precise.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Pool store says I have a severe case of ammonia

    Sing praises for the Trouble Free Pool website! I think I have broken through the chlorine lock!! I put the first massive round of bleach in the pool late Sat. evening. Sunday morning I was back to a FC of zero. Put in the 2nd round of bleach and an hour later was back to zero. Put in the 3rd round of bleach and had a much slower decline throughout the day. Around 9:00 pm Sunday, I had a reading of somewhere around 2....put in the 4th round of bleach (each time adjusting the ounces using the pool calculator). Had my water tested Monday @ 4:00 pm and the results were: FC 1.6, CC 1.6; PH 6.8; TA 194; CH 287; and CYA 45. Made adjustments on the calculator and added 1638 oz of bleach and 456 oz of borax (for the PH) around 8:00 pm. Had water tested again today @ 4:00 pm and the results were: FC 6.9; CC 7; PH 7.2; TA 201; CH 344; and CYA 48.

    The pool calculator says to add more borax for the PH but neither yesterday or today, does it say to do anything about the TA...so I'm a little confused with that. Won't the borax continue to raise the TA? Or do I automatically add 30 oz of muratic acid for every 60 oz of borax...like I think I remember reading in your Pool School?!!?
    Also, would you agree that I am done with the shocking?

    P.S. The amonia test was zero!!!
    30,000 gal IG, vinyl, sand filter

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Pool store says I have a severe case of ammonia

    Forget about the TA and CH and the pH now that it is in the 7s and no need to continue to test the CYA if you are not adding any.
    Focus on keeping your FC above shock level!!!
    For a CYA of 50ppm, you need to keep FC above 20ppm.

    You will have plenty of time tweaking the other things AFTER you have a sparkling pool.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Pool store says I have a severe case of ammonia

    ^^^^^^^^^^
    What he said! It seems like you have a nasty pool right now, even if the water is clear. There's SOMETHING that the chlorine is attacking as shown by your CC level. If your tests are correct (are these from pool store or your own kit??) then you've got a ways to go until you're finished. Keep shocking with a FC level of 20ppm until you pass the three steps for shocking.

    CC is 0.5 or lower;
    An overnight FC loss test shows a loss of 1.0 ppm or less;
    And the water is clear.
    Don't skip on this....or you will be back where you were before. It's costly and uses a TON of chlorine....we understand this.....but once you're finished with these steps your pool will SPARKLE and will be a snap to keep clean the remainder of the year.


    EDIT....Just wanted to show you according to your test numbers. If you started on Monday with a FC level of 1.6 and added 1638oz of bleach, your FC number would be AROUND 26.5FC. On Tuesday, less than 24 hours later, you were down to a FC level of 7....a loss of over 19FC's. On an average day, the pool I upkeep, with the same CYA level, uses about 3FC's. Somethings trying to take over your pool still! KILL IT ALL!!!

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    Re: Pool store says I have a severe case of ammonia

    I think I hear you saying that I need to add more bleach to get it back up to shock level? I can do that but how long do I need to keep it at that level? I was hoping the grandkids could swim in it this weekend?

    Before I could send this, another post had been added...so another question. The pool store who did the testing said that a CC of zero meant the difference between the Total Chlorine of 7.0 (which is what their printout calls it instead of combined chlorine...maybe they're not the same) and Free Chlorine of 6.9. This is not the case is it? (I know! Go back & read Pool School again!)
    30,000 gal IG, vinyl, sand filter

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    Re: Pool store says I have a severe case of ammonia

    The tests are from the pool store. My own kit has been ordered but has not yet arrived. Do I need to get it back up to shock level...16 on the pool calculator or continue with the mustard algea level...24 on the calculator, which is what I've been using to get my calculations for the bleach?
    30,000 gal IG, vinyl, sand filter

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    Administrator Leebo's Avatar
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    Re: Pool store says I have a severe case of ammonia

    CC - Combined Chlorine

    Combined chlorine is an intermediate breakdown product created in the process of sanitizing the pool. CC causes the "chlorine" smell many people associate with chlorine pools. If CC is above 0.5, you should shock your pool. CC indicates that there is something in the water that the FC is in the process of breaking down. In an outdoor pool, CC will normally stay at or near zero as long as you maintain an appropriate FC level and the pool gets some direct sunlight.

    Potassium monopersulfate (a common non-chlorine shock) will often show up on tests as CC. There is a special reagent you can get to neutralize the potassium monopersulfate so you can get a true CC reading.

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    Re: Pool store says I have a severe case of ammonia

    I went back to the abbreviations page in Pool School...please don't be too hard on me...LOL!
    Everytime I listed my CC level, I was actually listing my Total Chlorine level thinking it was the same thing...I was NOT doing the subtracting!
    This changes everything, doesn't it? If my TC is 7 and my FC is 6.9 does this now mean I actually have a CC reading of 0.1 and I'm a step closer to the finish line?!!?

    And on Monday when I had a TC of 1.6 and an FC of 1.6...I was at zero?!!?
    30,000 gal IG, vinyl, sand filter

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