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Thread: Is This Brown Algae?

  1. #1
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    Is This Brown Algae?

    Hello! I am new to the site and am needing some advice on whether or not this could possibly be brown algae. We have my daughter's birthday party coming up in about a week and a half and I just want to be sure it's safe for everyone to swim. Upon removing our pool cover a few weeks back, there was what I thought was dirt and some leaves in the pool as there were holes in our cover. We couldn't afford to replace our cover (33 ft) once we realized it had the holes and assumed some animal outside had chewed holes through it. Anyway, since opening it up, we've vacuumed it twice now, and I've shocked it at least 4 times. I had the water tested last weekend and the levels were all really good according to the paperwork we were given; the chlorine was high, but I knew that and wasn't worried about that. The brown stuff on the bottom of the pool looked like dirt and upon vacuuming it, it looked a lot better, but 2 days later, it was back, but had reduced considerably. I'm attaching a link to an image of how it looked a few days after vacuuming the first time. We vacuumed again last night and today, I'm starting to notice the dirt/algae again, although it's lessened further. Could it just be dirt that hasn't been sucked through and just settles back to the bottom? Or is there a type of algae that reacts this way? We had mustard algae last year and eventually got that problem resolved, but this isn't the same thing. I'm linking to a picture I took of it yesterday before we finished vacuuming. It's not a great picture, so I'm not sure if it helps at all. We have an above ground 33 ft round pool. Not sure what other information is necessary.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/shersky...in/photostream

    Total Chlorine: 4.4
    Free Chlorine: 4.4
    pH: 7.3
    Total Alkalinity: 85
    Calcium Hardness: 200
    Stabilizer: 30

    Thank you for any help anyone can provide us!
    25,600 gallons (33' x 4' round AG), Sand Filter

  2. #2
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    Re: Is This Brown Algae?

    From the picture it looks more like pollen.
    18x36 Vinyl In-ground w/roman ends 27,400G, Hayward 3/4hp with 300# sand filter. Hayward heat pump heater

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  3. #3
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    Re: Is This Brown Algae?

    Welcome to the forum. If it's slimy (and it looks like it might be) it is algae....the particualr species doesn't matter much.

    Algae gets in your pool because of inadequate chlorine levels and it sounds like that has been your problem in the past. Somehow, scoop up a sample of it and see if it is slimy. Report back and we'll help you get it fixed.
    Dave S.
    Site Owner 42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter, No SWG
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  4. #4
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    Re: Is This Brown Algae?

    Thanks so much for the replies -- I didn't expect such quick response! At Dave S., I asked my husband if he noticed any "feel" to the filter as he cleaned it and before even mentioning the term "slimy" to him, that's what he said. I did forget to mention that upon shocking the pool less than a week ago, levels were all good, I put in OMNI algae terminator (which is the same product I used when treating for the mustard algae and that did help then). A couple of days later, I used a clarifier, and then we vacuumed (the 2nd time).

    Really appreciate the assistance!

    Sher
    25,600 gallons (33' x 4' round AG), Sand Filter

  5. #5
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    Re: Is This Brown Algae?

    Welcome to TFP.

    As much as I hate to be the one to tell you. You haven't actually shocked the pool. You've barely startled it! Shocking is a process, not some product you buy and throw in the pool. Shock level must be maintained untill everything is dead. The only way to know what your shock level is, is to get a good test kit and get good results and then use the Chlorine/CYA chart and pool calc to keep it at shock level until it clears up.

    If you have a party in a week and a half I'd order a test kit this morning and go to your favorite store and get lots of bleach or liquid chlorine and start hitting it hard.

    Where are you located?
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 1.5hp Dynamo pump. 24" Pentair Sand Dollar Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit
    You can stop SLAMing your pool when you pass the OCLT (You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & You have .5ppm CC's or less) & your water is clear.

  6. #6
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    Re: Is This Brown Algae?

    @Dave J., can you recommend a good test kit for doing this? The pool place we go to only seems to have test strips, which is what I used last year. Sounds like I'm clearly not doing enough, and probably didn't last year either. We use bleach tabs instead of the liquid chlorine. Is the liquid better to use, or am I ok to stick with the tabs? Our financial situation isn't so great right now, so I can't really afford to go off and buy all kinds of extra stuff if I can use what I recently purchased a few weeks back. BTW, last year was our first time opening our pool, so I am very much a beginner at all of this.

    Would you say at this stage it's not safe to get in the water?

    I'm located in the northern Kansas City area.
    25,600 gallons (33' x 4' round AG), Sand Filter

  7. #7
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    Re: Is This Brown Algae?

    Today, my husband vacuumed out the pool again and again cleaned the filter -- I noticed nothing slimy as he had originally mentioned, only some bugs and leaves mostly. There does appear to be a great deal of small particles floating on the surface of the pool -- it's very visible. Am still uncertain if this is supposed to be brown algae or an algae at all.
    25,600 gallons (33' x 4' round AG), Sand Filter

  8. #8
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    Re: Is This Brown Algae?

    The best test kit is the TF-100 at tftestkits, but they also sell the k-2006 which is a little cheaper. Of course it doesn't have the quantity of reagents that the tf-100 does.

    If your CYA is even Close to being right, you can use a few more tablets but bleach is much better.

    Let's assume the CYA really is 30. Your shock level will be 12 ppm. It will take 3 large (182 oz) or 6 regular (96 oz) jugs.
    Assuming your FC is zero, I'd add it tonight.

    Do you have anything except the strips?
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 1.5hp Dynamo pump. 24" Pentair Sand Dollar Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit
    You can stop SLAMing your pool when you pass the OCLT (You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & You have .5ppm CC's or less) & your water is clear.

  9. #9
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    Re: Is This Brown Algae?

    Unfortunately, all I have at this time is the strips. What I have noticed is that our water is looking remarkably clear (it was never cloudy or murky), but we still have some light brown areas on the bottom, not very noticeable anymore and the filter doesn't appear to have anything slimy at all that I noticed. What I do see very clearly as the sunlight shines on the water is a lot of what looks like dirt particles and fuzzies floating around from a cottonwood tree. We live in the country and have plants all around the pool. My levels were all very high today.

    When you mention "It will take 3 large (182 oz) or 6 regular (96 oz) jugs" are you talking about liquid bleach? As I use the chlorine tabs, I wasn't sure what you meant.

    My biggest concern is that the water be safe for my family.
    25,600 gallons (33' x 4' round AG), Sand Filter

  10. #10
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    Re: Is This Brown Algae?

    Yes, liquid bleach. I wouldn't use the tablets any more until you get a good test kit and we know what your levels really are.

    If you'll follow our advice it will be safe and with little effort once you're over this shocking phase.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 1.5hp Dynamo pump. 24" Pentair Sand Dollar Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit
    You can stop SLAMing your pool when you pass the OCLT (You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & You have .5ppm CC's or less) & your water is clear.

  11. #11
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    Re: Is This Brown Algae?

    The numbers I had provided earlier were from a test provided by the pool company we use for our supplies. Are those not to be considered accurate? These were not from my test strips.
    25,600 gallons (33' x 4' round AG), Sand Filter

  12. #12
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    Re: Is This Brown Algae?

    Pool store tests are not to be trusted and for CYA they are notoriously bad.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 1.5hp Dynamo pump. 24" Pentair Sand Dollar Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit
    You can stop SLAMing your pool when you pass the OCLT (You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & You have .5ppm CC's or less) & your water is clear.

  13. #13
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    Mustard Algae or Pollen (maybe)

    So I posted about a week ago thinking I had something like brown algae, or algae of some sort. Was finally able to order the pool kit and here are my readings.

    FC - 6.5
    CC = .5
    TC = 7.0
    TA = 140
    CYA = 30
    pH = 7.4

    Since I had algaecide, we used it last week still battling this light grayish stuff that is at the bottom of the pool every day after I vacuum (thinking it was mustard algae as the pool guy said). From reading posts about mustard algae, I don't know that that is what it is. Our pool is exposed to full sun all day. There is one minor side of our pool that has only some shade as the sun sets, but I don't notice any more or less of this grayish stuff on the bottom. Now (after having put in the algaecide last Sunday (I believe), the pool has been cloudy ever since. My daughter's pool party is tomorrow afternoon. Are these readings terrible? I see that the TA is pretty high. Can we swim in this (need to really know this)? And what could this weird stuff on the bottom be??

    Help!
    25,600 gallons (33' x 4' round AG), Sand Filter

  14. #14
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    Re: Is This Brown Algae?

    Did you run the OCLT? That would tell you if it's organic.

    The numbers don't look bad but without the OCLT result I hesitate to recommend swimming.
    What does the water look like?
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 1.5hp Dynamo pump. 24" Pentair Sand Dollar Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit
    You can stop SLAMing your pool when you pass the OCLT (You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & You have .5ppm CC's or less) & your water is clear.

  15. #15
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    Re: Is This Brown Algae?

    Oh no!! Completely forgot about the OCLT, although I'd read about it! Geez...

    Any other solution I can do at this stage for safety? The water is still cloudy this morning, but it's definitely improved from yesterday I've notice.

    Took this photo with my phone just moments ago. The grayish stuff on the bottom of the pool has diminished considerably, can only see it in spread out areas around the pool, whereas it was usually all over.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/shersky/73 ... hotostream
    25,600 gallons (33' x 4' round AG), Sand Filter

  16. #16
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    Re: Is This Brown Algae?

    It's up to you whether they swim but I'd raise the FC to just under shock level at very least.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 1.5hp Dynamo pump. 24" Pentair Sand Dollar Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit
    You can stop SLAMing your pool when you pass the OCLT (You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & You have .5ppm CC's or less) & your water is clear.

  17. #17
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    Re: Is This Brown Algae?

    Okay, so we went ahead with our party. Ran the OCLT last night and FC remained the same. Does that mean we have pollen? Could that be why the water is cloudy? What is the solution to get back to a clear pool?

    Thanks very much for all the assistance!
    25,600 gallons (33' x 4' round AG), Sand Filter

  18. #18
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    Re: Is This Brown Algae?

    Your cloudiness may be mostly filtration but a posting test results for today would be very helpful
    Dave S.
    Site Owner 42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter, No SWG
    TFTestkits owner
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  19. #19
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    Re: Is This Brown Algae?

    Along with the test results, tell us what's going on with your filter. Pressure, size, stuff coming from the return on filter setting, etc.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 1.5hp Dynamo pump. 24" Pentair Sand Dollar Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit
    You can stop SLAMing your pool when you pass the OCLT (You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & You have .5ppm CC's or less) & your water is clear.

  20. #20
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    Re: Is This Brown Algae?

    Here are the test results for today:

    FC = 3.5
    CC = .5
    TC = 4.0
    TA = 90 (when the test kit says "red", I assume it's really actually "pink", right (a dark pink))
    CYA = 30

    It's unclear to me what the filter size is (my husband thinks about 5-10 gallons) -- it wasn't clear from looking at it. We inherited this pool with the house when we bought it, so we didn't purchase the filter. The pressure reads at 5psi. When we last vacuumed and then backwashed (yesterday morning), the stuff that came out was milky looking stuff coming out (didn't ever look like that in the past). After it's backwashed and the milky stuff is out, and finally clear, then we filter and the water coming into the pool looks fine, but if we don't backwash, I do recall that the last time I filtered after vacuuming (didn't backwash), there was cloudy stuff going back into the pool. Is this making sense? The water was almost crystal clear just about a week ago.

    So is the grayish matter on the bottom of the pool likely just something like pollen?
    25,600 gallons (33' x 4' round AG), Sand Filter

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