Please bear with me and don't laugh or yell at how incredibly stupid I was.
I was using the dip test strips. Okay, I get now why you aren't supposed to use them!! I bought them, then read that they suck, but figured, well it can't be that bad right?
I have been using the floating tabs but hardly any at all because the stupid strip kept saying my levels were perfect! So In the past 6 weeks I have put maybe 4 tabs into a 12,000 gallon pool.
Sooooo now i have water that looks like milk. I have the Intex Krystal 2650 filter, so I started by vacuuming every day, backwashing as needed, and scrubbing the slimy pool walls.
Got it to where you can see the bottom, which is a huge improvement! But still very cloudy.
I bought a different test, a cheap one that only tests chlorine, bromine and ph. (Its a few days to payday and I'm getting a 6 way test on Friday... but I had to have *something* at least.)
This initial test had a chlorine/bromine of 0/0 and a pH of 7.4.
Then I shocked it with one pound of trichlor shock. That brought my level to 1. I added another bag a few hours later and kept testing for a total of 4 bags. My level is now way too high to swim, about 8 ppm with bromine of 10. (Which is what I want, in order to kill everything.)
After I added all that shock, I continued to brush and vacuum and backwash/rinse the filter morning and night. The water that comes out is straight up brown and nasty for about 30 seconds and then clears up.
The water is much clearer, but still somewhat cloudy. And the pH is magically super low, I didn't think these chemicals would lower it, but it's something like 6.4. I added borax and am waiting for it to circulate a few hours before testing.
Obviously I will be doing better chemical maintenance from now on, and I'm grateful the problem isn't as bad as it probably should be. But is there ANYTHING more I should do at this point, or will what I have done suffice to get it clear? I have only had this problem for three days and started my shock yesterday.