Sorry if this post is long, I tend to get in trouble for that, but I want to be thorough and sure that you have the info you need, at least that which my testing equipment can give you.
I have the pool shown in my sig. Got it just about a week and a half ago.
Got a killer deal on it, but pretty poor ATM, hence no fancy test kit, I'm planning on buying the TF-2006 kit as soon as I get the cash. Maybe later this week, maybe next week.
So for now, all I have is the cheapo FC/TC+Ph OTO/Phenol kit.
I'm a nerd, a professional one at that. A bit of a skeptic too, I never take anything at face value. So I knew right off the bat that there was a better way than all the BS in the stores and the pool shops. I wanted to go for a minimalist approach, the least chemicals possible. So I haven't put a lot of gunk in it, although my dad did shock it /w cal-hypo, behind my back. I was pretty irritated about that, but I got over it.
Hence I found this forum, crawling the Interwebs using the Googles.
I'm totally sticking /w the BBB method. In fact, that's what my parents used when I was a wee lad back in the late 80's, long before this forum ever existed. A local pool shop told them to use it, HAHA! Love that liberal hippie land I'm from.
So here's what I have rockin'.
Oh, and I have read the Pool School pretty extensively, but not all of it. The base stuff, and a little more, as I had found it after I found the pool solutions website, which I read nearly top to bottom, the one by Ben Powell, whom supports the BBB method as well.
Filled this puppy up, she's all level and such, dug out a dirt spot for her and leveled the grade.
Settled on Arm & Hammer Clear Balance tabs (They have stabilizer in them, what, I don't know, I'm assuming it's CYA, but can't confirm.) and HTH 3" chlorine tabs, yellow lid, no stabilizer. *Note, I will stop using these once she's balanced and just stick /w the BBB method from here on out.
It's genius!! I always love sticking it to the man, beating them at their own game.
Over the course of the next 2, or 3 days, let's say 3 ish, I did the following.
Probably put about 2 of those A&H tabs in the skimmer, 1 at a time, as I didn't have a floater. No one sells cute floaters here, what on earth....???
I JUST WANT A DUCK!!!! GRRR lol
Then I followed it up /w a couple of the HTH CL tabs, again, in the skimmer, never mixing them, just alternating. So a total of 1:1 for the 2 different tab types.
Water started getting cloudy & the liner a little slimy after a few days of that. Could still see through the water, it was just not clear, it was murky.
Kept the filter crazy clean the whole time. Tweaking flow rate by adjusting things, skimmer basket, hose direction, pump elevation, yadda yadda. Runs better now.
I did research, discovered these Intex pump & filtration systems aren't so good. Only about 30-40microns, 30 at best.
So as per recommendation I got some of my diatomaceous earth I use in the garage and put that in there.... BIG MISTAKE!! HAHA
I didn't use much, maybe 1/4cup, but I didn't know there were different forms of the stuff. OOPS! This was a large grain, non heat treated form of it, pretty much it's natural form, just ground to small pebble size. Like aquarium pebble rock size.
So I got that all cleaned out of there, I promise, filter's clean, pump, hoses, etc.. Vacuumed too. Never got in the pump impeller, made sure of that /w a screen I made for the pump. So I researched some more, can't use the DE made for bugs, not heat treated, can't use food grade, again, not heat treated to 1000f and can't get the pool stuff locally, nor the cellulose powder. Podunk, backwater area!!
Then I broke down & bought an ugly Pentair blue floater & I mean uuugly!! Looks like a space station design gone wrong. HA
Didn't want to wait for one in the mail, needed it NOW!! So had to buy it here. =\
Popped an HTH in there and let her rip, 1st anchoring it so it didn't hang out by the skimmer, but changed my mind on that, doesn't hang out after my tweaks to the pump & hoses.
Also made myself another floater for the A&H 3" tabs, not paying $15 for another local ugly one, used a half gallon cleaned out bleach jug and hot glued a sour cream container onto the bottom of it /w holes in her. Works great!! Even tilts sideways once the tablet is gone. Yankee ingenuity at its finest.
The whole time, testing it morning, day & night, at least 3 or more times/day, since day one of filling her up. Used about 2 or 3 more of each tab. So a total of about 5 tabs of each kind.
The FC/TC levels on my OTO kit showed little to no chlorine.
Ph seemed pretty good, but honestly, I'm not sure. I have attached a link to a photo of the test.
I'm not color blind, far from it, but I'm having a heck of a time matching up the sample to the color bar on the Ph side. The CL side is easy.
The Ph test is just the wrong density, or pigment level to match anything on the right above Ph 7.2.
I think it's 7.8/8.2, but I'm not sure and I HATE being unsure on things like this, things that are critical.
Hopefully someone here can tell by experience and hopefully if you can see the graduations in the photo, it doesn't show up the best, what my Ph levels are. I know what to do with them if they need to go up/down, just this dang test!! UGH!!
Are the bars on the Taylor kit matched better than this, or is it just the nature of the beast?
I even read on here that the amount of water doesn't matter, just the drops>water ratio. So I knocked the level down by 3 bars and thus 3 drops. So it was still a 1:1 ratio, it made it a bit easier, better, but not enough for it to match up still.
I can't test for CYA, as I'm not spending $25ish dollars at Walnasty on the inferior HTH 6-way kit, just so I can get 2 test out of it for the CYA levels, that's $12.50/test. YIKES!!
I'll save my money for the Taylor.
The problem is, she's not holding chlorine. After having shocked it /w cal-hypo 2 nights in a row, mix in bucket then pour around the pool method, with about 1/5 of the 1lb bag left and it hasn't held chlorine past overnight. I then used the pool calculator to raise the chlorine, /w 1 cup of 6% bleach into the skimmer, by 2.1ppm from at or near zero, virtually no color on the OTO test before I added the CL, that showed a reading in the 2.1 range on the OTO test after checking it about an hour later. But the next day, it was all gone.
BTW, somewhere between this and the last shock treatment, yeah I know, use bleach instead, but that's before I knew & someone butted in and used shock, I wasn't ready to use it yet. Well, the slimyness did go away.
I have also been running the pump 24/7, periodically checking it and cleaning it, also listening to it to let it tell me as well when to clean/check it. She likes to get airbubbles in the inlet hose from the skimmer, so I have to shut her down, bleed it, then fire it back up, ease the bubbles into the pump from the hose, then do it once more & it's fine.
I have placed 2 knee-high pantyhose over the filter, not sure how much it's helped to clear the microscopic particles in the water, as I really don't think it's all that fine, but BOY HOWDY! does it stop the gunk from getting into the cartridge pleats.
Me WIKEY!! WOTS & WOTS!! Just hose of the bugs & put her back in.
As of today, it seems noticeably clearer since I put the sock around the filter about a day ago.
I know enough to know why & how to fix it, but reading conflicting information.
I thought I could just buy CYA, use the sock method and the right amount to get up to 40PPM, about 18oz.
I'm assuming that since the chlorine is leaching almost immediately in the sun, that my CYA is pretty much nonexistent, so I should just slam it up to 40ppm, or maybe like 35ppm to be safe, then check it once I get the Taylor. Yes, no?
However, then I was reading in the Beginner's Guide For Seasonal/Temporary pools, that you need to shock it if it's below 2ppm and I have also read on the bottle of CYA powder, as well as I get the idea in that guide, that you need to have chlorine in there to add the CYA. Then I became unsure as to what order of steps to take.
So even though I bought the CYA @ Walnasty last night, I just left it till I could post here. My nerdy brain tells me that the only reason I'd need chlorine in there /w the CYA as I add it, is to bond to it so it dissolves, atomically, not the granules & distributes properly into the water. But on the other hand, I tend to think that's irrelevant as to when it bonds, seeing as only algae can break it down, so it's going to bond either way, once you start adding the chlorine, so long as it's there.
Seems a waste to put chlorine in it, when the sun's just going to leach it, and keep having to add it to maintain it, that is until your CYA fully dissolves. I know it takes a week to show up on tests, some sort of covalent/ionic bond I assume? But it starts to work as soon as the powder dissolves into liquid, then it begins bonding to the chlorine right away, yeah? IE. once the sock contents are toast, I can start adding bleach to bring up the FC/TC.
Do I need to do it at night, the CYA, or can I do it in the day?
Also, Can we swim in it while the sock hangs out?
BTW, we're at a 3k-3.5k elevation here, on the leeward side of the Cascades, a 10-12k+ft mountain range, so it's BLAZING sun in the summer months, very arid/dry climate, you can literally feel it baking your skin, like a blast from an freshly opened oven door. Obviously this varies with temperature, and humidity. So needless to say, the sun here is very strong, as opposed to the valley @ 30ft elev. HAHA!
Thanks for all your help & this AWESOME!! forum, thanks for reading my lengthy post too.
Have a fabulous eve./day.
PS. If any of the facts I have written, and believed to be correct, aside from outright questions, of course, please feel free to educate me further. I'm freely open to that, as long as it's done in a manner in which one doesn't assume I'm unintelligent.
But I have been known to be espically dense sometimes.
Click for photos of Ph test.