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Thread: 0 TA and PH and CHL levels but crystal clear pool

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    0 TA and PH and CHL levels but crystal clear pool

    We've had the hottest, sunniest summer on record, and my 20x40, 36,000 gallon, in-ground pool has been crystal clear every day. However ... I'm burning through tri-chlor tablets, and a recent water sample I brought to the pool store showed:
    TA: 0
    Chlorine: 0
    Ph: I'm unsure, but with my own liquid test kit, it doesn't give a color that's on the chart, so I'm sure it's wicked low.

    Yet ... My pool has been crystal clear all summer, it doesn't have an odor. The only negatives is that the water sometimes burns the eyes. My understanding is that I need to increase TA by adding either sodium carbonate (baking soda) or sodium bicarbonate (20 mule team borax). My understanding is the former raises TA AND PH, while the later focuses solely on increasing TA. Is this accurate? Also, I've been trying to raise the PH by aerating the pool by turning the 5 jets upward to create a fountain/bubble affect. I also have a pool fountain that creates bubbles. Still, after adding about 30 pounds of baking soda and 20 pounds of 20 mule team borax, I see no increase in either PH or TA. How can this be? I'm aerating and dropping in all these chemicals, and my PH is still not registering and I think the TA is zero or close to it (I'll confirm when I bring in a sample to the pool store tomorrow). Any thoughts?
    I-G 36k galons, 20x40. Vinyl Liner. Built in '06. Pool pump and dedicated booster pump for Phantom

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    Administrator Leebo's Avatar
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    Re: 0 TA and PH and CHL levels but crystal clear pool

    Before you try adding anything, test your cya level. There's a good chance the levels are very very high.

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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: 0 TA and PH and CHL levels but crystal clear pool

    Welcome to tfp, FresnoPoolDad

    Trichlor tablets do two things besides add chlorine. The add cya, which is an loosing cycle, since you need more chlorine as you cya level goes up, so you have to use more tablets. Secondly, they lower ph (and TA). These reasons are why trichlor tablets are not recommended as a primary way to chlorine a pool on tfp. They also explain the problems you are having. See: http://www.troublefreepool.com/pool-..._chlorine_pool

    You are a very common first poster and the posts often go like yours..."always use tabs...for some reason I have use more now to maintain FC".

    As leebo said, test cya and post what you have.

    To raise you ph and TA, I would use borax, since that will raise both. Apply enough to get to 7.4 ph per poolcalculator.com, then test ph and TA in 1/2 hour after circulating and repeat this cycle until your ph is measurable. Baking soda does not raise ph.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deaner
    Still, after adding about 30 pounds of baking soda and 20 pounds of 20 mule team borax, I see no increase in either PH or TA. How can this be?
    I guess that your ph is very low.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deaner
    I'm aerating
    [s:1qgkz6b9]Don't aerate for now since that lowers ph.[/s:1qgkz6b9]linen edit: Thanks jbliz, yes I was wrong on this
    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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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: 0 TA and PH and CHL levels but crystal clear pool

    Well I agree with everything linen said .... until I got to the last sentence, when he had a brain lapse.

    Aerating actually does raise the pH, but usually slowly. You need to get it up faster as it must be very low.

    Posted from my Droid with Tapatalk ... sorry if my response is short
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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: 0 TA and PH and CHL levels but crystal clear pool

    Thanks for catching my mistake jbliz I edited my above post.
    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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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: 0 TA and PH and CHL levels but crystal clear pool

    Baking soda raises the TA a lot and PH just a tiny bit.
    Borax raises the PH a lot and TA just a little.
    Soda ash raises the PH a lot and TA some.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: 0 TA and PH and CHL levels but crystal clear pool

    I will buy a test kit to measure CYA and TA. In the meantime, does anyone have any theories as to why my pool is sparkling clean with no floating particles? It's the best it's ever been, even with the TA, CHL and PH next to nothing! I realize the low levels may be taking their toll on my pool heater and vinyl liner, but still ... The pool has never looked better!
    I-G 36k galons, 20x40. Vinyl Liner. Built in '06. Pool pump and dedicated booster pump for Phantom

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    Re: 0 TA and PH and CHL levels but crystal clear pool

    In the meantime, let's assume CYA is ridiculously high, as I've been putting trichlor tablets in the in-line chlorinator nonstop for 5 years, and never paid attention to ph or ta (please don't chastise me for being obtuse ... I know). So, what next to rid my pool of all the CYA? My ultimate goal is to raise TA, PH and CHL.
    I-G 36k galons, 20x40. Vinyl Liner. Built in '06. Pool pump and dedicated booster pump for Phantom

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    Re: 0 TA and PH and CHL levels but crystal clear pool

    If the pH and TA is indeed very low, and if there is any copper in your pool system equipment, you might notice the water turning turquoise as you raise the pH. The low pH helps keeps the copper in solution. The chlorine still sanitizes at low pH. So that is probably why the water is still clear. If the water turns turquoise as you raise the pH, or the CYA is super high, you probably need to drain some of the water out and refilling with fresh water until you dilute sufficiently.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: 0 TA and PH and CHL levels but crystal clear pool

    The pool can look that good any time as long as you take care of it correctly.
    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: 0 TA and PH and CHL levels but crystal clear pool

    Understood. But apparently it can look that good even if you do NOT care for it correctly! I'm not trying to be adversarial here. Rather, I'm just trying to better understand how all my chemicals can read next to zero, but the pool is sparkling clear.
    I-G 36k galons, 20x40. Vinyl Liner. Built in '06. Pool pump and dedicated booster pump for Phantom

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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: 0 TA and PH and CHL levels but crystal clear pool

    Do you add powdered shock or algaecides periodically? These are not part of the BBB method taught here but they do have some impact on water quality and clarity. Eventually even these measures fail for most people.

    There are people here who converted from "traditional" models to BBB after years of clear water followed by a year of (*&() while they dealt with a cloudy green swamp.

    I think it's possible you are fine now but that could change rapidly without warning from what I have seen in other threads. In any case, FC 0 is not a good thing even by Traditional models of pool maintenance.
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    Re: 0 TA and PH and CHL levels but crystal clear pool

    I only add algaecide once a month or so. Really, there is no signs of any types of algae. I haven't used powdered shock too much either, though I did put in a few small bags a week ago when I first noticed the zero chlorine levels. It is amazing how I show zero chlorine but the pool is so clear. Do the sun's untraviolet rays help keep it clean???
    I-G 36k galons, 20x40. Vinyl Liner. Built in '06. Pool pump and dedicated booster pump for Phantom

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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: 0 TA and PH and CHL levels but crystal clear pool

    Quote Originally Posted by Deaner
    I only add algaecide once a month or so. Really, there is no signs of any types of algae. I haven't used powdered shock too much either, though I did put in a few small bags a week ago when I first noticed the zero chlorine levels. It is amazing how I show zero chlorine but the pool is so clear. Do the sun's untraviolet rays help keep it clean???
    UV's help break down all kinds of things. An indoor pool usually has more trouble with CC's than an outdoor one because the UV of the sun helps knock out the CC's. CC's are also what causes that "chlorine smell" and itchy skin, burning eyes (so can pH to a degree).

    What type of Algaecide have you used? If it contains copper there is a good chance that you are killing your chlorine with it. I ran into some data online that shows that high copper levels dramatically drop chlorine levels: http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/theses/availa ... 2-6-05.pdf

    Look at page 39 and note that the Chlorine levels dropped from around 9.5ppm to 9ppm in 12 hours without copper and with copper - particularly in low pH - they dropped to around 3ppm in the same period. Assuming a traditional puck fed rate of around 3ppm - this could easily get consumed. Given the fact that copper is added to algaecides to reduce algae - it is possible this witches brew could keep the water clear and still have a low chlorine level.

    I noticed that the info you posted doesn't show FC / CC - did they test for both? The CC's are particularly (as I understand it from above) vulnerable to the effects of copper. Normally with low FC over time you'd end up with algae or other organics and have a potential to see high CC's but it seems possible that copper might cause it to break down very rapidly.

    Copper has potential for problems - staining if the pH rises would be a concern. Blond people may experience green hair, etc.
    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
    13500 gal, Vinyl Liner, Fiberglass Slide, TF-100 Test Kit, Hayward 210T
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: 0 TA and PH and CHL levels but crystal clear pool

    I will explain the clear water in one word .... luck.

    By ignoring a majority of the pools parameters, you are lucky the water is clear. Could be a mix of low nutrients to feed the algae and high copper that prevent the algae from growing.

    The question is how long will the luck last. If there is high copper, how long until the pool is stained or hair turns green? Or how long until the algae gets a foothold and explodes in a bloom?

    We see this many times every year. Someone comes to the forum saying their pool have been great for years and suddenly nothing works. It really is best to get on top of the chemistry before a problem develops.

    Posted from my Droid with Tapatalk ... sorry if my response is short
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: 0 TA and PH and CHL levels but crystal clear pool

    Could the pool store have tested I correctly? How old is your reagent?
    26' X 52" Intex Ultra Frame. Intex Sand Filter
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    Re: 0 TA and PH and CHL levels but crystal clear pool

    They took a water sample (I got it a foot deep in the deep end) and ran it through their computers. The levels are:
    CL: 0
    TA: 0
    PH: 6.2 or lower
    Hardness: 80
    CYA/Stabilizer: wasn't tested.
    I-G 36k galons, 20x40. Vinyl Liner. Built in '06. Pool pump and dedicated booster pump for Phantom

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: 0 TA and PH and CHL levels but crystal clear pool

    As I recall, a TA of 0 actually puts the pH around 4.5 ... that is not good for a liner (do you have one? add your pools specs to your signature) or for the equipment.

    First step would be to get the pH back in the 7s ... you likely should raise the TA up to at least 60ppm and then raise the pH.

    CH that low is not a problem is you have a vinyl pool, if it is plaster ... the low pH and CH are certainly damaging it.

    And as you realize, you need to figure out your CYA level ... if way too high, water change becomes a high priority.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: 0 TA and PH and CHL levels but crystal clear pool

    Quote Originally Posted by Deaner
    It is amazing how I show zero chlorine but the pool is so clear.
    Akin to Russian Roulette, "I pulled the trigger and I didn't blow my brains out"
    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.

  20. Back To Top    #20

    Re: 0 TA and PH and CHL levels but crystal clear pool

    I agree. But in Russian Roulette, one can clearly explain why no bullet came out of the chamber. 5 in 6 odds that would be the end result. Can anyone tell me why my pool is sparkling clear despite TA=0, PH = 4.6 or lower and CL= 0???
    Looking for any theories, as I may have inadvertantly discovered another way to keep pool water sparkling!
    I-G 36k galons, 20x40. Vinyl Liner. Built in '06. Pool pump and dedicated booster pump for Phantom

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