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Thread: Several questions about recovering from Algae

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    Several questions about recovering from Algae

    Bought the house (with pool) and moved in around July 10th. Water had been great, but figured out last week that we had algae. Got the algae attack process going (with 6% Clorox) last Thursday (8/16) once my TF-100 arrived. My CYA is around 75, CC at .5 or under, so I've been keeping FC at/around 30 ever since. Things got a little cloudy, then a little cloudy-green, then WAY cloudy & couldn't see bottom (15x30 above ground oval), but now things are back to "a little cloudy", I can see bottom, and it's more of a white-cloudy, no more green. My 95sqft cartridge filters are swapped out every day, first couple days they came out puking dark dirty yellow, but are just kind of dirty/murky now. So we seem to be on the right track.

    Some general questions:

    1) I'm suppose to keep it at shock level to things are all cleared up...I'm also supposed to brush the pool down every day during the process. Should I be trying to do this strictly from OUTSIDE the pool using the full extension of my pole/brush (very difficult w/o a deck around the pool)??? OR is it safe for me to get in and brush the pool, even with my FC at 30?

    2) Can I add some clarifier to help things clear up quicker?

    3) SHOULD I add some clarifier to help speed things up?

    4) My Overnight FC checks are still coming 2.5ppm down each morning...any feeling for how much longer this may last?

    5) When I bought the house, they did NOT have the "Pool Steps" in the pool. But we did put them in. Would this have been a likely source of the algae's birth?

    6) Once I clear things up, and after a full cleaning of the steps with a bleach/water spray, do you think I'm safe to put them back in the pool?

    7) Is a 10:1 Water/Bleach mixture sufficient to treat things with before returning them to the pool?

    8) In an oval pool, if the water return is at one end, is there a specific location that is best for pool steps? I had it at the opposite end of the water return - would that inhibit proper water circulation? Is there a better place for them to not inhibit circulation?

    9) Those steps are slightly buoyant, and I feared they were rubbing on the bottom liner. So I bought one of those step/ladder pads to put underneath the steps, so they wouldn't hurt the liner. I bought it off Amazon. The underside of this mat had all kinds of green-ish looking algae growing on it when I removed it to clean it. Is it likely that the mat had algae spores on it when I received it and that it is the source of the algae's birth?

    10) Is it safe/smart to put the ladder/step pad back in once things are cleared up and I've sprayed it with the 10:1 Water/Bleach mixture?

    11) One of my boys up at a Northern Michigan Lake with my parents...likely wore the same suit @ the lake that he wore in the pool. Could this be a likely source of the algae?

    12) I read in the "defeating algae" article on pool school that Poly-quat algaecides are useless for killing it, but seem OK as a prevention tool. Can anyone tell me how to identify a "poly quat"? We have some algaecide on hand (actually 2 different bottles) but I can't tell from the content labels if they are or are not poly quats.

    Thanks all! What a great site!
    ~12,500 sqft above ground, 95 sq ft Sta-Rite Posi-Clear Cartridge filter, installed by previous owner in 2010?, Proud TF100 user!

  2. Back To Top    #2
    linen's Avatar
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    Re: Several questions about recovering from Algae

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    1) I'm suppose to keep it at shock level to things are all cleared up...I'm also supposed to brush the pool down every day during the process. Should I be trying to do this strictly from OUTSIDE the pool using the full extension of my pole/brush (very difficult w/o a deck around the pool)??? OR is it safe for me to get in and brush the pool, even with my FC at 30?
    We say it is safe to swim up to your shock level...but if you don't mind potential bleaching of your suit, brushing from inside can be more effective, the rest of you should be able to handle reasonable short contact times with the high chlorine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    2) Can I add some clarifier to help things clear up quicker?

    3) SHOULD I add some clarifier to help speed things up?
    I wouldn't. Until you pass the OCLT, and have <0.5 ppm CC levels, clarifier is a waste of time. Even after that, you may just want your filter to do it job...but sometimes a clarifier can speed things up. Most on here do not use clarifier.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    4) My Overnight FC checks are still coming 2.5ppm down each morning...any feeling for how much longer this may last?
    Hard to predict. What is your CC level?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    5) When I bought the house, they did NOT have the "Pool Steps" in the pool. But we did put them in. Would this have been a likely source of the algae's birth?
    If there is poor water circulation under them and if you did not maintain an appropriate amount of FC level, they could have made the situation worse....but if you maintain the appropriate level of FC going forward, they may not be a problem again (if they were this time).

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    7) Is a 10:1 Water/Bleach mixture sufficient to treat things with before returning them to the pool?
    I would just put everything you suspect needs cleaning in the pool while you have it a shock level.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    8) In an oval pool, if the water return is at one end, is there a specific location that is best for pool steps? I had it at the opposite end of the water return - would that inhibit proper water circulation? Is there a better place for them to not inhibit circulation?
    As long as you are getting a circular flow around the pool, I would think you could put them anywhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    9) Those steps are slightly buoyant, and I feared they were rubbing on the bottom liner. So I bought one of those step/ladder pads to put underneath the steps, so they wouldn't hurt the liner. I bought it off Amazon. The underside of this mat had all kinds of green-ish looking algae growing on it when I removed it to clean it. Is it likely that the mat had algae spores on it when I received it and that it is the source of the algae's birth?
    I doubt it. Again, maintaining an appropriate FC level (per you cya level) will prevent algae from growing in your pool.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    10) Is it safe/smart to put the ladder/step pad back in once things are cleared up and I've sprayed it with the 10:1 Water/Bleach mixture?
    Yes, it is safe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    11) One of my boys up at a Northern Michigan Lake with my parents...likely wore the same suit @ the lake that he wore in the pool. Could this be a likely source of the algae?
    Some people claim that is how they have gotten Mustard Algae. I have never had that problem, and we do a lot of lake swimming in the same suits that we swim in the pool with. I think it is unlikely.

    What minimum FC level were you maintaining before/when the algae showed up?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    12) I read in the "defeating algae" article on pool school that Poly-quat algaecides are useless for killing it, but seem OK as a prevention tool. Can anyone tell me how to identify a "poly quat"? We have some algaecide on hand (actually 2 different bottles) but I can't tell from the content labels if they are or are not poly quats.
    I am sure I sound like a broken record...proper FC levels are what you need.

    From pool school:
    Polyquat
    Poly[oxyethylene(dimethyliminio)ethylene(dimethyliminio)ethylene dichloride]

    The only algaecide we recommend using. Often sold in a 60% concentration as Algaecide 60 or something similar. Other kinds of algaecide have various problems, adding metals, foaming, bad smells, etc, depending on what they contain. Algaecide is most effective at preventing algae from getting started, and doesn't do very well against an active algae bloom.
    If the label uses all or part of the above long name, it should be polyquat.
    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.

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Re: Several questions about recovering from Algae

    Sounds like you're on the right track! I'm going to take a crack at these, but disclaimer - I'm new to this and have only been TFPing for about 3 HARD weeks of cleaning up my own algae bloom, so please don't take my responses as coming from an expert in any way shape or form.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    1) I'm suppose to keep it at shock level to things are all cleared up...I'm also supposed to brush the pool down every day during the process. Should I be trying to do this strictly from OUTSIDE the pool using the full extension of my pole/brush (very difficult w/o a deck around the pool)??? OR is it safe for me to get in and brush the pool, even with my FC at 30?
    I have seen many posts that indicate swimming up to the shock level is safe. I have, but I always made sure to wear a swim suit I wasn't super fond of, and to get out if I experienced any discomfort.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    2) Can I add some clarifier to help things clear up quicker?
    3) SHOULD I add some clarifier to help speed things up?
    I've read many posts here, and generally speaking the recommendation is that clarifier or floc is only necessary in very certain circumstances, and then only if it doesn't add anything else (copper, etc) to the water.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    4) My Overnight FC checks are still coming 2.5ppm down each morning...any feeling for how much longer this may last?
    I really hate this answer, but... Until it doesn't. The better you're able to actually keep your FC at or above shock level without going below, the faster the process is going to take.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    5) When I bought the house, they did NOT have the "Pool Steps" in the pool. But we did put them in. Would this have been a likely source of the algae's birth?
    I would think not, but I suppose it depends on where they came from. From what I've read here, the most common cause for algae and other contaminants is that FC dropped below minimum levels and algae was allowed to grow.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    6) Once I clear things up, and after a full cleaning of the steps with a bleach/water spray, do you think I'm safe to put them back in the pool?
    What I've seen so far is that if you have algae - a drain and bleach scrub is a good way to deal with it if you're able to drain - so I don't see a problem with a good thorough cleaning and then getting them back in. Though I wonder about the potential for water circulation under the steps which could lead to a drop in FC under them if not enough water circulates... What's your plan for making sure water circulates under the steps?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    7) Is a 10:1 Water/Bleach mixture sufficient to treat things with before returning them to the pool?
    No idea here, sorry. If I didn't have the internets, I would probably go with whatever the bleach indicates for normal sterilization.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    8) In an oval pool, if the water return is at one end, is there a specific location that is best for pool steps? I had it at the opposite end of the water return - would that inhibit proper water circulation? Is there a better place for them to not inhibit circulation?
    I've got nothing here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    9) Those steps are slightly buoyant, and I feared they were rubbing on the bottom liner. So I bought one of those step/ladder pads to put underneath the steps, so they wouldn't hurt the liner. I bought it off Amazon. The underside of this mat had all kinds of green-ish looking algae growing on it when I removed it to clean it. Is it likely that the mat had algae spores on it when I received it and that it is the source of the algae's birth?
    Could be, but I think anyone would be hard pressed to say for certain. After the battle I am in the middle of fighting now, if I ever put anything in my pool I'm going to whatever I can to clean it first just to make sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    10) Is it safe/smart to put the ladder/step pad back in once things are cleared up and I've sprayed it with the 10:1 Water/Bleach mixture?
    My guess would be yes, as long as you've made sure that it's clean.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    11) One of my boys up at a Northern Michigan Lake with my parents...likely wore the same suit @ the lake that he wore in the pool. Could this be a likely source of the algae?
    Again, it could be, but I can't think of any way to tell for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    12) I read in the "defeating algae" article on pool school that Poly-quat algaecides are useless for killing it, but seem OK as a prevention tool. Can anyone tell me how to identify a "poly quat"? We have some algaecide on hand (actually 2 different bottles) but I can't tell from the content labels if they are or are not poly quats.
    Edit: linen got to this first.
    ~ Ryan P
    23,000 IG Vinyl ~ <1991 60GPM Pentair Triton TR-60 (Sand) ~ Pentair SuperFlo 1HP ~ Kennard, NE
    Unless otherwise noted, all tests performed with the TF-100. Proud Pool School attendee!

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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: Several questions about recovering from Algae

    No need to worry and fret over where algae came from. It is everywhere!
    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
    sand filter, A.O. Smith 1.5HP main pump motor (C48L2N134C1),
    Hayward SuperPump (model ?), Polaris 380 & PB4 Booster Pump

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    Re: Several questions about recovering from Algae

    Linen, thanks for the help! Let me follow up on the couple you had questions on...


    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    4) My Overnight FC checks are still coming 2.5ppm down each morning...any feeling for how much longer this may last?
    Hard to predict. What is your CC level?

    Actually, my FC had dropped about 5 points this morning. When I started the process, CC was around .5 I'll have to do another CC test next time I run the full FC test. I've almost used up the whole 2 oz bottle of R-0871 drops since my kit arrived Thursday, and only just ordered a bottle last night, so I need to hold off on that next FC test until I really need it, likely my "pre-overnight" tests tonight. But I'll check the CC.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    5) When I bought the house, they did NOT have the "Pool Steps" in the pool. But we did put them in. Would this have been a likely source of the algae's birth?
    If there is poor water circulation under them and if you did not maintain an appropriate amount of FC level, they could have made the situation worse....but if you maintain the appropriate level of FC going forward, they may not be a problem again (if they were this time).

    We have an auto-chlorinator, but the control knob has no markings to show you how high or low you have it said, it's just a blank knob. In doing some experimentation trying to learn the knob settings, I did get the chlorine too low (like, approaching zero) once or twice, so certainly that is the most likely cause of things.


    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    11) One of my boys up at a Northern Michigan Lake with my parents...likely wore the same suit @ the lake that he wore in the pool. Could this be a likely source of the algae?
    Some people claim that is how they have gotten Mustard Algae. I have never had that problem, and we do a lot of lake swimming in the same suits that we swim in the pool with. I think it is unlikely.

    What minimum FC level were you maintaining before/when the algae showed up?

    At the time, I only had the OTO test, and had no knowledge of my CYA. So I was keeping the FC at the recommended levels, btwn 1-3 ppm. Now, as I look at the FC/CYA chart, it says at a CYA of 70, I will want my FC between 5-8, is that correct? Seems like that is going to render the simple (and CHEAP) OTO test to be useless for me (unless I dilute with 1/2 distilled water and then double the reading...not the most accurate of course).


    Thanks for your help linen! And to U-W-V and Rockstar as well
    ~12,500 sqft above ground, 95 sq ft Sta-Rite Posi-Clear Cartridge filter, installed by previous owner in 2010?, Proud TF100 user!

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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: Several questions about recovering from Algae

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    At the time, I only had the OTO test, and had no knowledge of my CYA. So I was keeping the FC at the recommended levels, btwn 1-3 ppm. Now, as I look at the FC/CYA chart, it says at a CYA of 70, I will want my FC between 5-8, is that correct? Seems like that is going to render the simple (and CHEAP) OTO test to be useless for me (unless I dilute with 1/2 distilled water and then double the reading...not the most accurate of course).
    Cya of 70 will be manageable, but you will need to keep on top of it. If the "autochlorinator" you are referring to above, is a puck feeder, then stop using it, that is the source of your high cya. The OTO/ph test block will only be useful for ph at your high cya levles (unless you do a dilution).

    Now that you are aware of the chlorine/cya relationship, i would guess that all of the questions you asked about the possible source of the algae will become less relevant. Make sure you pass all three criteria in the shocking process before you lower your FC level, and you should not have the problems you were having before.
    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: Several questions about recovering from Algae

    Quote Originally Posted by linen
    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    At the time, I only had the OTO test, and had no knowledge of my CYA. So I was keeping the FC at the recommended levels, btwn 1-3 ppm. Now, as I look at the FC/CYA chart, it says at a CYA of 70, I will want my FC between 5-8, is that correct? Seems like that is going to render the simple (and CHEAP) OTO test to be useless for me (unless I dilute with 1/2 distilled water and then double the reading...not the most accurate of course).
    Cya of 70 will be manageable, but you will need to keep on top of it. If the "autochlorinator" you are referring to above, is a puck feeder, then stop using it, that is the source of your high cya. The OTO/ph test block will only be useful for ph at your high cya levles (unless you do a dilution).

    Now that you are aware of the chlorine/cya relationship, i would guess that all of the questions you asked about the possible source of the algae will become less relevant. Make sure you pass all three criteria in the shocking process before you lower your FC level, and you should not have the problems you were having before.
    Thanks linen, yeah, I guess the CYA of 75 and some of my "experimenting" with the chlorinator and the low TC readings I had probably does answer the algae question.

    Here is a follow-up though. You recommended I stop with the chlorinator (yes, it's a puck feeder). The previous home owners had been using 3" stabilized tabs from InTheSwim (and of course I just bought a 50lb bucket of them...gggrrrr!) in that chlorinator. Does anyone make an UNstabilized 3" tab and would they be safe to use? Or, the main question, if I"m not using those stabilized tabs, do I just pour X amount of bleach in the pool every day? Do I pour bleach into the chlorinator and set it for LOW? Do I need to find some UNstabilized pucks or granules or some other source of dissolving chlorine to put in the chlorinator? What's my best & most cost effective action here given that I already have the equipment? (oh, did I mention I just dumped $70 into a new O-Ring and Lid for the chlorinator? GGRRR!) Man it would be great if there was an unstabilized chlorine source for that feeder.
    ~12,500 sqft above ground, 95 sq ft Sta-Rite Posi-Clear Cartridge filter, installed by previous owner in 2010?, Proud TF100 user!

  8. Back To Top    #8
    linen's Avatar
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    Re: Several questions about recovering from Algae

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    Does anyone make an UNstabilized 3" tab and would they be safe to use?
    Nope, the cya is part of the chemical makeup that makes the chlorine a solid form.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    do I just pour X amount of bleach in the pool every day?
    Bleach/liquid chlorine will be best for you. Pour it in front the pool return while the pump is running. Use the poolcalculator.com to calculate how much to pour. Most people do it everyday. You need to keep you FC level above the minimum normal level(for you cya level) at all times.

    You can't use the chlorinator without the pucks.
    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.

  9. Back To Top    #9

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    Re: Several questions about recovering from Algae

    Quote Originally Posted by linen
    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    Does anyone make an UNstabilized 3" tab and would they be safe to use?
    Nope, the cya is part of the chemical makeup that makes the chlorine a solid form.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    do I just pour X amount of bleach in the pool every day?
    Bleach/liquid chlorine will be best for you. Pour it in front the pool return while the pump is running. Use the poolcalculator.com to calculate how much to pour. Most people do it everyday. You need to keep you FC level above the minimum normal level(for you cya level) at all times.

    You can't use the chlorinator without the pucks.

    I'm using the poolcalculator like half a dozen times a day right now, so that is no problem...if I"m just pouring it in, should I split up the dosage and add some in the morning and some in the evening once I establish needs/schedule?

    Outside of the SWG's or SWCG's or whatever they are (don't know about that world yet), are there no "feeder" systems for liquid chlorine? Seems like there should be something...
    ~12,500 sqft above ground, 95 sq ft Sta-Rite Posi-Clear Cartridge filter, installed by previous owner in 2010?, Proud TF100 user!

  10. Back To Top    #10
    linen's Avatar
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    Re: Several questions about recovering from Algae

    Search on here for the "liquidator" it is basically a bleach/liquid chlorine feeder. Use the google search at bottom right.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiesman84
    I'm using the poolcalculator like half a dozen times a day right now, so that is no problem...if I"m just pouring it in, should I split up the dosage and add some in the morning and some in the evening once I establish needs/schedule?
    Once you know how much your pool needs on average, many people dose once a day in the evening since chlorine loss should be negligible overnight.
    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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