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Thread: Low PH, Low CYA, algea...and visiting ducks!

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    Low PH, Low CYA, algea...and visiting ducks!

    Hi,
    I've been reading your board off and on for a few years and I feel overwhelmed! I finally fired my pool service last Spring after having 4 different companies, not doing what we felt we were paying for. I did fine, last Spring--through the summer and through the winter. I have had very high phosphates, but I've read that is not necessarily a problem. The pool sparkled, but for minor problems, which I solved. And I thought all was ok, till now. The ducks visit in the Spring and usually leave after awhile. One year they did not, but I still had a sparkling pool (my first pool service that was wonderful till they gave me a new guy).t

    This winter was unusually bad for debris from trees. I had a hard time keeping up. My pool is a 20k gallon, fiberglass. New fiberglass and equipment installed when we moved here 4 years ago. I have a cartridge filter system.

    I'm in N. California and the 90 degree weather just started. I have been using Leslie's chlorination tabs in a feeder container, and their power powder (shock).

    I am going to buy a new test kit because both of the ones I use are not good enough. I am not sure which iis better the Taylor 2006 or the other one you mentioned. I can get the Taylor cheaper and it is a FAS-DPD.

    My cheap test kit was not able to give me any usable information because my values are out of range. I had to use my strips. Yesterday I noticed that there was a little algae on one side of the pool, so I tested and found I had 0--FC

    I put two scoops of power powder in and ran the filter 8 hours as recommended. Today the algae looked a little better but not gone, so I put in 2 more scoops of power powder as recommended, turned the filter on and when I came back a few hours later my water was green! and it looks like the algae is getting worse.

    I called Leslie's and they told me that I needed to adjust my PH and shock some more and when I mentioned the ducks they told me I would have to drain the water to get rid of the nitrates. (They presumed nitrates, and said I should come in and they would test)

    Well...I remembered reading here that a properly balanced pool will allow me not to worry so much about phosphates. Also, I co-existed happily with ducks every other year, so why should that change now? I sure hope I can do this without terrorizing them.

    I just re-tested the pool (with my strips) and here are the values:
    FC (Free Chlorine) - 5
    Total Chlorine - 20
    CC (Chlorimines)--?
    pH - below 6.2 (not accurate enough to say how far)
    TA - below 6.2 (not accurate enough to say how far)
    CH - below 6.2 (not accurate enough to say how far)

    I was hoping you could offer which steps to take right now. I don't want to wait and let it get out of control, bu I don't want to go to the pool store and buy more potentially self defeating chems (I read the pool school info). I'm just a little nervous about taking this big step. Also, I feel silly saying this but I'm a tad intimidated by your pool calculator.
    Thank you so much--
    Katharine
    CYA
    Kath - Kathy - Katharine
    Fair Oaks, Ca
    20K gal, IG Fiberglass, 1 HP Emerson pump- not variable, Pent-air Clean & Clear Plus 320 Sq. Ft. cartridge, Solar heating system, 4 wheeled Polaris Pool Sweep, all 4 years old.

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    Smykowski's Avatar
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    Re: Low PH, Low CYA, algea...and visiting ducks!

    Welcome.

    It may seem overwhelming, but we were all in your shoes once, so we'll help you get here.

    First off, you need to decide which method you're going to use. Our way or the pool store way, but you really can't do both. If you decide to use our way, you need to get a good test kit (most recommend the TF-100) and stop going to the pool store. I mean quit cold turkey.

    Then you need to read pool school (more than once). There's lots of info, but it'll make sense eventually, and there are a lot of people here who will help you out.

    Then we can tame your pool.
    33' round, 23,000 gal AG vinyl , 1HP 2spd PowerFlo Matrix downsized with 3/4HP impeller (X2), Hayward S180T 150# sand filter (X2), Hayward H250 NG heater Pool Store year 1 - $850 for 2 months; Pool Store year 2 - $440 for 2 months, TFPC year 1 - $170 for 4 months; TFPC year 2 - $95 for 4.5 months
    The most important article on this site - The ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

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    Re: Low PH, Low CYA, algea...and visiting ducks!

    I am happy to quit the pool store - lol. Going to order the TF-100-NOW Will my pool be ok.... or is there something I can do while waiting for my kit--besides reading pool school again. I'm nervous about doing ---anything.

    And thank you!
    Katharine
    Kath - Kathy - Katharine
    Fair Oaks, Ca
    20K gal, IG Fiberglass, 1 HP Emerson pump- not variable, Pent-air Clean & Clear Plus 320 Sq. Ft. cartridge, Solar heating system, 4 wheeled Polaris Pool Sweep, all 4 years old.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Low PH, Low CYA, algea...and visiting ducks!

    on the TF-100, consider the SpeerStir as it makes the testing even easier.

    You would likely run out of some of the regents in the K-2006 in the process of getting your pool under control. The TF-100 is the same Taylor reagents, just more of what you actually need.

    The Power Powder is cal-hypo, so that is adding calcium to your pool, that may be a bad thing. You would be better off sticking to liquid chlorine (bleach), but hard to really tell you what to do going forward until you have a good test kit.

    Note there is a West coast distributor of the TF-100 that will get you the kit faster, check the link in my signature.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
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    Re: Low PH, Low CYA, algea...and visiting ducks!

    I think you are right about the power powder, and there is a warning on it not to add other chemicals, which has me worried. Will bleach be ok, with the power powder still in there? Even the West Coast distributor won't y concern is that each day I wait the pool will get greener. It is making me feel panicky.

    K
    Kath - Kathy - Katharine
    Fair Oaks, Ca
    20K gal, IG Fiberglass, 1 HP Emerson pump- not variable, Pent-air Clean & Clear Plus 320 Sq. Ft. cartridge, Solar heating system, 4 wheeled Polaris Pool Sweep, all 4 years old.

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    Re: Low PH, Low CYA, algea...and visiting ducks!

    That was supposed to say that the kit won't be here till next Saturday.
    Kath - Kathy - Katharine
    Fair Oaks, Ca
    20K gal, IG Fiberglass, 1 HP Emerson pump- not variable, Pent-air Clean & Clear Plus 320 Sq. Ft. cartridge, Solar heating system, 4 wheeled Polaris Pool Sweep, all 4 years old.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Low PH, Low CYA, algea...and visiting ducks!

    Once it is mixed in the water, it is safe to use anything other chemical. So bleach will be fine ... but how much?

    I did not see a CYA listed and that is required to know how much FC you should be maintaining.

    I hesitate to even say this but, maybe you should take water into the store and have them test it ... just do not buy anything (except maybe some liquid chlorine if you want). Although, since we really do not trust their testing, I am not sure what that would help.

    If you want something to do ... Read Pool School and Please add your pool details and location as described HERE as it will help us help you.

    With a volume of your pool, we could at least figure out how much FC a bottle of bleach will add and maybe placate you by having you add some each day ... although this might just help hold off a full algae bloom.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
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    Re: Low PH, Low CYA, algea...and visiting ducks!

    It would be really nice if we could figure out how much bleach I should add, but right now, the chlorine level is high. I posted the values in my first post. Here they are:
    FC - 5
    CC - 20
    pH -below 6.2
    TA - below 6.2
    CH - ?
    CYA - below 6.2

    These were from a test strip because my kit did not have values that went high or low enough
    Kath - Kathy - Katharine
    Fair Oaks, Ca
    20K gal, IG Fiberglass, 1 HP Emerson pump- not variable, Pent-air Clean & Clear Plus 320 Sq. Ft. cartridge, Solar heating system, 4 wheeled Polaris Pool Sweep, all 4 years old.

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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Low PH, Low CYA, algea...and visiting ducks!

    An FC of 5 is by no means high-especially if you already have algae. 6.2 is not even a measurable amount of CYA. We have no idea what that level might be, so it would be almost impossible to determine a shock value of FC for you.
    16x32x52" Steel Cornelius Miramar AGP Vinyl liner 13,100 gal. Buried 2 ft.
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    Re: Low PH, Low CYA, algea...and visiting ducks!

    Thank you--Do you know how low the TF-100 is capable of going?
    Kath - Kathy - Katharine
    Fair Oaks, Ca
    20K gal, IG Fiberglass, 1 HP Emerson pump- not variable, Pent-air Clean & Clear Plus 320 Sq. Ft. cartridge, Solar heating system, 4 wheeled Polaris Pool Sweep, all 4 years old.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Low PH, Low CYA, algea...and visiting ducks!

    The CYA test starts are 20ppm and the TA is increments of 10ppm ... these are 2 reasons we are not willing to believe the results you posted as they do not make any sense ... it could just be that the strips have gone bad. It is also EXTREMELY unlikely that your CC is 20 with a FC of 5.

    For reference, using the poolcalculator, one 121 oz bottle of 8.25% bleach will raise your FC by about 4ppm.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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    Re: Low PH, Low CYA, algea...and visiting ducks!

    I'm sorry my posts are so stupid. That is why I avoid posting. I was just terribly disappointed, being home ill, with a pool temp of 80 to find out I may not be able to get in the water until who knows when. So I am trying to post what you need, and I really appreciate the help. I'm ordering the test kit you all say is the best, but it won't be here for 5 days. I'm concerned that this problem will be out of control by then, since it went from clear to green in just a few hours. So, I am trying to find out what to do. Do I need to add conditioner, raise CYA---is it safe to do so? Should I use borate to bring PH up? Why is there still chlorine in my pool if those things are so low? Those are the kinds of questions I have and I really lack confidence. My husband is worse at this than I am, so I am trying to educate myself. I am trying my best.

    I just double checked my readings. I'm home sick today thankfully since I am making errors. From the Aquacheck 7 test strips from HACH
    Total Hardness: 500 ppm (scale of 0-1000)
    Total Chlorine: 10 ppm (scale of 0-10)
    Total Bromine: 20ppm (scale of 0-20)
    Free Chlorine: btwn 10-20ppm (scale of 0-20)
    PH: less than: 6.2
    Total Alkalinity: below zero (increments of 40 up to 240)
    Cyanuric Acid: below zero ( increments 30-50, 100, 150, 300)
    Kath - Kathy - Katharine
    Fair Oaks, Ca
    20K gal, IG Fiberglass, 1 HP Emerson pump- not variable, Pent-air Clean & Clear Plus 320 Sq. Ft. cartridge, Solar heating system, 4 wheeled Polaris Pool Sweep, all 4 years old.

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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Low PH, Low CYA, algea...and visiting ducks!

    Your posts are NOT stupid and noone here considers them to be! Hope you get to feeling better too. The only thing I'd be confident in telling you at the moment is to raise your PH to 7.2 or a little better.

    From pool school:

    PH can be raised in three ways: borax, soda ash, and aeration. Borax is usually the best choice. Borax raises the PH and also raises the TA level just a little. If your TA level is low soda ash will raise both the PH and TA levels. If your TA level is high, aeration is best as it will not raise the TA level at all. However, aeration is rather slow compared to the other two.

    Borax is available as 20 Mule TeamŪ Borax Natural Laundry Booster. It is sold in the laundry detergent section of most larger grocery stores and some big box stores. Borax is best added by pre-dissolving it in a bucket of water and then pouring that slowly in front of a return.

    Soda ash is available as ARM & HAMMERŪ Super Washing Soda Detergent Booster. Do not confuse this with ARM & HAMMERŪ laundry detergent! It is sold in the laundry detergent section of most larger grocery stores and some big box stores. It is also sold by pool stores under various names, including PH Increaser, PH Up, Balance Pak 200, etc. Soda ash is best added by pre-dissolving it in a bucket of water and then pouring that slowly in front of a return.

    Aeration can be provided by a SWG, spa jets, waterfall, fountain, return pointed up so it breaks the surface, air compressor, kids splashing, rain, etc. It can take some time for aeration to raise the PH. The higher your TA level, the faster aeration will work.

    Raising your TA is probably very likely needed, but we need better test results. Raising Ta by adding plain old baking soda also raises PH.
    16x32x52" Steel Cornelius Miramar AGP Vinyl liner 13,100 gal. Buried 2 ft.
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    Smykowski's Avatar
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    Re: Low PH, Low CYA, algea...and visiting ducks!

    It's a learning process. We've all been there, and you'll get it eventually. Questions are the only way you'll learn.

    Part of the reason we're having such a hard time giving a course of action yet is because of the principles of TFP. The whole point is to understand what's going on in your pool through accurate testing, then only put chemicals in the pool that are needed. Since you don't have accurate tests (strips are really just about a half step below worthless), we don't know what's going on, so we can't tell you where to go.

    We can come up with a reasonable plan to keep a little FC in the pool to hopefully keep whatever's there in check, but we might also really screw it up, because we don't know what we're starting with.

    As much as it pains me to say it, I might have to suggest jblizzle's idea of going to the pool store just to get some kind of test that's better than the strips. The only other thing I would maybe suggest (but please don't do this until others can either back me up or shoot me down) is to put a gallon of 8.25% bleach in the pool every day or two. This will add just under 5ppm of FC and will hopefully keep the algae at bay. But like I said, please wait for other opinions first.
    33' round, 23,000 gal AG vinyl , 1HP 2spd PowerFlo Matrix downsized with 3/4HP impeller (X2), Hayward S180T 150# sand filter (X2), Hayward H250 NG heater Pool Store year 1 - $850 for 2 months; Pool Store year 2 - $440 for 2 months, TFPC year 1 - $170 for 4 months; TFPC year 2 - $95 for 4.5 months
    The most important article on this site - The ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

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    Re: Low PH, Low CYA, algea...and visiting ducks!

    Welcome to tfp, Katharine

    Quote Originally Posted by Smykowski
    The only other thing I would maybe suggest (but please don't do this until others can either back me up or shoot me down) is to put a gallon of 8.25% bleach in the pool every day or two. This will add just under 5ppm of FC and will hopefully keep the algae at bay. But like I said, please wait for other opinions first.
    I agree with this idea, likely it won't help a bunch but it will at least be something...and it is unlikely to hurt anything. Make sure you put it in while the pump is running and run the pump for at least an hour afterwards.
    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: Low PH, Low CYA, algea...and visiting ducks!

    Thanks for the welcome. I feel like an idiot!! So, it is ok to raise the PH (and maybe TA), and I can do that as described in pool school. I do have a better test kit with drops, but the values don't go high or low enough to be meaningful. Wish I could get the test kit faster. It's not even available on Amazon Prime. Thank you for trying. I'll keep checking for your posts as my swamp gets uglier and I wait for my test kit....
    Kath - Kathy - Katharine
    Fair Oaks, Ca
    20K gal, IG Fiberglass, 1 HP Emerson pump- not variable, Pent-air Clean & Clear Plus 320 Sq. Ft. cartridge, Solar heating system, 4 wheeled Polaris Pool Sweep, all 4 years old.

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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: Low PH, Low CYA, algea...and visiting ducks!

    Is the drop based test you have the one that tests for chlorine and ph? If it is, that is much better than the strips (though you still need the tf-100 or k2006 to maintain your pool correctly). Use that to retest both and post your results before you add anything.
    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.

  18. Back To Top    #18

    Re: Low PH, Low CYA, algea...and visiting ducks!

    That test kit is really bad. I bought it to make sure the pool service was putting chlorine in at all. I think it only goes to 5ppm for FC. It was that $17 home depot one. I'm looking to see if I can get a TF-100 locally. (None on Craig's list--lol) When I manage to get usable results --I'll post. Thank you.
    Kath - Kathy - Katharine
    Fair Oaks, Ca
    20K gal, IG Fiberglass, 1 HP Emerson pump- not variable, Pent-air Clean & Clear Plus 320 Sq. Ft. cartridge, Solar heating system, 4 wheeled Polaris Pool Sweep, all 4 years old.

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    Smykowski's Avatar
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    Re: Low PH, Low CYA, algea...and visiting ducks!

    You're only going to find the TF-100 at www.tftestkits.net

    Test ph and FC with the drop kit you've got and post back. Definitely better than the strips. After you get either the Taylor k2006 or TF100 we'll get a full set of results.

    One step at a time.
    33' round, 23,000 gal AG vinyl , 1HP 2spd PowerFlo Matrix downsized with 3/4HP impeller (X2), Hayward S180T 150# sand filter (X2), Hayward H250 NG heater Pool Store year 1 - $850 for 2 months; Pool Store year 2 - $440 for 2 months, TFPC year 1 - $170 for 4 months; TFPC year 2 - $95 for 4.5 months
    The most important article on this site - The ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Low PH, Low CYA, algea...and visiting ducks!

    The only place you can get the TF-100 is from Trouble Free Test Kits - online, sold by our treasured friend Dave. We all have it, and use it religiously.

    One thing about strips as useless as they are, PH is actually somewhat accurate (the only test remotely accurate on strips.) So if it's reading low (and your following the directions) then you will probably need to raise it as well as TA from the sound of things. Dave ships really fast. You can get your kit in days and have answers. But I agree, get some bleach in there daily, pronto - in the meantime.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
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