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Thread: Algae (i think) growing inside pool ladder steps

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    Algae (i think) growing inside pool ladder steps

    Hello,

    This is my first time posting here, I've been lurking for a while, learned about the TF test kit, how to shock, BBB, etc, and read the pool school, etc.

    Pool info:

    Right now I did the overnight test for the first time and found out my trusty strips really are crappy. I had 30 ppm FC and 1 CC at 9:30 and at 6:30 this morning measured 29.5 ppm FC and .5 CC. (I thought the FC was around 19 based on strips, but was wrong) water is clear, CYA at about 30 before i backwashed this morning. Pool is clear except for some slight debris on the bottom, and a brownish/greenish cloud that forms when brushing the bottom. Which seems to be less and less every time I brush.

    ----

    Anyway, last year we inherited a AGP with our new house which appears to be a 21' 12800 gallon or so metal frame with vinyl liner. My dad garbage picked us a ladder somewhere that is plastic with holes in it to let water in. My wife noticed yesterday when we pull the ladder out of the pool it shoots out black dots, and some green and yellow stuff that looks like seaweed. (the ladder might have been used in the niagara river?) The black stuff looks like dirt. If I spray water in the holes, to fill up each step, when i stop the water comes back out, and so does the above mentioned green, yellow, and black stuff...

    My question for the board is, what to do. Ditch the ladder and buy a new one, or is there some way to clean out the inside of the steps? I spent about 30 minutes this morning cleaning it and i still get gunk out of the holes when i fill the step with water.

    The ladder is mounted to a deck which is the height of the metal frame for the pool. the ladder floats and i take it out every time we finish swimming due to no gate for the ladder.

    Thanks, and sorry if the post is too long.

    Kevin

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Algae (i think) growing inside pool ladder steps

    Welcome!

    Get rid of it all by endless scrubbing and then a good soak at shock level, or get rid of the ladder. I'd get rid of the ladder, myself.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
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    Re: Algae (i think) growing inside pool ladder steps

    Welcome to TFP!

    Sounds like there may be some algae growing in there as you suspect. Not sure how to get rid of it. Maybe shocking the pool with the ladder submerged in it?

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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Algae (i think) growing inside pool ladder steps

    I vote to pitch and replace if you can. The holes are there so it weights it down full of water, but there's no practical way of having any circulation in there.
    I have wedding cake steps that look like the sides have been attacked by crazed woodpeckers in heat from drilling some "extra" circulation holes in them.
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    Re: Algae (i think) growing inside pool ladder steps

    found out my trusty strips really are crappy
    "Trusty" and "strips" simply should not be used in the same sentence.
    Dave S.
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    Re: Algae (i think) growing inside pool ladder steps

    thanks for all of the speedy replies.

    we stopped at the pool store yesterday (its actually a pretty good one, at least the guy we usually deal with seems pretty good. He only sold us algaecide once and did it reluctantly because we were struggling last year.) and they suggest disassembling the ladder to make it easier to soak the steps...

    Has anyone had any luck disassembling one of these after they have been snapped together? I tried to but couldn't pull it apart at all (no visible screws, just plastic nobs with bumps at the end to lock in place.)

    For now I have it soaking in the pool, but am worried I am going to infest my sparkly blue pool with the crud living inside the ladder. (am I too worried? would maintiaining the FC near shock level be sufficient to stop it from spreading out into the water?)

    Another question though, has anyone drilled open this type of ladder? its just the econo plastic i think with three really small holes on the top of each step and it looks like you fill the sides with water or sand. Pool store had a new ladder in stock for $99 of a presumably better ladder, they also had one they could order for $39. We are trying to not spend money if possible (and reasonable) because we have a tiny sand filter (about 100# or so of sand) with 1 1/4" hookups on the non-multiport style top that we would like to replace with a #300 sand filter with multiport and base (pump is on 3 concrete blocks which vibrate.)




    thanks again.

    Kevin

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    Re: Algae (i think) growing inside pool ladder steps

    I had a set of plastic steps that went into the pool. It was a fairly big unit with four or five full size steps. I purchased this new and put it together, which included adding sand into the legs for weight. Last July I had water boatmen in the pool and I couldn't get rid of them. I noticed that my FC level was slowly dropping and I found myself turning the salt cell up a little each week. My FC never got below 4.0PPM during this time and the water was crystal clear. The boatmen would move along the seams in the liner which led me to believe that they were feeding on something. My pool chemistry was right on target; FC, CYA, PH, etc.

    I decided to pull the stairs and shock the pool.

    When I pulled the stairs out and onto the deck green water shot out of the holes. Lots of green water. I pulled the hand rails out of the steps and the smell was really bad. The steps went right to the curb.

    I purchased a molded plastic ladder with graduating steps. The back of the steps are completely open to the pool. There is no internal area for water to fill in. I mounted it to the deck, then proceeded with a good pool shock and weekly maintenance of Poly60. The rest of the season was algae and critter free.

    I now realize that I had stagnant, algae contaminated water within those stairs and that algae was probably flowing out of the holes and ending up in the liner seams. Not enough to bloom but enough to feed the critters. I never did see any algae in the pool.

    I would throw out your steps and buy something else with a thought towards water flow not only around but within.

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    harleysilo's Avatar
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    Re: Algae (i think) growing inside pool ladder steps

    Can you remove the steps and "fill" them with super chlorinated water via these holes you've been spraying water in?
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    Re: Algae (i think) growing inside pool ladder steps

    Quote Originally Posted by MrJulius101
    I had a set of plastic steps that went into the pool. It was a fairly big unit with four or five full size steps. I purchased this new and put it together, which included adding sand into the legs for weight. Last July I had water boatmen in the pool and I couldn't get rid of them. I noticed that my FC level was slowly dropping and I found myself turning the salt cell up a little each week. My FC never got below 4.0PPM during this time and the water was crystal clear. The boatmen would move along the seams in the liner which led me to believe that they were feeding on something. My pool chemistry was right on target; FC, CYA, PH, etc.

    I decided to pull the stairs and shock the pool.

    When I pulled the stairs out and onto the deck green water shot out of the holes. Lots of green water. I pulled the hand rails out of the steps and the smell was really bad. The steps went right to the curb.

    I purchased a molded plastic ladder with graduating steps. The back of the steps are completely open to the pool. There is no internal area for water to fill in. I mounted it to the deck, then proceeded with a good pool shock and weekly maintenance of Poly60. The rest of the season was algae and critter free.

    I now realize that I had stagnant, algae contaminated water within those stairs and that algae was probably flowing out of the holes and ending up in the liner seams. Not enough to bloom but enough to feed the critters. I never did see any algae in the pool.

    I would throw out your steps and buy something else with a thought towards water flow not only around but within.
    we are considering some "surgery" so that it can no longer fill with water.... does your new ladder still take sand in the sides, or are you talking about one of the "wedding cake" type of ladders?

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Re: Algae (i think) growing inside pool ladder steps

    Quote Originally Posted by kjpool
    we are considering some "surgery" so that it can no longer fill with water.... does your new ladder still take sand in the sides, or are you talking about one of the "wedding cake" type of ladders?
    No. The new "step ladder" has no voids in in it for sand or water. Instead, the steps are molded plastic and completely open on the back sides to allow water flow all around them. With this setup each step is technically filled with water on the inside but it is wide open at the rear for water to easily move in and out. Otherwise, if each step was completely closed they would have air trapped in there and it would be much harder to keep those steps under water with those air balloons wanting to surface. The unit itself is more like a ladder but each step is slightly further out as you go down. You still have to enter the pool backwards as you go down the steps, but they are more comfortable than a straight up and down ladder. The fact that the ladder is secured to the deck via the hand rails allows it to stay in position and rest on the bottom. No need for sand.

    I believe the problem with the other steps and ladders that require sand is that pool water will enter those chambers and the chlorine level in there is probably going to be zero regardless of the chlorine level in the pool. I base this on what I saw pouring out of the holes when I pulled my full set of steps out last year. I don't think that wet sand in those chambers is a good idea...anymore.

    I would never put the wedding cake type steps or anything else other than what I have now into my pool. I think those bigger setups just give algae a place to start and critters a place to hide.

  11. Back To Top    #11

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    Re: Algae (i think) growing inside pool ladder steps

    Quote Originally Posted by kjpool View Post
    Hello,

    This is my first time posting here, I've been lurking for a while, learned about the TF test kit, how to shock, BBB, etc, and read the pool school, etc.

    Pool info:

    Right now I did the overnight test for the first time and found out my trusty strips really are crappy. I had 30 ppm FC and 1 CC at 9:30 and at 6:30 this morning measured 29.5 ppm FC and .5 CC. (I thought the FC was around 19 based on strips, but was wrong) water is clear, CYA at about 30 before i backwashed this morning. Pool is clear except for some slight debris on the bottom, and a brownish/greenish cloud that forms when brushing the bottom. Which seems to be less and less every time I brush.

    ----

    Anyway, last year we inherited a AGP with our new house which appears to be a 21' 12800 gallon or so metal frame with vinyl liner. My dad garbage picked us a ladder somewhere that is plastic with holes in it to let water in. My wife noticed yesterday when we pull the ladder out of the pool it shoots out black dots, and some green and yellow stuff that looks like seaweed. (the ladder might have been used in the niagara river?) The black stuff looks like dirt. If I spray water in the holes, to fill up each step, when i stop the water comes back out, and so does the above mentioned green, yellow, and black stuff...

    My question for the board is, what to do. Ditch the ladder and buy a new one, or is there some way to clean out the inside of the steps? I spent about 30 minutes this morning cleaning it and i still get gunk out of the holes when i fill the step with water.

    The ladder is mounted to a deck which is the height of the metal frame for the pool. the ladder floats and i take it out every time we finish swimming due to no gate for the ladder.

    Thanks, and sorry if the post is too long.

    Kevin
    -------------------------
    This is my solution to keeping algae from growing inside my plastic steps. I drilled a hole in the top portion of each separate cavity, just large enough to tightly fit the plastic tip of a 60cc syringe I picked up at Tractor Supply. Obviously I drilled before I put the steps in the pool. I fill the syringe with Sodium Hypochlorite (liquid chlorine) and inject into each cavity every week or two. This super chlorinates all the water inside the steps. You don't need much, I can do my whole steps using 1 syringe full, just squirting a little into each cavity. I use a diving mask underwater while doing this. Make sure to drill holes in the upper areas of each cavity, as the sodium hypochlorite
    sinks and will just run out a hole at the bottom. Also, you don't want sand running out the bottom, if you drill low, as some steps are filled with sand.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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