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Thread: slightly cloudy was caused by sand, exacerbated by algae!

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    slightly cloudy was caused by sand, exacerbated by algae!

    Hey all,

    I think I know what is going on but wanted to get your thoughts.

    My pool has always been totally clear, have never had to shock. Been a BBBer since about 2 weeks after I inherited this pool (and paid an "expert" $1200 for not much) with the home we bought last summer and read TFP about every day.

    My pool experiences a pretty low bather load, in fact, with the solar cover on I've been losing only about 0.5 ppm of FC a day for the past several weeks. We had a bad storm last Monday, large trees snapped in half, many many branches down, neighborhood is still a mess, etc.

    FC loss has remained consistent from storm until now - about 0.5 a day over the past week, but I had not been in the pool. Lifting the cover now and then, the water still has looked clear, but I did notice a lot of dirt (I guess?) on the floor. Yesterday I finally got in to remove the cover and start vacuuming, taking the cover completely off revealed that the bottom was covered with a layer of.... whatever. When I got out after vac'ing half the pool (kids woke up from naps) I noticed the water was cloudy and a had a green tint. I assumed it was a result of me being in it and kicking all this stuff up, plus the water did not strike me as cloudy or green before I got in. I've never seen this before, but I got scared as I read these threads on TFP everyday!

    I bumped the chlorine up to about 9ppm late last night, a bit below shock level of 12 (don't want to lose my "I've never had to shock" badge. Kidding... sort of).

    As I thought about this, I'm wondering if it is just a bunch of tree pollen from the storm?? Given the consistently low FC consumption, it doesn't seem like anything could be growing in there, and I have never let my FC drop below my target level of 4.

    Test results from recommended kit:

    FC - Currently 9, but have maintained between 4-5 all season
    CC - 0 (haven't had a CC show up on a test yet this year)
    CYA -30
    PH ranged between 7.2-7.7 all season
    TA stuck at 100 - never moves
    CH - can't recall but well below a level of any concern for vinyl pool

    So, 2 questions:

    Do you agree that the evidence is pointing to dirt, pollen or whatever suspended in the water as opposed to algae trying to grow?

    What is best course of action? OCLT tonight to confirm nothing growing and then just wait/vac/filter, etc.?


    Thanks, when we got the house I pondered just taking the pool down, but thanks to this site, I love it and wife and have now made it the centerpiece of our backyard!

    (Edited to change subject line)
    Dedicated TFPer since 2012 with recommended test kit
    Above ground, 30 foot round pool, 21,000 gallons
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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: slightly cloudy/greenish water but don't think it is alg

    OCLT! That's the definitive test. If you pass that, you'll know it's not organic and then it's filtering and vacuuming.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
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    Re: slightly cloudy/greenish water but don't think it is alg

    Looks like it's filtering vacuuming. Tested 9ppm at 10:30pm and tested 9ppm at 5 this morning. Thanks for the confirmation, Bama.
    Dedicated TFPer since 2012 with recommended test kit
    Above ground, 30 foot round pool, 21,000 gallons
    Hayward 150 sq foot cartridge filter, 1HP Waterway pump
    Raypak 400K BTU NG Heater!
    Installed in 2006? (just a guess, pool came with house I purchased in June 2012)

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: slightly cloudy/greenish water but don't think it is alg

    There's no doubt now.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
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    Re: slightly cloudy water but don't think it is algae - UPDA

    So, after vacuuming and vacuuming, I did not see much improvement, then it hit me, I also added a couple bags of sand to weigh down my ladder and they were leaking!

    Got them out and have been running the filter non-stop but things are still murky. Vacuumed some last night, but was hard to be effective once it got dark. Am I better off stopping the filter and letting things settle to the bottom and then vacuuming?

    How effective is my cartridge filter at grabbing this sand? I just saw little to no improvement on filtering alone...
    Dedicated TFPer since 2012 with recommended test kit
    Above ground, 30 foot round pool, 21,000 gallons
    Hayward 150 sq foot cartridge filter, 1HP Waterway pump
    Raypak 400K BTU NG Heater!
    Installed in 2006? (just a guess, pool came with house I purchased in June 2012)

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: slightly cloudy water but don't think it is algae - UPDA

    The cartridge filter should have no problem catching the sand. You can let it settle want and that may make vacuuming more effective.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: slightly cloudy water but don't think it is algae - UPDA

    Ok, thanks, that is comforting. It was just that I was seeing so little progress, I'll do a complete vacuum today and see what that does. It did appear last night that there was a thin layer covering maybe 75% of the bottom of the pool so my thought was that running the filter is constantly stirring the stuff up.

    I can't believe that I was so careless with the sand bags. I picked up some retaining wall blocks to use for my weights so I never have to deal with this again.
    Dedicated TFPer since 2012 with recommended test kit
    Above ground, 30 foot round pool, 21,000 gallons
    Hayward 150 sq foot cartridge filter, 1HP Waterway pump
    Raypak 400K BTU NG Heater!
    Installed in 2006? (just a guess, pool came with house I purchased in June 2012)

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    Re: slightly cloudy water but don't think it is algae - UPDA

    all right, so I let it settle then vacuumed (manually) the bottom of the pool last night. Left pump off overnight and did see some minor improvements this morning, water is a lighter greenish tint rather than murky brown, but still can barely see the bottom and more sand appears to have settled. I got my Diver Dave suction side cleaner delivered so I've hooked that up. He is bouncing along the bottom as we speak. I'm planning to let him do his thing pretty much all day, figuring that should filter the water closest to the bottom where I'd assume I need it most?

    Is there anything else I can or should do to speed the process? If this is normal, I can muster some patience, but I'm paranoid that my return water is blowing the sand back in. The filter is freshly cleaned and pressure has not risen, so I guess I shouldn't be worried. I also have some visitors coming Saturday and would love to have my crystal clear water back.

    I need some reassurance, Bama, can you help me out?!?!?

    (also, while I have not run the OCLT again, FC consumption has been in the neighborhood of .5 -1 during a full day, so I feel confident it is still just sand)
    Dedicated TFPer since 2012 with recommended test kit
    Above ground, 30 foot round pool, 21,000 gallons
    Hayward 150 sq foot cartridge filter, 1HP Waterway pump
    Raypak 400K BTU NG Heater!
    Installed in 2006? (just a guess, pool came with house I purchased in June 2012)

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    Murky water from sand, but still a mess!

    I have an original thread in the BBB method on this problem, but it has evolved so Im restating it here with new facts and hopes of more eyes.

    Topics merged. Please keep everything relating to on problem or project together in one place. The previous history is very important in helping us answer your questions. JasonLion

    My pool water suddenly got greenish. Ive used the BBB method since I inherited this pool last year and have always had clear water. I ruled out organics early on Ive never let my FC level drop below the target, FC consumption has only been about .5 per day (with solar cover on) and ran the OCLT and lost 0 ppm. Initially I thought this was caused by a huge storm we had dumping some organics (via a bunch of leaves and branches) in the pool, but after a week of no improvement I rethought and realized that the day before the storm I put in a few bags of sand to weigh down my ladder. I inspected and sure enough, some were leaking. Here is my problem!! I removed bags of sand and have been filtering and vacuuming regularly for the past week. I ran the OCLT again and lost 0 ppm overnight, confirming my assumption that sand was the culprit. I finally saw some improvement this weekend in that water was clearer around the edges (2 feet from the sides) and the circulation action created a big sand trap in the middle. I very carefully and slowly manually vacuumed the stuff in the middle, though by the time I was done the water was murky again (because I had stirred it up)? I have cleaned my cartridge a few times even prior to the pressure indicating I should. Ive been filtering 24/7 for the last several days now and the water is still really murky, Im not sure if Ive made any progress. My cartridge is reasonably new, I bought it about a year ago, cleaned it well when I closed the pool in early October and have cleaned it twice in the last 2 weeks. This all makes me doubt my sand theory, but I trust my instruments, I passed the OCLT, and moreover, I have absolutely removed a lot of sand from the pool, so it was a problem. On the other hand, water clarity is not improving and maybe getting worse, though this could be from stirring it up, I dont know.

    A few other facts that may be relevant:

    Its not like I dumped in 20 pounds of sand, they were small leaks and the bags were still close to full when I pulled them.

    My PH has been rising, which is totally out of character for my pool, I have no aeration or anything and have almost never had to make adjustments (TA was stuck at 100, but did recently drop to 80). I added some acid which dropped it to 7.5, but it went up to 7.9 a day later we had some swimmers and splashing, but nothing outrageous.
    So, my question is it reasonable to take weeks to filter out sand? If the answer is yes, I can wait, but maybe there is something else going on? Is it time for the shock process?

    Test results from recommended kit:
    FC 6
    CC 0
    PH 7.9 (just added acid to drop to 7.5)
    TA 80
    CYA 30
    CH been a while but well below level of concern for a vinyl pool

    EDIT - my tests have shown 0 CC each time

    Do I just need patience or is there something else going on? Time to drain my sandy water? Time for the shock (er SLAM) process?
    Dedicated TFPer since 2012 with recommended test kit
    Above ground, 30 foot round pool, 21,000 gallons
    Hayward 150 sq foot cartridge filter, 1HP Waterway pump
    Raypak 400K BTU NG Heater!
    Installed in 2006? (just a guess, pool came with house I purchased in June 2012)

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    Re: Murky water from sand, but still a mess!

    Do you have a pic? Always worth a thousand words.

    PS - the same responders will still see your posts and it will probably add some confusion having two threads active simultaneously.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: slightly cloudy water but don't think it is algae - UPDA

    No, it should never take weeks to clear the water with a reasonably sized cartridge filter.

    Good quality sand will not cause the pool to become murky for very long. Sand particles should settle to the bottom, and get pushed around a little by the circulation, as you describe. It sounds like you had a problem with the sand bags, but that wouldn't be the cause of the persistently murky water.

    How much have you been using the cover recently? Leaving a cover on nearly all of the time can occasionally cause cloudy water, though it would really need to be just about constantly leaving the cover on.

    Another possibility is a torn cartridge in the filter. This would show up as the cartridge remaining fairly clean and the filter pressure not going up. If the filter has been catching significant debris this is probably not an issue.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: slightly cloudy water but don't think it is algae - UPDA

    I inspected the cartridge pretty well while cleaning and I may have seen a few small tears here and there, but nothing awful and it has definitely been collecting a fair amount of debris, so I assume we can rule that out, though let me know if you disagree.

    I do leave it covered often, but not to the degree that you suggest, and the water is more than cloudy, so I think we can rule that out too.

    Dave - I took a picture a few hours ago, but due to the position of the sun and shadows, it doesn't really show much beyond my verbal description, I'll take one tomorrow at a better time of day.

    But, ruling out all of these other things, it seems to me that perhaps I had a sand problem followed by an organics issue, and the only thing left is to go through the shock process?
    Dedicated TFPer since 2012 with recommended test kit
    Above ground, 30 foot round pool, 21,000 gallons
    Hayward 150 sq foot cartridge filter, 1HP Waterway pump
    Raypak 400K BTU NG Heater!
    Installed in 2006? (just a guess, pool came with house I purchased in June 2012)

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    Re: slightly cloudy water but don't think it is algae - UPDA

    Do the oclt tonight. That will give at least part of your answer.
    POOL: Intex ultra new in 2014 (32 x 16 x 52) (seasonal; on concrete pad covered with 1.5" extruded or whatever foam insulation sheets - ugly, but comfy); added a through-wall skimmer; I add salt for feel. EQUIPMENT: Pentair SuperFlo pump (1HP, 2SPD); Pentair cartridge filter (200 sq. ft); Pentair MasterTemp natural gas heater (400,000 btu) Climate/Location: Eastern Nebraska

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    Re: slightly cloudy water but don't think it is algae - UPDA

    Never been so happy to fail a test before! FC dropped by about 2ppm from midnight - 5am, so SLAM process is under way. At least I know now what I need to do to clear this.

    I must have either committed a testing error, or the organics had not yet taken hold when I did the OCLT two weeks ago. Thinking back, I had the sand bags in other large zip lock bags that came with the ladder, wonder if the algae began in there, never got killed off due to lack of circulation and then got released into the pool as I pulled them out??

    Lastly, any idea what would cause my ph to rise? Could it be related to whatever is growing or is it just as likely due to randomness? This isn't really a concern of mine, more curiosity on what causes ph to rise other than aeration.
    Dedicated TFPer since 2012 with recommended test kit
    Above ground, 30 foot round pool, 21,000 gallons
    Hayward 150 sq foot cartridge filter, 1HP Waterway pump
    Raypak 400K BTU NG Heater!
    Installed in 2006? (just a guess, pool came with house I purchased in June 2012)

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    Re: slightly cloudy water but don't think it is algae - UPDA

    On day 2.5 of SLAMMING. FC consumption has been amazingly consistent. My shock level is 12 (CYA 30) so starting Sunday night I dosed to 14, Monday morning it was 12, dosed up to 14 again. Then about every 4-5 hours (6am, 11am, 3pm, 8pm) it falls back to 12 so I bring it up to 14. Wash, rinse, repeat for both Monday and Tuesday and so far today. Color has gone from lush jungle green (Monday) to dull green (Tuesday) to grayish blue (Today). Definitely some progress!

    One question - My cartridge filter pressure has stayed right at 10, I would have expected this to climb at least modestly, but this is my first time having to go through the shock process so I don't have any experience. I've read a million threads on here about people having to clean the filters almost daily, particularly early on, plus my filter is modestly undersized, I recently learned. Should I just give it a good cleaning anyway? I've heard anecdotally that slightly dirty filters clean better, but that seems hard to believe and/or quantify.

    EDIT - I've never once tested positive for CCs during this process or any other time, ever. Why is that sometimes they show up and sometimes not?

    (Guess I should change my subject name, because while it was definitely sand early on, it is definitely algae now!)
    Dedicated TFPer since 2012 with recommended test kit
    Above ground, 30 foot round pool, 21,000 gallons
    Hayward 150 sq foot cartridge filter, 1HP Waterway pump
    Raypak 400K BTU NG Heater!
    Installed in 2006? (just a guess, pool came with house I purchased in June 2012)

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    Re: slightly cloudy was caused by sand, exacerbated by algae

    When you turn your pump off, does the pressure go to 0? A dirty filter does in fact filter better than a clean one, within reason.
    John
    7 year old ~13,500 gal 24' AGP with 1.5 hp Proline pump, 150 sqft Pleatco cartridge, filled with well water with pH of about 4.5.
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    Re: slightly cloudy was caused by sand, exacerbated by algae

    yep, goes right to 0 when I turn the pump off, and I've seen it drop to 8 or so if the skimmer basket fills with leaves and needs cleaning so it appears to be working. I do notice it fogs now and then so the seal must not be perfect, but I wouldn't think that is adversely impacting relative pressure readings.
    Dedicated TFPer since 2012 with recommended test kit
    Above ground, 30 foot round pool, 21,000 gallons
    Hayward 150 sq foot cartridge filter, 1HP Waterway pump
    Raypak 400K BTU NG Heater!
    Installed in 2006? (just a guess, pool came with house I purchased in June 2012)

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    Re: slightly cloudy was caused by sand, exacerbated by algae

    Ok, I think I'm done SLAMing. Passed OCLT this morning. But how do you define 'water is clear??? I can see the bottom easily, can see the liner pattern easily on the bottom. Water does not appear cloudy, but wife says, it isn't BBB sparkly clear where you can't even tell there is water in it. I suppose she is right, but it's close. Seems to me all nasties are dead so I can let fc.drift down to normal and let the filter finish off.

    Have I passed the water is clear hurdle of the process?
    Dedicated TFPer since 2012 with recommended test kit
    Above ground, 30 foot round pool, 21,000 gallons
    Hayward 150 sq foot cartridge filter, 1HP Waterway pump
    Raypak 400K BTU NG Heater!
    Installed in 2006? (just a guess, pool came with house I purchased in June 2012)

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    Re: slightly cloudy was caused by sand, exacerbated by algae

    Have I passed the water is clear hurdle of the process?......but wife says, it isn't BBB sparkly clear
    Id mama ain't happy.....

    Work hard on your filtration. Keep the filter on 24/7, brush vacuum.....do everything you can to mechanically remove any remaining cloudiness.

    It's pretty inexpensive to keep that FC up another day or so to see if you can get that last bit of debris in your pool.

    Got a pic?
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: slightly cloudy was caused by sand, exacerbated by algae

    True enough Dave on all counts! I'm attaching a couple of pics, they look less clear than in person, but here they are. Note you can see the spotted pattern on the bottom, as well as some wrinkles that the previous owners left for me. That blue bar is just the extension pole that it appears my wife used to push back the cover. She thought it was about 90% clear relative to the perfection I usually keep it at. So, I'll keep FC levels up. I've been treating 12 as minimum level these last few days and mostly kept things from 12-14. Can I let that fall to more like 8 or 9 without much risk or am I just better off diligently keeping things above 12?
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Dedicated TFPer since 2012 with recommended test kit
    Above ground, 30 foot round pool, 21,000 gallons
    Hayward 150 sq foot cartridge filter, 1HP Waterway pump
    Raypak 400K BTU NG Heater!
    Installed in 2006? (just a guess, pool came with house I purchased in June 2012)

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