I apologize for the length, but I need to get all details so that hopefully someone can help me.
When I opened my pool, I had some discoloration on my steps. Water was nice and clear and had no issues with balancing and starting up. The discoloration was bothering me so I looked online and read about the Vitamin C test. So, I tried it and it took the staining away in that spot. I took a water sample to the local pool store and explained what I had and let them test my water. All tests were good with the exception of my water being too soft (???). Anyway, he said that's where my staining was coming from because I have a heater and I was getting traces of metal in my water. He tested for metals, but got nothing. He advised the AA treatment followed by the Metal Free, but my chlorine had to drop to 0-1 first. So, I shut the chlorinator down and waited. Sprinkled the AA and in less than 2 minutes my steps were beautiful (water was perfect at this point). Waited the hour and then added metal free and circulated 24 hrs.
Two days later, my water started getting cloudy. I turned the chlorinator back on and started bringing up levels slowly. Day four cloudy, blue/green and now some algae on the walls. Shocked and ran filter overnight, added algaecide in the morning. Continued to run filter. 24 hours later - no improvement and now have a yellowish staining back on my steps with yellowish "dirt" also. So, before I did anything else, I went back to the store with a sample and the instructions they gave me. Told them I followed them exactly and now this is what I have (showed a picture to). Of course, same guy is not working that day. She couldn't understand why they would have me put metal free in, when no metals showed in water. Ph was low at this point but all else was good with exception of soft water. No phosphates - so no algae of any form. Was told to adjust Ph, circulate over night and add clarifier to collect all the particles in the pool. Did that, circulated 24 hrs. Turned filter off Thursday morning and let it sit. Weather was bad Friday, so Saturday morning I vacuumed to waste. Little better, but no major improvement. Added fresh water and continued to run filter.
Sunday - angry at this point I'm not gaining any improvement. Time to try a different store. Took all my paperwork, instruction sheets and photos. They stated I should have not added the Metal Free and that is my problem, staining was from minerals and not metal. We now have to kill everything with a "super" shock. Vacuumed again, backwashed, rinsed and added 2 gallons of liquid shock (my pool is 26,000 gal) - chlorine was at 4.1 already. He said to run filter and water should turn to a cloudy blue - then I should add granular shock (3 bags) and it should clear abut 24 hrs after that (about Wednesday). If not, to come back. My Ph and alkalinity were slightly low (7.0) and he said that was due to the Metal free pulling it out. But not to add those just yet as I would be wasting money and I could adjust once I got it clear
I leave Friday for vacation and do not want to come back to a mess!! Am I on the right track?? Has this happened to anyone else. I am so frustrated!!
My steps are not quite as bad as in the photo (yesterday), but rest of pool is the same. I've also noticed where the debris usually collects from the jets, there is an orange color in those areas even after I vacuumed everything yesterday.
Thanks in advance for any guidance you can give.
20x40 keyhole, with 8' deep end, vinyl, sand filter