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Thread: Phosphates! and now what

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    Phosphates! and now what

    I hope this is the right section to ask this. I have went rounds and rounds with phosphates this year. Everytime I about get a handle on them, they shoot through the roof. The local pool company here says our city water has 1200ppm of phospates and the summer rainwater has around 1000ppm.

    If its not the algae that takes over the pool, its the cloudiness of having to put in phosphate treatment. Also I have a terrible time getting chlorine to register. Since the rain has been spotty for the last month I have been adding water to the pool. Now I know that it is a double edged sword.

    Any help with phosphates? I don't know if I actually understand them completely. I have been using a capful of Phosfree stuff to the skimmer every week. Tested for phosphates today and the vial looked like blue kool-aid. Any help appreciated, as I am truly at wits end
    IG Plaster~8500gal pool, ~300gal spa, Cartridge filter, ComPool LX100 controller, PentAir 320 In-Line Chlorinator, SwimTemp heat pump

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    Re: Phosphates! and now what

    I am going to say something that may upset you, so please sit down.

    Phosphates are absolutely nothing to be concerned about. Phosfree is a huge profit-margin sale for the store and they push it like crazy for that reason and that reason only.

    So how do you battle algae and get your chlorine to register? You need to SLAM your pool, and to do that you need a full set of test results: FC, CC, pH, TA, CH, CYA. With that information we can help you get things turned around and get you off of the very expensive phosphate remover forever!

    Also, what size is your pool, what type of finish (vinyl, plaster, etc?), what kind of filter and how do you chlorinate?
    JD - 28' Round Above Ground Pool, 17,000 Gallons. Dual speed Jacuzzi pump with cartridge filter. Dual speed 1 HP pump, Hayward S210T sand filter
    Pool School - PoolMath - HIGHLY Recommended Test Kits

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    Re: Phosphates! and now what

    Welcome to the forum.

    You're gonna' get a whole lot of responses just like donaldson's above.

    read "The ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry" up in Pool School. It'll help you get an understanding of what is essential in managing your pool and how unimportant phosphates are.

    You will either have your eyes wide open but our advice is based on rock-solid science and your pool store's is based on selling you things.....often things you don't need.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Phosphates! and now what

    They are both right, phosphates are algae food, and while phosphate remover can be of limited help when dealing with an out of balance pool, the real fix is to get the pool balanced where there is no algae so the point of algae food is moot.

    Use of algae remover to cure an out of balance pool is like throwing out most of the food in your house to manage a rodent infestation, while it may help some, it will not cure the problem, the real solution is to eliminate the algae/rats not to take away some of their food.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
    ~Remember TFP counts on your donations to keep this site ad free~

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    Re: Phosphates! and now what

    That is sort-of what I have been thinking. At our pool at the last house we had zero problems with any of that. I will get the water tested again tomorrow and give you accurate results.

    Do you have a recommendation for a quality full range tester? I'm not 100% certain I can trust the pool store's findings. In reality they are there to sell chemicals? Something that can check for calcium hardness, possibly? if thats something that should be kept in check

    In ground pool/spa
    ~8,500 gal total
    ~300 gal spa
    Plaster/cement/Gunite? finish
    Cartridge filter
    In-line pool chlorinator
    Built in 2005
    Pool is in Venice, FL. SW florida, about 1.75 miles off the gulf coast
    (NOT salt water pool)

    (side note, pool has stains?/algae? spots in the pool. I have used cobalt/copper stain removal a couple times and have lightened the spots considerably) Also, the previous owners kept zero care of the pool, so the finish is in rough shape. there are pits in the finish. the pool store has said its from not keeping the calcium hardness up.
    IG Plaster~8500gal pool, ~300gal spa, Cartridge filter, ComPool LX100 controller, PentAir 320 In-Line Chlorinator, SwimTemp heat pump

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    Re: Phosphates! and now what

    I think this is the test kit you want....I am not a super expert yet, but believe this is the one.

    http://tftestkits.net/TF-100-Test-Kit-p4.html
    14,750 GAL IG Fiberglass (16 x 33) NE Ohio || Jandy 1HP 2 speed Pump || Waterco MultiCyclone 16 Centrifugal pre-filter (removed due to not working with sand filter) || 30" 575 Lb. Sand Filter || AquaCal 140K BTU Heat Pump || Solar Cover || Inter-fab Adrenaline Slide || GLI Monsoon Solar Cover Reel || K-2006C Test Kit || BBB with Liquid Chlorine Stenner Injection || Rayner Mighty Mesh Winter Cover

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    Re: Phosphates! and now what

    Quote Originally Posted by hybridtrendz
    Do you have a recommendation for a quality full range tester? I'm not 100% certain I can trust the pool store's findings. In reality they are there to sell chemicals? Something that can check for calcium hardness, possibly? if thats something that should be kept in check
    As a matter of fact we do

    Check my link under Test Kits. There are two we recommend, the TF-100 and K-2006. I personally use the TF-100 and it works great. These kits are a step ahead because they contain the DPD-FAS test that gives you very accurate chlorine readings, both free chlorine and combined chlorine (more info on that in the pool school).

    You are absolutely right about not trusting pool store testing. Pool store tests are very inaccurate and you can find people who have taken the same sample to two different stores on the same day and get completely different results. Doing your own testing using one of the above kits will help you in learning about your pool and maintaining it properly without all the extras a pool store wants you to buy. They will pay for themselves the first time you don't buy something from a pool store
    JD - 28' Round Above Ground Pool, 17,000 Gallons. Dual speed Jacuzzi pump with cartridge filter. Dual speed 1 HP pump, Hayward S210T sand filter
    Pool School - PoolMath - HIGHLY Recommended Test Kits

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    Re: Phosphates! and now what

    I'm ordering the tf100 right now. Great information so far. I have already done quite a bit of reading. I will post a few pictures of the pool/stains to help get an idea of what they might be.

    Thanks much for the advice so far
    IG Plaster~8500gal pool, ~300gal spa, Cartridge filter, ComPool LX100 controller, PentAir 320 In-Line Chlorinator, SwimTemp heat pump

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    Re: Phosphates! and now what

    You will do well to keep your focus on getting crystal clear water. It is a process, not a one time dose and getting unfocused on stain removal will sidetrack you.

    Let us help get your water clear and then address the stains as a totally seperate issue.

    (You're kit will ship tomorrow)
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Phosphates! and now what

    In the pool school there is a recommended levels article that you should look at that will give you proper CH levels, which yes can be tested with the TF-100. It is important in pools with a finish like yours, the pool store got one thing right! The stains themselves could be algae or it could be metal stains. Duraleigh is right though, one step at a time. If they are algae the SLAM will take care of it. If it's metal it can be tackled next.

    I think you are going to find the information you learn here very helpful! We all came from different stages in pool ownership. Some were lucky enough to start their pool knowing what we teach here, others like me had to search desperately online before finding the forum and finding out I had been doing things the hard way. So never feel embarrassed asking questions or if you find out you might have misunderstood something. I still learn new things here all the time, so be ready to learn a lot and we will be here to help you take control of your own pool!
    JD - 28' Round Above Ground Pool, 17,000 Gallons. Dual speed Jacuzzi pump with cartridge filter. Dual speed 1 HP pump, Hayward S210T sand filter
    Pool School - PoolMath - HIGHLY Recommended Test Kits

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    Re: Phosphates! and now what

    Quote Originally Posted by hybridtrendz
    The local pool company here says our city water has 1200ppm of phospates and the summer rainwater has around 1000ppm.
    Note that phosphates are measured in ppb (parts per billion), not ppm (parts per million). 1,000 ppb sounds really high, but it's only 1 ppm.

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    Re: Phosphates! and now what

    Fresh back from the pool store, this is their findings
    TC 2.0ppm
    FC 2.0ppm
    CC 0.0ppm
    PH 7.4

    Total alkalinity 105 ppm
    Calcium Hardness 350 ppm
    Stabilizer 100 ppm
    IG Plaster~8500gal pool, ~300gal spa, Cartridge filter, ComPool LX100 controller, PentAir 320 In-Line Chlorinator, SwimTemp heat pump

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    Re: Phosphates! and now what

    Based on those results your calcium and alkalinity are a bit high but not bad. pH is just fine.

    Now the bad news, your FC is very low for your CYA (called stabilizer in these results). Even worse is that pool stores rarely get CYA tests right, and it could well be over 100. Luckily your kit should be on it's way so you can do your own test soon. According to this chart at 100 CYA your minimum FC should be 7. To get rid of the algae your shock level is 39, and you would need to maintain it there for a few days potentially. So we have an answer to why you are always fighting algae, your pool is overstabilized. The best way to start the fight is to lower your CYA below 50 by replacing your water. Since you are in Florida do you know if your water table is fairly shallow? If so then you want to do the water replacement carefully, a few inches at a time probably.
    JD - 28' Round Above Ground Pool, 17,000 Gallons. Dual speed Jacuzzi pump with cartridge filter. Dual speed 1 HP pump, Hayward S210T sand filter
    Pool School - PoolMath - HIGHLY Recommended Test Kits

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    Re: Phosphates! and now what

    Alright! Well, at least we know a little more. That's what I was wondering after reading more on this site. The water table here is extremely shallow. How much water would I need to replace? I will have to do it in very small amounts. I have been keeping the pool towards the lower side of the skimmer since we're in our rainy season. Should I just add water until the pool is full, let it circulate then start to drain some out?
    Thanks for the help already.
    IG Plaster~8500gal pool, ~300gal spa, Cartridge filter, ComPool LX100 controller, PentAir 320 In-Line Chlorinator, SwimTemp heat pump

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    Re: Phosphates! and now what

    If it's 100 and not higher it would take at least 50% to get it down to 50. However doing it a bit at a time it will take longer since you are diluting it each time you replace some. So raising and lowering as much as you are comfortable with a few times should bring it down a bit. I would say you can start doing that and once you get your TF-100 you can test it again and see where you stand. Also if you are still using your chlorinator then you are still adding CYA every day to your pool, so that will slow your efforts.
    JD - 28' Round Above Ground Pool, 17,000 Gallons. Dual speed Jacuzzi pump with cartridge filter. Dual speed 1 HP pump, Hayward S210T sand filter
    Pool School - PoolMath - HIGHLY Recommended Test Kits

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    Re: Phosphates! and now what

    Well you reminded me to get the TF100 kit. I forgot I didn't go through the checkout the other night, I had just looked at it. So I just ordered it now. I will probably only be able to adjust the water a few inches at a time. I am still using my chlorinator, actually the pool guy had just told me to turn it to a higher setting. My old test kit showed my chlorine off the chart, and the guy today had said its low, their ideal level is 2-4ppm? Which one should i go by until the new kit gets here?
    IG Plaster~8500gal pool, ~300gal spa, Cartridge filter, ComPool LX100 controller, PentAir 320 In-Line Chlorinator, SwimTemp heat pump

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    Re: Phosphates! and now what

    Assuming the "chlorinator" you are referring is a trichlor puck feeder...stop using it, it is only raising your cya higher. Until you test kit comes you are going to be in limbo. If you want you can add some bleach/liquid chlorine. How big is your pool? Better yet, put your pool and equipment details into you signature.
    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: Phosphates! and now what

    Yeah, I was just looking at how to do that.
    IG Plaster~8500gal pool, ~300gal spa, Cartridge filter, ComPool LX100 controller, PentAir 320 In-Line Chlorinator, SwimTemp heat pump

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    Re: Phosphates! and now what

    I have started the daunting task of draining and filling the pool a few inches at a time. I would assume by the time the tester gets here I should have replaced a decent fraction of the water.
    IG Plaster~8500gal pool, ~300gal spa, Cartridge filter, ComPool LX100 controller, PentAir 320 In-Line Chlorinator, SwimTemp heat pump

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    Re: Phosphates! and now what

    It is much more efficient to do 1 (or probably 2) drain/refills then to do it a little at the time. If I was you, I would wait for the test kit and figure out what my cya actually is, then form a plan from there.
    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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