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Thread: Bleach turns into a cloud when adding to pool water

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    Bleach turns into a cloud when adding to pool water

    Hey guys, I have a question. I buy my bleach at Sam's Club (Chlorox) in bulk and have noticed for the last 4-5 months that every night when I add bleach to my pool, you literally see it go into the water as a clear color and about two feet down it starts blooming out in a white cloud.

    Maybe it's more pronounced because I usually pour it into the deep end next to the pool light. I also poured the bleach in the shallow end next to that light and it did the same thing. I don't think it's a bad batch of bleach since it's been doing this for quite a while. The bleach cloud always dissipates and disappears within 10-20 minutes.

    The water is beautiful and I check my FC and PH and add bleach every night - religiously. Even though I always pass the overnight test, I shocked it last week to see if it would stop the bleach from doing this, but it still does it. I kept my FC up at 28 overnight wondering if it was some kind of algae I couldn't see. I had dumped 3 bottles of bleach in and it was like a white cloud took over the pool. I could see the flow of water as the bleach bloom moved across the bottom of the pool - it was actually kind of cool watching it. Pool turned completely cloudy - except the spa was totally clear.

    Added more bleach to the spa and the same thing happened. Ran my pump on 2800rmps the whole night and the pool was crystal clear in the morning and the FC didn't drop at all. I didn't worry about keeping the FC up high at shock level since I must not have an algae problem. Why does the water cloud when adding bleach?

    Luckily it goes away quickly, but I just want to make sure I don't have a hidden problem lurking somewhere waiting to raise it's ugly head. I do use Jack's Magic Magenta (only when I add water to the pool) because we have well water with lots of metals and ProTeam's Microfloc Clarifier simply because I think it makes the pool water look amazing. Do you think there might be some kind of chemical interaction with the bleach or is it just the bleach oxidizing organics??

    Just curious if anyone else has experienced the bleach cloud thing and if anyone knows what causes it? We do have trees and crape myrtles dropping all kinds of organics in the pool daily.

    Water test last night...
    FC 5.5, then added bleach, 1 hour later FC 11.5
    CC .5
    Ph 7.3
    TA 100
    CH 270
    CYA 60 (checked last Sunday)
    Borates 50-80 (it's the best I can tell from the test strip)
    Pool Temp 86
    20K gal, IG Pebble Sheen, IntelliFlo VS 3HP, 60sqft DE Plus 150gpm, Completed 10/2012, 320 Chlorinator (don't use), Del Eclipse 2 Ozone Gen w/MDV, Pentair Legend Platinum Cleaner, Pentair Mastertemp 400K BTU Nat.Gas Heater, 1.5HP WisperFlo Pump for: 4 Weepers, 2 Bubblers, 3 Aerators, 12" Raised Spa w/8' Neg Edge Spillway.

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    Re: Bleach turns into a cloud when adding to pool water

    I'm sorry I don't have an answer for that, but someone may have seen or know. I'm sure our resident chemgeek will weigh in for sure. If I were guessing, it would purely be a shot in the dark, but I'd guess at one of your additives first. My first choice would be the clarifier but I really can't tell you for sure. I don't see a SWG in your sig, so assuming you don't have one, I wouldn't let the CYA get any higher. Great to see you using bleach...and I assume it is one with no additives? I would guess so, just covering all the bases here.
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    Re: Bleach turns into a cloud when adding to pool water

    Thanks. Yes, just plain Clorox Bleach. Yes, I do use the BBB Method and specifically keep my CYA @ 60, because I get so much sun and burn through my chlorine soo fast if it's lower. I've tried it at 40 and 50, but I think 60 seems to be the sweet spot for us. I do plan on purchasing a different clarifier. I'm going to get one made of Chitosan - think it's called Bioguard Natural Clarifier. It's cheaper and you use less each week than ProTeam Microfloc. I was wondering if it was something in the Clarifier that was causing the chemical reaction??
    20K gal, IG Pebble Sheen, IntelliFlo VS 3HP, 60sqft DE Plus 150gpm, Completed 10/2012, 320 Chlorinator (don't use), Del Eclipse 2 Ozone Gen w/MDV, Pentair Legend Platinum Cleaner, Pentair Mastertemp 400K BTU Nat.Gas Heater, 1.5HP WisperFlo Pump for: 4 Weepers, 2 Bubblers, 3 Aerators, 12" Raised Spa w/8' Neg Edge Spillway.

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    Re: Bleach turns into a cloud when adding to pool water

    Well, I meant to ask and forgot...Why are you thinking you need clarifier at all? Have you tried running without it, and what happened?
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    Re: Bleach turns into a cloud when adding to pool water

    Yes, I didn't use one for the first 6 months or so, but when I just bought one on the recommendation by a friend-- WOW! I couldn't believe the results. It changes how the water looks. I just don't know how to describe it. The water flows differently, it glitters in the sun differently, it's just beautiful. It's so effective the company claims you don't need to use algaecides when you use it- which if you keep your FC at the appropriate level with your CYA, you don't need algaecides anyway. I understand I don't need it, but I just can't get over how amazing the water looks with it. My opinion only, but I think everyone pool owner should use it-- if they can afford it. Now, it could be that when I try this other brand, it may not be as effective??? Who knows. I've never tried a different kind of clarifier.
    20K gal, IG Pebble Sheen, IntelliFlo VS 3HP, 60sqft DE Plus 150gpm, Completed 10/2012, 320 Chlorinator (don't use), Del Eclipse 2 Ozone Gen w/MDV, Pentair Legend Platinum Cleaner, Pentair Mastertemp 400K BTU Nat.Gas Heater, 1.5HP WisperFlo Pump for: 4 Weepers, 2 Bubblers, 3 Aerators, 12" Raised Spa w/8' Neg Edge Spillway.

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    Re: Bleach turns into a cloud when adding to pool water

    I read a couple things that don't match the recommendations here. Pouring your bleach in all those locations, as opposed to in front of a return is one. The regular use of clarifies is the other. Regular bleach and filtering should be all you need.

    Can you post a full set of results?
    -- Guy --
    10K gallons in 21' Round 52 inch wall Aqualeader AG, Hayward Power Flow LX 1.5 HP pump motor, Hayward Perflex EC50AC DE filter w/Cellulose, Wide mouth skimmer, 2013 new Diver Dan (craigslist) to replace the faded old Hayward AquaBug. TF-100

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    Re: Bleach turns into a cloud when adding to pool water

    Maybe I wouldn't see the white bleach cloud if I poured in front of a return??? Sorry about the clarifier; I absolutely love the water with it. Even my husband notices. The result is really amazing or I wouldn't waste my hard earned money.

    Water test last night...
    FC 5.5, then added bleach, 1 hour later FC 11.5, just checked this morning and FC 11.5
    CC .5
    Ph 7.3
    TA 100
    CH 270
    CYA 60 (checked last Sunday)
    Borates 50-80 (it's the best I can tell from the test strip)
    Pool Temp 86
    20K gal, IG Pebble Sheen, IntelliFlo VS 3HP, 60sqft DE Plus 150gpm, Completed 10/2012, 320 Chlorinator (don't use), Del Eclipse 2 Ozone Gen w/MDV, Pentair Legend Platinum Cleaner, Pentair Mastertemp 400K BTU Nat.Gas Heater, 1.5HP WisperFlo Pump for: 4 Weepers, 2 Bubblers, 3 Aerators, 12" Raised Spa w/8' Neg Edge Spillway.

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    Re: Bleach turns into a cloud when adding to pool water

    Quote Originally Posted by AmyT
    Maybe I wouldn't see the white bleach cloud if I poured in front of a return??? Sorry about the clarifier; I absolutely love the water with it. Even my husband notices. The result is really amazing or I wouldn't waste my hard earned money.

    Water test last night...
    FC 5.5, then added bleach, 1 hour later FC 11.5, just checked this morning and FC 11.5
    CC .5
    Ph 7.3
    TA 100
    CH 270
    CYA 60 (checked last Sunday)
    Borates 50-80 (it's the best I can tell from the test strip)
    Pool Temp 86

    It is absolutely your choice to put what you want in your pool. If you like it, great, but we have many, many, pools here that are as clear as any on the planet without a drop of clarifier ever put in them. The claims that an algaecide wont need to be used by that company are completely bogus, because one has nothing to do with the other.

    As for your cloud, if there is a reaction between the bleach and something else, it won't matter where you put it in. It will still react. That said, adding in front of a return is best for whatever you are adding.
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    Re: Bleach turns into a cloud when adding to pool water

    It seems like the answer right in front of our noses is that it is reacting with the clarifier. It's the only item you are using that is not regularly used by the others on the board. If it clears up by morning but you pass the OCLT then it's not oxidizing it, so I wouldn't call it a major problem.

    With a DE filter I really doubt the need for a clarifier, but if it is not causing any other problems then a single overnight cloud then I don't see any reason to tell you not to use it. I will say that their claim of not needing an algaecide is completely bogus, I don't use an algaecide or clarifier and have clear shimmering water.
    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
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    Re: Bleach turns into a cloud when adding to pool water

    Quote Originally Posted by Donldson
    It seems like the answer right in front of our noses is that it is reacting with the clarifier. It's the only item you are using that is not regularly used by the others on the board. If it clears up by morning but you pass the OCLT then it's not oxidizing it, so I wouldn't call it a major problem.

    With a DE filter I really doubt the need for a clarifier, but if it is not causing any other problems then a single overnight cloud then I don't see any reason to tell you not to use it. I will say that their claim of not needing an algaecide is completely bogus, I don't use an algaecide or clarifier and have clear shimmering water.

    Yep, and I said that in my first post. I could be wrong, but it would still be my first guess.

    Amy, please don't think we are beating on you for using the clarifier. It is not our intent. We may not agree it's needed and we don't recommend it generally, but it is your choice. We just have the philosophy of not adding anything to our pools we don't have to add, and adding things that have minimal side effects only. The main exception being borates, but even then, not all of us are good candidates for it because of our makeup water chemistry.
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    Re: Bleach turns into a cloud when adding to pool water

    Yes, it does seem like I'm getting reamed for using the clarifier. But like I said, I never would have tried the clarifier had a friend not raved about it. I always thought my water was perfect and clear and beautiful before I used it - and I never had a problem with water that wasn't clear. All I can say is that I wouldn't keep using it if it didn't do amazing things to the water - I can't even express how great it is. I would imagine not every clarifier does such a great job - I don't know - I've never tried another one. The reason they claim that it works like an algaecide is that it removes particles as small as up to 6 microns or something like that - it's hard for algae to bloom and take hold when it's being broken down or clumped up by the clarifier - I don't really know how it works or the chemistry behind their claims. I have never had algae either. If I am not mistaken, I believe algaecides were discovered from clarifiers. They created clarifiers for water clarity and then realized that they stop algae too. Regardless, I just wanted to make sure there wasn't something going wrong with the water. When I add bleach the cloud goes away very quickly. For water this beautiful, I will gladly pay the price of a little white cloud when I add bleach at night. Thanks for your help.
    20K gal, IG Pebble Sheen, IntelliFlo VS 3HP, 60sqft DE Plus 150gpm, Completed 10/2012, 320 Chlorinator (don't use), Del Eclipse 2 Ozone Gen w/MDV, Pentair Legend Platinum Cleaner, Pentair Mastertemp 400K BTU Nat.Gas Heater, 1.5HP WisperFlo Pump for: 4 Weepers, 2 Bubblers, 3 Aerators, 12" Raised Spa w/8' Neg Edge Spillway.

  12. Back To Top    #12

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    Re: Bleach turns into a cloud when adding to pool water

    Any hypochlorite source of chlorine (bleach, chlorinating liquid, Cal-Hypo, lithium hypochlorite) raises the pH and TA significantly where you add it until it gets thoroughly mixed and even then the pH is higher though not by much and it drops back down when the chlorine is used/consumed. If you added 1 gallon of 6% bleach to 10 gallons of your pool water, the pH would get to 9.3, the TA off the charts (due to pH rise, not so much from carbonate alkalinity which only somewhat rises) and the Calcite Saturation Index would be +1.18. Even 1 gallon into 100 gallons has the pH at 8.6 and the saturation index at +0.98. It's only when it gets diluted to around 1 gallon in 1000 gallons where the pH is 8.2 and the saturation index +0.6 so significantly below the level where calcium carbonate cloudiness can occur.

    When you pour over a return flow, it disperses and mixes quickly so one doesn't normally see this effect, but if you pour without circulation in an area, then one can get cloudiness if it spreads and mixes somewhat, but not in a lot of volume. It's not an absolute effect because it depends on how the chlorine mixes. Normally it spreads out like a wavefront so you don't see this effect, but if it were to only get partially mixed with a limited volume of water, then it could cloud up until further diluted.

    As for algaecide coming from clarifier, that's not true in general, but for Polyquat that is true in that it started out as a clarifier before it was discovered that it had algicidal properties so was then sold as an algaecide.

    Based on the MSDS, the ProTeamŪ Microfloc Clarifier is a cationic (positively charged) polymer because it is incompatible with anionic polymers (some polymeric metal sequestrants) so it's similar to most clarifiers and even Polyquat is a cationic polymer though is not as strong a clarifier as others. What is interesting, however, is that the toxicity and ecological information in the MSDS is identical to that in this MSDS and this MSDS which is the chemical Poly [oxyethylene (dimethyliminio)ethylene (dimethyliminio) ethylene dichloride] which is the same as Polyquat.

    If you are willing, get some known Polyquat 60 algaecide, such as GLBŪ Algimycin 600 at $16.74 per quart and use that in place of your ProteamŪ Microfoc Clarifier at $21.35 per quart and see if it has the same effect. You may have to wait a few weeks for the Proteam to mostly go away. Then you can stop using anything just to confirm that the lack of clarity returns and then you can try the Polyquat 60 to see if it restores the clarity. If this is indeed just Polyquat, then you'll have a variety of sources to choose from for it. Note that it is possible that the Proteam contains additional chemicals not listed in the MSDS that might make a difference -- or they are just being sneaky and branding a Polyquat for clarifier use.

    If a clarifier is significantly improving your water clarity, then you've got a problem either with your DE filter or with your circulation (or turnover rate). I once used a clarifier when I did a phosphate remover experiment and needed the water to be cleared up quickly, but I never noticed the water being more clear than normal. I also used a clarifier (GLB Clear Blue) and other unnecessary products including enzymes and algaecide when I first got my pool and used Trichlor pucks/tabs, but again never noticed it being more clear than using chlorinating liquid alone. I suspect that at night with the lights on that I might notice an improvement but only because I have a cartridge filter. With a DE filter and proper circulation, there really shouldn't be any issues with water clarity even at night with lights. We have numerous people on this forum with sparkling water quality, though it does generally get better as you move from sand to cartridge to DE. If the product you describe coagulates particles as small as 2 microns as they claim, then that would certainly improve water clarity for sand and cartridge filters, though for DE it shouldn't be dramatically improved as DE should remove down to 2-5 microns already. One can also use a Slime Bag to filter down to 1 micron if that is the desired goal.
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    Re: Bleach turns into a cloud when adding to pool water

    Thanks for the info. That's very interesting about the ProTeam Microfloc Clarifier having the same MSDS as Polyquat 60. The data sheet for my DE filter states that it removes down to 6 microns, so I think the microfloc clarifier is maybe doing a little more. I still can't describe how different the water is. The pool store says it polishing the water. I would even buy you a bottle to see if you see a noticeable difference in your pool. No joke, it really makes a difference. Anyway, I will try the polyquat 60 and see if it does the same thing - may have to buy two bottles to use it for a while to see if it produces the same effect. I have read about other polyquats 60 brands on this site that are cheaper. I may try the one you mentioned first just to see if it does the same thing?? Who knows. I am game for saving money, but don't want to give up the "polished" water effect. Just on a side note, I added bleach tonight with daylight still out - pool lights weren't even on yet. The "white" bleach cloud never occurred. I guess it's just something you can only see at night with the pool light on. I thought it was pretty strange that you couldn't see it at all in the daylight. I also think it's surprising that I'm the only one who's seen it. It's really cool to watch the cloud move. Glad to hear there are no issues. I was just concerned that something was wrong with my water chemistry.
    20K gal, IG Pebble Sheen, IntelliFlo VS 3HP, 60sqft DE Plus 150gpm, Completed 10/2012, 320 Chlorinator (don't use), Del Eclipse 2 Ozone Gen w/MDV, Pentair Legend Platinum Cleaner, Pentair Mastertemp 400K BTU Nat.Gas Heater, 1.5HP WisperFlo Pump for: 4 Weepers, 2 Bubblers, 3 Aerators, 12" Raised Spa w/8' Neg Edge Spillway.

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    Re: Bleach turns into a cloud when adding to pool water

    I would suggest this horse has been beaten to death....R.I.P.
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