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Thread: New pool owner with bottom of pool turning yellow/brown

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    New pool owner with bottom of pool turning yellow/brown

    Okay I moved into this house a few months back and I have been using some of the Aqua Chem test strips and then buying the items it says. I have a chrlorine feeder that holds about 10 of the 3 inch chlorine tablets and I have been cleaning out the baskets and I did my first DE filter flush/replenish a few weeks ago. I have below water scrubbers that when the pump is going (I have it running for 5 hours a day) it moves all the around to the traps.

    So far I have only had to shock the pool once and this was after the pool was accidentally turned off my my wife playing with knobs.

    When we bought the house the pool was blue all the way to the bottom blue pebbles. Now the water is clear but I am seeing small patches of a yellowish/brownish color that seems to be ON the bottom of the pool (not in the water) right now its only covering about 1/4th the pool but its not "clean" all around like it was when we bought it.

    The numbers from the tester I used is -

    ALK 120
    PH 7.2
    Free CL 0.8
    HRD 350
    CYA 250 (this number has always been red/which I suppose means bad) but there is no indicated on how to change this number.

    Am I doing something as stupid as not using a scrub brush on the bottom like I should or something? Like I said I never owned a pool so unsure how to do things outside of the filter maintenance, and the chemical maintenance.
    Brand new pool owner
    Size of pool - appx 20,000 gallons
    Filter - DE
    Inground pool plaster/pebble
    (Not asked to be revealed but screened in pool enclosure)
    Do not know flow rate of pump

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner with bottom of pool turning yellow/brown

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    First you have to realize that test strips are extremely inaccurate. If you want to know what is going on in your water you need to order one of the Recommended Test Kits. While waiting for the kit to arrive, read Pool School a few times to start to understand the chemistry.

    IF that CYA number is correct it is WAY WAY higher than our recommended range of 30-50ppm. In addition the FC is WAY WAY too low for that CYA level. The required FC is a function of the CYA level as seen in the FC/CYA Chart. So, likely what you are seeing on the pool surface is algae growing.

    After you get a good test kit, you need to confirm the CYA level and replace enough water to get it into the recommended range. Then you will need to SLAM the pool. [slam:13wzwtmk][/slam:13wzwtmk]

    By reading you should realize that the tablets are not a long term solution, especially for pools that are not closed. They add FC and CYA. The FC is consumed, but the CYA builds up which requires a higher FC level until eventually the CYA is just unmanageably high requiring water replacement. You will need to switch to liquid chlorine / bleach to avoid these problems again.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: New pool owner with bottom of pool turning yellow/brown

    Thanks for the reply I'll make sure to get one of the good test kits and really delve deeper into this.

    One question I am guessing at my gallons in my pool is there any way to really "know" short of putting some kind of meter on a hose and draining the pool and refilling it?

    I know its general shape, I know its about 3 feet at the shortest to 6 and 1/2 at its deepest. So that's how I got my gallon "guess".

    Is there any kind of liquid chlorine dispenser I can put in kind of like the inline tablet dispenser that is in place? I really liked the fact I just had to put in 10 tablets and let it sit and show the right amount of chlorine in it?

    Lastly you mention that I will be needing to drain my pool partially? Is that the only way to decrease the CYA number? Just verifying there isn't' something else that can deal with CYA that does not require a lot of water waste. Is there something I should be doing when its drained to treat the algae outside of the refilling of the pool and SLAMing it?
    Brand new pool owner
    Size of pool - appx 20,000 gallons
    Filter - DE
    Inground pool plaster/pebble
    (Not asked to be revealed but screened in pool enclosure)
    Do not know flow rate of pump

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner with bottom of pool turning yellow/brown

    The exact volume does not matter. As you start to use the poolcalculator and are dosing chemicals, you will get a feel for if the volume is more or less than you think based on if you continually overshoot or undershoot.

    If you want to provide some pictures of the pool with some dimensions, we can help you estimate the volume. That said 56k is a HUGE pool especially if it is only 6.5 feet deep at the most.

    I would suggest you get a feel for maintenance and then consider automation. There are 3 decent options
    1. A salt-water generator that "creates" the chlorine from salt in the water
    2. The liquidator ... which will add bleach for you. If the pool is truly that big, this may not work
    3. A peristaltic pump to add bleach. Again if the pool is that big, you will need a very large container of bleach and have to be filling it often.

    Yes, draining the water is the only way you have available to you to lower the CYA and this is the MAJOR drawback of using the pucks or dichlor powders. There is really nothing you need to do while the pool is drained, you could power wash the sides to knock most of the algae off, but depends on the state of the pool.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
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    Re: New pool owner with bottom of pool turning yellow/brown

    Okay here is the picture of the pool and the brownish/yellowish splotches. As you can see the water itself is clear its just on the bottom of the pool. The width of the pool is about 14 feet and the length of the pool is about 38 feet. The first section by the steps (to the left side of the full picture off the top barely viewable) is about 3-4 feet, the middle by the waterfall is about 5 feet and then the side by the light is over 6 feet as I am 6'2" and I can not stand on the bottom with my head out of the water. I got the number from a very generic online gallon calculator so it may be way off. As a matter of fact I just plugged these numbers into another one that had one and was giving me between 18k-20k gallons depending on if I plugged in oblong or rectangular.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Brand new pool owner
    Size of pool - appx 20,000 gallons
    Filter - DE
    Inground pool plaster/pebble
    (Not asked to be revealed but screened in pool enclosure)
    Do not know flow rate of pump

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner with bottom of pool turning yellow/brown

    Yeah, I would put it around 19k +/- 1K so any of the automation methods would work
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
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    Re: New pool owner with bottom of pool turning yellow/brown

    Thanks guys all the answers here I am really starting to get a "feel" for my pool. I know you mentioned to get the pool in check with the items I have and then think about the SWG potential but considering those pucks and the thing I filled has done nothing but lend to the problems the pool is having (that and the prior owners weren't really doing much maintenance) I have to wonder if I should not just do the following -

    1) Take out the pucks from that automatic feeder.
    2) Ditch the pucks I have left.
    3) Get info on a good SWG System for an appx 20k gallon pool. Get it installed and learn to use it.
    4) Drain the water from the pool (the calculator I used said I need to drain almost 77% to get it to a comfortable CYA level for SWG anyhow).
    5) Get some Chlorine (what kind should I use and how much the SLAM page does not go into those details I am assuming because of different pool sizes?) to then do the SLAM.
    5) Use those newly ordered "TFP recommended" test kits that should come in the next week once the water is back in and the SWG is running to continue maintenance.

    Is there any list of chemicals I should keep on hand in the garage I already know I need a large bucket of DE for my filter (I ordered it about 2 weeks ago it still has not shown up for some reason) but I am not worried yet because I just cleaned out the filter and replenished the DE in the filter.
    From http://www.poolcalculator.com/ I am seeing

    Bleach
    Borax
    Baking Soda
    Calcium Chloride

    Do any of these have shelf lives I should be worried about and things I should not be ordering unless I absolutely need to? Are there any of the above few items I don't need to worry about at all with a SWG system should the above proposed route be something you guys think would be a good route to go?

    What I am looking for is something easy to maintain year round also something I am not having to continually "tweak majorly" adding a few things here and there is fine.

    Of these chemicals is there any that I need to ensure the kids don't go swimming for a long time (outside of the SLAM) once added?
    Brand new pool owner
    Size of pool - appx 20,000 gallons
    Filter - DE
    Inground pool plaster/pebble
    (Not asked to be revealed but screened in pool enclosure)
    Do not know flow rate of pump

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner with bottom of pool turning yellow/brown

    You can not accurately SLAM until you have one of the recommended test kits ... so that need to move up higher on your list. Also the SWG should move to the very end of your list as it is not used for the SLAM process. Once you complete SLAMing, then you will have a better understanding of the maintenance and the SWG research / install / etc can be easily delayed.

    So, I would suggest this:
    1. Order the test kit
    2. Pull out the pucks and add one bottle of bleach to the pool every day until the kit arrives. You can save the pucks as they can be useful for vacations/etc later.
    3. Run a full set of tests.
    4. Replace water to get the CYA in range.
    5. SLAM to completion
    6. Leisurely research chlorine automation.

    I would not stock up on anything at this point except bleach. Depending on your pool, you may never need baking soda or borax or calcium. The BBB method is really just about understanding your pool’s chemistry and through accurate testing, adding only what the pool NEEDS and not what someone wants to sell you. Buy what you need when you need it.

    It is generally safe to swim 30-60 minutes after adding bleach / muriatic acid. The other things maybe not even that long.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
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    Re: New pool owner with bottom of pool turning yellow/brown

    Thanks again, I'll modify my list and work on the pool doing it that way.
    Brand new pool owner
    Size of pool - appx 20,000 gallons
    Filter - DE
    Inground pool plaster/pebble
    (Not asked to be revealed but screened in pool enclosure)
    Do not know flow rate of pump

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    Re: New pool owner with bottom of pool turning yellow/brown

    Just to chime in a bit late - but from your pics it looks like mustard algae. I had the same problem - due to high CYA and not enough chlorine to compensate. SLAMing took care of it.

    I'm also probably going to convert to a SWG - but you can easily maintain your pool in the meantime with bleach from walmart. That's what i've been doing and it looks great.
    18k vinyl IGP, Sand Filter, EasyTouch Control Sys, Pentair Intelliflo, Intellichlor IC 40 SWG, Rheem Heat Pump.

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    Re: New pool owner with bottom of pool turning yellow/brown

    Never too late to chime in and any information is definitely helpful. My wife made me buy a house with a pool I have not owned one my entire life. I know nothing about upkeep as I have only swam in public pools or in neighbors when invited over. After we bought the house she turned to me and said "your in charge of it I am not doing anything".

    I kind of feel like I am being lowered into a shark tank without a cage.

    We paid for a "pool school" the guy came over showed me all the parts so I was comfortable with the filer, the chlorinator, the pump and the valve between the filter and the waterfall (on the same cycle not 2 separate pumps so you either have a lot of filter or a larger waterfall feature with little filtering).

    At the time I was 0 tabs in the chlorinator, the pool set to mainly waterfall very little filter, and the filter going almost 9 hours a day, and no indication as to when the main filter had been discharged and refilled with DE. He never mentioned the gallons in my pool when he was here.

    We then changed it to tabs in the chlorinator, turned way down the waterfall feature and did more filtering, dropped it from 9 hours a day to 6 hours a day as he told me usually should be to 4-5, and redid the DE after a discharge.

    All was clean and clear but the test strips were showing that high CYA mark and that had me scared. I also noticed when I put the tabs in there I really didn't notice much of any raise in the chlorine in the pool even with the feeder fully open to 5. That was when I started to freak out and ask a few places in stores and realized so few stores in the area knew what was going on.

    That's how I found here and I have got more information in the last 2 days than The entire time I have owned this house.

    I'll be manually adding the bleach at this point and waiting for those kits to come in.
    Brand new pool owner
    Size of pool - appx 20,000 gallons
    Filter - DE
    Inground pool plaster/pebble
    (Not asked to be revealed but screened in pool enclosure)
    Do not know flow rate of pump

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    pwrstrk's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner with bottom of pool turning yellow/brown

    Good job !! You are moving in the right direction to being in control of your pool. The kit was one of the best investment's to make. Keep reading in pool school and when you have any questions just ask.
    Jeff
    24'x54" AG Morada RTR (by wilbar) 13'500 gal. Hayward Powerflo Matrix 1hp 2 speed. Hayward Perflex EC65 DE filter.

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    gatorbrit's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner with bottom of pool turning yellow/brown

    Quote Originally Posted by StumpedTechy
    That's how I found here and I have got more information in the last 2 days than The entire time I have owned this house.

    I'll be manually adding the bleach at this point and waiting for those kits to come in.
    Basically my story! I had a new pool installed in the spring and battled algae all summer (high CYA and other issues). Within a few days of starting the BBB approach my pool is beautiful and effortless. I barely even think about it. Just do a test, add bleach.

    Keeping a pool nice is really very very easy - there is just a whole industry trying to make it seem complicated.
    18k vinyl IGP, Sand Filter, EasyTouch Control Sys, Pentair Intelliflo, Intellichlor IC 40 SWG, Rheem Heat Pump.

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    Re: New pool owner with bottom of pool turning yellow/brown

    Good news! I just drained it almost completely, used bleach and got most of the yellowish muck out of it. Filled it with a junk hose and only filled the pool about 1/5th of the way in 1 day my wife bought a new good hose and within a day it was almost 100% refilled. I just returned on all the filtering stuff and letting it go. doing the ph check to make sure at 7.2 and then going to use the chart to check the CYA and SLAM it good.

    One question should I turn off the water feature when I SLAM I have a diversion between the underwater skimmers and the waterfall usually at the 1/3rd waterfall 2/3rds skimmers. Its all plumbed close together and the waterfall is not a large thing coming out just a small little line right next to thee pool.

    So should I slam it with or without it going? I started another thread on pool hardware because I want to ensure I have everything needed to maintain this going forward so I don't get this algae problem in the future. I assume these vaccums help a bit wiith any pollen that may sink to the bottom? (Please answer this last question in the other thread).
    Brand new pool owner
    Size of pool - appx 20,000 gallons
    Filter - DE
    Inground pool plaster/pebble
    (Not asked to be revealed but screened in pool enclosure)
    Do not know flow rate of pump

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner with bottom of pool turning yellow/brown

    You can leave it on ... at least part of the time.
    You should run water through all the pipes at least some of the time so that everything is exposed to the SLAM FC level.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner with bottom of pool turning yellow/brown

    I would add that you need to brush the pool good and often! Brushing helps to disrupt any algae biofilm on the surfaces of the pool (and water features) and allow the higher CL levels to do its thing in killing off the algae cooties. Brushing also helps circulate water in odd corners or areas that don't have as much water movement.
    My Amazon Smile for November12K Fiberglass IG, Infinity 4000 automatic cover, SWCG, Hayward Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 Pump, Doheny Discovery Robot, Savi Melody LED pool lights, outdoor speakers and other assorted doo-dads. Sundance Altamar Hot Tub.
    Our pool build--> Our Pool Solved Our Sloping Yard Skippy's Cheap Pool Cooler -->Skippy's New Fountain

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    Re: New pool owner with bottom of pool turning yellow/brown

    Thanks guys you have been such a helpful group. Its sad my brother has a pool (and has for years) and he has 0 insight to give me and then I can come onto a forum and I get answers within hours. Your the greatest!
    Brand new pool owner
    Size of pool - appx 20,000 gallons
    Filter - DE
    Inground pool plaster/pebble
    (Not asked to be revealed but screened in pool enclosure)
    Do not know flow rate of pump

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    Re: New pool owner with bottom of pool turning yellow/brown

    It seems like you've got things under control...but I do have one question:

    I didn't see you say this in my glance through the thread - what is your fill water source? Is it city water or well water? I'm in CFL, too, and we use well water. Our white fiberglass steps are turning yellow/brown but I'm pretty sure that's iron in the water. I scrub and nothing comes off.

    If you scrub and the "yellow brown" comes swirling up - I'd say algae, too.
    15,000 gal, IG, Vinyl
    Cartridge Filter: Hayward C12002, 120 GPM
    Pump: 1.5 hp, Flotec AT251501-01
    TF-100 Test Kit

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    zimm's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner with bottom of pool turning yellow/brown

    Congrats on learning to control the pool. This was my first year with a pool and the prior owner was an idiot and did me a "favor" by showing me how the pool store can test my water and have me spend $700 on garbage chemicals and overpriced parts.

    Once I got the TF-100 I realized I needed lots of bleach from costco. Once I needed borax, and once I needed baking soda- that's it. I did need to add quite a bit of CYA after I converted to a salt water generator. Since I added the pool pilot digital nano + (highly recommend), I haven't had to add any more bleach and no more mustard algae blooms. With 17k gallons, I have the SWG throttled down to 30% run time, 8 hours a day and it still hold FC at 5! So go oversize if you get a SWG.

    Only maintenance on the pool after the SWG is a weekly chemical test, brush once in a while, and keep the filter baskets clean.

    Another idea- if you are on city sewer, call the water company and let them know you filled up your pool. They will usually not charge you the sewage fee for all that water.
    45'x12' 17k gal, IG plaster, Pool Pilot Nano+ SWG, 1/2hp Whisperflo pump, PAC-FAB TA-60D sand filter, Raypak 266 heater
    Pool School + Test Kit + Pool Math = Trouble Free Pool

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    Re: New pool owner with bottom of pool turning yellow/brown

    Nplsdvr - I am using city water to refill and its actually ran through a filter as I have a whole home filtered and softened water system. So the water going in was pretty "clean" as it is. I didn't have to do much to change even the ph when I did the refill.

    zimm - thanks for letting me know I'll tell them that it was to fill the pool and see if I can get a discount. Anything to save a few $'s in the pool refill cost.

    The old left equipment was crud and crumbling. In fact the brush left could not even fit into the pole. I was so naive I didn't realize a pool needed to be scrubbed at all.

    New manual brush should be in any day all thee yellow is gone except on small spot I missed when it was drained and I was hand scrubbing it all. Unfortunately the SLAM chrlonating isn't getting rid of it I think a good scrubbing it should make it disappear when this brush arrives.

    With this new equipment and the "good" test kits and seeing I only need regular chemicals not this stuff I was spending hundreds of dollars on it I am feeling So much better about taking care of this beast. I actually think with this money savings and with me keeping it under control I may invest in one of the robotic scrubber/cleaners. So the only final part I'll be looking into is automation of the chlorinating as I am just dumping in the gallons and no longer using that puck/tab automation thing as it was causing problems to begin with.
    Brand new pool owner
    Size of pool - appx 20,000 gallons
    Filter - DE
    Inground pool plaster/pebble
    (Not asked to be revealed but screened in pool enclosure)
    Do not know flow rate of pump

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