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Thread: Help with algae and balancing

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    Help with algae and balancing

    Hi everyone. I am new to this forum and am really excited about having a TFP. My wife and I recently purchased a new (to us) home in March. The home was a short sale and had been sitting for quite a while. The pool was partially empty until the last week before we closed on the house. The seller assured us the pool and equipment was functional. When we moved in the pool was full, the water was clear, the home inspector said everything looked like it was working, and all was well.

    Our previous home was a rental and had a pool. The landlord had a company come and put liquid chlorine in the pool once a week, which I paid for ($40/month). I did the rest in regards to sweeping, vacuuming, backwashing, etc. With the new pool I decided that I wanted to do all the maintenance myself for a number of reasons which my wife can't understand. She wanted the chemical company, so we made an agreement; if the pool turns green twice, we call the "professionals" back.

    So I went to my local pool store and willingly gave them $300 for a bunch of stuff they said I needed. I followed their instructions and kept a mostly clear pool for most of the summer. After reading here, I think I have been having algae problems from the very beginning, and I am certain it was because of bad testing.

    Then it happened. We went on a short vacation over labor day, and when we returned my pool was a pond. I went back to the pool store, bought more stuff, and got it almost clear except for a couple of spots of green algae on the wall. Then the battle turned for the worse and what seemed like overnight, my pool was a pond again.

    Meanwhile I had been reading on this site and considering firing my pool store. They are officially fired as of Monday. I bought a TF100 test kit which arrived on Wednesday. I tested my water and this is what I had.

    Temp 78F
    PH 7.2
    FC 2.5
    CC 0.5
    TC 3.0
    TA 70
    CH 280
    CYA 100+

    Mind you the CYA was taken with the pond water. The test strips I had been using before that measured a stabilizer value would vary from the 50-100 range to the 100-150 range. I did another CYA test by diluting my pool water with half fresh water. This value was 80, which would be a CYA of 160. Am I correct with this assumption?

    I adjusted the PH with a PH increaser I had left from the pool store and got my PH to 7.5. I then started the SLAM on Friday. As of tonight, the pool doesn't look any better. I think I'm being impatient but I have some concerns.

    Do I need to stop now, and replace a bunch of water to get my CYA lower and then continue?
    Or could I just continued the SLAM, but vacuum to waste each day, refill, re-check FC, and adjust it back to shock level?
    How long should it take before I start to see results?

    I really want this to work and prove to my wife that I can maintain the pool for much less money and effort then the "professionals". Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Cheers,

    Geoff

    p.s. sorry for being so long winded. I won't write as much in the future!
    8,500 gallon in ground pebble, sand filter, in ground cleaning system, waterfall, Tucson, Az

  2. Back To Top    #2
    linen's Avatar
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    Re: Help with algae and balancing

    Welcome to tfp, geoffwest7

    Quote Originally Posted by geoffwest7
    I did another CYA test by diluting my pool water with half fresh water. This value was 80, which would be a CYA of 160. Am I correct with this assumption?
    Yes, that should be a decent approximation.

    Quote Originally Posted by geoffwest7
    Do I need to stop now, and replace a bunch of water to get my CYA lower and then continue?
    Yes, with a cya of 160, you would need a SLAM level of 39 ppm, which is to high too be practical.
    Quote Originally Posted by geoffwest7
    How long should it take before I start to see results?
    You should see discernible progress in the water color and clarity daily or for sure every couple of days. How often are you having to backflush your filter?

    One other note...as you may already know the "pool frog" also adds copper to your water which is not needed but can stain surfaces and turn blond hair green.

    What chlorine source are you using for the SLAM process?
    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: Help with algae and balancing

    Ok. That is what I thought. I am going to use the calculator to try and figure out how much I need to drain and then do it in a couple of increments. I'll probably do it while vacuuming to waste to hopefully get some of the junk out at the same time.

    How often are you having to backflush your filter?
    Not that often. The gauge reads 20psi when clean. I've been back washing when it reaches 25psi. I think I've only done it on average once a month.

    What chlorine source are you using for the SLAM process?
    I bought some 8.25% Clorox from Costco. It seems pretty cheap, all thing considered. I used a formula to figure cost I found on here [Price/(quantity in oz/percent concentration)] and its $0.30/oz available chlorine. However, I've already gone through almost 12 gallons of the stuff to get to my shock FC. I'm still looking for a higher concentration chlorine source at a lower price. KMart and WalMart are about the same as Costco around here. Next stop is a restaurant supply store to see if they have any commercial grade stuff.

    Thanks for the tip on the Frog. I had no idea it added copper to the water. I have stopped using it all together, and aside from circulating the pool water through the empty feeder to try and kill algae, it is not being used.

    Should I try to mess with any of the other values like CH, or TA before I continue the SLAM, or just get the CYA down, SLAM, and then balance?

    Thanks again.
    8,500 gallon in ground pebble, sand filter, in ground cleaning system, waterfall, Tucson, Az

  4. Back To Top    #4
    pwrstrk's Avatar
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    Re: Help with algae and balancing

    Just get your CYA level down. The other levels can wait till your done with the SALM process.
    Jeff
    24'x54" AG Morada RTR (by wilbar) 13'500 gal. Hayward Powerflo Matrix 1hp 2 speed. Hayward Perflex EC65 DE filter.

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Re: Help with algae and balancing

    Thanks! Done! A little was done intentionally, and some was done on accident, but I've got my CYA at what I'm calling 32. Is this too low for Tucson, AZ? I also removed the light and found algae behind it. I am going to leave it out of the niche but in the water for the next few days so I can scrub it while I continue to SLAM. Once I finish the slam with all three requirements, I'll work on balancing the rest of the water. Starting to look good already, thanks to everyone here on TFP!
    8,500 gallon in ground pebble, sand filter, in ground cleaning system, waterfall, Tucson, Az

  6. Back To Top    #6
    pwrstrk's Avatar
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    Re: Help with algae and balancing

    A CYA level of 30 is great for the SLAM process. Just make sure you pass the three criteria for stopping the SLAM.
    1 water is crystal clear.
    2 CC of 0.5 or less.
    3 you pass the OCLT pool-school/overnight_fc_test
    You can raise your CYA level to 50 for where you live and see how that works. 60 ppm might even work better. Depends on how much sun and FC loss you experience.
    Jeff
    24'x54" AG Morada RTR (by wilbar) 13'500 gal. Hayward Powerflo Matrix 1hp 2 speed. Hayward Perflex EC65 DE filter.

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Re: Need advice on best TA level

    Post moved. Please keep everything related together in one place. Do not hijack other people's topics. And never ask the same question in more than one place. JasonLion

    I'm going to post in here first before starting a new thread because I am curious about this same issue. I understand the balance that TA and pH have and want to get to that ideal value for TA. What would you define as a fairly stable pH or a slow increase in pH? I have been toying with the TA and slowly bringing it down, but I don't want to go to far strictly for trying to reach a number. Currently my pH has been increasing from about 7.5-7.8 every other day. Is this about average? I'm using 10% bleach, and 31% muratic acid. I plan on increasing my CYA, with dry stabilizer, just a a little, because of the sun and that I anticipate my pool to be mid 80's in a few weeks. I may also change my CH just a little bit but that depends on what the CSI ends up being at the warmer temp. Reading this morning:

    Temp 72 F
    FC 5.5
    CC 0
    pH 7.8
    TA 120
    CH 240
    CYA 40

    Sorry if I'm hijacking. I just thought my questions was similar in content and might help everyone.
    8,500 gallon in ground pebble, sand filter, in ground cleaning system, waterfall, Tucson, Az

  8. Back To Top    #8
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Help with algae and balancing

    You want to adjust things so you don't adjust PH nearly as often. Adjusting PH more than once a week is way too often. This should be easy to accomplish by lowering TA further.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Smykowski's Avatar
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    Re: Help with algae and balancing

    Does it settle around 7.8? Or does it keep drifting higher?

    And is there any reason why you're bringing it down to 7.5? Some pools seem to find a stable pH and settle around 7.7 or 7.8.
    33' round, 23,000 gal AG vinyl , 1HP 2spd PowerFlo Matrix downsized with 3/4HP impeller (X2), Hayward S180T 150# sand filter (X2), Hayward H250 NG heater Pool Store year 1 - $850 for 2 months; Pool Store year 2 - $440 for 2 months, TFPC year 1 - $170 for 4 months; TFPC year 2 - $95 for 4.5 months
    The most important article on this site - The ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Re: Help with algae and balancing

    Sorry for posting in the wrong place. Won't happen again.
    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion View Post
    You want to adjust things so you don't adjust PH nearly as often. Adjusting PH more than once a week is way too often. This should be easy to accomplish by lowering TA further.
    That is what I was thinking but wasn't sure. I'll lower some more and see if I can get it down to a week or so before I have to adjust.
    Quote Originally Posted by Smykowski View Post
    Does it settle around 7.8? Or does it keep drifting higher?

    And is there any reason why you're bringing it down to 7.5? Some pools seem to find a stable pH and settle around 7.7 or 7.8.
    It will continue to drift up. It was 8.2 on the 1st, I dropped it to 7.5, on the 5th it was back at 7.8. I then dropped to 7.5, the next night 7.8 again, drop to 7.5 next night 7.8.Since I've been keeping it between 7.5 and 7.8 but feel like I have been adjusting too often.

    The reason I drop to 7.5 is because of my work schedule. I am only home every other day for a week and a half then home every day for a week. I have been dropping it to 7.5 so it won't go above 7.8 by the time I can be home again. When I am home every day I can make smaller adjustments. I'd like to be at a point where I don't have to adjust the pH as often.

    What do you think about this plan. Drop TA to 100. Let pool settle at a pH of 7.7-7.8 and see how many days it holds. If it still drifts up to 8.2 in 2-3 days, drop TA by 10 more. Repeat until I get a holding pH for 5+ days. Reasonable plan? How bad is it for the pH to get up to 8.2 for a day or so?

    By the way, you guys, this site, and all the knowledge held within are amazing! I have transformed my pool, almost made my wife a believer (one more summer and I think she'll be hooked), and freed myself from my local pool store. Thank you!
    8,500 gallon in ground pebble, sand filter, in ground cleaning system, waterfall, Tucson, Az

  11. Back To Top    #11
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Help with algae and balancing

    Why go to all that trouble? Just lower TA to around 70-90, which is the recommended level anyway, and the problem will most likely be solved, especially given that you are away for a couple of days frequently.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  12. Back To Top    #12

    Re: Help with algae and balancing

    Why are the answers to the these complex questions in my head so simple. Gotta stop over thinking stuff. That is what I will do. Get my TA down and see what happens. Thank you.
    8,500 gallon in ground pebble, sand filter, in ground cleaning system, waterfall, Tucson, Az

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