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Thread: New Pool Owner - Finished SLAM, Now on to Stain ID/Removal

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    New Pool Owner - Finished SLAM, Now on to Stain ID/Removal

    My husband and I bought a house with a pool built in the 70s with what appears to be original plaster and equipment. We moved here in the middle of October. The local pool supply store guy told me I just needed to keep the chlorine at the right level and we'd be fine ... um, not so much.

    We started with just a basic Chlorine/PH testing kit, and it's been a struggle to keep the chlorine in the ideal range. It seems to be eaten up faster than would be expected given our weather conditions, etc.

    I noticed brown staining in the pool when we moved in and wasn't sure/still am not sure what it was.

    Not too long after we moved in, we noticed that the Polaris pool sweep and the pool filter weren't working as well as they should and pretty soon they both stopped working at all. When we opened up the filter we found it absolutely 100% clogged with DE and yew tree needles and the filter screens themselves were all torn up. Got it cleaned up and new filter grids in place and everything seems to be working well again on that front, but they were out of commission for almost a week.

    So as you can imagine, during the time when the filter was underperforming and we had no pool sweep function, black spots developed in the pool. Local pool supply guy had me try a copper algaecide along with frequent brushing. He said to keep the chlorine level very high which I was unable to do... it was consumed so quickly, and I wasn't checking/replenishing it often enough. So we still have black algae plus some blue staining from the copper.

    In frustration, I started doing some reading here and decided to order the TF-100 test kit. It arrived yesterday and I tested the water this morning.

    My results:

    FC 2.5
    CC 1.5
    TA 120
    CYA 95
    CH 950

    Other random facts in no particular order: [*]I'm in Central CA and the weather has been in the 50s and 40s at night, 50s-70s in the day lately. [*]I'm 18 weeks pregnant and have a 18 month old and a 5 year old and do my best to do daily maintenance daily, but sometimes it's more like every other day.[*]I've been finding white crystals in the bag of my Polaris -- I'm guessing this is related to the high CH levels?[*]There are two large yew trees near the pool and their needles get blown in frequently. I added a sock to the skimmer basket to keep these from getting into the filter in the future.[*]I'm finding a lot of dead bugs (gnats, bees, flies) in the pool and skimmer basket/sock when I do my daily/every other day cleaning.

    Thoughts and suggestions please?
    New owner of a 70s-built 24,000 gallon in-ground plaster pool with an original DE filter and Polaris 250 automated sweep

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    Re: New Pool Owner

    Hello, and welcome to TFP!

    I am 99.99% sure you have an algae issue. The black spots are most likely black algae, and I'm betting you also have regular algae in the pool. That CH is very high, and if your pH is off too, you will have scaling.

    Black algae will feel waxy and turn dark green if you scratch it off with a fingernail. To remove it, you will need to follow the SLAM process outlined in Pool School at the top right corner of this page, AND you will have to scratch it off the surface of the pool. I recommend a small wire brush for removing it. A regular brush or even a pole mounted wire brush practically never works.

    Can you post some pictures of your pool? If that plaster is really that old, most likely you have pitting at this point, something black algae loves.

    What are you using for chlorine additions? If you are using Cal Hypo (power powder plus), you need to stop immediately. This adds to your CH issue.
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
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    Re: New Pool Owner

    Does your brown staining look like this?

    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
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    Re: New Pool Owner

    Quote Originally Posted by RobbieH
    Hello, and welcome to TFP!

    I am 99.99% sure you have an algae issue. The black spots are most likely black algae, and I'm betting you also have regular algae in the pool. That CH is very high, and if your pH is off too, you will have scaling.

    Black algae will feel waxy and turn dark green if you scratch it off with a fingernail. To remove it, you will need to follow the SLAM process outlined in Pool School at the top right corner of this page, AND you will have to scratch it off the surface of the pool. I recommend a small wire brush for removing it. A regular brush or even a pole mounted wire brush practically never works.

    Can you post some pictures of your pool? If that plaster is really that old, most likely you have pitting at this point, something black algae loves.

    What are you using for chlorine additions? If you are using Cal Hypo (power powder plus), you need to stop immediately. This adds to your CH issue.
    Forgot to share the pH, it is 7.5 and has never gone out of range in the whole time we've owned the pool, I test it every time I test chlorine levels.

    For chlorine additions, I am using liquid chlorine from the local pool supply store. The label says "sodium hypochlorite, 12.5%." I recently (within the past two weeks) added a 3" chlorine trichloro-s-triazinetrione tablet in a float the previous owners left to try to keep the chlorine levels more stable from day to day.

    I can take some pictures today.
    New owner of a 70s-built 24,000 gallon in-ground plaster pool with an original DE filter and Polaris 250 automated sweep

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    Re: New Pool Owner

    Quote Originally Posted by RobbieH
    Does your brown staining look like this?

    The brown staining is fairly similar to what's on the vertical wall in the picture. I will try to get my own picture today.
    New owner of a 70s-built 24,000 gallon in-ground plaster pool with an original DE filter and Polaris 250 automated sweep

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    Re: New Pool Owner

    Took a bunch of pictures and made a public Picasa album:

    Here is a pic of the two biggest black spots:


    Here are two others that show the brown staining pretty well:



    Here's a link to the rest of the album:
    https://picasaweb.google.com/1157321874 ... directlink
    New owner of a 70s-built 24,000 gallon in-ground plaster pool with an original DE filter and Polaris 250 automated sweep

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    Re: New Pool Owner - Rapid Chlorine Loss - now with PICTURES

    Read the extended instructions for the TF-100 and feel like I should probably retest to make sure my high numbers are really accurate.
    New owner of a 70s-built 24,000 gallon in-ground plaster pool with an original DE filter and Polaris 250 automated sweep

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    Re: New Pool Owner - Rapid Chlorine Loss - now with PICTURES

    Your TF-100 results indicate the need to SLAM your pool. Pretty sure you have some algae brewing and you need to SLAM to get rid of it. read "SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain" in the How To section of Pool School

    The pictures of your pool surface looks an awful lot like calcium scaling.

    I would treat the above as two seperate issues....first SLAM the pool and get your pool algae free and balanced.

    Once that's done, we can help with identifying and removing the stains on your pool surface.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: New Pool Owner - Rapid Chlorine Loss - now with PICTURES

    Finally finished the SLAM

    Should I start a new thread to address how to clear up the staining or keep this thread or my SLAM thread going?
    New owner of a 70s-built 24,000 gallon in-ground plaster pool with an original DE filter and Polaris 250 automated sweep

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    Re: New Pool Owner - Rapid Chlorine Loss - now with PICTURES

    Did you perform the OCLT which confirms the SLAM is complete? Post those ending numbers so we can help advise on the staining using those numbers.

    If so, time to let that rest and start working on the stain. Keeping it right here is often very helpful so folks can reference back all the posts and gain more insight.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: New Pool Owner - Finished SLAM, Now on to Stain ID/Remov

    Yes, performed OCLT to verify SLAM done.

    Didn't do full panel of testing this morning, just FC and CC:

    FC: 38.5 (it was 38.5 at sunset yesterday also = OCLT of ZERO!!!)
    CC: 0.5
    Water is clear.

    Results from other tests are from 11/22/13, so a few weeks old at this point, but I will post them as reference in case they may not have changed much if at all:

    CYA: 80
    CH: 950
    TA: 125

    Here are some updated pictures:



    Full pool from east


    Full pool from west (on top of the diving board )


    View of drain and biggest areas of brownish staining



    Two views of the black spot on bottom of pool


    Black spot under water return (and black staining around water return)
    New owner of a 70s-built 24,000 gallon in-ground plaster pool with an original DE filter and Polaris 250 automated sweep

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    Re: New Pool Owner - Finished SLAM, Now on to Stain ID/Remov

    FC this morning was 36, and CC was 0.5.

    Tested TA this morning, it has risen to 160.

    Tested the CH of my fill water this morning as well, it is 110.
    New owner of a 70s-built 24,000 gallon in-ground plaster pool with an original DE filter and Polaris 250 automated sweep

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    Re: New Pool Owner - Finished SLAM, Now on to Stain ID/Remov

    Bump...

    FC holding well, dropping very slowly as it was still 35 today, CC 0.

    Can we talk about the stains?
    New owner of a 70s-built 24,000 gallon in-ground plaster pool with an original DE filter and Polaris 250 automated sweep

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    Re: New Pool Owner - Finished SLAM, Now on to Stain ID/Remov

    Absolutely. That the stains apparently didn't change AT ALL during the SLAM would indicate they are not organic. I'm almost sure of it.

    What I think you have is calcium scaling. It can be removed in different ways......

    1. VERY slowly (years) through pH control and doesn't always work.

    2. Secondly through an acid bath of your pool which many folks have reported pretty effective.

    3. By draining the pool and doing an acid wash.....it's the quickest and probably mots effective but obviously the most expensive, too.

    There is an article in Pool School on calcium scaling which will give you more information so I would start there and then ask questions after you have read that.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: New Pool Owner - Finished SLAM, Now on to Stain ID/Remov

    Thanks for giving me a place to start.
    New owner of a 70s-built 24,000 gallon in-ground plaster pool with an original DE filter and Polaris 250 automated sweep

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