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Thread: Another newbie, another algae problem

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    Another newbie, another algae problem

    Hello all, you seem to be a wealth of information and friendly people.

    We bought this house about a year ago, first pool, and had been going to Leslie's for advice, buying Phos-Free and other stuff, and using a basic test kit. Admittedly this winter we really fell down on the job. We live in the country, and had a TON of leaf accumulation in the pool and pretty much disregarded the chemistry all winter - some family issues had our attention elsewhere.

    I hired a local pool company to come out and do a one-time clean and vacuum out all the leaves - their pool tech tells me we have black and mustard algae and describes this PoolRx thing that they want to sell me and claim that it'll clean this pool sparking clean in a matter of days. I bite, and they throw this copper algaecide thing into the skimmer basket, then move it to the pump basket. The pool looks clear now, but I'm left with what I am assuming are black algae stains/spots/? all over the pool - it's embarrassing as ****.

    So I got mad, searched the Interwebs and found this site. It's kind of like drinking from a fire hose. I bought the TF-100 kit and today took my first readings:

    FC: 0
    CC: 10
    Alk: 100
    CH: 50
    CYA: 90-100 (?)
    pH: 7.5

    FYI, yesterday I added 4 pucks to the auto-chlorinator, and the pool water level is low, need to be raised. It's a 27,000 gallon pool with a DA filter, which I plan on cleaning out tomorrow.

    Obviously I have two problems - the chlorine level and the black algae. Or maybe three, with the high CYA level (although this test seemed really subjective). So I have three questions:

    1. Should I start the SLAM process with the CYA this high?
    2. Is there a way to lower CYA other than drain/refill? I am unsure how to drain it other than renting a pump.
    3. How to remove the black algae stains? I have seen information on how to kill it, but assuming that the algaecide did its job, how do I get rid of the black/brown stains that seem to sit in rough spots of the plaster?

    Thank you VERY much in advance.

    Robert

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Smykowski's Avatar
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    Re: Another newbie, another algae problem

    Welcome!

    It is really, really difficult (near impossible) to SLAM with a CYA level that high. And you are correct, draining is the only way to lower it. Bite the bullet, drain and refill, and get your CYA down now, because it will make the clean up and subsequent maintenance very easy.

    As for the algae, if it's just stains, they'll clear up on their own with proper chlorination. If it's black algae, you're gonna have to do some serious scrubbing. There's an article on black algae in pool school, and I'm sure there will be others along shortly who have had to deal with it and can help you more.
    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

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Another newbie, another algae problem

    Well first off those pucks in the auto chlorinator are driving your CYA up even higher, and it is already to the point that we would strongly suggest water replacement to lower it. If you have clear water and no algae, a pool is marginally maintainable with a CYA in the 90-100 range, however the high CYA makes it nearly impossible to deal with algae if it ever takes hold. Idealy you need to replace about 40% of your pool water to lower the CYA, and unless you are on some type of water restriction I would suggest you do so. As to the stains we need to know if they are growing algae, dead algae, or metal stains, possibly from the copper containing algaecide (another reason to replace your water). The first step I would do is an overnight chlorine loss test, this is done from just after sunset to before sunrise with no chlorine sources (pucks, SWG, etc) in the pool. This will tell you if something is growing in your mostly clear water, if nothing is growing you need to determine if the stains are organic of metal. For organic you place a trichlor puck on them for about 30-60 minutes and see if that makes them fade, if not you try the same thing with vitamin C tablets, which will tend to lift metal stains.

    There are numerous draining techniques, it can be as simple as putting a hose in the deep end and draining from the skimmer out your backwash valve. This works best with cold fill water which will settle to the bottom. Renting a pump is another option, but there are dangers in fully draining a pool, it is best to only drain a couple of feet at a time, and doing multiple drain fill cycles. (also please put your pool info in your signature, it helps us give better advice)

    Ike
    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
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  4. Back To Top    #4
    Casey's Avatar
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    Re: Another newbie, another algae problem

    Hey Robert! Welcome to TFP! You had me laughing with the drinking out of the fire hose bit!

    Guess what?! You need to do a partial drain refill. That CYA level is pretty high and you'll get no where fast! Did you read Pool School and see the FC/CYA relationship chart? It's in the reference section of pool school. Yeah... let's not go there. What kind of pump do you have? It's help if you entered your pool specs on your signature and tell us what you have to play with. You can do that in settings.

    Other than that, we're going to stall this out until you start a partial drain and refill to get the CYA down. You need to SLAM the pool but not at those levels!!!
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Another newbie, another algae problem

    Welcome!

    I only have one thing to add to what the others have said...


    2nopucksforyou.jpg
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Casey's Avatar
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    Re: Another newbie, another algae problem

    OMG Richard!
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: Another newbie, another algae problem

    Hi Robert,

    I can sense you feel disillusioned about your situation and obviously have been worried. Pools cost a lot of money and we all want them to be nice.
    Neither I or anyone else here blames you for getting mad which led you here! You feel as if you probably got took and lied to and hung out to dry by the so called "experts", Don't you?

    Don't worry though, you aren't the first that has felt that way but it's ok now. You have come to the right place. No one here has any objective other than to help you and others get your pool right, provide you the knowledge to do it and to keep it that way. These are some awesome folks for sure.

    Since finding us, you have done a fantastic job taking control before even posting your first message. You obviously did some reading and more importantly, you got yourself the best test kit available and you posted your test results. That's excellent man, excellent. That's happened maybe..uhh.. well not very many times!

    Why dont you tell us a little about your pool? It will be useful in clearing up your problems more quickly. I'm sure that when it's clean and more sparkley you will have to wear sunshades just to look at it on a sunny day!

    Obviously, at 27K gallons, it's quite sizeable! I wish I had that much water is mine!
    Is it above or inground?
    Is it vinyl or gunite or fiberglass?
    You mentioned you have a DA filter, but please confirm it was a typo and what you really meant was you have a DE one?

    Even though you aren't exactly proud of it right now, we would love to see a pic or several of it. It would also be of help if you posted a pic of your plumbing as well. Plumbing set up correctly can make clean up a lot easier.

    Anyway man, I will shut up now and just let ya know that you wont get "took" here.

    I'm more than confident you will be enjoying your pool which will be sparkly and Trouble Free in no time.
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
    www.tftestkits.net Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!

  8. Back To Top    #8

    Re: Another newbie, another algae problem

    Wow, thanks a ton for all the kind words and help. First, the pics. It's a really great pool, with grotto and water slide.





    Humorous mis-ring at Leslie's


    What I know about the pool:

    Yes, DE versus DA. It has a Jandy electronic controller inside with a remote by the spa that has since died. It has a multi-valve that I've only used to cycle between filter, back flush, and rinse. There are three pumps, filter, vacuum and booster I believe. There are three other valves I believe, and two of them are electrically operated, and both move when I switch from pool mode to spa mode. I've successfully drained and pressure washed the spa once, as well as disassembled, cleaned, and reassembled the DE filter.

    OK so the first thing I need to do is a partial drain and refill. I can do that, but I want to make sure I'm understanding the technique. Turn the pool fill on (no hose needed!) and start back flushing as I've done before, just don't stop. How can I tell when I've replaced 40%? Is there a way to drain below the skimmer line first? If I can get the water line below the ledges, I can try pressure washing them.

    Tomorrow I'm headed to buy a couple of cases of bleach, clean the filter, and do the drain/fill.

    Thanks again!
    Last edited by jblizzle; 05-01-2014 at 11:42 PM. Reason: inappropriate word

  9. Back To Top    #9
    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Another newbie, another algae problem

    I don't think that is a mis-ring ... that is probably close to what they would have to sell you to make that guarantee

    Great looking pool!!!

    I would not recommend draining the pool through the backwash function ... any debris will end up on the wrong side of the filter media.
    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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  10. Back To Top    #10
    Casey's Avatar
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    Re: Another newbie, another algae problem

    How about a sump pump?

    Looks like the pool is big enough for all of us to come over and enjoy! Let us know when it's ready! We'll bring our own towels!
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

  11. Back To Top    #11
    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Another newbie, another algae problem

    Ok, a couple of things, here, you want the hose in the deep end at the bottom so the cold water stays at the bottom and does not mix on the way down, this helps keep it separate from the warmer high CYA water, this only works if your fill water is cooler than your pool, which will depend on where you live, your water source, etc. Also as Jason says you don't want to run this through your filter on backwash, if your multiport valve supports pumping to waste this is what you want, which will pump water from the pool out your backwash fitting (hose or hard plumbed whichever you have) without going through the filter. If your DE filter does not have a waste setting it would be better to buy / rent a small submersible pump (cheap ones of these that connect to a garden hose can often be found at Harbor freight in the $50 range, you don't need any fancy float switches, etc, just a pump you can plug in and go)

    Ike

    ps depending on technique you can estimate pump flow, if using the cheap submersible pump get a 5 gal pail and time how long it takes to fill, then do the math based on your pool size
    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~

  12. Back To Top    #12

    Re: Another newbie, another algae problem

    I don't think that my valve supports pumping to waste. Would it be ok to drain through backwash if I'm going to clean out the filter afterwards? Would this take care of the "trash on the wrong side of the filter" issue?

    The pool company that sold me the copper algaecide is coming by this morning. I'm going to try to get some kind of refund or free service out of it, as they really sold me a bill of goods that it would cure all the ills. After finding this site, I know otherwise.

    Robert

  13. Back To Top    #13

    Re: Another newbie, another algae problem

    Ok the pool guys just left. Very nice people, but at this point I am a little confused. I told them that as of this morning the FC level was 1, and of my plan to partially drain and refill the pool then shock the bejesus out of it. They said that with the copper/aluminum thing in the water that the FC level could be that low and be fine d/t the algaecide. They maintained that I could keep the FC level between 0.5 and 2 and it would be fine for a year with the copper thing in the system. They said that draining would remove the algaecide and said not to do it. They didn't seem concerned about the CYAN level given the treatment they had done.

    They said that the algae was all dead, and that continued brushing would improve the appearance over time. They brushed the pool and they're better brushers than me - indeed it looked better afterwards.

    What do y'all think?

  14. Back To Top    #14
    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Another newbie, another algae problem

    We have both stated that running through backwash is not a good idea. There is a possibility that is could damage the grids as well. But, you are free to do as you wish.
    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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  15. Back To Top    #15

    Re: Another newbie, another algae problem

    Ok, sorry for asking - just trying to figure all of this out. Type valve does have a waste setting, I was incorrect, just not sure if I should drain yet based on what my pool guys told me. I think I'm suffering from information overload.

  16. Back To Top    #16
    Vegas Kid's Avatar
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    Re: Another newbie, another algae problem

    Of course they have no concerns about the CYA level....they're in the business to make money off people like you...

    It's your pool, but my advice is to follow what the others have posted on this thread. We have a much easier time proving our techniques over the sales guy.

  17. Back To Top    #17

    Re: Another newbie, another algae problem

    Oh I believe it - the wealth of information and happy pool owners on here prove that it can be done and the techniques work. I was trying to offer up what they said to see what y'all's opinion was, not to contradict what has been posted. If I came across that way, I'm sorry.

  18. Back To Top    #18

    Re: Another newbie, another algae problem

    I'm certainly not a pool professional or expert by any means, but I have heard it stated several times on this site that you need to choose the path you want to take - either the tfp method or the pool store method ... the two of them together don't mix well and conflicting advice is generally given when it comes to chemicals. I chose the tfp method first of all because the nearest pool store is 35 minutes from me, and it just seemed like a waste of time and gas to be going back and forth when I could get a test kit and do my own water testing. Secondly ... I really appreciate that the folks here are very knowledgeable on such a variety of pool related subjects and have no financial interest in if my pool is clear or green. I really have no negative opinions of any pool store - I simply haven't dealt with them for anything other than buying a gasket, hose, and a few pool toys ... I also have never missed a day of swimming (at least when the water was warm enough to swim) because my pool was green or had any sort of algae problem since opening and I have always used the TFP method.

    It is a lot of information to take in, and certainly up to you what method you choose! You have a really nice pool, and I hope you can get things cleared up soon!
    SwimNPlay AG 15x33 oval 48" high 12k gallons - Used pool set up July 2013
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  19. Back To Top    #19
    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Another newbie, another algae problem

    How did they prove the algae is all dead? We have a test to do that, the OCLT.

    It is very common that pool "professionals" do not understand the CYA/FC relationship. You can leave the copper in the pool if you want and hope it does not stain, but you still need tio maintain the same recommended FC levels. Algae is only part of the story. What about bacteria and viruses? Copper does little to protect you from them.
    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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  20. Back To Top    #20

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    Re: Another newbie, another algae problem

    Rule 1 - Never trust a pool store
    Rule 2 - Never trust a pool service
    Rule 3 - see 1 and 2

    There are a few good pool services out there - most will leave you with a chemical cesspool. Based on their opinion on the CYA level and CL level they don't actually understand "how it works" even if the algae is at bay due to the copper you don't have enough CL to act as a disinfecting agent for any other biological agents. Would you swim in a toilet bowl?
    TFP Moderator Chris V. ~16K Pool & Spa, 48NSF DE, IG Plaster Circa 2000, Intermatic PE653, Challenger pump with a 2 speed B2984, 20gal stenner chlorine injection, Houston, TX
    One cannot follow Islam and Christianity at the same time, nor can one follow pool store methods and TFP at the same time.
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