Before I delve into the issues that I'm concerned about, let me first state two important things:
(1) Although I have ordered a TF-100 test kit, it has not yet arrived to my home. Currently, I am using an WalMart HTH 6-way test kit until the TF-100 arrives. The TF-100 should arrive by next Tuesday.
(2) I have a sand filter (details in signature), but it is not currently operational - I have to replace the sight glass (leaking) and the flange clamp, which should also arrive by next Tuesday.
I am concerned because I did things quite out of order...I filled the pool up with water before verifying the sand filter works, and now I have to add chemicals without the benefit of filtration - I need to add chemicals to avoid having a green swamp by the time that my filter is finally working!
Speaking of adding chemicals...here's what's been done so far:
(1) HTH 6-way test performed yesterday at 8:30 PM:
- Total chlorine (OTO): 0.5 ppm
- Total alkalinity : 150 ppm
- pH : 8.2
- Cyanuric Acid : 0 ppm (I could've guessed this, but I checked just in case)
- Total hardness : 0 ppm
CHEMICALS ADDED LAST NIGHT:
- 41 oz. of 8.25% Great Value Regular Bleach [to reach 3 ppm chlorine]
- 45 oz. of WalMart HTH Stabilizer (96% CYA) [to reach 30 ppm CYA and pH 7.6]
(2) HTH 2-way test performed tonight at 5:30 PM:
- Total chlorine (OTO): < 0.5 ppm (lowest color on scale)
- Total pH : 7.5 (at least I reached this target!)
NO CHEMICALS ADDED YET.
Today I looked into the pool to see how the chemicals would behave in an unfiltered pool. Around noon today, there was a very strong "chlorine" smell (I know, someone will probably say it's combined chloramines) and I could see the solid stabilizer powder along the vinyl bottom of my pool. Concerned that the acid in the stabilizer may eat through my liner, I used a large pool brush to agitate the pool water several times today (total time ~1 hour), simulating the circulation of a filter (without removing small particles, of course). I was really only able to brush near the walls of the liner because I wasn't sure if it was safe to get in the pool to reach the center. A couple hours later, the "chlorine" smell was gone, which indicated to me that either the bleach had not been mixed well due to the lack of a working filter or dissipation of chlorine over the course of a day. The white powder from the stabilizer is still evident on the bottom of the pool liner. Finally, although the water is still clear blue and not cloudy, the surface of the water has several spots with translucent white bits of slime/scum - would this be the beginnings of algae (image shown below)? Or could it possibly be calcium buildup or something?
I have not yet SLAMed the pool. I did not want to add that much chlorine without first having a balanced pH and without having a working filter.
So now here are the main questions that I have:
(1) Should I continue adding bleach to fight off algae? I don't think I will add any acid because I am worried about HCl tearing through my liner without a filter.
(2) Should I perform any additional tests (in the HTH 6-way kit)?
(3) Once my filter IS working, should I backwash or wait additional time for CYA to dissolve first (the CYA will have been in the pool about a week before my filter parts arrive)? Will the CYA still dissolve in about a week if I continue brushing the liner floor?
(4) What is the translucent slime/scum on the surface of my water?
(5) Is the pool safe to swim in with current levels of bleach and CYA without filtration?
Some additional information that may be helpful:
- We have had heavy rainfall for multiple days in a row since installing the pool. I didn't put the pool cover on. It has rained lightly between the test I performed last night and the test performed tonight.
- My pool was installed and water was added on May 6, 2014.