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Thread: Cockroach Algae

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    Cockroach Algae

    Dear TFP community--

    Forgive me, but I feel as though I need to coin a new name for the type of algae I have in my pool. It's often said that cockroaches would be the only thing to survive nuclear war, so I'm going with that for now. Last year was my 1st year of pool ownership and I didn't find TFP until about 6 or 7 weeks into the season. As a result my CYA got way out of control from using chlorine pucks - I battled problems all summer, but attributed most of them to the high CYA level. This year I was optimistic, I *thought* I knew what I was doing after reading pool school cover to cover and scouring these forums. After opening the pool, clearing out the debris, and balancing the pH (7.2), TA (70), and CH (100) I brought the CYA up to an even 30 and began the SLAM'ing process (FC = 12). I SLAM'ed & brushed & SLAM'ed & brushed for 2 weeks - there was improvement but every morning there were fresh streaks of algae in certain sections of the pool. The FC would hold overnight, and we had less than .25 CC, and had suspicions of mustard algae last year, so we decided to take it up to the mustard algae shock level (FC = 20). We held the FC at that level for 48 hours and brushed everywhere that we could brush, took the light out, scrubbed the ladders - we genuinely tried to live the spirit of the mustard algae pool school process. Thursday night, after 48 hours at FC=20 we began to let it drop back down, as it had turned pure blue cloudy and wasn't consuming any FC. I thought that we were simply into the "be patient and let the filter work" stage - then I looked at the pool this am - and there are again streaks of algae in the sections of the pool where it normally collects. I hung my head absolutely defeated by cockroach algae.

    Any advice (including where to get some plutonium!) would be greatly appreciated.

    -flv7a

    FC = 14
    CC < .25
    pH = 7.5
    TA = 70
    CH = 100
    Size = 27500
    Type = Vinyl
    Filter = Heyward sand (sometimes questioned as well)
    Cleaner = Polaris 360
    Next Step = Concrete!

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Cockroach Algae

    Most likely that isn't algae, but is instead pollen. Pollen tends to form "drifts" along the bottom of the pool that look a great deal like algae.

    The only way that could be algae is if your CYA level is way way higher than you think it is.
    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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    Re: Cockroach Algae

    Jason, thank you for your advice & sorry for the delay in my own response.

    So what is the "go-to" test between pollen and some crazy form of algae? I was out of town over the weekend and even though I had someone come by to attend to the pool it went from 95% clear to a total basket case in 48 hours. We have a lot of trees in our back yard, but can it really collect that quickly?? Still not being sure, I shocked it immediately (CYA=30,FC=12) but the FC level held overnight and the CC was 0 the next morning. I vacuumed all of the garbage to waste and I'm about to chuck the polaris back in the pool but it's still a total mess.

    I have a sand filter, and add DE (per the procedure) on every backwash, but are there any other tips for heavy pollen pools? Are there any types of filters that I might consider that are particularly good at filtering pollen? My filter regularly spews dirty water back into the pool (searches tell me this isn't totally unusual). My next step is going to be the deep clean procedure, however 1 of the 3 connections doesn't have a quick release and the filter is in a pool barn so the massive amounts of overflowing water provide some different challenges.

    Thanks for any additional opinions on my cockroach algae/pollen.

    -flv7a

    - - - Updated - - -

    Pictures 48 hours after I stopped attending to things - it was blue + 95% clear before this...

    - - - Updated - - -

    The big picture of the entire pool.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Cockroach Algae

    Pollen will collect on the bottom, but won't cloud the water. Pollen will accumulate just as quickly at shock level as at normal levels. Algae tends to cloud the water and if the water is fairly clear it won't accumulate when you are at shock level.
    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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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Cockroach Algae

    Your filter should never spit dirty water back into the pool. That is a common problem but not how a sand filter in good working order operates.

    How did you lower the CYA?
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: Cockroach Algae

    So do I have both (sigh)? The pool very obviously went green - but I had the polaris in there kicking things up so the pollen wouldn't have a chance to settle. As my original post indicates - I've been struggling/battling with this for two years.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I lowered the CYA by putting the cover on it for 8 months - when I opened things up the CYA was at or near zero - stabilizer additions have brought it to 30 per recommendations - although I will admit that "cannot see the dot" gets really fuzzy towards the end of the process.

    - - - Updated - - -

    On first open a FC level of 20 + polaris 24x7 cleared things right up - after which I reduced to a consistent FC=6 but things came storming back. Overnight FC=12 didn't make a dent so my most immediate reaction (sand filter questions aside) is whether or not to raise it back to 20 for tonight.

    Thanks,

    -flv7a

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Cockroach Algae

    When was the last time you tested the CYA?
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: Cockroach Algae

    Quote Originally Posted by zea3 View Post
    When was the last time you tested the CYA?
    I just tested it less than 2 mins ago - my eyes see the black dot until the indications reach ~25. What doesn't seem to add up is the FC: from 12pm to 9am 13->12.5 (>.5 CC) from 10am to 11:30pm 12.5->6 (0.5 CC) I boosted her back up to shock level with 2 jugs of bleach (I think I single handedly adding to their profit totals for the quarter)

    - - - Updated - - -

    The return address for my test kit is in NC - what is the house call visit price to Virginia Beach?

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Cockroach Algae

    You will lose more FC in the sunlight since your CYA is low. When you test CYA, it should be in full sun with the sun at your back and the tube held at waist level. The CYA is the most subjective test to read, but you can read the result several times per test to make sure you see what you think you see. Just pour the solution from the view tube back into the mixing vial and then back to the view tube to read the result again. Another set of eyes are also handy.

    There is a chance that when your CYA "went away" it was broken down by bacteria and some ammonia was left behind. Chlorine gets rid of the ammonia in time, but the slam will go much slower when ammonia is present. You may be at the point now where ammonia is not an issue anymore. Raise your CYA back to 30 ppm and continue with the slam. Until you are able to deep clean your filter backwash and rinse until the water runs clear in the sight glass.
    TFP Moderator
    Helpful links: TF Test Kits,TFP Pool School, PoolMath
    Vogue 21' round AG, Pentair 1 hp 2 speed pump, 36 sq ft DE filter, Hayward S180T 150# sand filter, Houston, Texas
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