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Thread: Mustard Algae

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    Unhappy Mustard Algae

    16 x 32 oval above ground pool, 10 years old, 16,000 gal, Hayward Sand Master 1.5 HP pump only 3 months old.

    Background: 5 weeks ago we started getting mustard algae. On advise from pool guy we started shocking it and using Poolife Mustard algae treatment and pool shock. Pool cleared but was cloudy. We left for extended vacation for 5 weeks and left "pool guy" in charge. Returned a week ago with our pool water loaded with mustard algae, water level below skimmer (needless to say, we were not happy). Since returning we have used same mustard algae treatment and pool shock x2. Pool cleared but while we were cleaning the filter with filter cleaner, we were told to leave it sit for 24 hours, so the pump was not running, the mustard algae returned with a vengeance. We could not keep chlorine levels up so we gave up and drained the pool completely, removed steps that were really a mess underneath with algae, and mold (kind a snotty looking whiteish crud), cleaned all pool equipment wiped down pool walls. Bottom of the pool is badly stained, hope that will clear up.

    Where we are now: Pool is refilled. We are on well water with lots, and lots of metal so we have put metal remover in and started slowly chlorinating with tablets in a floater. That is where we are now. We have a Taylor k-2006 pool testing kit on the way, should be here by this Wednesday so for now we are testing with test strips and and cheap drop kit that only tests chlorine and ph. Current readings (test strip) TH 400, FC .5, pH 7.2-7.5, total alkalinity 240, CYA 30-50 (more 30 than 50).

    Any help will be appreciated. How should we proceed?

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    Re: Mustard Algae

    OK, I'll start with the standard answer: Start reading Pool School, links at the top of the forum. Post a full set of test results when your K-2006 arrives. Put your pool specs in your signature, if you aren't sure how there are instructions in the Getting Started section of Pool School. Once this is done the true experts will be along to assist.

    Couple of things:

    1. Be careful with the tablets in the floater, they can push your CYA up to unmanageable levels. You are OK for the moment but don't let it get above 50 until we get more info and can advise you. You can chlorinate with regular bleach if needed, and Pool School discusses it in detail.

    2. Mustard algae can live outside of the water on your pool tools. You said you cleaned all equipment, just make sure you get the brushes, nets, floats, pretty much anything that goes in the pool.

    3. Filter cleaner? For a three month old sand filter this sounds like some junk you don't need. I'm curious, can you post what the bottle says it is?

    Keep the info coming, there are many people here ready to help.
    33K gal vinyl IG, 1.5 HP SuperFlo pump, Hayward S244T sand filter (62GPM)

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Mustard Algae

    Welcome!

    The short answer is, you need to kill the algae. All of it. Knock it down and don't let it get back up. Kick it again and again and again until it's dead.

    You did good to clean those steps.

    Are you sure it's mustard algae? That tends to hang out in the shade. If the pool is green and thick, it could just be a hardy strain of plain algae. Either way, the solution is bleach. Lots of bleach.



    Now, the long answer: First, stop with those pucks in the floater until you get some test results. Each puck adds stabilizer with the chlorine, which means the level of chlorine you need to kill the algae also rises. So you're actually making things worse. How to Chlorinate explains things better.

    Actually, before you delve into that article, which may have unfamiliar terms, check out the ABCs

    When your test kit arrives, run all the tests. There are videos online that demonstrate it, and Extended Directions if something looks weird. Don't worry that the videos are for the TF100 -- the K-2006 uses the same reagents.

    When you feel like this from that reading, scroll through these inspirational threads and check out the pictures. If they can do it, you can, too.
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...glorious-swamp!
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...28-TFP-Success
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...ool-is-winning
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...ark-Green-Pool
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...st-give-up-Can
    First Time Shocking with Bleach
    Pretty black pool
    A little encouragement for those with algae and new to BBB
    Frog Filled Green Swamp to Oasis---Work in Progress!!!
    Before and After Pool Pics
    Before and after!
    A final picture set of how well the BBB method works!
    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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    Re: Mustard Algae

    Thank you both for your replies. I know this website is going to be a huge help to us. An update on our situation: After draining the pool we had to hit the water hard with metal remover. We have a very high metal content in our water. This is not new to us, we have been fighting this for 10 years. So 4 bottles of metal remover later and an ascorbic acid treatment we have the pool clear. We had no FC at all...zip, zero, zilch! Went to Leslies to test the water, readings are below. We put 121 oz of 8.25% bleach in the water (CYA 40 with target of 5 for FC) and are keeping our fingers crossed we don't turn brown. It is a start. I have included some photos of our pool saga. The metal photo is quite alarming and it was great fun watching it turn blue with ascorbic acid treatment. Any help or suggestions are welcome.
    Current readings (from Leslies because we don't have our test kit yet)
    FC: 0
    TC: 0
    CH: 310
    CYA: 40
    TA: 150
    pH: 7.4
    Pho: 200


    Attachment 32107 (This is where we started, draining the pool here)
    Attachment 32109 (Metal after 4 bottles of HTH Metal Remover and a bag of shock)
    I am obsessed with my: 16 x 32 above ground pool, 16,000 gal
    Hayward XStream Filtration Cartridge Filter
    New Mexico
    Fill water: Well water with metal.

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    Re: Mustard Algae

    OK... so here we are...pool is clear...since 3:00 pm we have added 322 oz of 8.25% bleach...still no FC to speak of really has come up to about 1 ppm maybe. Does the HTH Metal Control keep the chlorine from coming up I wonder? I think hubby is getting on board with your methods. Please encourage him...it is difficult to drag him away from the pool store. Where do you get Ascorbic Acid? I think we may be needing it on occasion. The Stain Remover we bought from "The Pool Store" cost $50!
    I am obsessed with my: 16 x 32 above ground pool, 16,000 gal
    Hayward XStream Filtration Cartridge Filter
    New Mexico
    Fill water: Well water with metal.

  6. Back To Top    #6

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    Re: Mustard Algae

    I am really needing some help here. I have gotten many views and only 2 responses. Metal appears to be returning but not with a vengeance at this moment, Just a slight brown tint returning to the floor of the pool. I hope I don't wake up to a brown pool again. I guess my main concern at the moment is how do we get the chlorine up without activating the metal reaction? Ok to keep doing ascorbic acid while trying to get the chlorine up? We already have tons of HTH Metal Control in the water, 4 bottles, and I don't think that we want to keep adding. We are supposed to backwash the filter tomorrow (24 hours after ascorbic acid treatment) which means adding more of our crappy water.
    I am obsessed with my: 16 x 32 above ground pool, 16,000 gal
    Hayward XStream Filtration Cartridge Filter
    New Mexico
    Fill water: Well water with metal.

  7. Back To Top    #7
    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Mustard Algae

    You have a Catch -22 situation. If the pool goes brown, that means the Iron is precipitating. People have had good luck packing paper towels and pillow stuffing and such in the skimmer or in a pillowcase attached over the return. The Iron dust filters out. Metal remover doesn't actually remove metal - it just attaches to the metal ions stronger than they can attached to other things. But bleach tends to disturb that happy match as you've seen.

    Kill the algae. Try to filter out whatever metal precipitates you can. Then dump in the metal treatment. If all the algae is gone -- all of it, running the SLAM process to completion -- then it won't come back if you have to redo the AA treatment and add the sequestrant.

    Check these pictures. I linked the threads



    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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    Re: Mustard Algae

    We see no signs of mustard algae. Pool is cleanest it has been in at least 8 weeks since we started seeing signs of trouble (started with cloudy water then full blown mustard algae). Metal vs chlorine is the current issue. Like I said, we have been dealing with metal issues for a long time and manage to keep it under control most of the time with Metal Control...I guess this drain and refill is just more difficult. Hubby is worried about causing problems with the pump if we stuff the skimmer with paper towels or pillow stuffing but we will definitely give it a try and monitor the pump. So far adding liquid bleach has not caused as many problems for us as it did with the granular shock treatment we tried. We are actually at 1-2 ppm right now in FC...more bleach later this evening.
    I am obsessed with my: 16 x 32 above ground pool, 16,000 gal
    Hayward XStream Filtration Cartridge Filter
    New Mexico
    Fill water: Well water with metal.

  9. Back To Top    #9

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    Re: Mustard Algae

    Tested pool this morning. FC: 1 ppm, CYA: 0, pH 7.2. Sheesh! Headed out to Walmart for some stabilizer and washing soda and will keep adding bleach. Pool is clear with a little bit of staining. Got to get that FC and CYA up for sure. No sign of mustard algae. Will also try the paper towels in the skimmer.
    I am obsessed with my: 16 x 32 above ground pool, 16,000 gal
    Hayward XStream Filtration Cartridge Filter
    New Mexico
    Fill water: Well water with metal.

  10. Back To Top    #10

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    Re: Mustard Algae

    Still working on getting the FC up. Back to Sam's for more bleach. Got the CYA up to 50 with HTH stabilizer but FC is still very low. Used washing soda to try and get the pH up before slamming....we are going to try and hit it hard more bleach is on its way. Pool is cloudy after washing soda treatment...still fighting metal...sigh...


    Current readings:
    FC 1-2
    pH 7.0 - 7.2
    CC 2-4
    CYA 50
    TA 200
    TH 400
    I am obsessed with my: 16 x 32 above ground pool, 16,000 gal
    Hayward XStream Filtration Cartridge Filter
    New Mexico
    Fill water: Well water with metal.

  11. Back To Top    #11

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    Re: Mustard Algae

    484 oz of 8.25% bleach just went into the pool. Will retest in about 2 hours. Plan to slam it one more time tonight. Decent deal at Sam's Club on 8.25% bleach, 8.09 for 3 bottles of 121 oz (why doesn't your "pool math calculator" have an option for that?) Water cloudy from washing soda, guess we will deal with that later. Metal doesn't seem to be reacting with bottled bleach as much. There is some reaction but not as much as with powered shock. I wonder why? I hope, even though I am getting no help from this forum, that our journey to get our pool in order is helping someone. I really do like your methods and I hope it works for us.

    Edit:
    I was wrong: Water is definitely turning due to metal....it's going to be a fight to the finish with this pool! Six bottles of HTH Metal Control in there...!
    I would like to ask, and hope to get a response...where do you get ascorbic acid or citric acid in bulk for the best price?

    I don't even want to share a picture right now. Pool is brown! Maybe tomorrow morning when it is black! Come on pool experts out there...share your expertise..please..if anyone ever needed your help it is us, right now!
    I am obsessed with my: 16 x 32 above ground pool, 16,000 gal
    Hayward XStream Filtration Cartridge Filter
    New Mexico
    Fill water: Well water with metal.

  12. Back To Top    #12

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    Re: Mustard Algae

    I think the lack of response is because you have a somewhat unique situation with the metals, and folks don't want to give you bad information. Better no advice than bad advice in this case.

    From what I know about metals, chlorine and ascorbic acid do not mix. The ascorbic acid will burn up your chlorine very quickly. Even though you drained the pool, I wonder if there was some kind of residual acid that is eating it up. This could account for the FC issues.

    Obviously I'm just speculating, but I think the best course of action is to get the pool to hold FC first, then deal with the metals. The reason is that a typical ascorbic treatment requires reducing FC to zero, and you want to make sure all of the algae is dead before starting.
    33K gal vinyl IG, 1.5 HP SuperFlo pump, Hayward S244T sand filter (62GPM)

  13. Back To Top    #13

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    Re: Mustard Algae

    I think you are right. Right now our pool is brown, brown, brown but we are leaving that issue alone for the moment. We slammed the pool, and as of now, the pool is holding that high (20 ppm shock level) chlorine which I think is good to get any residual algae that may be present. We have not had to ad any additional bleach for the past 3-4 hours. We will leave it be for tonight. Hoping the filter will pull some of that metal out and by tomorrow morning it will be less of a metal disaster. Seems to be somewhat of a revolving door now but we will get it eventually.

    I see your point about people not responding to our problem, but you would think that someone out their has had a similar problem. Surely we are not the only ones dealing with metal in our well water. I wish we could truck in water but that would be a useless exercise. We backwash, we top off, we backwash, we top off. Water evaporates very quickly here in the desert, we top off.

    Anyway thank you for chiming in. It was nice to hear from someone. I will take and share a pic in the morning. This forum, although it hasn't been much help as far as advice from "experts", has really helped us learn more about the pool and the chemicals and testing. We do have two really nice test kits now that might keep us away from the pool store. I am happy about that.
    I am obsessed with my: 16 x 32 above ground pool, 16,000 gal
    Hayward XStream Filtration Cartridge Filter
    New Mexico
    Fill water: Well water with metal.

  14. Back To Top    #14

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    Re: Mustard Algae

    This morning I got up and tested before the sun hit the pool. Here are my test results:
    FC 20
    CC 0
    pH 7.4

    The good news is shock level of FC held overnight...woo hoo! The bad news, brown water full of metal. Now to clear up the pool and we will be home free (I hope).
    I am obsessed with my: 16 x 32 above ground pool, 16,000 gal
    Hayward XStream Filtration Cartridge Filter
    New Mexico
    Fill water: Well water with metal.

  15. Back To Top    #15

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    Re: Mustard Algae

    Not sure how effective it would be, but have you considered an iron filter for your water supply?
    12000 Gallon IG Plaster built 2/15/2014. Jandy 340 sg ft 127 gpm filter, Jandy 1 HP stealth pump. Circupool RJ-45 SWG (overkill). TF-100 with Speed Stir.

  16. Back To Top    #16

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    Re: Mustard Algae

    Good to hear you got the FC to hold, now you can let it start coming back down. Based on some further study, I think these may be your next steps:

    1. Get a quart (or maybe two) of Polyquat algaecide.
    2. Let FC drop to minimum level for your CYA (maybe even lower if you are comfortable) and add polyquat using recommended dosage.
    3. Adjust pH as low as possible, but not below 7.0. This should put most of the metal back into solution.
    4. Run filter 24X7 and allow it to get the metals out. Maybe use towels or whatever to help catch some of it.
    5. When the metals are reduced, bring water chemistry back in line. If there is metal staining, you may want to do the ascorbic acid treatment before bringing FC back up.

    Please understand that I have not performed this procedure myself, so you may elect to try something different. Also, I'm not sure where the HTH Metal Out plays into this, so hopefully some others will chime in with helpful tips.
    33K gal vinyl IG, 1.5 HP SuperFlo pump, Hayward S244T sand filter (62GPM)

  17. Back To Top    #17

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    Re: Mustard Algae

    Actually, yes. We are looking into it. Hubby wants to build a fill cart for the pool, incorporating some kind of metal filter.
    I am obsessed with my: 16 x 32 above ground pool, 16,000 gal
    Hayward XStream Filtration Cartridge Filter
    New Mexico
    Fill water: Well water with metal.

  18. Back To Top    #18

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    Re: Mustard Algae

    This is where we are right now. Good news is the pool is holding chlorine very well. Bad news is this is what the pool looks like from metal. Hubby is going to set up the old sand filter to help filter the metal out so we will have 2 filters working on it. We continue to use Metal Control as well.

    Attachment 32172
    I am obsessed with my: 16 x 32 above ground pool, 16,000 gal
    Hayward XStream Filtration Cartridge Filter
    New Mexico
    Fill water: Well water with metal.

  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Re: Mustard Algae

    You might want to add some DE to the sand filter. It can't hurt.

    Good Luck.
    12000 Gallon IG Plaster built 2/15/2014. Jandy 340 sg ft 127 gpm filter, Jandy 1 HP stealth pump. Circupool RJ-45 SWG (overkill). TF-100 with Speed Stir.

  20. Back To Top    #20

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    Re: Mustard Algae

    Seriously...one of you chemists out there need to come up with a sanitizer that does not react with metal! Geez Louise....this is rediculous. 2 sand filters running and not even a dent in this mess of a pool! At this rate we will never get to swim! Chlorine now down to 1-2...we have to ad more.....
    I am obsessed with my: 16 x 32 above ground pool, 16,000 gal
    Hayward XStream Filtration Cartridge Filter
    New Mexico
    Fill water: Well water with metal.

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