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Thread: Ready to do this right

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    Ready to do this right

    Having some algae problems. First post ever, so bear with me, because I realize you get the same questions all the time. I've tried doing this by reading existing posts, pool school, etc. but I'm to the point where I need help. And yes, I'm an Intex pool owner (not by choice), so hopefully I won't be seen as a second-class citizen here. ;^)

    Brief history: This is my first season attempting my own pool care, without the guidance of the local pool store and their $$$ products. June was fine, thanks to daily monitoring with my cheap 2-way test kit -- sparkling clear water just using bleach, baking soda and a one-time dose of muriatic acid when my pH was initially high. Then July happened. Warmer weather, more rain storms, more swimmers, etc.

    About two weeks ago the cloudy water started, followed by algae. I read the pool school "algae" topic a dozen times, but without the FC or CYA tests, I couldn't do the SLAM properly. So I basically have been guessing for the past two weeks, dumping in bleach, trying to vacuum up dead algae, clear, cloudy, clear, cloudy.

    Finally, I broke down and spent the $78 on the TF-100.

    I'm not quite sure what to do next, as I've "kind of" slammed it thru guesswork last week, and the algae kind of went away, but it doesn't seem to completely disappear.

    Here are my readings from today:

    FC 7.5
    CC 1 (maybe only 0.5 -- the first drop almost did it but not entirely)
    pH 6.8
    TA 20
    CH 50
    CYA 45


    What's my best course of next action? Just fix the pH and TA and let the chlorine do its thing? Or do I need to SLAM again, now that I can see all my values?

    I should also mention that I've just been cleaning my same filter for about a month now. They say to replace them every two weeks, so I'm wondering if that could be part of the problem as well? (I'm going to buy a few new filters tomorrow.)

    I'm slowly learning pool chemistry, but there are so many if/then scenarios, I wanted to see if anyone could guide me in the right direction before I start fiddling with things again.

    Thanks!
    5,000 gal. Intex "Pool", wimpy little pump w/cartridge filters, installed 2013, TF-100 kit

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Ready to do this right

    Well, you say you ""kind of" slammed it". With CC=1 and it keeps going cloudy it time for a proper SLAM. You should re-read the directions on SLAMing your pool in the How To section of Pool School and follow that procedure completely to the end. Part of that will be getting that pH inline before you start.

    It is a learning process and at time can feel like trying to drink form a garden hose. Take your time. You have already taken the big step - taking control of your pool.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Ready to do this right

    Welcome!

    It'll go smooth now that you can see what you're doing with the test kit.
    Adjust pH & TA - pH to 7.2 and TA up to 50 or 60 ish. Both of those are easy to fix later, so just get in the ballpark. Don't waste a lot of time trying to be perfect.

    Then hit it with bleach just like the SLAM instructions say. Your target will be 18 FC. Don't neglect to brush and vacuum, and if there's a ladder, pull it out and scrub it. A couple days of dosing it regularly to keep it at 18 should kill things off and relieve some of the load on your filter. Right now you're probably still growing algae as fast as you can kill it and filter it out. When you've passed all three tests simultaneously, then you can let the FC drift down and fine tune the pH and TA. But pass all three tests,
    1) The water is clear. If so,
    2) CC is .5 or less. If so,
    3) Overnight Loss test is 1 or less.

    You might already have 1 & 2 passed, so yours may be the briefest SLAM ever. But do it right. The difference is only a couple bucks' worth of bleach, and then you may never ever have algae again. It's money well spent - cheap insurance. And don't forget the ladder. Inside the legs, beneath the rungs - algae can lurk there and wait to pounce when you let down your guard.

    I can't help you with the filter. No firsthand knowledge of cartridge types.
    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: Ready to do this right

    Sounds like a good plan. Thanks so much for the advice.

    Another question, something I haven't been able to find here, is about my CYA. If I've just been doing bleach/borax/baking soda, how is my CYA level (45) okay? My fear was that since I wasn't adding "stabilizer", that it would be very low. But apparently it's ok. Does CYA fluctuate much, or is it a fairly stable value? Should I plan on buying a "stabilizer" (not even sure what to buy) or if I'm good now will I basically stay good?

    thanks
    5,000 gal. Intex "Pool", wimpy little pump w/cartridge filters, installed 2013, TF-100 kit

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Ready to do this right

    CYA stays very steady. You might lose a few ppm through chemical degradation over the season, but probably not enough to see on a test. Otherwise, it goes down only by splashout or backwashing. 45 CYA is an excellent number. You can lose a little and still be in range, and you have a little room to add more via pucks should you leave down for a few days' vacation.
    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: Ready to do this right

    Mango, Richard is truly a caring expert.. He had the truth when I was struggling through my deepest SLAM. Trust your TF-100 test kit. I managed through 2 years with the Intex cartridge filters. I recomend buying some extras and then switching them out so you can keep the old ones clean. If you are in a slam then be sure and soak the filters in a bucket of 50% bleach to water so you dont reintroduce algae to the pool. Follow the advice here. Remember this site is just a bunch of pool owners who want you to succeed. they don't make anything off of you succeeding except knowing you could have spent a mint at the pool store and gone back for more. You got this!! Keep reading pool school and you will succeed...
    17500 Gal Above Ground, 1.5HP Dynamo Pump, 250# Pentair Sand filter with ZeoLite. Diver Dave Cleaner. TFP test kit w/SpeedStir, 7 Grandaughters and 1 Grandson swimming every week WooooHooo!!

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    Re: Ready to do this right

    Thanks RangerRick. I had read elsewhere about rotating the filters in a bleach solution. I wonder if they pass a point, even if they're bleached, that they're old and ineffective? I think for the SLAM I'll get two new filters and start a fresh rotation. Thanks once again.
    5,000 gal. Intex "Pool", wimpy little pump w/cartridge filters, installed 2013, TF-100 kit

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    Re: Ready to do this right

    So far so good. New relevant readings:
    TA = 70
    pH = 7.2
    FC = 18
    CC = 0.5

    Question 1: While Slamming, how often do I need to check FC? I don't want to burn through all those nice reagents I just bought TOO fast.
    Question 2: While the algae is dying, do I rely on my filter to remove it? Vacuuming doesn't seem to pick it up -- just stirs up clouds. We have the vacuum system with a mesh bag that only holds larger debris. So is it all on the filter to remove dead algae?

    Overall, this is fun! I definitely feel cool mixing chemicals and swirling tubes while my family watches. haha.
    5,000 gal. Intex "Pool", wimpy little pump w/cartridge filters, installed 2013, TF-100 kit

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    Re: Ready to do this right

    So is it all on the filter to remove dead algae?
    Sounds like it. I would recommend brushing at least once per day. If your vacuum is stirring up clouds, that means stuff is sitting on the bottom and not getting to the filter. Stirring it up is a good thing!
    33K gal vinyl IG, 1.5 HP SuperFlo pump, Hayward S244T sand filter (62GPM)

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    Re: Ready to do this right

    Replies in red.
    Quote Originally Posted by mangotree View Post
    So far so good. New relevant readings:
    TA = 70
    pH = 7.2
    FC = 18
    CC = 0.5

    Question 1: While Slamming, how often do I need to check FC? I don't want to burn through all those nice reagents I just bought TOO fast. At least twice a day. More often if possible.
    Question 2: While the algae is dying, do I rely on my filter to remove it? Vacuuming doesn't seem to pick it up -- just stirs up clouds. We have the vacuum system with a mesh bag that only holds larger debris. So is it all on the filter to remove dead algae? Yes, the filter will remove the dead algae. Your signature lists a cartridge filter, have you rinsed the cartridge?

    Overall, this is fun! I definitely feel cool mixing chemicals and swirling tubes while my family watches. haha.

  11. Back To Top    #11

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    Re: Ready to do this right

    Abigail, I bought a pair of fresh filters when I started the slam, and I hosed it down three times today. Algae appears to be gone. Hopefully my FC holds tomorrow night.

    Thanks for answering my questions all the way from Australia. :^)
    5,000 gal. Intex "Pool", wimpy little pump w/cartridge filters, installed 2013, TF-100 kit

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    Re: Ready to do this right

    Wrapping up this post. As Rick predicted, this was a quick slam. I even pulled my ladder yesterday and found some bright green friends hiding inside the rung moldings. FC held overnight and my water is sparkling clear today, so I'm letting my FC drift back down. From what I've read, it sounds like swimming is okay as long as FC is below the shock level (per my CYA). So I'm back open and algae-free. Thanks to everyone who replied -- your help is much appreciated!
    5,000 gal. Intex "Pool", wimpy little pump w/cartridge filters, installed 2013, TF-100 kit

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    Re: Ready to do this right

    One more question. My FC has slowly come down to 10. What's the best way to keep it in range without having to do the FAS-DPD every time? If I'm trying to keep FC around 7, is there any way to utilize the OTO test? I don't want to revert to guessing, but I don't want to test my FC levels every day either. Help please.
    5,000 gal. Intex "Pool", wimpy little pump w/cartridge filters, installed 2013, TF-100 kit

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Ready to do this right

    Quote Originally Posted by mangotree View Post
    One more question. My FC has slowly come down to 10. What's the best way to keep it in range without having to do the FAS-DPD every time? If I'm trying to keep FC around 7, is there any way to utilize the OTO test? I don't want to revert to guessing, but I don't want to test my FC levels every day either. Help please.
    Just do the FAS-DPD test for a week or so, until you see just how much bleach you need to add consistently. Then add the same amount daily and test every other day to be sure.

    And you can also try the OTO tester and see if you can get a feel for what it looks like when it's right by comparing it to the FAS-DPD results.

    The safest thing is to just order powder and drop refills.
    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: Ready to do this right

    Mangotree, I would for a week or two test every day. I would make a note of temperature and cloudiness. Your FC is burned off by sunlight and organics. So if no one is in your pool all day and it was a bright sunny day and you burned off 2.5 ppm of FC. and then later you note that on a cloudy day with no bather load you burned off 1.5ppm /day then you can see a pattern and get to a point where you dont have to test every day. But with the cost of Chlorine you need to establish your baseline, so you dont have to SLAM again. When you read enough Pool School and get the rhythm of your pool you can save on testing, but until then take notes and use the KNOWLEDGE that we give you to get to a point where you enjoy a sparkleicious pool every day.
    Good Luck!
    17500 Gal Above Ground, 1.5HP Dynamo Pump, 250# Pentair Sand filter with ZeoLite. Diver Dave Cleaner. TFP test kit w/SpeedStir, 7 Grandaughters and 1 Grandson swimming every week WooooHooo!!

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    Re: Ready to do this right

    I would encourage you to use the FAS DPD test kit daily until you get to know your pool and it's diet enough to keep it clean. Once you know it, then you can slack off of testing daily and go every other day. I've had my new pool for 2 years now and my old pool for many years doing the TFPC way and I always tested at least every other day, if not every day. If you become lax on testing, you are just sending an invitation out to your little green friends IMHO. You lax one day, you'll lax another and before you know it.... BAM! Green pool. It only takes 5 minutes a day mangotree.

    P.S. I've been using this brand new TF100 since last year and I have not had to replace my reagents. I will need to for next year so you will get at least 2 good years out of your test kit if you don't get another green pool.
    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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    Re: Ready to do this right

    You know it's good advice when everyone's saying the same thing. I started a spreadsheet when I started slamming, so I'll just keep recording data until I learn the patterns of my pool.

    Thanks for the help.
    5,000 gal. Intex "Pool", wimpy little pump w/cartridge filters, installed 2013, TF-100 kit

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