I have a new Hotspring Pulse (380 gal, covered, 24/7 circulation pump, 100F) that was installed end of Sept, so just a couple months old. I put both an ozonator (Freshwater III) and a metal ion stick (Nature 2) in it from the start, hoping that would allow me to minimize chemical additions. For a while, water was crystal clear, then one day, got very cloudy. I knocked it back to clear with dichlor, but since then, I seem to be cycling between bacteria bursts and crystal clear. As a result, my CYA levels (according to the Aquacheck 7 test strips I use) have climbed to 150.
Since the beginning, I have used MPS (about 1.5 tbsp after each use or every 2 days) during the week, and dichlor (1 tbsp) once each weekend. There are usually just 2 or 3 people in there for 30 minutes every couple days or so, so I think the bather load is not a huge problem. With either the MPS or the dichlor, all traces of the stuff disappear within 8-12 hours, no matter what. I have been assuming that the ozonator is breaking it down quickly, but in any case, it is very difficult to maintain any level of either chemical. I would literally have to add it twice a day to keep any sort of concentration in the spa. All this would be great if the ozonator also knocked down the bacteria blooms as quickly, but apparently they can multiply faster than the ozone and metal ion system can kill them (or those system don't work, which I'm sure many will claim.)
I use the N2 test strips to check for MPS levels, and I test for Cl- and pH/TA using a Pool Master reagent kit. If I put in 1 tbsp of dichlor, it shows 2.0 - 3.0 ppm on the reagent test kit and around 5.0 with the test strips. The reagent kit only reads as high as 5.0, but I've never seen it that dark. No matter what, it will be back down to near zero within half a day or so. Other parameters seem good - pH is stable around 7.6 and TA has been between 50 and 100ish. Calcium Hardness is 250 on the strips.
So I feel like I'm using very little dichlor, though when fighting these cloudy events, I have put another tablespoon or so in during mid-week to get the water clear again. However, the strips are telling me that CYA is past 100 and more like 150, after just two months after filling.
Can someone provide some guidance on this?
1) Is my chemical regimen just too conservative and I should be adding Cl- and/or MPS more often?
2) Is my ozonator helping or hindering me in my attempt to minimize chemical additions?
3) Are my CYA measurements accurate?
4) How did I get to 150 on CYA so quickly?
5) Do I now need to drain fully or partially to get the CYA levels down? I'm concerned that my Cl- levels are not being as effective, hence the cloudy cycles.
6) If I start over, what's the best way to proceed?
I know you guys talk about using liquid bleach, but the Watkins manual is emphatic that it should not be used and will damage the acrylic, etc., etc. I would prefer to go that route, but would like some guidance from those who have done this.
Any help greatly appreciated!