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Thread: We've been hit by the dreaded cloudy water

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    We've been hit by the dreaded cloudy water

    Almost 4 months to the day since we got our hot tub (J-385 500 gallon). Water has been crystal clear the whole time with no issues.

    Sunday we did our weekly testing and filter rinsing (we clean the filters and change them with a clean set every 4 weeks) with the following numbers. We use Nature2 with Leisure Time Replenish (and MPS + other "stuff" product) tho sometimes we use straight up Dichlor depending on what we reach for.

    Water was crystal clear during testing. We run the circ pump 24/7

    Using the MPS test strips:
    MPS - Low (not entirely unexpected, hadn't been in in 3 days and didn't add anything to it)
    Alk - 100
    pH - 7.2

    Using the Taylor test kit:
    FC - 0.6
    CC - 0.2
    CH - 110
    Alk - 70
    pH - somewhat between 7.0 and 7.2 on the color scale so a TOUCH low but I figured it was due to only the circ pump being used in the last 3 days and I thought jets running would stir it up and raise it so I wasn't concerned)
    CYA - 70

    I know the CYA is getting high after 4 months (we don't do the dichlor then bleach method but may switch to that with the next fill). We figured we'd be draining at least half the water in the next week or so, if we didn't just opt to do a full drain and refill since it's been 4 months.

    So anyway, I tossed in a bit of the Replenish to get the MPS level up a bit and we closed it up.

    This week has been busy but we went to go in last nite and the water was completely cloudy. So bad you could barely see the foot jet dome. Our Nature2 cartridge is 4 months old so I suppose due to be changed and I'm wondering if it finally just lost enough (tho the grains don't go away, so how do you know when it's used up??) to not be able to keep up with just using Nature2 and MPS?

    The Taylor kit book says for algae bloom, take it up to 30ppm FC so I put in enough dichlor to take it up to that and ran the jets for 40 minutes. My husband thought it looked a little better. Looked at it this morning and I can see the back jets (only took the cover half off because it's freakin' snowing here right now!) so that looked a bit better to me.

    Do we just let it go for 24 hours or so and see if it cleans up? Of course now our CYA will be really high so we definitely need to take out at least most of the water soon but I ordered some Ahh-some which will be here Saturday since we didn't do that on initial fill so I'm thinking we'll drain, fill, ahh-some, drain and fill again and then balance the water but any ideas on what prompted such a fast change in the water? I'm wondering if it's because the CYA is up so high that we didn't have the FC up high enough to compensate (if I have that right, I think the chlorine becomes less effective as CYA rises so you have to use more dichlor to keep up to raise the FC high enough). But I'm surprised it happened so fast. No algae on the sides or anything, just generally REALLY bad looking water, very very very cloudy.

    thanks!

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: We've been hit by the dreaded cloudy water

    Hi, here is an article from pool school on how to maintain your hot tub with chlorine. I've been maintaining my hot tub this way for about 1-1/2 years and it is great. Hot tub water can turn cloudy in a hurry. The couple of times that it happened more chlorine fixed it. Drain, Ahhsome and start over sounds like a pretty good plan to me. SNOWING? WTH?

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: We've been hit by the dreaded cloudy water

    4 months and probably have a high CYA problem? Water change with an Ahh-Some treatment is the most practical remedy. I can get my water to be great for up to about 4 months with no issues using dichlor/bleach method. Then I change it even if it looks fine. The only bad part of water changes for me is that the fill water is high TA so it takes a day or two to get the pH stabilized and TA down.
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    Re: We've been hit by the dreaded cloudy water

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    SNOWING? WTH?
    Right! Dusting on the lawn this morning and then had a couple pretty good squalls so far this morning.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Weird tho how it happened so fast (tho in a hot tub, I suppose 3 days isn't fast) because it's not like the CYA hasn't been creeping up.

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    Re: We've been hit by the dreaded cloudy water

    Just tested the FC/CC and from 9:00 last nite after we found this issue until now (5pm) the FC went from 30 to 7.4 (CC is 0.4) so that's a pretty huge usage overnite. The water looks like it's starting to clear but it's going to take some time I guess. For the immediate need, I'd like to get it cleared up enough to use until we can get it drained and all, hopefully over the weekend or early next week. Wondering if I should add more dichlor to get the FC up a bit higher while it's still cleaning things out.

    And my husband just asked if it's possible the hose water did this..... Um...... So since it's warmer now, the hose is sitting outside and he used that to rinse down the filters and top up to hot tub on Sunday. But he didn't spray out the water in the hose line first. So I'm wondering if the stagnant water in the hose reel had gunk growing in it that just got dumped into the tub. Sounds reasonable but what say the wise folks here?

    thanks!

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: We've been hit by the dreaded cloudy water

    No, the hose did not do this. Probably your high-ish CYA level did. You should use bleach to increase your chlorine level, not more dichlor (which adds more CYA).

    With CYA of 70, according to the Chlorine CYA Chart you need to target FC of 8ppm and min of 5ppm, every time you drop below 5 it will start to cloud. Shock level is 28, so keep it up around 28 another day or two and it will probably finish clearing up.
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    Re: We've been hit by the dreaded cloudy water

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    No, the hose did not do this. Probably your high-ish CYA level did. You should use bleach to increase your chlorine level, not more dichlor (which adds more CYA).

    With CYA of 70, according to the Chlorine CYA Chart you need to target FC of 8ppm and min of 5ppm, every time you drop below 5 it will start to cloud. Shock level is 28, so keep it up around 28 another day or two and it will probably finish clearing up.
    That CYA chart doesn't take into account Nature2 and MPS tho right? Not that I've added MPS since Sunday so that is likely "low" at best at this point.

    So my FC level is now 10, in order to take it up more with bleach, I just go by what PoolMath tells me right? 19oz of my 6% (splashless, I'm not making THAT mistake) bleach will take up my 500 gallon tub up by 18ppm.

    For my own knowledge, how do you know shock level is 28? Is that just the way it is or is it based on water volume and other factors?

    thanks!

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: We've been hit by the dreaded cloudy water

    LOL, nooo not splashless! Lol or scented either!

    The cya chart says 28 is the shock level for 70 cya Chlorine CYA Chart <<<--click it

    Nothing I said takes into account mps or nature2.
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    Re: We've been hit by the dreaded cloudy water

    Ah ok. I didn't look far enough to the right on the chart. Ok I'm going to go throw some 6% bleach in and let it go tonite and then check it again in the morning.

    I think for now I'll just forget I have the Nature2 and MPS that we normally use and once I get done with all the MPS we have in stock, I might just abandon that process completely.... Still pretty new at this and learning what's what - thank heavens for this site!!

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    Re: We've been hit by the dreaded cloudy water

    Just checked the water and it looks much much better. Maybe a SLIGHT bit of dullness to it but if the FC level was lower, I'd have no reservations about getting in it.

    Last nite at about 8pm the FC level (after adding bleach) was 33ppm. Today at 9:45am it's at 20ppm. CC was 0.2

    One question.... I used the Nature2 strip to test for MPS expecting to see "low" or "0" and it reads off the chart high. I know MPS can interfere with FC tests on the strips or on the Taylor kit unless you have the chemical to stop the interference on the test, but I didn't think the MPS strips would read FC. Is that likely what's happening because FC is so high, the MPS strip is reading it?

    Now I just have to let the FC level come down to where it belongs and we can go in, and then later this weekend or early next week we'll deal with the dumping and and refilling.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: We've been hit by the dreaded cloudy water

    The water is safe to get in when it is clear and the chlorine level is below shock level for you cya level.

    I don't know if your test strips are reading fc or not. I am not familiar with MPS test strips. I will do some research in little bit, I'm curious.

    When you drain and refill be sure to add borax to your tub it is nice!
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    Re: We've been hit by the dreaded cloudy water

    We were just talking about that. Being as we have a bunch of the Replenish left we were thinking we'd use it how we have been and then when it's used up, drain and switch from the MPS/Nature2 method over to the dichlor then bleach. Otherwise, what the heck do I do with the replenish

    Thanks for the reminder about the CYA chart and that I shouldn't let the FC get as low as I'm used to because the CYA is so high. For a CYA of 85, shock level is 33 so we're already well below that and one the way to 10 which is the target (roughly, 9 - 10 based on the chart) so I'll probably hop in tonite.

    Now I just have to figure out how much bleach to put in post soak (I think chemgeek has some posts on that) until we change out the water since I don't think I can just use pool math to figure it out since that will only account for how much it takes to raise it from X to Y without accounting for bather load that'll drop X between start and end of soak (if that makes sense)

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: We've been hit by the dreaded cloudy water

    Yes, there is a post or two about person hour bather load that is helpful. It is really about putting enough bleach in so that there is enough residual bleach still there the next time you get in or add bleach. You get a feel for it pretty quickly.

    We keep a gallon of 8.25% bleach and 1/4 cup on a table by the hot tub. We put in about 1/8th cup per person/hour of tub time.
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