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Thread: High nitrates

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    Join Date
    May 2015
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    delran nj
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    High nitrates

    Hi, Please hang with me as I am a newbie. I am currently reading the pool school. My pool's levels were fine a couple days ago. Today I have no chlorine. Took my water to be tested and they said my nitrates were at 60. They told me to add 4 bags of shock to the pool to see if it would stay. I added the 4 bags at 1pm, at 3 pm I checked the chlorine level and it was off the charts. I just checked it at 7pm and there was no chlorine in the pool again. I really don't know what to do. The pool store near me has already messed me up once. While opening the pool, I was trying to increase my PH and they double dosed me on soda ash, I then had to add the dry acid to get it to correct level. So I really don't trust them much. And we just bought the house and is our first time owning and operating a pool. If anyone could please give some advise on how to get rid of the nitrates without emptying my whole pool, I would so greatly appreciate it. My pool is crystal clear, no algae. We were just swimming in it yesterday, no slippery surfaces, etc. Last week, the pool wasn't using any of the chlorine in the pool, we had chlorine in the filter and wasn't getting used and the chlorine was staying around 2fc 2tc. Within just 2 days the pool won't hold all the chlorine we put in. Sorry if I rambled, I'm just confused and don't really trust the pool company. I don't want to be without using the pool for days or weeks on end.

    0 FC
    0 TC
    7.4 PH
    120 alkalinity
    60 nitrates
    Inground pool
    16x32
    Concrete pool with vinyl liner
    Sand filter
    Shallow end is 3 feet and goes to 6 feet deep

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    chiefwej's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
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    Tucson
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    Re: High nitrates

    With the methods we use, you can ignore nitrates. In a properly balanced chlorinated pool they mean nothing. The pool store calls nitrates "algae food". Chlorine kills algae, and if it's dead or not there it doesn't matter how much food is available. I highly recommend that you order yourself a good test kit the T-100 is the best you can get for a home pool. That allows you to stay out of pool stores and test your own water accurately. While waiting for your new test kit spend time reading, re reading, studying, and re study "Pool School". It can be found by tapping that button at the upper right of this page. It takes a bit to get the grasp of it, but it's worth it. You will save a fortune of pool chemicals and know exactly what your pool needs. There are hundreds of knowledgeable people here waiting to help you manage your own pool. But we need accurate tests results to advise you, and you only get those by doing proper tests yourself.
    chiefwej
    Tucson, AZ
    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, Hayward H400 & Heliocol Solar heating, A&A infloor system, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
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    San Dimas, CA (LA County)
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    18,768

    Re: High nitrates

    Welcome

    Congratulations on getting off the pool store merry go round before they really soaked you. I have no idea what my Nitrate level is, nor my Phosphate level. Never had 'em tested, couldn't care less. Never had an algae bloom, either, in five years at least.

    What matters is the free chlorine/ CYA ratio. Odds are, your CYA level is through the rood, because pool stores love to sell pucks and "shock" and they raise CYA dramatically. And when the FC/CYA ratio drops too low, algae gets started, and any chlorine you had is eaten up in hours by the ever-growing algae. Adding more shock just raises the CYA some more, which makes the FC/CYA ratio even worse. You're caught in a downward spiral.

    The solution: get your own test kit so you aren't reliant on the pool store. As you've discovered, they're in business to sell you chemicals, not test water for free. Test strips don't cut it, either. Some are very good, some are worse than useless. Which do you have? Who knows? There seems to be no consistent pattern.

    So... first step to taking control of your pool is investing in a proper test kit. It's a chunk o'change, but a good kit will keep you out of the pool store for at least a year, and that's got to save you some real money. There's an article in Pool School, but skip it and head straight for tftestkits and get a TF100. I suggest the XL option now. That particular refill is really hard to find in stores.

    Second, do some reading in Pool School. Start with the ABCs and Recommended Pool Chemicals.

    And for the immediate problem, you need to get some bleach in that pool. We need a depth, so we can get the volume of the pool in gallons. Without knowing that, there's no way to know how much to even suggest. Plus, without test results -notably CYA - we're really working totally blind.

    Just know that with a test kit and this forum, you can have a crystal clear pool in a few weeks, and it will be so routine and easy it's like brushing your teeth.
    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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    May 2015
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    delran nj
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    Re: High nitrates

    Thank you for your response. I do have an at home test kit. It tests free chlorine, total chlorine, PH And alkalinity. I'm in the process of reading and rereading. Was just hoping I could have some insight on how to get the chlorine to stay in my pool. Thank you
    Inground pool
    16x32
    Concrete pool with vinyl liner
    Sand filter
    Shallow end is 3 feet and goes to 6 feet deep

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    May 2007
    Location
    Silver Spring, MD
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    37,879

    Re: High nitrates

    First you need to know your CYA level. If CYA is very low all of the chlorine will vanish each day.
    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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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    May 2010
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    Re: High nitrates

    Just to add one thing to what the others have said, stop going to the pool store to get pool management advice, it is like going to the corner drug dealer for your medication advice.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
    ~Remember TFP counts on your donations to keep this site ad free~

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    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    delran nj
    Posts
    3

    Re: High nitrates

    I went into Leslie's pool supply today to pick up Chlorine tablets and since I was going figured I would get the water checked there. They actually wouldn't sell me any chlorine because they said it would be a waste with nitrates that high, it would be useless to buy them. So I didn't buy anything in the store today. After they checked the nitrates they stopped and didn't test my CYA level, so I don't know what it is at and I have nothing here to test it, as my kit only does FC, TC, PH and Alkalinity.
    Inground pool
    16x32
    Concrete pool with vinyl liner
    Sand filter
    Shallow end is 3 feet and goes to 6 feet deep

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    May 2010
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    SW Louisiana
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    6,711

    Re: High nitrates

    They must really want to sell you something to lower those "evil" nitrates, and I suspect it is a LOT more expensive than some liquid chlorine.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
    ~Remember TFP counts on your donations to keep this site ad free~

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    May 2014
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    Columbia, SC
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    Re: High nitrates

    Wow, that is the first time I've heard of Leslie's turning down a sale..... But they did you a favor their CYA testing is poor on a good day and continuous use of pucks will drive your CYA sky high. Use bleach for now to keep chlorine in the pool.

    You will need to pick up one of the recommended test kits. To effectively practice the TFPC methods, the FAS/DPD chlorine test is essential. All the kits on the list contain that test while very few other kits do. The kits sold at the pool store generally won't won't cut it, but be careful pool store employees are known to say “it's the same thing”. Generally it's not!
    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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