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Thread: Mustard alge

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    Mustard alge

    Last year we he mustard algae or something that resembled it but it was never yellow or brown. More clear in color or white. I treated it and all was good last year.

    It happens when we get horse hair worms.

    this year we had horse hair worms and then the alge is back. The alge is not yellow but did look like sand and it was spreading. Now it is clear and blue in color. I have added yellow out - twice, algecide 60, terminator 2 algaecide, algaeKill granular with hydro-floc. I have added this stuff twice and I vacuum to waste the entire pool. It keeps coming back. I have had 2 pool companies out and they have given up. I've spent over $1000 to get rid of this stuff.

    What at do I need to do?


    here is what it looks like.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Mustard alge

    Welcome to TFP!!

    All of the potions you have added are pool store solutions that generally don't work as you have discovered. What does work is chlorine. Plain old liquid chlorine.

    So, my first suggestion is to stop going to the pool store. Their only response it to sell you something.

    Not much credence is given to pool store testing around here. While you would think that a "professional" would be the best, unfortunately in most cases it is quite the opposite. Between employees who blindly trust the word of chemical sales representatives and high school kids working in the pool store for the summer you end up with poor results from their testing. But, what can you do?? We base our pool care system on accurate testing and only adding what the pool needs, when it needs it. To do that you need your own accurate test kit. Order a TF100 and at least include the XL option. That will give you what you need while you are clearing the pool, and probably enough reagents for a couple of years normal use.

    The only other real option for a test kit is a Taylor K-2006. Be careful comparing prices because the K-2006 comes in sizes, designated by a letter. The basic K-2006 has .75oz bottles. Yo need to get the K-2006-C to get the larger bottles that you want. Even then it is a little short on the reagent & powder for the FAS/DPD test.

    I also have the SpeedStir and Sample Sizer. They speed testing and accuracy.

    Once you have a way to accurately test you will perform what we call a SLAM on the pool. This means Shock Level And Maintain. Basically you are going to bring the pool to shock level with liquid chlorine and hold it there until everything growing in the ware is dead and the filter has removed it from the water.

    You can read the directions on SLAMing your pool in the How To section of Pool School and follow that procedure completely to the end.

    * CC is 0.5 or lower;
    * You pass an OCLT (ie overnight FC loss test shows a loss of 1.0 ppm or less);
    * The water is clear.

    When all three are true, you are done SLAMing and can allow the FC to drift down to normal levels.
    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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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Mustard alge

    Welcome to TFP!

    +1 to everything Tim says!

    Chlorine kills algae
    Get a good test kit
    SLAM your pool
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    Re: Mustard alge

    Does algae look like this? Normally green and my pool isn't green or never is. This algae looks weird and is blue in color and clear.

    The pool companies that has been here said that its not mustard algae. Or with there tests don't know what's going on and have never seen anything like it. The last 2 didn't even charge me for it and spent some time here. But move spent a bunch on it and I agree with not dealing with the pool suppliers, cause they just want to sell chemicals that don't work.

    Ill follow your procedures and cross my figures it works. Also why does people up get these horse hair worms and where do they come from? After we've had them this stuff happens. The guy I bough the house from has never had this problem.

    Thanks for for all the help. I own a HVAC and electrical business and just learning about pools. We install pool heaters and pumps and do all pool electrical but never had to deal with the chemicals and testing and then I bought this house 2 years ago and the fun started from there.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Mustard alge

    What is your pool surface? Maybe it is black algae?

    Add your pool info to your signature as shown here, Pool School - Getting Started


    Pool School - Defeating Algae
    Pool School - Mustard Algae
    Pool School - Black Algae
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    Re: Mustard alge

    the algae is a sand looking color and it was in the shallow end of the pool and now it has spread all over the pool. It looks like lines of sand in the pool but it is algae. The chlorine is 15. I guess is need to SLAM the pool. I'll vacuum all debris and algae to waste, then do the SLAM. During this can I use Clorox and how much?
    16x32 IG Pool, 20,000 Gal, Sand Filter Hayward 300 lb, Hayward Pump Super Pump, Raypack 200K Btu Propane Heater, Hayward Chorine Feeder, Vinyl Liner

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    Re: Mustard alge

    I've been using a pentair 78DPD test kit. I just ordered a TF-100 and a speed stirrer
    16x32 IG Pool, 20,000 Gal, Sand Filter Hayward 300 lb, Hayward Pump Super Pump, Raypack 200K Btu Propane Heater, Hayward Chorine Feeder, Vinyl Liner

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    Re: Mustard alge

    CYA is 60
    16x32 IG Pool, 20,000 Gal, Sand Filter Hayward 300 lb, Hayward Pump Super Pump, Raypack 200K Btu Propane Heater, Hayward Chorine Feeder, Vinyl Liner

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    Re: Mustard alge

    I thought the DPD test kit had a limitation of 10ppm for chlorine?

    I would wait until you get your test kit to begin the SLAM as you will need to be able to test the higher chlorine levels you will be using?

    Where did you get the CYA 60 from? The amount of chlorine you need will be based on the CYA level, so we need to make sure this is correct. Read the SLAM instructions - Pool School - SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain

    Yes, Clorox or generic bleach from WalMart is what you should use unless higher % chlorinating liquid is available in your area.
    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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    Re: Mustard alge

    Quote Originally Posted by tim5055 View Post
    I thought the DPD test kit had a limitation of 10ppm for chlorine?

    I would wait until you get your test kit to begin the SLAM as you will need to be able to test the higher chlorine levels you will be using?

    Where did you get the CYA 60 from? The amount of chlorine you need will be based on the CYA level, so we need to make sure this is correct. Read the SLAM instructions - Pool School - SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain

    Yes, Clorox or generic bleach from WalMart is what you should use unless higher % chlorinating liquid is available in your area.
    I purchased test strips for chlorine from the local pool supply.

    I used the the cya from the pentair test kit. The instructions was to fill to the A line, insert the plastic test strip in the tube, put a CYA capsule in the tube and pull the plastic tube to the top then lower it to the bottom until the black dot fully vanishes, then look that the side of the tube to see which numbers is closer to the top of the water.

    Quick question......why not just pour a lot of Clorox in until it reaches a very high level, enough to kill the algae, then bring back down to normal levels. (I don't know anything about pools, so please have mercy on me.) I bought this house and it had this pool so I'm adjust trying to maintain it, which I'm not doing a very good job at.


    Also reviewing the TC Shock levels, from the chart, Is this the minimum level and can I go higher or is this the level I should try and maintain during the 25 hour slam process?
    16x32 IG Pool, 20,000 Gal, Sand Filter Hayward 300 lb, Hayward Pump Super Pump, Raypack 200K Btu Propane Heater, Hayward Chorine Feeder, Vinyl Liner

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Mustard alge

    Just pouring in a lot of clorox will waste bleach because above a certain level it is no longer helping. It will also bleach your vinyl liner. It takes more than one high dose of chlorine/bleach to kill algae. It takes a consistent high level of chlorine at shock level for your CYA, Chlorine CYA Chart. And also brushing the pool is important to expose the algae to the chlorinel

    You really need to get one of the Pool School - Test Kits Compared. I use the TF100 from TFTestkits.net

    Follow the process to Pool School - SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain
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    Re: Mustard alge

    i started the SLAM process yesterday, maintained 28 ppm of FC until this morning, brushed the pool twice during the process and FC has maintained 28 since yesterday morning and should be decreasing today back to normal levels. The algae keeps growing. It's actually worse now that it was before I started the slam. Everytime I increase the chlorine levels or shock the pool the algae grows and gets worse. This should have the opposite effect on it. The high chlorine should kill it not make it grow.

    This is why the pool companies quit working on it. It's like it's immune to chlorine and it's feeding off it.

    - - - Updated - - -

    One guy mentioned that I should change the filter sand. That the algae could be living in it. I changed it last year due to a broken lateral. We had this problem last year also and the chorine killed it. But it was before I changed the sand.
    16x32 IG Pool, 20,000 Gal, Sand Filter Hayward 300 lb, Hayward Pump Super Pump, Raypack 200K Btu Propane Heater, Hayward Chorine Feeder, Vinyl Liner

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    Re: Mustard alge

    Remember, a SLAM is not a one-day process the way a pool store tries to tell you to "shock" your pool. You must "maintain" the SLAM FC level until you pass ALL 3 criteria. It may take a few days, it may take a week or two. But certainly not overnight. By doing these things, it will defeat the algae.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Following the SLAM as directed should simultaneously remedy any algae in your filter.
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
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    Re: Mustard alge

    Welcome to the forum. This post very likely will make you mad and could easily be construed as offensive. It is not my intent to be offensive but rather to help you get a grip on some basic science and let us help you get your pool crystal clear and clean. We can do that if you will help us by following the advice you get here and ignoring ALL other advice.

    Take in a deep breath and absorb this fact.....chlorine kills algae - period.

    Your algae is not special and your water is not special and your pool is not unique. What is special is the knee-jerk you are taking to clear your pool and that is not what we teach.

    Do you have your TF-100 yet? If not, that means you cannot post valid test results and subsequently not start the SLAM. Stop what you are doing and wait for your TF-100 to get to you and CAREFULLY test your water and post your test results.

    There are literally hundreds of people that will help you and thousands that are watching this thread.

    read "The ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry" up in Pool School. That'll get you started into understanding a lot more about your dilemma.
    Dave S.
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    Re: Mustard alge

    Welcome aboard!

    To piggyback onto what Dave posted...

    Chlorine kills organic (i.e., natural, living) things. Regardless of whether this is algae or something else, chlorine will get rid of it.

    However, before anyone can give you anything more than vague advice, you have to post a complete set of test results. Those would be:

    FC (Free Chlorine)
    CC (Combined Chloramines)
    pH
    TA (Total Alkalinity)
    CH (Calcium Hardness)
    CYA (Cyanuric Acid/Stabilizer)

    We only trust the results that come from one of the suggested test kits (links previously posted). Pool stores cannot be trusted. Most pool store test kits cannot be trusted either, at least as far as FC is concerned, as they only read up to 5 or 10 ppm. Your SLAM will require FC levels higher than 10 ppm, and you need to know exactly what your FC is throughout the SLAM process.

    The fine folks at TFP have been doing this a long, long time and have helped hundreds -- if not thousands -- of pool owners get their pool straightened out. It just requires a small investment of money for a good test kit. Also a healthy dose of POP, Pool Owner Patience. The problem you have didn't develop overnight, and it won't be fixed overnight.

    Take a few deep breaths, order up a recommended test kit, and wait for it to show up.

    Nothing disastrous or irreversible is going to happen to your pool while you wait the 3 or 4 days for your good test kit to arrive.

    While you're waiting, click the Pool School link at the top of the page and read up on Pool Chemistry and the SLAM Process. Read those articles 3 or 4 times -- the more you read them, the more sense they make.
    25,000 gallon freeform gunnite/plaster, built in the 1970s/80s; Sta-Rite 9463004 575-lb. sand filter; Sta-Rite DuraGlas/Max-E-Glas (P2RA5F-125L) single-speed 1.5 HP pump, manufactured 12/1993 (1M93M).
    Helpful links: TFTestKits; Pool School; ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry; Chlorine/CYA Chart; PoolMath; SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain

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    Re: Mustard alge

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    Welcome to the forum. This post very likely will make you mad and could easily be construed as offensive. It is not my intent to be offensive but rather to help you get a grip on some basic science and let us help you get your pool crystal clear and clean. We can do that if you will help us by following the advice you get here and ignoring ALL other advice.

    Take in a deep breath and absorb this fact.....chlorine kills algae - period.

    Your algae is not special and your water is not special and your pool is not unique. What is special is the knee-jerk you are taking to clear your pool and that is not what we teach.

    Do you have your TF-100 yet? If not, that means you cannot post valid test results and subsequently not start the SLAM. Stop what you are doing and wait for your TF-100 to get to you and CAREFULLY test your water and post your test results.

    There are literally hundreds of people that will help you and thousands that are watching this thread.

    read "The ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry" up in Pool School. That'll get you started into understanding a lot more about your dilemma.
    Thanks and I'll never get mad at a post for that matter. And yes I am trying to do a quick fix. I'll 100% admit that. It worked last year. But unfortunately not this year. With July 4th fast approaching, I have about 20 people coming to my home for the celebration. I'm just trying to get the pool lined out enough so it can be enjoyed. But I hate to say it won't be this year. Not sure what to do about it. I own a company called American Heating, Cooling & Electric, so the whole neighborhood comes by to enjoy Independence Day as well as the 20 people we invite.

    The TF-100 kit should be here by tomorrow. I was hoping that the algae would be killed by the chlorine or even decreased somewhat so we could use the pool. I'll wait on the kit to arrive before I continue with any more of my so called "experiments", until I can get you all the correct information.

    I'm used to quick fixes. As the owner of a medium sized HVAC and Electrical business, customers rely on me and my employees to get there AC, Heat or lights back on quick and in this case, I have to play the waiting game.

    I won't post test results from the pentair kit, I'll wait for the TF-100 to arrive tomorrow so I'll have more accurate results.

    As for the pool companies, most are money grabbers, but one company in particular we do a lot of work for has tried to help. Been in business since 1977 and is the most respected company in a 100 mile radius. They use my company to install there electrical on new pools and help on problems from pool heaters and and pumps. Great company, and haven't charged me a dime to come out and try and help fix. And has given chemicals for free, but after no success I called some other companies with no luck. Then it got expensive.

    Ill be be in touch. Thanks TFP and hope we can fix this problem.
    16x32 IG Pool, 20,000 Gal, Sand Filter Hayward 300 lb, Hayward Pump Super Pump, Raypack 200K Btu Propane Heater, Hayward Chorine Feeder, Vinyl Liner

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    Re: Mustard alge

    Based on what you describe it may not be algae. You say it isn't green clumpy, isn't yellow/mustard dust/powder, isn't black stuck to pool surfaces, but is instead more white. That sounds like it might be more of a fungus such as white water mold. On the other hand, you've put so many products into your pool water that you could be having chemical reactions coagulating some of those chemicals. Let's review some of what you put in:

    Coral Seas Yellow Out -- this is a combination of EDTA which is a metal sequestrant but can also inhibit some algae (see this EPA report) and ammonium sulfate which is basically ammonia and will quickly react with chlorine to produce monochloramine. It is the monochloramine that works around a high CYA level to kill algae while the EDTA continues to inhibit and kill it over a longer period of time. EDTA breaks down from chlorine so creates a chlorine demand.

    Algaecide 60 is probably Polyquat which is a cationic (positively charged) polymeric algaecide.

    Omni Algae Terminator is copper sulfate pentahydrate so copper ions that kill algae, but can also stain plaster pools and make blond hair greenish.

    Algae Kill Granular is probably Trichlor granular.

    N Jonas Hydro Floc may be polyaluminum chloride which is a positively charged flocculant

    So part of the problem may be that you don't actually have algae growing at this point but that you are precipitating chemicals basically floc'ing your EDTA. Both alum floc and Polyquat are positively charged and may be attracted to and precipitate negatively charged salt of EDTA. You've basically created a precipitated/coagulated mess of a chemical soup.

    I would not try and resolve this through SLAMing (even though you already got started with it) but rather by physically removing this product from the pool by trying to physically remove it via skimmer socks, filtration (either vacuum to waste, if you can, or brushing and filtering if you cannot), and even a slime bag. There is probably a pH that will optimize coagulating this stuff, but I'm not sure what it would be. You should probably try removing most of it first, then see what happens if the pH is lowered closer to 7.0 and if more stuff shows up, remove it, then raise the pH closer to 8.0 (but careful because you've got that copper in their, but at least your pool is vinyl) and see if more stuff shows up and remove it. After you get most of this chemical soup removed, then you can SLAM to get rid of any dissolved remnants, particularly of EDTA which will get oxidized by chlorine.

    While you are doing all of this chemical clean-up, you do want to maintain the proper FC/CYA level and you may find that you have a higher than normal chlorine demand so just make sure you have at least 5 ppm FC for your presumed 60 ppm CYA level. If after getting your test kit the CYA level is different, then adjust accordingly. Since you've already started a SLAM, you could continue, but I wouldn't have started there.

    Chlorine does NOT clear up every mess. It is not a panacea and sometimes you have to physically remove chemicals from the water, especially those that won't react with chlorine (such as alum floc).

    In the future, do not let anyone convince you that you have algae if it is not either green and clumpy or green cloudy water OR black slow growing on surfaces (and smears dark green on white paper) OR is yellow or mustard in color and dust-like that sweeps into a cloud and prefers the shady side of the pool. If it's white, then unless it's dead algae, it's not algae. Alage (and cyanobactria) have chlorophyll and use sunlight to grow so they are always some form of color in the yellow, mustard, green, black range. You won't find them blue or magenta or a combination that looks white.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
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  18. Back To Top    #18

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    Re: Mustard alge

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek View Post
    Based on what you describe it may not be algae. You say it isn't green clumpy, isn't yellow/mustard dust/powder, isn't black stuck to pool surfaces, but is instead more white. That sounds like it might be more of a fungus such as white water mold. On the other hand, you've put so many products into your pool water that you could be having chemical reactions coagulating some of those chemicals. Let's review some of what you put in:

    Coral Seas Yellow Out -- this is a combination of EDTA which is a metal sequestrant but can also inhibit some algae (see this EPA report) and ammonium sulfate which is basically ammonia and will quickly react with chlorine to produce monochloramine. It is the monochloramine that works around a high CYA level to kill algae while the EDTA continues to inhibit and kill it over a longer period of time. EDTA breaks down from chlorine so creates a chlorine demand.

    Algaecide 60 is probably Polyquat which is a cationic (positively charged) polymeric algaecide.

    Omni Algae Terminator is copper sulfate pentahydrate so copper ions that kill algae, but can also stain plaster pools and make blond hair greenish.

    Algae Kill Granular is probably Trichlor granular.

    N Jonas Hydro Floc may be polyaluminum chloride which is a positively charged flocculant

    So part of the problem may be that you don't actually have algae growing at this point but that you are precipitating chemicals basically floc'ing your EDTA. Both alum floc and Polyquat are positively charged and may be attracted to and precipitate negatively charged salt of EDTA. You've basically created a precipitated/coagulated mess of a chemical soup.

    I would not try and resolve this through SLAMing (even though you already got started with it) but rather by physically removing this product from the pool by trying to physically remove it via skimmer socks, filtration (either vacuum to waste, if you can, or brushing and filtering if you cannot), and even a slime bag. There is probably a pH that will optimize coagulating this stuff, but I'm not sure what it would be. You should probably try removing most of it first, then see what happens if the pH is lowered closer to 7.0 and if more stuff shows up, remove it, then raise the pH closer to 8.0 (but careful because you've got that copper in their, but at least your pool is vinyl) and see if more stuff shows up and remove it. After you get most of this chemical soup removed, then you can SLAM to get rid of any dissolved remnants, particularly of EDTA which will get oxidized by chlorine.

    While you are doing all of this chemical clean-up, you do want to maintain the proper FC/CYA level and you may find that you have a higher than normal chlorine demand so just make sure you have at least 5 ppm FC for your presumed 60 ppm CYA level. If after getting your test kit the CYA level is different, then adjust accordingly. Since you've already started a SLAM, you could continue, but I wouldn't have started there.

    Chlorine does NOT clear up every mess. It is not a panacea and sometimes you have to physically remove chemicals from the water, especially those that won't react with chlorine (such as alum floc).

    In the future, do not let anyone convince you that you have algae if it is not either green and clumpy or green cloudy water OR black slow growing on surfaces (and smears dark green on white paper) OR is yellow or mustard in color and dust-like that sweeps into a cloud and prefers the shady side of the pool. If it's white, then unless it's dead algae, it's not algae. Alage (and cyanobactria) have chlorophyll and use sunlight to grow so they are always some form of color in the yellow, mustard, green, black range. You won't find them blue or magenta or a combination that looks white.
    I've vacuumed to waste 3-4 times a week. It's tough to do. I have to put a lot of water in the pool so when I vacuum, it doesn't fall below the skimmer line. Which in turn messes up PH and alkalinity so I have to recorrect it. The algae or whatever it is, is stained to the liner of the pool as a yellowish color. The algae looks like sand and is whitest on color. When I shock it, it turns bluish and grows. When I actually go into the pool to see if it was sand before I added any chemicals, I tried to touch it and it would vanish and actually move away from my hand. That's when I knew it wasn't sand in the pool.
    16x32 IG Pool, 20,000 Gal, Sand Filter Hayward 300 lb, Hayward Pump Super Pump, Raypack 200K Btu Propane Heater, Hayward Chorine Feeder, Vinyl Liner

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    Re: Mustard alge

    Just got the test kit in and tested the pool.

    FC = 23
    PH = 7.2
    TA = 70
    CYA = 60
    CH = 1000

    FC is extremely high and this stuff is still growing.
    16x32 IG Pool, 20,000 Gal, Sand Filter Hayward 300 lb, Hayward Pump Super Pump, Raypack 200K Btu Propane Heater, Hayward Chorine Feeder, Vinyl Liner

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    Re: Mustard alge

    Then this isn't algae. While it's possible it's something actually living and growing, I think with all the chemicals that were thrown into the pool several of which are incompatible with each other could be coagulating/precipitating onto the liner or it could be scale.

    You must have lowered your pH a lot before doing the SLAM since I would have expected the pH to be quite a bit higher. Of course, the pH test isn't valid at high FC, but usually it will read falsely high, not low so that is strange. Also, with your very high CH, is it possible that you are getting calcium carbonate scale? Doing a SLAM will raise the pH so with a higher pH and the high CH you have you could get scaling. What does this stuff stuck to the liner feel like? Is it stuck to the liner so that it does not brush away? If so, then it sure sounds like scale to me.

    If it is calcium carbonate scale, then I'd stop the SLAM, let the FC drop to normal levels, then retest the pH and lower it and see if the scale (if that's what it is) starts to dissolve.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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