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Thread: Solar fish....do they work, are they safe

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    Solar fish....do they work, are they safe

    I am considering getting a solar fish to help keep the heat in the pool. Do they really work? And is anybody aware of any safety testing done on them? I have two little kids and I want to make sure what they are swimming in is safe.
    25K Gal, IG gunite, Hayward 1HP pump, Hayward DE filter, Pentair Mastertemp 250, TF100 test kit

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Solar fish....do they work, are they safe

    I've never used them, but users of the liquid solar covers (similar product) report a slimy feeling when swimming....I personally wouldn't, but that is up to you. I have no idea as to the health/safety issue - but little kids do drink a lot of water when swimming, they can't seem to help it.

    A regular solar cover, is that an option for you?

    BTW, welcome to the forum!
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: Solar fish....do they work, are they safe

    I used the solar fish for a while. I decided they were a complete waste of money. I could detect zero benefit in my pool.

    They are not cheap either. I bought a solar cover when I realized it's cost was the same as a dozen or so of the fish.
    IG 24k plaster with overflow spa. Goldline PS-8 SWG. Tristar 0.75 HP filter pump, Polaris 280, large cartridge filter, 400k BTU NG Max-E-Therm HD, SR Smith Turbo Twister, Life Saver pool fence, ORP managed.

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    NWMNMom's Avatar
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    Re: Solar fish....do they work, are they safe

    We tried them just for the heck of it the first year they came out. You cannot feel anything in the water but you can see an oily looking film, maybe thats what the others were reporting. In theory, they would actually do something with regard to holding heat in (not actually heating anything up) if the water surface was never disturbed in the slightest bit, however, that would be virtually impossible. We never saw a benefit. Get a regular solar cover to hold the heat in, they are a waste of money.
    18x33x52 Buttressfree Seaspray (Wilbar) AGP - 1.5hp Pentair Maxim w/22" Pentair Meteor Sand Filter, Aqua Rite SWG System, Biltmore Walk In Steps - 2/4x20 Solar Panel Setup - Doheny Jet Drive (RIP -Pool Rover Jr) - finally hard plumbed the whole darned thing -
    Beats Driving to the Lake!

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    Re: Solar fish....do they work, are they safe

    ...and the liquid "blankets", have a limited life of several weeks.
    http://www.swimmingpool.com/

    "Leave the gun...take the cannolis"

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    Re: Solar fish....do they work, are they safe

    I wouldnt use the fish if you have kids around - the ingreedient in there is bound in isopropyl alcohol and fairl poisonous
    the actually product does work alright if you apply it daily, rather than in one hit like the fish. done like that you dont get the oil slick on top of the pool
    for outdoor pools the heat retention tends to dependo n which way the wind is blowing, indoor pools i have seen some good results as effects of condensation are pretty obvious

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    Re: Solar fish....do they work, are they safe

    Quote Originally Posted by Aquaclear-NZ
    I wouldnt use the fish if you have kids around - the ingreedient in there is bound in isopropyl alcohol and fairl poisonous
    the actually product does work alright if you apply it daily, rather than in one hit like the fish. done like that you dont get the oil slick on top of the pool
    for outdoor pools the heat retention tends to dependo n which way the wind is blowing, indoor pools i have seen some good results as effects of condensation are pretty obvious
    As far as isopropyl alcohol being 'fairly poisonous' it can kill you if you drink it but most people have a bottle of it in their bathroom in either 70% or 91% strength! It's also called rubbing alcohol. The heat saving fatty acid that is dissolved in the alcohol carrier is non toxic.
    Second, if you are referring to the HeatSavr liquid, that is exactly what is in the solar fish and that also contains isopropyl as the solvent for the fatty acid that forms the supposed heat trapping layer (oil slick) on the water.

    In a pool with NO surface movement it can hold a few degrees in so it's going to be most effedtive in an indoor pool that is turned off for the night (then again, indoor pools don't suffer that much heat loss).

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    Re: Solar fish....do they work, are they safe

    I tried them for 2 seasons...they did absolutely nothing...

    My wife refuses to allow a solar cover (a LONG story)...just don't tell Al Gore or President Obama about all of the hydrocarbons I am wasting
    25,000 gal IG Utopia pool/Raypack gas heater/BBB

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    Re: Solar fish....do they work, are they safe

    I'm fairly new to pool ownership, but due the shape and angles of the fence at the back of the pool, a solar cover is NOT an option. I have tried the fish, as my pool is a brand new liner (bought the house as a forclosure and the pool was poorly taken care of). The liner has been in for a month and the pool has been open. It was not swimmable until the weekend after a week of good weather. I did notice that the temperature drops overnight decreased AFTER I added the liquid fish, so I would say that is a good sign it is working. In a matter of 4 days, the temperature raised 8 degrees with warm weather. The nights were still fairly cool, so so far I am a believer in them. I am attempting to build my own solar heater, so when I get that finished and installed, I should be in good shape. Other customers at my LPS swear by them.
    20k inground vinyl oval, Hayward super pump 1.5 HP, Pacvac 36 DE filter, Hayward inline chlorinator, Brand new liner 2009. 1st pool ever owned.

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    Re: Solar fish....do they work, are they safe

    In actual tests the Heatsavr liquid will hold about 2-3 degrees in overnight if the water is still and not disturbed. If you had an 8 degree temp increase it's just the weather warming up.

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    Re: Solar fish....do they work, are they safe

    I will admit, the temp increase is because of the weather, however, I believe the fish helped, by not letting as much heat escape overnight allowing the gradual increase over a few days. Each day it got warmer than the day before. About 2 degree increase. The weather was the same all week, but the increase didn't start till I put in the fish. I believe, holding just a few degrees each night helped. It was all for nothing though, as the 30 degree drop in 24 hours from Monday to Tuesday has cost 8 degrees (maybe more, I didn't look this morning)! Bottom line is, since I can't use a solar cover, I'll give the fish a try for one season. If I had a rectangle, I would use the cover. I saw on at Lowe's for $100. 2 seasons of fish would cover that.
    20k inground vinyl oval, Hayward super pump 1.5 HP, Pacvac 36 DE filter, Hayward inline chlorinator, Brand new liner 2009. 1st pool ever owned.

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Solar fish....do they work, are they safe

    Quote Originally Posted by luckyman_apd
    Bottom line is, since I can't use a solar cover, I'll give the fish a try for one season. If I had a rectangle, I would use the cover. I saw on at Lowe's for $100. 2 seasons of fish would cover that.
    Couldn't you buy an oversized rectangle and cut it to fit your oval?
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: Solar fish....do they work, are they safe

    I have an odd-shaped pool and cut to fit. Regular ol' scissors work great--it's just bubble wrap, after all.
    --paulr
    BBB "Intermediate Swimmer"
    IG plaster pool 18.5K gal, Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter, 3/4 HP Hydramax II; Polaris 380, 3/4 HP booster
    AG spa 325 gal, probably Sundance of some kind
    Water testing instructions on one page

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    Re: Solar fish....do they work, are they safe

    Obviously, I COULD get a cover, and cut it too size. But again, my problem is the hassle of getting it on and off. Putting a roller on the end is not possible because of the curved concrete. If I had a roller on wheels, I could not roll it off the pool completely because the fence angles in around the back to surround the pool. I don't want to pull it on and off by hand. The liquid fish seems to be working fine for now. My pool is in direct sun from dawn till dusk, so I should get the temp up once the weather cooperates. When I add my own solar heater, that should help in May and September assuming I have sunny days.
    20k inground vinyl oval, Hayward super pump 1.5 HP, Pacvac 36 DE filter, Hayward inline chlorinator, Brand new liner 2009. 1st pool ever owned.

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    Guest

    Re: Solar fish....do they work, are they safe

    Cut it into smaller sections (I cut mine into two, one for each end of the pool. It's as easy to put on and off as the solar cover for my spa!)

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    Lershac's Avatar
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    Re: Solar fish....do they work, are they safe

    Heat transfer occurs three or four ways.

    1. Conduction- Mostly to the ground around the pool. Not too many ways to get around that. Also conduction to the air above the pool. The thin film blankets dont help much here. A pool blanket helps only at the air-poolwater interface.

    2. Radiation- The pool covers help here in that they insulate the surface of the water at the interface with the air, though this is not the main mechanism for heat loss. The insulation provides a slower medium of transfer so they slow down the conduction of heat to the air. The thin film of the liquid pool blankets do not help much here at all.

    3. Convection- combined with #1 above, as the warmer pool water heats the air immediately above it, the now warmer air rises, allowing cooler air to move into its place in contact with the pool water so the process continues. The solar blankets help here as well, while the thin film doesn't do much.

    4.Evaporation. This is the major way pools lose heat to the air. As the pool water evaporates into the air the relatively high heat of transformation (from liquid water to gaseous water vapor) is lost from the water to the air. Here pool solar covers work. They seal off the surface of the pool from the air interface and inhibit evaporation from that expansive surface area. This is also the mechanism the thin film liquid solar blankets target... but rather poorly. Any movement or rippling of the water disturbs the liquid blanket and exposes the water to the air, allowing evaporation. The idea behind the liquid blankets is a sound one in that Theoretically given a few conditions (water stillness, no wind to push the liquid off the surface of the water) they will work to inhibit this mode of heat loss. Unfortunately the real world and its chaos intrude and blow this product into a poor performance regime. Wind, water turbulence, currents in the pool, and the relatively thin layer of the liquid blanket all combine to make this method really a poor performer.

    Now if you are willing to dump about 500 gal of olive oil into the pool you might see some payoff in terms of reduced heat loss, but unless you are kinky and like that kind of thing, its probably not for everyone.
    (DIY):16K Gal 20X30 rectangular IG Gunite, w/spa, CCP 520 filter,2 Pentair VS pumps, 400KBTU Pentair gas heater, Heat Pump for cooling, **update5.25.2013** added an intellichem with acid pump that will control existing SWG. My Build Thread Here

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    Re: Solar fish....do they work, are they safe

    I'm thinking of just spending the $112 at Lowes and getting the 18 x 36. I can cut it to fit the oval, and I'll just take waterbear's advice and cut it into 3 sections to pull it off easier. No sense in wasting the heat. I've spent enough on this pool so far to get it from the hole in the ground into a beautiful, safe pool, that I might as well get something to make it more comfortable in the early and late season.
    20k inground vinyl oval, Hayward super pump 1.5 HP, Pacvac 36 DE filter, Hayward inline chlorinator, Brand new liner 2009. 1st pool ever owned.

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