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Thread: Mustard Algae!

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    Rubygrrl's Avatar
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    Mustard Algae!

    Hello everyone!

    My name is Emily. I bought a home back in January (of this year) and it happened to have a pool!

    I was (and still mostly am) clueless to how pools work, but my fiance and I have a friend who worked at a local pool store. He went up to Outback Pool and Spas (where he worked) with us and we started the Step 3 Bioguard thing.

    Everything was fine until the weather got hot. I live in North Texas--so it's over 100 degrees now!!!

    Instead of enjoying my pool--I've been fighting mustard algae. Outback first had me put "Banish" in--which turned the pool water blue the next day. According to them, that meant all of the algae was dead. Then, I added a whole bottle of PhosFree and then added something to raise the alkalinity--I payed a **** ton for this white powdery stuff!

    WELL--now that I have found this forum--and read up on things--I know that that white powdery stuff I added was baking soda! Outback screwed me over basically.

    Fast foward two weeks later and I have algae AGAIN!

    I take a sample back up to Outback and they tell me my phosphates are STILL high. I didn't buy anything from them this time though.

    So, I have decided to switch to the BBB system.

    Tonight, I ordered a test kit (TF-100).

    I will update this thread once the kit comes in and post my results. I already have the pool calculator saved to my favorites.

    I feel that I have a good understanding of what I need to do, and how everything works.

    Chlorine - 6% (add according to your CYA/stabilizer number)
    Borax - used to raise the pH
    M. Acid - used to lower the pH
    Baking Soda - used to increase alkalinity
    CYA- used to raise CYA level

    **Shock if algae or CC present.

    The main problem I am concerned about is that we have had bubbles/air coming out of our return line. We think the drain plug on our pump is the problem. We are going to replace that tomorrow, but we had to turn the pump off overnight--so I know the algae problem is going to get worse. AND I hope it is the drain plug causing the air bubbles--it could be the laterals (?hope that is the right word?) in the sand filter.

    OH..I have a vinyl pool--1 hp pump--sand filter--21,000 gallons! Sorry, I should have mentioned that first thing.

    Anyway--I wanted to say hello to everyone here!

    I am super excited about switching to the BBB method!!!
    In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    21,000 gallons
    Sand Filter
    1 1/2 hp pump

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    Re: Mustard Algae!

    Hello! I know how you feel about spending a ton of $ on things we could have bought at the grocery store...been there, done that! I'm new to the BBB method but having great luck with it. I hope you get your problems solved quickly!

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    Rubygrrl's Avatar
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    Re: Mustard Algae!

    Thank you so much!
    In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    21,000 gallons
    Sand Filter
    1 1/2 hp pump

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    reebok's Avatar
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    Re: Mustard Algae!

    you have a good plan. if you don't want the problem getting worse, you can start dumping chlorine or bleach in there and brushing. it should help a little, or at least keep it at bay, even if you don't have exact numbers yet. there is a good article on suction side leaks in pool school. see paragraph 3 in particular.
    pool-school/
    pool-school/leak_detection
    also, do you have any pictures? what does the pool look like?
    16x32 21,000 gallon in-ground exposed aggregate, 1.5hp pump, 120 sqft catridge filter, birdcage, solar panels, aquavac tigershark qc robot.

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    Butterfly's Avatar
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    Re: Mustard Algae!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rubygrrl
    I am super excited about switching to the BBB method!!!
    We totally understand. Having a trouble free pool is wonderful

    Yep, what reebok said

    You seem to have done your homework and are well on your way to getting things under control.
    Congrats on ordering your TF100. It is the main ingredient in a happy pool and pool owner.

    Very nice sig. Welcome to the forum
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    1)You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & 2)You have .5ppm CC's or less, & 3)your water is clear.

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    Rubygrrl's Avatar
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    Re: Mustard Algae!

    I wanted to update everyone on what's been going on with my pool.

    I decided to call American Home Shield (home warranty) and have them come out to check the pump and sand filter. All the guy did was replace a pipe, and things seems to be working okay, but there are still air bubbles (small) coming out of the returns (*edit - Only when barracuda is hooked up). And we tend to lose prime when our barracuda is hooked up.

    I am supposed to call the pool guy back tomorrow. He said if my water didn't change much that the sand in the filter needs to be changed. I have heard that dirty sand actually filters better. Is this true? Should I even bother having him come back out then?

    I have not received my TF-100 test kit--but I hope it comes tomorrow or Tuesday.

    On June 25th, my fiance dumped 10-12 scoopfuls of calcium hypochlorite into the pool after we brushed it...

    On June 26th, the pool guy came and added another 6 pds. of something--he didn't charge me for it--but I should of asked what it was--it was a white powder shock--I just don't know what.

    I haven't touched the pool since then (which is stupid I know--but I really want to wait for the test results), but our Barracuda is going right now--and it's still super cloudy (pics below). I think I am going to brush it again and add a gallon of liquid bleach (went to the store yesterday!! )--

    Would you all recommend I add a gallon of liquid bleach?

    You can see from the pics below that the algae is already starting to grow again on the steps--so I have to brush them again..

    I will post my numbers as soon as the test kit arrives! Something tells me my CYA is really high.

    Here is a good photo of the mustard algae growing on my steps:
    [attachment=2:36gbo07a]steps.jpg[/attachment:36gbo07a]

    Here is my Barracuda trying it's best :
    [attachment=1:36gbo07a]Barracuda.jpg[/attachment:36gbo07a]

    Finally, here is my pool equipment - **See the gray pipe--that is what the pool guy replaced--that's IT!!!:
    [attachment=0:36gbo07a]pool equipment.jpg[/attachment:36gbo07a]
    Attached Images Attached Images
    In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    21,000 gallons
    Sand Filter
    1 1/2 hp pump

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    Rubygrrl's Avatar
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    Re: Mustard Algae!

    One other thing--I wanted to post a picture that kind of shows the air bubbles coming out of the returns--is this normal? Again, it only seems to happen when the barracuda is connected--since the pool guy replaced that pipe--everything has worked much better!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    21,000 gallons
    Sand Filter
    1 1/2 hp pump

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    Re: Mustard Algae!

    by not adding chlorine/bleach, you've wasted any time/effort/money/chemicals spent so far in trying to defeat it.
    it's not normal. are there bubbles in the skimmer basket near the pump? there is an article in pool school called leak detection. read paragraph 3.
    16x32 21,000 gallon in-ground exposed aggregate, 1.5hp pump, 120 sqft catridge filter, birdcage, solar panels, aquavac tigershark qc robot.

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    Re: Mustard Algae!

    Quote Originally Posted by reebok
    by not adding chlorine/bleach, you've wasted any time/effort/money/chemicals spent so far in trying to defeat it.
    it's not normal. are there bubbles in the skimmer basket near the pump? there is an article in pool school called leak detection. read paragraph 3.
    Well, like I said, I really want to know my numbers first. I think everything I do is wasting time/money/etc. UNTIL I know my numbers.

    When the barracuda is connected, we lose prime--when it's not--there is a very small air bubble--maybe the size of a half dollar is all.

    The air bubbles ONLY come out of the return lines when the Barracuda G3 is connected.
    In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    21,000 gallons
    Sand Filter
    1 1/2 hp pump

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    Re: Mustard Algae!

    you can continually add a lot of bleach and it won't be wasted, you just won't know your numbers. but it will keep it at bay at worst, and start killing at best.
    oh I see. that cleaner plugs into a hole in the pool wall right? do you have to turn any of those valves by your filter/pump to create the suction in the pipe to make the cleaner work? if so, I imagine that would be where your air leak is.
    16x32 21,000 gallon in-ground exposed aggregate, 1.5hp pump, 120 sqft catridge filter, birdcage, solar panels, aquavac tigershark qc robot.

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    Re: Mustard Algae!

    None of the problems you describe would have anything to do with replacing sand. The air bubbles and loss of prime indicate a leak on the suction side of the plumbing, presumably in the plumbing associated with the baraccuda or in the barracuda its self. Everything else you describe is from improperly maintained chemical balance.
    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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    Rubygrrl's Avatar
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    Re: Mustard Algae!

    Thanks!
    In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    21,000 gallons
    Sand Filter
    1 1/2 hp pump

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    Re: Mustard Algae!

    Quote Originally Posted by reebok
    you can continually add a lot of bleach and it won't be wasted, you just won't know your numbers. but it will keep it at bay at worst, and start killing at best.
    oh I see. that cleaner plugs into a hole in the pool wall right? do you have to turn any of those valves by your filter/pump to create the suction in the pipe to make the cleaner work? if so, I imagine that would be where your air leak is.
    Edit to add - Thanks..I am going to brush the pool really well and add a gallon of bleach. I know it seems kind of silly--but I am super excited to get this testing kit! I minored in Chemistry--so it's going to be fun playing with stuff again!

    Yes, the Barracuda is a suction side cleaner...so I know that's where the problem has to be...

    I think I am going to try using our old vacuum head and a different hose and see if we have the same issue. If not, then maybe there is a leak in the barracuda hose and we can replace it. What sucks, is that we have only had this cleaner and hose for less than 1 month!!

    Guess I should have gone with the Polaris..
    In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    21,000 gallons
    Sand Filter
    1 1/2 hp pump

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    reebok's Avatar
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    Re: Mustard Algae!

    do you have to change a valve to get it to work? if so, read that leak detection article and it will show you part of what you need to test to find that leak.
    16x32 21,000 gallon in-ground exposed aggregate, 1.5hp pump, 120 sqft catridge filter, birdcage, solar panels, aquavac tigershark qc robot.

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    Rubygrrl's Avatar
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    Re: Mustard Algae!

    Quote Originally Posted by reebok
    do you have to change a valve to get it to work? if so, read that leak detection article and it will show you part of what you need to test to find that leak.
    The only valve we change is from main drain AND skimmer--to skimmer only.

    Thanks!
    In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    21,000 gallons
    Sand Filter
    1 1/2 hp pump

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    reebok's Avatar
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    Re: Mustard Algae!

    and if you change it to skimmer only without hooking up anything with the cleaner, do you still have the problem? that would help isolate it to the, what is that, 3 I think, pipes at your pump (the ones that end up connecting to the gray pipe that was recently replaced). then you can run water over it and see where the leak is.
    16x32 21,000 gallon in-ground exposed aggregate, 1.5hp pump, 120 sqft catridge filter, birdcage, solar panels, aquavac tigershark qc robot.

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    Re: Mustard Algae!

    Quote Originally Posted by reebok
    and if you change it to skimmer only without hooking up anything with the cleaner, do you still have the problem? that would help isolate it to the, what is that, 3 I think, pipes at your pump (the ones that end up connecting to the gray pipe that was recently replaced). then you can run water over it and see where the leak is.
    Thanks for your help.

    We turned it to main drain only--and everything was fine.

    We turned it to skimmer only--and we lost a little bit of prime--but not a bunch. I tried running the water hose over the pipes--but it didn't seem to make any difference. I can try again later if you think I should.

    This may seem odd--but there is some water coming out from underneath the sand filter (I noticed this after the pool guy left Friday).
    In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    21,000 gallons
    Sand Filter
    1 1/2 hp pump

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    Re: Mustard Algae!

    Okay I just got done brushing every surface of the pool and I added 1 gallon of liquid bleach. Do you think that is enough until my test kit comes in?

    Thank you everyone for your help.

    I love this place!!
    In-Ground Vinyl Pool
    21,000 gallons
    Sand Filter
    1 1/2 hp pump

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    Re: Mustard Algae!

    If it was my pool, and it seems yours is about the same as mine, I would continue to add a little bleach before you go to bed tonight. Maybe another half gallon and then continue to brush a bit as well. It takes A BUNCH of chlorine to kill mustard algae, but you will get it. The TF100 is an awesome tool! It has truely changed my pool to the pics you seen in the post I did earlier.

    Makes a difference once you know what kinds of chlorine to use throughout the year and what they all do to your pool water. Once I got a handle on that, it was truely easy! You guys are in Texas so the climate is a bit different, meaning really hot compared to us up hear.

    Very pleasant for us up here in ND. 80 today. Even got red today sitting on the flotation device with a beer in the holder!

    Keep the faith! You will get there.
    Chad R.

    POOL SIZE: 16 x 32' Vinyl lined pool. 22,000 gallons. 8' deep. 2009 Hayward 1.5 HP Super Pump. Hayward S310S 30" 500 lb Sand filter. 1 skimmer and 2 returns. Solar Blanket.

    Pics of my pool: http://s307.photobucket.com/albums/nn312/reindeerboy/

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    Re: Mustard Algae!

    We had that exact cleaner last summer, but only used it a handful of times before the end of season. If you don't put the hose to a return jet to blow out all the air before plugging it into the dedicated suction (or into your skimmer), then the returns will blow air bubbles. But they'll go away eventually. Do your bubbles keep blowing the whole time the cleaner is running?

    It also doesn't sound like this is your only problem though. So I'm just speculating.
    32x16 buried Doughboy, 4' shallow - 7' deep
    Pentair Dynamo 1 hp, 2-speed - Pentair 150# SD40 w/zeolite (75#)
    One skimmer/two returns/Aquabot Turbo T2

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