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Thread: Is this copper or algae?

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    bwiley47's Avatar
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    Is this copper or algae?

    Can someone please tell me if this blue/grey water is algae (dead or alive), or copper and or iron? Last week when I took my water sample to the pool store it tested positive for copper .57 and iron .76. Since then I have left a couple of pucks in there and shocked (twice the amt with a dichlor shock), and added a polymer algecide. My tc and fc were at least 10 (per the cheap strips) for a couple of days. I haven't been able to vaccum. Filter has ran 24/7. I read a post by jason that stated if it was not milky/white cloudy than it was algae. (something to that affect). Question- does the tfp test kit test for metals? And if so, how do you reccommend ridding of them? I bought a metal sequestering agent today but everything I read on here says to shock, shock, shock. No, I have not bought the tf test kit yet because for some reason in my little brain I am having a reeeeeely hard time paying 70.00 for it, although I keep shoveling out money for stupid chemicals. Any help would be appreciated.

    16 x 32 AG Fanta Sea 13,500 gal/ Hayward Sand Filter/ 1 hp Hayward Power Flo LX Pump
    1 skimmer 1 main drain

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    Re: Is this copper or algae?

    The TF kit does not test for metals. There are some strips that test for different metals. I believe the only way to get rid of them is to add sequestrant and keep an eye on your filter, as it will probably increase the pressure and require backwashing, and you may have to vacuum frequently.

    However, a good test kit is going to pay for itself over and over again. The strips you have to test FC and CC are not very accurate, and this is a critical test you will need for the life of your pool. Just being able to avoid the trip to the pool store for testing is worth it's weight in gold.

    You really need to test for CYA and find out what your level is, so that you can reference the FC/CYA chart and find your correct shocking level. Even with metals, I don't think the water would look like that. When you shock to the proper level based on your CYA, you need to keep adding chlorine until the overnight loss is only 1ppm. This is the best way to ensure all algae is dead.

    Also, read the Pool School articles and be sure you understand that adding chlorine via the pucks and the dichlor shock are also adding CYA to your water. Also, be sure to carefully look at the bags of powder shock.. some powdered shock contains copper!

    Good luck!
    28K IG Vinyl lined pool - 1 skimmer, 2 returns
    Hayward DE 60sqft filter; Polaris 280 vacuum with booster pump

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    bwiley47's Avatar
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    Re: Is this copper or algae?

    Thanks for the reply!

    I googled for acceptable levels of metals in pool water and could not find anything. The sequestering agent I purchased said to add if metals are 1.0 ppm. Truthfully I don't really feel like this is a copper problem either, but since all I have done is shocked with the powder and added algecide twice I was worried that may be it. This last time I could see algae floating and when I tried to add a skimmer sock to aid in getting the dirt I could see floating, my pump would act like it was stopped up and the sock had a bunch of grey/green greasy feeling substance in it. I think I am finally going to do what I know I need to do and that is purchase the test kit and return these unopened chemicals to the store!! I have enough of those to cover the cost of the kit!! I really don't want to drain (the husbands idea), and throw all those chemicals out the drain (literally). But, then again that would be a way to get rid of them! huh!
    16 x 32 AG Fanta Sea 13,500 gal/ Hayward Sand Filter/ 1 hp Hayward Power Flo LX Pump
    1 skimmer 1 main drain

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Is this copper or algae?

    Copper and iron start to be an issue around levels of 0.3, perhaps a little higher with a vinyl liner (which is less prone to staining than other surfaces). Based on your metal test results, I would add a startup dose of sequestrant.

    However, your water doesn't look like a metals problem. It looks like the start of an algae problem. You should post a full set of water test results. We can probably figure out what is happening from that.

    Buying a top quality test kit will save you huge amounts of money on chemicals in the long run. Without knowing your numbers everything is just guess work. You end up adding lots of things you don't need and wasting way more money than the cost of the test kit.
    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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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Is this copper or algae?

    Hi and welcome....

    I know you are probably feeling a little frustrated and overwhelmed right now, but we can help you through this.

    You're water shouldn't look like that. I'm not sure that metal's are the issue with the way your water looks.

    I understand where you are coming from, when I first came to TFP I was right where you are....I had high copper, high iron and my water balance was way out of whack.

    I notice you have a floater in there. (Some tablets contain copper too....HTH brand Dual Action for sure....) You mentioned also using Dichlor shock. Use of trichlor and Dichlor can contribute to an overstabilized pool (too high CYA).

    Also "Polymer based" doesn't necessarily mean it's a good algaecide. Some "polymer based" brands contain copper. In a properly balanced pool, algaecide is rarely, if ever needed, and usually only in specific situations. If you have visible algae, you need chlorine. Algaecide is meant as a preventative, not treatment. But pool stores don't tell you that.

    I myself balked at spending money on a test kit. I had spent LITERALLY hundreds of dollars in 2007 spring opening my pool, and didn't want to spend one more dime...

    The money I have saved (since I got my own kit) on pool chems - the kit has paid for itself 5 times over, if not more, and I'm still using it (got it over a year ago.)

    Strips are sooo inaccurate. Back in the day they told me my numbers were "ok" and they were not. My CYA was well over 100. No one could explain to me why my son's hair was turning green, why I was having trouble holding FC!

    AFter finding TFP and getting some excellent guidance, and then doing a series of partial drains and refills to lower my CYA, I was able to rid myself of the metals issue - after having spent $80 on sequesterants that spring in 2007.

    You should try and determine how the metals got in your pool to begin with. Your levels are high, though I'm pretty sure that's not the main issue in your pool. That you likely have too high CYA.

    Do you regularly use copper-based products? Is Iron in your fill water? Do you have a pool heater?

    I would have your tap water tested by the pool store too, so you know what you are dealing with. Because IF you have high CYA you're going to have to a partial drain anyway and IF your tap water doesn't have metals you can kill two birds with one stone, and not have to spend too much on sequesterants.

    You should post a full set of water results - not from test strips. We can advise you better with good test results.

    I have a permanent blackish-ring around my pool liner water-line from having the copper in my pool. So IMHO you should figure this out rather soon.

    Hope this helps.
    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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    bwiley47's Avatar
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    Re: Is this copper or algae?

    Frustrated is an understatement. All this time and money and here it is almost july 4th and haven't even been in it yet. So I broke down and ordered the test kit!

    Last wk when the pool store tested my water my cya was 59, and of course since then I have shocked with powder, so I know it is continuing to creep up.

    No I don't have a heater. We have city water. Last yr when we installed the new liner we filled from the water hose and it stayed crystal clear all season by just adding the shock powder and pucks, (did't even test for ta or ph)

    So I think today I will vaccum to waste which I haven't done for a wk, and backwash well, refill, and then start adding bleach as I know my fc must be around 3 (haven't tested yet today) until I get my kit. That should help take care of some of the metals and cya. Don't know yet if I will add the sequestering agent or not.

    Sound like a plan??
    16 x 32 AG Fanta Sea 13,500 gal/ Hayward Sand Filter/ 1 hp Hayward Power Flo LX Pump
    1 skimmer 1 main drain

  7. Back To Top    #7
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    Re: Is this copper or algae?

    FWIW, here are the 'accepted' levels for copper:
    Acceptable levels of copper as an algaestat is .3 ppm
    As an algaecide is .6 ppm
    As a "sanitizer" is 1 ppm
    anything above .3 ppm has potential for staining and green hair, particularly if it is not chleated copper.
    IMHO, ANY copper in the water is too much.

    Blue/grey water is not indicative of metals but of algae. Clear water with a color cast is indicative of metals, particularly if the color appears immediately upon shocking the pool (not several hours later.
    Copper produces emerald green water to blue water.
    copper produces yellow water (which might look greeen if you have a blue surfaced pool.)
    Graying water is caused by something clouding the water, usually dead algae, but it can also be from overdosing on clarifiers, precipitating calcium carbonate from improper water balance and/or use of cal hypo, or from the use of phosphate removers--to name the most common causes.
    IF the water was not cloudy before adding the sequesterant but clouded after that is normal and will clear in a few days.

    Get yourself a good test kit instead of wasting your money on chemicals you probably don't need. It will save you a lot of money in the long run.

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Is this copper or algae?

    Excellent decision and trust me, you WON'T regret getting the kit, and it will take all your guesswork out and you won't believe how good your pool is gonna look!

    After you do the drain/refill/recirculate dance, take another sample over to the pool store and have them run another test, esp. for the metals. You might want to pick up a bottle of sequesterant just to play it safe....no stains on a new liner! LOL

    It sounds like you have been doing some reading here - read all the articles in Pool School if you haven't already, and pretty soon you'll be very comfortable with the BBB routine and when you start testing you'll be more confident.
    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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    bwiley47's Avatar
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    Re: Is this copper or algae?

    Thanks guys!! Based on these numbers I think at least a partial refill is in order. Help me to rid of some of the nasties and then go from there. When I started this it looked like pea soup, so algae is probably still my main concern.

    I no longer want to add any of these chemicals as I am convinced they are my metal problem.

    I just am leery about adding bleach with a liner. One year while we were still on well water and we had to pull our pump, my husband added a gal of bleach to the well to clear it up, and I made peoples eyes water at work for a wk smelling like bleach!! (This was no shallow well.)
    16 x 32 AG Fanta Sea 13,500 gal/ Hayward Sand Filter/ 1 hp Hayward Power Flo LX Pump
    1 skimmer 1 main drain

  10. Back To Top    #10
    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Is this copper or algae?

    Bleach won't harm your liner. Bleach is liquid chlorine, in a lesser strength, and when used as we recommend, is less harmful to a liner than if one was to toss in a bag of Dichlor shock, which could settle on the bottom and bleach out the liner. In the recommended amounts, poured slowly into the return flow while the pump is running, bleach is perfectly safe and won't smell.

    If you "smell" bleach scent its usually from CC's forming not the FC bleach produces.
    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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