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Thread: The dreaded Mustard algae

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    The dreaded Mustard algae

    OK, I finally have to admit that I probably have a case of mustard algae. For days I have been trying
    to rationalze the dust in my pool to wood shavings from building the deck next to the pool. The yellow dust, very consistant with the description of mustard algae seems to be reappearing about 6 hours after I brush it. My last set of numbers were

    TC 3.0
    CYA 30
    pH 7.5
    alk 90

    I don't have a fancy test kit so I don't know my CC, in any case I will begin the shocking process which I have heard and spewed so much, should be interesting to see if I can stay the course. My two questions are...

    1) should I just leave my SWG at its normal output and shock with bleach... and If my PPM is 15 can the kids still swim?
    2) my softtub which holds 300gal seems to be consuming bromine faster than I can replace it... now could there be a connection between the mustard algae in the pool and the increase bromine consumption in my soft tub? And if so, what method of shocking should I be using on that... Right now i use the 2 part bromine system with a floater and shock with Chlorine.

    ok, that was more like 5 questions!

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    tagprod's Avatar
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    I don't have any answers, but I can relate to how disheartening it is to discover algae. I was all proud of myself and the work I was doing with the chemicals and then bam!!! Just a couple of days of slacking off and you can have a problem. I let my chlorinator run all night in addition to the bleach I added. I didn't see any more after 24 hours but I kept it at 20 ppm for an additional 24 hours just to be sure and because that's what BBB'ers advocate. I was determined to annihilate the algae with extreme prejudice. I went medievel on that algae.
    Brian
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    yea, thats what I hear, go hard or go home!! at least there are people out there that have beaten it!!, there is hope.

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    I have nothing to add to this thread other than noting that:

    I went medievel on that algae.
    is awesome.
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    i agree wolfmarsh... that has to be the quote of the day.... if not the month!!

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    gonefishin's Avatar
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    I have no problem with hitting mustard algae hard with lots of chlorine. But I would also like to see you "suck" up a sample of this algae from the bottom of the pool.

    Take your pool water sample bottle (with the dropper tip) and squeeze out all the air above water. Then exhale and SLOWLY swim to the bottom of the pool where some of the mustard algae is. Once you gently approach the algae with the dropper tip start to release the pressure on the bottle to draw the algae into the bottle. Do this in a couple of different spots until the bottle is full of algae and water. Next...pour the water/algae into a glass bottle (something similar to a baby food jar or a glass spice jar). Then let it set so that the algae collects at the bottom. Now...take a look at it and take a picture of it (post it here please). It should be apparent if it's algae, debris or pollen. Keep the sample!

    I am not saying that this case cannot be mustard algae. But to hear that it is collecting on the bottom (and not on the shady sides) and reappears after only 6 hours makes me very suspicious.

    Please take pictures from above water and of the sample bottle once the substance has had time to settle in the bottom.


    thanks,
    dan
    21' Aqua-Leader AGP (10,200 gallons).
    Hayward cartridge filter and two speed pump.
    Aqua-Cal HeatWave 100k (HeatPump)
    Salt 3200ppm (in non-salt water pool)
    Borates 20ppm (slowly raising)
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    thats a great idea... I have been tryindg to start a pictures section that has different types of algae, etc,etc. this may be a good start. I actually have a turkey baster that may do the trick. Most of the "algae" appears in a ring.. almost like a bathtub ring where the flat bottom meets the sloped side. It is also appearing on the sloped side but not on the flat wall and not necessarily in the shady spots which my pool has hardly any, which is why I was suspicious that is was algae.

    There was a spot this morning in the shallow end on the flat bottom that almost looked like someone smeared yellow brown paste in streaks, if I went over it with the brush lightly it didnt budge, as soon as I applied a little pressure it kicked up in a dust cloud.

    But most of the debris "algae" collects in the same spots in that ring I mentioned, in the deep end.

    I wondered if the dirt was kicked up, sucked up by the pump made it through the filter only to be redistributed back in the same spots, hence the 6 hour accumulation time between brushings.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Mustard algae tends to develop on the walls of the pool, particuarly on the more shaded sides of the pool, while pollen tends to accumulate on the bottom in the same areas as other sinking debris would accumulate (based on your circulation pattern). If you see it on shaded vertical walls then it is very likely to be algae. Not seeing it there doesn't rule out algae, but it does make it less likely. They are easy to tell apart with a microscope, if you have one.
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    hmmm so maybe I don't have algae?? could pollen be small enough to pass through the filter?

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazycanuck
    hmmm so maybe I don't have algae?? could pollen be small enough to pass through the filter?
    Wouldn't have to pass through. Some of it just settles to the bottom before it gets picked up by the skimmer or drain.
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    maybe I should try to vacumn and bhackwash and see if it comes back

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    gonefishin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazycanuck
    maybe I should try to vacumn and bhackwash and see if it comes back

    I would really get some pictures first. Above water and of the samples taken in glass jars. This may not only help you...but others as well.

    just a thought,
    dan
    21' Aqua-Leader AGP (10,200 gallons).
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    ok, my son went diving with the baster and this is what he got @ 8pm, checking to see if anything grows. Interestingly, I just put a skimmer sock in a few days ago and this is the same sort of stuff thats in it. It almost looks like sand but is much much finer. When i got home from work there was less of it in the pool than I thought there would be. Although the kids were in for much of the day stirring it up.

    Thoughts?
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    gonefishin's Avatar
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    I don't have a microscope to send you...but I suspect that your not dealing with algae. You are very round and granular looking. I would also suspect it to feel like sand or grit in your finger tips. But let's wait for chemgeek to check in with his (aheem...) a little more educated opinion than mine

    If you have a couple of other samples go ahead and give it a feel. Also...let some dry out as well. If you've got more...dump a tablespoon of bleach over some.

    The stuff I pulled out of my pool looks very similar to what you sampled. I was surprised to see how granular it was because looking from above the water it looked so fuzzy and algae-like. But once I dove in and took a sample I saw I was dealing with some that wasn't slimy at all.

    keep us updated

    dan
    21' Aqua-Leader AGP (10,200 gallons).
    Hayward cartridge filter and two speed pump.
    Aqua-Cal HeatWave 100k (HeatPump)
    Salt 3200ppm (in non-salt water pool)
    Borates 20ppm (slowly raising)
    Aqua-Rite SWG

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    My guess is that it could be a combo of pollen/dust in the air. It does look algae like from above (in the pool), but once in the jar it acted like fine sand. Its 11:00 now and it doesnt appear to be growing, its still the same.

  16. Back To Top    #16

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    My opinion is not educated on this matter as I have not had either sand/dirt/pollen nor yellow/mustard algae in my pool. My uneducated guess is that it looks like sand or dirt, but if it feels gritty instead of slimy then it most likely is not algae. You can put some in a half-covered container (so it gets partial sun) and leave it outside and see if it grows -- if it does, it's algae, but make sure there's no additional pollen coming in (you can have a second container next to it that has chlorine in it -- pollen will still show up with pool water and extra chlorine or algaecide in it, but algae shouldn't).

    A look in a microscope would be pretty definitive.

    Richard
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    I think my kid has a micoscope around here, I'll go check

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    gonefishin's Avatar
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    Hi chemgeek,

    During our larger spring pollen attack I had set a bucket of water outside of the pool. What I found in a couple days time was that the pollen was sitting on top of the water. I'm not sure if the pollen needs additional help to break the surface tension of the water (something like running the pump) or if the pollen actually takes that long to become saturated and finally sink to the bottom.

    Another good indicator of pollen in the air is to leave your freshly waxed vehicle outside. If there is a lot of pollen in the air you will see the little pollen balls sitting on top of the waxed surface.

    dan
    21' Aqua-Leader AGP (10,200 gallons).
    Hayward cartridge filter and two speed pump.
    Aqua-Cal HeatWave 100k (HeatPump)
    Salt 3200ppm (in non-salt water pool)
    Borates 20ppm (slowly raising)
    Aqua-Rite SWG

  19. Back To Top    #19

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    we had that earlier this year, but that has gone down. Maybe this is something else... dirt? I have been doing a lot of digging of soil around the pool... lots of dust clouds... lots of cutting PT lumber, maybe thats it.

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