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Thread: Alternative to Baquacil?

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Napa Californa

    Alternative to Baquacil?

    I've been using Baquacil without any problems for the past 27 years, but during that time I only had a 25,000 gallon pool. Now I have a 650,000 pool, and I don't want to pay the cost of Baquacil for that pool.

    I'm looking for an alternative, system that will be cost effective, and not expose me to chlorinated water (I'm not going to debate the point or give you a reason why I don't want to use chlorine. I don't, end of story). However, I would consider a system that chlorinates between 12 am and 6 am but leaves no measurable residual chlorine.

    Also I'm not concern about person to person infection, there is no one who will be in my pool, who isn't in my bathtub with me or doesn't exchange bodily fluids with me. So it doesn't matter to me if pathogens are killed in .0003 seconds or 30 minutes.

    What are the options out there?

    On a side note, the pool has not been maintained so there is tons of black algea. If I do decide to stick with Baquacil how do I get rid of it first?

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Tallahassee, FL

    Re: Alternative to Baquacil?

    D.W. Hi and Welcome to TFP. First off did you add an extra 0 to your pool size? If not I REALLY want to see that big boy!! It is still a big boy even if you did not put an extra 0.

    If you have done any reading here you will have found there are two things we use as our base-Our own test kits and chlorine. We do not endorse any other alternatives. Even Baquacil is not actively endorse due to the cost and problems that come from trying to manage it (white mold being the main one that comes to mind).

    You have your reasons for your desire to not use chlorine. We have our reasons for saying why to use chlorine (science based). I do not think this web site will be a good match for what you are looking for. I wish you luck in finding what you are looking for.

    Note to other posters-Please respect their right to make their own choices. Thank you!

    Kim TFP MOD
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

  3. Back To Top    #3
    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Tucson, AZ

    Re: Alternative to Baquacil?

    1. Chlorine
    2. Bromine
    3. Baquacil/peroxide

    Those are the only EPA registered and approve pool sanitizers. Mineral ion system manufacturers as well as all of the "ionization" makers (hydroxyl radicals and UV/peroxide systems) all claim to be "chlorine free" but, if you read their legal fine print, they all say you must use some low dose supplemental sanitizer/oxidizer in the pool, usually in the form of dichlor powder and/or potassium monopersulafte (MPS) oxidizing shock. TFP does not endorse any of those methods as they border on pseudoscience and/or they leave pools much worse off and possibly stained.

    FYI - Pathogen kill rates are important for both YOUR health and the health of others. Simple bacterial infection and things like the common cold are no big deal. Stuff like legionnaires disease, cryptosporidium, giardia, Naegleria fowleri (naegleriasis or brain-eating amoeba), etc, can be debilitating or deadly to you no matter who swims with you in the pool. So, whatever sanitation method you choose, it should have pathogen kill rates that are sufficient to protect you and those that swim in your pool.

    As for black algae, that can only be treated with chlorine or chlorine with the direct application of sodium bromide based algaecides. You will have to dump the pool water though if you use any form of bromine as you'll not want that around after the algae treatment with other oxidizers used or else they will reactivate any spent bromide back to bromine. Assuming your pool is plaster (you don't give any details), the pool could be drained cleaned with high pressure wash of bleach and then acid washed but that process can potentially weaken the plaster surface. Black algae is very difficult to treat and usually requires high doses of chlorine for extended periods of time as the algae grows into the plaster surface and is very hard to reach.

    Good luck to you in finding a sanitizing system that works.

    PS - One alternative that is very popular but costs a lot of money for a retrofit is a Natural Swimming Pool (NSP). They are essentially backyard ponds that use a biological regeneration zone to do most of the filtering and pathogenic control. They use no sanitizers whatsoever but do require very specialized layouts to make them work. They will get periodic algae blooms that usually can be controlled with brushing and minimal chemical intervention. As stated, they are totally natural and so one must rely on a biological system for pathogen control.
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

  4. Back To Top    #4
    needsajet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Sydney, NSW, Australia

    Re: Alternative to Baquacil?

    Welcome to TFP Interesting question!

    Please don't misinterpret the following as a recommendation. Kim is right and there are places where a variety of alternatives are discussed, perhaps without close moderation and without the wealth of science and experience to back up information that you find here at TFP.

    Bromine is a recognized alternative you could consider, but there are few people here at TFP that can help with best practices. You can use the search function (upper right) to find threads about bromine.

    In a pool (as opposed to a spa) the most effective way to use bromine is to have a bromide bank in the water (sodium bromide dissolved in the water at around 30 ppm). An oxidizer is added to convert some of the bromide reserve into bromine, enough to keep the bromine up around 3-6 ppm. Chlorine is the most cost-effective way to oxidize bromide into bromine, and the chlorine is quickly gone after doing it's job, so it might work for you. At higher cost, potassium monopersulphate can be used as the oxidizer if you needed to avoid chlorine entirely. My understanding is that bromine can't be protected from sunlight the way that CYA buffers and protects chlorine, so you need to dose the oxidizer regularly to maintain minimum bromine levels. There are other methods, but that's as far as I can explain.

    An important caveat is that 'once a bromine pool, always a bromine pool'. The only way to get rid of the bromide bank is to drain and refill, and bromide interferes with running the pool as a chlorine pool, if needs ever changed. You can shock and then maintain shock level with bromine to get rid of algae, but there's no well-defined methods that I'm aware of.

    Black algae needs a lot of scrubbing, no matter how you kill it. A stainless wire brush is the best tool, or combined nylon/stainless. Black algae restores it's biofilm protection relatively quickly, so you have to get on top of it and stay at it until it's really gone.

    If I was hired to do it, I would SLAM the pool with chlorine, then keep the chlorine level half way between target and shock level, while still brushing the black algae, until the black algae was gone - maybe a week or two, but impossible to predict. I'd then jump off the ledge and add the sodium bromide, which, in the presence of plenty of chlorine, provides a strong shock to hopefully finish off the black algae I can't see (it roots into the plaster). Then I'd set up a liquid chlorine doser to help maintain the bromine level, and keep bromine on the high side because of the history of black algae. I'd charge by the hour and offer no guarantees and have some fun learning it all.

    It's fair to mention that pathogens are not only about presence, but also about concentration. When you fill a bath with strongly chlorinated water from the tap, it's safe for a period of time, then drained. A whole family could use it and nothing much might happen. But if the water is left there, the chlorine gets used up, and it becomes more loaded with some of the pathogens as they multiply, eventually reaching a concentration our bodies can't fight off without help. That's among the challenges you face in pool sanitation, so it may not be a good strategy to kill off algae without concern for disease transfer.

    The rest of the water chemistry is the same for bromine or chlorine.
    12k IG salt; glass beads in plaster; K-2006C, K-1766, K-1106 and CCL test kits; Pentair Eco800 1.2HP VS; Zodiac SWCG 1.3 lb/day (25 g/hr); 25" filter recycled glass; OKU solar panels; 1/2 HP solar pump; Rebel (Warrior) pool cleaner; FlowViz; Other family pools 10K SWCG and 15K on liquid; PoolMath app subscriber; | Read Before Posting to get the best possible advice | ... and this helped me a lot!: TFPC for Beginners

  5. Back To Top    #5
    Administrator Leebo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Eastern Ohio

    Re: Alternative to Baquacil?

    For starters DW, WELCOME TO THE FORUM!

    Before we all start jumping in and giving answers I’d like to clarify your pool size. Is it for sure 650K gallons? This is important for us to provide accurate information.

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Berks County, PA

    Re: Alternative to Baquacil?

    Best of luck with whatever you choose. Knowing what I spend to maintain my 12.5k gallon baqua pool, I see where you're coming from! Can't help but ask, however,...what dimensions is your pool? 650k gallon is ONE LARGE residential pool!!! Did you possibly mean 65k??
    12,500 gallon gunite, original construction 1989, renovation 2014 using quartz plaster finish. Baquacil-treated pool.

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