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Thread: Advised by neighbor to use 20 Mule Team Borax and Bleach

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    Advised by neighbor to use 20 Mule Team Borax and Bleach

    Hi! I have a 34K gallon white plaster inground pool. In the past 2 weeks, my pH dropped from a consistent 7.6 to 7.2, and my chlorine level from 3 to .5-1.0.

    I have an off-line chlorinator, which is now open to 7, and a DE filtration system. I had an algae problem (green/brown on walls only)3 weeks ago, and shocked the pool, brushed walls, and was religious with cleaning skim baskets, filter by main filter, and polaris bag.

    While the pool seems "algae free", I am still out there brushing anything that looks like regrowth. My other levels, as of this morning are: TA: 100, CH: 360 and CA: 40.

    My neighbor had a similar algae and Chlorine/pH problem, and after navigating your sight, used the Borax and bleach and the algae is gone, and the chemistry is perfect. Also, I have to say in NJ this season, we have had ALOT of rain, and I thought this also contributed to my algae/chemistry problem.

    I am religious with testing the water everyday with a test kit, and even will bring a water sample to the local pool supply store to check my values against theirs. Since the pool was put in 4 years ago, my pH has always been 7.6 and my chlorine at 3-4. The water for the past week is crystal clear, but I hate fighting those 2 chemistry values!

    Using the pool calc, it says I should add 148 oz. by weight or 142 oz by volume of the 20 Mule Team Borax, and 282 oz. of 6% bleach (Chlorox)...so would that be 9 solo cups (16 oz) of Borax?

    And what about testing now for Borax? I feel since it is supposed to rain again, that I should do the Borax FIRST to raise my pH, then do the bleach...also, what is the time frame between application of Borax and bleach, and is it better to reconstitute the Borax in a 5 gallon bucket of pool water then broadcast in front of the return, or pour in powder as is? Sorry for all the questions, but I want to do this right...Thanks so much!!

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Advised by neighbor to use 20 Mule Team Borax and Bleach

    Is the CA = CYA/stabilizer 40?

    Refer to the CYA chart for your recommended FC levels, including your shock level, which is 16.

    IF your TA is 100, your ph of 7.2 is not low enough to warrant adding borax, yet. You could just aerate a little, using a fountain or turning up the eyeball returns so the water breaks the surface and creates bubbles. Also if you keep it covered, leave the cover off for a while, and the PH should come up on it's own....

    However, this assumes you will stop using the pucks. The pucks are acidic and lower PH and TA.

    So you have to decide if you want to switch to bleach for daily chlorination.

    If you choose to continue to use the pucks, then yes, raise the PH - Borax for the PH and Baking Soda for the TA, if it goes below 100, raise it back up to 120.

    Predissolve the Borax in a bucket of pool water, and pour into the return flow. The amount you calculated is correct.

    Always add all chemicals separately, one at a time, waiting about 30 minutes in between.

    What kind of test kit do you have?

    Have you been using Cal-hypo at all? Your CH is at the high end of the range, I wouldn't use any more calcium raising products if you have in the past.

    In order to know if the algae is indeed dead, you need to do an overnight FC loss test, with an FAS-DPD test kit.

    You need alot more bleach (1093 oz)!. To raise your chlorine up to shock level, you need 6 large (182 oz) jugs of 6% bleach.

    Understand if you continue to use pucks, they increase your CYA level. The higher the CYA level, the higher your FC must be maintained.

    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
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    Re: Advised by neighbor to use 20 Mule Team Borax and Bleach

    Hi! Thanks for the quick reply..Sorry, CA is CYA..my finger must have missed the "Y" when typing!! I have a Leslie's test kit in a box..I can test FAC, TAC, pH, TA, Ca+ Hardness, and CYA...Prior to today, I had been using soda ash to try and raise the pH back to 7.6, but just not doing it! As for the chlorine, I was unaware that the trichlor puck using in offline chlorinator affected the CYA level, although I have to say, those levels have always been in the 30-40 ppm range since we had the pool put in. I do have liquid chlorine (12%) in the garage, but it has been there unopened for 2 years, so I was afraid its strength has been reduced..that's why I bought the 2 big jugs of chlorox..but do you think I could use 2 of them along with the chlorox (76oz each- I have about 6)?
    We do not have a cover for the pool, BUT we do have a rock waterfall, which I guess I could turn on after adding the Borax, to aerate the pool...So I can put the chorine in about 30-60 minutes after the Borax? And how soon can I retest? I will look in to getting a better testing kit, although I want to say I paid 40 or 50$ for this one last year at Leslie's Pool Store!
    This is a GREAT site, and I thank you so much for your expedient reply!
    I'll keep you posted on what my levels look like!! THANK YOU!!!

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    Re: Advised by neighbor to use 20 Mule Team Borax and Bleach

    Hi, Jackie,

    Welcome to the forum.

    A pH of 7.2 is not out of limits but just a little lower than normal. The pucks are probably causing the pH to go down very slowly. 20 Mule team will bring your pH back to where you like it with very little affecr on your other parameters. The borax can be put directly in your skimmer (pump running) and you can add the chlorine roughly 30 minutes later.

    Get some chlorine in your pool ASAP. You can certainly use the old jugs but I doubt they have very little strength left. Nevertheless, use them up and then test and see where you are.

    It sounds like you may need to shock your pool (I think you may have a little algae remaining) but first things first. Get your pH where you want it, add chlorine 30 min later, then 30 min after that test both FC and pH and report those numbers back up.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
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    Re: Advised by neighbor to use 20 Mule Team Borax and Bleach

    Hey Dave-
    Thanks for the info! The Borax is in (and smells really good! LOL!) I have 2 -128oz Chlorox (reg) that I bought today at the food store with the Borax...I have 6 -1 gallon jugs of the liquid chlorine...since I am using the 2 big Chlorox, how many of the 1 gallon liq. chlorine should I use? This forum is AWEOME..as I was wracking my brain on how to restore my previous levels AND get rid of the algae! Saw some VERY small brownish-green areas on the walls in the deep end, but due to the almost non-existent Chlorine levels, I expected as much. They brushed off with not alot of effort.. I will add the chlorine in 30 mins, then test in 30 as you suggested...As for shocking the pool, I have chlorbrite, and usually do a 3 1/2 lb "shock" when needed...when and how much should I use? Or should I get more bleach to shock? Thanks! Jackie

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    Re: Advised by neighbor to use 20 Mule Team Borax and Bleach

    how many of the 1 gallon liq. chlorine should I use?
    The problem is we don't know it's strength.

    Why don't you put in one gallon and test in 30 min. to see how much one gallon raises your ppm. Then we'll make a pretty accurate guesstimate on how much to add based on that result.

    Can you do a CC's test with that kit? If so, post that, too.

    (Check those clorox jugs.....I think they're bigger than 128 fl oz.)

    I think (please check) that chlor brite is Calcium Hypochlorite. As FPM noted, your CH is high enough. I would suggest you save it for next year....it'll keep a long time and lose very little strength.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Advised by neighbor to use 20 Mule Team Borax and Bleach

    Chlor Brite from Leslie's is dichlor.
    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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    Re: Advised by neighbor to use 20 Mule Team Borax and Bleach

    Your test kit sounds similar to the one I got:

    http://www.lesliespool.com/browse/Home/ ... 00/I/81330

    It basically has everything the TFtestkit has except the FAS/DPD test. This can be ordered separately at:

    http://www.tftestkits.net/index.php?act ... oductId=23

    They are very fast at shipping, I ordered mine on Thursday and had it by Saturday. They also sell all the reagents you would need as well.

    I believe you can get the FAS/DPD test kit from taylor.com as well.

    btw, I have no financial interest in either site.
    24'x4' AGP Round
    S166T Hayward Sand Filter
    S48K2A2 Hayward Pump

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Advised by neighbor to use 20 Mule Team Borax and Bleach

    I wouldn't recommend using the Chlorbrite, it will raise your CYA too....

    Just stick to bleach, and the pool calculator can help you determine how much to add. I doubt that the 12.5% is anything more than saltwater at this point.

    Your kit - does the view tube for the chlorine only test up to 5? If so, that would be a DPD test and you need the FAS-DPD test, which is different, but better.
    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: Advised by neighbor to use 20 Mule Team Borax and Bleach

    Ok..so the pH now is 7.3/7.4-hard to gauge..but darker than 7.2 and lighter than 7.5...the chlorine level is about a 2- the CC is 1 (Subtract TC-FC)- and yes, the jugs of chlorox were larger than 128oz..my mistake. I have to go out and get 4 more of them to make up the 6 total I need, and I will retest. I did add 1 gallon of the liquid chlorine I had, but probably didn't do anything. I was hoping to see a larger rise, but happy that after adding the 2nd reagent to the tube, it wasn't almost CLEAR like before..it actually had COLOR in it!
    My kit is a DPD Test kit from Leslie's- and with all the testing I have done recently, I need more reagents! I will keep posting the levels as I take them, but so far, I am liking the change...I will keep the filter going 24-48 to get all through the system. The water is REALLY sparkling,and incredibly soft even on such a dreary, rainy day! I will go back to Leslie's and have them retest tonight when I go get more reagent solutions. Thank you all again for all of your help! I will DEFINITELY recommend to all my pool owner friends! You are all so GREAT!!!!

    Jackie

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    Re: Advised by neighbor to use 20 Mule Team Borax and Bleach

    Just added 4 additional (182 oz) bottles of Chlorox...will retest in 30 and post....

  12. Back To Top    #12

    Re: Advised by neighbor to use 20 Mule Team Borax and Bleach

    Chlorine at 3 and seems to be rising - pH at about 7.4-7.5...color a tad off the 7.5. Can't wait to see the numbers tomorrow morning and readjust as needed...YEAH!!!!!

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    Re: Advised by neighbor to use 20 Mule Team Borax and Bleach

    When your adding all the chlorine, don't worry too much about your PH. It can go up with mass amounts of Chlorine.
    24'x4' AGP Round
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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Advised by neighbor to use 20 Mule Team Borax and Bleach

    Ideally you should get an FAS-DPD test.

    FC levels over 10 can make PH read false-high.
    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: Advised by neighbor to use 20 Mule Team Borax and Bleach

    Being a newbie, I need some help explaining this thread's initial recommendation of Borax & Chlorine.

    I've read "So you want to add borates to your pool--Why and How", and that talks about MUCH MORE Borax and MURIATIC ACID. Are we talking about the same thing here??? I'm interested in this original posting because we too have had an algae problem. I've already bought my 13 boxes of 20 Mule Borax and 4 gallons of muriatic acid, and would like to add them to the pool next weekend, but now I'm wondering what this thread is about. The amounts of Borax are quite small and then adding Bleach instead of acid is confusing me. Someone please help me out? Thanks!

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    Re: Advised by neighbor to use 20 Mule Team Borax and Bleach

    You can add comparatively small amounts of borax to raise your pH if it is too low. The OP mentioned an amount that is about 2 boxes worth. This would probably not amount to a measurable amount of borates.

    If you decide you want to have a significant level of borates for the various benefits outlined elsewhere, then you need the 13 boxes of 20 Mule Team, which will raise pH outrageously high, so you need gallons of MA to bring it back down.
    --paulr
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    IG plaster pool 18.5K gal, Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter, 3/4 HP Hydramax II; Polaris 380, 3/4 HP booster
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    Water testing instructions on one page

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    Re: Advised by neighbor to use 20 Mule Team Borax and Bleach

    OK, now I understand . . . that's just to raise the pH.

    Adding borates like "So you want to add borates to your pool--Why and How", is entirely different. Thanks for the quick and clear explanation.

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