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Thread: Black algae and brown "dirt" stains

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    Black algae and brown "dirt" stains

    Hey all. I live in an area that gets frequent dust storms in July/August every year. This latest bout of storms came at a time when I was extremely busy at work, and about an inch of dirt sat on my pool surface for about 10 days. I vacuumed it out, which took about 12 consecutive backwashes while I vacuumed. I was unaware that I could "vacuum to waste". Anyway, I eventually got rid of all the dirt, leaves, and whatever else came into my pool via the 4 dust storms we had during that week I neglected my pool. My automatic water leveler replenished the water I had backwashed, and I went back to work. A week later, I went outside, and realized all the backwashing had dropped my salt level to the point where my SWG was not producing any chlorine. The water was turning green, and I could see algae growing on the surface. So I went to Leslies, and bought some Chlor Brite (Dichlor) and Leslie's Algae Control (I have tried to google what exactly this stuff is, and I think it is 30% pesticide???) . I lowered my pH to 7.2, brushed everywhere, then shocked with 3 lbs of Dichlor and poured in the 32 ounces of Algae Control. I shocked again with 3 lbs per day and brushed for three days in a row. My water cleared up, but I had black algae stains in many areas (mostly the shady areas where the floor meets the wall). So I bought a wire brush and some black algae killer (Copper and Nitrogen), and more Dichlor. I went to town with the wire brush, shocked with 3 lbs of Dichlor, then waited about a half hour, and added 20 ounces of the Black Algae Killer mixed with 4 gallons of water. The next day, I brushed again, shocked with 2 lbs. of Dichlor, then added the remaining 12 ounces of Black Algae Killer. The following day (Friday, 8/14), I added 120 lbs. of salt to get my SWG going again. I ran the SWG at 100% for 24 hours. The algae had reduced significantly, but I wanted to find out how to get rid of it permanently, so I got on the internet and thankfully found you guys!!

    Needless to say, I have wasted many hard earned dollars and time going to Leslie's. I realize this now after reading "Pool School" in its entirety. I am sold on the BBB method. I went to Walmart today, and bought 12 boxes of Borax, and (6) 182 ounce jugs of 6% generic bleach. I have been testing for 3 and a half years with the Taylor K-2005 that my pool plumber gave me when he originally started up my pool. It only tests chlorine up to 5 ppm, which doesn't do me any good when shocking to get rid of algae. I'm sick of taking my water sample to Leslie's to double check my work, and test for salt. So I just placed my order for a TF-100 test kit, some Aquacheck White Salt test strips, and some LaMotte Insta-Test Borate test strips. I still have 4 gallons of muriatic acid from my (hopefully) last trip to Leslie's.

    Here are my test results from earlier this evening:

    FC - 2 ppm
    CC - 0 ppm
    pH - 7.2
    TA - 75
    CH - 450 (Leslie's told me 300 yesterday, so I'm not sure)
    CYA - 65

    Obviously, the FC is being used up quickly, and my SWG ran at 100% for 24 hours. I thought my CC would be higher, but I'm not sure about this Taylor test kit anymore. Either way, I wanted to shock again, so I used Jason's Pool Calculator. It said to add 564 ounces of 6% bleach to raise my FC to 19 ppm. I know I can't effectively test for chlorine levels above 5 until my new test kit arrives, but I don't want the algae to get ahead of me again. So I turned off my SWG after getting these last test results, brushed the entire pool AGAIN, and added 3 of the 182 ounce jugs of bleach. I am going to bed now, and I want to do as much as I can tomorrow before I go back to work Monday. I will test the water and brush again when I wake up, and if the FC drops to a level below 5 ppm that I CAN see, I will add more bleach. Does anyone have any suggestions on what I can do until my new test kit arrives? I also have what looks like dirt on some areas of the pool floor, but it won't go away when I brush or vacuum. I read a little about yellow mustard algae, and I don't think that's what it is. It's starting to fade since I have been shocking the pool the last few days, so hopefully it will continue to disappear with the black algae.

    Anyway, I am rambling now, but I wanted to be as thorough as possible here. Hopefully, someone more experienced than I am can point me in the right direction. My ultimate goal is to NEVER go back to Leslie's, kill the algae, get my water balanced, and get up to 50 ppm borates. I don't want to fall behind on this pool again; my work schedule is too crazy, and it gets out of control really quick. Based on what I have read here, it sounds like borates would help me to maintain my pool easier with my busy schedule. Thanks to everyone who put this website together. I wish I would have found something like this a lot sooner.
    Matt
    My Pool: 10,000 Gallon 26 X 12 IG Pool/Spa with Pebblesheen surface, Pentair Intellichlor IC40 SWG,
    Pentair Triton II Sand Filter 98 GPM, Pentair Whisperflo 1.5 HP Pump, Pentair MiniMax NT Gas Heater.

    Jason's Pool Calc -- Pool School -- TF100 Test Kit -- If You Can't Kill The Algae...
    "The only thing I know for certain, is that I really know far less than I thought I knew."

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    Re: Black algae and brown "dirt" stains

    According to the CYA chart for salt pools you should be shocking at a level close to 30ppm, 19 is not nearly enough. Your regular target level should be 4-5ppm.

    The stains you have may be organic stains and may fade over time in higher chlorine levels but may return at lower levels. You could try one of the methods of getting rid of the satins. IIRC there is a chemical you can use as a stain remover. Copper maybe? Not sure but research it here at TFP.

    edit: took out the TA level, sorry for the bad advice.
    Thanks,
    Brian
    18' round x 52" vinyl AGP holding aprox. 7633 gallons of crystal clear sparkling water, most of the time. Hayward s166t sand filter, 1 hp pump and 2-2x20 Fafco panels is parallel. TF100 test kit and BBB!

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    Re: Black algae and brown "dirt" stains

    Hey, Matt,

    Use borates as an optional additive. Do not rely on it to prevent algae formation.....chlorine is the answer for that.

    I would suggest this plan of attack....

    Go ahead and put in a couple of jugs of bleach each day until the test kit arrives. Then, post a full set of test results when you get it and we'll start from there. (plan on getting a lot more bleach)

    It sounds like you are about to get a handle on things. Please keep in mind that chlorine will clear your pool and it is lack of chlorine that has caused the issues to begin with. Borates, algaecides, etc. are all peripheral in your fight against algae.

    Once you get your pool back to sparkling, you can crank up the swg but don't rely on it much to help you get your pool clear.

    I may have overlooked it in your post......How does your water look?
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Black algae and brown "dirt" stains

    Quote Originally Posted by Macrosill

    Your TA is low and you should target 100ppm.
    Not exactly - since the OP has an SWG 75 is just fine.

    BTW, you can get Muratic Acid at Hardware stores, Lowes, Home Depot, etc., just make note that there are different strengths so cost-compare carefully.
    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: Black algae and brown "dirt" stains

    Hi Matt and welcome to the forum

    Yep, what Dave said

    Your TA looks just fine based on Recommended Levels for SWG's.
    Besides, if you are later planning on adding borates, you will need have the TA about where it is now.
    I'm sure you noticed this in Pool School. Just mentioning it to cover the bases.

    Congrats on ordering the TF100 tet kit. You are on you way to a Trouble Free Pool
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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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    Re: Black algae and brown "dirt" stains

    Thanks for the quick replies everyone!!!

    According to the CYA chart for salt pools you should be shocking at a level close to 30ppm, 19 is not nearly enough. Your regular target level should be 4-5ppm.
    Sorry, I was using Jason's pool calc, which tells me to go to 19 ppm for shock. Which level should I follow?

    Once you get your pool back to sparkling, you can crank up the swg but don't rely on it much to help you get your pool clear.

    I may have overlooked it in your post......How does your water look?
    [attachment=2:emzwal3a]IMG_2758.JPG[/attachment:emzwal3a]

    I still have the SWG turned off, with pump running 24/7. Water looks OK...I posted 3 pics. I'm still wondering what the brown, dirt looking stains are.

    [attachment=0:emzwal3a]IMG_2762.JPG[/attachment:emzwal3a]

    The weird thing is, when I tested this morning, 8 hours after adding all that bleach, pH is still at 7.2, and FC is still at 2.0??? CC still at 0.0. I think there is something wrong with my Taylor test kit. Either that or I have WAY more algae than I think.

    [attachment=1:emzwal3a]IMG_2760.JPG[/attachment:emzwal3a]

    Should I add more bleach? How much?

    Thanks again everybody.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Matt
    My Pool: 10,000 Gallon 26 X 12 IG Pool/Spa with Pebblesheen surface, Pentair Intellichlor IC40 SWG,
    Pentair Triton II Sand Filter 98 GPM, Pentair Whisperflo 1.5 HP Pump, Pentair MiniMax NT Gas Heater.

    Jason's Pool Calc -- Pool School -- TF100 Test Kit -- If You Can't Kill The Algae...
    "The only thing I know for certain, is that I really know far less than I thought I knew."

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    Re: Black algae and brown "dirt" stains

    pH is still at 7.2, and FC is still at 2.0??? CC still at 0.0. I think there is something wrong with my Taylor test kit. Either that or I have WAY more algae than I think.
    That's all OK. pH will move little if any when you add bleach.

    You may well have a bunch more algae than you realize.

    It is very common to have algae and 0 cc's.....not common to have 1ppm or more CC's and no algae. Confusing, I know.

    I would go ahead and add the couple of jugs of bleach this evening and again each evening until you can post a full set of test results.

    I am unable to help with the stains right now. You can try some crushed vitamin C tablets in a sock. Hold it on the stain for a minute or two. If the stain lightens or goes away, it's iron in your water. Regardless, I would deal with the stains after my water was in order and all algae gone.

    PS - nice pool...your water looks good, too.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Black algae and brown "dirt" stains

    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    Quote Originally Posted by Macrosill

    Your TA is low and you should target 100ppm.
    Not exactly - since the OP has an SWG 75 is just fine.

    .......
    Sorry for the bad advice. I did not realize the TA should be lower in a SWG pool.
    Thanks,
    Brian
    18' round x 52" vinyl AGP holding aprox. 7633 gallons of crystal clear sparkling water, most of the time. Hayward s166t sand filter, 1 hp pump and 2-2x20 Fafco panels is parallel. TF100 test kit and BBB!

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    Re: Black algae and brown "dirt" stains

    Thanks Dave. I will post results when the new kit arrives. I wonder how long it takes to ship to AZ?

    The stains have gotten much lighter in the past 3 days.
    Matt
    My Pool: 10,000 Gallon 26 X 12 IG Pool/Spa with Pebblesheen surface, Pentair Intellichlor IC40 SWG,
    Pentair Triton II Sand Filter 98 GPM, Pentair Whisperflo 1.5 HP Pump, Pentair MiniMax NT Gas Heater.

    Jason's Pool Calc -- Pool School -- TF100 Test Kit -- If You Can't Kill The Algae...
    "The only thing I know for certain, is that I really know far less than I thought I knew."

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    Re: Black algae and brown "dirt" stains

    Brian,

    No problem.

    Any advice here is better than what I've been getting at Leslie's for the last couple of years. It's amazing that they call themselves a pool store.
    Matt
    My Pool: 10,000 Gallon 26 X 12 IG Pool/Spa with Pebblesheen surface, Pentair Intellichlor IC40 SWG,
    Pentair Triton II Sand Filter 98 GPM, Pentair Whisperflo 1.5 HP Pump, Pentair MiniMax NT Gas Heater.

    Jason's Pool Calc -- Pool School -- TF100 Test Kit -- If You Can't Kill The Algae...
    "The only thing I know for certain, is that I really know far less than I thought I knew."

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    Re: Black algae and brown "dirt" stains

    Matt,

    Check your PM's. It'll say "1 new message" in the upper left corner of your screen.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Black algae and brown "dirt" stains

    Quote Originally Posted by maddog808
    Thanks Dave. I will post results when the new kit arrives. I wonder how long it takes to ship to AZ?

    The stains have gotten much lighter in the past 3 days.
    It's been my experience that it takes 4 to 6 days to be delivered in Arizona. It gets shipped right away by Duraleigh, but it just seems to sit forever out in one of the east coast FedEx stations.
    Buggs

    14,000 gallon, in ground, plaster, free form, play pool.
    Sta-Rite Max-E-Glass with a 1.5 hp Emerson motor
    WaterCo Micron High Rate sand filter S750 490 lb, 4883 sq ft - using ZeoBest
    In floor Polaris cleaning system
    Blue Diamond robot for those after storm days when I can't wait overnight for the in floor to clean it.

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    Re: Black algae and brown "dirt" stains

    I just bought 1638 oz. of Clorox regular bleach at Costco for $21.45. That works out to $.013 per oz. Is that a good deal? It was cheaper than Sam's Club in my town. I think I'm well stocked to kill all the algae when my test kit arrives. I've added 364 oz. each of the last two nights, and the stains are almost not noticeable now. Is it ok to leave my pool vac running while I kill all this algae? I haven't shut off my equipment since Friday. I noticed some white specks floating in front of the pool light, and wondered if my vac is picking up dead algae. The water looks clear during the day, but now I'm thinking it might not be a good idea to vacuum up the dead algae and run it into the filter. Will it be ok, as long as I backwash to get rid of it once I'm completely done with this process?
    Matt
    My Pool: 10,000 Gallon 26 X 12 IG Pool/Spa with Pebblesheen surface, Pentair Intellichlor IC40 SWG,
    Pentair Triton II Sand Filter 98 GPM, Pentair Whisperflo 1.5 HP Pump, Pentair MiniMax NT Gas Heater.

    Jason's Pool Calc -- Pool School -- TF100 Test Kit -- If You Can't Kill The Algae...
    "The only thing I know for certain, is that I really know far less than I thought I knew."

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    Re: Black algae and brown "dirt" stains

    [center:1hxhuh4k]Is this dead algae?[/center:1hxhuh4k]

    [attachment=0:1hxhuh4k]IMG_2776.JPG[/attachment:1hxhuh4k]
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Matt
    My Pool: 10,000 Gallon 26 X 12 IG Pool/Spa with Pebblesheen surface, Pentair Intellichlor IC40 SWG,
    Pentair Triton II Sand Filter 98 GPM, Pentair Whisperflo 1.5 HP Pump, Pentair MiniMax NT Gas Heater.

    Jason's Pool Calc -- Pool School -- TF100 Test Kit -- If You Can't Kill The Algae...
    "The only thing I know for certain, is that I really know far less than I thought I knew."

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    Re: Black algae and brown "dirt" stains

    Yes, it should be fine.
    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: Black algae and brown "dirt" stains


    Received my TF-100 and my Aquacheck salt test strips in the mail today. Duraleigh ships extremely fast if anyone wasn't aware of this. My kit shipped out of NC on Monday, and was in my mailbox when I got home from work today! Here are my test results:

    FC - 18 ppm (that bleach stuff really does work)
    CC - .5 ppm
    pH - 7.4
    TA - 100
    CH - 470
    CYA - 50
    Salt - 5830 ???

    First of all, I hope I am wrong on the salt test. Could it test wrong because my FC is so high? Here are some pics:

    [attachment=1:3ew4j4so]IMG_2834.JPG[/attachment:3ew4j4so]
    [attachment=0:3ew4j4so]IMG_2838.JPG[/attachment:3ew4j4so]

    I read this at 7.5, which according to the chart puts me halfway between 5570 and 6090=5830. I checked it twice with two different samples of water, and both test results were exactly the same. I had my salt level checked at Leslie's twice last week. The first time it was 2300, so I added two 40 lb. bags of salt. I waited a few days, and tested it again. It was 2900, so I added two more bags. According to Jason's Pool Calculator, I should have 3500 ppm of salt now. Maybe I got a bad batch of salt test strips. The expiration date on top of the lid says 2011/06. I assume that is June of 2011. I hate to go back to Leslies, but how do I do a sanity check for salt? I don't want to corrode anything.

    Also, should I be worried about my Calcium Hardness test results, or is that not accurate because I just shocked the pool? I didn't add bleach tonight, and I will do an overnight FC loss test in the morning and post results again. Hopefully I am done killing algae, and I can work on getting my water balanced soon.

    Thanks for your help everyone.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Matt
    My Pool: 10,000 Gallon 26 X 12 IG Pool/Spa with Pebblesheen surface, Pentair Intellichlor IC40 SWG,
    Pentair Triton II Sand Filter 98 GPM, Pentair Whisperflo 1.5 HP Pump, Pentair MiniMax NT Gas Heater.

    Jason's Pool Calc -- Pool School -- TF100 Test Kit -- If You Can't Kill The Algae...
    "The only thing I know for certain, is that I really know far less than I thought I knew."

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    Re: Black algae and brown "dirt" stains

    says 2011/06. I assume that is June of 2006.
    June of 2011 is the expiration.....that's probably what you meant, tho.

    I don't have a salt pool (so don't use the strips), but from others input, the aqua-check strips are perhaps the most accurate way of testing salt available (at a reasonable price). I would tend to believe them.

    Perhaps you could find a testing source other than Leslie's to confirm your results.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Black algae and brown "dirt" stains

    The CH test is a tricky one.

    Be sure you are swirling the solution for a full 2030 seconds in between drops. If you did the test correctly to achieve 470, then you should have taken approx 10-15 minutes to perform the test.....

    If you get a purple endpoint or "floaties" (which you will recognize if you see) then follow these testing instructions:

    Add 6 drops of reagent 3 (the titrant) FIRST and swirl to mix then proceed with the normal procedure. Be sure to include the first 6 drops you added in the final count of drops.

    As for the salt, I think you are reading it correctly and it's very likely that Leslie's screwed up - Pool Store testing is notorius for that - and now the salt level is very high. I don't know enough about SWGs to know if this level is too high for your unit though, does your manual specify the upper range limit?
    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

  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Re: Black algae and brown "dirt" stains

    I just tested again 15 minutes after sunrise.

    FC - 17 ppm
    CC - .5 ppm

    Does this mean the algae is dead?.

    Gotta go to work now.
    Matt
    My Pool: 10,000 Gallon 26 X 12 IG Pool/Spa with Pebblesheen surface, Pentair Intellichlor IC40 SWG,
    Pentair Triton II Sand Filter 98 GPM, Pentair Whisperflo 1.5 HP Pump, Pentair MiniMax NT Gas Heater.

    Jason's Pool Calc -- Pool School -- TF100 Test Kit -- If You Can't Kill The Algae...
    "The only thing I know for certain, is that I really know far less than I thought I knew."

  20. Back To Top    #20
    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Black algae and brown "dirt" stains

    1ppm overnight loss is considered acceptable - you can test again tonight if you like.
    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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