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Thread: Borax causing water to become dark blue

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    Borax causing water to become dark blue

    So I have been using the BBB method for a couple of years and its worked great.

    On Friday, I tested after not checking for a few weeks (not pool weather around here recently) and pH was very low.

    So I added 2 boxes of Borax because that is all I had.

    The next day I went and got more and when I added one more box to the pool, I got a dark blue cloud in the pool as soon as I started adding the borax.

    I stopped adding the borax and watched as the blue cloud slowly covered the entire pool.

    Anything or anyone that went in the pool came out with a slight blue tint.

    The next day, a blue, crystal powder covered the bottom of the pool (whatever I created settled out).

    Anyone know what this blue cloud is or the powder that settled out?

    How do I keep this from happening again? The ph was still low when I added the 3rd box of Borax - should I have waited more than 24 hours to add the 3rd box of Borax?

    Confused as to why this happened and how to stop it from happening again.

    Thanks,
    Ed

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Borax causing water to become dark blue

    Could you post a full set of test results?
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    Re: Borax causing water to become dark blue

    Sorry, I don't have full results.

    I know I should be using the good test kits, but the pool has been SOOOO easy to maintain for the last few years, I've been getting by with just the chlorine/ph tests (until now )

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    Ohm_Boy's Avatar
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    Re: Borax causing water to become dark blue

    Perhaps there is something different about the borax? Can you verify the product label, or better yet, post a picture of the product?
    [center:1kpalu48]Helpful Links: Pool School | CYA/Chlorine Chart | Pool Calculator[/center:1kpalu48]

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    Re: Borax causing water to become dark blue

    20 mule team borax

    greenish and yellow box.

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    Re: Borax causing water to become dark blue

    Have you added any other chemicals to the pool, and do you have any copper piping in the pool water circuit like heaters? When you said the pH was low how low is that?
    20' x 40' IG with vinyl liner volume approx. 35,000 gal.1.5 H.P. main pump, Polaris 280 cleaner W/ 3/4 H.P. booster pump
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    Re: Borax causing water to become dark blue

    we do have a gas pool heater, which I assume has copper piping inside.

    We also previously (until 2 years ago) used a nature2 cartridge.

    ph was very low, but I'll have to check at home to see the number since I don't remember.

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    Re: Borax causing water to become dark blue

    Quote Originally Posted by emann
    we do have a gas pool heater, which I assume has copper piping inside.

    We also previously (until 2 years ago) used a nature2 cartridge.

    ph was very low, but I'll have to check at home to see the number since I don't remember.
    I ask that because I think it's unlikely that Borax is causing the blue color directly. A blue precipitate is most commonly a copper compound. If the pH was low enough to dissolve some of the copper or you had added copper containing chemicals then raise the pH with borax it could have caused the copper to precipitate out as blue particles.
    20' x 40' IG with vinyl liner volume approx. 35,000 gal.1.5 H.P. main pump, Polaris 280 cleaner W/ 3/4 H.P. booster pump
    Hayward sand filter, 3.14 sq ft, 62 gpm. Stenner 45 MPH10 chlorine feed pump. 1 micron final filter bags (home made and very effective)

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    Re: Borax causing water to become dark blue

    Yes, that's where I figured you were going with the copper piping question.

    The heater probably has copper piping.

    I use a copper-based algaecide in the spring at startup and in the fall to winterize.

    And the Nature2 we used to use (not sure if it adds copper)

    Is there a copper test? And is this dangerous?

    The blue definitely occurred when I added the Borax - the instant I poured it in, I watched the blue cloud form and then spread around the pool. Maybe it caused too much "stuff" to be in suspension in the water and the copper precipitated out or maybe the rapid increase in ph right at the location where the Borax went in caused the copper to drop out.

    Thanks,
    Ed

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    Re: Borax causing water to become dark blue

    Most pool stores can run a semi-quantitative test for copper. I would have it checked.
    20' x 40' IG with vinyl liner volume approx. 35,000 gal.1.5 H.P. main pump, Polaris 280 cleaner W/ 3/4 H.P. booster pump
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    Re: Borax causing water to become dark blue

    Is there a copper test? And is this dangerous?

    No copper tests aren't dangerous, people who add chemicals to their pools without testing. They are the dangerous ones

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    Re: Borax causing water to become dark blue

    Quote Originally Posted by emann
    Yes, that's where I figured you were going with the copper piping question.

    The heater probably has copper piping.

    I use a copper-based algaecide in the spring at startup and in the fall to winterize.

    And the Nature2 we used to use (not sure if it adds copper)

    Is there a copper test? And is this dangerous?

    The blue definitely occurred when I added the Borax - the instant I poured it in, I watched the blue cloud form and then spread around the pool. Maybe it caused too much "stuff" to be in suspension in the water and the copper precipitated out or maybe the rapid increase in ph right at the location where the Borax went in caused the copper to drop out.

    Thanks,
    Ed
    Nature 2 adds copper.
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    Re: Borax causing water to become dark blue

    You didn't by any chance add blueing? This is also available in the laundry section of the supermarket.
    7,500 gal, IG pool, L shape 22' x 15', 1.5 hp pump, cartridge filter, AquaPlus SWG/Controller, Pebble-Tec liner.

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    Re: Borax causing water to become dark blue

    You didn't by any chance add blueing? This is also available in the laundry section of the supermarket.
    That's why I asked to confirm the Borax product. It was evidently not a bluing product.
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    Re: Borax causing water to become dark blue

    Ok,

    I did find that the blue powder precipitated out of the water when I added Borax is a copper compound.

    Evidently, my ph was too low for too long and the water started eating away at my heater core.

    I found this after I had vacuumed all of the blue powder out and then shocked.

    Everywhere I threw the shock, the liner turned black.

    Searching, I found a test where you put a Vitamin-C drop on the liner. If the black goes away, its a metal.

    This worked.

    I then removed over half the water in the pool and then used a pillowcase filled with ph-down to "scrub" the black off the liner. It didn't take any scrubbing, just putting the ph-down on the liner made the liner magically clean.

    Now, I'm re-filling the pool, and have a very-low ph due to the ph-down.

    My question is, how do I raise the ph back to normal without causing whatever copper is left to precipitate out as blue powder again?

    I am not running the filter until I get the ph back to normal so I keep from destroying my heater core any more than it already is.

    I've read about "chelator" or sequestering chemicals that are supposed to bind the metal so that it cannot "drop" out of the water. But I've read some places that the copper never leaves the water and others that say the copper will get stuck in the filter now.

    I'd use the stuff if i thought it would get the copper out of the water.

    Does anyone have experience with this stuff?

    Thanks very much.

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    Re: Borax causing water to become dark blue

    If the copper in your pool is visible (as it was) you can filter it out mechanically. If it is a soluble state (as it was before you put in the borax), it cannot be removed mechanically but would require something like a household water softener to remove it....(I'm not sure a normal softener will remove copper).


    A sequestrant helps hold the metal in that soluble state so that it is not visible and your pool will be fine......but the copper is still there waiting to precipitate back out if you don't keep adding sequestrant. HIgh Ph is usually the trigger that causes it to precipitate.

    I would suggest further draining and refilling your pool until the copper content is negligible. I'm not positive but I seem to remember .3ppm as the point where it becomes troublesome.

    You can easily raise the pH with 20 Mule Team Borax. How low is your pH?

    You would benefit tremendously from a good test kit to help you manage your pool.
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    Re: Borax causing water to become dark blue

    .3-.6 is algae control levels - your's is probably higher than that given your description.

    I agree with Dave - I'd replace water.
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    Re: Borax causing water to become dark blue

    duraleigh,

    If the copper came from the heater core, could the heater have been damaged?
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    Re: Borax causing water to become dark blue

    If the copper came from the heater core, could the heater have been damaged?
    Unfortunately, yes.

    I know of no way to determine just how much, tho, unless you simply run it and hope for the best.

    The damage will occur in the heat exchanger and will be completely internal where you can't see it. It may work fine for another 20 years or it may spring a leak the first time it's subjected to normal pool pressure.
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    Re: Borax causing water to become dark blue

    Hi Emann, Duraliegh, FPM,and all,

    Doing some more studying on copper (not finished yet) it would seem that it is less of a problem in vinyl pools (easier to remove staining) as Emann has seen using vitamin C.

    I was wondering if during the latest addition of Borax the Ph has risen to around 8.4 or more which seems to be a critical point at which copper drops out of solution. Different copper compounds produce different coloured stains and in the tiled and plaster pools this is more of a problem.

    It is important to know what the level of copper is in this pool and partial draining may be the best course of action.

    What type of filter do you have Emann?

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