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Thread: Borax. All at once or a little at a time?

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    Borax. All at once or a little at a time?

    I need to raise my PH from 6.8 to 7.5 and the pool calculator tells me to add 8lbs of borax for my 18500gal pool. Should I add the borax in stages or all at once? If in stages, then how much at one time and how much time should I wait before each stage? Thank you for your responce.
    15000 gal 16x30 fiberglass inground w/screen inclosure, 1 hp Hayward pump, Hayward cartrage filter.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Borax. All at once or a little at a time?

    Welcome to TFP!

    I would add about 2/3rds of the suggested amount, give it an hour to mix with the pump running, and then test the water to see how you are doing. You don't usually want to make large PH changes all at once. Calculated amounts for PH changes are never exact. It is better to go slowly than the overshoot.

    By the by, what do you use as a source of chlorine, and what are your other test results? Depending on your source of chlorine, and your current TA level, you may want to approach this in a different way. For example, with a SWG or a very high TA level you would probably only want to raise the PH to 7.2 and then let it drift up on it's own. On the other hand, if your TA level is very low or you use trichlor as your source of chlorine you might want to use soda ash instead of borax.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Borax. All at once or a little at a time?

    Thanks JasonLion.

    I just bought the home and it's my first pool so I'm a newby. I will be using the BBB system from here on out.
    The formerowner used a pool guy so I don't know what he used to maintain the pool with.
    My TF-100 should be here in the next couple of days and I'll be able to post some Numbers then.
    When I bought the test kit I made phone contact with duraleigh and he was very nice, and recomended TFP to me. I've been reading the PW forum for awhile and learned about the BBB system from there.
    This is my first writing on any forum so that should tell you how impressed with the TFP I was.
    My pools in a green cloudy state right now so I just shocked it with 6 gal of 6% clorox . I used the pool cal. to get my shock ammounts will maintain a high clorine level until the pool is clear.
    I'm shooting in the dark right now until my TF-100 get here. I used the blue box from walmart to test and the results were 0 fc and 6.8 ph.
    I don't know the cya or anything else at the moment but I know from reading this forum to attack the algea and stay aggresive until its gone.
    I will test for an overnight drop in me fc once I see the pool is clear.
    again, I would like to state what a wonderful forum this is and am looking forward to chatting and sharing pool info in the future. Chow.
    15000 gal 16x30 fiberglass inground w/screen inclosure, 1 hp Hayward pump, Hayward cartrage filter.

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    polyvue's Avatar
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    Re: Borax. All at once or a little at a time?

    Welcome, zmanastronomy!
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
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    Re: Borax. All at once or a little at a time?

    The PH test will read 6.8 even if the PH is much lower than 6.8, and chlorine is less effective the lower the PH is, so you do want to bring the PH up as soon as possible. If you have some, or can get some easily, I would use soda ash/washing soda, also sold as PH Increaser and several other similar names by pool stores, for the first round. TA tends to get very low when the PH is very low. Lacking a measurement of TA, it is a good bet that TA is also very low. Soda ash will increase both the PH and the TA.

    You may need to do a couple of cycles of increasing the PH, depending on what the current PH actually is.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Borax. All at once or a little at a time?

    I would do very little at a time and re test as was stated. I added a lot of borax all at the same time and my Ph jumped way too much.

    Good luck.

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    Re: Borax. All at once or a little at a time?

    Well I've got the TF-100 in yesterday and tested the TA and the CYA and I'm in trouble.

    The test for CYA didn't come but half way up the tube before reaching 100. I guess thats 150. I have to drain the pool and start over with my chem balance. I did talk to the pool guy that used to take care of the pool and got some insight on the way he took care of it.
    He always used liquid clorine and from what I gathered he was very into the BBB system. One thing he told me when I told him my ph level was low was that he was always chasing the ph and beacause it was a fiberglass pool I would always chase it.
    That struck me as odd because I've never read anywhere that a fiberglass pool keeps your ph low. However, I have a screened inclosure right under a big oak tree and though leaves don't actually get in the pool, I know how acidic an oak tree is. I suspect thats why the pool has a low ph.

    He also told me to concentrate on the ta more than the ph. I thought the went hand in hand.
    So I tested the ta and since I was in shock mode with very high clorine level I noted the instructions on the TF-100 said it would go blue and then yellow. It turned a very thin yellow that I had to ask my wife if she could see yellow in the tube and she said yes but barely.
    That was at around 10 drop and it may have turned that vary thin vail of yellow earlier and I didn't notice. So I don't trust my results on the ta test and it's on the back burner until I get the cya to a decent level (40-50).
    I would welcome any advice on the high clorine ta test. Should I just wait until the clorine is at a maintenance level to test the ta?
    Thank you for your responce everyone.

    zmanastronomy


    Foot Note: The pool guy told me as soon as a contract was put on the house they canceled his contract. We had several extentions on the closing of the home for various reasons but the contract was put on the house 3 months ago. The previous owners started useing granulated shock from Wal-Mart and pucks and thats how the cya's got so high. Once I drain the pool I hope by using liquid clorine and the BBB system I can avoid future problems.
    I will probably always have a ph problem because of the oak tree but I guess it could be worse. Thank you.
    15000 gal 16x30 fiberglass inground w/screen inclosure, 1 hp Hayward pump, Hayward cartrage filter.

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    polyvue's Avatar
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    Re: Borax. All at once or a little at a time?

    Quote Originally Posted by zmanastronomy
    Well I've got the TF-100 in yesterday and tested the TA and the CYA and I'm in trouble.
    Could you post your test results all together, like the following?

    pH
    FC
    CC
    CH
    TA
    CYA

    Also, please list your location (city, state or country) and put your pool specifics in your signature... in ground vs. above ground, plaster or vinyl etc, nbr of gallons, etc., etc. -- see other member's signatures for an idea of how to set this up.

    In one of your last posts you said you were going to add 6 gallons or so of liquid chlorine... depending on the level of Free Chlorine this may distort the pH reading a bit, but it'd still be helpful to see the numbers. If your CYA is well over 90 or so, that's a good argument in favor of draining some of the pool water but be careful if you drain an in-ground pool where the ground water is high and especially if it has rained in recent days or weeks. If that is the case, best to drain 10-20% at a time, refill and repeat, so as to prevent the pool shell from moving.

    Not to worry about getting this pool back into shape. Lots of folks here that are more than qualified to provide guidance -- most of us have been in trouble with our pool chemistry and have learned how to manage it.
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
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    Re: Borax. All at once or a little at a time?

    zman,

    welcome to the forum. AS polyvue said, posting all your test results will help us get a better picture.

    Also, the poolman may not be a good resource for chemistry advice. pH should be corrected first, then perhaps TA if it needs it.

    Also, the condition of your pool (low pH and very high CYA) would indicate excessive chlorination with pucks.....not liquid chlorine.

    Why are you shocking and with what and how much did you put in?

    What does the water look like?

    Shoot these answers back and all of us here will help you get the pool back in balance. The pH is easy to correct once you get your test nymbers posted.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Borax. All at once or a little at a time?

    I was shocking because there was no clorine in the pool and a cloud of green was starting. Now I'm doing a partial drain because my cya is 150. No since in posting test readings until I get the cya in order. I have to rent a pump and do a couple of patial drainigs and start over.

    My pool only has the scimmer for circulation so I have to pump it out with the rented pump.
    Once I get the cya to 50 or so I will post my readings and go from there.

    So all reading are kind of a moot point at this stage. Looks like a lot of fun ahead of me. I won't be trusting the poolguy for info. I needed some history on the pool and what he told me was somewhat helpful. I'm loosing water at about 3/4 of an inch a day so I've also got to get a pool tech out here to test for the leak. I'm pretty sure it's the skimmer leaking but I have a pool tech comming over tomorrow with a dye test kit to find the leak. I've just bought the place and as usual none of this was brought out before I moved in. So, I have a leak to find and fix. A draining to do for the cya reduction and after all that fun I will post my test readings. Thanks for all your insight and when I'm done I'll be back.

    Dave, Thanks for your help with the leaking over the phone. It does leak without the pump on. I'm hoping it's the skimmer. I'll fill you in tomorrow once the dye test is done. Wish me luck.
    zmanastronomy
    15000 gal 16x30 fiberglass inground w/screen inclosure, 1 hp Hayward pump, Hayward cartrage filter.

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    Re: Borax. All at once or a little at a time?

    Quote Originally Posted by zmanastronomy
    The test for CYA didn't come but half way up the tube before reaching 100. I guess thats 150.
    The way you worded that makes me wonder if you did the CYA test correctly.

    Do you mean that the CYA test water level didn't come half way from the bottom to the 100 mark (which is fairly near the bottom) before the black dot disappeared? If so, guessing at the CYA level as 150 is reasonable, though it might be much higher than that. If you meant something else, then you probably did the CYA test incorrectly.
    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: Borax. All at once or a little at a time?

    Thanks Jason.

    Thats exactly how I read it. The test was between the bottom of the tube and the 100 mark. It may be 200, I don't know, but as I take 3ft of water out and replace it I will test again. I'm sure it'll take several partial drains to get it to 50 or so.

    Seems like a lot of work but once its done I can start with a clean slate. The bbb system is the only way I'll take care of my pool. It seems like the pool store is out to confuse people. To many bottles of stuff that interact with other part of the chemical makeup. Thats why the pools in trouble now "convienience". People aren't wanting to take the time and effort to educate themself on pool care.

    I'm fortunate that in my search for pool care I happened upon the bbb system and common scents told me this was the way to go. Sometimes I feel overwelmed but I know it's got to be done. I'm sorry for not showing my test results on my chemical balance but until I get the cya under control I don't think it will matter. Not counting the leak. But I feel in the long run it'll be worth it.

    zmanastronomy
    15000 gal 16x30 fiberglass inground w/screen inclosure, 1 hp Hayward pump, Hayward cartrage filter.

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    Re: Borax. All at once or a little at a time?

    I'm sorry for not showing my test results on my chemical balance but until I get the cya under control I don't think it will matter
    I think your approach to fixing your pool is perfect. Getting the CYA under control is job #1 and it's pointless to post results that will likely all change.

    Leave at least 6 inches in the shallow end of the pool when you start your partial drains. You'll need at least that much to keep the liner in place. I bet you get your CYA in line with 2 partial drains.

    Once your CYA gets down where you want (around 50) you'll need to use a lot of liquid chlorine to get the green algae out of the pool but we'll all help you get it done when the time comes and your pool will be crystal clear all next season.

    PS - post up the location of that leak when you find it. The rest of the forum can benefit from your experience.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Borax. All at once or a little at a time?

    Thanks Dave

    I'll take some photos if I can figure out how to post them.
    The flange that the skimmer basket sets on has a crack all the way around it. I'm pretty sure thats were it's leaking.If not the dye will show it and I will post my results. Chow.

    zmanastronomy
    15000 gal 16x30 fiberglass inground w/screen inclosure, 1 hp Hayward pump, Hayward cartrage filter.

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    Re: Borax. All at once or a little at a time?

    Quote Originally Posted by zmanastronomy
    Thats exactly how I read it. The test was between the bottom of the tube and the 100 mark. It may be 200, I don't know, but as I take 3ft of water out and replace it I will test again. I'm sure it'll take several partial drains to get it to 50 or so.
    After you replace the 3ft of water, if the CYA test reads over 100, you can dilute your test sample half-and-half with tap water and run it again; then you double the reading. (Tap water has no CYA so this works fine.) There is some loss of accuracy but in my opinion not enough to matter. This will let you distinguish 120 from 200 and give you a better handle on how much water replacement you're looking at in total.
    --paulr
    BBB "Intermediate Swimmer"
    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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    Re: Borax. All at once or a little at a time?

    That's good advice PaulR.

    I'm pretty sure it might be still be over 100 after the first partial.
    It was almost exactly half way between the bottom of the tube and the 100 mark. I notice a definite progression in the numbers on the cya test tube getting closer together as the numbers go higher. If thats the case, at the half way point the reading may be 200 or more. I'm hoping duraleigh is right on it only taking 2 partials to get this under control. It already has that beautiful layer of green starting up. Doesn't take long for the green monster to show when your fc and cya balance is wack. I know it's just a matter of dumping enough liquid clorine in after the cya gets down to normal. At least then the clorine will be able to do its job.

    I knew something was going to be wrong when the previous owner of the pool told me that "algeside kills the algea and the granulated shock just made the pool clear and blue". That was a deffinate red flag.

    He's a very old man that wasn't an internet type so I can't blame him. If not for the internet I would probrably be just as blind. With as much information out there on pools I don't understand why everyone can't edjucate themselve's.
    Well I guess I've said enough for now. I hope this posting helps someone else in the future when they read it. Everyone have a great Monday.
    zmanastronomy
    15000 gal 16x30 fiberglass inground w/screen inclosure, 1 hp Hayward pump, Hayward cartrage filter.

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    Re: Borax. All at once or a little at a time?

    Draining 3' should be about 2/3 of your water. (16x30x3=1440 cu.ft. x 7.5 = 10,800 gallons, and your sig says 15,000.) Assuming you had CYA 200, after the refill it should be in the 60-70 range. Now, sometimes people in southern (= lots of bright sun) climates like Florida will keep their CYA up that high anyway, but of course that's something for each pool owner to decide. SO, if you're lucky, you'll be done after one round.
    --paulr
    BBB "Intermediate Swimmer"
    IG plaster pool 18.5K gal, Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter, 3/4 HP Hydramax II; Polaris 380, 3/4 HP booster
    AG spa 325 gal, probably Sundance of some kind
    Water testing instructions on one page

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    Re: Borax. All at once or a little at a time?

    OK, They found the leak and it was the light. The conduent atached behind the light was where the leak was. I had the light replaced and got a partial drain from that. I filled the pool back up and tested the cya again and it was at 100. I done another partial drain and now my cya is at 60. I'm going to live with that. I have very high iron in my well so as soon as I fillied it I put 2 quarts of Jack's Majic in and that was this morning. This evening I added enough clorine to raise my fc to 8. I had a ph reading of 6.8 but I figured it could be lower so I added 4lbs of borax and am still showing 6.8. My ta is 100 so thats not to bad but I'll add anouther 4lbs of borax in tomorrow and retest.

    Right now my pool looks clear but not perfect. I'm letting the pump run 24-7 until I get it Gin clear. I'll do an overnight fc test tomorrow night and see if the clorine is stable.

    Any tips on what I've done so far would be much help.

    I thank each and everone of you that has helped me. Thank you. Zmanastronomy
    15000 gal 16x30 fiberglass inground w/screen inclosure, 1 hp Hayward pump, Hayward cartrage filter.

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Borax. All at once or a little at a time?

    Your doing well! (a belated welcome, btw )

    You can help the PH rise by aerating (turn your eyeball return towards the surface, for example.) Otherwise you are doing just fine.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
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