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Thread: Battle of the Green Algae!

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    Battle of the Green Algae!

    I need help! First of all, I'm new here and I am relieved to find this forum. The pool stores are killing me. Each time I come out of there, I am more confused than when I went in. Nothing they tell me to do ever works. I have been battling algae all season. We haven't been in the pool since last year. I have an 8,000+ gallon in-ground fiberglass pool with a cartridge filter and an auto pool cleaner and chlorinator. Since Friday, I have added a total of about 20 gallons of liquid chlorine to try to kill the extensive algae. It is looking a LOT better! It was very, very dark green. Now, it is turning light green and I can see the second step now. I only have the test strips available to me at the moment since it's Sunday and, of course, my chlorine level is off the chart (I'm sure over 20 because it is dark purple) and the pH is dark purple (indicating excessive sanitizer according to the instructions on the test strip bottle) and the alkalinity is 0. I have been cleaning the filter cartridge every morning and evening and letting the pump run continuously. I have also been brushing down the pool about every 4 hours or so. My question is should I be adding any more chemicals (for the pH and alkalinity) at this time or just worry about the chlorine for now. I am going to take a water sample to the pool store (I hate that place) tomorrow to get my numbers and I will post those. I will also get more chlorine. I also read that regular bleach is okay to use, correct? (even for a fiberglass pool?) However, to get my chlorine refilled is only about $1.25 a gallon, so it's about the same price as a gallon of bleach.

    We've had the pool about 8 years and I have NEVER been able to stabilize the water. I just never took the routine testing and shocking seriously but when I sat down and figured out how much cash I've been throwing away by trying to fix the algae problem each season, I decided it was time to get serious!

    I hope I'm on the right track. It does look a lot better since Friday. I just wanted to make sure if I needed to worry about the other chemical levels (pH and alk) or just the chlorine for now until I get to cloudy water instead of green water! I will check the chlorine level in the morning and see if it is holding. We do have nitrates in our water from an orange grove across the street (we have well water), so I don't know if that has anything to do with my problem of not being able to keep the water chlorinated. (I'm no chemist, obviously!) Once I do get the water back to blue, how much chlorine should I be adding every day, if that's what I should do? I will definitely become an everyday tester from here on out!

    Thanks in advance for any help and advice!
    Missy R.

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Can you list some test results. If you don't have a test kit then go to the pool store and let them test?
    Hurricane Rita did not kill me, but she killed my pool!


    Intex 36'X18'x52" "elliptical pool"/ Hayward 220 filter/1HP pump 14,364 gal, or so

  3. Back To Top    #3

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    No test kit, only the strips for now. Chlorine is 20, Alk is 0 and pH is dark purple (excessive sanitizer). I will have it tested tomorrow at the pool supply store. I will post the results from the test as soon as I have them, though.


    EDIT: I just used the pool calculator to determine how many gallons my pool holds. My pool is approximately 10 feet wide x 26 feet long and about 5-1/2 feet deep at the deepest point. So, that's about 10,700 gallons. The pool store has told me that I have an 8,000 gallon pool. Does that make a big difference?

    Thanks!
    Missy R.

  4. Back To Top    #4

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    You've come to the right place! Welcome.
    There are folks here who will gladly help you have a sparkling pool for the rest of the season. First recommendation would be to purchase a good test kit for a correct set of numbers from which to work.
    20x40 30,000 gal IG Liner, Pentair II Sand

  5. Back To Top    #5
    Welcome Missy!

    I don't know about with strips, but with the drops-based tests, you cannot get an accurate pH reading if you have high chlorine.

    Stick to shocking for now, and have your water tested as soon as you can. You said you have a chlorinator, so I suspect your CYA is sky-high, hence your algae issues.

    Post your numbers when you get them and we can help! A great investment would be a good test kit, like the one found in my sig. It will save you loads of money in the long run, because you will KNOW what your numbers are. As you may imagine, pool-store testing might not be very accurate

    8000 gallon 20' x 48" round vinyl frame pool, 12" sand filter (don't have the specs on the pump), TF100 test kit
    Handy Links: PoolMath, TF-100 Test Kit, Pool School, CYA-Chlorine Chart
    "Shock" is a process, not a product!

  6. Back To Top    #6

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    Thanks Mermaid Queen -- I'm ordering a test kit TODAY! I have one from Wal-Mart, but I'm not sure how accurate that one is either. I did get a test done at the pool store today. Here is what she gave me:

    CL: 5
    pH: 8.4
    ALK: 40
    CA: 10

    I tested with my Wal-Mart kit and, from what I could see, I think my chlorine may have been a little higher than 5. And, on the strips, it shows probably between 5-10.

    She also tested for phosphates at the store and none showed up, but she said it was probably due to the algae and to test again when we got to blue.

    I just added 5 more gallons of chlorine and it is looking better. I cleaned the filter again this morning and brushed. I want to post her instructions and tell me if you agree. Here's what she said to do:

    TODAY:
    1. Clean filter.
    2. Add 1/4 gal acid, wait one hour.
    3. Add 6# Alk+, wait one hour.
    4. Add 2 bags yellow treat.
    5. Add 3 bags shock.
    6. Brush pool & check tablets
    7. Run pump overnight.

    TOMORROW:
    1. Add 2 bags shock.
    2. Test pH, if above 7.6, add 1/4 gal acid.
    3. Retest Wednesday.


    I asked her about the CYA. She said it was low, but not to add it until we get to blue because I can't clean the filter for 7 days after I add it. She also said when the water is no longer green, I should floc it. At this point, I'm just continuing to add the chlorine, cleaning the filter, brushing the pool and running the pump. Should I be adding the acid and Alk+ as well?

    Thanks for the help. I am determined NOT to give up this time! I am taking my daily dose of POP each morning and I'm going to stick with it.

    Waitin' on blue.....
    Missy R.

  7. Back To Top    #7

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    Missy,

    I'm gonna' let Grace follow up most of your questions....she's w-a-a-y smarter than me.

    Caution, however. I'd be skeptical of those test results. The pH that high and the Alk that low doesn't feel right to me. I know that CAN be the case but that's very abnormal. I think I'd double check those two numbers, at least.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  8. Back To Top    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    Missy,

    I'm gonna' let Grace follow up most of your questions....she's w-a-a-y smarter than me.
    No WAY am I smarter than Dave!! (but I'll give it a shot anyway!)

    The walmart kit is somewhat better than the strips for accuracy, but you just can't beat Dave's TF100... It's what the pros use (the pros here, that is!)

    I don't know much about phosphates, so cannot address that issue.

    Since your test results for pH and alk may be off, I would wait on that.

    Don't add yellow treat. I don't know what it is, but you probably don't need it.

    Don't Floc. Bleach and filtering will take care of just about any algae problem. You didn't get green overnight, you will not get blue overnight either!! Just need patience and persistence.

    Is your CYA what is listed as CA - 10? if so, yes you are low. If you put the CYA in a sock and hang it from your ladder, preferably in front of a return, you can add it now. You will lose some when you backwash, but at least you will get some in there. You can also put it in a sock and put it in the skimmer. ((What the PS lady said was correct if you pour the granules directly into your skimmer. They will take up to a week to dissolve in your filter, and you will lose the whole batch if you backwash. ))
    Personally I would wait until I got the pool looking a tad better, and test with your TF100 to make SURE you only have 10.

    You seem to be on the right track. Keep your FC up to shock levels, (15 for you) as much as possible. Backwash and brush frequently. You will be seeing blue in no time!

    8000 gallon 20' x 48" round vinyl frame pool, 12" sand filter (don't have the specs on the pump), TF100 test kit
    Handy Links: PoolMath, TF-100 Test Kit, Pool School, CYA-Chlorine Chart
    "Shock" is a process, not a product!

  9. Back To Top    #9

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    Thanks Grace (and Dave)! I knew I came to the right place! I will keep at it and post the results. I am ordering the test kit today. Boy, I have learned a VALUABLE lesson -- test every day and do something about the results. I figure by this weekend, the boys will be enjoying a nice, cool swim in a pretty sparkling blue pool.

    Oh, the CA level is the CYA, at 10. I will take care of that once I get rid of the algae and after I re-test. The yellow treat is an algaecide. I was skeptical on that because I read on here that it would not get rid of the algaecide, and it is just a preventative -- so I decided not to use that right now. I will keep on with the chlorine, brushing, and backwashing and then deal with the pH, alkalinity and CYA once I get rid of green.

    Thanks again Grace. My children are SO excited -- the froggies that were living in the pool, not so much
    Missy R.

  10. Back To Top    #10
    gonefishin's Avatar
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    Your doing a great job Missy! Keep up the good work

    dan
    21' Aqua-Leader AGP (10,200 gallons).
    Hayward cartridge filter and two speed pump.
    Aqua-Cal HeatWave 100k (HeatPump)
    Salt 3200ppm (in non-salt water pool)
    Borates 20ppm (slowly raising)
    Aqua-Rite SWG

  11. Back To Top    #11
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    Yellow Treat by United Chemical is actually a sodium bromide preparation that will temporarily turn your pool into a bromine pool. It is useful if the stabilzier levels are high since bromine cannot be stabilzied by cyanuric acid. It will create a clorine deman in your pool so you need to use a lot of chlorine along with it. It is not technically an algaecide but a 'chorine enhancer' and, IMHO, is not really a good way to try and kill algae. It does have some usefulness against mustard algae but the cure is often worse than the disease.

    Chlorine kills algae. The only kind of algaecide that will actually kill algae and not just inhibit it is copper and that is not really a recommened way to go unless you have a pool with black algae and then copper is often the only thing that will get rid of it. I would not use it for green or mustard algae.

    If you are going to use any kind of algaecide along with the chlorine I would only recommend polyquat 60. To use it shock the pool, wait 4 hours then add 1 pt. of polyquat for your pool with pump running, let it circulate overnight then start shocking it the next day at least 3 times during the day. The polyquat will do two things. First it will help make the algae more succeptable to the chlorine by softening the cell wall. Second, it will inhibit new algae growth as the chlorine gets used up killing the algae before you add more chlorine to get the levels back up.

    Phosphates are the big scam in pool stores these days. Phosphate removers do have a use but only if phosphates are the limiting factor in algae growth, which the are usually not! If your water test negative for phosphates then there are non whether you have algae in the water or not!

  12. Back To Top    #12

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    Wow, the response to my plight has been just amazing! Thank you everyone. I just wanted to pop in real quick to say that I think we have crossed the line from "the pool is green" to "hey, the pool is turning blue!". When I went out to check this morning, the first word that came to my mind was "BLUE" and not green, so YAY!

    Thanks, waterbear, for the info about the yellow treat. They talked me into using that stuff before, but I never had any results with it, so I was extremely skeptical this time and, at 5 bucks a bag, I decided to forego that recommendation! I would rather put the money into the chlorine and continue on with that. So far, so good!

    I took pictures yesterday and this morning and the difference is amazing. If I hadn't taken the pictures, I just simply would not believe it myself! I only wish I had taken pictures before I started, but I would have been really, really ashamed of that. It was a pond, literally.

    I will probably have the water retested tomorrow at a different pool store, just to see what results they give me. I will post the numbers.

    Thanks again everyone. What a treasure this site is!
    Missy R.

  13. Back To Top    #13
    Ohm_Boy's Avatar
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    Most folks manage to get by with pool store recommendations for a couple of seasons, and the pool industry loves it. They make lots of money.
    Meanwhile, your pool accumulates levels of chemicals which slowly negates your ability to manage it. By the third or fourth season, your stabilizer levels are up, the pH is hard to control, algae starts to grow, and you 'need' more of this chemical and that chemical, and then there's some 'new' technology which will take care of all of that, and before you know it, you're out a ton of money, and can't get your pool clear. Then you drain it and start all over. It's a great supply side business.

    But back on the demand side, on YOUR side, that is not an attractive situation. And it is not necessary. There is a basic set of necessities, such as a sanitizer and a level of pH which is tolerable by your pool and your swimmers. Chlorine provides the best sanitization and oxidation, and regular old bleach provides the simplest and cleanest source of chlorine. It won't jack your stabilizer levels around, it doesn't add anything untoward to your water. PH is controllable with simple acid, soda ash, baking soda, borax, etc.
    DONE! That's it. Honestly, very little else is usually needed.

    Most pool store folks truly believe that what they provide and tell you to use is the best option. They will tell you that bleach is bad for your pool, and they BELIEVE that bleach is bad for your pool. But they often sell the same stuff in higher concentrations. Oddly enough, most of them seem to actually believe that there is somehow a difference between Sodium Hypochlorite in a 'pool chemical' bottle and Sodium Hypochlorite in a 'laundry chemical' bottle. Beyond the strength, there is no difference. They will sell you 'Alkaline-UP', and tell you that baking soda is bad. They are the same. They want you to buy 'PH-Plus', but you can use Borax. It's a little tougher to convince you that their 'pool' muriatic acid is different from the hardware store muriatic acid, but some will try. They are taught these things, they believe these things, and their income is related to how many people buy it.

    The gang on this forum is absolutely the best around. You cannot get better advise for managing your pool than what you will get here. The goal, for everyone here, is for you to have the best pool you can have, with the least effort, and the least cost. They do not want to sell you chemicals. They do not want to make you come back week after week and give them money. They want to know and understand all that they can learn, and pass that knowledge and experience to you.

    You cannot lose here. Welcome to the forum.

    Please excuse my lengthy rant.
    [center:1kpalu48]Helpful Links: Pool School | CYA/Chlorine Chart | Pool Calculator[/center:1kpalu48]

  14. Back To Top    #14

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    OhmBoy, you hit the nail on the head! By the fourth season, my pool was out of control. I have not been able to get it back to blue since the third season. I've been in a tailspin since then. Now, thanks to this forum and all of the extremely intelligent information I have received, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel (or the bottom of my pool, as is the case!) I will never buy chemicals from the pool store again. I will get my stabilizer back up after the algae is gone and after that, it's BBB all the way! Once my test kit comes in, trips to the pool store will be a thing of the past and I will be forever grateful to this forum for that.

    I wanted to post the pictures I took yesterday and today, just to show the difference. I am amazed. And, as of this moment, it's looking even better. I can't wait until it's sparkling clear blue!

    Thanks again everyone!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Missy R.

  15. Back To Top    #15

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    Okay, we are now at BLUE! I cleaned the filter this morning and the return was milky white (I assume this is dead algae). I am going now to have another test done on the water and will post results when I return. Is now the time to start working on the CYA, pH and ALK? Will the water now clear up as soon as I get all of the dead algae out? I will post water results shortly!

    Thanks again everyone!
    Missy R.

  16. Back To Top    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by BluePools
    Okay, we are now at BLUE!

    YAY!

    Is now the time to start working on the CYA, pH and ALK?

    Yes!


    Will the water now clear up as soon as I get all of the dead algae out?

    Yes!
    woohoo!

    8000 gallon 20' x 48" round vinyl frame pool, 12" sand filter (don't have the specs on the pump), TF100 test kit
    Handy Links: PoolMath, TF-100 Test Kit, Pool School, CYA-Chlorine Chart
    "Shock" is a process, not a product!

  17. Back To Top    #17

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    Okay, latest numbers from a different pool store who ran a more extensive test using computer analysis(?):

    FC: 0.0
    pH: 8.8
    TA: 20
    Calcium Hardness: 135
    Stabilizer: 0
    Total dissolved Solids: 3800


    Just amazes me that the chlorine level is 0 after all that I have put in over the past few days but just goes to show how much it takes to get rid of the algae! This pool store told me to keep cleaning the filter, brushing the pool, running the pump and add about a gallon of chlorine a day until the water turns clear and then retest and work on the pH and ALK after that (when water is clear). Is that what I should do? And, if so, about how long would that take? She said to clean the filter in the morning and at night to help it along a little faster. I am SO excited at how close we are!! I just want to make sure that 1 gallon a day of chlorine is enough. I don't want to slide backwards even just a little bit.

    Thanks again!
    Missy R.

  18. Back To Top    #18
    Your pH is sky high, and chlorine works better at lower pH. I would give it a bit of acid to lower it.

    Your gallon a day of bleach advice (or are we talking 12% pool store bleach?) is low... you really need 2 gallons of 6% to get you to from 0 to 15.

    ETA after that, you shou8ld test your FC and dose with bleach accordingly. Eventually your FC will not be 0...

    8000 gallon 20' x 48" round vinyl frame pool, 12" sand filter (don't have the specs on the pump), TF100 test kit
    Handy Links: PoolMath, TF-100 Test Kit, Pool School, CYA-Chlorine Chart
    "Shock" is a process, not a product!

  19. Back To Top    #19
    gonefishin's Avatar
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    I wouldn't listen to everything the pool store is telling you. Adding 1 gallon of 5.25% bleach will only raise your chlorine a little over 5ppm (not enough). 1 gallon of 12% will raise it about 12ppm.

    You'll also want to check (and maintain) your chlorine levels more often than just once a day. The more persistent you are at keeping the chlorine at shock levels the quicker your fight will be over. If you let the chlorine fall to 0 each night your just prolonging the battle.


    But the pool store is also showing your Ph way too high...and it's got your CYA at 0. I would retest both of these to ensure of the level that they're at for sure.

    Did you get a test kit of your own? what did/does it say?

    dan
    21' Aqua-Leader AGP (10,200 gallons).
    Hayward cartridge filter and two speed pump.
    Aqua-Cal HeatWave 100k (HeatPump)
    Salt 3200ppm (in non-salt water pool)
    Borates 20ppm (slowly raising)
    Aqua-Rite SWG

  20. Back To Top    #20

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    I bought a 4-way test kit at the pool store to have in the meantime, and, from what I determined, here's what I think:

    Chlorine: 5
    pH: 8.0 (at least, still turning purple, though not as dark)
    TA: 70


    I've been adding acid to bring the pH down and I think it is, slowly but surely. I will have the water tested again at the pool store on Monday to get a more accurate reading. Once it is all balanced and clear, I will add the stabilizer (my level is 0).

    Since I am at blue, how long does it usually take to clear up the water? It is still cloudy. However, out of the 4 steps I have, I can now see THREE! I am cleaning the filter twice a day and continuing to run the pump 24/7. The last numbers I had ran at the pool store showed my total dissolved solids at 3800 (normal 300-3000). Could this be from the dead algae or am I going to have to drain a little water and add water back to get rid of these? I hope I'm doing everything I should be to get the water clear! Should I be cleaning the filter more often? Should I floc the pool (on the advice of pool store, not sure about that one!)?

    Thanks again!
    Missy R.

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