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Thread: Fiberglass Stains

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    Fiberglass Stains

    The pool and this great forum are both new to me. Hope my question hasn't been answered already. If it has, I missed it. I've read quite a bit on the forum and hope to be an expert soon!
    Our pool was just installed this year and I guess I'm still working on getting everything adjusted just right. The problem that I'm having is stains on the fiberglass. There are several stains that are on the walls and floor of the pool that are round. There is also some discoloration on the steps in the shallow end. All the stains are light brownish or dull yellowish in color. More of a discoloration than a color. The sides of the pool are mostly covered in a layer of dirt that is almost impossible to brush off but I keep working on that with the brush, a sponge mop and Soft Scrub. I also have a dirt ring around the water line almost all the time. As soon as I clean it off, a few hours later it returns. I'm really asking for help (at least now) with the staining and am giving the other info in case it offers any helpful clues. We had several inches of rain today and when I vaccuumed tonight, I THINK the staining is worse.
    The pool is white fiberglass San Juan. It was filled during construction mostly with the ground water that was pumped out from under it. The PB added "flocking" twice to clear it up. The water is beautifully clear now.
    I only have the test strips given to me by the PB but here are the result:
    CY: 50
    TA: 180
    PH: 7.8
    Free Clorine: 3
    Total Clorine: 3
    Total Hardness: 250 - PB JUST brought this up from 100.
    Pool is 16x44 IG Fiberglass w/1 1/2 HP Hayward pump and DE filter. There is a Heatwave IceBreaker heat pump and something called Heatsavr which is like a magical invisible solar blanket.
    IG Fiberglass 26,400 gal installed 3-07. DE filter, Icebreaker Heat Pump, Heatsavr Liquid Cover

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    Honey's Avatar
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    Hiya New Jersey I am new too, so I can't really help any but the ppl here are fantastic and I am sure someone will be along shortly.

    I was just curious you said you use soft scrub on the steps? is that inside the water cuz I am guessing the cleaning products could be harmful, also where did you get the rest of the water from to fill the pool?
    I am thinking that could be useful info cuz Iron stains can look like dirt stains.. but god don't go by my guessing I really don't know a thing .. I am just being nosey
    hope you find the answers you are looking for and welcome to TFP. I like seeing new people too then I don't feel so shy
    I really can see the bottom of my pool now!
    13,500 gallons
    AG 24ft Round
    Vinyl
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    I will be a pro soon :wink:

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    Thanks, Honey in OH. I was afraid I was being too long winded but I can see that I left out what may be valuable info. The additional water that goes into our pool is from the well. As far as I know, the conditioner only adjusts PH but I don't drink the water here. (I do use it for ice, cooking, etc.) My toilets get dark stains in them also, especially under the water level. I'm guessing iron also but not sure if it matters what it is to get it out.
    The softscrub is what the PB recommended and said it wouldn't effect the chemicals. I've used it in the past on my fiberglass hot tub. I use the one with bleach added - why not?
    Thanks again for your feedback. I may take a sample to the pool store today and let them test it.
    IG Fiberglass 26,400 gal installed 3-07. DE filter, Icebreaker Heat Pump, Heatsavr Liquid Cover

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    Honey's Avatar
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    Cool I didn't know about the soft scrub =) (but I don't know much of anything yet.. though I think I have mastered the art of pouring bleach into the pool )
    Good luck to ya.
    I am sure someone will have some advice for you =)
    I really can see the bottom of my pool now!
    13,500 gallons
    AG 24ft Round
    Vinyl
    Sand Filter
    I will be a pro soon :wink:

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    Filling from a well is usually problematic. Your best bet is to get your water tested...particularly for iron content. If the tests confirm iron, there are a couple of ways to deal with it (none very simple). Post those test results back (don't buy anything at the pool store yet) and we'll be able to give you more specific advice.

    I know the paragraph above sounds discouraging....all your issues are fixable...it's just not gonna' be a quick, easy fix.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    The first thing to do is to diagnose what is causing the stains. If you rub them with ascorbic acid and they go away then it is probably metals. If you rub them with a trichlor tablet and they go away then it is probably organic. Light brown could be either, though iron stains are generally darker. For organic stains you shock the pool, for metal stains you need to add a sequestering agent, such as Jack's Magic The Pink Stuff, or something similar.

    It would probably also help to keep your PH just a little lower.
    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

  7. Back To Top    #7
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    Fiberglass pool, yellow to brown stains and well water (groundwater) fill AND the pH is slightly high. I would put my money on iron stains! VERY common in fiberglass pools--their biggest downside is their tendency to stain! Easy enough to test for. Take an oridnary vitaminc c tablet and hold it against a stained or 'dirty' area. If the pool turns back to it's original white color in about 20 to 30 seconds you have metal stains and from the description they sound like iron! It's not that hard to get rid of but it is a process. I have to do it to my SanJuan pool about once a year. Post your results with the vitamin C tablet and we can take it from there.

    I have sent a PM to Mbar (Marie) who is an 'expert' on stains in fibeglass pools so she can take a look at this thread.

    Also, get rid of the test strips and get a GOOD testkit! You won't regret it. Check out the section of the forum on troblefree test kits. They are an excellent value for the money. You can also get a Taylor K-2006 but the troublefree testkit uses exactly the same chemistry (and Taylor reagents) and is a much better value because of the amount of regents included and because it also includes an OTO test for quick daily total chlorine tests.

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    Thanks for all the answers! Here's what I've done so far:

    Took a sample to the pool store to be tested. Results:
    Saturation Index: .1 (Do I care??)
    TDS: 500
    CYA: 50
    Tot Chlorine: .7
    Free Chlorine: .7
    PH: 7.9
    Tot Alkalinity: 170
    Adj Tot Alkalinity: 155
    Tot Hardness: 58
    Copper: 0
    Iron: 0
    Manganese: 0
    They act sure there are no metals present in the water but are stumped as to what I should do. Of course, they recommended I buy something called Stain Remover. They told me to read the label. I didn't buy. Also suggested putting a chlorine tab in a sock and rub the stain.

    Stopped at KMart and bought a test kit. Haven't used it yet because it seems like I have to read the directions first!

    I'm going out now to rub the stain with a tab. Don't have absorbic acid to test with. Will have to go out tonight and get that.

    I'm wondering: Could this be as simple as adjusting the PH and/or shocking the pool? PH needs adjusting anyway and the shock can't hurt. Which order would I do that in or doesn't it matter? I'll use the chemicals the PB gave me until I run out, then I plan to switch to BBB.

    Thanks again for the help. I'll get back to you as soon as I've tested more. I'm having a party on Saturday and don't want to do anything drastic until after that!
    IG Fiberglass 26,400 gal installed 3-07. DE filter, Icebreaker Heat Pump, Heatsavr Liquid Cover

  9. Back To Top    #9

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    Vitamin C tablets, if you have them, are ascorbic acid and will work as well.

    I suggest you reread waterbear's post and not put too much weight on the poolstore test. Evan knows his stuff and, like his sig says, he has tested thousands of pools. I'm still putting my bet on iron content.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  10. Back To Top    #10

    I had the same problem

    Hi I had the same problem this year when I open my fiberglass pool up. I am not in any way a expert on this stuff, but this worked for me.

    I shocked my pool and the water turned a pretty lime green, clear but green. My walls & floor also had a light brown stain to them, more like a shadow. I thought I read some where that metal in the water will turn the water green with high levels of chlorine so I had it tested a few days later. The water was clear by then and it came up with no metals. I used a bottle of Stain Treat and it worked but a week later I had the light brown stains come back. I tried another bottle of Stain Treat with the same results. I was at walmart and saw a bottle of hth metal remover and used it the day after the last Stain Treat and the rest of the stains are gone and have not come back, it's been about 3 weeks now. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

    I don't know where the metal is coming from, I had the same thing happen about 3 years ago and the metal remover took care of it.

    Like I said I'm know expert, but this worked for me.

    Pat
    12' x 24' AG Intex Metal Frame/Vinyl Liner Pool
    Intex Pump & Cartridge Filter
    7800 gal

  11. Back To Top    #11
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    Here is my suggestion: get some muriatic acid and drop your ph down to 7. Put your return jets facing up so you aerate the water, which will lower your alkalinity while raising your ph. Your ph and alkalinity are way too high for a fiberglass pool with well water. I always keep my ph between 7 and 7.4. I keep my alkalinity between 80 - 100. Add some sort of metal out - Jack's magic pink stuff, Metal Free, Proteams Metal Magic, Sequasol, are just a few. As long as it says it will "controls metals". This is a sequestereing agent - which you will have to use all the time if you are using well water. You will add the initial dose (more is better than not enough), and then you will need to do matainence as per the instructions on the bottle. Sometimes bringing the ph down and adding a sequestering agent is enough to lighten new stains. If the stains don't come off in a couple of days I would suggest doing an ascorbic stain treatment. It isn't hard, but sometimes it can get your water cloudy, and take a while to rebalance the water. So I would suggest you wait till after your party. In the meantime you can purchase some ascorbic acid at either one of these sites:


    http://www.msm-msm.com/store/agora.c...scorbic%20Acid

    http://www.chemistrystore.com/Ascorbic_Acid.htm


    One of the ways Fiberglass pools stain is when chlorine gets high along with high ph and alkalinity. The funny thing is the pool stores often tell you to shock and bring up your ph - which is a recipe for stains I should dig up the pictures I have of the first stains I got in my pool, and the results of the ascorbic acid treatment in 1 hour. Unfortunately I am leaving tomorrow to go to Texas to a graduation party and I am not packed yet I will be able to check in on the e-mail, so feel free to ask any questions you may have.

    Here is the ascorbic treatment:

    Take your chlorine down to 0, if there is chlorine in the water it won't hurt, it will just eat up the ascorbic acid, so you will need more to get rid of the stains.
    You will need about a half to one pound of ascorbic acid per 10,000 gal. I like to go lighter on it and see if all the

    Put the filter on circulate.
    Use a cup and go around the perimeter of the pool and drop it down the sides as you go.
    Let the ascorbic acid circulate for 1/2 hour. You will be amazed how the stain just disappears before your eyes.

    If the stain is not all gone, leave the filter in circulate and add more ascorbic acid close to where you still see stain. Leave it in circulate until all of the stain is gone. (add more ascorbic acid if it circulates for 1/2 hour and there is still stain)

    When the stain is gone, add enough sequestering agent for the volume of your pool - more is better than not enough.

    Put the filter back on filter and leave it on 24/7.

    The ascorbic acid will bring your ph down, after 24 hours you can start to bring up your ph and alkalinity - use baking soda first, it will raise both ph and alk. Make sure you test in between, because you don't wantyour ph to go any higher than 7.2. If your alkalinity is in range, and you still need to raise your ph, use Borax to take it up to no higher than 7.2. After 48 hours you can start to bring up your chlorine. You want to do this slowly. It will take a lot of chlorine - I prefer to use bleach only at this time, and try to take it up to your minimum chlorine for your cya according to the "best guess chart" Do not shock! Do not shock for at least 2 weeks! Make sure you keep your ph low for (7.2) for a week or two - it won't be hard because the ascorbic acid will help it stay low. Once your chlorine starts to hold, it means that you have used up the ascorbic acid in the water and it will be easy to rebalance the pool back to your regular parameters. You may want to use a polyquat algacide as a deterrant to getting algae while your chlorine is low.
    16x33 fiberglass pool sand filter

  12. Back To Top    #12

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    WOW! This is great! I love all this info I'm getting. Wish I were moving as fast as the info is coming. But with out of town company staying with me and "puppy sitting" my daughter's pup, I not moving at my usual speed.
    I rubbed a cholorine tab on one of the stains for several minutes with no noticable result. I'm assuming this was long enough.
    Couldn't get the Vit C tonight to test.
    I'll reduce the PH tonight and run the filter over night.
    Tommorrow I'll get the Vit C and get metal out stuff. I'm convinced that after testing with the Vit C, I'll need the metal out and will follow the directions on it tomorrow. If that doesn't solve the problem it will have to wait until the middle of next week to do the absorbic acid treatment. Will probably take almost that long to get the supplies. Thanks for the websites to order from!

    I got a test kit at KMart today because I wasn't sure if I wanted to wait to order one. Hope that it gives all the results I need. It measures 6 things but does NOT measure metals. Here are the readings I took with it.
    Free Cholorine: 1
    Total Cholorine: 1
    PH: 7.6
    Alk: 170
    Cal Hardness: 300
    CYA: 25

    How do I know which test is accurate? The strips? The one at the store? Or the one I did with the test kit? Seems to me that the hardness (especially) is way off from test to test.

    Thanks all!
    IG Fiberglass 26,400 gal installed 3-07. DE filter, Icebreaker Heat Pump, Heatsavr Liquid Cover

  13. Back To Top    #13
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    D, I would order one of the test kits from this site - it will allow you to take control of your own pool. The walmart tests are ok, but not as accurate as a really good home test kit that allows you to test Free chlorine, Combined Chlorine and cya. I would go with the Pool Store test. , Can't beleive I just said that , but with the calcium test you did, and the one they did, it may be the difference between "calcium" and "total hardness" - I am not sure. Just don't put any more calcium in the water - so that means no calhypo shock for now until you find out for sure what your calcium level is. I only run my pool at about 150 calcium. You really need to get some chlorine in the water - add just regular bleach - you can check the bleach calculator, it is somewhere on the board. It will tell you how much you need to raise it in ppms. With your cya, on the best guess chart (also on the board) you will need your chlorine level at a minimum of 3ppms. You got 25, and the pool store got 50, but cya of 30 - 50 is about the same - minimum of 3 max of 6 and shock is 15. Lower your ph a bit down to 7 - 7.2, and you are good to go . It sounds like metal staining to me, so I would just go ahead and order the ascorbic acid. If you have any PH down, you can put that in a sock and rub it on the stain - if the stain lifts, then it is metal. Don't worry - I know all this sounds like a lot, but we can help you through it, and you will learn your own pool and how to keep it yourself
    16x33 fiberglass pool sand filter

  14. Back To Top    #14

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    mbar...how much metal out...

    Mbar....how much metal out do you add to the fiberglass pool? I used a 1/2 gallon for the initial pool fill about 4 weeks ago at start up and have had no problems since. I know I have iron in the tap water which i use to fill the pool. I recently lowered the water about 4-5 inches (no idea how many gallons) to reduce my salt ppm which I messed up on initial fill. Now i am down to a good level for salt but this post scares me that I didnt add more metal out when i added all that replacement water. Generally as maintenace how much do you add? I guess I could add 1/3 of the 1/2gallon that is left..dont think i am close to having emptied a third. Since you and I have almost the same pool just wanted to pick that brain of yours again. On another note and probably worth a new post...do you use a skimmer sock? Thanks.

    Lsbarkley...its more fun to swim when the water temp is 85
    14 x 32 Fiberglass Pool 10K gal. Hayward Pump and Sand Filter. Autopilot SWG Dig 48 and Heat Siphon 3.25sx Heat Pump.

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  15. Back To Top    #15
    mbar's Avatar
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    Yes, I use a skimmer sock! Wow, the stuff that is in it . I think you should be fine - you can add about 3 oz, I usualy add about 2 - 3 oz a week as a mantainence dose. I also add my water through the skimmer (and filter sock). Make sure your ph is down below 7.5 when you add water or when shocking the pool.
    16x33 fiberglass pool sand filter

  16. Back To Top    #16

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    THANK YOU

    I would like to say thanks to D for starting this thread and thanks to all for the great ansers given. As a fiberglass pool owner I have bin waiting and not looking forward for the old metal stain which I know will come some day. This has bin a great thread and is going straight to my printer. I think this could be worthy as a sticky for the fiberglass owners. D let us know how the stain is coming.
    AGAIN THANKS TO ALL
    Ric W
    Ric W
    My Pool
    8605 gal fiberglass, 3/4 hp pump, sand filter, aquabot cleaner, heat siphon heat pump, tiger river(sumatran) spa

  17. Back To Top    #17

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    The answers I have gotten here are the best! In a matter of a few days, I've come to trust the experts here and not have much faith in the local pool store as far as chemicals go.
    I've added the PH down 3 times so far as per the package directions and the reading is still 7.6. I'm going to add a stronger dose as soon as I finish writing this.
    I've increased the cholorine and it is now reading 3. It's NEVER been this high. I'll keep it 3-5ppm now that I know.
    I held a Vit C/asorbic acid tab near one of the stains and within seconds, RIGHT BEFORE MY EYES, the stain magically disappeared. Then I rubbed it on the wall and the "dirt" that I've been trying to brush off dissolved as well. Obviously I need to order a LOT of absorbic acid. I'll use one of the sites mentioned by mbar. I'll probably do the absorbic acid treatment next Tuesday. I haven't done the sequestering agent yet as I'm a little confused in the order of things. Sequester BEFORE or AFTER the absorbic acid. Later, will both be part of the maintence?
    One of the best parts about all this help is that I BEGINNING to feel like I know what I'm doing - sort of!
    Tell me about the skimmer sock, where to get it, when/how to use it.
    Thanks!!!!!!!!!
    IG Fiberglass 26,400 gal installed 3-07. DE filter, Icebreaker Heat Pump, Heatsavr Liquid Cover

  18. Back To Top    #18

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    Forgot to mention that I couldn't re-direct the jets to move the flow closer to the surface. Is there a trick to it?

    I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who has had this problem. Also glad to know there are so many knowledgable people out there willing to help.
    IG Fiberglass 26,400 gal installed 3-07. DE filter, Icebreaker Heat Pump, Heatsavr Liquid Cover

  19. Back To Top    #19
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    You put the sequesterant in first. There is some chance that simply lowering the PH a bit and adding sequesterant will be sufficent. If that doesn't work within a day or two then you move on to trying the ascorbic acid treatment.

    The ascorbic acid treatment takes the metal off the walls and puts it into the water. If you don't have a sequesterant in the water the metal will simply move back to the walls when the ascorbic acid is gone. The sequesternat graps hold of the metals and keeps them disolved in the water in a form that can't deposit on the walls.

    Sequestering agents require a large initial dose and then an additional weekly dose to keep the level steady. Sequesterant breaks down slowly over time, so you need to keep replacing it. See the directions that come with whichever sequesterant you purchase. You also need to add additional sequesterant any time you are adding more water with metals in it.
    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

  20. Back To Top    #20

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    eye ball

    Hi D
    to move the eye ball return on my pool I have to loosen the collar around the eye ball with pliers and then i can move it. hope this helps. Ric W
    Ric W
    My Pool
    8605 gal fiberglass, 3/4 hp pump, sand filter, aquabot cleaner, heat siphon heat pump, tiger river(sumatran) spa

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