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Thread: Please tell me if this is Algae???

  1. Back To Top    #1
    busyredhed
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    Please tell me if this is Algae???

    I have been pulling my hair out. Our pool is a 3 month old Pebble Fina gunite pool. I always keep my chemicals in check and check them every day. However, my Phosphates have been high. I have treated twice with PhosFree per Leslie's and use a maintenance dose as well each week. About a week and a half ago, we noticed some gray spots in our pool on the bottom. I have about 24 of them at this point. They very in size from the size of a dime to the size of a pencil eraser. I have been unable to brush them off or sand them off. Since I also noticed a small patch of yellow algae in a corner of my steps that could easily be brushed off, but came back about every 5 days, then I decided to go and have it checked out.

    Saturday, we took a water sample in to Leslie's and were told that our Phosphates were once again high(2500) and that the spots were either metal deposit or algae. They sold me "algae control" and told me to brush, super-chlorinate, brush again and add the Algae Control.
    I did that with no results on the dark spots. I also crushed up some vitamin C tablets, put them in a sock and left it on a gray stain for about 2 hours. No luck. It cleaned all of the calcium build-up around it, but didn't touch the stain.

    I called Leslie's this morning and was told that they think it is black algae and that I shouldn't try to lower my phosphates right now until the algae is gone. They told me to keep my chlorine high and brush 2-3 times per day vigorously. They told me that it could take up to a month and we shouldn't swim during that time because of the high chlorine levels.

    I am totally confused. Shouldn't I get my phosphates down? How can I do that with a chemical that will actually work?
    Is it actually black algae??(I've included a picture, notice I have a lot of calcium build-up).

    Will it really take that long to get rid of it? I'm just not sure what to do.

    My numbers are:

    Chlorine - 5ppm right now. I usually keep it about 2ppm
    PH - 7.4
    TA - 110
    CH - 230
    CYA - 40(Leslies) 60(my test kit)

    Any help would be great. I don't know if I should call a pool service to come and look at it.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. Back To Top    #2
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Please tell me if this is Algae???

    With a CYA level of 60 and a SWG you need to keep your FC level around 3-5 and never below 3. That is why you are getting yellow algae.

    PhosFree is nearly always a waste of money. If you maintain the correct FC levels you won't get algae, even with phosphates. Maintaing the correct FC level is much less expensive that PhosFree.

    Your photo really doesn't look like black algae, though it is impossible to be sure.

    What are the ingredients in "algae control"? I am worried you might be putting copper into the water. Copper stains are very difficult to remove.
    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

  3. Back To Top    #3
    busyredhed
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    Re: Please tell me if this is Algae???

    The active ingredients are: polyxoxyethylene. It says other ingredients are 40% but it doesn't list them. My CYA was 90 after I added conditioner, but through splashing it has gone down. Should I increase it by adding more conditioner?

    My PB called me back today. He said that I needed to keep my chlorine at 2.5 - 3ppm based on a CYA of 90(which he prefers) and he told me to get Black Algaecide, not regular Algaecide.

  4. Back To Top    #4
    Casey's Avatar
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    Re: Please tell me if this is Algae???

    Quote Originally Posted by busyredhed
    My PB called me back today. He said that I needed to keep my chlorine at 2.5 - 3ppm based on a CYA of 90(which he prefers) and he told me to get Black Algaecide, not regular Algaecide.
    *jaw laying on key board*

    That is just terrible advice and makes me believe that he's messing your pool up so you have to pay him for products you don't need when all YOU do NEED is BLEACH to RAISE your FC!
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

  5. Back To Top    #5
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    Re: Please tell me if this is Algae???

    Quote Originally Posted by Casey
    Quote Originally Posted by busyredhed
    My PB called me back today. He said that I needed to keep my chlorine at 2.5 - 3ppm based on a CYA of 90(which he prefers) and he told me to get Black Algaecide, not regular Algaecide.
    *jaw laying on key board*

    That is just terrible advice and makes me believe that he's messing your pool up so you have to pay him for products you don't need when all YOU do NEED is BLEACH to RAISE your FC!
    Most black algaecides are copper sulfate. If you have a CYA of 90 and try to only run the FC at 2-3 ppm then you WILL end up with black algae. Copper can help prevent it but it has serious drawbacks. I have found that most PBs are clueless when it comes to actually MAINTAINING a pool! (And I work in the industry!)

    The advice he gave you is just plain bad!

  6. Back To Top    #6
    busyredhed
    Guest

    Re: Please tell me if this is Algae???

    Okay, so since I'm new at owning a pool. Here's my question. What level of chlorine would make it unsafe to swim in the pool??
    I have my filter set to run 8 hours a day. 5 on low and 6 on high. My chlorinator is at 70% and with that, it keeps me about 3ppm. Should I just increase the chlorinator output?

    Thank You

  7. Back To Top    #7
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    Re: Please tell me if this is Algae???

    how high a chlorine level is 'safe' is really dependent on the CYA level but if you want a number that is definitely safe for the lowest CYA encountered (around 20 ppm) then it would be under 10 ppm. (although with the CYA levels commonly encountered much higher FC levels are 'safe'.

  8. Back To Top    #8
    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Please tell me if this is Algae???

    Quote Originally Posted by busyredhed
    Okay, so since I'm new at owning a pool. Here's my question. What level of chlorine would make it unsafe to swim in the pool??
    I have my filter set to run 8 hours a day. 5 on low and 6 on high. My chlorinator is at 70% and with that, it keeps me about 3ppm. Should I just increase the chlorinator output?

    Thank You
    Hi, from what I understand, and bear with me here because I'm still learning about SWG's, the best way to raise your FC is to use liquid chlorine. Turning up your SWG to 70% could shorten the life of the cell.... So Once your FC is up with liquid chlorine, your chlorinator should be able to maintain the appropriate level of daily chlorine without running at such a high percentage, if that makes sense? Boost it with bleach, and then it will be able to keep up easier, not working as hard.

    I agree, your FC should be at minimum 3 (Edited by FPM~for consistency ), going below that and you will get algae, just a matter of time. Bad advice from the Pool guy, you will succeed against the algae if you maintain proper chlorine levels, you really don't need any expensive black algae treatments...if what you see is even black algae. And as far as safe, you can safely swim at levels like 10 or so with a CYA of 60.

    Good luck, we're here to help.
    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

  9. Back To Top    #9
    busyredhed
    Guest

    Re: Please tell me if this is Algae???

    Problem Solved!!! Hallelujah!!! I didn't do anything wrong!!!
    The plaster company just left. Turns out that Pebble Tec is aware of this problem. I have a "south african worm". It's an organic worm that got into a batch Pebble Tec mix . It grows like a shell into the Pebble Tec Mixture. Over time as the Pebble Tec cures completely, it starts coming through and is visible, but it was there the whole time. Pebble Tec is really good. They are going to pay for everything. I chose to have my pool surface chipped out and re-done in October. It is safe to swim in, so we can still enjoy our pool this summer and then in October it will all be fixed. He says Pebble Tech has spent over a million dollars re-doing pools that got the bad batch across the country. Ours is the first one he's come across in his area.

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