Adventures of a Noob

The Vern

Mar 27, 2012
Well...I'm sure this tale's been told on here countless times. We bought a house with a pool. We've never had a pool before. I've taken the cover off and now realize that I have a pit full of green water in the middle of my backyard that I have only the most basic inkling of how to address. Now, I've devoured a ton of info on here, checked the mechanicals, got the TF-100, got my levels, have settled on a rough plan of action for the BBB method, and I'm still left with a few questions.

First the basics:

First issue is the stubborn perfectionist that will be doing the work. He's prone to over analysis and wants things done right the first time. :wink:

Now, the patient. Located just outside of Boston, it's a 25,000-30,000 tank of a gunite pool built in the seventies in fair condition from what I can tell. No bottom drain, but two skimmers and four jets on one pipe loop. Hayward Swimclear 4025 cartridge filter and Hayward pump. Seems to have good circulation although the filter pressure is only at about 5-6 psi which I suspect is due to the filter cartridges needing to be replaced (I cleaned them as they were filthy and it looks like the plastic holes on the end have warped and failed which is letting water in decreasing the pressure). Tiny leak on the fitting on the out valve of the pump as well, but all can be addressed when I install a heater shortly. All in all, I was happy with what lay below the pool cover, and I have some replacement filter cartridges on the way.

Now, the water readings from yesterday after I pulled a noob move and dumped in three jugs of bleach...

Cl - .5
Ph - 8.2
FC - 2.0
CC - 2.5
TA - 110
CH - 240
CYA - 0

Now, I have the CYA arriving tomorrow, and I will buy a boatload of bleach and some muriatic acid on my way home today. I will be starting the shock process this week and herein lies my questions on the finer points...

1 - It is supposed to rain for the next couple days. Does this impact me at all? Should I wait for the rain to move through or can I use the aeration to raise my Ph back up if I wanted to drop TA? Additionally, what effect does rain have on pool chemistry?

2 - Should I just dump the CYA in by the amount on the pool calculator to bring it to 40-50 and have faith that it's in there? Also, does CYA decrease over time?

3 - Is it okay to go to work for the day during the shocking process or is this something ideally done on a weekend?

4 - Lastly, do I have the shock process correct - Add muriatic acid to fix Ph, add enough CYA to bring it to 40-50 based on the pool calculator, add enough bleach to bring FC to 16-20, keep adding bleach until it starts to hold and passes the OCLT?

Thanks in advance for any help. This is a great forum.


TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
Silver Spring, MD
First, lower your PH down. You don't want PH getting that high.

Rain will help aerate the pool. Other than that you can ignore it.

CYA should go in a sock in the skimmer (but don't backwash for a week). Assume it is there after 24 hours have passed. It will go down slowly over time.

The first day of shocking is far more effective if you have several hours to devote to it. After that you need to pay attention at least twice a day.

Your steps look right, just bring the PH down sooner rather than later.


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 17, 2010
East Texas
An inital CYA addition of 30 ppm will protect your FC and lower the amount required for use during the shock process.

The Vern

Mar 27, 2012
Thanks for the responses. What should I aim for for the ph? 7.5 or shoot a little lower?

My plan will be to lower the ph today, add the CYA tomorrow (to get to 30), and then sneak out of work a little early on Wednesday to shock during the late afternoon into the night.

The Vern

Mar 27, 2012
Alright...I ended up leaving town for the weekend, but dropped the Ph to 7.5 with muriatic acid, and put enough CYA in a sock in the skimmers to bring it up to 30 before I left. When I got back on Sunday night, the CYA was almost totally disolved, and the Ph was down to 7.2. I also left the filter running to dissolve the CYA and had the ancillary benefit of being about to see the bottom of the deep end (and LOTs of organic debris I had missed with my work at leaf raking blind).

Woke up yesterday, and started the shock process. I dumped enough bleach in to bring FC to 12-13, became one with the leaf rake, and used the Wall Whale until my arms hurt.

It definitely made a difference. Most of the organic debris is out, and the pool has gone from swamp green to a cloudy chalky greyish blue-green. Also, some time in the late afternoon some sort of critical mass event occurred with a lot of small greyish "slicks" forming on the surface.

I lost a lot of chlorine overnight, and I realize that I still have a couple questions...

1 - When shocking am I using the FC level of 12-13 for a CYA level of 30 as a floor or a goal. In other words, am I bring the level up to 12-13, checking a couple hours later, and then bringing it back to 12-13 or am I bringing it to say 15-16 and not letting it fall below 12-13?

2 - When using the Chlorine drop test, when do I count it as having gone clear? When it turns clear for a couple seconds or when it never goes back to clear? Becuase it seems like it always reverts back to pink if I let it sit for a couple minutes. I have a hunch I could be overestimating my levels.

I'm looking forward to another evening of pouring bleach and brushing.


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Aug 30, 2010
Dallas, TX
You can bring it up to 15-16 and let it fall to 12-13. Keep it over 12 at all times, if possible.

You are done adding drops once it goes clear and stays clear for a few seconds. If you let it sit, it'll eventually go back to pink. That doesn't count.

That milky water and the gray slicks are what you want. It means you are winning! :)

The Vern

Mar 27, 2012
So...the adventure continues.

Got home from work yesterday and checked the chemicals (using the right method).

FC - 2.5 :oops:
Ph - 7.1 (7.0-6.9 as of this morning) :shock:
TA - 90
CYA ~15 (but I know I put enough in to be around 30)

Water was clear enough to see the bottom in the deep end.

I added enough bleach to take FC up to 15 at 6PM last night. At 8AM this morning, I added more bleach as the FC had fallen to 11. Seemingly the FC level is starting to stabilize.

My larger concern beyond the FC is that the Ph has been dropping which I am assuming is due to the CYA continuing to dissolve. I need to raise it back up. Should I use Borax for this (I am planning on adding borates anyway)? Or something else?

With my Ph concerns, I threw in a couple pounds of Sodium Carbonate left over from the previous owner to alleviate the drop until I have a more concrete plan. However, this brings me to another issue...

When I added the bleach last evening, the pool was covered yet again in the strange grey foamy slicks. They cleared in about an hour. Then, there was a severe downpour/thunderstorm around ten, and the pool was completely covered with the foamy slick. It cleared by morning, but minutes after I added the Sodium Carbonate, they were back. I've attached a pic of it. Is this normal? Should I be doing something different? Will it go away?


The Vern

Mar 27, 2012
Uh...oh...I'll have to confirm when I get home, but I may have inadvertantly grabbed a bottle or two of Clorox with the no splash additive, Cetyl Betaine. Thankfully, I may have only added a couple bottles of it.

Does anyone know if this breaks down over time or how to get it out?