Ammonia off-the-charts, super cloudy pool


New member
Mar 3, 2017
Hello - We live in the midwest, using pool seven months out of the year, and have been dealing with a cloudy pool and very high levels of ammonia (>8ppm with 8 highest measurement goes) since late last summer. No, we do not know the source of the ammonia (no kids in water, few adults, no fertilizer on lawn, electronic pool cover - perhaps it’s coming from the 1 1/2 year old sand filter? -we are getting a new fiberglass w/glass filter). After doing everything “our pool guy” and a leading swimming pool supply company have said (often in dichotomy) with no success, we came to your site and did the “chemgeek superchlorination method” using 24 gallons of liquid chlorine in total. We finally got the water pretty clear, then closed the pool only to find it cloudy again 5 days after the close (in Oct, 2016). Perhaps we didn’t actually achieve breakpoint as we thought. We are getting ready to open the pool again and are wondering how to approach getting rid of the ammonia and how to open the pool and in what order. Our pool guy thinks we need to open with 6 lbs of non-chlorine shock. Will this eliminate the ammonia pretty permanently? As instructed, we just performed a 12-hour water transfusion (without pump running) which did nothing except lower TDS from 1000 to 700. Any help is always appreciated. (FC=0, TC=0, CH=220, CYA=0, TA=175-240, pH=7.4, TDS=700, Pho=800).
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TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 7, 2011
Midland TX

Did your guy say why he wanted to use non Chlorine shock? I would say no in my pool just due to cost. You got bad again in October because of a lapse in FC, prior too, and up to the time you found it cloudy again. You likely may have never finished the SLAM (shock process) I think you are referring too. In any event, that is what you'll need to do again to clear it, Ammonia or not, and it will take care of it. If it is Ammonia, it may take a lot of Chlorine, but that is in my opinion the best option. Are you testing with your own kit, and which one do you have if so?

As for replacing the filter, why are you doing so with it being so new? It's not likely necessary that you do, unless I am missing something.


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 17, 2010
East Texas
Unless your current filter has proven defective for some reason-------------replacing it is not called for. It is NOT the source of your ammonia issue. It's just gonna "take as much as it takes" to rid your pool of the ammonia as far as chlorine is concerned.
There is no such thing as "breakpoint chlorination". I'm guessing you got that term from your pool guy and the leading swimming pool supply company. After your water "transfusion"....(replacement?).......what is your current level of ammonia?


TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
Since you're not salt, I'm guessing that you're probably using tabs. Tab use usually causes high cyanuric acid.

Since your CYA is zero, I would suspect that you had bacteria convert your CYA to ammonia.

Forget the nonchlorine oxidizer. Just do a full SLAM to completion and then maintain the fc at a minimum of 7.5% of CYA and the ammonia should be gone, never to return.


Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
Evans, Georgia
What is a "12 hour water transfusion" ???? Are you speaking of Reverse Osmosis, which is really more like dialysis, not a "transfusion".

How do you know you have ammonia?

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