Are we on the right track??


May 30, 2010
Hi! New to the board and semi-new to pool ownership. We bought a house in late December that has an above ground pool. I am guessing it was not closed properly. I do know that it had a tarp over the top that had a hole in it.

When we lifted the tarp, it was swampy, but we could see the bottom. About two hours after exposure to light, no more bottom :). I skimmed all of the surface debris off and we started treating the pool.

We started by using shock. It's had about 10-15 bags of shock put in it (the pool is approx. 12,000 gallons), several boxes of Borax to raise PH, some baking soda and just now my husband added some (only about a pound) of stabilizer. He also added an additional box of Borax about 45 minutes ago.

Our current numbers:

FC: 10
PH: 6.4
Alkalinity: 80
CYA: 0

I'm surprised by the CYA #, since it's had shock (doesn't that raise that #?). We are 48 hours into the opening.

We had to add quite a bit of water to the pool (probably the top 18+ inches). We are running the filter (sand) 24 hours a day and backwashing about every 2-3 hours.

We've gone from a very swampy, dark green color to a cloudy, blue. Are we on the right track? Where to go from here? How do we clear up the cloudiness?


Well-known member
Mar 13, 2009
I would increase the ph to at least 7.0 with borax.

Check the shock package it was likely Cal-hypo, which would raise your hardness.

You have the algea on the run, continue to shock brush/backwash it will clear. The amount of time this takes will depend on how close you maintain your shock level.

I would consider buying a good test kit like the tf-100 , Its hard to maintain water balance without all the facts.


Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 28, 2009
I don't think the CYA shows up on a test right away -- wait a week to test it. My understanding is to figure out what you've added via the calculator and assume that is your CYA until it is time to test it and confirm. I am a total newbie, so wait for others to chime in, but it might help them if you could tell them more about your pool -- 12,000 gallons, but what surface (vinyl, etc), what climate, what equipment, etc. Good luck - - I know these guys can help you get it sparkly!


May 30, 2010
I'll try to answer the questions :).

We've used HTH Super Shock and Shock n Swim both. It says is chlorine and "other ingredients".

I know what you all will say about the tester. Hubs bought the six-way HTH strips and hasn't been convinced to buy a different system. I'm working on him. The lowest reading on the strip is 6.4.

He's dumped another box of Borax in and the ph level hasn't changed.

The pool has a vinyl liner and a Hayward (I think that's the name) 60gpm sand pump/filter. We live in NE Kansas in a rural area. It was a much harsher than usual winter here, though I don't know if that does anything to the pool (it broke out hot tub :cry: ).

Also, I can now see three large shadows at the bottom, which I assume are leaves, etc.... In fact, leaves keep floating up from the floor of the pool. When should I vacuum those?


LifeTime Supporter
Jan 11, 2009
Cupertino, CA
As far as I can tell, both of those "shock" products are calcium hypochlorite (cal-hypo), which contribute to hardness but not CYA. You would need to add real CYA.

Each box of borax ought to raise pH by about 0.7 in a 12,000 gallon pool; if you see no change, then obviously the test strips are worthless. If hubby wants to dig in his heels about a top-end test kit, your HTH supplier ought to have a 6-way kit that uses drops to turn a sample different colors, which would be a huge improvement over the strips. Seems to me I've heard Walmart sells this for around $20 so it would not break the bank either.

Oh, and get the leaves out as soon as you reasonably can, it can only help.


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
mllogbeck said:
Today's numbers (day 5)
Hardness: 400
FC: 2
PH: 7.2
Alk: 180
CYA: 30-50
Yeah, I'd say that shock was Calcium Hypochlorite....

How's it look? You may still have high Combined Chlorine if there's a bunch of debris in the pool. Don't you have a birthday, or anniversary, or something coming up so you can ask for a TF100? How about getting one for him for Father's Day?


May 30, 2010
It looks blue, but still cloudy. I can easily see the debris on the bottom of the pool that needs to be vacuumed (which I am planning on doing this evening).

I'm going to just go get a better kit. Should I order one and wait, or would I be better served to just go buy one in town since we are already neck deep into the opening. I'd REALLY like to be able to use it this weekend! Our Walmart has the HTH 6-way and there are a couple of pool stores nearby. I also thought about taking a sample to one of them, but know they'll only try to sell me a bunch of chemicals!


Well-known member
Nov 25, 2009
Cleona, PA
Order one and wait. A good kit gives you a TA reading.

TA (Total Alkalinity) affects how fast your pH gets adjusted. (I recently learned about all that.)
You can raise pH by aerating. I did this by pointing my return 'eye' up, so that it bubbled. If your TA is high, it can be hard to move pH. (Seems as tho you are tho.)
Borax is a quick way to raise pH, but it also raises TA.