Balanced chemistry, fine white powder

allyall

Member
Mar 11, 2020
21
Florida
Help! I have cloudy water from a fine white powder settling on the bottom only.
I have a newer zeolite sand filter (several months old) and a recently new variable speed motor.
My water chemistry is balanced according to my tests and according to local pool store tests.
First pool store recommended just letting the filter run for a while and the cloudiness would go away. It got worse.
Then they recommended a heavy dose of a super pool clarifier. It did nothing.
I started vacuuming to waste and replacing the water. I removed the powder over a week this way and the water looked fabulous again.
I backwashed the filter and then started the pump on filter mode again. Within 6 hours, the water was going cloudy again and there was the fine white powder in it on the steps.
The white powder is very fine. You cannot pick it up. When you brush it with your hand, it disappears in the water in a cloud.
What do you suggest?
 

tim5055

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2014
10,728
Franklin, NC
Welcome to the TFP pool!

Not much credence is given to pool store testing around here. While you would think that a "professional" would be the best, unfortunately in most cases it is quite the opposite. Between employees who blindly trust the word of chemical sales representatives and high school kids working in the pool store for the summer you end up with poor results from their testing. Plus, the results of their "testing" is used to convince you that you need to buy things. Why do you think that testing is free?

But, what can you do?? We base our pool care system on accurate self testing using a known quality test kit. What are your numbers and what test kit are you using??

Information on your pool and equipment will help us answer questions, so please edit your signature and add the following information so we can better frame our answers to you.

  • What test kit you use to test your water
  • The size of your pool in gallons
  • If your pool is an AG (above ground) or IG (in ground)
  • If it's IG, tell us if it's vinyl, plaster/pebble, or fiberglass
  • The type filter you have (sand, DE, cartridge)
  • If you know, tell us the make and model of your pump and filter.
  • List any other equipment you have: SWG, second pump, etc.
  • Please mention if you fill the pool from a well or are currently on water restrictions

Information in your signature will show up each time you post and it makes advice more accurate as we know what equipment we are dealing with.
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
13,002
Evans, Georgia
I'm in Georgia and our "yellow pollen season" started yesterday. Everything is going to be covered in yellow powder for the next few weeks. Make sure what you're seeing is *only* in the pool, and not just pollen that is everywhere *including* the pool.

Maddie :flower:
 
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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
44,783
Tallahassee, FL
He is in my neck of the world and my red car is YELLOW! The mess of white stuff at the bottom of my pool is all from the pollen! It is BAD this year!
 

allyall

Member
Mar 11, 2020
21
Florida
I'm in central Florida and it isn't pollen. My pool is screened in and there isn't any white stuff anywhere else. Also, when the pump isn't running for several days, the water is clear. It clouds after running the pump.
 

Rocket J Squirrel

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 7, 2018
700
Alamo, CA
The knowledgeable people on this site will try to help you, but you'll need to provide complete and accurate water test results. You say you have "Taylor FAS-DPD test kit & Clorox smart strips". Does that mean you're only testing free & combined chlorine with the Taylor kit and everything else with strips? TFP folks don't trust strips, they're just too imprecise and not nearly as accurate as a good test kit with chemical reagents.

I suggest tossing out the strips and obtaining one of TFP's 2 recommended test kits, either the TF-100 or the Taylor K2006-C. Then post full results and the diagnosis can begin.

See Test Kits Compared.
 

allyall

Member
Mar 11, 2020
21
Florida
Great question, I went and checked ingredients and I have Clorox Xtrablue tri-chlor tablets in my automatic chlorinator. I use Clorox Xtra blue powdered shock weekly and Walmart liquid bleach to SLAM.
 

allyall

Member
Mar 11, 2020
21
Florida
So I had no idea that the Xtra blue tablets or shock had copper in them. I just found them convenient. Also, I really have read the pool school articles but didn't process the method being significantly different from what I was doing.

As I think about it, I added a copper based algaecide recommended by the pool store guy about a month ago which is when I started dealing with this. Could free floating excess copper be the white powder? Should I buy a copper test?
 

Rancho Cost-a-Lotta

Silver Supporter
Apr 10, 2018
1,408
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
We can rule out cloudiness due to cal-hypo. The products you're using are effective if used properly, but unfortunately come with unwanted side effects. When used in excess, they will raise your levels of CYA to a point chlorine becomes ineffective. Clorox "Blue" products contain copper which can cause staining and, even worse, green hair :).

I was typing as your last message popped up, so I'll finish my thoughts. What you're seeing is likely not related to the copper content of the products. You may be seeing dead algae or something completely different. As others have suggested, get a good test kit (TF-100 or Taylor K-2006C) and post a full set of results. We'll get to the bottom of it. The TF-100 test kit is the best value. A Speedstir will make testing easier and more consistent, and should get you over the minimum free shipping threshold.

I didn't know what Zeolite was until I googled it. I'm not sure if what you're seeing may be related to some type of discharge from your sand filter.
 
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allyall

Member
Mar 11, 2020
21
Florida
The cloudiness was about the time of the new pump. Let me think through it. We bought the new filter in October after the DE one was broken inside and I was tired of cleaning it constantly. (I struggled a lot with algae last year). The system worked fine for several months and then our pump abruptly died. We bought the new variable speed and it worked fine for a month and then it died at which point an electrician found a short in our box. That pump was replaced for free essentially. The water was actually already struggling with cloudiness before the second pump I think. Because I noticed it got very clear the week we didn't have a pump and then it went cloudy again after we got the new pump.

I currently have the pump running 2 hours at 2350, 6 hours at 2100 and 4 hours at 1850.
Ordering better test kit supplies today.
 

Rancho Cost-a-Lotta

Silver Supporter
Apr 10, 2018
1,408
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Is it possible your old filter discharged DE into the pool and it was not filtered out prior to changing to a sand filter. Maybe the sand filter is allowing the DE to pass straight through? I don't know the answer, but someone else may be able to chime in.

Ordering a test kit was a good move. Accurate test results will help diagnose your problem.
 
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mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
13,227
Pleasanton, CA
The water was actually already struggling with cloudiness before the second pump I think. Because I noticed it got very clear the week we didn't have a pump and then it went cloudy again after we got the new pump.
Sounds like an algae problem. The powder could be dead algae as a sand filter does not filter out dead algae very well.
 
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YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
13,002
Evans, Georgia
I kinda want to blame the Zeosand instead. Sand *will* clear a pool but it takes the longest. We've had others talk about problems with Zeosand so that's my vote.

Maddie :flower:
 

Flying Tivo

Well-known member
Jan 24, 2017
1,411
Monterrey, NL, Mexico
I currently have the pump running 2 hours at 2350, 6 hours at 2100 and 4 hours at 1850.
The easiest thing to do is reprogram you VS pump for 1200rpms, leave it running 24/7 for now until it cleans out. The most GPM Zeo will let you do is 23 or less. I found out Low and Slow is the best for zeo. If you dont pass the Overnight Chlorine Loss Test, then you start your SLAM Process, but never with high RPMS.
 
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allyall

Member
Mar 11, 2020
21
Florida
Additional Testing supplies arrived last night. This morning test results:
Free Chlorine: 2.5 - (This was 3.0 2 mornings ago)
Combined Chlorine 0.5
pH 7.7
Total Alkalinity 100 ppm
Calcium Hardness 150 ppm
CYA 140 ? black dot disappeared a little more than halfway before reaching the 100 mark.
Saturation index = 0

The CYA being high was the only surprise result. Everything else is matching up to what I was getting with the test strips though I do appreciate the higher confidence of the result.

The pool has cleared a little bit since Wednesday as I can see the bottom of the deep end again. It is still a bit cloudy though.
 

allyall

Member
Mar 11, 2020
21
Florida
The easiest thing to do is reprogram you VS pump for 1200rpms, leave it running 24/7 for now until it cleans out. The most GPM Zeo will let you do is 23 or less. I found out Low and Slow is the best for zeo. If you dont pass the Overnight Chlorine Loss Test, then you start your SLAM Process, but never with high RPMS.
I cannot run my pump lower than 1850 and have enough water in the pump strainer basket. I did the test on Wednesday where you pour water over turn valves to see if it affects that level and it did. So I need to replace some valves.