Biguanides vs chlorine

Moniyque

Member
Mar 14, 2017
23
Charleston, sc
I would love to learn more about the pros and cons and biguanide systems. I did find a whole bunch of posts of people trying to convert from Baquicil to chlorine. Is that the most common Biguanide system? Are some better than others? Are there any studies showing human toxicity of biguinades? I have read about funniness and clouding, but I've also read there are fairly simple solutions for that
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
9,410
Evans, Georgia
Well, for one thing important to me is COST!! OMG that Baquicil costs an arm and a leg and I keep reading about white mold problems. Ewwwwww.

I once read someone saying they spent about $500/season for chemicals in their Bacqua pool. I spend between $50-$100 yearly *at the most*!! Sure, I've got a salt water chlorine generator but I still need to dose with regular old household bleach now and then too. I've never had algae, or mold, or anything gross in my water.

I don't think there *is* a benefit or pro side for Bacqua, except to the pool store that you have to keep buying it from.

I get my bleach at Costco. About $9 for 3 ~gallon jugs. I may buy 3 of those per year?? And I always buy new testing reagents, but little else.

Most folks on this forum who use Bacqua are looking for help to get off that rat race and go to chlorine.

Yip :flower:
 

needsajet

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 4, 2016
4,572
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Welcome to TFP! Good to have you here :)

Funny fluke but there's a new member in this thread with similar questions. Might be worth reading. Baquacil Alternative

If you decide to convert, there are 100s of people here that are able, ready and excited to help you achieve safe, comfy and sparkly pool water.
 

Donldson

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Jun 12, 2009
3,341
NW Ohio
Welcome to TFP!

The only pro of Biguanide is in the case of a real chlorine allergy. Not a self-diagnosed "pools make me itch" allergen, a real one where even bathing in a municipal water supply causes a rash. Outside of those exceedingly rare individuals there is no positives over chlorine.

One of the saddest things I have watched on the forum is the users who are convinced they are going to make Baqua work for them. It seems that they are on the forum every few weeks talking about how mold or algae or simple cloudiness is back and asking if anybody has heard of some new Baqua-approved chemical will solve the problem. They then plunk the money down for it, boast how it finally cleared things up, and are back a few weeks later because it stopped working. It hurts to watch because we have simple and far more cost effective solutions that are not temporary, but they will keep at it. Perhaps they still believe chlorine is a bad idea despite all the evidence and studies we offer. Perhaps their Baqua dealer is really just that persuasive. But perhaps it is just ego, that they can make it work and will never admit defeat. No matter the reason we are stuck watching them struggle while we use our clear pools.

Regardless, I will leave you with the most simple solution to funniness and clouding: proper use of chlorine. What you do with that solution is up to you and I wish you the best of luck with your pool!
 

Moniyque

Member
Mar 14, 2017
23
Charleston, sc
Thank you all. I am very excited to have found this forum so I can start learning. We are in the process of getting a 13x25x4 vinyl splash pool, so I will be starting from scratch. The reason I'd like to stay away from chlorine is my kids health, one of them has a genetic mutation that makes it very difficult for him to detox chemicals so I need to keep his exposure to chemicals to a minimum. I have read that you can use hydrogen peroxide to shock biguanide pools. How do you all feel about the copper/silver ionizers in conjunction with .5 ppm chlorine? Is that considered safe? Would I be able to shock with peroxide or do I have to use bleach? Sounds like it's basically impossible to maintain things with Baquacil. Are you guys familiar with this chlorine free system from Walmart? https://www.walmart.com/ip/Aqua-Silk-Chlorine-Free-Pool-Sanitizer-1-2-gallon/44441286?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=1195&adid=22222222228032056088&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=m&wl3=61133814296&wl4=aud-273067695102:pla-108543375896&wl5=9010503&wl6=&wl7=&wl8=&wl9=pla&wl10=112549854&wl11=online&wl12=44441286&wl13=&veh=sem
 

Leebo

Admin
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 21, 2011
8,184
Eastern Ohio
First things first, Welcome to TFP!

Now, to your question. In your situation I would start by having a hard talk with your doctor. They should be able to really assist you more about the medical items with your child. It's VERY rare that an individual cannot use chlorine due to a medical reason however for sure it does occur. Before setting your kind for sure though I strongly suggest a talk with your doctor.

Now IF you're only option is to use Baquacil (or any knockoff) prepare yourself. It's a pain. We used it for over 15 years and I cannot tell you the nightmares it gave us. Baquacil is made up of three parts. First is the Biguanide which acts as the sanitizer. This is commonly called "Algaestat" and if my memory serves me correct needs to remain around 50ppm at all times. DO NOT LET THIS DROP!!! Once this drops and algae starts it's a pain to clear it up again. Check this at least two-three times a week and add as needed. Be warned, this ran around $30 a bottle so it's not cheap. The second item is as you mentioned Hydrogen peroxide. This acts and is labeled as the "Oxidizer." This is what kills all the stuff. Off the top of my head I cannot remember the recommended dose of this but I suggest using this freely. Anytime you start to see cloudy add this. Last off is an algaecide. This is to help make it as difficult as possible for algae to grow and is a MUST when using Baquacil. I recommended Baqua Preformance algaecide. This is basically a rebranded Polyquat 60 which is suggested here.

Lastly, ignore the silver or any metal based gimmick. They're simply not safe and you will expose your child to some nasty water plus risk staining your pool. Save your energy and simply cross this off the list.

I hope this helps you somewhat. As mentioned Baquacil is an expensive pain, but it's doable. Start with your doctor however if you can avoid Baqua I would highly suggest it.
 

Moniyque

Member
Mar 14, 2017
23
Charleston, sc
One more thing. You the system you guys recommend, does the pool water not actually smell like chlorine? Or just not as strong like public pools? I have a very sensitive sense of smell (can't drink city water, in California the chlorine taste and smell were overpowering, here in the south it smells and tastes like mold but not perceptible to most people). I used to be a swimmer/lifeguard/swimming instructor in high school and early adulthood and I hate how hard it is to get the smell of chlorine out of my skin even after thorough showering. Another reason why an ionizing system would be appealing if it allowed for significantly reduced chlorine levels
 

pabeader

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
May 14, 2015
4,349
Cartersville Ga
I can tell you that I fully understand about the water smell and taste. (my wife says I'm crazy, nice to know I'm not the only one) I can even taste stuff in bottled water. That's why I only drink soda. At least the taste is masked.
TFP bases it's system on the relationship between CYA and chlorine. With a proper understanding and use of this, what you find is the actual active chlorine in the pool water is very low. This means much less to be effected by. In most "professionally" maintained pools the active FC level is many time higher then a TFPC pool.
As far as the "chlorine" smell you remember. That wasn't actually chlorine but chloramine. Which is a byproduct of chlorine after it breaks up organic stuff. I too notice this after taking a shower, like here at the hotel. Smell it for hours!! A properly maintained TFPC pool will not have this under normal situations. It usually only happens if bathers add 'stuff' and is quickly taken care of by the sun and chlorine.
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
9,410
Evans, Georgia
Moniyque- Ionizer systems are pretty worthless in residential pools. The problem is that the ionizer is only treating the actual water that flows over the device at that minute but not the rest of the pool's water, and it has no residual bacterial/viral killing effects on the rest of the pool's water. So you still need chlorine.

Smelling chlorine in a pool is basically the pool crying out that its dirty and overwhelmed with what I like to call "cooties" (urine, sweat, whatever). A clean properly chlorinated pool does NOT smell bad or overwhelmingly like chlorine.

The level of chlorine that we keep in our pool is barely noticed by swimmers because it is "buffered" by the stabilizing effects of the CYA we put in. We keep our CYA levels closely monitored because the more CYA you have in a pool, the more chlorine you need to balance it. Pool stores are notorious for allowing/encouraging pools to get overloaded with CYA stabilizer and then when problems develop in the pool they'll sell you another cure for it!

During different seasons of the year I notice my tap water may taste different- fall in particular. So I just pull out my Brita water filter for drinking water. Other times of the year its not a problem.

Yip :flower:
 

madwil

Well-known member
May 2, 2011
370
lebanon tn
I would suggest a swcg if the salt isn't an issue. It maintains a more consistent fc level instead of a range of fc which may help getting used to flavors and smells as well as your sons sensitivities
 

MaryRod58

Active member
Jun 19, 2015
26
Seguin, TX
I used Baquacil for 2 seasons - I loved that it didn't smell and didn't ruin my suits....what I didn't like...pink slime and $$$$$$. If money was no object I would probably continue to use, but it is...it the process of converting to chlorine now.
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
9,410
Evans, Georgia
I used Baquacil for 2 seasons - I loved that it didn't smell and didn't ruin my suits....what I didn't like...pink slime and $$$$$$. If money was no object I would probably continue to use, but it is...it the process of converting to chlorine now.
I dunno.... that pink slime I keep reading about from Bacqagoo users seems reason enough to avoid the stuff. Ugh.

How much do you think you spent each summer in chemicals?

Yip :flower:
 

Donldson

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Jun 12, 2009
3,341
NW Ohio
I used Baquacil for 2 seasons - I loved that it didn't smell and didn't ruin my suits....what I didn't like...pink slime and $$$$$$. If money was no object I would probably continue to use, but it is...it the process of converting to chlorine now.
Assuming you are going to be caring for your pool with TFPC methods going forward you are going to be rather surprised by the lack of smell and suit ruining. Everybody likes to blame chlorine, nobody ever thinks to blame the misuse of chlorine.
 

MaryRod58

Active member
Jun 19, 2015
26
Seguin, TX
I don't know for sure....we have a very long season here April to October....I would guess $150 - $200 a month.

- - - Updated - - -

That's what I have been reading. I'm sure there will be a learning curve.

- - - Updated - - -

I does not smell at all like chlorine.
 

DrZach

Member
Aug 30, 2016
12
Mid Missouri
Welcome to TFP!

The only pro of Biguanide is in the case of a real chlorine allergy. Not a self-diagnosed "pools make me itch" allergen, a real one where even bathing in a municipal water supply causes a rash. Outside of those exceedingly rare individuals there is no positives over chlorine.

One of the saddest things I have watched on the forum is the users who are convinced they are going to make Baqua work for them. It seems that they are on the forum every few weeks talking about how mold or algae or simple cloudiness is back and asking if anybody has heard of some new Baqua-approved chemical will solve the problem. They then plunk the money down for it, boast how it finally cleared things up, and are back a few weeks later because it stopped working. It hurts to watch because we have simple and far more cost effective solutions that are not temporary, but they will keep at it. Perhaps they still believe chlorine is a bad idea despite all the evidence and studies we offer. Perhaps their Baqua dealer is really just that persuasive. But perhaps it is just ego, that they can make it work and will never admit defeat. No matter the reason we are stuck watching them struggle while we use our clear pools.

Regardless, I will leave you with the most simple solution to funniness and clouding: proper use of chlorine. What you do with that solution is up to you and I wish you the best of luck with your pool!
I completely agree. I did a conversion last year and have NO REGRETS!

Way to expensive, wont keep mold and such away even if you keep perfect chemistry like I did, and it is a pain in the butt!
You will always end up with a growth of some demand organism. It may only be microscopic and not visible but it will eventually lead you along making you dump gallons of chemicals in to keep up and it will just drop the levels out no matter what you do.
 

cfherrman

TFP Guide
May 10, 2017
2,039
Hays, Kansas
I certainly don't know, but it seems a baquacil pool would have more chemicals and put your child more at risk then a 5 ppm maintained chlorine pool
 

anthonypool89

Well-known member
Aug 26, 2016
177
Berks County, PA
First things first, Welcome to TFP!

Now, to your question. In your situation I would start by having a hard talk with your doctor. They should be able to really assist you more about the medical items with your child. It's VERY rare that an individual cannot use chlorine due to a medical reason however for sure it does occur. Before setting your kind for sure though I strongly suggest a talk with your doctor.

Now IF you're only option is to use Baquacil (or any knockoff) prepare yourself. It's a pain. We used it for over 15 years and I cannot tell you the nightmares it gave us. Baquacil is made up of three parts. First is the Biguanide which acts as the sanitizer. This is commonly called "Algaestat" and if my memory serves me correct needs to remain around 50ppm at all times. DO NOT LET THIS DROP!!! Once this drops and algae starts it's a pain to clear it up again. Check this at least two-three times a week and add as needed. Be warned, this ran around $30 a bottle so it's not cheap. The second item is as you mentioned Hydrogen peroxide. This acts and is labeled as the "Oxidizer." This is what kills all the stuff. Off the top of my head I cannot remember the recommended dose of this but I suggest using this freely. Anytime you start to see cloudy add this. Last off is an algaecide. This is to help make it as difficult as possible for algae to grow and is a MUST when using Baquacil. I recommended Baqua Preformance algaecide. This is basically a rebranded Polyquat 60 which is suggested here.

Lastly, ignore the silver or any metal based gimmick. They're simply not safe and you will expose your child to some nasty water plus risk staining your pool. Save your energy and simply cross this off the list.

I hope this helps you somewhat. As mentioned Baquacil is an expensive pain, but it's doable. Start with your doctor however if you can avoid Baqua I would highly suggest it.
Curious...what "silver or metal-based gimmick" are you referring to?
 

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