Borax treatment

craig in nola

Member
Aug 18, 2020
19
New Orleans, LA
I am intending to do the borax treatment for my pool due to the large number of leaves that find their way into it. I see that 20 mule team is recommended. I have found a more economical source called pure borax, link here... Amazon.com: EARTHBORN ELEMENTS Borax Powder (3.5 Gallon) Multipurpose Cleaner & Detergent Booster, Resealable Bucket: Health & Personal Care

It states 20 mule is sodium tetraborate and this product is listed as sodium borate. With google, it seems they are both the same thing but honestly nothing definitive appeared to me.

Anyone have an answer?
 

craig in nola

Member
Aug 18, 2020
19
New Orleans, LA

here you go. And no the leaves do not disappear. From what I understand it has a symbiotic relationship with PH and chlorine and together they fight algae or perhaps stop it in it's tracks...
 

duraleigh

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Anyone have an answer?
don't buy either for leaf control. There is absolutely no correlation and you have been fed some bogus information.
From what I understand it has a symbiotic relationship with PH and chlorine and together they fight algae or perhaps stop it in it's tracks...
Sorry, that makes no sense.
 
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craig in nola

Member
Aug 18, 2020
19
New Orleans, LA
Would you kindly read the TFP link I posted. Whether my comment is scientifically accurate or not is not the point. As I read it the addition of borates is directly related to suppressing algae and stabilizing PH. So are you stating borates have no business in a pool? If they do have business in a pool then what does it do?

I mean, I am not sure why you folks seem so sarcastic or grumpy but if you bothered to read the thread you would see there are lifetime members and even a founding member commenting and supporting the thread.

Maybe just answer my original question and disregard any TFP articles I post? Is sodium tetraborate = sodium borate???
 

YippeeSkippy

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Craig, we use Borax as a buffer to help stabilize pH that seems to be labile. Of course the TA comes in to play also. Anything else it *might* do is minimal compared to the buffering effects. In fact, if used while pH was labile it would be hard to adjust the pH after adding Borates.

We used to say that a lower pH helped chlorine work better, but that has been found to be so minimal that we don't suggest it anymore.

Things do change in pool science, and we *do* have smart science geeks helping here at TFP and the pool industry (which is focused on selling chemicals) is actually coming around to follow some of the methods we've touted.

Maddie
 
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mgtfp

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Mar 5, 2020
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Melbourne, Australia
Yes, the thread you are referring to mentioned that borates in the pool have "algaestatic properties". But this thread is also 12 years old. From what I saw in more recent threads, the current opinion seems to be that this is a very minor effect. Much easier and safer to just stick to the FC/CYA chart.

Algae prevention is not even mentioned in the advantages list in the (quite new) TFP Wiki article:


Main advantage of borates in the pool is buffering at higher pH, which makes it useful to prevent scaling in SWG cells.
 

duraleigh

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Sorry you didn't like the responses you got.....sometimes candid truthfulness is troublesome.

I know who wrote that article (notice they are no longer on this forum) and I know those claims can best be described as exaggerated to say the least.

Borates may not have ANY affect on your pool or it may have some affect that you like (or think you like). It certainly helps to buffer pH but other than that, the rest of those claims are either tiny tiny effects or none at all.

So, put them in your pool if you like.......there is no harm. But because you just read 12 year old words from a rather biased source, please don't assume that is TFP gospel......it is not.
 
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craig in nola

Member
Aug 18, 2020
19
New Orleans, LA
Sorry you didn't like the responses you got.....sometimes candid truthfulness is troublesome.

I know who wrote that article (notice they are no longer on this forum) and I know those claims can best be described as exaggerated to say the least.

Borates may not have ANY affect on your pool or it may have some affect that you like (or think you like). It certainly helps to buffer pH but other than that, the rest of those claims are either tiny tiny effects or none at all.

So, put them in your pool if you like.......there is no harm. But because you just read 12 year old words from a rather biased source, please don't assume that is TFP gospel......it is not.
It interested me as a new pool owner. My interest is based on being new and trying to discover if there is a way to not have to add MA daily to reduce my PH which seems to rise .4 points a day. I did not find any indication this is normal or abnormal. I use the pool math chart and add what it tells me.

Is that PH increase daily number "normal"? It is consistent whether we swim in it or not and whether it rains or not. My Chlorine consumption range is 2.5-3.5 PPM on a daily basis and I believe that is normal if I can trust the article that gave me that info. Does that sound normal for my pool situation too?

Being new to the blog is exactly that. If posts like that are proven to not be factual then maybe deleting them or circling back and correcting it would help new folks out.

Thanks for the blog and do not worry, I do not offend easily but I dang sure do not hold my tongue if I am not a fan of something.
 

duraleigh

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A rise of .4 in your pH is not normal for a "broken in" pool but it just could be for a new pool. How old is the plaster and what is your TA currently?
 
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duraleigh

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Sorry, I missed that it is a vinyl pool.

50 TA is as low as we suggest (50-90) and should have elongated your time between acid additions but it seems the opposite,

What is the TA and pH of your fill water?
 

craig in nola

Member
Aug 18, 2020
19
New Orleans, LA
Sorry, I missed that it is a vinyl pool.

50 TA is as low as we suggest (50-90) and should have elongated your time between acid additions but it seems the opposite,

What is the TA and pH of your fill water?
TA is 150

PH is 7.9

for the fill water. Either way I have not put any water in since I had the 70 TA reading last week. Very little rain.
 

duraleigh

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I have no explanation. A dose of muriatic in that pool should bring the TA down easily and it should stay in the mid 7's with very little effort on your part........can't figure that one out.
 

craig in nola

Member
Aug 18, 2020
19
New Orleans, LA
I have no explanation. A dose of muriatic in that pool should bring the TA down easily and it should stay in the mid 7's with very little effort on your part........can't figure that one out.
That is what my novice brain was thinking. After several weeks of beautiful water, and still going, I started to wonder why I am adding muriatic acid daily.

Do you think "my pool" in it's environment may require higher TA levels to buffer the ph?
 

mgtfp

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Mar 5, 2020
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Melbourne, Australia
At which points within your chlorination cycle are you measuring your pH and are comparing measurements with each other? We say that adding bleach has no net effect on pH. That means that chlorinating with bleach is pH-neutral over the whole chlorination cycle. Adding bleach will increase pH, the following usage of chlorine (by UV-decay and FC killing bacteria and algae and oxidizing stuff) will reduce the pH again more or less to where you started (ignoring other effects on pH). If you are now comparing a pH-measurement that was done just before a bleach addition with a measurement that was done just after a bleach addition, you might see a change in pH that is not actually a real pH-drift, that value will come down again once the chlorine has been used up.

Here an example calculation (using chem geeks poolequations spreadsheet, which is pretty accurate) with TA=50 and CYA=60 (as you have posted in your other thread). Let's say you are at the min FC of 5ppm for your CYA and pH is 7.7. You now add enough bleach to bring your chlorine to the upper end of your target range (FC=9ppm). This will increase your pH temporarily to 8.11. The following usage of 4ppm worth of chlorine (bringing FC down to where you started) will reduce pH back down to 7.71 - the whole cycle is more or less pH-neutral - of course, other effects that have happened in the meantime like CO2-outgassing will result in not getting back to where you started.

When working out your pH-drift due to CO2-outgassing, it is important to compare pH-measurements that have been done at the the same point within your chlorination cycle. If you are comparing pH-measurements at the bottom of your FC-range with pH-measurements at the top of the FC-range, you will see fluctuations that are not representative for the actual pH-drift.

That is the only explanation that I can come up with. I don't think that a pH-drift of 0.4 per day can be explained by aeration, esp. not with a TA of 50ppm. My pool has pH-drift that is usually below 0.04 per day.

Work out your pH-drift based on measurements from the same points within the chlorination cycle, and add less chlorine more often to minimize the fluctuations within the cycle. These fluctuations are more dominant at lower TA: At TA=80, the same addition of bleach as above will bring pH only up to 7.97. Low TA is good to reduce the drift due to CO2-outgassing, but you have to be aware that the fluctuations within the cycle will be higher. That's why it is not recommended to go below a TA of 50ppm.