Borax vs Soda to raise pH

Justify

Well-known member
May 7, 2019
64
Iowa
Hello all, my pH is low (bright orange = matching 6.8 box of Taylor test from my TF100 kit), my TA=90. So obviously I need to raise pH without raising TA too much. From what I read, it sounds like in such circumstances it is better to use Borax than washing soda, as the latter tends to raise TA more. However, since Borax is poisonous, how long it takes before anyone can enter the water after the treatment? And, when should I test pH again after adding Borax, to see whether I need to add more (obviously pH=6.8 is the lowest Taylor can get, so I am wondering/worried it might be actually even lower than 6.8)
Thanks in advance.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
42,063
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
What is your CYA?
A TA of 90 (unless the CYA is very high) will not allow your pH to stay at 6.8. Some minor aeration will raise the pH quickly. How did you get the pH down to 6.8?

Borax, once added to the pool, is not in a concentration that is an issue. You have to get to well above 50 ppm borates and drink alot of pool water to cause any harm.
 

Justify

Well-known member
May 7, 2019
64
Iowa
Thanks for the answer.
CYA was on or close to zero last time I checked. The dot on the bottom of the tube never disappeared. I currently have socks with CYA in skimmers.
I will test tomorrow.
 

Justify

Well-known member
May 7, 2019
64
Iowa
As for the aeration - I already tried to aerate with slide waterfall running 1-2 hours per day. We turn on the slide after dusk, and off before we go to bed. The pool is covered with autocover and we want to keep it covered during day because of birds (common grackles nesting in neighborhood and poop bombing our pool), so we can't let the slide run nonstop.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
42,063
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Covering the pool slows the CO2 outgassing. Once you open the cover and use the pool, the pH will rise quickly. So be very careful pushing the pH up now using borax.
 
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Justify

Well-known member
May 7, 2019
64
Iowa
I posted a few days ago about low pH. Since I was worried about raising my TA too much, I only aerated (return jets up, running slide waterfall 1-2 hours/day).
Since my CYA was on/close to 0 last time I tested, I worked on adding some.
My test from yesterday:
FC=1.0
CC=0.5
TA=80
CYA=25
pH=6.8/7.2 (not as yellowish orange as box for 6.8 but neither pinkish orange for 7.2)
Water is somehow cloudy (still able to see the 6ft deep end bottom but not as crystal clear as I am used to), and since the FC is also quite low, I am thinking about clearing it with SLAM.
The question is - should I do it now, or should I raise CYA a little bit before I start SLAM?
(not sure about pH - raising it with aerating is slow process and I don't want to wait too long with SLAM, but I am also worried about raising TA too much if I use borax/soda for quick raising).
Pool is saltwater, covered (autocover), we only open it after dusk these days because of "common grackle nesting" problem. I plan on raisind CYA later, but can I SLAM with CYA so low?
Thanks in advance!
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
42,063
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
If your CYA test landed between 20 and 30, you call that 30. Follow the SLAM Process
 

Justify

Well-known member
May 7, 2019
64
Iowa
Thanks.
I don't need to worry about pH right now, or do I?
If there is algae in water, it is possible that's the reason for low pH, and after I get rid of whatever causes the cloudy water the TA takes care of the low pH?
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
42,063
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Algae is not the reason for low pH.

A pH of about 7.2 is good for a SLAM.
 

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Justify

Well-known member
May 7, 2019
64
Iowa
I just tested again.
It's more like 6.8 now.
What can cause low pH when TA is in 80-90 range?
And, do I still go ahead with SLAM with pH=6.8?
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
42,063
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
pH will only drop by something acidic being added to the pool. Stabilizer, acid, trichlor, dichlor, can all lower pH.
 

Justify

Well-known member
May 7, 2019
64
Iowa
Yep I just finished the CYA treatment that raised CYA to my current 25, so maybe that's why the aeration/TA doesn't seem to work at this point.
So can I go ahead with SLAM even with pH=6.8 or should I add Borax to raise it first? (But I am worried about raising TA with it, too).
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
42,063
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Borax will not raise TA much. But I would not add anything but liquid chlorine.
 
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Justify

Well-known member
May 7, 2019
64
Iowa
So last night, after my Pentair Warrior finished its 2-hour after-dusk round, I added bleach to raise FC to 12, then tested 40 minutes later. FC was back to 1 as before, so I was thinking ammonia and did some reading. I added another bleach to raise FC to 12.
This morning I tested:
FC=2
CC=0.5
CYA=20-30 (same as last time when I tested after adding CYA, and no more CYA added after that)

So, since CYA haven't dropped, I don't need to worry about ammonia and just continue SLAMming, am I right?
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
42,063
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Ammonia or not, chlorine is the answer.
 
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Justify

Well-known member
May 7, 2019
64
Iowa
FC was 3.5 last night, so I added more bleach to bring it back to 12. Today morning, FC=7.5. I again added bleach to bring it back to 12 and, since water is crystal clear now, I planned to perform OCLT tomorrow morning.

However, I just found out my husband added 40 lb of salt and turned SWG back on about one hour ago :(
I turned SWG off again, pump is running, but... am I going ahead with my plan (to still add some bleach tonight and perform OCLT tomorrow morning) or did my husband messed it up with the salt?
(the salt was low, the plan was to add about 120 lb total next week, but I wanted to pass OCLT+CC before adding it)
 

mguzzy

Gold Supporter
The salt wont have an effect on the OCLT... so that's cool to add that if you want. You just want to make sure you are not running the SWG after hours when you are trying to gauge how much over night FC loss you are experiencing. In fact nothing wrong with getting the salt in and letting it mix for a day or so before you turn the SWG on, that is recommended anyway.
 
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