Can't Get Water Chems Balanced

Hi!
We recently moved into our new home with an above ground pool. We had an inground salt pool in our last home so I am familiar with pools but this one seems like so much more work! We discovered a hazy brown cloud floating in our pool. It was nothing we could net, and when we used our pool vac, it would just spread out. Took several water samples in to our local pool place. They said that it was an organic algae because of the slime it was producing in our filter. They had us add acid, then pool first aid, then drop down. All on separate occasions. I decided to take matters into our own hands and grab a TFP testing kit and download the Pool Math app on the recommendation of my sister.

3 days testing numbers (NOTE: there were 3 days between day 1 and day 2 testing)
Day 1 - FC 60 / PH 7.5 / TA 187 / CH 225 / CYA 150
Day 2 - FC 40 / PH 7.6 / TA 110 / CH 250 / CYA 110
Day 3 - FC 40 / PH 7.5 / TA 150 / CH 325 / CYA 100

Day 1 we tested the water, let the water settle for a few hours then I got in and vacuumed whatever brown stuff I could see floating before it all got stirred up from the jet being turned on. Then we left the pump on all night. Continued cleaning filter of debris and making sure the filter pressure didn't go over 10.

Day 2 we tested the water, continued running the pump. Continued cleaning filter of debris and making sure the filter pressure didn't go over 10. That night, we removed water from the pool down below the jet, turned off the pump, let the water settle and again vacuumed up as quick as we could anything we saw floating in the pool. Then we filled the pool enough to run the pump over night.

Day 3 we tested the water, pump still running, began adding the water back in. The filter is running at a constant 10 and is clean as a whistle. The pool water still cloudy but starting to see the bottom. Chemicals are still way off.

Any help would be appreciated! I want to get this pool back to where it needs to be so we can keep swimming before our FL winter HA
 

Texas Splash

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Jun 22, 2014
33,620
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
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Hello and welcome to TFP! :wave: Are you sure about that CYA reading? If it is indeed over 100, lowering the CYA is priority #1. If this is a non-salt pool, you want the CYA down to around 50-60 is possible. If it's a salt pool, then a CYA of 70 is fine, but anything over 100 is much too high and requires more water exchange to lower it. Do that first before trying to adjust any other chemicals that will just get spilled onto the grass or street.

After the CYA has been lowered, we can easily walk you through the next steps to balance the water or prepare for a SLAM Process to kill the algae. Good job getting a proper test kit. Don't forget to update your signature. :)

 
Hello and welcome to TFP! :wave: Are you sure about that CYA reading? If it is indeed over 100, lowering the CYA is priority #1. If this is a non-salt pool, you want the CYA down to around 50-60 is possible. If it's a salt pool, then a CYA of 70 is fine, but anything over 100 is much too high and requires more water exchange to lower it. Do that first before trying to adjust any other chemicals that will just get spilled onto the grass or street.

After the CYA has been lowered, we can easily walk you through the next steps to balance the water or prepare for a SLAM Process to kill the algae. Good job getting a proper test kit. Don't forget to update your signature. :)

Thank you so much for your reply! It is a chlorine pool, not salt. We removed about 2 feet of water yesterday and replaced it today. Could it be I just need to retest again this evening?
Signature? Thanks again!
 
Hello and welcome to TFP! :wave: Are you sure about that CYA reading? If it is indeed over 100, lowering the CYA is priority #1. If this is a non-salt pool, you want the CYA down to around 50-60 is possible. If it's a salt pool, then a CYA of 70 is fine, but anything over 100 is much too high and requires more water exchange to lower it. Do that first before trying to adjust any other chemicals that will just get spilled onto the grass or street.

After the CYA has been lowered, we can easily walk you through the next steps to balance the water or prepare for a SLAM Process to kill the algae. Good job getting a proper test kit. Don't forget to update your signature. :)

Hi! Thank you so much for your quick reply. The pool is chlorine, not salt. We removed about 2 feet of water yesterday and replaced it today. Could it be we need to wait and retest tonight again before doing anything else? Thanks again!
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2014
33,620
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
Pool Size
17888
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
Your signature is showing now. :goodjob: For the CYA, more than likely previous owners used tabs exclusively which drove-up the CYA. Have you tried a diluted CYA test yet to try and achieve a better test result? Try the link below starting at Step #8. Small water exchanges help, but they are not as efficient as doing 50 - 75% at one time. Just be sure to keep at least about 18 inches in the bottom to keep the walls and liner stable.

 
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Your signature is showing now. :goodjob: For the CYA, more than likely previous owners used tabs exclusively which drove-up the CYA. Have you tried a diluted CYA test yet to try and achieve a better test result? Try the link below starting at Step #8. Small water exchanges help, but they are not as efficient as doing 50 - 75% at one time. Just be sure to keep at least about 18 inches in the bottom to keep the walls and liner stable.

Okay, I just tried the test with tap water added and I got a reading between 75/80. What does that mean?!?!!? I am pretty sure you are right about the tabs. They were there when we got here and he reminded us to keep the them in the pool. In between pool store visits they told us to remove them, but only for 48 hours. Is the pool safe to swim in with the CYA high? I don't see any of the brown algae today and the filter has been clean all day.
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
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Jun 22, 2014
33,620
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
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CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
Tabs (or bags of pool store shock) are forms of stabilized chlorine and they eventually catch up to pool owners by increasing the CYA much too high. The Free Chlorine can never keep up resulting in the need to exchange water to lower the CYA. If you did the diluted CYA test, then you essentially double the result. So a reading of 80 really means the CYA is about 160. Easy math, if you exchange 50% of the water, it should lower the CYA by about 50%.

Be sure to not use any forms of stabilized chlorine on a daily basis (tabs or bags) and stick to liquid chlorine (or regular/plain bleach). That's the best way to balance your FC to the CYA as noted on the FC/CYA Chart to avoid algae.
 
Tabs (or bags of pool store shock) are forms of stabilized chlorine and they eventually catch up to pool owners by increasing the CYA much too high. The Free Chlorine can never keep up resulting in the need to exchange water to lower the CYA. If you did the diluted CYA test, then you essentially double the result. So a reading of 80 really means the CYA is about 160. Easy math, if you exchange 50% of the water, it should lower the CYA by about 50%.

Be sure to not use any forms of stabilized chlorine on a daily basis (tabs or bags) and stick to liquid chlorine (or regular/plain bleach). That's the best way to balance your FC to the CYA as noted on the FC/CYA Chart to avoid algae.
We dropped the pool down to 18inches of water. Removed all the clouds of algae we could see. I’m sure there’s more….what’s next? Refilling our pool, testing our water and then follow the SLAM process?
 

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Texas Splash

Mod Squad
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Jun 22, 2014
33,620
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
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Refilling our pool, testing our water and then follow the SLAM process?
Exactly. :goodjob: Double check teh new CYA, but it should be much more manageable now. If so, be sure to lower the pH to about 7.2 before increasing the FC to SLAM level. Since you exchanged so much water, the SLAM Process should go much better.
 
Good morning! We finished adding back in the water. Our levels are DOWN! Just added muriatic acid to lower our PH to 7.2 and then start the SLAM process. The algae is still present and taunting us!

Current Numbers - FC 24 / PH 7.5 / TA 140 / CH 125 / CYA 48
 
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Mdragger88

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2018
3,140
Hernando, Ms
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Remember ph results are in accurate (read higher) above 10ppm fc. Hopefully you adjusted that before u increased fc or else your your actual ph may be lower. When u get a time fc is around 10ppm re check that ph & adjust if necessary.
SLAM Process fc level is 20ppm for a cya of 50.FC/CYA Chart No need to go much above - it just wastes bleach & can potentially harm equipment, surfaces, and swimmers.
 
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I am still having trouble balancing our numbers. We are running the pump 24/7, cleaning the sides of the pool 2x a day, running the pool creeper for a few hours a day and cleaning the cartridge filter once a day. This morning my SLAM was 22 so we added 13 oz of liquid chlorine per the app. Tonight my SLAM says 24. We did not add any chemicals tonight. When we started the SLAM yesterday, we lowered our pH to 7.2 with muriatic acid and tonight it is back up to 7.5. Your help is appreciated!

Here are my numbers 12 hours apart.
8:30 AM - FC 21 / PH 7.4 / TA 130 / CH 200 / CYA 55
8:30 PM - FC 21 / PH 7.5 / TA 130 / CH 175 / CYA 60
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
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Jun 22, 2014
33,620
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
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First thing I would say is now that you are in SLAM mode, there is no need to run all the tests. FC maintenance is #1. The elevated FC level skews the pH test which is why we lower it before the SLAM. You confirmed your CYA to be 60, so run with that number which requires an FC (SLAM) level of 24. The others aren't as important right now. Focus on the FC level most of the time. Since this was a refill with potential algae residue, hopefully you'll get this wrapped up soon. If the FC is starting to hold well through the day, the water is crystal clear, and the CC level is 0.5 or less, it may be time for an Overnight Chlorine Loss Test. If you pass those 3 criteria, the SLAM is over.
 

Mdragger88

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Jun 1, 2018
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Like mentioned above just stick with fc & cc until u pass ALL 3 end of slam criteria. For cya you always round up so anywhere between 50 & 60 you call it 60 & use that to determine your fc level.
The cya isn’t really going to change much unless you replace pool water with fresh/rain water.
SLAM ON!
this is war GIF by ABC Network
 
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Good morning everyone! We started our SLAM on Monday...Here we are on Saturday with the pool looking clearer but still cloudy. We are vacuuming daily, cleaning the filter and brushing.

Total Liquid Chlorine Added Each Day according to the app over the course of the day. Tested FC twice each day.
M - 20 oz
T - 13 oz
W - 104 oz
Th - 163 oz
F - 156 oz
S - 33 oz (After our reading this morning)

I also tested the rest of our numbers this morning besides the FC and CYA.
FC - 21.5 / pH - 8.2 / TA - 140 / CH 125 / CYA - 60

Do I need to lower our pH or change anything else or just keep checking our FC and following what the app is recommending we add?

Thanks!
 

DanF

Silver Supporter
Mar 17, 2019
415
Chandler, AZ
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Do I need to lower our pH or change anything else or just keep checking our FC and following what the app is recommending we add?
Unless you are using an electronic pH tester, your pH reading is likely elevated due to the high FC. You can add a little muriatic acid, but really I would focus on ending the SLAM. You're done with SLAM once you pass the 3 criteria that @Texas Splash mentioned in post #13.
 

Mdragger88

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2018
3,140
Hernando, Ms
Pool Size
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Surface
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+1 what @DanF said.
Also what really matters is how often you are able to Maintain the slam level. Slam stands for Shock Level And Maintain.
Additions Only Twice a day may drag it out longer than necessary. Every hour you are below slam level for your cya - algae wins. So try for at least 4x’s/day.
You can share your PoolMath logs with us if you want- just toggle on sharing in the settings menu.
Remember to check/scrub All nooks & crannies like water features, ladders, light niches, drain covers, skimmer throats & weirs etc. Brush or vac everyday (this breaks up biofilms the algae uses to protect itself) & clean your filter when pressure rises 25% over clean pressure.