Cloudy Pool - New pool owner

Jay-P

Member
Oct 29, 2019
8
Sydney, Australia
Hi Guys,
Hoping someone can steer me in the right direction here.

I bought a house that has a 30,000l fibreglass pool (SWG) ans I've been pulling my hair out the past week since i got the keys trying to get it all crystal clear.
I tested everything with a clear choice labs kit and everything was quite low bar the salt which was almost 8000ppm so taking baby steps, added alkalinity increaser and CYA and I ran the salt cell every night. Everything was looking good numbers were balancing and the water was getting crystal clear.

Then i went and bought a zodiac CX20 as the bottom was getting quite dirty and it did a fantastic job but the water ended up cloudy. Could still see the bottom but it was still cloudy.

Pulled out my test kit today and these are my results (See attached image)

As you can see, i still need to bring some numbers up and my FC has gone a little high (my cc came back at 0.5ppm as well) but im still trying to figure out this Dang cloudy water. Sun has now set here so i cant get a photo of the water just yet but like I said, i can easily see the bottom of the pool, its just not crystal clear like it should.

I also understand the salt is at a ridiculous level (previous owner) however draining isn't an option as we've had an increase in bushfires in the state and strict water restrictions are currently in place. So I'm hoping i can put up with it and still get the pool swimmable.

Can anyone offer some advice. This is my first week with a pool and even though ive been crawling through these forums and articles like a bible the past 2 months, its left me kind of stumped.

TIA
 

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Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
G'day and welcome to TFP! :wave: I would start by offering the following:
1 - Update your signature with all of your pool and equipment info. It helps.
2 - When was the past time the filter was cleaned?
3 - I would still increase the TA a bit with baking soda if you have it available. Go for the min of 60 for now.
4 - While CH isn't normally looked upon as a mandate for FG pools since they typically don't have calcium added in the build process, a CH of zero could lead to some potential problems (i.e. staining). So I would recommended adding some calcium as well. TFP minimum is 220. If your local water is hard, at least add enough calcium to get up to about 150-200 and let the local hard water increase the rest this season.
5 - Have you added any pool store products to the water since taking over? Have you seen any pool store products left behind by the previous owners?

Lastly, cloudy water is usually a sign of algae starting to begin, but there are exceptions which is why I asked some of those questions. Your FC level seems to be quite strong so it may be unlikely, but if you have a concern about algae you can always perform a Overnight Chlorine Loss Test.

Let's start there and see what you can tell us.

 

Jay-P

Member
Oct 29, 2019
8
Sydney, Australia
Thanks for replying. Updated sig as requested with all the info I know of.

To answer your questions, I cleaned the cartridge filter today. A very thorough hosing. Water running out of the filter was very milky and I hosed until it ran clear.

Last weekend I added soda ash, alkalinity increaser and CYA (all 1kg) which I bought based off test results. And I added another 1kg of each tonight. There is some chemicals left by the previous owner but i havent touched them.

15L of liquid Chlorine
5L of Hydrochloric Acid
5L of Algaecide (which I should avoid using if I've read correctly)

I currently have the pump running with the Salt cell off, I'll check the chlorine levels in the morning to see if any has been lost.
Hope I've provided enough info.
Thanks
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Right, definitely avoid the algaecide unless it's a "Poly 60" product. Most others seem to have copper in them. This item troubles me:
Water running out of the filter was very milky
That could mean there is/was an algae issue and the white is dead algae being removed, or perhaps the products (depending on how you added them) may have been trapped in the cartridge. At this point I would do the following:
- Other than making sure the TA is at least 60 and CH increased to at least 150 - 200, not add anything else and monitor the levels for the next couple days closely. They should stabilize, and the FC should begin to fall each day.
- Remember that with the FC as high as it is (well over 10) the pH reading will be off (high). So you won't get an accurate pH until the FC falls closer to 10.
- Consider doing an Overnight Chlorine Loss Test
- Watch your filter pressure gauge. Since you just cleaned it, look for quick rising. If it does, that's another confirmation of algae.
- If the milkiness was something other than algae, then it should get rinsed and purged from your pool fairly soon by a couple filter cleanings. But let us know if it gets worse or doens't seem to go away after a couple days.
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Oh, and if you do pass the Overnight Chlorine Loss Test and are sure there are no signs of algae, then you should increase the CYA to "70" which is what TFP recommends for more effective SWG management and FC control. But it's imperative to ensure there is no algae at all. If you do suspect algae, then do the SLAM Process before increasing the CYA.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,073
Bedford, TX
Jay,

I really like Pat's idea of running an Overnight Chlorine Loss Test (OCLT)... Overnight Chlorine Loss Test

I say this because I see no mention that you have ever performed a SLAM... SLAM Process

If you have a pool that is in bad shape, you really need to make sure you kill all the algae first, and then balance all the chemicals levels. This is what a SLAM does..

The OCLT will tell you if you need to do a SLAM or not. If your pool is cloudy, then most likely you will fail the OCLT.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Jay-P

Member
Oct 29, 2019
8
Sydney, Australia
Thanks for the advice guys.

Ok so i got up this morning to a crystal clear pool with a little dirt on the floor and I was about to drop the cx20 in but then i noticed a small number of clumps of CYA powder i dumped in last night. I followed the instructions (dissolve in a bucket first and then spread around the pool) but seeing those clumps has me wondering if the milky water from hosing the filter is the stabilizer not dissolving?

Anyway I brushed the clumps away and the cleaner is currently doing its thing while ive ducked down to the store and grabbed 2x 4kg bags of calcium increaser, another bag of alkalinity increaser and another bag of CYA powder.

I plan to do overnight chlorine loss test, then bring up CH, TA and CYA to normal levels if passing first test

Happy to hear any thoughts on the above.

Thanks guys. Really appreciating the help.
 
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Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,073
Bedford, TX
Jay,

That is what you get from following the instructions... :mrgreen:

We recommend that you add the CYA to a ladies knee high stocking and hang it in front of a pool return with the pump running.. It will dissolve over a few hours to a day. Squeezing the stocking will make it happen a little faster..

It is always nice to know where you are before going on a trip.. I would still run the OCLT, since it is easy to do, other than getting your rear out of bed before sun up.. And, knowing that you have passed the OCLT makes it easier to "know where you are."

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Jay-P

Member
Oct 29, 2019
8
Sydney, Australia
Thanks Jim. I literally read about the sock method 5 mins after my post haha.

My CX20 just finished its round and the pool is definitely looking better than yesterday although i think it could still be better (see attached pics - last pic was during cycle).
Lots of wind here today so as you can see im getting bits and pieces falling into the pool.

So now I'll stop everything, do a chlorine test at sunset then re-check at sunrise (I start work at 6am so works out perfect for me) and report back my results.

Thanks guys.
 

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Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,073
Bedford, TX
Jay,

I find that Ladies Knee-highs work much better for me than old socks.. They are cheap, you can tie the top shut, use then to hang the CYA, and then just throw them away when done..

It is very hard to look at a picture and tell if a pool is clear or not.. The angle of the sun, the pump running, any wind, all make such a difference. You should be able to tell what kind of screws are used on the main drain or read all the writing on your robot..

Good luck with your "test", I hope you studied for it... :mrgreen:

Jim R.
 

Jay-P

Member
Oct 29, 2019
8
Sydney, Australia
Guys, Just an extra lil info....

I just did my 1st FC & CC test for the OCLT and the results came in as:

FC - 14.5
CC - 0

My last test before that was 24 hours earlier with FC at 15ppm. I havent added anything to the pool at all, ran the pump with the cell off for 8 hours overnight ran the CX20 this morning.
So I've lost 0.5ppm in 24 hours.
I'll still check the chlorine at dawn when i get up for work, but surely a loss of 0.5ppm over 24 hours would cancel out the possibility of algae if my studying is correct?
Possibly stabilizer not dissolving correctly?

Cheers
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,073
Bedford, TX
Jay,

It seems to me that it is almost impossible for a pool, exposed to the sun for full day, to only use .5 ppm of FC.. What are your current water temperatures? Just seems way too low to me. :scratch: Most pools use 2 to 4 ppm per day in the summer.

Just seems odd to me.. You don't have a cover on the pool, do ya??

Let's see what the OCLT says..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Jay-P

Member
Oct 29, 2019
8
Sydney, Australia
Hi Jim,

No cover. Its got mw confused as well now..

I checked this morning and it lost 0.5ppm so now I'm even more confused.

Few questions though-
Will chlorine still be eaten up by dead algae? I called my wife and asked her to check the pool for me and she said its definitely clearer but the fine "dirt" was back in the usual places (step edges mostly and certain areas on the floor - always seems to be the same places). I asked her to go out and physically checked the dirt and she said its not gritty at all. Touch it and it turns to dust. All I can think of is dead algae (dead from my fc being so high).

Would my CX20 cleaner actually pick this stuff up or just swirl it around the pool resulting in the cloudiness I have?

I was thinking of manually vaccing these dirt spots after i get home from work but I can't vac to waste at the moment as we have water restrictions in place from the recent/current bushfires around the state. So i was thinking i could whack on a skimmer sock over the basket and vac the floor? Surely a skimmer sock would catch the dead algae (if it even is algae) rather then circulating it round and round and round...

Apologies for the never-ending questions, this is my first time ever handling pool maintenance and I'm finding it all quite overwhelming trying to find my "groove" so i can finally start enjoying it!
 

JJ_Tex

Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
518
Prosper, TX (DFW)
My last test before that was 24 hours earlier with FC at 15ppm. I havent added anything to the pool at all, ran the pump with the cell off for 8 hours overnight ran the CX20 this morning.
I read this as you didnt run the SWCG overnight, but you did run it during the day, which would explain why you only lost .5 FC from your test 24 hours earlier. I would try the OCLT again, testing after sundown and again before sunrise with the swcg off during this time.
 
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AusPhil

Well-known member
Jan 23, 2018
103
Canberra ACT
Few questions though-
Will chlorine still be eaten up by dead algae? I called my wife and asked her to check the pool for me and she said its definitely clearer but the fine "dirt" was back in the usual places (step edges mostly and certain areas on the floor - always seems to be the same places). I asked her to go out and physically checked the dirt and she said its not gritty at all. Touch it and it turns to dust. All I can think of is dead algae (dead from my fc being so high).
Would my CX20 cleaner actually pick this stuff up or just swirl it around the pool resulting in the cloudiness I have?
Now the following will be highly dependent on where you are in Sydney but i know certain areas have like Canberra suffered from fine dust over the last few weeks and this will manifest itself in a fine dirt looking Crud on the bottom of the pool at any point the water circulation doesn't keep it stirred up ... if you leave your car outside and you need to wash the windscreen because it's dirty then the same stuff gets in the pool and settles.
Just throwing a thought out that not every bit of fine dirt that puffs away is actually dead algae :) sometimes it's just dirt :)
 

Jay-P

Member
Oct 29, 2019
8
Sydney, Australia
Yeah, your probably right, Phil.
I've just been super paranoid about the pool because I have no idea about them, how the previous owner took care of it (I had a pre-purchase pool report done and everything was super low bar the salt - which was double), and like I said before - still trying to find my feet and get into the "groove" of being familiar with how the pool reacts.

With the chlorine loss test being done now, I'm just going to work on keeping everything balanced and see how it pans out from there.

Thanks for the help everyone. Greatly appreciated.
 
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Costas > DownUnder

Bronze Supporter
Dec 17, 2017
632
Adelaide | Australia
Just to add - How sunny has it been over there?

If the sky is still hazy it could be that UV reaching the ground is still being highly attenuated by the smoke particles thereby possibly explaining the low FC drop.

I always get dust in my pool - In my case, having a white pool surface just exacerbates the issue as it is more visible.

It is certainly fine enough that one cannot feel any grit between the fingers - My pool robot does the trick in collecting that dirt.