Cloudy Water still after 3 weeks!! Help please!

Rubygrrl

Well-known member
Jun 25, 2009
122
Wichita Falls, Texas
My husband and I opened our pool about 3 weeks ago. We never covered it, and the pool was swamp green.

Long story short, the pH got WAY to high (hot pink). There is a rough sand paper substance (I assume calcium scaling) on the sides of our vinyl pool (and probably the bottom too, not sure..can't see down there ;) ).

I brought the pH down to 7.2 before I began shocking.

Good news is that the algae is dead. We did an overnight test last night, and we only lost .5ppm.

Bad news is that the water is REALLY cloudy still (after 3 weeks of keeping it as close to 16ppm (shock level) as possible).

I really don't feel it is algae causing the cloudy water, since we only lost .5ppm overnight.

We thought it might have been our sand filter, so yesterday, we opened it up, and coiled a water house down into it very gently. The sand was soft, it was NOT compacted, so we now feel the filter isn't the problem.

I now assume the cloudiness is from the calcium that is falling off the walls as we brush. Is there anything we can do/buy to clear the calcium from the water?

We've spent about 200 dollars on bleach the last 3 weeks. It's been rough, but I am trying to be as patient as possible.

One other option I've thought of, is partially draining the pool. I had to do that about 3 years ago when our CYA level reached 100+. I can't remember though how far we can safely drain a vinyl pool without hurting the liner.

We are at a loss, and don't know what else to do.

Clarifier? Calcium sequestrant (which I can't find anywhere online), partial drain??

Oh, and we don't use calcium hypochlorite, we use 6% bleach, so I am not sure why our calcium would be that high (unless bleach also adds calcium to the water).

Let me know what you feel I should do.

OH, and here are my current test results:

CYA - 40
FC - 12
CC - 0
TC - 12
Ph - didn't test it since FC is over 10
Alk - 100 (it was 120 yesterday, so we added 27 oz of muriatic acid..hope that wasn't a mistake)
CH - 120 (very hard to tell...lot's of little things floating around during the test)

Thank you for any help/advice you all can provide! :D
 

JohnT

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Apr 4, 2007
9,569
SW Indiana
I'd try dosing it with clarifier a couple of days in a row. I doubt you have calcium scaling at 120ppm hardness, but I don't know what your sandpaper texture might be.
 

Rubygrrl

Well-known member
Jun 25, 2009
122
Wichita Falls, Texas
Ok thank you. I know clarifier is a last resort type of thing, but we don't know what else to do.

It has to be calcium scale, right? What else could it be??

Thanks JohnT. Do you have any suggestions of which brand/type of clarifier to buy?
 

JohnT

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Apr 4, 2007
9,569
SW Indiana
Rubygrrl said:
Ok thank you. I know clarifier is a last resort type of thing, but we don't know what else to do.

It has to be calcium scale, right? What else could it be??

Thanks JohnT. Do you have any suggestions of which brand/type of clarifier to buy?
Clarifier isn't really a last resort. It's just not appropriate unless chemistry is good, as yours seems to be.
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
43,231
Tucson, AZ
Did you test all the levels of your water when you first opened? Just curious what has been adjusted since then.

Given your current levels, the pH would have to be > 8.3 to be in danger zone for scaling. Sounds like that very well may have been the problem if the pH was very high all winter.
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
43,231
Tucson, AZ
Can you post the levels from when you opened? Or was everything the same as your latest results with the exception of the pH?
 

rsharp

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2010
129
im going through the same thing. it will be 2 weeks for me this friday. i did find a trick in the "pool school" section and ive had great results so far. what you do is add a little DE to your sand filter. (go to pool school section under "how to". its labeled "adding DE to sand filter"). ive read that some of the fine debri clouding up our pools passes straight through the sand. The DE stops it in its tracks lol. i hope you get your water clear!!
 

Beez

LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2009
785
Dallas, TX
I think rsharp is onto something here. Although, I think cellulose fiber might be more effective in a sand filter than DE.

I just switched from DE to cellulose in my own DE filter, and while creating the slurry with the cellulose, the first thing I noticed about the difference between the two is how light and fluffy the fiber is compared to DE.

It seems logical to me that the fiber might "sit on top" of the sand better than DE, creating an additional layer of filtration for the fine particles.

JAT

EDIT: I decided to edit this post rather than respond again so as not to clog the thread. After reading Jason's reply, and thinking about it, I would like to retract my proposition above! Because of the limited surface area, it seems to me that having any kind of finer filtration layer above the sand would be a terrible idea. i.e. If you used enough media to be effective, it would clog faster, requiring too much backwashing. In other words, an effective layer above the sand might defeat the very purpose of the sand!

EDIT OF EDIT:I hate it when I argue with myself, but upon further reflection, the idea of a fine filtration layer above the sand might be an ideal short-term solution in a very narrowly defined set of circumstances. Assuming you needed to clear a pool of a known intrusion of very fine sediment, you could use a thicker layer of cellulose "matting" to remove the sediment, then backwash all of it away, at which point you could go back to sand alone, with no additional amendments.
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
DE comes out just slightly ahead in terms of improving filtering on a sand filter, though it is close enough that it doesn't really matter which one you use. With cellulose you need to use enough to form a mat on top of the sand. That gives you very good filtering, but not a lot of surface area. DE, on the other hand, accumulates down in-between the sand grains, giving it a slightly larger effective surface area. They are both enough of an improvement over plain sand that many people notice the difference, while telling the difference between them is difficult at best.

Of course, you don't want to use either one in the middle of a major algae bloom. When the water is full of debris that the filter is catching effectively, you should let it do it's job without adding anything. Only when all of the larger stuff is caught, and you want to filter out the finest debris, should you start adding DE or cellulose.
 

duraleigh

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
32,396
Sebring, Florida
I wonder if the thread is missing a point....Could that "scaling" on the pool walls (very unusual for vinyl but very possible) be coming off as dust into the pool? Since the pH has been lowered dramatically, this makes sense to me.

Has the psi risen in the last three weekas?

has the filter been backwashed/cleaned?

just speculating because I am not a fan of the thinking that sand filters cannot clear a pool. They do it thousands. perhaps millions of time each spring without any additives or tricks.
 

Butterfly

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 30, 2007
10,045
South Carolina
just speculating because I am not a fan of the thinking that sand filters cannot clear a pool. They do it thousands. perhaps millions of time each spring without any additives or tricks.
Yep, totally agree. A sand filter ain't the problem :goodjob:
 

Rubygrrl

Well-known member
Jun 25, 2009
122
Wichita Falls, Texas
Okay need more help!!!

First of all, whatever IS glued to the walls, is starting to come off...I have lowered the pH (purposely low) to about 7.0-7.2 to try to get whatever it is OFF the walls.

The psi has risen, and we have backwashed accordingly, but we did NOT backwash all winter long (bad bad BAD I know (embarassed)).....

I do think that whatever is coming off from the walls is what is causing the cloudiness, since my overnight test was negative (lost .5ppm overnight). EVEN THOUGH my calcium hardness test isn't very high.

I've been keeping the chlorine about 10ppm (let it fall slightly).

I went to Leslie's and bought a small container of their ultra bright enhancer/clarifier, as suggested.

I applied the entire bottle (not all at once of course...3 separate applications)...and it DID HELP clear the water. I can now see the bottom of the shallow end.

However, the water is still VERY CLOUDY, and I can't see the bottom of the deep end at all.

So now, I am stuck again.

Should I buy yet another bottle of clarifier and see if it clears the pool anymore (the final/3rd application didn't change the clearness of the water at all)....

Should I do a partial drain?

Should I try DE in the sand filter?

Any suggestions would be great.

Is it possible it is SALT on the sides of the pool since I use bleach (sodium hypochlorite) to chlorinate the pool.

Boy, I willl never let my pH get so high again. This is a major PITB (pain in the butt). :D
 

duraleigh

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
32,396
Sebring, Florida
Is it possible it is SALT on the sides of the pool since I use bleach (sodium hypochlorite) to chlorinate the pool.
No, it's not salt.

The psi has risen, and we have backwashed accordingly,
That's a little indistinct but I take it to mean that your psi continues to rise and you continue to backwash.

If that's so, your filter is mechanically removing the cloudiness and you should simply wait for it to do it's job. Have you brushed the pool? If not, you should do so at least daily. I personally don't suggest any clarifier or DE as long as your filter is working and, if I interpret your comment right, it is.
 

Rubygrrl

Well-known member
Jun 25, 2009
122
Wichita Falls, Texas
I am honestly not sure if the filter is working because in the past, it has NEVER taken this long for the sand filter to clear our pool.

It's been over 3 weeks, and the water is still cloudy. The psi is rising, but not a whole lot. In the last week, it's rose up maybe 5-7 psi. (That's with all the clarifier I added to the pool)....

How can I tell if it is the filter that is the problem?

Thanks!
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
43,231
Tucson, AZ
If the pressure is going up, then the filter is catching "stuff".

What is your normal "clean" filter pressure? The current recommendation is to backwash between a 20-25% pressure increase over clean pressure. If you let the pressure rise too much, then flow through the filter can be greatly reduced. Maybe 5-7psi is too much and maybe you should be backwashing more often.
 

rsharp

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2010
129
i don't know how accurate this method is but what i did (starting a week ago) i would stick my tape measure in the water and keep putting it in until the tip disappeared. i did this again 3 days later and there was a 20" improvement!! this really gave me hope because the whole time the pool has been this blue cloudy color even though there is progress being made. i hope this gives you hope too! good luck!!
 

Rubygrrl

Well-known member
Jun 25, 2009
122
Wichita Falls, Texas
If it is calcium, and it is in the water, will my sand filter be able to clear it/filter it out? Or will I need to do a partial drain? I am seriously considering doing a partial drain, unless it is useless.

Thanks. :)