Cloudy water wont uncloudy ..

guardwife2

Well-known member
Jul 5, 2012
160
:cry:

HELP!!!

We have a 18ft wide and 4 ft deep above ground pool with sand filter. Our pool is about 4 yrs old and last yr we put new sand in. The pump/filter is working good with no problems.

My husband and I opened our pool in May..had pretty good luck clearing it up after we opened it. I went on vacation and while I was gone the pool got algae I believe to the very hot triple digits we have been having. I came home to lovely grass green water. So we added algae stuff to it and liquid cholorine...this usually works however, this time it didn't. We have put in floc, sprakle up, clarifer, and about 200 other dollars work of stuff with no luck.

So the other day we drained the pool about 2 ft down..hoping it would help it clear up. HA! It is still cloudy.

Our levels look good...according to the little tester kit we have FC/chlorine is 1 or a 2..(it is a nice light yellow in the test kit)....PH is 7.5...Alk is in ok range per the test kit...but the CYA was low..so this morning I added a little bit to get it back up.

Last night I shocked it with a bag of shock. This morning I got in the pool and spent over an hour vacuuming it. I vacuumed the walls, the steps, and the bottom. I also went around with my feet feeling to see if things were slimy or left behind from vacuum and the bottom of the pool is clean, except for some leaves and a few bugs that came up.

We have hard water where I live and the filter thing we put on the hose got clogged so we ended up taking it off half way refilling the pool. So now the water is a yellowish/light green color. NO algae.

I believe the water is this way b/c it was a light blue cloudy before we dumped some of the water and with the rust in the water it has turned it this way. I need help clearing up the water.

The water is so warm and we want to swim. Need suggestion and help....please. Before I go ape over this pool. lol
 

Smykowski

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Welcome to TFP!!

The good news is, we can help you clear up your water. The bad news is, you're going to have to do a little work to make it happen.

First, all of us regard test strips as just above worthless. The problem is that they are not accurate nor precise. We all test our water with our own kit, and go with the results we trust.

Second, your water is cloudy because your chlorine is too low. While the test kit might say "in range", it doesn't take into account CYA levels, which change what your goal for FC will be. You will have to shock your pool, but shocking is not one time addition of a product. It is a process that takes several days to a week, and requires frequent testing and dosing.

We want to help, but it will all sound greek until you do some reading. Take a look at Pool School (the link is in the upper right corner of every page). Read it all, but start with these articles first:
ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry
How to Chlorinate Your Pool
Recommended Pool Chemicals
Shock Your Pool

This thread will also be very helpful.

All this information will seem a bit overwhelming at first, but BBB is not a magic bullet; it's about understanding your pool and only giving it what it needs. Please post more questions as you have them, because there are a lot of people who love winning the battle against cloudy pools.
 

guardwife2

Well-known member
Jul 5, 2012
160
thanks for the reply...I do have test strips but stopped using them b/c of the site suggestions. Right now I have a test kit with droplets but only for CL and PH...so that is what im using right now. Im getting low on funds do buy anything else right now and will have to wait till pay day now. Ive spent 100s of dollars on bleach, shock, and other chemicals:( which are now laying in my yard b/c we dumped half of the water out two days ago and refilled half of the pool. I did read the links above..understood most but some was confusing to me so I will reread it. Last yr we had a great pool yr...water was crystal clear all yr around..this yr....not so much. :( I just can't get it to clear up. I think since opening the pool we have put in 24 or so gallons of liquid bleach...it goes up when we add it and then goes down again. i am finally getting a ready of CL 1 to 2 per the test kit i have. The Ph on the test kit is read 7.5. No idea on the other as that is all I have on the test kit. I can use the test strips but I get a totally different reading when I use them. very frustrating. So I guess right now I just need to shock it or add bleach to it right? then after that what do I do?

thanks a bunch:)
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
You should post a complete set of water test results. Since your test kit can't measure everything, see if you can get a pool store to do the testing for you. Most of them are happy to do that kind of thing.
 

guardwife2

Well-known member
Jul 5, 2012
160
Ok....Im using what test kits I currently have till I can get a good one. I have one small drop kit and two different kinds of test strips. I will list them all and I guess we can go from there.

Small drop test kit:
Ch week .5
PH 7.8

Aquacheck test strips:
PH btwn 7.8-8.4 (the color pink was darker)
CH 0
ALK 180-240 (the color was somewhere btwn these two on the test strip)
Stab btwn 0-30/50 (the color wasn't a light brown but wasn't a darker tan like on strip)

HTH test strips:
Hardness 200
CH 0
PH 8.4
ALK wasn't even the color on the strip..the highest mark it goes on strip was a dark green...mine was a blue
CYA 100

So here is what I have done just a few min ago. I added one bottle of an algae killer b/c it is starting to get green again. This is after shocking it a few times prior to today. I plan on letting the algae killer do its job for a while but what do I do next? I have two bags of shock left and a stab balancer/ph down left. I plan on getting more pool items tmrw but before I do I would like to know what to get?

Thanks....
 

guardwife2

Well-known member
Jul 5, 2012
160
ps...Sand filter is working good and outputting great. I did back wash the filter prior to adding the algae. Sand was changed last yr also.
 

RobbieH

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Aug 30, 2010
4,052
Dallas, TX
Those test results are a great indicator of how inaccurate test strips can be. At this point, I'd say you do not know your water chemistry. The second set indicates CYA of 100, which my guess is the top of the range it can show. If your CYA is at or over 100, getting your pool clear again is going to be very difficult. Again, at this point I'd say it's anyone's guess what your CYA level is.

Continuing to purchase products from the pool store to clear your pool may be adding to your trouble. Packets of "shock" will continue to add to your CYA level if they are anything other than CalHypo. Plain bleach (Clorox) will be your tool to kill your algae, once you know your pool's true chemistry.

Changing your sand is almost never required.
 

guardwife2

Well-known member
Jul 5, 2012
160
I agree but it seems all of the test are simular in what they are saying...hardly to no Ch, ph 7.8 to 8.4, stab low, some hardness to the water and the CYA is 100. this is what I have to work on till I can get to a pool store which is tmrw. I live in the country and the furthest big town close to me is miles and miles and miles away. So, I need some guidance as to what I can do now based on these reading I have currently. I can do the bleach..no problem. I guess my question is do I do it now with the algae killer or wait and let it do it's job?
 

guardwife2

Well-known member
Jul 5, 2012
160
another thought/question:

you said: If your CYA is at or over 100, getting your pool clear again is going to be very difficult. Again, at this point I'd say it's anyone's guess what your CYA level is.

Will adding Chlorine/bleach to the water help the CYA level lower? I guess im wondering if it is going to be hard to clear what chlorine will do to help or hurt it. ?? sorry just a thought I had.

I also know someone else who had problems like us and they had aprofessional company come out and told them to add Metal free to their pool. Where I live the water is very very hard b/c of no rain, etc etc. So they kept adding new water to their pool after vacuuming to waste/back washing and their water turned green. After adding metal free to their pool it cleared up in 48 hours. ??? why would this help?
 

RobbieH

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Aug 30, 2010
4,052
Dallas, TX
The only way to lower CYA is to drain and refill.

Metal Free is for iron, copper... metals. Not hardness. Is there a reason you'd have metals in your water?
 

Smykowski

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Metals turn the water clear green. Yours is cloudy green, which means it's algae. Your chlorine level is low/0 because the moment you put any chlorine product in the water, it is immediately being consumed by the algae to kill it. However, because there's not enough chlorine to kill all of it, it multiplies faster than it dies, hence the continual green pool

Most CYA tests are only valid from 20-100ppm. Either side, and the errors get huge. The fact that yours is reading 100 probably means its above that.

CYA does not leave the pool unless you remove water and replace it with new water. To your question, CYA protects free chlorine from sunlight. Too low CYA, and the sun breaks the chlorine down before it can do its job. Too much CYA, and it protects the FC too well, and it can't do it's job fast enough. The FC/CYA relationship is one of the most important things to understand about pool chemistry. The chart in pool school finds a balance between those two extremes.

You need to shock your pool according to the process outlined in pool school (and putting a bag of product with "shock" on the label isn't shocking the pool). However, you need to know your true CYA level before you can do that. A good test kit will be your best friend, and even though it seems pricey now, it will save you a ton of money in the long run, because you will never be "pool stored" again. Most pool stores don't have the test kits we all use. Start by shopping tftestkits.net, or google Taylor K-2006.

Finally, you need to get your pH down. Anything above 7.8 is not good.
 

guardwife2

Well-known member
Jul 5, 2012
160
ok...thank you. I just added some stuff to bring the PH down and I added 3 bottles of bleach....Im going to let it sit and do it's job for a while and then I will go out and retest it with what I have now. I do plan on going into town tmrw and will take a water sample to the pool store then.

As far as metals in our water..yes...our town has horrible water. When they flush the hydrants we have (poop) brown water and that is no joke. Our water has alot of iron and other metals in it. We do have a filter thing we put on the hose BUT half way through our refill it stopped working and there was only a trickle coming out so we took it off. :/ Last yr we used the filter thing on the hose to add water as needed (from kids splashing out, vacuuming, etc) and then would put Metal Free in it. That helped with the yellow in the water.

I fill like I am just wasting time and money.
 

Smykowski

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
guardwife2 said:
Im going to let it sit and do it's job for a while and then I will go out and retest it with what I have now.
Chlorine does it's job extremely quickly, and your free chlorine level will likely be down to zero by the time you go out and retest it. Properly shocking the pool requires frequent testing and dosing (up to once every 45min to an hour at first) to maintain a high enough chlorine level to completely wipe out anything living in your pool. Have you read through this article and this thread?
 

guardwife2

Well-known member
Jul 5, 2012
160
yes, I have.

I am testing it quite frequently actually but I wanted it to sit and try to work before I go out and mess with it more. I dont want to add, add, add before it has a chance to work. That is what happened before and I ended up with milky water that was almost worse than having algae.
 

guardwife2

Well-known member
Jul 5, 2012
160
ok...I have been working on the pool and reading the pool school over and over in btwn. I think I am slowlying figure this out or atleast trying to, so please bear with me.

I did the calulation for my pool too. (hope I did that right too..im trying...really trying)

I found out I put down some things incorrect when I posted my readings..that is my error. My CYA is 50 NOT 100....I wrote it down from this morning and have been keeping reading tabs as I check to see where my levels are at. Also...while sitting outside working on my pool I realized the HTH test strips expired in 2/2010..so I threw them away. The Aqua check ones are good as they are new and don't expire till 2013 and I went up to my small hardware and bought new bottles test (yellow/red) to test the PH and Ch-chlorine. So those are what I am using till TOMORROW. Tomorrow I will go to the nearest big town and purchase a reliable test drop kit and more chlorine, etc to work on my pool. I am also picking up the two other BB's. so here are my readings now...like I said I am working with what I got till tomorrow. (I also called our local pool here in town and they were willing to check my water but they use Bromine and only test PH and Bromine...which does me no good b/c I use Ch-chlorine).

Test drop kit:
Ch-chlorine +10 it is high b/c of the chlorine I am adding to it to "shock" it
Ph-btwn 7.5/7.8

Aqua check strips:
PH-btwn 7.5/7.8 I am working on bringing this down and just added some more PH- to the water. Will recheck here in a few min
CH-chlorine is 10+
Alk 180-240 based on the color of strip
CYA- it is a light tan so according to the strip "colors" it is reading btwn 0 low 30/50.

so it appears these two tests are correlating with each other readings. So what do I do? do I continue to take readings and chlorinate? I know that is what it says in the pool school but at what point do I stop? and then what is the second step?

thanks..
 

guardwife2

Well-known member
Jul 5, 2012
160
good news...well atleast I think it is. I worked on my pool all day yesterday and checked it off and on in the night. This morning I can smell chlorine...first time that has happened in a LONG LONG LONG TIME. The Chlorine levels are staying as well....they have dropped a little bit but still in the 5 range per my test kits...both test strips and the small drop kit I am using. The Ph is right around 7,5 as well. The CYA appears a little lower this morning it was hovering around the 30/50 mark and I would say closer to the 30 mark today per the color on the kit. SO I think I am making improvement. Also my water has changed color. It was green yesterday today it is not..it is still cloudy but I can see down to the second step. I am still going to get a pool store reading on my water and will post it but what do I continue to do now?
 

guardwife2

Well-known member
Jul 5, 2012
160
ok...read the link again my question is do I vacuum during this time or just keep adding bleach/liquid chlorine till the levels level out and no over night loss has occured? If I do vacuum during this time...I do it to waste right? If so..isn't that wasting bleach and throwing off levels?
 

csigirl

LifeTime Supporter
May 31, 2011
39
Ft. Lauderdale, Fl
Right now, unless there's debris or particulate in the pool i would just brush the pool often and maintain your FC at shock levels...keep going with this plan until your water is clear and you pass the OCLT. Your making progress because of all the chlorine you're adding. So keep adding it (and nothing else) until you see results. Once you're done shocking THEN you can adjust all your other values....YOURE DOING GREAT! Test your FC and add the appropriate amount of chlorine as often as possible and you'll be clear in no time! :p
 

guardwife2

Well-known member
Jul 5, 2012
160
Ok...I bought a 6 way test kit. Here we go:

CL 1/2 mark on drop test kit
PH 7.5
ALK 400--I added 40 drops and it finally turned color but it was a hot pink..never red. I repeated this twice with same results. Dropt test kit said add Alk Titrant dropwise. After each drop, count and swirl to mix, which I did, until color changes from green to red. It never turned red and I did this slowly. It was hot pink. Step 4 of instructions said to mulitply drops in step 3 (which is above) by 10. Record as ppm total. So since I added 40 drops that would be 400. which is high.
CYA-did the test where you drop the water/cyanuric acid reagent into little tube....I was not able to see the black dot after it reached 30
Hardness-It said once I added hardness indicator it should turn to red if hardness was present. it never turned red..it was a light purple. So am I to assume I dont have hard water?

I also added 7 gallons of bleach to the water just now b/c the CL reading was lower than this mornings reading, which was a 5 (not .5 but 5). So now what do I do?

thanks