Entertaining afternoon at the pool store


TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
Silver Spring, MD
I was trying to get my water tested for metals today but the clerk decided that I really ought to get the complete workup. He told me that my CYA was 144, which was just fine(!) according to him, and my FC was 5 but that was too high!!! Keep in mind that my testing shows CYA at 45-50 and the best guess chart suggest a min FC of 8 when CYA is 144. He also measured TDS and got 200, expect that I have a SWG and my salt level is 3500 so my TDS is presumably pushing 4000. And lets not forget that my filter hasn't been "chemically cleaned" in over six weeks, so I need to buy that stuff as well. His testing was with an Alex system reading test strips. After some protesting that "I already have some of that" and promising to do what he said he finally let me go with just a bag of skimmer socks (which I wanted before I came in).

All of which really makes me wonder if I should trust the copper number he gave me. He didn't have an iron test, and the other two stores I went to couldn't test for either copper or iron. Maybe it is time to order the metals test kits.


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
Pleasanton, CA
Not very surprising to me. I had a similar experience with CYA pool measurements. They never seemed to match my measurements. However, most of the time CL,PH,TA,CH came pretty close to my tests. TDS was always fun since their meter only went to 2400 ppm and I told them I had a salt pool but they insisted on measuring it anyway.

I gave up trusting their measurements so you might be better off with your own test kit.


The Bioguard "Alex" software is notorious for bad test results. In fact, I would not trust any water testing done with strips and a strip scanner! (Proteam, are you listening!?) If the store was using a colorimeter with either liquid or powdered reagents then the test results are probably accurate (if they were done correctly, another big IF) such as the LaMotte Waterlink system but the software that calculates dosing info often leaves a lot to be desired! (including LaMotte's DataMate 8 software that we use at work!)

Both Taylor and LaMotte have good test kits for copper and iron.