Extremely Cloudy - Algae Expected

mcgolf23

Member
Jun 6, 2007
14
Indianapolis
We were having vacuum problems and weren't able to vacuum or pool for several weeks. We thought there was simply dirt accumulating on the bottom. Well once the vacuum was fixed, I quickly realized this was algae not dirt! We are first year pool owners and thought we were doing a good job of keeping chlorine in the pool, but I hindsight says we weren't!

I of course was gullible and went to Leslie's and bought the yellow out. Vacuumed and broomed the pool, added the yellow out and then shocked as directed on Tuesday. Yesterday went back to Leslie's and they had me buy their chlor brite to clear the cloudiness. Wake up today - and nothing is better. It might even be worse.

Currently we just have the normal chlorine and PH testing kit. I know we need the one recommended on here, but won't get that for a few days. Today we have added a total of 12 gallons of clorox (6 morning, 6 afternoon) to our 40,000 gallon pool.

I know you guys need readings to make suggestions. But are we on the right path? Is there anything at a place like Leslie's I can buy to test the water in between us getting your testing kit??

We are having a family cook out on Sunday ------ is there any hope for a semi-clear pool??? :) PLEASE HELP!!!
 

duraleigh

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Apr 1, 2007
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Welcome to the forum.

Many walmart's carry an HTH brand 6-way kit that's not too bad ($20, I think) that will help a lot. Any kit that will test for pH, Chlorine (above 5ppm but you're not likely to find that), Alkalinity and, importantly, CYA will be beneficial.

Are you on the right track? Yes...chlorine is the answer to clearing your pool. The big issue you'll have is know ing how much chlorine is in your pool so you know how much to add. You can limp along with that HTH kit but you will still have to do some guesswork.

Can you do it by Sunday? Perhaps, but not likely. Sorry for the potential of bad news but clearing your pool is a process....not a one time event. That process is occassionally done in 24-48 hours but more likely three to five days.

One important tip (as you've already discovered), despite what the pool store folks might tell you, they can sell you nothing much that will speed your progress. There is no "magic bullet" that will clear your pool overnight.

Even if it's not perfect on Sunday, it'll probably be better than now (with the help from folks on this forum) and you'll be started into the process.
 

JasonLion

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May 7, 2007
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Silver Spring, MD
Three days is a very agressive schedule. I suppose that it is just barely possible if everything goes very well and you can work on the pool every hour or two from now till then.

You need to keep on adding chlorine until the level holds. The cheap test can tell you high chlorine vs low chlorine fairly well. Any time the chlorine is below 5 add enough to bring your level up by 10 ppm, wait half an hour or an hour and do it again. In 40,000 gallons 6 1/2 gallons of 6% bleach will bring FC up by 10.

I would stay away from chlor brite unless you know your CYA level and want to raise it. Chlor brite will add lots of CYA, which you are very unlikely to want right now.

If you can get your chlorine level to stay high for several hours in a row you could then do a flock treatment that night and vacuum everything up the next morning and swim in the afternoon.

That really isn't the right way to do it and it does run some risk of the problem coming back later, but the odds of swimming on Sunday are fairly good.

Yellow Out is a much more specialized product than they make it out to be. It is only appropriate when your CYA is sky high, and even then it is lots of work.

While that is all happening order a real test kit. The TF Test Kit is a wonderful choice, see the link in my signature. A good test kit is the best investment in your pool you can make. The key is to never get in the kind of situation you are in right now and a good test kit will make that possible.
 

mcgolf23

Member
Jun 6, 2007
14
Indianapolis
A couple more questions - don't hate the newbie!!! :-D JasonLion states 6 1/2 gallons of 6% chlorine will bring FC up by 10ppm - at this point what should my free chlorine goal be? You also mention a flock treatment. What is this?

Thank you soooo much for your help. I will try and get numbers posted.
 

JohnT

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Apr 4, 2007
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SW Indiana
mcgolf23 said:
A couple more questions - don't hate the newbie!!! :-D JasonLion states 6 1/2 gallons of 6% chlorine will bring FC up by 10ppm - at this point what should my free chlorine goal be? You also mention a flock treatment. What is this?
Without knowing your CYA level, a good starting point is 15ppm for vinyl and 25ppm for gunite. If you want it to clear quickly, plan on checking the chlorine every few hours around the clock. You can get a pretty good rough chlorine level by diluting your pool water sample with 3 parts distilled water, testing the mixture, then multiplying the cheap test kit's reading by 4 to get the actual level.

The absolute best thing you can do is to test and adjust the chlorine as often as you can and to brush and vacuum several times a day.
 

JasonLion

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May 7, 2007
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Silver Spring, MD
You need to know what your current CYA level is to know what FC level you should aim for.

A floc treatment is a chemical that you add to the pool, allow to circulate for perhaps 30 minutes to an hour, and then turn off the pump overnight. In the morning everything in the water will have settled to the bottom. Then you can vacuum it up very carefully, preferrably vacuuming to waste if your setup allows that. The water is cleared up overnight, though it costs something and takes some extra work. And it won't work if you have any noticable amount of live algae growing in the pool.

Leslie's caries a flocculant called Alum, BioGuard calls theirs Power-Floc, etc.
 

mcgolf23

Member
Jun 6, 2007
14
Indianapolis
We actually have a container of Leslie's alum at home. I am 70% sure the algae is dead or almost dead. I don't see any signs of it on the walls or what little I can see of the bottom. I am planning on adding my bleach tonight, tomorrow morning, tomorrow afternoon and evening. And then trying the alum. MY question is....the alum says it needs PH to be at 7.0 for effectiveness. Can I achieve this while I'm shocking? When I tested a few hours ago, PH was about 7.5.

Does anyone have experience with alum? I know it is a quicker solution (not the best solution).
 

mcgolf23

Member
Jun 6, 2007
14
Indianapolis
well it looks like our chlorine held over night. We still only have the tester that goes to 5 ppm, but the color last night was very dark orange and it was the same this morning. Should we just wait and test the water in a few hours to see if there is any change before adding more bleach??
 

JohnT

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Apr 4, 2007
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SW Indiana
mcgolf23 said:
well it looks like our chlorine held over night. We still only have the tester that goes to 5 ppm, but the color last night was very dark orange and it was the same this morning. Should we just wait and test the water in a few hours to see if there is any change before adding more bleach??
You can't rely on that testing method. You'll at least have to do the dilution method to get an idea of where your chlorine is.