First pool setup and filled, trouble getting water clear

shipley3

Member
Jun 18, 2019
12
Deep East Texas
We're new to pool ownership, we just recently finished with setting and filling our pool this past Saturday. A visit to the pool supply store nearby and back home with loads of chemicals and a strict step by step day by day list of chemicals to begin the process of getting our water clear. We live in an area where we're on a "community" well...water supplied from an aquifer not far from us. We had our water tested at the pool store and for the most part it seemed to be pretty good, just much softer than what is allowed I guess.
So the first day we added 1 lb of shock to the water and two bright sticks to the floater. The following day we we're supposed to add the first 12 lbs of calcium, but we had major rain and storms here so we held off until yesterday. On Sunday night (once the rain subsided) we did add the 8 oz of algicide and 8 oz of clear blue 2000 (I think that's what it's called) and ran the pump all night. Yesterday morning we added another pound of shock (because we got almost 8" of rain on Sunday and we had to drain the pool some) and last night we finally added the first 12 pounds of calcium. Also I should mention our water has been a slight brown/rust color ever since we filled it and it looked like by yesterday afternoon that it had lightened up just a tad bit. Except for this morning when we checked it, there is all of this brown streaks all over the bottom of pool and when we take the brush to it, it spreads out into the water and looks like it disappears but once it settles again it's all over the pool bottom again.
Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas as to what or how to get rid of the rust/brown tint of the water? Or if we should be following a different chemical regimen?
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Welcome! :wave: So a few things to mention right off the bat ...
- Brown water in your case speaks to iron from the well. More on that in a minute.
- Most of the products the pool store sold you were over-priced and a waste. They took your $$$. Sorry. Stick with us and your OWN proper testing.
- Vinyl pools don't typically need any calcium. Another myth/waste of your hard-earned money. No need to add anymore.
- Algaecides were not necessary and typially add copper to the water only making things worse.
- New water needs 3 things immediately checked/maintained:
1 - PH in the mid 7s; if high, lower with muriatic acid
2 - Free Chlorine (FC); liquid chlorine (aka regular bleach)
3 - Stabilizer (CYA) to a minimum of 30 ppm. With summer almost here, a CYA of 40-50 may be better for you.

Big question .... is the water not clear because of a hazy fog (algae) or is it that brown stuff from the well (iron)? If it's hazy from early stages of algae, you will need to perform what we call a SLAM Process to clear the water.

Most important question ... do you have your own "proper" test kit? It should be either a TF-100 (my preferred) or a Taylor K-2006C. See Test Kits Compared Do yoursefl a favor and avoid the pool store products and advice. Get one of those kits and provide us with a full suite of test resutls. We'll be glad to walk you through it.


Also see
 

shipley3

Member
Jun 18, 2019
12
Deep East Texas
Welcome! :wave: So a few things to mention right off the bat ...
- Brown water in your case speaks to iron from the well. More on that in a minute.
- Most of the products the pool store sold you were over-priced and a waste. They took your $$$. Sorry. Stick with us and your OWN proper testing.
- Vinyl pools don't typically need any calcium. Another myth/waste of your hard-earned money. No need to add anymore.
- Algaecides were not necessary and typially add copper to the water only making things worse.
- New water needs 3 things immediately checked/maintained:
1 - PH in the mid 7s; if high, lower with muriatic acid
2 - Free Chlorine (FC); liquid chlorine (aka regular bleach)
3 - Stabilizer (CYA) to a minimum of 30 ppm. With summer almost here, a CYA of 40-50 may be better for you.

Big question .... is the water not clear because of a hazy fog (algae) or is it that brown stuff from the well (iron)? If it's hazy from early stages of algae, you will need to perform what we call a SLAM Process to clear the water.

Most important question ... do you have your own "proper" test kit? It should be either a TF-100 (my preferred) or a Taylor K-2006C. See Test Kits Compared Do yoursefl a favor and avoid the pool store products and advice. Get one of those kits and provide us with a full suite of test resutls. We'll be glad to walk you through it.


Also see
Almost everything you stated above is completely opposite of what the pool store told us. I wish we would have created an account here before going there and giving away our money. Live and learn.

The water is not hazy, its just discolored but the clarity of the water isn't bad. We have noticed last night compared to two nights ago that the clarity is looking much better, but again after going out this morning and checking things there is a continuous streak of rust color settled all the way around the bottom of pool. We did put in the other half of calcium last night, and now regretting that we didn't see your response sooner.

No we do not have a "proper" test kit, we don't have one at all...we didn't purchase one because the pool stores suggestion was to not purchasing one and bring water to them to test...in hindsight now I see why, so they can continue to have us purchase unnecessary chemicals...but we will be getting one now and testing on our own. I see that there are two reliable places to order the TF-100 from, so we'll go with one of them.

So now what to do with all the leftover chemicals we still have.

Are you saying for chlorine all we need is a gallon jug of everyday household bleach and not the bleach pucks and "shock"??

We do have results I can share from the test done in the store if that will shed any light until we get our test kit.

Free chlorine - 1.04 ppm
Total chlorine - 1.33 ppm
Combined chlorine - 0.29 ppm
pH - 6.9
Hardness - 16 ppm
Alkalinity - 97 ppm
Cyanuric Acid - 79 ppm
Copper - 0 ppm
Iron - 0.3 ppm
Phosphate - 1023 ppb

Also I forgot to mention that our filter pump can do sand or salt. Is there a recommendation on which we should run, we have sand in it currently just wondering what the consensus is on sand vs salt if one is better than the other.

Thank you for the advice and suggestions!
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
While you know by now we don't place a lot of faith in store testing, there are a couple things I will mention - keep in mind these are not YOUR tests yet. :) So don't overreact at this point with too much corrections.
- The iron level is elevated as we expected. Iron confirmed.
- IF (big IF) your CYA is already close to 80, that means you don't want to go any higher. Stick to regular bleach or if your salt water generator (SWG) is working, use that. But no pucks or bags of shock from the pool store. Those products increase the CYA.
- Your pH is low and should be closer to about 7.2 for now. If you have a way to create aeration (bubbler, fountain, etc) that will raise pH naturally.
- Free Chlorine (FC) is too low (algae)

So at this point it's really hard to tell if you have algae or not. Your FC level is way too low. If we say for now you have no algae, then you need to do a couple things. First, confirm for us .... are you going to chlorinate manually with bleach or use your SWG? Which ever way you decide is fine, but pick one method and then go to the FC/CYA Chart. Look for your appropriate chart and then find your current CYA of 80. Then look to see what your FC level should be and maintain it.

Iron reacts to two things - an Increase in chlorine levels and an elevated pH. Your pH is low right now, so I suspect the iron will change more as you increase the FC level. As that is happening, you need to try and filter as much of that iron residue out of the pool as possible. Common methods are to place towels or white t-shirts in the skimmer, or maybe some polyfill. You should see them turning orange/brown as it captures the iron. The more iron you can remove now the better.

Also understand that for pools with iron, if you ever get algae, the algae must be treated and eradicated first before treating for iron - specifically stains around the pool. That's because to kill algae, you need to perform a SLAM Process which requires a higher FC level. With a higher FC level comes the potential for iron to react. So it's always important to avoid algae when possible. That's why that FC/CYA Chart is so important.

So get the FC increased and make sure to order the test kit right away. You need accuracy and independence at home to validate your chemistry. The test kit will pay for itself by staying out of the pool store and their bad advice. I recommend the TF-100, but the Taylor K-2006C will work too. If you can get eh magnetic speedstir, I highly recommend that as well.

For your unused chemicals, you should be able to store them in a cool/dry place for now. Later we can come back to those to see if you can use them at some point or perhaps return for store credit.
 

shipley3

Member
Jun 18, 2019
12
Deep East Texas
While you know by now we don't place a lot of faith in store testing, there are a couple things I will mention - keep in mind these are not YOUR tests yet. :) So don't overreact at this point with too much corrections.
- The iron level is elevated as we expected. Iron confirmed.
- IF (big IF) your CYA is already close to 80, that means you don't want to go any higher. Stick to regular bleach or if your salt water generator (SWG) is working, use that. But no pucks or bags of shock from the pool store. Those products increase the CYA.
- Your pH is low and should be closer to about 7.2 for now. If you have a way to create aeration (bubbler, fountain, etc) that will raise pH naturally.
- Free Chlorine (FC) is too low (algae)

So at this point it's really hard to tell if you have algae or not. Your FC level is way too low. If we say for now you have no algae, then you need to do a couple things. First, confirm for us .... are you going to chlorinate manually with bleach or use your SWG? Which ever way you decide is fine, but pick one method and then go to the FC/CYA Chart. Look for your appropriate chart and then find your current CYA of 80. Then look to see what your FC level should be and maintain it.

Iron reacts to two things - an Increase in chlorine levels and an elevated pH. Your pH is low right now, so I suspect the iron will change more as you increase the FC level. As that is happening, you need to try and filter as much of that iron residue out of the pool as possible. Common methods are to place towels or white t-shirts in the skimmer, or maybe some polyfill. You should see them turning orange/brown as it captures the iron. The more iron you can remove now the better.

Also understand that for pools with iron, if you ever get algae, the algae must be treated and eradicated first before treating for iron - specifically stains around the pool. That's because to kill algae, you need to perform a SLAM Process which requires a higher FC level. With a higher FC level comes the potential for iron to react. So it's always important to avoid algae when possible. That's why that FC/CYA Chart is so important.

So get the FC increased and make sure to order the test kit right away. You need accuracy and independence at home to validate your chemistry. The test kit will pay for itself by staying out of the pool store and their bad advice. I recommend the TF-100, but the Taylor K-2006C will work too. If you can get eh magnetic speedstir, I highly recommend that as well.

For your unused chemicals, you should be able to store them in a cool/dry place for now. Later we can come back to those to see if you can use them at some point or perhaps return for store credit.
It really doesn't look like algae at all, its very rust colored and not green or sticking to sides of pool. We noticed that this morning before turning on the pump there wasn't any signs of rust colored streaks settled at the bottom of pool, BUT about an hour after turning pump on the streaks appeared. Any ideas? We also have been backwashing about once a day and we can see a lot of the "rust" escape during backwash, we're not sure whether it's making a difference or not.

We have ordered the TF-100 kit along with the speedstir, and it should be here Monday, possibly tomorrow. We we're going to wait until the test kit arrived to add bleach, we just don't know how much to add. For now we're going to continue with using the pump with sand and not switch to SWG, we have already invested in the sand for the filter pump so we'll continue with that for now until we drain maybe this fall.

We also ordered a skimmer to hook up to one of the intake valves and a vacuum to get all the debris and gunk that keeps sinking to bottom, hoping these will both help with getting/keeping the water cleaner and less iron? Once we get the skimmer installed we'll add some polyfill to it to help capture the iron.
 

Flying Tivo

Well-known member
Jan 24, 2017
1,003
Monterrey, NL, Mexico
For now we're going to continue with using the pump with sand and not switch to SWG, we have already invested in the sand for the filter pump so we'll continue with that for now until we drain maybe this fall.
I think you are misunderstanding the role of salt and SWG. A sand filter uses SAND not SALT. If you are going to use your SWG, you need to add salt to the water so the SWG can work to create Chlorine from salt. If you use your SWG then you dont need to add liquid chlorine aka bleach to the water. But you should do the liquid chlorine first and when you get the hang of it then switch to SWG.
 

shipley3

Member
Jun 18, 2019
12
Deep East Texas
Ok, we completed both the daily test check and the weekly. I can say that the daily shows NO chlorine, it's got me really concerned now because after being gone on vacation I went to vacuum the pool and it's very slippery inside and on the thermometer and a small water toy that was left inside.
Our Ph show 7.5, but the chlorine side shows nothing.

Here are the results from the weekly test part of the kit. (We have the TF-100 Kit)

FC - 1
CC - 0.5
TA - 130
CH - 250 ppm
CYA - I had trouble with this one and I'm not sure if I did it right, but I was still able to see the black dot even with the tube completely full.

If someone could please respond asap I would appreciate it tremendously. I'm really unsure of how much bleach to add and it concerns me a lot that the test shows none.

Thank you!
 

Flying Tivo

Well-known member
Jan 24, 2017
1,003
Monterrey, NL, Mexico
You need to SLAM Process first you need to add CYA 56 oz, and 180 oz of bleach 12%. The key is the maintain, you need to test your FC every couple of hours and maintain 12ppm of FC. Download the poolmath app and it wiil tell you how much to add.
 

gonfishin

Gold Supporter
Jun 13, 2017
257
Rochester, MN
Slimey feel means algae is forming. You need to get your CYA to at least 30 and SLAM Process. You also need to check your pH level and get it correct before starting the SLAM.

I would add 1.5 gallons of 10% bleach (use PoolMath to verify for your pool size) to get to SLAM level while the CYA is dissolving IF your pH is at the proper level. Once you've completed the SLAM, you can work on other issues.
 

shipley3

Member
Jun 18, 2019
12
Deep East Texas
I think you are misunderstanding the role of salt and SWG. A sand filter uses SAND not SALT. If you are going to use your SWG, you need to add salt to the water so the SWG can work to create Chlorine from salt. If you use your SWG then you dont need to add liquid chlorine aka bleach to the water. But you should do the liquid chlorine first and when you get the hang of it then switch to SWG.

No I'm not misunderstanding the role. I know a sand filter uses sand, I said we have a pump that is capable of filtering using sand OR salt. I also said that for now we're going to continue with sand since we already invested in it and have already filled our pool.
 

shipley3

Member
Jun 18, 2019
12
Deep East Texas
Slimey feel means algae is forming. You need to get your CYA to at least 30 and SLAM Process. You also need to check your pH level and get it correct before starting the SLAM.

I would add 1.5 gallons of 10% bleach (use PoolMath to verify for your pool size) to get to SLAM level while the CYA is dissolving IF your pH is at the proper level. Once you've completed the SLAM, you can work on other issues.

this is contradicting to what the pool math app says to add. I just logged my test results to the app and it is telling to me add 59 oz of 6% bleach.
 

gonfishin

Gold Supporter
Jun 13, 2017
257
Rochester, MN
this is contradicting to what the pool math app says to add. I just logged my test results to the app and it is telling to me add 59 oz of 6% bleach.
I may very well have done something wrong when I put the numbers in to get an amount. Go with what YOU have input.
 

shipley3

Member
Jun 18, 2019
12
Deep East Texas
Based on a CYA of 30 (add it now) your SLAM level FC is 12 ppm.

Please understand we're completely NEW to this, what/where do we get CYA and how much do we add? Also if you saw my post above with our results, I had trouble completing that test (at least I think I did) as I was still able to see the black dot, it was just more gray in color even with the tube completely full I could still "see" it. So what does that mean? How do I know what our CYA level is?

And the PoolMath app is telling me to add 59 oz of 6% bleach but others are telling me to add much more than that.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
21,182
Laughlin, NV
You can purchase CYA aka Stabilizer aka Conditioner at Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Amazon, Pool stores, etc.

If your initial test at least made the dot 'grey' it means you have some in the water. Most likely the 'shock' and 'brite sticks' were dichlor/trichlor which are chlorine and CYA. So add 20 ppm CYA granules using the sock method.
Add the CYA by using what we call the sock method. Get an old sock (no holes) and put the measured amount of CYA you need. Tie the sock closed and either suspend it in front of a return (hang it from your brush pole works with something weighted on the deck) OR if it still allows flow thru the skimmer, place the sock in the skimmer. Every 15/20 minutes give the sock a squeeze to speed up the process. Please DO NOT follow the directions on the container of CYA to just pour it into the skimmer and don't just toss the sock in the pool as the CYA is acidic and can bleach/stain pool finishes.

For FC, once you start the CYA dissolving, add enough liquid chlorine to get to 12 ppm. You can get liquid chlorine at Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, pool stores, farm stores, cleaning supply stores, etc. Use PoolMath (you have the app). Enter your most current test, include the expected CYA of 30 ppm, go to Overview, touch the FC, select SLAM, and see how much liquid chlorine (you must select the %) it states to use. You will then test your FC and add liquid chlorine multiple times per day until you pass the three criteria described in the SLAM article.
 

Flying Tivo

Well-known member
Jan 24, 2017
1,003
Monterrey, NL, Mexico
No I'm not misunderstanding the role. I know a sand filter uses sand, I said we have a pump that is capable of filtering using sand OR salt. I also said that for now we're going to continue with sand since we already invested in it and have already filled our pool.
Just to clear terminology:
Pump only moves water it does not filter
Filters clear water using sand or other filtering media
Salt is not a filtering media.

As Marty said concentrate on the SLAM process, you will learn more as you go. If you can post pictures of your progress it would be nice.
 

shipley3

Member
Jun 18, 2019
12
Deep East Texas
You can purchase CYA aka Stabilizer aka Conditioner at Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Amazon, Pool stores, etc.

If your initial test at least made the dot 'grey' it means you have some in the water. Most likely the 'shock' and 'brite sticks' were dichlor/trichlor which are chlorine and CYA. So add 20 ppm CYA granules using the sock method.
Add the CYA by using what we call the sock method. Get an old sock (no holes) and put the measured amount of CYA you need. Tie the sock closed and either suspend it in front of a return (hang it from your brush pole works with something weighted on the deck) OR if it still allows flow thru the skimmer, place the sock in the skimmer. Every 15/20 minutes give the sock a squeeze to speed up the process. Please DO NOT follow the directions on the container of CYA to just pour it into the skimmer and don't just toss the sock in the pool as the CYA is acidic and can bleach/stain pool finishes.

For FC, once you start the CYA dissolving, add enough liquid chlorine to get to 12 ppm. You can get liquid chlorine at Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, pool stores, farm stores, cleaning supply stores, etc. Use PoolMath (you have the app). Enter your most current test, include the expected CYA of 30 ppm, go to Overview, touch the FC, select SLAM, and see how much liquid chlorine (you must select the %) it states to use. You will then test your FC and add liquid chlorine multiple times per day until you pass the three criteria described in the SLAM article.

Thank you for this. We have been adding bleach, Clorox brand unscented. I thought I had read that it is the same as liquid chlorine...I did another test this morning and the FC is up slightly. It is now 1.5. I'll be going into town today to see if our Walmart has CYA, hoping so because we are too far out to make it to Home Depot or something like that. If not I'll check our feed store.

Do I assume that during the SLAM process we can't go in the pool? We have family in town and if so we may wait until after they leave to SLAM.