Help! Cloudy water and possible conversion to bromine!

Jbgelatt

Member
Jul 16, 2020
9
NJ
Hi - I recently joined TFP because of the great info here, but seem to be having a hard time getting a response to my recent predicament (I directly messaged 3 of your longtime members and haven’t heard anything)so I’m going to copy and paste here...I’m desperate for some help!!
and it basically describes to a T, the position I am now in. A week ago, I noticed that when I was brushing our 50,000 gallon plaster pool (which we're not sure how old it is - just moved into the house in the spring...pool sat for at least 5 years), that there was a cloud every push. I didn't see anything really growing on the walls, but by the time I was done, the whole pool was cloudy. The next morning, I noticed some sediment in small patches on the bottom, and immediately thought, "mustard algae." :oops: This whole summer, our water has been sparkly clear, and aside from some metal staining issues, we haven't had problems. We are new to the inground pool thing, and I'm fairly new to this site, so didn't research before going to the pool store, who immediately gave me some type of yellow out (sodium bromide - 2lbs at about 90% ) and 10 gallons of liquid chlorine. I did that (as well as brushing) on a Saturday night, then really didn't check the FC till Monday morning....it was Zero...and I could still see sediment on the bottom and still cloudy. So...I went back to the pool store, and they said "well, mustard algae can be really stubborn - you should do another treatment." Not knowing any better, I bought 2 more 2lb bottles of "Pool Style Algae Solution" which is 99% sodium bromide, and dumped that in, along with 12 bags of Cal-Hypo (our Calcium hardness has been low most of the season, so I figured this would help raise it. Then, I was reading about Slamming, and thought maybe I should just try to keep the FC levels up at slam level for a while, (our cya is 69) so I've been adding ungodly amounts of liquid chlorine (12.5%). Just today I added 16 gallons because our FC level went from a 10 this morning to a 3 in about 2 hours o_OAfter finally reading through some posts about sodium bromide, to my horror, our pool is obviously now a bromine pool. Fortunately, we're at the end of the swimming season, but not really sure how to proceed...I don't have a good test kit (yes, we were relying on strips, and the occasional run to the pool store to have them test) and know i need to order one, but should I forget the slam? Our water is still cloudy, and I'm getting some kind of deposit on the bottom daily. I'm really wondering now if it wasn't even MA, because from what I've now read, it's usually in the shady spots and on the walls. I think we may actually have a filter issue or maybe it’s pollen?(in September??) (On a side note, we recently bought perlite instead of DE for our 48sf? filter, and it seems like it always leaves residual floating in the water...is that normal?) Our skimmer lines have never really worked at full capacity (we had to snake numerous times, but with the bottom drain, we’ve been ok). We are pretty much surrounded by trees, so not sure if that's also a factor? I just don't have any idea what to do at this point. I would like to just clear the water up and get the pool balanced before we close (though it's still pretty warm here in NJ, so that may be a couple months....Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!!!
 

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duraleigh

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
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In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
34,437
Sebring, Florida
jbgelatt posted this up at my request because I am inexperienced with sodium bromide. Can we get him some advice?
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
33,374
Laughlin, NV
In total, how much of the sodium bromide did you add? I am fearful that you have crossed the line and will need to fully drain and replace the water in this pool.
 

JJ_Tex

Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
1,732
Prosper, TX (DFW)
I read it as 4lbs of sodium bromide in a 50k pool. That does nothing for me, but may help some of the others.

To the OP, can you post up the details of your pool in your signature so that they can better assist you (type of filter, equipment, etc.). Also double check that volume, as 50k is a pretty dang big residential pool.
 

Jbgelatt

Member
Jul 16, 2020
9
NJ
It is a very large pool - 20’ X 50’ counting the spa (which is attached). It’s between 45 and 50k gallons. We added a total of 8 lbs of sodium bromide. Obviously, after learning more, I would never use that again. In fact, this was really a learning year for us and next year we’ll definitely use the BBB method. Since it is September though, we’re not going to drain the pool at this point- we will next spring because we’re most likely going to have it re-finished anyway. Just wondering if it’s at the point of no return (to bromine) for the rest of this year, where I have to dump gallons of chlorine in every day because it zeros out every afternoon. Can I keep using trichlor tablets since cya doesn’t affect it now? We did find a hole in one of the filter grids, which is probably why we keep finding sediment on the bottom of the pool :rolleyes:, not MA...uuugghh.
 

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Donldson

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 12, 2009
4,589
NW Ohio
Yes, it's definitely a bromine pool now. The bromide base is something like 10-15 ppm, enough that a complete drain would be necessary to return it to a chlorine pool.
 

Jbgelatt

Member
Jul 16, 2020
9
NJ
Any suggestions would be appreciated! I just don’t want to be buying 5-6 gallons of chlorine per DAY to dump in here just so we can close the pool soon. I would close it today if I could - but I’m thinking it’s still too warm? (Average is still about 78 degrees here...).
 

Donldson

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 12, 2009
4,589
NW Ohio
That's not how this works. Chlorine, when added to a pool with a bromide base, reacts with it to create bromine. There's no reason to use some specialized bromine tablets, in fact those are made for hot tubs and will likely dissolve very slowly in the cooler pool water.

I don't have any suggestions that haven't already been acknowledged and dismissed, so I have nothing further to add.
 
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cowboycasey

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Jul 3, 2013
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Fletcher, OK
That's not how this works. Chlorine, when added to a pool with a bromide base, reacts with it to create bromine. There's no reason to use some specialized bromine tablets, in fact those are made for hot tubs and will likely dissolve very slowly in the cooler pool water.

I don't have any suggestions that haven't already been acknowledged and dismissed, so I have nothing further to add.
Thanks for the info, I should have known not to stick my nose into Bromine as I have never used it... "I thought" is just not good enough... Thanks for setting me straight...
 

CraigChing

Well-known member
Jun 15, 2019
69
Plymouth, Minnesota
Am I missing something? What suggestions were offered and dismissed?
... a complete drain would be necessary to return it to a chlorine pool.
I think this was the advice. This isn’t really a forum for how to maintain a bromine pool. Kimkats did ping Leebo who may choose to provide some additional advice, but that’s outside the general purview of TFP methods.
 

CraigChing

Well-known member
Jun 15, 2019
69
Plymouth, Minnesota
just not sure why the attitude. Telling someone to just drain 50,000 gallons of water at the very end of swimming season just doesn’t make sense.
Sorry, I’m not trying to give attitude. You’re on a forum that promotes using chlorine as the only sanitizer for maintaining a swimming pool. We don’t have a lot of expertise in maintaining bromine pools and can’t really give much better advice other than to get you in our wheelhouse (i.e. drain your pool). You can wait and see if Leebo provides any further advice or find a community that promotes bromine for pool maintenance and see what they say.
 

jseyfert3

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TFP Guide
Oct 20, 2017
1,041
South-Central WI
I've no first hand experience, but the issue with bromine is that there's nothing to stabilize it against UV, so it breaks down into bromide very quickly. As soon as it's bromide, chlorine oxidizes it into bromine immediately. What this means is that UV breaks down the bromine really fast, uses up the chlorine so chlorine can't sanitize the pool, and there's nothing you can do about it. This is why bromine is only used for indoor pools or covered spas.

You'll have to do a water change, there's no way to remove bromine. At this point, since you're planning on draining to refinish mext spring, perhaps the best thing to do is nothing. Let the pool go green, you're draining next spring anyway. In the spring, drain, clean, refinish, refill, and follow TFP advice, steering clear of any pool stores! Note that I'm not certain this is good advise or not, seems to make sense, but letting a pool go green on purpose...

Either that or you can keep adding chlorine at a high rate to counter the sun burning up the bromine really fast, but not sure if it's worth it since the swimming season is about over and you're draining next spring anyway. I believe you are correct that since it's a bromine pool now CYA has no affect and you could use triclor to oxidize the bromine, which may make things a bit easier to try and limp through till spring and the drain and refill.