HELP NEEDED for SWG above ground pool - Newbies need help to get it balanced! Please help

SueDoone

Member
Jul 28, 2020
13
Auburn, CA
Hi,
New member here as over the past few days, I seem to have found the place where I can get some good help and learn everything I can absorb (not saying I don't hit info overload easily with my ol' brain). We have an 18' x 52" Ultra XTR frame pool, with a new AQUA-TROL AG CHLORINE GEN. added last week, replacing a cheap sea breeze (?) SWG my daughter previously used on her smaller Intex pool. That old SWG kept our pool beautifully clear last summer, and again this year from when we opened it and got it clean and clear earlier this spring. However, that old SWG suddenly stopped working, but it took us newbies awhile before we figured out that it's cell had died, and I could not find it's cell available anywhere. Thus, we finally purchased the new Aqua-Trol SWG. However, by the time we got this in place about a week ago, our pool was full of algae and the first thing we did was add a gallon of a copper free algaecide to it, which seemed to work quite well... pool water was clearing. We worked hard to vacuum and skim as much of the algae out as possible and put the SWG going... only to find that our salt reading was off the charts. (Hubby had added a LOT of salt to the pool before we realized the old SWG was no longer generating chlorine, so the HIGH reading did not surprise me at all.) With the salt reading off the charts, we turned the generator off, and first drained about 1/5th of the water from pool and refilled. SWG still read 'HIGH' so the next day we drained about 50% of the water and again refilled, and it finally had an actual reading (3,400) and started generating chlorine. However, as we are on a well, with lots of minerals, we woke the next morning to find a really putrid brown pool. The SWG still showed a reading other than 'HIGH', this time 3,700. PH, based on one of those test strips, was still reading about 7.25-7.5. but Alkalinity read at the high end of the chart, 240. Seemed positive steps forward, but we still needed to deal with the brown water and high Alkalinity, so, not knowing or understanding pool chemicals, took a sample to the pool store and their readings showed FC=3; TC=3; pH=7.8; Total Alkalinity=250; Calcium Hardness=320; CYA=0; Iron=0; Copper=0; Phosphates=500 and Salt=3700. They recommended we add a total of 24.75 lbs of Leslie's Dry Acid to the pool over the next few days (1 lb every 4 hours) which we faithfully did ... with my having the overnight shift, which I have to say was not as much fun as when I had two weeks of the overnight shift on our foal watch just a month before... at least then the end result of my lack of sleep was two beautiful, healthy foals. Night before last, I did add the 1 gallon of pool water condition, which Leslie's pool store had recommended as well. As of day before yesterday our Alkalinity level tested out (at pool store) to be at 120, and based on a strip test this morning, I believe it's still around that or a bit lower. Yesterday morning the water had lost all of it's extreme brown look (LOTS of filter cleaning over past few days) and water was then looking mid-green, but we had a lot of algae to clean out. We spent yesterday doing a lot of vacuuming and sweeping of the pool to get as much of the algae out as possible, and the water had really started looking better. At one point, I did turn the SWG back on, knowing that our salt reading would very likely once again move into the HIGH reading, which it did and I once again turned off the SWG. However, at some point during the day, the pool suddenly went to green once again - not as severe, but green none the less. At first I presumed it was because there was a lot of minute particles of algae floating around with all the vacuuming and brushing we had done, so we kept the pump running and kept changing/cleaning the filter every couple of hours. However, this morning the pool is still green... can barely manage to see the bottom. Before we do anything else I want to ask you all, what you recommend? So, a couple of questions (I know, finally - promise my future posts will be much shorter... just thought you'd want history to this point.)
Question 1: What test kit do you recommend we buy so that we are not reliant upon pool store testing? Would think we really need one that can do a good number of CYA tests since from what I read, that is really a crucial reading for keeping things overall balanced. But would want to be able to test all that you feel is important as well.
Question 2: What should be our next steps on clearing the current green and getting everything in balance?

I really look forward to your advice and promise not to be so long winded in the future. Also promise to track down the test kit I should get once you give me an idea on which one(s) I should be looking for.
 
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PoolingInKC

Member
May 20, 2016
20
Overland Park, KS
Question 1:
I use a TF-100 from TFTestkits.net as well as a Taylor K-1766 for salt ppm tests. That was the advice this forum gave me about 4 years ago and I've never looked back. The CYA reagent is R-0013 and you can buy different sizes if you need more tests. I once got a 16 oz size but the expiration date rolled around before I was halfway through it.
 
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mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
32,524
Laughlin, NV
Welcome to the forum!
You need to follow the SLAM Process. To do that, you need a proper test kit. KC above detailed that perfectly. TF-100 Test Kit ™

While you are waiting on your test kit, add 5 ppm FC worth of liquid chlorine / plain bleach to your pool each evening with the pump running. This will replenish the FC lost each day to the sun and also inhibit any algae in the water from growing further.
I suggest you read ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry.
 

SueDoone

Member
Jul 28, 2020
13
Auburn, CA
Welcome to the forum!
You need to follow the SLAM Process. To do that, you need a proper test kit. KC above detailed that perfectly. TF-100 Test Kit ™

While you are waiting on your test kit, add 5 ppm FC worth of liquid chlorine / plain bleach to your pool each evening with the pump running. This will replenish the FC lost each day to the sun and also inhibit any algae in the water from growing further.
I suggest you read ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry.
Thanks SO much for your advice. just a few questions back.

1.) So I should add liquid chlorine or plain bleach every evening until I can get the test kit, even though our pool is showing at a high salt level (currently at 4400, up from 4000 last night)? Won't that be making new chlorine itself? Had the generator on last night, but currently have turned generator off.

2.) Also, I'll run and pick up a jug of bleach, but, as I'm totally new to figuring out this chemical stuff - how much is 5 ppm of bleach or how do I determine that measurement amount (is it a cup, a gallon, more, less)?

3.) I just called the couple of local pool stores here, but neither carries (nor knew of) the TF-100 test kit, so I'm going to order that direct from the link you included. Could call around down the hill in Sacramento, but have a feeling the answer would be the same so figure I should just get the order in.
 
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mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
32,524
Laughlin, NV
The TF100 is only available from TFTESTKITS.
If you can set the SWCG to generate at least 5 ppm FC each day that will work until you get your test kit.

PoolMath is used to determine chemical amounts.

Please fill out your signature as it helps us help you.
 

SueDoone

Member
Jul 28, 2020
13
Auburn, CA
The TF100 is only available from TFTESTKITS.
If you can set the SWCG to generate at least 5 ppm FC each day that will work until you get your test kit.

PoolMath is used to determine chemical amounts.

Please fill out your signature as it helps us help you.
Thanks! It's set to that now and turned back on. Plus my TF100 kit is ordered and I'll anxiously await its arrival. So glad I found this site!
 
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SueDoone

Member
Jul 28, 2020
13
Auburn, CA
Welcome to the forum!
You need to follow the SLAM Process. To do that, you need a proper test kit. KC above detailed that perfectly. TF-100 Test Kit ™

While you are waiting on your test kit, add 5 ppm FC worth of liquid chlorine / plain bleach to your pool each evening with the pump running. This will replenish the FC lost each day to the sun and also inhibit any algae in the water from growing further.
I suggest you read ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry.
Hi Marty,
I received my test kits a few days ago. First time testing I'm fairly certain I goofed on some test. I think I did all the tests correctly today, and the results are below.
FC = 5.5
CC = 1.5 (too high, correct?)
TC = 7.0
PH = 7.5
TA = 120 (still too high for vinyl SWG pool, correct?)
CH = 100
CYA = 60 (this should go up some, right??)
Salt = 4,200 (slowly coming down; about 1,000 gallons H20 added today to help dilute and replace evaporation)

So, as this is all still so new to me, might you help me to figure out what I should do next? Am I correct in saying that my TA and CC are too high, and the CYA should be higher? What are the next steps I should take?

Really appreciate any advice/guidance you can provide me.
Thanks
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
32,524
Laughlin, NV
Great decision in getting a quality test kit.
Your focus right now is to complete the SLAM Process
Lower the pH to 7.2 using acid.
With a CYA of 60, your SLAM level FC is 24 ppm. Add liquid chlorine to attain that and follow the SLAM Process

Once you have passed the three criteria for a successful SLAM, then adjusting the other parameters can be discussed.
 
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SueDoone

Member
Jul 28, 2020
13
Auburn, CA
Great decision in getting a quality test kit.
Your focus right now is to complete the SLAM Process
Lower the pH to 7.2 using acid.
With a CYA of 60, your SLAM level FC is 24 ppm. Add liquid chlorine to attain that and follow the SLAM Process

Once you have passed the three criteria for a successful SLAM, then adjusting the other parameters can be discussed.
Great. I picked up Muriatic Acid an the 8.5% Germicidal Bleach today, have the PH lowered to 7.2 now and just about to go out and add in 2 gallons bleach.... Thank you for all your help - it is MUCH appreciated. I'll be back once the slam is completed, unless I have questions before.

Thanks again!
 
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SueDoone

Member
Jul 28, 2020
13
Auburn, CA
Great decision in getting a quality test kit.
Your focus right now is to complete the SLAM Process
Lower the pH to 7.2 using acid.
With a CYA of 60, your SLAM level FC is 24 ppm. Add liquid chlorine to attain that and follow the SLAM Process

Once you have passed the three criteria for a successful SLAM, then adjusting the other parameters can be discussed.
Hi again,
I believe I've successfully completed my first SLAM -- last chlorine added was 32 ounces at 5:40 Saturday afternoon, when FC tested at 22 (SLAM rate was 24). As it turned out, I could have added less as when tested at 8:15 p.m. Saturday evening (just after sunset) it was at 27, so the chlorine consumption had really slowed down, Yay. At 5:45 this morning, it was at 26. So, I was assuming that it passed the OCLT. No chlorine added today, and tested FC and CC a few times and watched it slowly reduce (Another HOT day, topped out at 106).

Around sunset tonight (7:45 p.m.) I tested everything (as I wasn't sure when I should test everything again) and had the following results:
FC: 13
CC: 0.5
PH: 7.5
TA: 200 (???!! - Pre-SLAM was 120)
CH: 1,000 (???!! - Pre-SLAM was 100)
CYA: 50 (??!! - Pre-SLAM was 60)

At this point, still have our SWG off. Figure that shouldn't go back on until the FC gets around the 4-5 target, correct?
Also, I am keeping the pump running 24/7 for now and will test the FC tomorrow morning just to confirm that it does pass OCLT once again.

So, my questions are:
1. Main question - what should I be doing next?
2. Are the tests other than the FC & CC accurate this soon, while FC is still high? I'm hoping that perhaps that is why the TA, CH are reading so high and possibly why the CYA has gone down? (Believe I should be aiming to get the CYA up to around 70 since it's a SWG pool, is that correct?)

The water is beautifully clear and sparkling, so thrilled with that! Looking forward to your expert advice!
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
32,524
Laughlin, NV
Great on the SLAM. I assume the water is crystal clear, no debris at all, ...

It is very unlikely your TA and CH went up so much using liquid chlorine. The CYA can fall some over time, so no issue there. Check your testing of TA and CH.

Start using the SWCG. Set it to create 4 ppm FC per day and see if the FC goes up or down. Adjust the generation amount as needed to maintain FC in the target range for your CYA.

You can add 10 ppm worth of stabilizer to raise your CYA. No rush. You might even try leaving the CYA as is for a few days and see how it goes. Your climate may let you run a lower CYA level.
 

SueDoone

Member
Jul 28, 2020
13
Auburn, CA
Great on the SLAM. I assume the water is crystal clear, no debris at all, ...

It is very unlikely your TA and CH went up so much using liquid chlorine. The CYA can fall some over time, so no issue there. Check your testing of TA and CH.

Start using the SWCG. Set it to create 4 ppm FC per day and see if the FC goes up or down. Adjust the generation amount as needed to maintain FC in the target range for your CYA.

You can add 10 ppm worth of stabilizer to raise your CYA. No rush. You might even try leaving the CYA as is for a few days and see how it goes. Your climate may let you run a lower CYA level.
Thanks so much for such a quick reply!! You're awesome, and I REALLY appreciate your advice. So, I'll set the SWG to approximately 4 tomorrow and see how it goes. I will test the TA and CH again... I could have been 'drop' blind or something - kept getting interrupted by my granddaughter so easy to loose count. I think I'll hold off for a few days before adding stabilizer.

The water is so crystal clear, and the filter is only picking up light dirt or whatever compared to the massive amounts it had been previously. What little debris settles at the bottom is so minimal that I can vacuum the pool in just a few minutes. Guessing most is from the 3 people getting in and out a few times today today. (Still running our very little old filter since the new pump hasn't arrived yet, but those little filters make it easy to see how much the brown level has reduced on it!)

Thanks again for all your help!!