How in the world do I keep getting algae??!?!

nlindelldc

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 21, 2015
429
South Texas
So the last time I got algae I blamed it on my broken pump. This time I have no idea how it happened. I know you all will want test numbers so here goes:

CYA 80
PH 7.8
FC 6-10 (I check FC every couple of days and it is ALWAYS between 6-10. I adjust my SWG as needed)
CC 0
CH 225
TA 70

The last time I got an algae bloom I decided to keep my FC a little higher (6-10) whereas before I would keep it at 4-6. I figured why play with fire? Well apparently it didn't help because I've got an algae bloom starting! Ugh. I first noticed the water was just a touch cloudy and not it's usual sparkly self. Then when I brushed I noticed the dust kicking up on the bottom and sides (dust never collects on the sides, only algae)

So I'm starting a SLAM again but I can't figure out why this keeps happening?!?! My only guess is that I don't brush enough. I brush maybe once a week in the Summer but I slack off in the fall and winter due to lower water temps. Even then I will run my robot every other week or so. Am I missing something else?!?!

I run my pump 6 hours a day during the summer and 4 hours a day when Fall hits if that matters
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
21,195
Bedford, TX
I'm not sure why, but it could be that you have never gotten rid of all the algae when SLAMing. Have you looked behind your light? Do you have any place where algae can hide, like stairs? Also, my understanding is that algae can form an outside layer that makes chlorine less effective. Brushing or running your cleaner can help break up that protective layer.

I have a non-TFP believing friend, who used to have an pressure side cleaner, which ran everyday. He'd get algae blooms, but "not that many" by his standards. He then bought a Robot, but only ran it every now and again. He than had constant fights with algae. I believe that by running his pressure side cleaner everyday, he was helping to kill his algae, when he quit cleaning regularly, he could no longer stay on top of it. I doubt he ever got ride of it all as he is a Pool Store Junkie...

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

nlindelldc

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 21, 2015
429
South Texas
Thanks for your thoughts Jim. I knew someone was going to say that maybe I never completed my last SLAM, but that is impossible. It was many many months ago (about 6 if I recall right.). I passed all 3 SLAM criteria (pool clear, no CC's and no overnight FC loss). And my water has been crystal clear ever since. Until just the other day and I noticed it right away.
 

pooldv

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Aug 10, 2012
25,412
FL panhandle
I tend to suspect lack of brushing also. Or running the robot. Also, keeping FC a little higher helped me. I keep FC at 8-9 and up with CYA at 80.
 

duraleigh

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Apr 1, 2007
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How in the world do I keep getting algae??!?!
That question needs to be introspective.
The procedures and FC levels we suggest are proven successful in thousands and thousands of pools. The TFP methods work over and over so, if you follow them as precisely as you indicate, what is different about your pool?

Something is different about how you manage the pool water but we can only speculate what that might be.
 

rivermobster

Active member
Oct 11, 2016
35
Glendora/Ca
One of my customers is a pool guy. He has two houses he does next door to each other. One is a constant problem, and one never has algae at all!

I fight it with my pool regularly. I think it's due to the pine tree in my back yard.

I just did a complete water change, and the stupid algee is back again!

I just hit my pool with Yellow Treat, and it seems to be gone for now.

I have no doubt it will be back...

?
 

Caco

Well-known member
I have a few thoughts to consider:
Probable: Perhaps a biofilm spot somewhere you cannot of have not accessed before to brush that harbours a little colony of algae that reseeds your pool. (skimmer/light/rock features/behind eyeball features/plumbing etc)

Unlikely: A circulation dead spot that may drop to low levels of FC, cant hurt to drop a couple of ping pong balls in and see if they avoid any areas

Probable: Are you dropping your maintenance (robot/brushing) too early or starting late for your water temp? If you are having an outbreak of algae in autumn and your last one was in spring this seems to indicate something specific at these times of the year. (BTW not sure of the seasons in your area so could be off base here, but I still think it is a key point)

Have you tried raising to mustard level at the end of your slam? Maybe you have a more chlorine resistant form of algae like mustard. Unlikely cause it is a rare form

Whats your chlorine demand been like all season? If it has been on the high side (4ppm per day) this would lead me to think maybe the slam was not complete, due to biofilms/mustard etc. Not doubting your method of following slam seeing as you passed the OCLT

Have you tried borax at 50ppm? It helps prevent algae.

Are you sure of your cya level, some ppl read the test low. Maybe order a standard solution next time you get refills or get your SO to check and see if they see the same results. I usually try the test 2-3 times with the same water just to be sure
 

JohnT

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Apr 4, 2007
9,927
SW Indiana
Pool Size
21000
Surface
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Chlorine
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Are you testing your chlorine at the same time of day when you do it? Maybe the chlorine is lower during another part of the day and then rises when the pump runs. Just a guess, but maybe if you check it right before the pump kicks on you might gain some insight.
 

nlindelldc

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 21, 2015
429
South Texas
Wow, this is all very good insight. Let me begin by trying to answer all of your great questions.....

I run my pump on low in a split-time situation, 2 hours at mid-day and 2 hours in the evening. My flow on low is not great, I will admit. In summer I run 6 hours total and have had no issues, so maybe this is my answer.

To be fair, I usually run the pool robot every other week and when I do, I brush the horizontal surfaces only (toe ledge all teh way around, stairs, and bench seats knowing that the robot gets the rest (at least I hope).

When I did last complete my SLAM, I was super diligent about scrubbing around lights and skimmer. I don't have a ladder so there's really no other place for algae to hide. Although, you did mention my waterfall. I only rarely run my water fall and I suppose there is some water that can sit stagnant in the "bowl" before it runs over into the pool. In fact, I do remember running the water fall for the first time in a long time just last week. Perhaps some bleach poured into the bowl before and after use would be of help.

I used to run Borates and in late Summer had to drain my pool to have a crack repaired. At that time, I had a leak in the plumbing so I did not put Borates back in. The leak is now fixed, it was a suction side leak. I am confident that the pool currently has no leak.

As for testing I either test mid-day or evening time, usually the pump and SWG already running but as you can see I keep my FC on the high end.

I do have the CYA 50 ppm sample and have used it many times. I must admit that the CYA test is my weakest, so to be fair my CYA could really be 90 I suppose, but that is why I run my FC on the high end. I do the test multiple times and try to do it the exact same way as the 50 ppm standard as best that I can.

I am happy to report that this will be a short SLAM it appears as my water is already crystal clear again and I have been brushing every day and running pump 24/7. Will attempt an OCLT in a day or so and make sure everything is passed.

Going forward, here will be my plan
1. Add Borates back into pool
2. Run pump 6 hours daily
3. Maintain FC 6-10 as I have been doing.
4. Brush more regularly, including vertical surfaces.
5. Add some bleach to the waterfall bowl before and after use


Thoughts?
 

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Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
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Jul 7, 2014
21,195
Bedford, TX
You said... "I was super diligent about scrubbing around lights and skimmer"

Have you ever taken the light assembly out and cleaned behind it?

Jim R.
 

nlindelldc

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 21, 2015
429
South Texas
You said... "I was super diligent about scrubbing around lights and skimmer"

Have you ever taken the light assembly out and cleaned behind it?

Jim R.

That's a good point. No, I never have. Not even sure how they come off, so will have to check that. I have 3 of them
 

nlindelldc

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 21, 2015
429
South Texas
Usually, there is a single screw at the top.

I will look for it. I am nervous because I swore that the type of lights I had were self-enclosed and installed in the sidewalls of the pool with silicone sealant around the perimeter. I thought they were not meant to be taken apart but i will soon find out.
 

Caco

Well-known member
Your plan seems solid to me, please keep us posted on how it works out/if you ever figure out the root cause
I agree behind the lights is a great place to look, lots of others have found slime/algae behind light fixtures
However my money is on the waterfall and the water stagnating in bowl/pipes due to sporadic running

But if I was you I would do everything on your list, be like having a bet on every horse in the race
 

xyz

Gold Supporter
Sep 8, 2016
641
Escondido/CA
Can you take a diamond grinder and or drill to the "bowl" on your waterfall so it completely drains?

Also, I don't think you want to take apart the light. Leave waterproof seals alone. Just pull the light from the niche, an scrub the niche.
 

JohnT

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Apr 4, 2007
9,927
SW Indiana
Pool Size
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I just don't buy into the idea of cleaning the light. Algae can't grow in there, and even if you packed it full of algae a properly chlorinated pool is not going to have problems dealing with it. Your pool is exposed to large amounts of algae spores daily without issue, and what little there could be behind the light isn't going to have any effect.
 

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