I am negligent and ready to get straight :) Re-opened above ground after winter, did a bad job. Does algae grow in floating balls??

Sep 3, 2017
14
Richmond, VA
I'm a horrible negligent pool owner. Now that we've gotten THAT out of the way...

I have an iPool on my porch (covered, screened in). This is basically a very small, 1500 gal 4ft deep pool that is like a vinyl intex above ground pool meant to swim in place (via harness from the ceiling). Last year when I decided not to keep it running through the winter, through some miracle of coincidence, a hose popped loose the very same morning I intended to heat it up and have my last swim and it emptied out overnight. I figured it was fate and the last couple inches would evaporate. I am a fool, I know. It did not evaporate, but every time I glanced in there, it didn't look too bad (this was December, so it was pretty cold). Summer came, I got distracted and traveling for work, and before I knew it, it was July 4 and I hadn't opened the pool. Yikes. I looked in and surprisingly, it wasn't that bad- nothing really growing on the walls, the water was pretty clear, but there were these balls of things floating around. I scooped them out, filled up the pool, and (I feel so so stupid), reconnected the hoses and turned everything on. Apparently I forgot to backwash the filter and all the water was not out. Murky gross water blasted into the pool. Gross. So I hit boost (had already dissolved salt in the pool while I filled it), and let it go for 48 hours.

I checked the chlorine with the strips I have (I see from the pool school that I need the ones that read higher- on my list!) and it's sky high. The pH was also sky high so I dumped quite a bit of the pH down powder in there (I realize now this was definitely a mistake because now it's way too low, curse my overreaction, I should know better). By this point, the water is pretty crystal clear. I don't get any sun on this porch, so the chlorine will stay high for a while. I've never put any stabilizer in this pool because it's not in the sun, so I never thought I needed it because running the pump/chlorine generator for about an hour a day is usually all that's needed and any more than that requires me to start fiddling with turning off the generator and only running the pump.

Current status per Aquacheck strips: pH <6.2; free chlorine >10ppm; total alkalinity <0 ppm (I guess that's due to the excessive pH lowering and will adding some baking soda); stabilizer <0 ppm.

So, my current plan: add baking soda, get something to increase pH asap (is this an emergency?), strips for high chlorine....? Does anyone know what those floating balls might be? Do I need to go back and do the whole SLAM thing over again where I can measure the free chlorine etc to make sure algae is gone? I brushed the walls etc but I never really saw anything on the walls. The water got grungy from the filter water but what was in there before wasn't too bad and it cleared up pretty much overnight.

Thoughts, tips, advice? You don't have to chide, I pet my filter and pool every day and thank them for being so kind in the face of my continued negligence and I would like to make it up to them and be better. Thanks for helping me do that.

The long term plan is to get a swimspa but I would prefer to make my mistakes on this much less expensive setup and also make sure I'm capable of the responsibility before I invest in that. So far it''s a pretty firm no but that's why I'm here :)

Edit: Yes, I do realize I should have checked and followed the SLAM protocol. I have regrets.
 

tim5055

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2014
10,429
Franklin, NC
Stop! Stop right now!

Don't make a lot of chemical additions based on test strips. On a good day they are junk. You don't need strips, you need a test kit.
Order a TF-100 Test Kit ™. The only other real option for a test kit is a Taylor K-2006-C. Be careful comparing prices because the K-2006 comes in sizes, designated by a letter. The basic K-2006 has .75oz bottles. You need to get the K-2006-C to get the larger bottles that you want. Even then it is a little short on the reagent & powder for the FAS/DPD test.

While entirely optional, I also have the Speedstir Magnetic Stirrer and Sample Sizer Measuring Tool. They speed testing and accuracy.

All pools, even indoor pools should have stabilizer in them if only to reduce the harshness of chlorine.
 
Sep 3, 2017
14
Richmond, VA
Stop! Stop right now!

Don't make a lot of chemical additions based on test strips. On a good day they are junk. You don't need strips, you need a test kit.
Order a TF-100 Test Kit ™. The only other real option for a test kit is a Taylor K-2006-C. Be careful comparing prices because the K-2006 comes in sizes, designated by a letter. The basic K-2006 has .75oz bottles. You need to get the K-2006-C to get the larger bottles that you want. Even then it is a little short on the reagent & powder for the FAS/DPD test.

While entirely optional, I also have the Speedstir Magnetic Stirrer and Sample Sizer Measuring Tool. They speed testing and accuracy.

All pools, even indoor pools should have stabilizer in them if only to reduce the harshness of chlorine.

Ordering now. Also added Salt strips as I assume what I have is of equally cheap quality. I feel like maybe I should add some borax soon though because I think the pH really is quite low and I'm worried about the heater
 
Sep 3, 2017
14
Richmond, VA
Those balls of stuff were most likely bryozoans, basically algae in a ball.
Cool, thanks. If you are correct, according to the interwebs, "They are not toxic, venomous, or harmful. They don't really seem to cause problems for people, except for the "ick" factor and occasionally clogging underwater screens or pipes." That's what I like to hear. Gross I can handle. Toxic, I prefer to avoid. I'll still do my best to get everything clean before I jump in, though. Better safe than sorry, because you know... trusting a 10 second google search is probably not super smart.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
23,062
Laughlin, NV
If you feel the pH is low, go to Walmart or Home Depot and get the cheap two way drop test kit for pH and Chlorine. Use that for pH right now.