Is it possible for CYA to be too low during SLAM?

Jane S

Member
Mar 30, 2020
10
Frisco, TX 75033
My first post. Hi there! Ok, I have been maintaining our pool for a few years just using Leslie's, for the most part. So far, no major issues that I couldn't handle. Although I've always felt that just "winging it" probably isn't the best method and our pool could certainly be better if I hired someone to maintain OR if I took the time to learn myself. I mostly neglected the pool all winter so I was not surprised to discover it had turned green overnight after heavy rain. Unfortunately, this event occurred right when I was headed out of town. Lots of rain when I returned (good excuse to procrastinate further) followed by another trip. This went on for about 10 days, so it was BAD. Very green. Lots of dead leaves, etc. Water was not circulating well. Polaris was also needing attention. Etc. Now that we are "sheltering in place" I have no excuse. Might as well tackle this green pool. Here's what I've done this week: I spent hours scooping stuff out then ran to Leslie's for testing and spent a fortune, as usual. It needed everything, but I started with Green Out (which I've since learned is not necessary) Powder Plus as my sanitizer, added lots of salt and cranked the SWG up to 100. Ran the pump continuously, scooped ;eaves, brushed occasionally and started reading this forum. Ordered the TF-100. Water began to turn blue day 3. Attempted to clean the filter (nightmare). Spent at least a couple of hours hosing it off and while there was a BIG improvement, I was not successful in removing all of what I assume is algae, because it was stubborn and would not come off, like it did in the past. Decided to reassemble and hope for the best, because I knew it would probably be at least 24 hours before I could tend to it further and didn't want to risk the water turning green in the meantime. Added muriatic acid and calcium chloride (per Leslie's recommendation). Continued to run the pump 24/7. My test kit arrived so I've been learning, testing and SLAMming. Can't find bleach anywhere around here so I'm using Powder Plus. (btw, I also have Chlor Brite on hand which I was planning to use for maintance later.) According to the Chlorine/CYA chart, I haven't needed to add much additional chlorine, because my CYA level is very low. It feels like I should be adding more chlorine?? Also, I was able to troubleshoot the Polaris (thanks to TFP) so that is now working and it has picked up so, so much debris from the bottom. My pool is quite blue, but still cloudy, especially when I brush. Is this normal? Just keep at it? Still clearing out dead algae or what? Today my FC was 10, CC 1.5, pH 7.5, TA 50. CYA has been at a 5 ever since the first water test at Leslies. I confirmed this again at Leslies a couple days later and my test kit also confirmed the CYA was still 5 a couple of days ago so I assume it still is. I THINK I read on here that it's good to keep CYA lower while you SLAM, so I have ignored that all week. But just in case... is it possible for CYA to be too low for an effective SLAM? I was waiting until I pass the over night test to add it, but wanted to make sure. Also, is there any chance the chlorine is killing the algae that remains in my filter or do I need to clean that again (please say no.) Anything else I should be doing? I expected this process to take some time, and it seems I'm on the right track, but I want to be sure I'm not missing anything that could speed things up.
 

setsailsoon

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Jane,

Welcome to TFP, you've come to the right place! TFP is loaded with pool experts, uses a methodology that is extremely successful for ordinary pool owners, and it's dirt cheap to do since we mostly use generic chemicals you can buy at big box stores. Never any expensive pool potions from pool stores. Plus we don't sell anything so you can trust we only advise based on proven TFP methods and science... no gobbledygook allowed!

You're right, the main focus during a slam is FC and pH but CYA can make it difficult and cost more than needed. You also need to rely on your own tests using your TF 100. Beware that most pool stores do not know how to SLAM. They use a "shock" which is almost always ineffective and ends up costing a LOT since it prolongs algae removal and eventually requires unneeded expensive algae treatments that do more harm than good. We have thousands of members that have been down that road and then finally found TFP after desperate internet searches. SLAM is easy but it's a process not a single event. Here's a great video for you:


Liquid chlorine is harder to find with the virus but many are finding it at Walmart, Home Depot and Lowes or their pool stores. Look for Pool Essentials, HDX and other store brands. Also industrial cleaning suppliers have it sometimes. Make sure it's only sodium hypochlorite. No additives at all. Pool chlorine is often in the gardening section in WM not the grocery section. Get MA at Home Depot or Lowes the stronger version(31.45%) is ~$11 for two gallons.

We trust the TF 100 results performed by you only. They have proven way more reliable than pool store tests. You will naturally not be as confident since you're new to testing but trust me, they're way better than the pool store. Please post a complete set of your results and photo of your pool and we'll talk you through your first SLAM along the way you'll learn everything you need about pool care. When you're done you'll have a sparkling pool that's easy peasy to keep that way and usually $10-$20/month. You'll be on "autopilot" with pool care and if anything ever does go wrong we've got a full slate of real pool experts in everything from water chemistry to finishes, equipment, automation and anything in between. All with the same "non-conflicted" advice that is impossible to find at a pool store.

In addition to the chemicals you've listed have you ever added anything else such as an algaecide?

Once you view the video take a look at Pool School and ask any questions you may have. You'll have your SLAM over and done with before you know it!

I hope this helps.

Chris
 

setsailsoon

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Oct 25, 2015
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PS. Please add more details on your equipment in your signature. Looks like you have some very good equipment and more details will help our experts get you better advice quicker since they won't need cycles of posts getting the equipment details. Here's how to get to the signature quickly.
 

ping

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 24, 2011
3,144
Long Beach, CA
Welcome to TFP Jane!

To clear a green pool is a process and it will take some time, it is not an overnight success situation. For a pool to be green it has a lot of algae and it takes the proper method and work to return it back to a sparking clean oasis. You have found the place that will guide you to success like many others if you follow our advice and stop getting any advice from any other sources, stay out of Leslie's.

Please run a full set of tests with your TF-100 and post the results, they are all important.

The CYA test should only be read in increments of 10, if it measures less than 10 say it is zero. For best results the CYA should be between 30-40, with these values the sun will not burn away the chlorine and you will not need as much to make it strong enough to kill off the algae.

It is always good to use liquid chlorine as it doesn't add other chemicals to the pool. The reason why we need to see all of the test results is that it might be OK to use some other form of chlorine because those other levels need to be increased and liquid chlorine at the moment might be harder to find.

Do you know what the clean filter pressure is? You need to clean the filter once the pressure reaches 25% above the clean pressure. This is vital so the water will circulate through the system.

Please read the Slam Process in my signature several times to fully absorb it and then follow it to a tee and your pool will be sparkly once again without spending a fortune in Leslie's.
 

JJ_Tex

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Jul 17, 2019
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Prosper, TX (DFW)
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Jane - Liquid chlorine is available at every walmart, lowes, or home depot around us. In walmart they carry it inside, but with the outdoor stuff and its called Pool Essentials in a white gallon jug. People just dont realize that is bleach, so they left it alone in their hoarding.

Keep up the good work and keep posting. We will have your pool clean in no time, and have you going to the "real pool stores" I listed above to only buy the stuff you pool needs, rather than Leslies.
 

Jane S

Member
Mar 30, 2020
10
Frisco, TX 75033
Thank you everyone! I'll answer some of your questions first:

I DID use the algaecide that Leslie's recommended, Green-To-Clean on day one of this project... so 8 days ago, along with several bags of salt and 32 oz of their Power Powder Plus (cal-hypo) (I had to add the 32oz cal-hypo three times, four hours apart.) This was how I jump started the whole thing. Since then, I've read a ton on TFP, including pool school and SLAM, etc.. On Tuesday I cleaned the filter (but couldn't get all the algae off! - concerned ) added 32 oz Muriatic Acid, 16 lbs of Calcium Chloride.

**I have a gallon of Instant Conditioner (liquid stabilizer) from Leslie's on hand, but haven't used it yet because I think I read that it's good for CYA to be lower during SLAM. Should I go ahead and add it??

I don't know my clean filter pressure is, but it's at 25 right now.

I received my test kit in the mail on Wednesday and here are my first set of results that same day:
FC 3 (up from 2.4 per test at Leslie's on Tuesday)
CC 1.5 (DOWN from 6.0 at Leslie's on Tuesday)
pH 7.5
TA 60
CH 425 (up from 154 on Tuesday)
CYA 5 (same)
Salt 3200 (up from 3041 on Tuesday)

On Thursday morning, I added 1 bag of Dichlor because the Pool Math app said to add sanitizer & this is all I had.

Friday night:
FC 10
CC 1.5
pH 7.5
TA 50
salt 3400
CYA- didn't test, assume still 5 since that's the result I got on Wed. and that's what Leslie's got 2 times prior

I was not home Saturday morning - Sunday late night (left pump running) and have not been able to go find the bleach yet, but will go look for it tomorrow. The pool was still blue when I returned and still seems to be improving (not as cloudy), but my FC had dropped to 7 and CC was 0.5. Still worried about that algae in my filter cartridges, so I added 2 lbs of Chlor Brite (dichlor) That did raise the FC, but... now other numbers are worse, so I definitely need some guidance.

Tonight:
FC 16
CC 0 - remained clear after the 5 drops of R-0003
pH 7.8
TA 60
CH ?? inconclusive? It turned pink, but never turned blue after several drops. Re-tested=same result
CYA 10?? (I filled it all the way to the top and could still see the black dot)
Salt 3000 (was 3200 on Friday, why is this dropping? I feel this is not high enough)
pool temp 62
CSI -0.07

Still have my SWG up to 100%
pump speed 3000
both water features on

Suggestions??

Updated my signature a bit, but if I'm missing anything there, please let me know. I don't know all the specifics (model #'s etc) but can find out if I need to. Pool was built by previous owners in 2005. (We moved in 2009.)

Here's a current picture. (Wheel fell off my Polaris last night, otherwise, those few spots of debris left on the bottom would be gone.)
Snowden pool.jpg
Thank you for your help! I'm excited to have my pool back and better than ever :)
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
37,230
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
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Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Welcome to the forum!
Please read the SLAM Process. What you are doing is a mess of pool store and other. You need to decide which process you wish to follow.
The Green To Clean was an ammonia salt. That created extreme chlorine demand and until neutralized will fight you in getting your pool to clear and sanitary state.
You cannot test a CYA of less than 20 ppm. So you need to raise your CYA to 30 ppm to follow the SLAM process.
I suggest you read ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry.
 

Jane S

Member
Mar 30, 2020
10
Frisco, TX 75033
Thanks, I have read that. I've read Pool School, SLAM, watched videos, etc.... just about everything now. How do I "neutralize" the ammonia salt and which test will help me with that?? I don't see that mentioned in the article you linked. I will also go ahead and add a gallon of liquid stabilizer.

As a reminder, 8 days ago I did not even know that TFP existed. My pool looked like a swamp and was full of debris. I had to start somewhere, so I went to Leslie's because that's all I knew to do. (The algaecide actually worked, btw. Pool was noticeably better within 24 hours-but I have since learned this is unnecessary). A few days ago, I discovered TFP online, and have decided to use THIS process instead of Leslie's going forward... that's why I'm here asking questions and not at Leslie's. I downloaded the App, ordered the Test Kit, logging results, following the SLAM, etc. There's definitely a learning curve but I"m sure I will be up to speed soon. The good news is my pool has definitely turned the corner... night and day difference from 1 week ago. I just need fine tune it now. I DO still have some items that I purchased from Leslie's previously. If we weren't in the middle of a pandemic, I would've probably returned them by now and purchased all the proper TFP suggested supplies instead, but... trying to flatten the curve and all. I'm hoping to get out tomorrow and will look for the bleach. Anything else I should grab while I'm out?? Thanks for your help!
 

wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
2,115
Spring Valley, NY
Being your pool held on to FC 16 that means no ammonia in sight for your pool. Keep slamming until the FC doesn't drop much . Then do a OCLT and see if it doesn't loose more then 1ppm. That, plus meeting 3 criteria and your good to go. For your shopping spree today it would be liquid chlorine and a jug of Muriatic acid usually found in the paint department of the big box stores. They sell two strengths and you need the 31.45% 20° BAUME.
 

setsailsoon

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Oct 25, 2015
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Jane,

It's tough when you find out you've just added some chemicals that are not really helpful to your pool. Many of us have been there since it's pretty easy to assume they know what their talking about. Very few really know how to fix an algae situation and in fact most of their recommendations make it worse. This is why they don't have a very good reputation here. Good news is that you haven't done long term damage that's harder to treat such as adding a copper-containing chemical. You'll burn up a lot of chlorine with the ammonia-containing product but then it'll be gone and you'll be in great shape. Looks like you may be over the hump with that already. Too bad about your Polaris but at least it's only a wheel and easy to fix.

Hang in there, you've made a great decision to turn from "the dark side" to TFP methods. Just don't be tempted to go back and you'll be in great shape soon. Also it appears liquid chlorine is getting easier to find. I know the Leslie's in Flower Mound has it plus it looks like the box stores are getting it in. Heard several WM's have it in your area. It's located in the pool chemicals in the lawn and garden center. It's sold under the "Pool Essentials" brand.

Not sure why the CH test is giving you some issues but seems like it worked at first for you. Either way I'd not worry about that too much just yet. Just continue to SLAM per Marty's advice, keep reading Pool School and ask absolutely anything that you don't understand. Your comments and progress on the test results indicate you're picking this up quickly. Also, remember the pH result is unreliable after you get to FC of 10 or higher so we get pH in range first then don't worry about it 'till SLAM is over. You had your pH in range before you started so you're good on this. Also remember we recommend turning your SWG off 'till you get the SLAM done so you have more precise info about the FC you are adding. If you can get enough liquid chlorine this is the best way to go. Lastly, for CYA it's logarithmic test so we always round up. Based on your CYA level is probably less than 10 ppm. So I'm guessing you've already figured out using Pool Math that 1 gallon liquid stabilizer will add about 22 ppm to your pool. You should be close and maybe need another 1/2 gal or so to be in-range with Marty's target. Then you just finish your SLAM and you're done.

Keep it up and you'll be enjoying TFP perfect pool bliss very soon!

Chris
 

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ping

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 24, 2011
3,144
Long Beach, CA
Just to add a bit, stop testing the CH, TA, and pH for now. We know the numbers now so those aren't needed at the moment.

The pH can be tested again when the FC drops below 10 because as stated earlier it is not accurate when the FC is above 10. It was in good range when you started so you are fine for now.

Do not add any more cal hypo, the calcium level is high enough.

Add the gallon of stabilizer and try to not letting the FC drop below 12. Don't overshoot this by very much, take several measurements throughout the day.

The day after adding the stabilizer take one last CYA test and that will be your CYA level. Since you have added Dichlor and the liquid stabilizer the CYA should be around 30 is my guess.

Let us know if you can't get the bleach. Your best chance might be a pool store if they carry liquid chlorine.

Nice job so far.
 

Jane S

Member
Mar 30, 2020
10
Frisco, TX 75033
Hi all, thought I'd give an update to see if you have any more suggestions.

I did add the gallon of stabilizer 7 days ago, and my CYA in now, exactly as ping predicted, 30. (Ideal is 70-80 per PoolMath App).

Ever since I added that bag of dichlor (13 days ago) my FC has remained TOO high. I assume the algae is long gone, but is this a problem?

Yesterday FC was 17, today it's 16. (My SWG is all the way down, btw).

I have not added any other chemicals, but I did score some liquid chlorine at Walmart to keep on hand, and a bag of dry stabilizer, just in case. Also... hired an expert come over to clean my filter again today, for good measure. (BTW, my clean filter pressure is 23). He also fixed the heater (replaced igniter) and pool is heating now (kids will be happy).

Should I add additional stabilizer now, per the Pool Math App recommendation, or wait for FC to come down first? If better to wait, when should I plan on adding it? Ping said "don't let FC drop below 12" but the app says my target is 2-6, so I'm a little confused there. Maybe that advice was only meant for the SLAM process, but want to be sure.

Once I reach the correct/lower FC target, what should I put my SWG on?

CC has been 0 or 1 for awhile now too. Is that ok?

CH test continues to be inconclusive as well, (ever since the spike in FC). But13 days ago (after adding Calcium and just before adding the dichlor) it was at 425. Any reason to be concerned there?

Lesson learned! I won't be adding dichlor from Leslie's anymore.

I have questions about valves, spillover, circulation, etc... (there's just SO much I need to learn.. ugh) but I'll save it for another post after I read up a bit.

Updated photo:

poolside.jpg
 

JJ_Tex

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Jul 17, 2019
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Prosper, TX (DFW)
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Looking good. Have you passed the 3 criteria to end a SLAM? (CC 0.5 or lower, OCLT pass, and clear water).

If you have, I would add your stabilizer to get your CYA to ~70 and then turn your SWCG back on when your FC drops down to the target range (FC of 5 for a CYA of 70). You will have to play around with yours to see what % works for your pool right now, but my SWCG is holding steady at 20%.

Your CH is in range, but I certainly wouldnt want it higher. Add your CH number to pool math and keep an eye on your CSI number to try to keep it slightly negative.
 

ping

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 24, 2011
3,144
Long Beach, CA
Make sure the SWG is off and let the FC drop to 7. Add enough stabilizer to raise it to 70 for now.

Once the FC is 7, turn the SWG on again and keep it at 50% and with daily testing adjust as required. I recommend keeping the FC at 7 since you have gone through this a few times lately.

The advice to not let the FC drop below 12 was during the SLAM for the current CYA value.
 
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