MetalTrap Filter

Dtrav118

Member
Sep 16, 2020
23
Easton, CT
Hi everyone,

I have been following many threads related to metal staining and treatments, sequesterants and chelators, etc. I need some advice and really just looking for some affirmation I’m going in the right direction here hopefully.

My pool is a white fiberglass pool and although I have small amounts of metals in the water (around 0.4 ppm of copper and 0.1 iron), so far all sequestrants I’ve tried haven’t worked. Metal Free, Metal Magic, Jacks Magic Pink stuff. I’ve done Ascorbic and/or citric acid treatments on the pool 4 times this summer, and it always clears everything just for me to find the next sequestrant also doesn’t work while slowly without coming close to shocking while adding FCL. I have one more to try, Jacks Blue stuff which should help more for copper I’m told (I hope).

I’m also seriously considering a Metal Trap to make sure my top offs don’t add anymore metals to the pool. The well water I have is 0.4ppm copper and 0.1ppm iron also, so I am thinking this should be sufficient to keep the fiberglass from staining in the future if I can get below 0.2ppm copper, and planning to do a near total drain and refill before closing the pool for the winter using the Metal Trap.

All posts I’ve seen about metal trap are old and the results after refilling with one seemed inconclusive, and same for using a submersible pump and filtering the water. Anyone have any good experiences with one they can confirm and whether they filtered the pool water or just filtered from the hose on a new fill?
 

YippeeSkippy

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Jan 17, 2012
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That's a lot of copper.... do you know where it came from?? Bad heater coil? Cheap algaecides?? Clorox Xtrablue products??
THe only *cure* for that much copper is to drain and refill. Can you truck in water that's copper/iron free?

As for the iron, if you want to get that out of there (rather than just hide it in sequestrant) you can raise your FC level, which causes the iron to precipitate. It gets dark and ugly. Toss some Polyfil into your skimmers and let it trap the iron.
Is the iron coming from well water??

Maddie
 

Dtrav118

Member
Sep 16, 2020
23
Easton, CT
That's a lot of copper.... do you know where it came from?? Bad heater coil? Cheap algaecides?? Clorox Xtrablue products??
THe only *cure* for that much copper is to drain and refill. Can you truck in water that's copper/iron free?

As for the iron, if you want to get that out of there (rather than just hide it in sequestrant) you can raise your FC level, which causes the iron to precipitate. It gets dark and ugly. Toss some Polyfil into your skimmers and let it trap the iron.
Is the iron coming from well water??

Maddie
The copper is definitely coming from my well water. I tested the well water and the pool water separately and they report the same amount, no surprise there since I had to do a full drain earlier this year due to CYA levels being over 300 ppm (I bought the house in November and looks like the old owner hadn’t taken good care of the pool, used Dichlor only for chlorination, etc). I have not used any copper algae codes but rather Polyquat. I also have a CUlator and it may have actually caught the iron, I show between 0.0 and 0.1 in the pool water when I test, but it does not seem to work on the copper. The iron may come from the well water too even though we have a full home water softener.

I also recently installed a bypass for the heater to try to isolate the issue and from the heater product materials the heat exchanger is titanium, not copper, so I doubt any additional copper is coming from there fortunately.

Rverything I’ve read says sequestrants should be able to handle far more then 0.4ppm of copper and Iron though, what makes you say that this number is really high? The CUlator says it can remove up to 4.0ppm... ten times the amount I have in my little 8K gallon pool.
 

Dtrav118

Member
Sep 16, 2020
23
Easton, CT
The copper is definitely coming from my well water. I tested the well water and the pool water separately and they report the same amount, no surprise there since I had to do a full drain earlier this year due to CYA levels being over 300 ppm (I bought the house in November and looks like the old owner hadn’t taken good care of the pool, used Dichlor only for chlorination, etc). I have not used any copper algae codes but rather Polyquat. I also have a CUlator and it may have actually caught the iron, I show between 0.0 and 0.1 in the pool water when I test, but it does not seem to work on the copper. The iron may come from the well water too even though we have a full home water softener.

I also recently installed a bypass for the heater to try to isolate the issue and from the heater product materials the heat exchanger is titanium, not copper, so I doubt any additional copper is coming from there fortunately.

Rverything I’ve read says sequestrants should be able to handle far more then 0.4ppm of copper and Iron though, what makes you say that this number is really high? The CUlator says it can remove up to 4.0ppm... ten times the amount I have in my little 8K gallon pool.
Also of note the hose we use to fill the pool is after the full home water softener and sediment filter, not before that system. Doesn’t seem like those systems will catch dissolved copper, but they seem to do a decent job with Iron and Calcium from what I’ve read.
 

JohnT

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Apr 4, 2007
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Copper is so uncommon in well water that I would be seeking testing help from your state or looking into the pH of your water. The most common source of copper in drinking water is the plumbing being corroded by acidic water. If your water is introducing 0.4ppm copper into your pool, you will have a serious issue before long with pool staining and green hair and nails since the copper will continue to accumulate.

When you say the sequestrants don’t work, what exactly do you mean? Are the metals being deposited on the pool surface? If so, what color are the stains?
 

Dtrav118

Member
Sep 16, 2020
23
Easton, CT
Copper is so uncommon in well water that I would be seeking testing help from your state or looking into the pH of your water. The most common source of copper in drinking water is the plumbing being corroded by acidic water. If your water is introducing 0.4ppm copper into your pool, you will have a serious issue before long with pool staining and green hair and nails since the copper will continue to accumulate.

When you say the sequestrants don’t work, what exactly do you mean? Are the metals being deposited on the pool surface? If so, what color are the stains?
The PH is 7.5 from the well as tested, 140 Alk, 0.4 copper. Stains are tan/greenish. Stains cover the entire pool floor and walls evenly wherever the water touches. The sequestrants don’t limit the staining post AA treatment. It’s perfectly white after treatment, I have added the recommendated dosages and evening bought a sequestrant test kit from jacks magic to be sure I have the appropriate level as recommended, and the stains creep back even before I can tell all ascorbic acid is gone from the water given my high chlorine demand (without shocking, always adding enough chlorine to be at 2ppm or lower adjusted up from my CYA level, so in my case 5ppm FC, 5ppm TC, and 50 CYA.

My original question is really will the MetalTrap work for me? I know everyone suggests to have the pool refilled by a pool water company, but then what do people with wells (the source of metals) do when they need to top off the pool periodically throughout the season? Since I have a smaller pool I can easily go that route but without something to effectively filter the dissolved metals in the well water I suspect I’ll run into the same problems after topping off. Any suggestions?
 
Last edited:

Dtrav118

Member
Sep 16, 2020
23
Easton, CT
The PH is 7.5 from the well as tested, 140 Alk, 0.4 copper. Stains are tan/greenish. Stains cover the entire pool floor and walls evenly wherever the water touches. The sequestrants don’t limit the staining post AA treatment. It’s perfectly white after treatment, I have added the recommendated dosages and evening bought a sequestrant test kit from jacks magic to be sure I have the appropriate level as recommended, and the stains creep back even before I can tell all ascorbic acid is gone from the water given my high chlorine demand (without shocking, always adding enough chlorine to be at 2ppm or lower adjusted up from my CYA level, so in my case 5ppm FC, 5ppm TC, and 50 CYA.

My original question is really will the MetalTrap work for me? I know everyone suggests to have the pool refilled by a pool water company, but then what do people with wells (the source of metals) do when they need to top off the pool periodically throughout the season? Since I have a smaller pool I can easily go that route but without something to effectively filter the dissolved metals in the well water I suspect I’ll run into the same problems after topping off. Any suggestions?
Copper is so uncommon in well water that I would be seeking testing help from your state or looking into the pH of your water. The most common source of copper in drinking water is the plumbing being corroded by acidic water. If your water is introducing 0.4ppm copper into your pool, you will have a serious issue before long with pool staining and green hair and nails since the copper will continue to accumulate.

When you say the sequestrants don’t work, what exactly do you mean? Are the metals being deposited on the pool surface? If so, what color are the stains?
Looks like Jack’s Magic Blue Stuff is working better than anything else I’ve used so far. I noticed a near instant change once I poured it in this afternoon. It seems to work better than other sequestrants I’ve used (which didn’t seem to do anything for me) when it comes to my copper staining, it’s removing the stains almost as drastically as past AA treatments have just within the first 30 minutes. Like I said before I’ve tried Metal Magic and also the Metal Free products with very little success. Jacks Magic Pink stuff was recommended on TFP somewhere for fiberglass pools, but I had no luck with it on my copper stains. After talking to the manufacturer, of course they recommended to use the Blue Stuff instead. I was skeptical on seeing any results with what I thought may just be a different color of the same product but I can see now this is obviously working on my specific situation. I’ll update you all once I have given more time to let it hopefully do it’s “magic”.
 

duraleigh

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So, to your original question, I do not think "metal trap" is a viable product. Mechanical filters do a really poor and mostly inadequate job.

I would look hard at that copper test. As JohnT says above, that is totally uncommon. Well water is simply not a source for the amount of copper you are reporting. If it's there, I would get the State involved.
 

Dtrav118

Member
Sep 16, 2020
23
Easton, CT
So, to your original question, I do not think "metal trap" is a viable product. Mechanical filters do a really poor and mostly inadequate job.

I would look hard at that copper test. As JohnT says above, that is totally uncommon. Well water is simply not a source for the amount of copper you are reporting. If it's there, I would get the State involved.
Thanks Duraleigh. EPA limits are 1.3ppm on copper, so if my well water is reading 0.4ppm I doubt the state will get involved. I wonder what is leading you all to say this is a large quantity of copper when it's less than 1/3 of the EPA action limit? Many resources on this but the best I could find was at this link from Massachusetts. https://www.mass.gov/doc/copper-in-drinking-water-faq-english/download
 

duraleigh

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I wonder what is leading you all to say this is a large quantity of copper when it's less than 1/3 of the EPA action limit?
In the 14 years I have been on this forum, I don't think I can ever remember a well naturally producing copper in ANY significance. Your report of .4 ppm jumps right out at us.

That report is about drinking water. copper doesn't make you sick (at that concentration) but it is a real PITA when it stains the sides of your pool
 

Dtrav118

Member
Sep 16, 2020
23
Easton, CT
In the 14 years I have been on this forum, I don't think I can ever remember a well naturally producing copper in ANY significance. Your report of .4 ppm jumps right out at us.

That report is about drinking water. copper doesn't make you sick (at that concentration) but it is a real PITA when it stains the sides of your pool
I’m very new to pool ownership (1st season) and maintenance and I am glad you all are helping me. And you’re really not kidding about the PITA part.

I’ve used my Lamotte test kit for copper on distilled water 0.0ppm, my current pool water 0.4ppm, and water from my hose 0.4ppm. The water PH from the hose is 7.5 so I doubt it’s acidic and pulling copper from my pipes. The tough part is the sequestered metals I don’t believe will show up on the test if my understanding is correct so I’m not even sure how I’m getting any copper readings. Today 4 hours after adding Jacks Blue Stuff, I still got 0.2ppm copper with my test kit.

I’m certain the staining that was on the walls when I started this year is even more copper that’s still in the water, since I did my 2 partial drain and refills in May this year but to remove CYA which was at 300+. I had to drain 2/3 of the pool twice just to get down to a manageable number (50). I realized after the fills that the staining there was metals and treatable with ascorbic acid. You should have seen the look on my face when I saw what a little vitamin C tablet could do...

I’m likely going to do a 2/3 drain and refill after this final pool weekend before closing for the season. Yes, I know I’m wasting the bottle of Jack’s I put in today, let’s call it an experiment to see which product would work for me. I’m going to try the MetalTrap product and do some testing on the water coming through the filter to see if it makes a difference for me. I’ve already spent enough time and money this year trying to get this right, what’s another $100+?

It will be good to know if the MetalTrap works at all for my future top offs or if it’s just a waste, and every time I need to top off I’ll have to call a pool water truck...
 

ajw22

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Jul 21, 2013
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Ascorbic acid treats iron stains.

Copper stains are raised using sulfamic acid and sequestered using HEDP, phosphonic acid, or phosphonic acid derivatives. That is what is in Jack’s Blue.

It sounds like you have a combination of iron and copper staining.

 
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Dtrav118

Member
Sep 16, 2020
23
Easton, CT
Ascorbic acid treats iron stains.

Copper stains are raised using sulfamic acid and sequestered using HEDP, phosphonic acid, or phosphonic acid derivatives. That is what is in Jack’s Blue.

It sounds like you have a combination of iron and copper staining.

You very well might be right but my max iron reading has been 0.1ppm in the pool and my well water shows 0.0ppm iron. I’ve had my well water professionally tested as well as tested myself and gotten the same results. It’s windy sometimes and some dirt /leaves get in and maybe some iron from there is my guess. Or there was iron on the walls previously and I still haven’t gotten it out...

I had no success per that article on copper with the recommendations of Metal Magic, and Jacks Pink. In fact, Jacks Pink is not actually recommended for copper per the manufacturer, but more for Iron, so that article should be changed. Jacks Blue is recommended for copper, not Iron.
 

ajw22

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Thanks. I added a note about Pink Stuff versus Blue stuff.

I believe iron deposited on surfaces or bound to sequestrant will not show in iron water tests. The test will only find iron in solution.
 
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Dtrav118

Member
Sep 16, 2020
23
Easton, CT
Thanks. I added a note about Pink Stuff versus Blue stuff.

I believe iron deposited on surfaces or bound to sequestrant will not show in iron water tests. The test will only find iron in solution.
Jacks blue stuff worked for me for a few days but without continually adding more the metal stains just got worse once again but I’ve decided that everyone is right and I need to get this metal out of the water by doing an exchange. I’ve tested my well water again and it shows low copper and low iron as it did before. I’m going to do a full water exchange using the tarp method. I saw some helpful articles here on TFP with how best to handle that so my fiberglass pool isn’t damaged in the process. I have a whole house filter as well as a water softening system and I will also use a MetalTrap despite the lack of confidence in its effectiveness, as I figure WTH, it can’t hurt. I plan to document the process like I saw done before as it was helpful for me and I hope my process leads to success and can help someone else, while the experts can potentially give me tips along the way should anyone be interested.
 

Dtrav118

Member
Sep 16, 2020
23
Easton, CT
Well, I went ahead and fully drained the pool even after trying the new sequestrant (Jack's Blue) as it really didn't seem to be holding, just delaying the inevitable. I put together a whole new thread and some awesome members also provided additional advice on the process.

Plan for full water exchange using Tarp

While Duraleigh may very well be right that a filter might do a poor job, I figured it certainly can't hurt to have the equivalent of a huge Brita filter on the end of the hose for the filling process, and may also help for next season when topping off due to evaporation to prevent any metals getting in the water, in addition to my water softening system and home filter.

The more I think about it, the more I think that the old owner must have been not dealing with the staining properly, and/or potentially used a copper based algaecide for the winter closing. Even though I did 2 partial drains and refills in the spring due to high CYA levels, I didn't understand the situation with the metals until after then, which means they were stuck on the walls and never removed during the drains and refills, so I found out the hard way that AA treatment with sequestrants added just weren't enough for my situation.

The most telling part of this is the color of the water, even after having removed the stains from the wall using the AA treatment. I didn't realize how green the water really looked even with unstained walls until after having exchanged the water, see below!

Thanks again to all for your input. I've learned so much from everyone and hope to be able to help others with my new found knowledge this year.

after AA before exchange.jpeg
after exchange.jpeg