Mustard Algae and Wedding Cake Steps

2clowns

Member
Jul 14, 2012
23
Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay
My husband and I are new pool owners. We have a 27 foot round above ground pool, installed in May. Our pool has two large trees on either side of it, so getting leaves in the pool is an issue that we deal with. We've taken very good care of the pool and have done everything that we know to do to keep it clean. We have wedding cake steps, which is becoming a problem. We live on the gulf coast of Alabama. When hurricane Isaac went by we got a lot of leaves in our pool. We cleaned it out, but about a week later we got mustard algae. We shocked the pool three days in a room this week, with the last day being Wednesday. I vacuumed the pool to waste on Friday and we pulled the wedding cake steps out of the pool. We took the suction cups off from the bottom of the steps and clean them in bleach. We noticed that inside of the legs of the steps there are a few old leaves and it has specks of yellow in there. We cannot get into the legs to clean them because there is only about a one inch hole where the suction cups snap in place. I'm going to clean the steps with bleach, but after seeing what is inside the legs of the steps, I'm not sure we can actualy get rid of the mustard algae. I don't want to put the steps back in the pool, because I'm concerned the algae will just return. Any ideas on getting the steps algae free? We can brush the steps with bleach, but what about getting inside the legs that only have about a 1 inch opening? I don't see a way that we can get that cleaned out.

Thanks for any help you can give us.
 

duraleigh

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Do you have a pic of the problem holes? I am thinking they could be filled with mortar but I am not sure of their function.
 

dmanb2b

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Apr 4, 2009
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Welcome to TFP :wave:

Around here, we find it pretty hard to "shock" three times in a week. Did you actually maintain shock FC level for 3 days in a row? Shock is a process that can take a few days in of itself and is not a product. The pics will certainly help us identify the type of algae you may have or even help you modify your stairs, but if your water was truly shocked, meeting the TFP shock process criteria (there are 3) and subsequent to completion, you maintain and adequate FC level, as we teach in pool school (link in my sig), algae won't grow in your water. Pool water is constantly exposed to algae spores and it is inadeqate FC levels that allow them to take hold in your pool water, if perhaps they are hiding in your steps....but again if your water is properly chlorinated, this is not an issue.

You also want a good test kit :goodjob:
 

2clowns

Member
Jul 14, 2012
23
Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay
I tried to post a picture but it says the file is too big, maximum allowed size is 512 kb. ?? Let me know if there is a way to get pictures posted.

The pool store where we purchased our pool offered to take the wedding cake steps back and give us a Confer 6100B ladder. We would like to keep the steps but I don't know how we can get rid of the algae in the legs. It looks like leaves got stuck in the legs and decomposed.

We take the water to a pool store for testing. They always told us our FC was too high. So we took it down a little bit. This was the reading on the day we found the mustard algae. They told us everything was fine.

FC 3.3 ppm
TC 3.3 ppm
Comibine Chlorine 0.0
pH 7.8
Hardiness 300 ppm
Alkalinity 100
Cyanuric Acid 55
 

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
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Apr 27, 2012
3,835
Grand Rapids, MI
Hi again!
Re: photo, if you can resize your photo to be about the size one would email, it should work. If you took the pic on a smart phone, email it to yourself and choose small or medium when the phone prompts you. Once it's under the size limit, you should be able to upload it.

Re: steps, again, inject chlorine into the voids to kill anything growing there

Re: testing, shocking, and trouble free pool school ;) There's a bit of required reading to get the most effective advice on this forum. At TFP, we subscribe to testing your own water with a good test kit, because pool store results are notoriously inaccurate (in fairness, they're not standing beside the pool, so aspects of the water can change on the way to the store...and there's a lot of room for operator error.)

We also refer to shock as a process, whereby you shock to a value specific to your cya reading typically using liquid chlorine and maintaining that level for several days by testing and dosing.

The reason these two approaches are used are pretty much so that one doesn't end up in the situation you're now in. Please read about the shocking process over in pool school and post the picture if possible and we can attempt to assist you.

If your FC was 3.3, that's a little under the TFP recommendation for a cya of 50 -- your target range would be 4-6, never letting it drop below 4.

Pool store advice usually differs from TFP because some of the industry-leading scientists who contribute to this board have discovered or examined research that shows cya has an effect on the capacity of the chlorine to sanitize. So if you like TFP and want assistance here, you end up choosing your source. It doesn't work well if you mix the advice of the pool store and the thread mods here -- the approaches are usually not entirely compatible.

Hope that helps clarify some of the comments. Best wishes. Please let us know when you post if you're going to get a good, drop-based test kit like tft100 or Taylor 2006 and then we can help you go through the shocking process.
 

2clowns

Member
Jul 14, 2012
23
Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay
Thanks. This is all new to us so we've depended highly on the pool store, but we love this site and appreciate the advice. We have also found that different pool stores offer conflicting advice. We have lots of questions, so we hope you don't mind the questions as we go through all the information here.

We have resized the pictures. We can inject chlorine in the holes of the legs wih the baster as someone suggested, although not sure how that will work, but we will give it a try.
 

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duraleigh

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We have lots of questions, so we hope you don't mind the questions as we go through all the information here.
That is exactly what the forum is for. Each of us started from the same point....knowing nothing.....everyone here enjoys passing on what they have learned.

Great pics. I still like the idea of filling those holes. There are a couple of masonry products you could use, I think.

One is for quicksetting stair railing posts in cement and the other is for leveling concrete floors. Either should work and, if they fall out, it was a cheap, quick attempt (but I think it will stay.)
 

2clowns

Member
Jul 14, 2012
23
Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay
We have to be able to snap the suction cups back on the legs. So then we would have to lay the steps on their side, fill the holes, snap on the suction cups and then turn the steps upright?

What about drilling holes in the steps to get better circulation? Should we add more holes, and if so, where woud be the best places to drill holes without weakening the steps?

Thanks again for your help.
 

kimkats

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Jul 10, 2012
45,780
Tallahassee, FL
We LOVED our wedding cake steps BUT they were the death of us! There was NO way to keep them clean. They were algae heaven. We tried everything but still had algae we could not get rid of BUT that was way before we found TFP! At the time we sold the steps and put in a plain ladder. A short time later we gave up on the whole pool and took it down. :cry:

NOW we have a whole new pool and will be getting the wedding cake steps once we recover from the cost of the pool. With the help and knowledge at this site I bet it will be doable! :lol:

YOUR first step should be to order a GOOD test kit. Once you get it YOU are in control. Just think, you can take some water out of your pool and test it right then and there! :mrgreen:

With my test kit it only costs us $4-$6 a week to maintain! :party: Compare that to when we had our old pool and used the pool store and spent AT LEAST $75 a visit! We went to the pool store at least every other week but some weeks it was twice a week! :grrrr:

Do the shock PROCESS using bleach right now. Shoot some bleach up your cake legs with a baster.

I don't know about the filing of the legs or cutting for better flow. I will be watching to see what you do and what works for when I get mine! :idea:

Keep us posted. Make sure to come back with any and all questions you have. :whoot:

Kim :cat:
 

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
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Apr 27, 2012
3,835
Grand Rapids, MI
I like dave's idea of filling those holes toO, because I'm betting they'll always be a source of possible hideout for algae. (Those steps are pretty so I can see the desire to keep them.)

But if that plan is a little overwhelming at the moment, I'd probably try to fill em up with strong bleach solution, cap em and let that sit overnight, then drain em and then use a garden hose with a jet nozzle, or a power washer, to force the sludge/remnants out of them.

Once they were back in, I'd consider adding your liquid chlorine around the stair area evey day when you dose so that the area has a little bit of extra chlorine exposure.
 

2clowns

Member
Jul 14, 2012
23
Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay
Thanks so much for all the help. We cleaned the steps with bleach today, and are going to fill the legs with bleach and stop up the holes tomorrow and let them sit a while. I think that's a great idea. We are going to avoid filling the legs, if we can. It would make the steps heavy and difficult to move. We are thinking about keeping them out of the water until probably March or April. Our swim season is over in another month anyway and we can still get in and out of the pool.

Do you think if there is any algae left in the legs of the steps that keeping them out of the water for the next 5 months would kill the algae?

We're going to look over the recommended test kits and get one. This has motivated us to learn how to take care of the pool ourselves and not to depend on the pool store for advice.

We appreciate your time and advice. Thank you!