New pool owner - cloudy pool w/ 0 CYA reading

jstav

Member
Jul 11, 2019
10
Chicago, IL
Prior to two weeks ago our (new to us) pool and chemistry was taken care of by someone else, and I'm trying to take over its maintenance. Details are in my signature. We had a party two weeks ago and subsequently the pool got cloudy. I took a sample into Leslie's 8 days ago and got the following results:
FC 0.0
pH 7.3
TA 90
CH 200
CYA 0
SALT 3300

Per their advice, I added 206 oz of CYA powder directly to the skimmer basket. Pump has been running this whole time. The pool is clearer, but still cloudy.

In the meantime, I got my own Taylor K-2006-Salt Test Kit and 2 days ago I got the following:
FC 3.0
pH 7.4
TA 100
CH 170
CYA 0

Before reading here (oops), I talked to Leslies and added some sort of enzymes "Leslie's Clear Aid", which I now probably know won't help (and stupidly, I don't know what it does... but hopefully won't hurt)... I would say the pool got clearer, but is still slightly cloudy. Yesterday I also added 25lbs of calcium chloride.

The pool remains cloudy. The filter has been backwashed mid-week (more than 72 hours after the CYA addition). The filter pressure is steady since then. My autocover is closed most of the time unless we're using the pool. The small spa that spills over to the pool stays open to the air though.

Do I need to SLAM? Do I need to add CYA before SLAM? How do I SLAM with 0 CYA? Do I need to just wait to see CYA levels rise or should I have seen it by now? I am not sure how to proceed to finish getting the pool totally clear again vs "kinda clearing but still cloudy"...

Thanks!
-Joel
 

Msch99

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 11, 2018
905
Verona, MO
Strange a zero CYA. Usually just the opposite. Possible CYA turning into ammonia.
CYA checked with k-2006 kit?

Experiencing larger than normal chlorine consumption?
 

jstav

Member
Jul 11, 2019
10
Chicago, IL
2nd reading (2 days ago) is from K-2006 kit. Thought this is new to me, I'm generally methodical and used this method (but not this test kit, the K-2006 as you said):
 

Flying Tivo

Well-known member
Jan 24, 2017
1,889
Monterrey, NL, Mexico
You probably backwashed most of your CYA out. Dont know about the enzyme. If you followed the directions on the k2006 you are fine, if in doubt you can always poor back the solution and retest. In any case you have a SWG that will require higher CYA. So if you overshoot a little no problem. Now aim to add 20 ppm of CYA, use poolmath to determine quantity. Use the Sock method and hang it infront of a return and squeeze regularly. You can start your slam at the same time the CYA is in the sock.
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
43,238
Tucson, AZ
:wave: Welcome to TFP!!!

To verify, you filled the entire CYA tube and could still clearly see the dot? We have had new testers think the CYA is 0 when in fact the dot disappeared with very little solution, meaning the CYA is actually high.
 

jstav

Member
Jul 11, 2019
10
Chicago, IL
So my plan should be

1) 3.3 lbs (20ppm) dry stabilizer in sock hung near skimmer return
2) simultaneous SLAM start... based on what CYA level? I understand only that my CYA goal level long term is 70-80, I SLAM based on that level or based on ~30 (assuming I have some now that's not registering because it's <20ppm and the test doesn't see that low) and then worry about raising CYA later once water is clear?

Thanks!
 

jstav

Member
Jul 11, 2019
10
Chicago, IL
:wave: Welcome to TFP!!!

To verify, you filled the entire CYA tube and could still clearly see the dot? We have had new testers think the CYA is 0 when in fact the dot disappeared with very little solution, meaning the CYA is actually high.
Confirmed, I could still see the dot --- thanks for the welcome, looks like a great resource!
 

jstav

Member
Jul 11, 2019
10
Chicago, IL
As I'm reading other threads about ammonia I want to add more info that before I thought was irrelevant, but now I'm not sure and since I'm brand new, I just want to offer all the info I have:
1- the pool had sat for 2 years (winterized) and it was unused and through two winters - this spring it was acid washed prior to filling it with fresh (city) water - the guys who did this also replaced an old broken filter with my new sand filter, and added the SWG.
2- The plaster is older and has some heavy staining, but is structurally sound.
3- I have the auto cover on most of the time when we're not using the pool - I also wonder how that affects anything, and I also wonder how dirty it still is under that cover.
 

Fast7

Well-known member
Aug 8, 2018
201
Plainfield, IL
If pool was drained and refilled, your CYA will be 0. However if you think you might have ammonia in your water, add enough chlorine to raise your FC to 10 in accordance with PoolMath
With pump running, test FC 15 minutes later. If FC > 5 ppm, you can add enough stabilizer to raise your CYA to 30 ppm and start SLAM.
 

jstav

Member
Jul 11, 2019
10
Chicago, IL
A few weeks ago when the pool was opened, CYA and (puck and liquid?) chlorine were added by the guy who started the pool, however subsequently both went to zero.

It seems like something else is going on, as I am having a really hard time here. I can pick up and test for ammonia later today, I suspect ammonia based on reading ammonia threads on here.

I should also note, I find the FC test very very difficult for some reason, my solution turns back to pink, back and forth... it's odd. So I use if it stays clear for ~10s, I count that reading. The sample *always* turns back to pink. And darkens over time (over the next 1-5 mins) to a dark pink. Is this normal?

Pump on this whole time:

Two nights ago:
7:50pm
FC 3.0
CC 4.0
7:55pm added 1.5 gal bleach @10%
8:05pm 3.0FC
8:10pm added 1.5 gal bleach @10%
8:10pm added 53oz dry stabilizer (20ppm) in sock near skimmer intake
8:21pm 6.0 FC however I waited *longer* than the 10s... up to 30s+ to see if it turned pink... this reading could be off for that reason.
added 1.0 gal bleach, covered, went inside

Unfortunately was away and unable to check until

Last night:
7pm
FC 1.2
CC 5.8
pH 7.4
TA 130
CH 270
CYA ~20(?)

7:15pm added 1.5gal of bleach at 12.5%
7:30pm FC 0.8
7:35pm added 1.5 gal bleach 12.5%
7:45pm FC 1.8
7:48pm added 1.5 gal bleach 12.5%
8:05pm FC 1.8
8:05pm added 1.5 gal bleach 12.5%
8:15pm FC 3.6
8:19pm added 1.5 gal bleach 12.5%
8:29pm FC 3.0
8:34pm added 1 gal bleach 12.5%
8:44pm FC 1.8
8:55pm added 2 gal bleach 12.5%
9:05pm FC 1.0
gave up

Today I hopefully can get a test and test for ammonia. I'm concerned the CYA addition all turned into ammonia. I'm concerned/I suspect some bacteria is present that's under my autocover that I can't clean. I don't think I can trust my DPD free chlorine test results... I'll update with ammonia results. If that's not it, idk what it is.

I read 1ppm ammonia needs 10ppm FC. All at once?

Thoughts?
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
32,962
Laughlin, NV
Have you left the cover off during this? The CC needs to be burned off by the sun.

When doing the FC and CC test, when the sample goes to no color, the test is over. If left to sit they will turn pink again. Ignore that.

You are sure of the CC readings?

pH should be dropping if it is ammonia being consumed by chlorine.
 

jstav

Member
Jul 11, 2019
10
Chicago, IL
No, the pool cover has been closed for the most part. I will open today.

Thanks for advice on reading the FC test.

I am sure of last night's CC reading, other than that, just a total noob doing my best and pouring chlorine down the figurative drain.
 

Donldson

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 12, 2009
4,585
NW Ohio
It's not a drain. There is a contaminate in your pool and chlorine is removing it. And while it will take a lot of chlorine, it is one of the easiest contaminates to deal with. Algae takes time, ammonia is virtually instant. Something to be said about instant gratification.

With chlorine now in the water it will interfere with an ammonia kit (being made for aquariums they don't have necessary chlorine buffers like pool tests have) so I wouldn't bother with that. You were following the process very well, don't give up. Any bacteria left in the water is being quickly killed, once you get the ammonia taken care of and are able to keep FC in the water then the bacteria won't last long enough to consume more CYA. As long as you keep your FC above zero this won't happen again.
 

jstav

Member
Jul 11, 2019
10
Chicago, IL
Thank you for the encouragement. The process felt endless and the drop to FC 1.0 was discouraging at the end of a long day. The pool does look clearer this morning.

Ok, I won't run the ammonia test... that said is there any way to estimate how much more bleach I should pick up? It's 12.5%/gal. I have six gallons left. Maybe pick up 12 more? 16? 20? Schedule an LTL shipment? ;)

Should I add more than I have been (10ppm due to no/low CYA) all at one time, or is that a risk to my plaster and equipment? Continue with 10ppm per 10 mins as long as reading after ten mins is <5ppm. Correct? Then I should add more CYA? (and then I will plan to follow SLAM criteria, just wondering about if and when to add more CYA).
 

Donldson

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 12, 2009
4,585
NW Ohio
Not really any good way to estimate it, but with a SLAM due after the ammonia is cleared up 10-20 or so is not going to go to waste. Hopefully the tanker truck won't be necessary. You are correct on the procedures, once you keep at least 5 ppm you can add 30 ppm of CYA and begin the SLAM Process.

Sounds like you have a great grasp on the processes. Once you have completed the SLAM (don't try to rush it, go until the 3 criteria are passed) you can bring your CYA up to a good SWG level and start enjoying a much more trouble free pool. Just remind yourself that SLAM is not a common thing, it is a process that only needs done when things get out of hand. You could go years between them, depending on how lucky you get with spring openings. Don't get discouraged, even as the recycling begins overflowing with chlorine bottles. It's all worth it.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
32,962
Laughlin, NV
The other option is a very large water exchange to fresh. You have to decide if that is more economical than using the liquid chlorine.
 

jstav

Member
Jul 11, 2019
10
Chicago, IL
Ok, thank you to you both. for the encouragement. I wasn't sure I was on the right track, but now I am re-committed to the process. I am gonna stick with the chlorine. Let's see if I can save these 20k gallons! I think it will work based on everything I've read here, and this time I will have a larger supply of beer chlorine on hand, and that will hopefully get me to the start of the SLAM tonight... I'll try to report back in the next few days with an update.
 

jstav

Member
Jul 11, 2019
10
Chicago, IL
Ran *many* iterations last night, *finally* saw a reading >5ppm on FC, and pool is clear this morning! Though a bit green, and without much FC today... but I'm on the right track, and starting the proper SLAM and I'll stick with it until it clears up and maintains its levels. Thanks again for encouraging me to stick with it.