New Pool Startup - Do I have the hang of this? PLEASE HELP!


Jun 30, 2018
Hello All!

I Appreciate in advance any feedback/response you can offer. Just want to make sure I'm on the right track with my new pool and it's chemistry.

As you can see from my build thread, we just completed our build and have had water in it for 2 weeks (Good thing Summers in Florida don't end until around Thanksgiving! LOL!) I've been as thorough as I can be so far after having scoured all of the great info on this site in Pool School and elsewhere.

My Concern:
I didn't have my TF100 test kit until this week so until then I could only test for FC, PH, TA. All last week (Days 1-9 of having pool water filled) I was trying to keep these levels balanced after PB put in a ton of acid and chlorine as part of "normal startup" (but didn't really test any levels). Being a "by the numbers" guy, and having scoured these forums, I have wanted to keep them balanced. Not given any direction from the PB or plaster company (We have WetEdge Pebble finish) other than "Brush it 1-2 times per day for the first 28 days to expose the aggregate", I began trying to balance the water. Again I didn't have an FAS/DPD Chlorine test so was not able to get the level of chlorine above 5ppm until this week (9/17). I have, however been keeping my logs in the Pool Math app (super handy!) and using it's recommendations for my pool for chemical additions.

I feel like I'm getting the hang of everything, using water features to aerate when TA is okay but PH needs to be raised, adding bleach, and acid to adjust CL/PH levels, keeping an eye on CH, CC, and CYA... but could still use some reassurance!


I seem to have to add acid and bleach more frequently than I expected to keep the FC and PH in the ranges specified in the app (updated after testing and input CYA levels with new test kit arrival). I'm sure this is normal, but I'd love to get any thoughts/opinions on my approach and chemistry levels please!!!

My Setup:
Test Kit - TF100
PH Meter - PH-009 Pen Type PH Meter
New Wet Edge (Pebble) finish
SWG (obviously not plugged in or started yet... for 30 days?)

My Logs:

  • [*=1]Day 1 (9/8) - No test kit provided after water fill, no chemicals added - straight hose water from city utility. Brushed 2x
    [*=1]Day 2 (9/9) - Sunday - Brushed 2x
    [*=1]Day 3 (9/10) - PB turned pumps on, added unknown amount of Chlorine and Acid and unfortunately poured Stabilizer powder directly into the skimmer (found most of the stabilizer when I cleaned the filter later this day so don't think much was absorbed but had no way to test until test kit arrived a week later).

    • [*=1]After running pump all day to circulate all of chemicals I tested the levels using a basic test kit provided at 8pm
      [*=1]FC - WAY higher than 5
      [*=1]PH - 6.5
      [*=1]TA - 30
      [*=1]Temp - 81
      [*=1]Thinking PH and TA were WAY too low - I added Borax and Baking Soda to raise these numbers per Pool Math App levels - Didn't consider maybe acidity should have been maintained to help with exposing aggregate in new pebble surface???

    [*=1]Day 4 (9/11) - Test Chemicals 7am

    • [*=1]FC - WAY higher than 5
      [*=1]PH - 6.8
      [*=1]TA - 70
      [*=1]Temp - 80
      [*=1]Water Crystal Clear

    [*=1]Day 5 (9/12) - Test Chemicals 7am

    • [*=1]FC - WAY higher than 5
      [*=1]PH - 7.3
      [*=1]TA - 90
      [*=1]Temp - 81
      [*=1]Water Crystal Clear

    [*=1]Day 6 (9/13) - Test Chemicals 8am

    • [*=1]FC - 3.0
      [*=1]PH - 7.6
      [*=1]TA - 80
      [*=1]Temp - 81
      [*=1]Water Crystal Clear

    [*=1]Day 7 (9/14) - Test Chemicals 7am

    • [*=1]FC - 2.0
      [*=1]PH - 8.0
      [*=1]TA - 80
      [*=1]Temp - 81
      [*=1]ADDED 36oz 31.45% Acid
      [*=1]2 hours later added 34oz household bleach (7.9%)
      [*=1]Water Crystal Clear

    [*=1]Day 8 (9/15) - Test Chemicals 7am

    • [*=1]FC - 2.5
      [*=1]PH - 8.0
      [*=1]TA - 80
      [*=1]Temp - 82
      [*=1]Water Crystal Clear

    [*=1]Day 9 (9/16) - Test Chemicals 8am

    • [*=1]FC - 0.0
      [*=1]PH - 8.2
      [*=1]TA - 80
      [*=1]Temp - 82
      [*=1]Starting to worry about Chlorine loss and PH rise but water Crystal Clear
      [*=1]Added 70oz household Bleach (7.9%)
      [*=1]Water Crystal Clear

    [*=1]Day 10 (9/17) - Test Chemicals 11am

    • [*=1]FC - 0.5
      [*=1]PH - 7.8
      [*=1]Temp - 83
      [*=1]Water Crystal Clear
      [*=1]Added another 50oz Bleach (7.9%)
      [*=1]2pm - New Test Kit Arrives! Test Chemicals
      [*=1]FC - 1.0
      [*=1]CC - 1.0
      [*=1]PH - 7.5
      [*=1]CH - 175
      [*=1]CYA - 20
      [*=1]Thinking Stabilizer could be the reason I'm not holding FC I added 3 Gal of LIQUID Stabilizer
      [*=1]Also worried about CH leaching from new surface I added 25lbs of Calcium Chloride (dissolved in bucket of water 2-3lbs at a time and dumped into pool). OVER ZEALOUS AND DIDN'T REALIZE I SHOULDN'T ADD THIS SO QUICKLY AS I LATER READ!!!

    [*=1] Day 11 (9/18) - Test Chemicals 8am

    • [*=1]FC - 0.5
      [*=1]PH - 7.2
      [*=1]TA - 80
      [*=1]CH - 275
      [*=1]CYA - 80
      [*=1]TEMP - 83
      [*=1]Thinking my household bleach that had been sitting for at least 1 year had maybe lost strength I bought a 2.5 gallon jug from the pool store and Added 120oz Bleach (10.5%)
      [*=1]Water Crystal Clear

    [*=1]Day 12 (9/19) - Test Chemicals 7am

    • [*=1]FC - 9.5
      [*=1]CC - .5
      [*=1]PH - 7.5
      [*=1]TA - 100
      [*=1]CH - 300
      [*=1]CYA - 65 - Not sure how this went down. Maybe bad reading on my first attempt (black dot test)???
      [*=1]Water Crystal Clear

    [*=1]Day 13 (9/20) - Test Chemicals 7am

    • [*=1]FC - Near 5 - (did not use FAS/DPD test)
      [*=1]PH - 8.0
      [*=1]Temp - 82
      [*=1]Added 60oz Acid 31.45%
      [*=1]Water Crystal Clear

    [*=1]Day 14 (9/21 TODAY!) - Test Chemicals at 7am

    • [*=1]FC - 2.5 (approx. not using FAS/DPD test)
      [*=1]PH - 7.4
      [*=1]TA - 70
      [*=1]TEMP - 82
      [*=1]Water Crystal Clear
      [*=1]Post this post hoping for help and feedback! :)

So main questions are:

  1. highlighted in Red above
  2. Does it seem reasonable to continue following guidelines in Pool Math app for ranges and keep adding Bleach/Acid to keep within levels?
  3. Given how new pool is and number logs above and no salt yet (full sun exposure all day but under screen enclosure) are my chemical levels and additions reasonable?
  4. I calibrated my PH-009 Pen PH meter a few days ago. I still use it along with the red dye test to confirm PH. I am getting what seems to be different results though. Today Red dye test seemed to point to 7.4ish but Pen said 7.7... is there a recommended way to recalibrate the pen (already used the two powders that came with it to calibrate it the first time). Ideally I'd love to have a digital readout rather than rely on color matching but just find it hard to trust the results when they are vastly different than what I see on the dye test.
  5. Is it reasonable to expect a significant amount of "splotchyness" still on the surface of our pool? I brush the pool like a madman and I still see plaster dust debris when brushing but there is still a fair amount of plaster that seems to need to be removed. I'm told keep brushing for 30 days which I'm fine with,but just want to make sure with the alkalinity and chemical levels I am keeping this still holds true.

THANK YOU SO MUCH IN ADVANCE for your help and for reading through this lengthy post!!!



Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
Tallahassee, FL
Here ya go. I am going down your post and will hit the items as I see them and have an answer.

YES you are on the right track! At least you have something to test with until the grown up test kit got there!

The PB might have been doing a modified "hot start" but without giving you more directions on how to keep it going you did the correct thing with your pH and TA adjustments.

CH-with the rains we get in FL should be fine with the addition for CH.

I agree your low CYA is the reason for the FC being chewed up by the sun. Good job adding the liquid gold CYA!

Now for the questions with numbers:

1. Hit most of them

2.Do keep with the levels found in Pool Math (have you found the ebook for pool school yet? This is a gold mine of info also!)

3.New plaster will push the pH up and fast! It can take anywhere from 3 months to a year for it to get stable.I am hopeful the new CYA will help your FC stick around more. Make sure to not let the FC get below the minimum for your CYA as seen in this chart: Pool School - Recommended Levels

4.Not many people have much luck with the pH tests things that need to be calibrated :( Here is my "trick" for the red drop test. I hold the tube in front of a white plastic plate under a 60 watt light. Then pull the plate back and forth behind the tube until I can a close color match. Know the color could be called 7.5 if the color does look like it is in the middle.

5. plaster "splotchyness" is a very common complaint I am sorry to say. The darker the plaster the worse it shows. If, after the 30 days, it is still too splotch for your tests your PB can do an acid treatment to try to even it out some BUT know this treatment may shorten your plaster's life a little as what it does is remove some of the plaster. It si up to you what you end up doing. The levels and brushing are needed now to keep it from getting worse.

There we go! I think I got all of your questions covered. You are doing fine! If you have any more questions or concerns give us a shout!