Donna from Iowa

New member
Jun 3, 2010
:wave: Hi Everyone: We have had our 18' round above ground pool for about 5 years. We have a Hayward filter and motor and have been using "The Frog" from the beginning of operation 5 years ago. We have been very sucessful with "The Frog" but have heard so many say how wonderful the salt chlorinators are. So, we decided to switch over. We just received our Aqua Trol Salt Chlorinator yesterday. We have not opened our pool yet this year. We just put new sand in our filter and my husband is getting ready to put things together to get started. My question is this: Do we stabilize the pool first, like we used to start up, shock, but in algicide and cliffier etc. Or do we start by using all of that and the salt too? Could someone give me the exact steps we should take in beginning? I think our pool holds about 13,500 gals of water, our generator is for 18,000 gals of water. We are very excited since the water quality will be so much better and easier on skin, hair, suits. We are scared to death though that we are so darn dumb. Thank you in advance for any help you can give us at this time.

Donna from Iowa :-D


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 8, 2007
Waaay NW MN
Welcome Donna!!! First thing you should do is read Pool School and this article on Salt Water Chlorine Generators pool-school/salt_water_chlorine_generators

What we usually do at start up is get the water completely balanced, add/top off the salt and once the salt level is correct, start up the SWG. I would highly recommend the steps for BBB in Pool School rather than adding a bunch of Floc, Algaecides and Clarifiers - most of the time you just don't need those and sometimes those products can add stuff to the pool you really do not want in there, like ammonia or metals.

Donna from Iowa

New member
Jun 3, 2010
Oh boy am I ever dumb, what is SWG and BBB. "To get the water completely balanced, add/top off and once the salt level is correct, start up the SWG. OK, please explain that statement". I told you I am really dumb. (SWG=Salt Water Generator?) We don't use chlorine we start right off using the salt to get the pool completely balanced? Have patience...


Well-known member
Feb 18, 2010
Houston, TX
Hey Donna, welcome! :wave:

Okay, yes SWG - Salt Water (Chlorine) Generator, and BBB - Bleach, Borax, and Baking Soda. That's the method for pool care used here at TFP. Those aren't the only chemicals we have to use, it's more about taking control of your water. Doing your own testing, not adding a bunch of chemicals the pool store tells you to, basically taking control of your pool!

Like NWMNMom suggested, take a look at Pool School. All the basics are explained very well there. A lot of the things you'll see here go against what the pool stores say, but the results of these thousands of people and their pools speak for itself! It may seem hard to grasp at first, but we'll all hold your hand all the way though it, if that's what you need. That's what we're here for!

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2009
SouthWest Alabama
Hello Donna and welcome,
We all had to start somewhere since we weren't born knowing this stuff. You've come to a good place if you really want to take control of and understand what's going on in your pool.

Lets get started.
SWG, as it's commonly refered to, is really a SWCG (Salt Water Chlorine Generator). Your pool still uses chlorine as the sanitizing agent it's just generated by the SWCG from salt in the pool rather than being introduced by any of the common methods (bleach, liquid chlorine, tablets, etc.)
There's a section in Pool School specifically for the love and care of SWCG's. I'd emplore you to read it several times. Also take a look at the Pool Calculator

As mentioned by John, BBB is the abbreviation for a few common household products that we use to maintain our pools but it's really just an easy to remember moniker for the method we use. We're all about knowing what you're putting in your pool and why you're putting it in there. That holds true for a SWCG as well.

Post a set of test results of your pool water and how you got them (pool store, test kit, etc) and how your water looks now.
Once we see that we can guide you to getting things in order and running your SWCG.

P.S. Your 18' pool actually holds in the neighborhood of 7500 gals of water unless it's got a dug out center.

Donna from Iowa

New member
Jun 3, 2010
:lol: Thank you so very, very much for all your comments and help. Since I last posted our pool has been wonderful. The clorine is a little high but that is ok since we have been having horrible weather here. Rain, rain and more rain. The humidity is unreal and the dew point matches the humidity, saturated is what we are. You are right about the gals of water, I don't know why I wrote 13,000 I knew better than that.

Breaking the habits of adding chemicals is very hard to do since the pool stores STILL tell you to add this or that. I have not added anything since our pool tests (with strips) just fine. Sometimes it's a little high and then the next day the PH and ALk is just fine. So, we have beautiful clear water and not one problem, that I know of...My salt content is about 6.8, I think that is high BUT...once again it is because I listened to the pool store. My salt was at about 6 (after tons of rain and backwashing to waste) so, she told me to add a BAG of salt. I thought maybe that was to much but...she's the smart I did. Well, I am high on salt now but it won't take long for the rain to take care of that. I don't worry since the rest is testing ok.

My question is this, even though the water is clear...everything seems ok should I still add the algicide once a week? The pool place says I should be doing that because this is helping the generator keep alge away. OH water does taste like salt but I am sure that's because I am sitting at about 6.8 or 6.9. I look for that to get better. As for using the baking soda and the 20 Borax... :lol: that is wonderful, I have it all on hand and it is amazing how I am NOT buying all the chemicals this year, it is awsome :whoot:

Suggestions welcome, comments taken with happiness and thank you for being there for so many of us out here that are new at doing the best we know how. With help from you all this summer has been great keeping a clear, clean pool. My son also gets on the group and reads, reads, reads. He has a below groud pool. Hadn't opened for 3 years and has really been helped by the site. He is also thinking about going to salt generator.

Thanks Again from WET IOWA
Donna from Iowa


TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
Silver Spring, MD
When you say that salt is at 6.8, do you mean 6.8 on an AquaChek salt test strip? Or do you mean 6.8 ppt (or 6.8 g/kg)?

Assuming you are using AquaChek salt test strips: Each batch of AquaChek salt test strips is calibrated differently, so you need to read the salt level off the chart on the bottle of test strips for us to know what that salt level actually is.