No CYA - How is this possible?

JulieVa

Well-known member
May 31, 2022
62
Yorktown, Virginia
Pool Size
25000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Hello! This is my first time posting. This is our second year owning a pool, but since we bought it last summer, the pool was already opened. Last year we used the Bioguard products, and I started reading the TFP forums to see what I could learn. We were using the pool store's testing, of course, and actually our pool had almost zero problems last year. This year I'm thinking I'd like to try the TFP system if I can get it figured out.

I just bought a TF-100 test kit (I had a Poolmaster basic kit - those results always varied from the pool store, which sounds normal from what I read, but still makes me feel very unconfident). I've been experimenting with it. We just opened the pool, later than we'd hoped for, but the pool store had scheduling problems. Next year we anticipate doing it ourselves, now that we know what goes into it. However, the pool guy tested our water with a test kit once it was almost clear. He said our CYA is at 100. Last year the final readings from our pool store measurements CYA was 150 (it had started at 100, then creeped up to 150 by the end of the summer - we were using three tabs weekly in our chlorinator so that makes sense to me). I did the test from the TF-100 last night and today and it came back at (less than 20) but zero today both times. I can see the black dot very clearly all the way up to the top. I've read the post about how to do the test, and I've done it three times, so I feel like unless I'm missing something totally, I don't know how we could end up at 0 from 150. My understanding is that CYA won't go away unless you drain the pool. We certainly drained some of it, about 3" below the skimmer line, last winter, and we had to drain it a few times over the winter due to rainfall (we have a mesh cover), so we've changed out some of the water, but certainly not all of it. I would have expected that maybe the CYA would be around 100 (like the pool guy tested) since we definitely had some water exchange.

**So my question is how could my CYA test be 0 and the pool guy's (again, not at the store - he used an acutal test kit and seemed to know what he was talking about and his other results were fairly similar to mine) be so off. I don't want to add CYA and then be stuck having to drain it/refill it over and over again. All these wildly different numbers makes it so confusing to know what is correct and feel confident in anything. He even said that we should probably drain some water to get the CYA down, so last night we drained about another 4" and readded it this morning before I tested again.

The rest of my numbers aren't quite there yet - he shocked it three times over a week to get any chlorine in there and kill off whatever was in the pool (using granular CLC3 that I had leftover), and my husband had to do some multi-port gasket repair last night so the pump is off for 24 hours. But here are my numbers as of yesterday from the TF-100. I'm guessing I need to do the SLAM process at some point, but haven't gotten that far yet because I need to figure out this CYA first. Our kids are ready to swim and I'm feeling overwhelmed.

FC .5
CC 1.0
pH 7.4
TA 90
CH 300
CYA 0

Thank you so much!
 

tim5055

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2014
11,578
Franklin, NC
I guess my first question will be, who will take care of the pool? The pool guy or you with your TF-100.

If it's him, you will just drive yourself crazy trying to match his numbers.

There is a biological process by which CYA can be consumed by a bacteria. There is a company who is trying to harness this with a product that consumes CYA, but so far they have not perfected it.

The byproduct of this biological conversion is ammonia in your water. We have a handful of people show up each year with ammonia in their water.

That you have low FC, CCof 1 and "0" CYA after opening for the season makes me suspect this.

So -

Calculate how much liquid chlorine it will take to get your pool form "0" FC to "10" FC

Add that amount of chlorine with the pump running.

Test for FC at 30 minutes. If you lost 80% or more of your FC you have ammonia.

If you have ammonia don't add any CYA to teh pool or products that contain CYA like tabs or solid "shock". This will just create more ammonia.

If you have ammonia, read this page but let us know

 
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JulieVa

Well-known member
May 31, 2022
62
Yorktown, Virginia
Pool Size
25000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Yes, I do plan on maintainting it, not the pool guy! :)
Thank you - I will work on this once we get the pump back up and running tonight. I'll do the test tomorrow morning. (Our pool is fully shaded until about 1 pm.) He did say, that since we had shocked it 3 times with 5 lbs. each and the next day there would be no chlorine left, he was guessing there was a lot of algae/organic debris in there. After shocking, within an hour, there would be all sorts of powder on the floor of the pool, which we would then vacuum either to waste or once to the filter. So it seemed like something was definitely being killed, but using up the chlorine immediately. Perhaps it is the ammonia, too. I'll let you know what happens. Thank you!
 

JulieVa

Well-known member
May 31, 2022
62
Yorktown, Virginia
Pool Size
25000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Yes, I do plan on maintainting it, not the pool guy! :)
Thank you - I will work on this once we get the pump back up and running tonight. I'll do the test tomorrow morning. (Our pool is fully shaded until about 1 pm.) He did say, that since we had shocked it 3 times with 5 lbs. each and the next day there would be no chlorine left, he was guessing there was a lot of algae/organic debris in there. After shocking, within an hour, there would be all sorts of powder on the floor of the pool, which we would then vacuum either to waste or once to the filter. So it seemed like something was definitely being killed, but using up the chlorine immediately. Perhaps it is the ammonia, too. I'll let you know what happens. Thank you!
So I added the recommended amount of bleach to get to 10 ppm per the pool math app. I tested it beforehand - FC was 1, CC was zero. I tested it several times during the 30 minutes. It never got above 5 FC. Right at 30 min it was about 3.5 (the water would turn clear then very slightly pink again after continued swirling then I’d add another drop etc - using this I got to 3.5. Is this normal to turn clear then pink again?). Now about 10 min later it’s down to 1.5 FC. So…it never even got close to 10. Was it supposed to? This is my first time adding bleach and I guess I need some help interpreting if there is ammonia or not. I’m guessing “yes” based on the fact it never even got to 10, much less lost 80%.

Thank you!
 

Texas Splash

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Jun 22, 2014
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Is this normal to turn clear then pink again?
If you let the FC test sit it will revert back. That's not a valid number. The first indication (pink to clear) is your actual FC. Yours is struggling. The proper fix is chlorine and lots of it. Here's what you need to do:
1. Be sure the pH is lowered to about 7.2.
2. Do not add any stabilizer at this time.
3. Using the PoolMath APP, increase the FC to "10". Test in 10 minutes. Do not wait any longer. If the FC fell below 5 ppm, increase it back to "10" and test again in 10 minutes. Continue with this 10-min drill until the FC breaks through this barrier and begins to hold between 5-10 ppm. That is key.
4. Once you see the FC holding at 5 or above, then you can add stabilizer for a CYA goal of "30". At the same time, increase the FC to "12" which will then be your official SLAM Process FC level.
 
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Texas Splash

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Jun 22, 2014
40,605
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Once you have made it through this urgent 10-min testing process, you will be in the normal SLAM Process mode. You may not need to test the FC every 10 minutes, but you will need to check fairly often at first just to ensure the FC is holding. Check at 30 minutes, then perhaps an hour, then eventually you'll see a pattern where the FC will hold longer, thus allowing for less frequent testing. But in this early stage with your unusual water condition, be vigilant.
 

tim5055

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2014
11,578
Franklin, NC
Well, Pat beat me to it and gave you exactly what I would have said.

Lots of chlorine to eliminate ammonia, but I will stress - liquid only. If you try to use a solid that has CYA in it that new CYA becomes more ammonia. Once the FC starts to hold above 5 the ammonia should be gone and the SLAM should eliminate the bacteria.
 
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JulieVa

Well-known member
May 31, 2022
62
Yorktown, Virginia
Pool Size
25000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Thank you everyone SO MUCH!

Looks like today I need to buy some stabilizer - is the pool store ok for that? I have read just a bit about granular vs liquid - is there a preferred version of this for this process? It seems I would need to get the stabilizer into the water fairly quickly to help the SLAM process along (once I get the FC holding steady). But I read the granular version takes a long time to dissolve. Should I use the liquid version? Is there a brand to avoid or one you recommend? I admit I have no clue about this. Our local store uses bioguard products. Is there a timeline that I would know the CYA has taken? Like, wait 30 minutes or 1 day to test for it? (side note - I did test CYA again today, and it was basically 0. I could still see the black dot at the highest line - 20 - on the cylinder.) I would hate to keep adding all the bleach during the SLAM and it not doing what it is supposed to do because there isn't any CYA.

I will plan on lowering the Ph tonight to 7.2, and buying all the bleach I can find. Looks like I'll be heading to ALL the stores! It doesn't matter if it is off-brand, just that it is unscented and I can find the percentage of chlorine on it, right? I used generic Kroger 7.5% today (unscented and NOT the "no splash" version).

I will re-read all the SLAM procedures as well. Looks like I'll be busy again the next few days.

I can't stress enough how helpful you are - thank you! (and great tip about the chlorine test - I was so confused when it turned pink again!) Hoping for a swimmable pool by this weekend!
 
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Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
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Jun 22, 2014
40,605
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
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17888
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Chlorine
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Stabilizer can be found at the pool store, Walmart, Home Depot, or many other such places with a pool section. Conditioner is also cyanuric acid but is more expensive. Stabilizer is granular form and we recommend soaking in a thin sock or nylon before squeezing it all out. Soak for about 20-30 minutes then another 5-10 minutes or so of squeezing and you're done. Liquid conditioner (more like a thick gel) gets poured in. With either product, the ingredients should say "Cyanuric Acid" with a preferred content of 99.9% - 100% CYA.

Liquid chlorine can be found in many such locations as well. If you opt to use laundry bleach, just make sure it's not scented or splashless. Regular/plain only. I would also avoid the Clorox brand laundry bleach due to fabric additives. PH is lowered with muriatic acid. Lower the pH first, then just give the pool about 5 minutes to get the acid away from the return jets before you start the 10-min drill with chlorine. FYI - Chlorine and acid are not compatible. Never add chlorine and acid to the exact same place at the exact same time. But no need to wait hours or days like the pool store says.

Once you have all your supplies and you have lowered the pH, get your stopwatch ready and follow that 10-min drill above. It will work.
 

tim5055

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2014
11,578
Franklin, NC
I had a handyman accidentally drain most of my pool once, so I needed to add a bunch of CYA. I used granular in the sock like Pat said. I put it in the skimmer and just squeezed the sock every 10 - 15 minutes. It was totally dissolved in a couple of hours.

Walmart probably has there pool section set up already, so you can get it there and some bleach.....
 

JulieVa

Well-known member
May 31, 2022
62
Yorktown, Virginia
Pool Size
25000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I looked at Home Depot for stabilizer, but there wasn't any. I had to pay the ridiculous pool fee for opening the pool anyway (never again!) so I went to the pool store and bought granular stabilizer there. The pool store employee said to add about 5 lbs worth (that was the size of the bag) and to add about one lb to the skimmer (or in a sock in the skimmer) per hour, and it can dissolve that way, just re-adding each pound as it dissolves (I can certainly squeeze it out as mentioned above). Does that sound right? It is 100% cyuranic acid that I got and is a pretty big bag (roughly a bit bigger than the size of a bag of flour). I know that whole bag won't fit into a sock or nylon! :) Even using the whole bag, I don't think it'll get my CYA up to 30, somewhere between 20-30. Will that be a problem? I feel like I'd rather start out short than add too much, but clearly I'm new at this. Here are the instructions on the bag:

1 lb per 3,000 gallons of water will provide initial stabilizer level of 40 ppm.
1 lb per 4,000 gallons of water will provide initial stabilizer level of 30 ppm.

We have a 25000 gallon pool. At $42 a bag, it felt like a lot to buy two bags, but of course, I will if need be. They were out of the smaller ones to supplement. Once I get the FC stabilized, then I can start adding this, but could it take 5 hours to get this all dissolved? That seems like it could be a problem. Or should I have 5 socks all full of it dissolving at the same time?

I bought enough chlorine to dose up to 10ppm (or 5 to 12 ppm once I'm holding steady) 5 times. As this is the first time I've done this, I am unsure if I will need more than that. Is that a good rough start? What if I run out, does it negate everything I've done up to that point? I bought out Home Depot and Aldi. If I need to be even more prepared, I will go buy more tonight or postpone a day. I just had no idea what was reasonble to expect. So far I have added 15 lbs. of granular shock (last week over 3 days) and 369 oz of bleach this morning. Is it all helping, or just throwing money away each time because it never gets to the 10ppm level?

I'm sorry for all these questions, I'm sure they seem so clueless and nitpicky.

Thank you a million!
 

Orion7319

Well-known member
Jul 1, 2020
1,228
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Pool Size
19775
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
I looked at Home Depot for stabilizer, but there wasn't any. I had to pay the ridiculous pool fee for opening the pool anyway (never again!) so I went to the pool store and bought granular stabilizer there. The pool store employee said to add about 5 lbs worth (that was the size of the bag) and to add about one lb to the skimmer (or in a sock in the skimmer) per hour, and it can dissolve that way, just re-adding each pound as it dissolves (I can certainly squeeze it out as mentioned above). Does that sound right? It is 100% cyuranic acid that I got and is a pretty big bag (roughly a bit bigger than the size of a bag of flour). I know that whole bag won't fit into a sock or nylon! :) Even using the whole bag, I don't think it'll get my CYA up to 30, somewhere between 20-30. Will that be a problem? I feel like I'd rather start out short than add too much, but clearly I'm new at this. Here are the instructions on the bag:

1 lb per 3,000 gallons of water will provide initial stabilizer level of 40 ppm.
1 lb per 4,000 gallons of water will provide initial stabilizer level of 30 ppm.

We have a 25000 gallon pool. At $42 a bag, it felt like a lot to buy two bags, but of course, I will if need be. They were out of the smaller ones to supplement. Once I get the FC stabilized, then I can start adding this, but could it take 5 hours to get this all dissolved? That seems like it could be a problem. Or should I have 5 socks all full of it dissolving at the same time?

I bought enough chlorine to dose up to 10ppm (or 5 to 12 ppm once I'm holding steady) 5 times. As this is the first time I've done this, I am unsure if I will need more than that. Is that a good rough start? What if I run out, does it negate everything I've done up to that point? I bought out Home Depot and Aldi. If I need to be even more prepared, I will go buy more tonight or postpone a day. I just had no idea what was reasonble to expect. So far I have added 15 lbs. of granular shock (last week over 3 days) and 369 oz of bleach this morning. Is it all helping, or just throwing money away each time because it never gets to the 10ppm level?

I'm sorry for all these questions, I'm sure they seem so clueless and nitpicky.

Thank you a million!
Just download and install the pool math app to your phone. The app is free to use it to calculate chemicals, it’s about $8.00 a year to store your logs. Once you enter in all your pools information (gallons, type of pool, ect) it will calculate how much of what to add to the pool. But still creep up on CYA slowly as if your a bit off on your pool volume you could add too much.
 

Texas Splash

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I'm away from my desk, so I'll keep this reply short. Yes on stabilizer for at least 30 ppm. But don't follow the pool store notes. Use the duck method, 2-3 socks if needed. Once it's in the water for about 30, just squeeze it all out. Easy stuff. No need to wait forever. The chlorine you got should be a good start. You'll find out as soon as you start that 10-min drill.
 

IceShadow

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Jun 8, 2019
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Milwaukee, WI
Pool Size
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Don't add the CYA until the FC holds after a 10 minute mixing period when bringing it back to 10ppm. Otherwise the bacteria in the water that turns CYA into ammonia will just turn it into ammonia again, meaning more FC to clear it and more CYA to add once the ammonia (and bacteria making it) is gone.

And as mentioned, LIQUID ONLY. Solid "shock" can have CYA in it, and you could be feeding the bacteria and having it make more ammonia, which will make you go backward.
 

MITBeta

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May 28, 2020
947
North Attleboro, Massachusetts
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Use the duck method, 2-3 socks if needed. Once it's in the water for about 30, just squeeze it all out.
He meant "sock" method.:ROFLMAO:

Put the stabilizer in a big sock and hang it in front of a return jet. Don't let the sock touch the side of the pool. Squeeze periodically to speed up the release. If it doesn't all fit in one sock, use more, or refill when empty.
 

Texas Splash

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He meant "sock" method
full
 

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