Opaque flakes in my pool


Mar 25, 2020
Costa Mesa, CA
I'm at a loss and hoping someone on this forum can help.

We have an in-ground pool which gets sediment in it and I can't figure out what it is. My pool guy doesn't have an answer either. It settles on the floor of the pool, is opaque, and kicks up like dust whenever I swim. I call it "fish food" because it has various size particles and the larger ones resemble the size and shape of fish food flakes (not color - just size and shape). Another comparison might be what a plastic shopping bag looks like when it disintegrates. It lays on the bottom unless there's movement in the pool. If I use fins and a scissor movement, I can "brush" it toward the filter using gentle water movement, and get it to go down the drain -- but there is so much in the pool it's a fool's errand.

Last year someone suggested draining and refilling the pool. We drained it, treated it with muriatic acid, and filled it back up again. It seemed to cut down on it a little for a very few days, but did not solve the problem. The pool was sparkling clean for about 3-5 days total and then it returned.

Here's a link to our city water: 2019 Water Quality Report

The pool is not plaster, but rather pebble sheen, so I don't think it's something to do with what the pool is made of.

We have a salt water system, but the problem was there before we changed to salt water, so that's not the issue either.

I doubt the heater has anything to do with it, but we have a brand new heater and also solar heating. The pump is also new.

Any ideas what it could be? Possibly something in the pipes? I don't think it is dissolved solids because it would have resolved for longer than a few days when we drained and re-filled the pool.

It's driving me nuts - I enter the pool and it looks sparkling clean, and as soon as there's any movement in the pool and the "fish food" gets kicked up, it's all cloudy.

I don't have any testing because I have a pool cleaner. He comes out once a week and stays on top of everything in terms of algae, algaecide, cleaning the filter, making sure the salt is at proper levels, etc., but he doesn't have an answer to this either.

Any help or resource as to where I might go to get help would be appreciated.


Mar 25, 2020
Costa Mesa, CA
Welcome to the forum!
I suspect it is calcium flakes from your SaltWater chlorine Generator.

You need a proper test kit, see Test Kits Compared. I suggest the TF100. A proper test kit is needed to get the accurate water chemistry results needed to follow the TFP protocols.

I suggest you read ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry.

Thank you! The only thing that leads me to believe it is NOT calcium flakes from the Salt Water chlorine generator is that the problem existed before we had the salt water. To be more specific, we had a salt water system but it stopped working many years ago (we also had an ozone system, also stopped working). So the system was in place but turned off for probably about 5 years; the pool guy was just adding chlorine, and we had flakes. Then we got a new salt water system about 2 years ago, and the flakes persisted.

If, however, it is actually calcium flakes from the salt water, how would we cure that?

Would a test diagnose it? I can buy one (hopefully online due to the current zombie apocalypse).


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
Laughlin, NV
If not calcium flakes then most likely algae or possibly bacterial bio-film in the piping. Those are long shots.

You need a proper test kit. See the links I posted above. The ones we recommend are only available online.