Opening my pond (pool) again, but this year will be different . . . right?

goonerbilt

Active member
May 25, 2020
35
Southern, Ohio
First time posting, so forgive me if I put too much in one post . . .

Short background - Bought house with pool already there 5 years ago, been struggling to figure this thing out as I have been trying to spend the least amount of $$ possible to keep it safe to swim in each year and have been guided by pool stores and friends with pools saying "do this", "do that". But I feel like those attempts where failures every year and I haven't found a good way to maintain my pool yet, so I'm getting serious this year. Finally talked the wife into letting me cut down the gum tree that was hanging over the pool just last week. (if you don't know what a gum tree is, look it up, they are the worst tree to have hanging over a pool!) So I will no longer have to deal with the pollen or the spiky balls that fall every year now. I also just purchased a new 1HP 2 speed pump and 24" sand filter for it this year as the old 1.5HP pump is on its last leg with bearing noises and air leaks and I'm tired of messing with the cartridge filter, but COVID is delaying the delivery. Also noteworthy: I do not bother with covering my pool in the winter anymore as 3 out of 3 years I have had either a cat or a raccoon tear the cover, fall in the pool, shred the liner trying to get out, and inevitably fall to their demise in the pool for me to pull back the cover to find that each spring. Not pleasant and there might be more patches than liner around to top of my pool now. So, I'm done with covers.

From start this year to now - Pool was still clear as of January as I netted out the leaves as they fell, then it started to freeze and thaw all winter long as more leaves and such went in and it got away from me and turned into a full on pond/swamp. For the last week I was netting leaves/debris from the bottom and vacuuming to waste daily with my old pump (removed filter from cartridge and made a makeshift discharge) to get as much of the sludge out that I could while also pumping out about 1/3 of the water that was in there. I was then just waiting on new pump/filter, but as I started to see frog eggs on the water, I knew I had to open this quick before I have a pool full of tadpoles like last year because I waited too long (not doing that again). So I started filling the pool up planning to use old pump and filter to open it at least. Fill water was from the cistern so it was all rain water. Then last night once it was full and after running the pump for an hour to stir up the water I tested it and got pH 7.2, TA of 120, and temp of 62 with no chlorine or CYA. So i looked up how to add CYA from TFP and filled 2 socks full of 3lbs (per TFP app) and hung over the return jet. Expected it to be like that for a day or so, but it was all gone in an hour (not sure what I did wrong there, maybe the wrong filter mesh on my hanes socks? lol ) I then scrubbed the floor to spread any acid sitting down there and proceeded with adding my first gallon of chlorine. I got my PPM up to around 10 and then had some hay to unload. After returning 3 hours later, I tested it again and was around 5ppm so I added enough to bring it back up to 10ppm and I scrubbed the floor and side walls again. I then set my alarm to get up every 3 hours through out the night to repeat those steps. But I have not had to add any chlorine in it since then. Pump is running 24/7 as well.

Big Disclaimer: Old habits die hard and I still tried being cheap this year and thought I could do this with just test strips even though I have read on this site that's a bad idea. I now see why because a test strip that goes from 5ppm to 10ppm max on chlorine, 0 to 50ppm on the CYA, and gives me what looks like a different pH every time I dip it (same spot back to back dips too) is absolutely useless when trying to know exactly how much of what to add. So as I promised myself I was going to do it right this year, I just ordered my TF-100 kit today and I should have it by Friday (hopefully). So forgive me for the less than ideal testing numbers stated above and below and I sure hope I didn't put too much CYA in my pool.

Where I am at now - As of 3 hours ago the Chlorine is still around the 10ppm range, CYA now looks to be in the 50ppm range, and my pH is between 7.2 to 7.8 while my alkalinity looks to be hanging around the 120 range. But I hadn't added any chlorine in it since 11pm last night and the pool has had not visually change since an hour after i pored in the first bit of chlorine. Attached is a picture of the pool as of 11:30am today for reference. I just tested the pool again and the Chlorine was in 5ppm range, CYA 50ppm range (but a little lighter), pH at 7.8, and TA at 120. So I just added chlorine to bring it up to the 12ppm slam target for a 30ppm CYA level.

Assistance / guidance / recommendations I am looking for now - Should I continue to add chlorine when the test strips fall down to the 5ppm range to bring it up to what should be the 12ppm target per pool math (assuming the 3lbs of CYA put pool to 30ppm) and ignore any pH or Alkalinity adjustments until my TF-100 kit arrives to at least keep it from going backwards on me? Or would should I be doing something else?

Again, I'm sorry for the long post and for asking for assistance without actual TF-100 testing results and only the crappy test strip results.
 

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mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
33,330
Laughlin, NV
Welcome to the forum! Great job on ordering a quality test kit.
While you are waiting on your test kit, add 5 ppm FC worth of liquid chlorine / plain bleach to your pool each evening with the pump running. This will replenish the FC lost each day to the sun and also inhibit any algae in the water from growing further.
I suggest you read ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry.
 

goonerbilt

Active member
May 25, 2020
35
Southern, Ohio
Thanks for the reply and for moving this to the appropriate forum ( I couldn't decide if it should be in here or the opening pool section). I had read up on the ABC's and the slam process before starting this year. I do wish I would have just got the test kit to begin with though!

I will continue to add the chlorine and brush it each day. Once I get the test kit, I will update this post with the ACTUAL pool results and start the SLAM process.

Stay tuned . . .
 

goonerbilt

Active member
May 25, 2020
35
Southern, Ohio
Update - Day 2 . . .

Last night the ppm was still showing 10 or so (yes on the strips still) so I just brushed it and left it alone. However, I did start noticing a slight bit of foaming. Then this morning I tested it and it was down between the 5 to 10ppm spots so I went ahead and added 5ppm worth of chlorine to keep it busy for today when the sun comes out and there appeared to be more foaming (still very little though). Picture attached.

For reference the old pump I'm still using while waiting on the other one does suck in air around the O-ring on the strainer basket (not planning on getting a new one as the new pump should be here soon) and I'm well aware that adding air into the system like that can cause things to foam. The only chemicals that I have added so far is the CYA and 12.5% liquid chlorine. I would say too that there is only likely less than 10% of the water left in there from last year as well, so not many lingering chemicals from last year could be left.

Just curious if I should be concerned with this or not?

I'm also aware that my potential higher than ideal TA and the air introduction into the water could cause my pH to increase over time. But, once I get my TF-100 kit I will let the FC fall down to <5ppm, get actual pH test results and get it to the 7.2pH target for SLAM (hoping I have to lower it so it lowers my TA as well). I'm assuming if the air causes the pH to creep up during my SLAM it will just help me control the TA as well upon completion. Incorrect thinking?
 

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mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
33,330
Laughlin, NV
Hopefully you can eliminate the suction side air leak soon.

The foam in that picture looks like algaecide foam. Have you added any? Should not be an issue either way the chlorine will consume it.
 

Casey

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 16, 2007
11,541
SW PA
Once you get your test kit you'll be well on your way. Continue to read pool school to keep educating yourself and you'll know exactly what to do once you start.
 

goonerbilt

Active member
May 25, 2020
35
Southern, Ohio
I tried too fix this pond every year with algaecide (over and over). So there very well still might be some reminisce of it left. But I have not put any in it this year. Explains why if foamed so bad last year all year ?.

Already glad I've stumbled onto this site and am settling with one method and one test logging app that is tied together!
 

goonerbilt

Active member
May 25, 2020
35
Southern, Ohio
Good news, test kit should be here tomorrow. Contemplated calling in "sick" tomorrow to get a good 3 days of SLAM going on, but just checked and its supposed to rain tomorrow and be done about the time I get home. So, I guess I'm meant to go to work tomorrow.

So, I've been reading up on the algaecides on this website and now realized, I really hurt myself the last couple of years. I was using Clorox Xtra Blue tablets in a floater, dumping in the Clorox Xtra Blue Shock weekly, used the Clorox Green Algae Eliminator (liquid algaecide blue/green) to open it and whenever I saw algae (which was at least once a month), and never put any CYA in as the Xtra Blue said stabilizer was included in it. Totally my ignorance and I will not repeat those practices in the future so please forgive me.

I have read this could potentially have added copper and/or bromine to my pool which will cause the SLAM process to be difficult and delayed and that most of the time a slight drain and refill will help. I never noticed my daughters blonde hair get a green tint from the pool last year so, i'm assuming there wasn't that much copper. With that said, I drained about a 25% of my pool when I closed it last year. Then we got so much rain that it filled it back up to my jet and drained out as it was disconnected (about 10% rain water added). I then drained it back down to the -25% line to make it easier to start netting all the leaves out of it in March. Once again we got about 8" of rain from March to the end of May when I started the process above. At that time as stated above, I vacuumed to waste and drained it down to around the -30% level before I started filling it up. With all that said, and looking at the numbers closer it looks like i removed between 40 to 50% of the water from last year (I made a rash estimate in my earlier post).

Should that be sufficient or will I need to drain more? Is there some sort of test I should perform to verify something?
 

goonerbilt

Active member
May 25, 2020
35
Southern, Ohio
Do you know what kind of algeacide used? If it contained copper then it would be best to start fresh with a drain/refill if water is not that expensive.
I looked up the SDS on the Clorox Xtra Blue Algaecide and the Clorox Algae Eliminator that I used and found;
Clorox Xtra Blue Algecide included 13% Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate (3.3% Metallic Copper equivelent) and 6.5% Poly[oxy-1,2-ethanediyl(dimethyliminio)-1,2-ethane diyl(dimethyliminio)-1,2-ethanediyl dichloride
Clorox Algae Eliminator included 50% Quaternary ammonium compounds, benzyl-C12-16-alkyldimethyl, chlorides and 3 to 4% ethanol (Denaturated)

Can't remember exactly how much of each one I've used in the last couple years.

As for a complete drain and refill, I thought it was bad to completely drain an above ground pool as the liner could fall in. Also, that would be a heck of an expense I would like to avoid if at all possible. I only have about 1,000 gallons left in the cistern and am needing to save that for watering the horses and cows while waiting on rain to start fill it back up.
 

Flying Tivo

Well-known member
Jan 24, 2017
1,895
Monterrey, NL, Mexico
You are correct, a vinyl should not be drain to less than 12" but that means about an 85-90% drain refill. Copper in the Xtrablue and Amonia in the Clorox eliminator are going to make you spend a lot in liquid chlorine for the Slam, so you have a decision to make according to your situation.
 

goonerbilt

Active member
May 25, 2020
35
Southern, Ohio
Decisions . . . Decisions :unsure:

I do like a good gamble every now and then, so I'm going with the SLAM now option and track my chlorine cost on the TFP app. Once SLAM is completed I will compare the cost of the Chlorine to the cost to drain and refill and see if I had the winning hand. :D

Thanks for the confirmation of the not completely draining too! As I didn't know how far I could go, I didn't go past 30" when I was vacuuming to waste just to be safe.
 
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goonerbilt

Active member
May 25, 2020
35
Southern, Ohio
Busy weekend, but the SLAM has finally started. My test kit and new pump and filter showed up Friday! So I got my new pump and filter (in sig) installed with all new plumbing on Saturday. Finally got everything installed, let the pump circulate for an hour and took my first results late Saturday night (9:30pm) and got . . .
FC-11
CC-1
pH-7.5
TA-190
CH-60
CYA-35

So Sunday morning after church I started bringing down the pH to 7.2 to begin the slam. I did it slowly to ensure I did not rush it and drop it too far. The store was out of Muratic Acid or I couldn't find it, so I used the Clorox pH down (93.2% sodium hydrogensulphate and 6.8% sodium sulphate) I still had left from last year. I'm slightly curious why Clorox uses sodium sulphates to do it and that is not an option on the pool math and hope that wasn't a bad decision. At 4:30 PM i finally got the pH down (only slightly dropped my TA though) and started my first official SLAM with the starting values being.
FC-9
CC-0.5
pH-7.2
TA-170
CYA-35

I trained my daughters how to do the FC test and they will be monitoring the SLAM for me through the day.

My questions to you all knowing folks . . . Is it ok to continue the slam with my TA that high and once I get the pool cleared up start aerating the pool to bring the pH up to then lower it to bring my TA down to a more manageable value? Or can I aerate my pool during the SLAM? I haven't yet as I have read that during a SLAM the pH values are hard to get a good reading on so I assumed that would be hard to get a good handle on how much muratic acid to add and when. Also which pH reducer will lower the TA the most? Baume or Muriatic Acid or other?
 

goonerbilt

Active member
May 25, 2020
35
Southern, Ohio
one last question. I was reading up on the "how to add chlorine" page and was wondering would adding a few pucks of the Tri-Chlor in a floater during the SLAM help me any? Thoughts behind reasoning - this will help extend the time between testing and adding throughout the night when it's not that convenient to get up and check every hour and as my CYA is at 35 they might do just the trick to top me off at the 40 by the time they are done. Obviously once my pool starts clearing up and the ready for the OCLT they would need to be removed (if they aren't gone yet). I'm good if the answer is no, but some reasoning behind why would help me learn as well. Thanks
 

goonerbilt

Active member
May 25, 2020
35
Southern, Ohio
Great! Thanks for the advise. I knew there was a reason I haven't read anything about supplementing the SLAM process with pucks at the beginning when your starting with a pond.
 

carnivalday

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Oct 25, 2017
581
Ocala, FL
Also, use 40 for your cya number. When your test is between two numbers, round up to the next one. So use slam numbers with cya at 40.
 

goonerbilt

Active member
May 25, 2020
35
Southern, Ohio
After 24 hours of official SLAM I was able to faintly see the vacuum ON THE BOTTOM of the pool last night. It still has a very green tint to the water, but it is clearing up. This morning before I left, I either was still waking up or I believe I saw some dead algae piles on the bottom in spots. I'll keep the kids going on the testing and dosing all day and hopefully when I get home tonight I will be able to vacuum and not do it blindly finally. :)