Philip's Borate Thread

madyogi

Bronze Supporter
Jun 20, 2016
185
Little Rock, AR
Opened the pool at my new house for the first time 10 days ago. The SLAM went well and just yesterday the water is crystal clear, and passed OCLT this morning, so I'm letting chlorine levels drift back down. Latest chemistry:

FC: 13
CC: 0
Ph: 8
CYA: 45
TA: 90-100

I want to try adding borates, and potentially some salt this season. I have read the main How and Why thread on borates a couple of times. I added MA to lower the Ph to about 7.0 while I was at lunch. Here are my questions at this point:


  1. If the Ph gets down by the time I get home from work, what is the best way to aerate the pool in order to bring it back up without raising TA (too cold to swim at this point)? Is that step critical, or could I just begin the process of adding borates from Ph 7.0?
  2. I don't have anything at the moment to measure borate levels. Can I assume they are basically 0, and start adding borax/MA per instructions, or should I wait for the ability to test borate levels before I move ahead? I have added one box of borax this season to adjust Ph, just so you know.
  3. Can I rely on strips to measure borates, or should I go the route of the Mannitol test mentioned elsewhere? I'd prefer not to spend another $20-30 on reagents at this point, when the strips are $10 or less.
That's pretty much it right now. I have the borax and MA ready to go, so I could start adding after work. I am famously impatient, though, so I want to make sure I don't screw something up by rushing it.
 

madwil

Well-known member
May 2, 2011
370
lebanon tn
If using borax just start adding now. Assume borates zero and determine how much borax. Subtweet act the one box you already added. Remember to add about 1/4 the borax, then add am to compensate, then another 1/4... I r commend you steps, and test ph after the each step to ensure your moving along. I have never measured borates until later to determine replenishment needs
 

pooldv

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Aug 10, 2012
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What is the reason for adding borates? If it is to slow pH rise then you really need to lower your TA first.
 

madyogi

Bronze Supporter
Jun 20, 2016
185
Little Rock, AR
My reasons are most of the pros listed here, and in the older borates thread. Also just curiosity, and a general desire to tinker.

I did lower the TA to 70, and Ph to 7.0, before adding round one after work yesterday. That didn't change the Ph, so I figured I had the math right thanks to PoolMath and bit of basic division. I added round two later in the day, with a bit less acid, just to see if I could get the Ph heading back up, but I did not have the opportunity to check Ph again this morning before getting the kid to school and me to work, but I will check it at lunch, and probably go ahead with round three of borax/ma at that point.
 

pooldv

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Sounds good. 70 is pretty good. A lot better than 90-100. I like borates, I can definitely tell the difference and when I need to test and add more. Like right now. I need to get a bucket of boric acid from Duda Diesel right now.
 

madyogi

Bronze Supporter
Jun 20, 2016
185
Little Rock, AR
Yeah, from everything I've read, that sounds like the less labor intensive route, and MA is some nasty stuff, but patience is not something I have in large supply. With Walmart and Home Depot right around the corner, I just went for it!

I checked out some of your pool build thread earlier. Looks pretty sweet. How's the outdoor kitchen coming along ;)
 

pooldv

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Yeah, that's how I added borates the first time too.

Ha! Outdoor kitchen is off the list. Finally! Pshewww. :-D
 

randytsuch

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2008
256
Los Angeles, Ca
If you order Boric acid from duda, you should have it in 2-3 days. I think they shipped mine the day I ordered, they use USPS priority mail boxes, so it comes quickly.

My boric acid levels were way down because it was something like 5 years since I added it. Water looks much better after raising levels again.
 

madyogi

Bronze Supporter
Jun 20, 2016
185
Little Rock, AR
Good to know, guys. Thanks! I went home at lunch and threw in what will likely be my last dose. I added a little extra MA, because the Ph was running a tad high. I'll retest everything when I get home from work, and hopefully be ready to move into total maintenance mode at that point. Water was up to almost 75 this afternoon. Getting close!

I do have another question, which is probably off topic for this thread, but I figure anyone looking in the deep end can help me out. I'm unsure as to what my CYA level really is. I added probably three big sockfulls, like 6 pounds or more, the first week after opening. The pool store had me at 23 after I was finished adding, but I am getting visual readings between 40-50. I can't say how accurate my readings are because it's sorta subjective as to when that dot diappears, but I have also read how off pool stores can be. Since CYA levels are so important to determining optimal FC levels, do ya'll have any advice for how I can get a more precise reading?
 

madwil

Well-known member
May 2, 2011
370
lebanon tn
Trust your reading and round up to 50. Pool math shows 6 lbs would be 35 in your 20k gal pool. And you probably had some in your there already, so 50 should be reasonable
 

madyogi

Bronze Supporter
Jun 20, 2016
185
Little Rock, AR
Thanks, randytsuch. Yep, I read through that already. It still seems subjective, and it's necessarily sensitive to available light. I have tried to do it in full sun, back to the sun, vial at waist at least three times now, and like madwil points out, PoolMath basically backs up my readings with an expected level around 40-50, assuming there was a bit left over from last season.

I'll report back on how the water looks and what the chemistry shows after the last dose of borax/ma when I get home after work.
 

madyogi

Bronze Supporter
Jun 20, 2016
185
Little Rock, AR
Final chemistry after the SLAM and adding borates:

FC: 8
CC: 0
Ph: 7.4
TA: 100
CH: 80
CYA: 40-50

Water looks awesome, and the temp is up to 74 tonight. Awfully tempting, but I think I'll wait to get in ;)

The CYA is still a fickle thing. Sometimes I see the dot disappear between 40-50, sometimes it's between 30-40. At this point, it doesn't matter too much. I'll just target FC 6-7 as my sweet spot, and I should be good to go, right?
 

Mr Bruce

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Mar 24, 2014
2,095
Greenville, SC
Yep! What I do is repeat short cycles of squirt-glance-look away until I can't see the dot. Then pour it back into the squirt bottle and repeat one or two more times and average what I get. That's all the granularity you need.
 

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