Really high ammonia

May 1, 2021
17
Columbus Ohio
Hello, Thank you for all of the information on this site, it is amazing how helpful everyone is!

I am having trouble with ammonia since I opened my pool April 18th.

Here are my pool details:
22,250 gallons
Vinyl liner
Hayward sand filter

Here are my current levels:
FC ~1-1.5
CC: ~20 <-- This is crazy high.
CYA: 0 - I could see the black dot even when it was completely full.
pH 7.4
TA: 120

My CYA was really high last year when I closed (~120 if I remember - because of pucks I will not be using them this year). I did add some CYA hoping to get to around 20, but it isn't going up. Also, when I add chlorine if I check it about 30 minutes later it's around 1. I did a bunch of searching and I think that I have an ammonia problem. So I went to a pet store and bought this tester. The non-dilluted only pool water test was a DARK green 8+ so I diluted it to 1ml pool water and 4 ml water from my reverse osmosis filter and I got a reading from that of what I thought was 3, so 3x5=15 ppm ammonia.

All pool water ammonia test:
IMG_6241.jpg

1ml pool water 4 ml reverse osmosis ammonia test:
IMG_6243.jpg

So based on what I read I need to 10x15=150 ppm FC to kill all of the ammonia. Based on pool math that is 27 gallons of 12.5% liquid chlorine. I just went to Menards and bought 20 gallons of their 12.5% (April 6th 2021 date). I also have some 10% from Meijer (March 25th 2021 date) that I had been using before I found the Menards cheaper.

Since there's no CYA in the pool I hope to start tonight and add 3.5 gallons of the 12.5% every 15 minutes until it starts holding it. That should be adding 20 FC every time. Does that sound like a reasonable approach?

Once it starts holding Chlorine I will add some CYA to shoot for around 20.

Let me know if any other information would help and thank you!
 
Last edited:

Texas Splash

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Don't add any CYA yet. That's for sure. Add enough chlorine to increase the FC to 10 ppm, then test again in about 10 min. It will go fast. You keep adding chlorine and testing every 10 minutes until the FC holds between 5-10. Once you see the FC begin to hold, then add enough CYA for a goal of 30, and increase the to 12 and continue your SLAM Process. But be vigilant at first, the ammonia will eat chlorine like candy at first. But you'll get it.
 

PoolGate

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Jun 7, 2017
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Damascus, MD
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Jandy Aquapure 1400
Your CYA was consumed by bacteria and the ammonia is a byproduct. Once you neutralize the ammonia with chlorine you'll be good to go but you're pH is going to be low. Do you have any water features you can run?
 

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Mdragger88

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2018
3,170
Hernando, Ms
Pool Size
26000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Intex Krystal Clear
Spongebob Squarepants Good Luck GIF
 

zea3

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Jul 10, 2009
14,047
Houston, Texas
Looks like FC is starting to hold. Tomorrow, if you are still holding FC after 10 minutes you can start adding CYA. Put enough to reach 30 ppm in a sock , tie it off and place it in the skimmer. Give it a few squeezes to help it dissolve.
 
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JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
28,264
Oxidizing ammonia creates acid by releasing hydrogen.

2NH4+ + 3OCl- --> N2 + 3H2O + 2H+ +3Cl-

When adding 12.5% sodium hypochlorite (liquid chlorine) to a pool to oxidize ammonia, every gallon of liquid chlorine will create the equivalent of 15 ounces of 31.45% hydrochloric acid.

10 gallons of 12.5% liquid chlorine added to 25,000 gallons of pool water with ammonia will lower the TA by about 23 ppm or the equivalent of adding 150 ounces of full strength 31.45% muriatic acid.

Every 8.53 gallons of 12.5% liquid chlorine is equivalent to about 1 gallon of 31.45% acid.
 
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May 1, 2021
17
Columbus Ohio
Looks like FC is starting to hold. Tomorrow, if you are still holding FC after 10 minutes you can start adding CYA. Put enough to reach 30 ppm in a sock , tie it off and place it in the skimmer. Give it a few squeezes to help it dissolve.
Yes 🙌, I am getting too tired to deal with the CYA tonight. I will likely do that during the kid’s nap time tomorrow after we get back from the zoo.


Oxidizing ammonia creates acid by releasing hydrogen.

2NH4+ + 3OCl- --> N2 + 3H2O + 2H+ +3Cl-

When adding 12.5% sodium hypochlorite (liquid chlorine) to a pool to oxidize ammonia, every gallon of liquid chlorine will create the equivalent of 15 ounces of 31.45% hydrochloric acid.

10 gallons of 12.5% liquid chlorine added to 25,000 gallons of pool water with ammonia will lower the TA by about 23 ppm or the equivalent of adding 150 ounces of full strength 31.45% muriatic acid.

Every 8.53 gallons of 12.5% liquid chlorine is equivalent to about 1 gallon of 31.45% acid.

Wow, the amount of knowledge on this site is incredible. Would you recommend letting the aeration do its thing slowly or should I add soda ash to raise the pH?
 

Texas Splash

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10:25pm - Finally got 5 FC and 2 CC reading - added 3 gallons
10:50pm -14 FC and 2 CC -Didn't add any since this is still above my SLAM level.
Alright! What'd I tell you? Picture perfect. Today's a new day. Add that CYA (30) and SLAM at an FC of 12 and you should be on your way to success. You beat the monster. Good job. :goodjob:

full
 
May 1, 2021
17
Columbus Ohio
Update (all 12.5% liquid chlorine):
9:10pm 3 gallons
9:22pm 3 gallons
9:38pm 3 gallons
9:53pm 3 gallons
10:05pm 3 gallons
10:25pm - Finally got 5 FC and 2 CC reading - added 3 gallons
10:50pm -14 FC and 2 CC -Didn't add any since this is still above my SLAM level. This was a loss of 47% I will wait another ~30 minutes and check the levels again.
I was too tired to update last night, so here's what's been happening since that last update:
11:26pm: 8 FC, 3 CC - added 96 ounces to go up to 12 FC.
12:10am: 7 FC 4 CC - added 160 ounces to go up to 14 FC.
---- Start of 10% liquid chlorine all 20 gallons of 12.5% were used up on ☝️.
12:40am: 11 FC 2.5 CC - add 1 gallon to go up to 15.5 (headed to bed).
6:00am: 2 FC 2 CC - added 3 gallons target 15 FC
8:00am: 6 FC 1.5 CC - Added 2 gallons target 17 FC (headed out until this afternoon).

I will add the CYA this afternoon hopefully around 2pm.

I was adding higher than the target level being aggressive because I am short on time and it was still losing chlorine (there's still algae in there). I will have more time later today to be more conservative and target 12 ppm FC once the CYA is added.


Aeration works but takes awhile. I suggest hanging in there your pH isn't that low.
Yes, aeration is amazing, the shop vac is still running.
 
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zea3

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Keep in mind that going way over on your FC target will not make the chlorine last longer, especially with low CYA. Chlorine is consumed exponentially. You want to go ahead and get the CYA dissolving in the pool so it will protect the chlorine from premature uv degradation. Yesterday it didn't matter that you had no CYA since the ammonia was consuming chlorine faster than uv exposure would. Today the sun will snack on your FC until you get some CYA in the water. Once you have about 30ppm of CYA in the pool, the FC should last a little longer while fighting the algae.
 
May 1, 2021
17
Columbus Ohio
What is the current TA?
2:00 pm levels:
FC: 4.5
CC: 0.5
pH: less than 6.8, I would guess 6.5-6.6
TA: 70
CYA: 0

I just put in:
216 ounces of 10% liquid chlorine to target 12 FC.
5lb 10 oz CYA:
IMG_6290.jpgIMG_6292.jpg

Keep in mind that going way over on your FC target will not make the chlorine last longer, especially with low CYA. Chlorine is consumed exponentially. You want to go ahead and get the CYA dissolving in the pool so it will protect the chlorine from premature uv degradation. Yesterday it didn't matter that you had no CYA since the ammonia was consuming chlorine faster than uv exposure would. Today the sun will snack on your FC until you get some CYA in the water. Once you have about 30ppm of CYA in the pool, the FC should last a little longer while fighting the algae.
Thank you! That makes sense, I dialed it back to target 12 FC on this dose.

The aftermath (I need to get these helicopters cleaned up):
IMG_6294.jpg
 

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