Strange levels with start-up


Jul 14, 2017
Baton Rouge, LA
We opened up our pool a few weeks ago and started the usual of getting any debris out and balancing it. Once we got all the debris and began shocking it with liquid chlorine, we noticed that it went yellow in color. I thought it might be mustard algae so we upped the level of shock and it turned more brown than yellow. At that point, I brought a sample of water into our local pinch-a-penny for analysis and they said there was iron in the pool, at .3 ppm. The pH was also very low (even though I had added broax). So I was given 25 lbs of alkalinity increaser and 2 bottles of jacks magic pink stuff for metal control. Added those in as instructed and the pool magically turned blue within a few hours. I was ecstatic! But the water was cloudy and I couldn't see to the bottom on the deep end, so I thought it might need a little bit more chlorine. Added chlorine and within minutes of adding the chlorine, it was brown again. Went back to pinch-a-penny with a sample and they said my pH had actually gone down (more acidic) after adding in 25 lbs of alkalinity increaser. So, they assumed I had some kind of extra chemical in the pool messing up the pH and iron. On this day the iron tested at .1 ppm. So they gave me Revive. It's something you spray in the pool and then it precipitates at the bottom of the pool in 24-48 hours (sounds similar to flock) and then vacuum up. So I did that. And yes there was junk on the bottom of the pool after 48 hours. Vacuumed it all up to waste and waited. Still brown. Took another sample back to pinch-a-penny and they said this time the pH had improved. It was 7.2 and I hadn't added anything for the pH, just the Revive stuff. So the thought was that Revive got something out of the pool that was messing with the pH, and that now I just needed one more round of the pink stuff. So I did 2 more bottles of the pink stuff. Again, it turned blue shortly after adding the pink stuff. it was still cloudy, but this time I didn't add more chlorine (it was already at 9). Ran the filter without adding any more chemicals into it for 2 days and then it slowly went back to yellow/brown again. Now my pH is back down to 6.8. It has not rained since my pH was at 7.2, and I have not added any water. Pinch-a-penny is recommending a drain and refill (draining 2 ft at a time because I have a vinyl liner). Before I drain and refill with my city water that I already know has copper in it, so I will have to again remove the copper, I want to make sure this is the right move. What do you think?

Here are today's levels:
TC 5
FC 5
CC 0
pH 6.8
TA 45
Calcium 20
CYA 30
Iron .2

4 days ago:
TC 9
FC 9
CC 0
pH 7.2
TA 50
Calcium 25
CYA 45
Iron .1

Here is a picture of the pool today. The stuff you see on the steps I believe is from my dog. He likes to roll in the sand and then go in the pool on the steps. You can see the bottom of the shallow end doesn't have algae on the ground.