Water still cloudy after SLAM for a week

molokoidq

Member
Jun 1, 2019
7
UK
Hi all, I'm a pool newbie, I've a 18500 gal outdoor pool here in the uk that runs a sand filter.

Having removed the winter cover a week or so ago I'd roughly balanced the ph and Alkalinity and then have been shock treating the pool with liquid chlorine, also using flocculant (Aliphatic Polyamine) into the pool water and a jolly gel block in the pump filter basket. I've been backwashing the sand filter twice a day and vacuuming the pool to waste every 2nd day.

But I still have cloudy water and my knowledge is not there yet to know what to do next.

Any help appreciated. Equally, if any professional pool services are providing (paid) remote support, I'd happily take you up on that! I need the kids to be in the pool before they start a revolution!

My readings as of 3pm today...
FCL 8.37
TCL 8.37
pH 7.4
ALY 84
CH 188
CYA 11

Thanks in advance!
 

Brett S

Well-known member
Mar 15, 2019
709
Orlando
A troublefreepool.com SLAM is very different than just shocking the pool. It will absolutely work to clear up your water, but there is a very specific set of instructions that you need to follow. First, and most importantly, you need to get a test kit with a FAS-DPD chlorine test and a CYA test. You need to know exactly what your CYA levels are and what your chlorine level is. Just randomly throwing in a dose of shock is not enough to really solve the problems. You need your own test kit to be able to measure the numbers yourself because we have found that pool store tests can be wildly inaccurate.

Second, in general TFP is very much against the use of floc. It is not necessary to clear the water as a properly executed SLAM is all you need. Additionally FLOC can clog your sand filter with junk and cause it to stop working effectively.

You can read the details about doing a SLAM here - SLAM - Shock Level and Maintain - Trouble Free Pool
 
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Brett S

Well-known member
Mar 15, 2019
709
Orlando
Oh, and one more note. I saw that you said that you were backwashing the sand filter twice a day. This is probably not necessary and could be part of the problem. A sand filter is kind of an unusual thing. The dirtier it is, the more effective it will be (up to a point). A clean sand filter will not filter as well as a dirty sand filter, so by backwashing it twice a day you have a very clean and not very effective sand filter. On the flip side, a sand filter that is too dirty will block too much of the water flow. This will make your pump work much harder and will also not filter effectively.

For this reason TFP recommends that you use the pressure gauge to determine when it’s time to backflush your sand filter. After you do a backwash and the sand filter is clean, see what the pressure is. Then add 25% to that and when the pressure reaches that new number you know it’s time to backwash. So, for example, if your clean filter reads 12psi, then adding 25% to that would be 15psi. In this example you shouldn’t backwash your sand filter until it reaches 15psi.
 

molokoidq

Member
Jun 1, 2019
7
UK
Thanks for the replies.
I'm learning that there seem to be many different ways to get to the end goal. And also that people seem to pick a route and almost evangelise that it's the only route to enlightenment! Who knew pool chemistry could become a religion! :)

On methodology; not sure I can turn back time for this seasons opening now. Are you saying your experience, knowledge and advice would only work on the 'tfp route'?
Test kit - I thought I'd got a decent one, it's a La Motte ColorQ Pro 7. It certainly tests for FC and CYA.
CYA - Interestingly and this is probably an example of the many different routes. Having spoken to the owner of a chemos business here in the UK, he mentioned that a low CYA level is not overly an issue for UK outdoor pools, citing that the difference between UK sun intensity and volume is very different to that in the US where many / most advice sites are based.
Backwashing - OK. 'Other route' advice had stated to do frequent backwashing, but I'll stop that now and see if it helps.

Any other advice given I've come down this route thus far? I'll happily reward you with a photo of me and my rubber ring if it's successful.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
32,962
Laughlin, NV
The ColorQ test is fine except for FC above 10 ppm. As your title states, you believe you have been doing a SLAM Process. But that is not possible at a FC of lower than 10 ppm.

A lower CYA is most likely fine in the UK. Say 30 ppm which is the lowest TFP recommends and that can be reasonably tested.
 

Brett S

Well-known member
Mar 15, 2019
709
Orlando
Thanks for the replies.
I'm learning that there seem to be many different ways to get to the end goal. And also that people seem to pick a route and almost evangelise that it's the only route to enlightenment! Who knew pool chemistry could become a religion! :)

On methodology; not sure I can turn back time for this seasons opening now. Are you saying your experience, knowledge and advice would only work on the 'tfp route'?
Haha, this is definitely true. There are certainly different options, but what I like about the TFP method is that it’s based on science, it’s been proven to get results and it’s easily repeatable for everyone to use.

Like you said, everyone has their methods and everyone can say, hey, this worked for me and also my cousin bob. And frankly, in the end a lot of the methods are really very similar processes in the end.

For those of us with chlorine pools, we all use chlorine to sanitize our pools. And when there is an algae problem we all use chlorine at a higher level to shock the pool. But where the TFP method is different is that we know that there is a strong relationship between chlorine and CYA. And people have done the research to figure out how much chlorine is necessary to get rid of algae based on the CYA level. So with the TFP method we can say, based on your CYA level we know that you need to put exactly this much chlorine in the pool to kill the algae. By using a good test kit you can put in that much chlorine, no more, no less, and know that it will kill your algae in the safest way possible. We also know that the high chlorine level needs to be maintained for a certain amount of time to make sure that all the algae is really gone.

A lot of the other methods say something like this... “hey, if you have algae, then use 1 gallon of shock for 5000 gallons of pool water”. And that will work for a lot of people because it will get the chlorine up above the level that’s necessary to kill algae. It might even get the chlorine up way too high for some people. Which will still work, but can be hard on the pool and the equipment. And for some people with a high CYA level it might not get the chlorine level up high enough and it won’t work. And even if the shock does work it’s possible that there’s still some hidden algae that wasn’t killed that will come back a week or two later and you’ll need to shock again, and it just becomes one big expensive frustrating cycle. A lot of these methods are just kind of black magic... Well, if you have this problem you use this chemical at this rate... and there’s no good explanation for why you should be using it or exactly what it does, or even any effort to dose it based on your existing pool chemistry. Those things might work for a lot of people, but they won’t work for everyone. And if it doesn’t work for you then you don’t know why, but you just move on and try something else. If you knew the science behind it and how and why it worked then you would probably know ahead of time that it wouldn’t work in your case and you wouldn’t have had to buy that expensive chemical.

And as far as day to day operations, again TFP is based on science. It has been determined that based on your CYA level you need a certain minimum amount of chlorine in the pool to prevent algae from growing. And if you maintain that minimum level then you know that your pool will remain algae free. Other methods will say “maintain 1-3ppm of free chlorine” with no regard to the CYA level. Again, this will work for some people, but for other people with high CYA levels then it’s not enough chlorine and these people will constantly be battling algae with no idea why.

By using chlorine this way we know that you don’t need to buy or use other chemicals like algaecides or floc, which can be expensive and also cause other problems.

Like you said, it sounds like a religion and maybe it kind of is;) We would like to convert you because we know that this has worked for us to keep our pools clean and algae free and is also much less expensive than buying tons of pool chemicals, but if you want to follow other methods then you can stay here and we promise not to shun you;). We’re not crazy enough to say that our way is the only way, but we do believe that it’s the best way and we have the science to show how our way works.

However, all that said, whatever you do, pick one method and stick with it. If you try to take some advice from TFP and some advice from your pool store and some advice from your cousin bob then you’ll wind up with all kinds of conflicting information which will be frustrating and confusing and won’t work at all to fix your pool issues.
 
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Brett S

Well-known member
Mar 15, 2019
709
Orlando
On methodology; not sure I can turn back time for this seasons opening now. Are you saying your experience, knowledge and advice would only work on the 'tfp route'?
I figured I’d make this another post, since my first post was already incredibly long. The advice that we give out here is certainly based on our ’TFP route’ but that’s not to say that it’s the only thing that we do or understand.

But that said, it’s also kind of hard to help you with other methods that are more of a ‘try and hope‘ approach. If shock hasn’t worked for you, then likely you didn’t have a high enough chlorine level for your CYA level and/or the level didn’t stay high enough for long enough. The answer is to add more chlorine.

You can do this in one of two ways... you can blindly add more shock, as you have been doing. Eventually that’s going to get the chlorine level up high enough and kill your algae. You might overshoot and get the chlorine level up too high, which can be hard on your equipment, but eventually it will work. Or you can use the TFP chart to know exactly how high you need to raise your chlorine level to kill the algae and still be safe for your equipment. Then you will also need a FAS-DPD test kit so you an accurately measure your chlorine level while it’s elevated.
 

molokoidq

Member
Jun 1, 2019
7
UK
Haha, this is definitely true. There are certainly different options, but what I like about the TFP method is that it’s based on science, it’s been proven to get results and it’s easily repeatable for everyone to use.

[snip]

However, all that said, whatever you do, pick one method and stick with it. If you try to take some advice from TFP and some advice from your pool store and some advice from your cousin bob then you’ll wind up with all kinds of conflicting information which will be frustrating and confusing and won’t work at all to fix your pool issues.
Thanks for all the info. Bizarrely, I do have a cousin called Bob, but he's pretty rubbish at pool chemistry advice. Equally, here in the UK we don't (to my knowledge) have pool stores that offer testing and advice. You're either on your own or use an experienced pool guy. I'm not afraid of learning something new, but equally need a source of that and the pro pool guys (here in the UK) aren't that keen to share knowledge.

I get the principles of what you're saying, chemical input should be based on the size of the issue, not the size of the receptacle. It sounds like there's a few things I need before I can fully join your cult... a decent CYA test kit (to complement my ColorQ7 kit), a shaved head, a supplier of CYA and a set of blue robes to wear whilst walking around my pool chanting the CYA / FC table. Hoping I'm on the right track to enlightenment :D:D:D
 
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duraleigh

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
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In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
34,342
Sebring, Florida
I get the principles of what you're saying
I don't think so. If you did, you would not call this a "cult", volunteer to shave your head, or buy a blue robe.

This is a scientific method to teach you how to get your pool crystal clear. We can lead you to the water but we can't make you drink.
 
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Brett S

Well-known member
Mar 15, 2019
709
Orlando
Thanks for all the info. Bizarrely, I do have a cousin called Bob, but he's pretty rubbish at pool chemistry advice. Equally, here in the UK we don't (to my knowledge) have pool stores that offer testing and advice. You're either on your own or use an experienced pool guy. I'm not afraid of learning something new, but equally need a source of that and the pro pool guys (here in the UK) aren't that keen to share knowledge.

I get the principles of what you're saying, chemical input should be based on the size of the issue, not the size of the receptacle. It sounds like there's a few things I need before I can fully join your cult... a decent CYA test kit (to complement my ColorQ7 kit), a shaved head, a supplier of CYA and a set of blue robes to wear whilst walking around my pool chanting the CYA / FC table. Hoping I'm on the right track to enlightenment :D:D:D
Definitely read though some of the “Pool School” articles on here, and you can start with this one - ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry - Trouble Free Pool and the SLAM article I linked above. It seems kind of complicated and scary at first but once you start to understand the science and reasoning behind it you realize that it’s actually pretty simple.

Even if you don’t decide to join us the information there is still helpful, as like I said above these are all the same parameters and chemicals that all the methods use to sanitize a chlorine pool. But I’m pretty sure you’ll be walking around in your blue robes soon enough;)
 
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molokoidq

Member
Jun 1, 2019
7
UK
Definitely read though some of the “Pool School” articles on here, and you can start with this one - ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry - Trouble Free Pool and the SLAM article I linked above. It seems kind of complicated and scary at first but once you start to understand the science and reasoning behind it you realize that it’s actually pretty simple.

Even if you don’t decide to join us the information there is still helpful, as like I said above these are all the same parameters and chemicals that all the methods use to sanitize a chlorine pool. But I’m pretty sure you’ll be walking around in your blue robes soon enough;)
Thank you Brett for your help, guidance and humour. Having kissed a few frogs, I'm ready to commit. So i'm currently trying to sort a relevant testing kit (difficult here in the uk), some replacement sand for the filter and those all important blue robes. :D Take care and thanks again.
 

Ian196499

Gold Supporter
Silver Supporter
Aug 12, 2018
91
England
Hi - how’s the pool opening coming on?
I’m also based in the U.K. and recognise some of your issues with being here.
I’m 2 years into the TFP method and can say that it’s worked for me. This year my pool is crystal clear and we’ve been swimming in it since the start of April. I’m at the stage where I test each day and add any needed chemicals ( takes 5-10 mins) and then do a 1 hour scrub / vacuum each week.
The SLAM definitely works provided you see it through to the end including the overnight test so it needs patience. ?
The Taylor test kit is impossible to source in the UK and the European distributor based in Spain is useless- doesn’t even return emails or even give a price for supplying to the U.K. The TFP shop won’t ship to the U.K. and cites chemical shipping rules but You can buy direct from US on Amazon but it’s pretty expensive.
based on advice on the forum I’ve been using CYA at 30 as it takes away the harshness of the chlorine.
where are you sourcing liquid chlorine? If you’ve got a good source I’d be interested to know.
Cheers
Ian
 

molokoidq

Member
Jun 1, 2019
7
UK
Hey,

Yes, all good now. Not sure i'll get into the routine or have the available time to test every day, but i'm doing my best to keep on top of it all. The kids certainly appreciate it in their home schooling breaks. have you purchased the pool math app to help? i did look but the products and terminology seemed different to that we have / use in the uk.

The liquid chlorine i get from Alliance Online. the last order i placed was £75, inc vat, inc delivery (48 hours) for 80litres. although having just looked to get you this info their price seems to have increased by almost 50% in the last fortnight!

All the best.
 

Brett S

Well-known member
Mar 15, 2019
709
Orlando
Look at you and all your british words like VAT and litres and fortnight;). I believe that the poolmath app will work with different units of measurement, but you can always play around with it before you spend any money. The things that I use the poolmath app for are:

-Logging my values. No matter how much I think I’ll remember what my TA is, I tend to forget within a few hours, so having it written down is definitely helpful. Of course, you could log your test results in other ways too.

-Seeing the recommended levels for each parameter. Not only does poolmath show me what my most recent test results were at a glance, but it also shows me whether they are in the recommended range.

-doing the actual math. You can use the effects of adding section to see what adding a certain amount of a chemical will do to the levels in your pool. Or tell it what you want a parameter to be and it will tell your what chemical to add and how much of it to add.

You can certainly run a pool without the poolmath app, but it does make it easier.

As far as your routine and daily testing, it’s definitely more critical to test FC daily for at least a week or two until you get to know how your pool is running. The other tests can be run less frequently. And after a few weeks you’ll start to understand your pool better and you can cut back in the FC testing too. If you know that you had to add 1 gallon (sorry, litre) of chlorine every day for the past 4 days, then it’s pretty safe to assume that you can continue to add that much every day going forward without constant testing. Things like how frequently the pool is used and how much sun and rain you have will affect the chlorine levels, so you should still test every few days, maybe once a week at the outside. But if you take some time at the beginning to learn how your pool is responding then you can continue to manage it successfully without daily testing.

Also, I seem to recall that we were promised a picture of you in your blue robes or something like that;)
 

Ian196499

Gold Supporter
Silver Supporter
Aug 12, 2018
91
England
Hey,

Yes, all good now. Not sure i'll get into the routine or have the available time to test every day, but i'm doing my best to keep on top of it all. The kids certainly appreciate it in their home schooling breaks. have you purchased the pool math app to help? i did look but the products and terminology seemed different to that we have / use in the uk.

The liquid chlorine i get from Alliance Online. the last order i placed was £75, inc vat, inc delivery (48 hours) for 80litres. although having just looked to get you this info their price seems to have increased by almost 50% in the last fortnight!

All the best.
Hiya
Great the kids are enjoying the pool in the lockdown!
thanks for lead on website. I have seen that website but not bought from them. Another one I’ve used is cleaning products.net
I do use the maths app and find it useful as it calculates how much chemical you need to add and you can look back and see the trend of your tests / additions which is useful. I have to confess I’ve not been great at always entering results but this season I’m trying to be a bit more methodical.
There are drop down menus in each category so you can find the same chemicals we have here on there. The only exception I’ve found is acid. The USA seem to sell Muriatic Acid in set strengths. Muriatic acid is just their name for Hydrochloric Acid. It’s sold here as “TA reducer” at 20% strength and this isn’t an option on the app so I need to use the 30% strength option on the app and add 50% to the calc...
Have you picked up that bleach deteriorates over time. What strength did you buy? The higher the % the faster it degrades.
Feel free to DM me anytime.
Cheers
Ian