White water mold?

wolftune

Member
May 3, 2020
19
Davis, California
Hi all, I'm hoping to get some thoughts on my pool situation. Specs: 7,000 gallon fiberglass pool, Salt-Water generator, cartridge filter system. Pool built 1 year ago.

For the last few weeks, when the water is disturbed from swimming, there are small floating white bits that look like tissue paper. When the water is not disturbed, they sit at the bottom of the pool in one area where they've collected. The amount was not huge, maybe a "puddle" of deposit with a radius of about 2 feet that would settle there daily. The pieces dissolve in my hands when I take them out of the water and rub them, so I don't think it's calcium or other mineral flakes. They are not stuck to the pool in any way and there's no slime. Also no pink anywhere that I'm seeing.

I had noticed that I was having to increase the % of chlorine on my salt water chlorinator to significantly higher than normal levels. Usually, I run it at 40% in the summer and was up to 80% to maintain levels. I added CYA in case that was low, but it didn't help. So I wondered, given the white floaty flakes, if it was something (algae, bacteria, etc.) that was eating up the chlorine faster than usual.

What I've done: Besides adding some CYA about 6 days ago, I brushed the sides and then vacuumed the pool. I also went under the water with goggles and vacuumed all of the stuff floating that I could. I did this vacuuming two days in a row. Then, I added muratic acid to lower pH to about 7.2. Then, the night before last, I shocked the pool with about 3 times the recommended amount. Finally, yesterday, I carefully hosed off the filters and let them sit in the sun (rotating) for about 4 hours to hopefully kill any potential bacteria, algae, etc. While there was some normal dirt, there was no slimy, nasty grime or anything that appeared out of the ordinary on my filters. In fact, they looked relatively clean. I also emptied the filter tank and let it completely dry out as well for a few hours, just in case something had been growing in there.

A few hours ago, I tested the water at the pool store, here are results:

Alkalinity: 70 (after being adjusted by pool store for higher level of CYA. I think they were actually 100)
FAC: 10 ppm (due to shock)
TAC: 10 ppm
Phosphates: 200 ppb
pH: 7.4
CYA: 90 ppm
Calcium Hardness: 240 ppm
MT (metals?): 0

I plan to put in some phosphate remover to bring phosphates down under 100 ppb. I've read that higher phosphate levels can sometimes interact with salt-water chlorinators and affect the output. The lady at the pool store did not recommend adding Alkalinity, as it was adjusted for somewhat high CYA.

Finally, a picture today of the deposits on the pool floor. Today, it's a much smaller radius than it was yesterday, about 6" long and 2" wide (across a few spots). Hard to see much from the picture though. Will try to scoop it up later and take another picture or video.

Thanks for any suggestions/help you can offer.

Vince
 

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wolftune

Member
May 3, 2020
19
Davis, California
Forgot to mention that I also took out the skimmer basket and let it sit in the sun for several hours after cleaning it. No sign of mold, algae, or anything else out of the ordinary. Left the top off of the skimmer to let sun down in there, just in case of mold.

Did the same with the water return cap (where the float valve is to re-fill the pool), took that off and let the sun get in there for 2 days as well.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
37,065
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Welcome to the forum!
You really need your own test kit to manage your pool water chemistry. The little piles you show look to me to be scale off the SWCG. If your TA is anything above 100ppm your SWCG will create scale flakes and shed them at the polarity reversal.
Do understand that phosphates are rarely an issue. At your low levels they are of no consequence. Pool stores push that as it is a big profit center for them. The stuff they sell, if you really need to remove phosphates, is very low quality.
We do not provide guidance based on pool store tests. Get your own test kit. I suggest the TF100. A proper test kit is needed to get the accurate water chemistry results needed to follow the TFP protocols.
I suggest you read ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry.
 

Msch99

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 11, 2018
908
Verona, MO
Plus 1 on the test kit! Small investment for $ saved and not that hard to do! Free Expert advice always available here when you need it. But they can’t help much until you get your own kit. Pool store tests are unreliable as are guess strips.
Please add your pool information to your signature. Helps the experts help you.
Good luck and welcome to TFP! 😀
 

wolftune

Member
May 3, 2020
19
Davis, California
Thanks for the quick reply! I haven't noticed any scale whatsoever on my actual SWCG cell, and it was just replaced about 3 weeks ago (old one went out, under warranty). Could it still be that? I figured that if it was scale, it wouldn't dissolve so easily when I rub it. Plus, I'm still wondering why I'm having to increase chlorine usage lately.

I bring the water to the pool store for CYA, Hardness, Salt, and Phosphates, since I don't have test kits for those. Also, to check to see if they're consistent with my tests. I do have my own Taylor Test Kit (pH/Chlorine) that I use at least every other day, especially lately. I also have a Poolmaster 5-way test as well, but I just ordered the TF100 since you say it's better (plus it tests for CYA). Also, I ordered the salt test strips to go with it. The pool store's numbers matched the numbers I got from my tests.

I have read the ABC's, but will review them again. I also worked at a a pool store for my first job and have a decent memory of the basics and the way the chemicals and pool properties interact.

For the phosphates, I thought I read here on this forum that certain phosphates can sometimes cause issues with the SWCG, making it less effective at producing chlorine. I'll have to dig around to see if I can find the article.
 

wolftune

Member
May 3, 2020
19
Davis, California
MSCH 99, thanks, I'll do that.

Definitely getting the TF100.

If it matters, the pool store I take it to does not use strips, it looks like they're using Taylor drops for most of the tests. I think they only use strips for the salt.
 
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mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
37,065
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Good choice on ordering a quality test kit.

When you get the kit, run a full set of tests and post them here.
 

wolftune

Member
May 3, 2020
19
Davis, California
Sounds good, thanks. I did order the K-1766 along with the TF100. Should be here Monday. Will post numbers at that point.

In the meantime, here is a video of the material (note that I say "skimmer" at the beginning when I meant net). Here is another video of the material after it started drying up.

FYI, not seeing any calcium deposits or other deposits on the tile, pool wall, etc.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
37,065
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Put a drop of acid (or vinegar) on the material. See if it fizzes.
 

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wolftune

Member
May 3, 2020
19
Davis, California
Sorry for the delay, I have so little of the flakes now that I'm having a hard time capturing any to see if it fizzes.

Just tested:
- Salt: 3000
- pH: 7.2 (it was 7.8 yesterday, added muriatic acid)
- FC: 2.5
- CC: 0
- CH: 325
- TA: 90
- CYA: 60

I can still see occasional bits of the white flakes, they are generally smaller and much fewer.

Thanks,

Vince
 
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mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
37,065
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Finally tracked down a few flakes and put some drops of white vinegar, no fizzing.
Great. So not calcium. Must be some kind of organic or excess suntan lotion / hair products. Hopefully it does not cause you any issues.
When you clean your cartridge filter, you may want to soak them in TSP water. See Re: How to clean a cartridge filter
 

wolftune

Member
May 3, 2020
19
Davis, California
Well, it's baaaack. This time, I used muriatic acid and it fizzed. Here's a video.

You can't see the fizzing too well on the video, but it is went from a clump to sediment and then fizzed. So maybe it is calcium.

I just shocked my pool last night, so my numbers for chlorine will be wild. pH is 7.5. Can't imagine salt, calcium hardness, alkalinity, CYA changed much since I did the test 10 days ago, but I'll try to check it tomorrow when the shock levels go down.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
37,065
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Realize 'shock' will not really do anything. If you have organics in the pool, you need to follow the SLAM Process

Your SLAM level FC is 24 ppm. Did you raise it to that? Only test effected by that level of FC is pH. pH test is invalid with FC above 10 ppm.
 

wolftune

Member
May 3, 2020
19
Davis, California
pH was taken before the pool was shocked.

I did a maintenance shock (usually do it every 2-3 weeks), not necessarily to address the white stuff.

I don't think it's organic. That stuff fizzed in the acid and also gets really powdery when dry. When dry, it feels like the mortar mix used for laying tile.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
37,065
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Then it is from your SWCG. What is the CSI of the water?
 

wolftune

Member
May 3, 2020
19
Davis, California
According to the calculator I used, it's -0.27. Apparently that needs to go down?

Just tested everything again:

Temp: 83 (heat wave)
pH: 7.5
FC: 6
CC: 0
TA: 80
CH: 300
CYA: 45
Salt: 3000

Because of a bunch of local fires, there's been a good amount of ash getting in my pool. I imagine that can eventually add calcium and also raise pH, so I'll keep an eye on that.

Thanks again for all your help.

Vince
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
37,065
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
That CSI should prevent any scale from occurring in the SWCG.

Did you get your own test kit? Please add that to your signature.
 

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