Yet another Baquacil conversion thread [pics!]

Phs

Member
Jun 25, 2010
11
Since everyone here (including me it turns out) seems to enjoy Baquacil conversion threads, here's mine:

After having swam in my parents' pool recently, I noticed that it was not quite as nice as I remembered from my childhood. The pool was originally a chlorine pool and was always crystal clear, and even for a few years after converting to Baquacil it stayed quite nice. Baquacil was expensive but really did reduce the amount of maintenance, at least to start. But eventually the problems set in.

They've been having the typical Baquacil problems: hazy water (could barely see the bottom of the deep end), flaky white water mold, and a few algae breakouts a year they need to treat, not to mention the extreme drain on the finances. In addition, the water since the move to Baquacil has always been very foamy and tastes disgusting, which upon reading more here I suspect might be due to the algaecide. (Does anybody know if the Baquacil algaecide is a linear quat?)

It's an in-ground vinyl pool, 32' by 16', of 15,500 gallons. (Amusing aside: The pool store had it estimated at 25,000 gallons! And they recently recommended they add 40 pounds of calcium increaser to raise their CH from about 60! [Remember, vinyl pool.] Fortunately that never happened.) It has a Hayward Perflex EC65 DE filter, with one skimmer, one return, and no main drain.

I mentioned this site to my Dad, who being an engineer and kind of sick of not having control over the pool (not to mention spending money!), was also interested. Unfortunately the level of sanitizer in the pool was quite high; probably a little over 50 ppm, but it was hard to tell on the Baquacil test strips.

In a strange twist of fate, there was also about a 1 foot section of the liner bead that had fallen out of the slot a couple of seasons ago that they had been unable to fix yet. We figured that by lowering the water 8-10" and pouring hot water on the exposed liner below the gap we might be able to get the liner to (CAREFULLY) stretch enough to get back into the slot. As a bonus, refilling the water would dilute the Baquacil to about 40 ppm. Then we could start converting the pool.

So, this morning I headed out to buy a lot of bleach. I got 40 gallons of 10% bleach ("Liquid Shock") from Rural King for $10 per box of 4 (on sale). This was within spitting distance of the best bleach price I found ($1.09 for 3 quarts of 6% at Aldi's), but I figured the 10% concentration and packaging convenience was worth it for the amount necessary for a Baqua conversion.

I lugged all the bleach to their house (and a gallon of muriatic acid) and we started to vacuum the pool to waste. Once the water level was down far enough, we successfully reinstalled the liner bead, threw some garden hoses into the pool, and went to get lunch.

We removed the ladders as some have recommended for Baqua conversions. These will be cleaned separately and reinserted once the pool is stable.

Once the water level was back up and the filter running and refilled with DE, we lowered the pH from 7.5 to around 7.2 with muriatic acid, putting in just shy of the amount recommended by the pool calculator.

A pH recheck in half an hour seemed to indicate success, so there was nothing left to do but start pouring in bleach, 2.3 jugs at a time. I have to say that the immediate and striking plume of green that started circling the pool was well worth the price of admission for this endeavor; that was very cool!

The first dose was at 1:00 PM. The pool looked pretty well mixed by 1:15 (the color change was handy for that), and a chlorine test with both OTO and crappy test strips showed that the chlorine we poured in was already gone. Checking with Baquacil strips for giggles showed a Baqua level of around 30 ppm. Another 2.3 gallons...

At 1:45, FC from the strips was empty again, though the OTO test was starting to show a higher TC. Baqua level was somewhere around 10-15 ppm. Another 2.3 gallons...

Checking around 2:30 showed a Baqua level of zero, and chlorine left over! Wasn't expecting that so quickly. Topped it up as best we could with the crappy estimate from the test strip. At this point chlorine started going down much slower, and we kept it topped up throughout the day, brushing occasionally to clean and mix.

I was expecting all sorts of trouble from the DE filter, but it really hasn't been. The pressure is certainly going up, but we're not having to clean it every hour or anything. I think the pressure started at 11 PSI, and it had raised to 19 by 7:00 PM. Bumping reduced it to 13 PSI, and it was up to 16 by the time I left. We'll probably replace the DE tomorrow morning. I was worried it would have to be cleaned ever hour. We got some nylon knee-highs to use as crude skimmer socks, and a lot of the Baquagoo seems to swirl around in the skimmer where it can be lifted out, so maybe not much of it is making it to the filter. Anyway, not complaining...

The TF-100 XL kit should be here tomorrow, just in time to start overnight FC testing.

All in all, I'm amazed at how smoothly and quickly the first stage of this process has gone. Hopefully the water will clear up and hold FC in a few more days.

Thanks to everyone here for this site and community. The explanations here, especially of the CYA/FC issue, really make sense. Even when on chlorine, pool maintenance was always a little mysterious, but I think the information and people here really make it not anymore.

I'll try to remember to post updates on the conversion progress, and of course will chime with any questions that arise.

Finally, I know people are otherwise going to complain that This Thread Is Worthless Without Pics, so enjoy:
 

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Phs

Member
Jun 25, 2010
11
Headed over this morning before work. It had held a little bit of FC through the night (still using strips, so don't know the exact number). The water was milkier and lighter, but more opaque than yesterday. The filter is now working pretty hard; the DE was changed in the morning and it was already up over 20 PSI.

Test kit is on a FedEx truck somewhere in town.
 

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Phs

Member
Jun 25, 2010
11
So yeah, test strips suck.

Got a call from my dad late afternoon. He had been adding bleach at what should have been the right amounts for what the crappy strips were showing. The interesting thing is that after adding one time the water changed almost immediately - whatever was milking it up seemed to suddenly fall out of solution, some floating to the top and most setting to the bottom as an orange substance.

The TF100 had been delivered to my house at that point, so I grabbed it and brought it over.

5:00 PM readings:
FC: 30.5 ppm :shock:
CC: 8.5 ppm

Er, wow. Okay, no more chlorine tonight. I don't know if the rapid release of Baquagoo was a result of the insanely high chlorine reading or was simply going to happen at this point. It did allow vacuuming most of the cr*p to waste, which made the pool look a lot better. Filter's happier now, too.

8:00 PM readings:
FC: 26.0 ppm (this was after dilution from vacuuming to waste and re-adding water, too!)
CC: 7.5 ppm

Not measuring any of the other numbers with chlorine so crazy right now.

Has anybody else seen this kind of behavior in a Baqua conversion under extremely high chlorine levels, or was it just a coincidence?
 

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TBWB

Active member
Jun 23, 2010
39
Very cool! I love that you can see the bottom of your pool after you vacuumed! I'm one day behind you in my conversion so it's good to see it happening so quickly for you guys. Keep up the pics! They are inspiring!
 

Positronic

Well-known member
May 29, 2010
75
Phs said:
5:00 PM readings:
FC: 30.5 ppm :shock:
CC: 8.5 ppm

Er, wow. Okay, no more chlorine tonight. I don't know if the rapid release of Baquagoo was a result of the insanely high chlorine reading or was simply going to happen at this point. It did allow vacuuming most of the cr*p to waste, which made the pool look a lot better. Filter's happier now, too.

8:00 PM readings:
FC: 26.0 ppm (this was after dilution from vacuuming to waste and re-adding water, too!)
CC: 7.5 ppm

Not measuring any of the other numbers with chlorine so crazy right now.

Has anybody else seen this kind of behavior in a Baqua conversion under extremely high chlorine levels, or was it just a coincidence?
I did the same thing the 1st day, put in way too much bleach and also had 30+ FC but it pretty much was below 15 by the next day so didn't really hurt anything. I'm close to being done, CC at 1 so just needs to drop .5. FC has been holding overnight for awhile. I put in CYA too early, should have waited until CC's had dropped to .5.
 

Phs

Member
Jun 25, 2010
11
Readings by my dad:

Jun 30 10:30 PM:
FC: 22.5
CC: 8.5

Jul 1 6:45 AM:
FC: ~20
CC: ~10
(These measurements were done with 15ml of water by mistake, and returned 30 and 15 respectively.)

I stopped by on the way to work to check things out. Did it ever clear up overnight! It's not perfectly clear yet (there's still the slightest bit of haze in the deep end), and now that you can see there's some gunk that was missed when vacuuming mostly blind, but I can't believe it looks like this less than 48 hours after first adding chlorine!

[attachment=0:3a91dgmd]IMG_20100701_104903.jpg[/attachment:3a91dgmd][attachment=1:3a91dgmd]IMG_20100701_104850.jpg[/attachment:3a91dgmd][attachment=2:3a91dgmd]IMG_20100701_105022.jpg[/attachment:3a91dgmd]

I did a full set of readings at 11:00 AM since the FC level was reasonable:

11:00 AM:
FC: 5.0
CC: 5.0
pH: 7.2
TA: 130
CYA: 0
CH: 70-80? (I added an extra drop of the blue reagent by mistake, and didn't creep up on the color change to red fast enough, so I might have added an extra drop or two of the titrant. Still, as a vinyl pool with no heater I don't think this really matters.)

So, except for maybe a slightly high TA which can be fixed later it looks like everything is good. I added 1.5 gallons of 10% bleach to raise the FC back to 15. I know the sun will eat it, but there's a lot left and it can't hurt. Is there anything else to do except keep it at 15 at night and check for FC loss?

Total bleach usage so far: 23.5 gallons 10%
 

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Barbara C

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 2, 2010
124
Southern Indiana
Love your pictures! Looks as if you've had a fairly quick conversion time!

You've almost passed the first step of clear water.

Your next step is to pass the overnight chlorine loss test. 1 ppm loss overnight or less. You can change the DE then start adding enough CYA to reach 30ppm. Use an old sock hung in front of a return or in the skimmer basket. I have skimmer socks and just put it in there some at a time. I didn't want to over load it! If you go through the skimmer, you can't backwash for a week or you will be washing out the CYA.

Keep your FC at 15ppm until your CC's are 0.5 or less two days in a row.

You're ready to start balancing your levels after that. It helps to review the Pool School articles.

We've been off Baqua for all of two weeks now but wouldn't go back if they gave me a truck load of the stuff. Our water is down right sparkly now. I think we have sparklypoolitis as someone has put it. It's a good feeling!

Keep up the good work! :goodjob:
 

Phs

Member
Jun 25, 2010
11
svenpup said:
I love it! I learned a new word today. I always just called them "sparklies"
And they are!

6:00 PM:
FC: 0
CC: 3.5
add ~2.3 gallons 10% bleach

6:30 PM:
FC: 16.5
CC: 3.5

11:00 PM:
FC: 14.5
CC: 3.5

We'll see what happens tonight.

What should we do about cleaning other Baqua-infested stuff? I was figuring that we could wash the ladders with something like a 1:10 bleach solution, making sure to get it in the nooks, crannies, and tubes, then power wash them. Should we put the (cleaned) ladders back in before CYA (when it's at the crazy 15 FC shock level, not the gentle CYA-buffered 15 FC shock level)? What about pool props? They have some Swimways rafts that have fabric on them that might be Baqua infected. Is it not enough to worry about?

Thanks.
 

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Barbara C

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 2, 2010
124
Southern Indiana
Your washing down for the ladder sounds good. I think you could probably skip the power washer though. Don't forget the undersides of the rungs too, especially the bottom one. I don't think the timing on replacing the ladder makes much difference.

As for the toys and all, ours went into the pool before I had a chance to do anything with them without any ill effects. I was a bit nervous at first! If you can, I would try to clean them up some at least. It would be awful to be set back because of something like that. Hopefully, someone with more experience can give better feedback on that one.

The pool looks great. I'm glad you deep end has cleared up too. It can still take a few days sometimes to get the CC's down. Keep up the FC levels when the sun is off the pool especially and it will happen.
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
Pool toys, ladders, etc should either be wiped down by hand with a bleach solution or put in the pool when FC is 15 for an hour or two. After that they should be left out of the pool until there is CYA in the water.
 

Phs

Member
Jun 25, 2010
11
JasonLion said:
Pool toys, ladders, etc should either be wiped down by hand with a bleach solution or put in the pool when FC is 15 for an hour or two. After that they should be left out of the pool until there is CYA in the water.
Thanks. Do you have any idea how much dilution is required to avoid noticeably bleaching toys with fabric if you're going to do it outside of the pool, yet still clean up the Baqua pretty well?
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
10 to 1, water to bleach, should be fine. Remember when you are using the bleach wipe down you are just wiping it down, not soaking it. You don't want puddles of bleach solution accumulating on the toys.
 

Phs

Member
Jun 25, 2010
11
11:15 pm:
FC: 0.0
CC: 1.5
pH: 7.4

12:00 am:
FC: 18.0
CC: 2.0

6:15 am:
FC: 14.0
CC: 2.0

Still cooking I see...
 

Phs

Member
Jun 25, 2010
11
12:30 am:
FC: 0.0
CC: 1.0
pH: 7.5
add 28 oz muriatic acid

1:00 am:
FC: 0.0
CC: 1.0
pH: 7.2
TA: 110-120
add 2 gallons bleach

1:30 am:
FC: 15.5
CC: 1.5

6:30 am:
FC: 12.0
CC: 1.0

Argh, where is it going?

Oh, maybe to the dead bird in the skimmer basket? Sigh...

(Anybody know how much FC a dead bird is worth?)
 

jlevino

Active member
Jul 1, 2010
40
Pittsburgh, PA
Phs said:
12:30 am:
Oh, maybe to the dead bird in the skimmer basket? Sigh...

(Anybody know how much FC a dead bird is worth?)

Um. I believe it's two jugs if it's stabilized by the bush. Non-bush stabilized birds are worth three. :lol: