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Thread: 20 year pool owner - first real algae problem

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    Default 20 year pool owner - first real algae problem

    I have a roughly 35 year old gunite pool. I have been the owner for the last 20 years. I found PoolSolutions and the Pool Forum back in 1998 and I felt like a pro right out of the gate! Thanks Ben!

    But since last summer, I have been getting recurring algae growth on the walls (green) that I can't seem to shake. Sure I can superchlorinate and brush, then let the DE filter handle the rest, but it keeps coming back. I am not sure but it looks like there also might be some black algae all through the grout and some of the upper walls.

    The plaster is about 16 years old, and getting rough (pitted?) in spots. A LOT of the tile is coming off and/or loose. It's been spot-repaired by non-pros, but never a good job.

    Is it possible that the algae is behind the loose tile and causing all my problems? I have never superchlorinated and scrubbed so much! Measurements are good: CYA > 30, pH 7.8, water temp 85.

    Also, the algae is on all sides of the pool, but concentrated on the non-sun side. Right now my only chlorination is cal-hypo and lots of it. When chlorine goes down, usually quickly, I just add about 4-6 scoops of the powder.

    My fear is that I will need to have the pool resurfaced for this to go away.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!
    Last edited by MarkP45; 07-12-2018 at 11:47 AM. Reason: Adding more info

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    Default Re: 20 year pool owner - first real algae problem

    I dealt with several pools like this in years past, and after trying everything under the sun -- copper, polyquat, monochloramine, and so on -- I ended up where you are: lots and LOTS of chlorine. I only resolved the problem during the last few years I operated locally.

    I'd like to work with several (>10, <20) experienced pool owners in applying what I learned. I know it works for me, but I'm sure there will be things that come up when someone else tries it.

    Long story short -- phosphate removal treatment (PRT) . . . done correctly . . . works extremely well. But, and this is a big BUT, the methods and materials sold by pool stores for the purpose do NOT work. (Surprise, surprise!)

    If you want to pursue this, let me know.

    There are conditions:
    + you cannot use stain-control agents (most contain phosphates)
    + if your pool leaks badly AND your fill water contains phosphates, PRT may not be practical.
    + PRT is compatible with ALL basic water treatment methods, but NOT with pool chemicals with mystery ingredients (4-in-1, 5-in-1, anything that does not list ALL ingredients). Pool chem makers sneak phosphates into many products!
    And . . . you have to understand, PRT is a method, and NOT a chemical. Unless you embrace this, PRT will fail for you and you will waste ALL the money you spend on it.

    If you're interested, I need
    + complete pool info -- surface, volume, pump type, filter type, circulation hours
    + typical weekly water loss
    + complete treatment info -- chems used and preferred, etc.
    + average bather load.
    You'll need
    + a K-2006 or equivalent
    + a phosphate test (Taylor or Hach)
    + water test results from BOTH kits on your pool water AND your fill water
    + commitment to see it through -- it may take 3 weeks to stabilize the phosphate levels in your pool, depending on filter, pool surface, and history. (Think in terms of 15 minutes a day, 3 days per week for 3 weeks.)
    But if you do it right, I'm SURE
    + You'll use less chemicals, except phosphate remover
    + You will have virtually no algae problems (I think you'll eliminate algae, but I'm covering myself)
    + Your pool will be much less volatile, to the point that 1x per week chlorination + a dose whenever someone swims, will likely be all that's needed.
    + Vacations won't be a problem, and neither will winter care or closing & opening. (You still can't let leaves or a cover swamp fall into the pool in spring!)
    Plus, I think your overall chemical use will be much reduced the 2nd year and in subsequent years.

    Let me know.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 20 year pool owner - first real algae problem

    I am IN, time allowing!

    I just ordered the Taylor phosphate kit - already have a brand new Taylor 2006. I work from home, so that may help. The only problem coming up is that we will be out of the country for a week+ starting August 3rd. Be back full time on the 12th. I will be away again from the 19th-22nd, but my wife may be able to do whatever is need during that time.

    I'll post back with all the info (instead of a bunch of posts with some info).

    Thanks Ben!

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    Default

    OK, in the interests of getting done before you're gone, order 1 and 1/2 quarts of Orenda PR10000 for every 10K gallons in your pool . . . and round up. The stuff keeps indefinitely, so it won't 'go bad' on you.

    Also, there's a chance of clouding the water. I've been able to avoid that, myself, but that's one of the things I'll be 'watching' with others. However, ChemGeek has used phosphate removers in the past, and found that the Bioguard Polysheen Blue apparently worked well at aiding the filtration of the lanthanum phosphate particles that form. A single quart should be more than enough.

    Also, some Walmart stores stock DE powder. You can check online. If they do AND if you have a sand filter, this may help. But don't buy it now, and don't buy it at all, unless you have a sand filter. (If you have a DE filter, cloudiness should not be a problem regardless.)

    Good luck!

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    Default Re: 20 year pool owner - first real algae problem

    Ok. I ordered the PR10000. That and the phosphate test kit won't be here until Sunday.
    I do have a DE filter, so if I read you right I read your post correctly I won't be needing the Polysheen Blue.

    Meanwhile I will gather the info that I can. Thanks again!

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    Default Re: 20 year pool owner - first real algae problem

    I've received my phosphate kit and have all the numbers.

    Pool size by most estimates is 28,000. When I bought the house 20 years ago the previous owner claimed 35,000 but myself and others don't think it is quite that large. It's 20x40 at that furthest points. I don't think this pool is as deep as they make them now. Probably 8 feet of water in the deep end. It has stairs in the shallow end and a two-seater near the deep end.

    I had it re-plastered about 15-16 years ago.

    It loses roughly an inch per week, more or less depending on whether I have the solar blanket on. We like a warm pool so I keep it covered a lot.

    My pump and filter are only a couple of years old. They are both Hayward. The DE filter model # is DE4820. The Hayward Super Pump # is C4BK2N143B1

    Normally I would run my pump about 5 hours a day.

    In normal years I use:
    Cal-hypo (Leslie's Power Powder Pro) to shock/superchlorinate
    Trichlor tabs in the skimmer for maintenance
    Soda Ash to raise the pH, as it tends to naturally drift down
    Calcium and stabilizer as needed

    So here's the test results.
    POOL WATER
    Free chlorine 3.5
    pH 8.0
    TA 110
    Calcium 180
    CYA 30 (probably a bit less - I can still barely make out the black dot)
    Phosphates: between 500-1000 (probably closer to 500)

    On Thursday we took off the solar cover and the algae was coming back again. I raised the chlorine (5 scoops of the cal-hypo). On Friday evening it was 7ppm but I still added 4 more scoops. I covered the pool Friday night and was unable to check on it until Sunday. It still looked good, but chlorine was down to 3.5 so I added 5 more scoops.

    FILL WATER
    Chlorine <0.5
    pH 7.6
    TA 40
    Calcium 40
    Phosphates: Seemed to be right at 125



    I'm looking forward to your analysis and plan!

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    Default Re: 20 year pool owner - first real algae problem

    Cool! PRT should work SUPER WELL for you. The low phosphates in the fill water means it will not be hard to maintain, once you establish low levels.

    Here's what I'd recommend:
    1. Turn your pump on continuous operation.
    2. Add 1 cup of PR10000 each evening, via the skimmer.
    3. Re-test phosphates after 3 cups.
    4. Continue adding PR10000 cup-wise, till you reach an apparent 0 phosphate level
    5. Add 1 more cup.
    6. Return your pump to normal operation.
    7. Retest phosphates every 3 days. Add a cup any time levels exceed 50 ppb (0.05 ppm)
    8. Extend your retest frequency to weekly, once the phosphate 'rebound' rate diminishes.
    Odds are, you'll have a sustainable phosphate-free pool within 2 - 3 weeks.

    I'd like to hear from you regarding
    • how much problem -- lots OR none -- you have with cloudiness
    • how much 'rebound' you experience
    • any perceived difficulties or surprises (from your point of view).

    Thanks.

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    Default Re: 20 year pool owner - first real algae problem

    A couple more things:
    • Phosphate levels in fill water can be variable
    • You can NOT use 'specialty' chemicals, X-in-1 chemicals, stain-control chems, etc.

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