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Thread: White flakes in water

  1. #1
    steveinaz is offline Lifetime Member Weir Watcher steveinaz 2 stars steveinaz 2 stars
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    Default White flakes in water

    Recently, starting about 3 weeks ago, I started noticing white tiny flakes in my pool water. When I grab some with my net, they breakup with fingernail pressure, and dissolve. What are these?

    The pool clarity is very good, this is the pools 4th season. It's a SWCG pool, plaster/gunnite. Balance is:

    FC=3-6ppm (typically)
    CC=0
    PH=7.6 (requires weekly 3 cups of Muriatic to maintain)
    TA=180ppm
    Calcium= 710ppm
    CYA=60ppm

    Note: we did clean tiles this spring, using a pool pumice type stone from Leslie pool.

    Any help is greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by steveinaz; 06-23-2010 at 09:48 AM. Reason: Edited for incorrect testing numbers

    16x8x30 IG gunite/plaster freeform - 3.5' to 6.5' approx 13,000 gallon
    Waterfall/In-floor cleaning jets - Sta-Rite System3 S7M120 Cartridge filter
    Sta-Rite MAX-E-PRO 1HP pump - Pentair IC40 SWCG
    Taylor FAS-DPD Service Test Kit

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    Watermom's Avatar
    Watermom is offline Super Moderator Quark Inspector Watermom 4 stars Watermom 4 stars Watermom 4 stars Watermom 4 stars Watermom 4 stars Watermom 4 stars
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    Default Re: White flakes in water

    Steve,
    I don't know how to advise on this problem, but somebody will come along shortly who hopefully will be able to.

    I just wanted to say hi and glad to see you back around the forum this year! You have been so supportive of me in the past couple of years offering prayers for me during my illness. I really appreciate you. Say hi to Bev also!

  3. #3
    steveinaz is offline Lifetime Member Weir Watcher steveinaz 2 stars steveinaz 2 stars
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    Default Re: White flakes in water

    No problem whatsoever, thanks Lisa! We're just glad to hear that life is being kind for a change.

    I'm happy to report that this has been my first pool "issue" but I'm here reading quite often.

    Steve

    16x8x30 IG gunite/plaster freeform - 3.5' to 6.5' approx 13,000 gallon
    Waterfall/In-floor cleaning jets - Sta-Rite System3 S7M120 Cartridge filter
    Sta-Rite MAX-E-PRO 1HP pump - Pentair IC40 SWCG
    Taylor FAS-DPD Service Test Kit

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    aylad is offline SuperMod Emeritus Vortex Adjuster aylad 4 stars aylad 4 stars aylad 4 stars aylad 4 stars aylad 4 stars aylad 4 stars
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    Default Re: White flakes in water

    Sounds like maybe calcium precipitating out of the water. Your very high calcium level would support that. Not sure what to do about it, your TA and pH are already on the lower side--hopefully the chemists in the group will be by shortly to offer some help.

    Just wanted to welcome you back to the forum!

    Janet

  5. #5
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    waterbear is offline Lifetime Member Sniggle Mechanic waterbear 4 stars waterbear 4 stars waterbear 4 stars waterbear 4 stars
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    Default Re: White flakes in water

    Most likly calcium. When your salt cell reverses polarity to 'clean' itself the calcium that had formed on one set of plates is released into the water. It is usually a good indication that you are letting your pH climb too high, which will lead to precipitation of calcium carbonate givin your high calcium levels.

    My suggestion would be to bump your CYA up to 80 ppm and lower your TA to about 70 ppm. You might also want to consider adding borax to 50 ppm to your water to act as a secondary pH buffer. This has been found to be extremely useful with SWGS. I would also lower your output a bit so the FC is closer to 4-5 ppm. 7 ppm is overkill and just means the cell is on more than it needs to be. This leads to a faster pH rise which causes the calcium precipitation.

    Done together the above suggestions will have the effect of causing less outgassing of CO2,which means your pH will not rise as quickly, which means you will be less likely to precipitate out calcium carbonate.
    Also, you will find that you will not need to add 3 cups of acid weekly.

    Once you make these adjustments keep the pH at 7.6 and not lower (lower pH causes faster outgassing and faster pH rise) and when the pH climbs to 7.8 add just enough acid to lower it ot 7.6 and not lower (this is where an acid demand test is very useful.)

    The why behind my suggestions has been discussed at length on a different pool forum that I am no longer associated with because of 'new management' but that I was a moderator of since it's inception up until I left shortly after the management change.

    Bottom line, my suggestions are the key to a salt water pool that is basically "trouble free".
    11.75'x23.75' kidney 6.5K gal IG fiberglass pool/300 gal acrylic spillover spa combo; Aqualogic automation/SWCG; Pentair Clean and Clear 150 cart filter; 1.5 hp uprated 2 spd Pentair Whisperflo pump; PF:17
    Retired pool store and commercial pool maintenance guy.

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    steveinaz is offline Lifetime Member Weir Watcher steveinaz 2 stars steveinaz 2 stars
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    Default Re: White flakes in water

    Appreciate the assistance, I did notice (to my surprise) that my salt cell was pretty loaded with calcium (a first), as I cleaned the cell at close last fall. I cleaned it again last night. I'll up my CYA level and recheck TA.

    About PH control---

    Is it ok that I just check/adjust PH every Saturday, or should I be adding less acid spread over several days?

    16x8x30 IG gunite/plaster freeform - 3.5' to 6.5' approx 13,000 gallon
    Waterfall/In-floor cleaning jets - Sta-Rite System3 S7M120 Cartridge filter
    Sta-Rite MAX-E-PRO 1HP pump - Pentair IC40 SWCG
    Taylor FAS-DPD Service Test Kit

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    aylad is offline SuperMod Emeritus Vortex Adjuster aylad 4 stars aylad 4 stars aylad 4 stars aylad 4 stars aylad 4 stars aylad 4 stars
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    Default Re: White flakes in water

    After testing the pH a few times/week, you'll soon get a feel for how fast it is rising. I think I would test it every 2-3 days for a couple weeks, then you can adjust from there after you get a feel for how often/fast it is rising.

    Janet

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    waterbear is offline Lifetime Member Sniggle Mechanic waterbear 4 stars waterbear 4 stars waterbear 4 stars waterbear 4 stars
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    Default Re: White flakes in water

    If you take the time to follow the suggestions I made you will minimize the pH rise and have a more stable pool. Until you do test pH daily. Once you know the pool you can test less frequently. Keep a record of your test results.

    to give you an example, my acid usage went from about a quart a week to about a cup every 6 weeks after dropping my TA and adding borates. I have also seen such results in my customers pools when they adjusted the water chemistry as AI suggest. However YMMV since there are several factors that can have an effect on the acid demand of a pool such as the presence or absence of water features, pool surface, bather load, etc.

    However, keeping the CYA at the top of the recommended range (usually 80 to 100 ppm, depending on manufacturer), running the cell only long enough to maintain a 3-5 ppm FC level, lowering the uncorrected TA to 70 ppm (or possibly even lower--with your high calcium your water will still be 'balanced'), AND adding borates to 50 ppm will have a positive effect on your pH stability and lower your acid demand.
    Last edited by waterbear; 06-23-2010 at 01:11 AM.
    11.75'x23.75' kidney 6.5K gal IG fiberglass pool/300 gal acrylic spillover spa combo; Aqualogic automation/SWCG; Pentair Clean and Clear 150 cart filter; 1.5 hp uprated 2 spd Pentair Whisperflo pump; PF:17
    Retired pool store and commercial pool maintenance guy.

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    steveinaz is offline Lifetime Member Weir Watcher steveinaz 2 stars steveinaz 2 stars
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    Default Re: White flakes in water

    Here's some updated numbers (tests redone last night), I don't know where I got the first set--my apologies:

    FC=typically 3-6ppm (currently 65% output on SWCG/8hrs filtering/day)
    CC=0
    pH=requires 3 cups of muriatic once a week to maintain 7.6
    TA=180ppm
    CH=710ppm
    CYA=was 60ppm, more CYA added last night
    Salt=2600ppm (2250-2750 recommended by Manufacturer)

    I added CYA last night to bring it up to 80ppm, but have to wait a day or two for it to settle in for an accurate reading.

    My pH basically holds for 3 days, then needs muriatic to correct. 2 seasons ago, I just started checking every Saturday and correcting to simplify things--I've got the "pattern" of my water down well through the last 4 seasons, and this is the first issue I've had. I've never had any CC in the pools history, nor any need to add anything other than CYA and Muriatic. I'll go back to checking pH every other day and correcting--this fall I'll do some partial drains to get my calcium level in check.

    Thanks all for the information, Evan I'll likely try the borate "trick" as well.
    Last edited by steveinaz; 06-23-2010 at 08:51 AM.

    16x8x30 IG gunite/plaster freeform - 3.5' to 6.5' approx 13,000 gallon
    Waterfall/In-floor cleaning jets - Sta-Rite System3 S7M120 Cartridge filter
    Sta-Rite MAX-E-PRO 1HP pump - Pentair IC40 SWCG
    Taylor FAS-DPD Service Test Kit

  10. #10
    waterbear's Avatar
    waterbear is offline Lifetime Member Sniggle Mechanic waterbear 4 stars waterbear 4 stars waterbear 4 stars waterbear 4 stars
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    Default Re: White flakes in water

    Quote Originally Posted by steveinaz View Post
    Here's some updated numbers (tests redone last night), I don't know where I got the first set--my apologies:

    FC=typically 3-6ppm (currently 65% output on SWCG/8hrs filtering/day)
    CC=0
    pH=requires 3 cups of muriatic once a week to maintain 7.6
    TA=180ppm
    CH=710ppm
    CYA=was 60ppm, more CYA added last night
    Salt=2600ppm (2250-2750 recommended by Manufacturer)

    I added CYA last night to bring it up to 80ppm, but have to wait a day or two for it to settle in for an accurate reading.

    My pH basically holds for 3 days, then needs muriatic to correct. 2 seasons ago, I just started checking every Saturday and correcting to simplify things--I've got the "pattern" of my water down well through the last 4 seasons, and this is the first issue I've had. I've never had any CC in the pools history, nor any need to add anything other than CYA and Muriatic. I'll go back to checking pH every other day and correcting--this fall I'll do some partial drains to get my calcium level in check.

    Thanks all for the information, Evan I'll likely try the borate "trick" as well.
    If you can get your TA down you will see a big improvement in lowering your acid demand. In your case, with your high CH I would shoot for around 60-70 ppm.
    Do this BEFORE you add the borates or the borates are not going to give you any real advantage besides the algaestatic one.
    11.75'x23.75' kidney 6.5K gal IG fiberglass pool/300 gal acrylic spillover spa combo; Aqualogic automation/SWCG; Pentair Clean and Clear 150 cart filter; 1.5 hp uprated 2 spd Pentair Whisperflo pump; PF:17
    Retired pool store and commercial pool maintenance guy.

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