I'm confused over name of borax/boron products

A BBB guide to supermarket poolcare.
Use store-bought bleach, baking soda
and borax to replace proprietary pool chemicals.
Cameljockey
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Joined: Fri 13 Jan, 2017 23:48
My Pool: 55,000 litre rectangular salt water, 10 years old.
10x4 metres, one 10m. side infinity edge opposite the four pool jets.
Emaux SSC25-T chlorinator
Emaux SPH150 1.5 HP pump
Emaux CF150 cartridge filter

No aeration other than very gentle trickle over horizon edge.

I'm confused over name of borax/boron products

Postby Cameljockey » Mon 20 Sep, 2021 00:37

Hi all,

I used to have to use muriatic acid (for 4 years or so) to reduce my pool pH, but this year I've need instead to raise it. Weird. Rain seems to leave it at a steady 7.4, and I want 7.6 (my pool robot won't climb walls at 7.4).

But going online shopping (to buy in reasonable bulk) I'm faced with:
borax pentahydrate
borax decahydrate (sodium borate)
sodium tetraborate (borax anhydrous)

My question is are they all the same!?

Note: I don't live in the UK or USA so if you can help me, please don't bother to recommend brand named products as I possibly won't be able to buy them.

Thanks a lot.
John


Denniswiseman
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Re: I'm confused over name of borax/boron products

Postby Denniswiseman » Mon 20 Sep, 2021 01:38

Use aeration to raise pH only
Aerator

Use these common products to balance your pool
Liquid chlorine (sodium hypochlorite or plain bleach) Liquid chlorine only adds salt
Muriatic acid (hydrochloric acid) to lower pH and TA
Bicarbonate of soda to raise TA
Aeration will raise pH only
Soda ash will raise pH and TA
Cameljockey
Pool Enthusiast
Pool Enthusiast
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri 13 Jan, 2017 23:48
My Pool: 55,000 litre rectangular salt water, 10 years old.
10x4 metres, one 10m. side infinity edge opposite the four pool jets.
Emaux SSC25-T chlorinator
Emaux SPH150 1.5 HP pump
Emaux CF150 cartridge filter

No aeration other than very gentle trickle over horizon edge.

Re: I'm confused over name of borax/boron products

Postby Cameljockey » Tue 21 Sep, 2021 21:23

Denniswiseman wrote:Use aeration to raise pH only
Aerator

Use these common products to balance your pool
Liquid chlorine (sodium hypochlorite or plain bleach) Liquid chlorine only adds salt
Muriatic acid (hydrochloric acid) to lower pH and TA
Bicarbonate of soda to raise TA
Aeration will raise pH only
Soda ash will raise pH and TA


Thanks, I finally found a workable answer to my question on a pool chems website, I have no option to permanently/regularly aerate my pool easily and will not buy a portable electric option and create more difficulty for myself.

It seems to me that borax is a better solution than soda ash as it does not interfere with TA.
Teapot1
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Re: I'm confused over name of borax/boron products

Postby Teapot1 » Tue 21 Sep, 2021 23:54

John,
You haven't posted your other water figures or the construction of your pool finish but there is more to pH in pools. The TA figure too much and it off gasses raising your pH, too little and pH can fall. Rain tends to be acidic and over time you may need to make adjustments. Too much CYA stabiliser from chlorine pucks can also reduce TA and for a low pH buffer solution in opposition to the alkalinity.
Yes borax can be used but you may have something not quite right to begin with so worth reporting the water figures first as once added the borax remains.
Just make sure the water tests are not from dip strips as these are not accurate.
Cameljockey
Pool Enthusiast
Pool Enthusiast
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri 13 Jan, 2017 23:48
My Pool: 55,000 litre rectangular salt water, 10 years old.
10x4 metres, one 10m. side infinity edge opposite the four pool jets.
Emaux SSC25-T chlorinator
Emaux SPH150 1.5 HP pump
Emaux CF150 cartridge filter

No aeration other than very gentle trickle over horizon edge.

Re: I'm confused over name of borax/boron products

Postby Cameljockey » Wed 22 Sep, 2021 00:57

Teapot1 wrote:John,
You haven't posted your other water figures or the construction of your pool finish but there is more to pH in pools. The TA figure too much and it off gasses raising your pH, too little and pH can fall. Rain tends to be acidic and over time you may need to make adjustments. Too much CYA stabiliser from chlorine pucks can also reduce TA and for a low pH buffer solution in opposition to the alkalinity.
Yes borax can be used but you may have something not quite right to begin with so worth reporting the water figures first as once added the borax remains.
Just make sure the water tests are not from dip strips as these are not accurate.


Hi Teapot, I was just about to write to Dennis again. I use a fairly expensive Lovibond Scuba II test meter, but I don't have the TA tablets, I spent a fortune already on pH, chorine and CYA tablets (CYA tabs bought in error actually - I don't use chlorine pucks or add CYA any other way), these regents are expensive to buy because their only distributor in Thailand won't sell boxes of test tablets in less than wholesale quantities, really I should tell them. :(

Today I found with an old drip test kit I bought a while back that the TA doesn't even register, the liquid in the tube stays yellow. I know these kits are usually not accurate but that seems way off. We have heavy rain in Thailand this time of year and I think the rain certainly lowers pH, and I guess alkalinity also. So I think I need to do work to raise both, and baking soda will do the trick. I can balance out after with muratic acid if I need.

My pH is never less than 7.2 (usually stable at 7.4 even after rains), it used to average 7.5-7.8 last year. I used to have to add acid occasionally, now it's suddenly the opposite, after 4 years.

The pool is in-ground, ceramic tiles, grouting in good condition, I'll add it to my description.

Thanks for writing, I appreciate it.
Teapot1
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My Pool: 12000 gallons vinyl liner,

Re: I'm confused over name of borax/boron products

Postby Teapot1 » Wed 22 Sep, 2021 01:38

sawadika
Dip strips older than 6 months cannot be relied upon, appreciate the reagent problem, all my Lovibond tabs are past their use by date or I would have sent you some. As you have a tiled pool you do need a reasonable level of TA to protect the grout so try to find a test for this, there are stand alone tablet titration tests available, maybe try aquarium suppliers?
Cameljockey
Pool Enthusiast
Pool Enthusiast
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri 13 Jan, 2017 23:48
My Pool: 55,000 litre rectangular salt water, 10 years old.
10x4 metres, one 10m. side infinity edge opposite the four pool jets.
Emaux SSC25-T chlorinator
Emaux SPH150 1.5 HP pump
Emaux CF150 cartridge filter

No aeration other than very gentle trickle over horizon edge.

Re: I'm confused over name of borax/boron products

Postby Cameljockey » Wed 22 Sep, 2021 18:57

Teapot1 wrote:sawadika
Dip strips older than 6 months cannot be relied upon, appreciate the reagent problem, all my Lovibond tabs are past their use by date or I would have sent you some. As you have a tiled pool you do need a reasonable level of TA to protect the grout so try to find a test for this, there are stand alone tablet titration tests available, maybe try aquarium suppliers?


I don't have dip strips but bottles of reagent, 3 drops of this, 5 of that, etc. Maybe these last longer, the pH reading does seem to be around the same as the Tintometer reading. Anyway I will definitely look for standalone TA kit as you suggest, I appreciate it's important to monitor this as well as the other chems.

Again, thanks kindly.

Now, on to my 8 month old pump's recent poor suction, which I will have to post on another forum! :mrgreen:
Cameljockey
Pool Enthusiast
Pool Enthusiast
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri 13 Jan, 2017 23:48
My Pool: 55,000 litre rectangular salt water, 10 years old.
10x4 metres, one 10m. side infinity edge opposite the four pool jets.
Emaux SSC25-T chlorinator
Emaux SPH150 1.5 HP pump
Emaux CF150 cartridge filter

No aeration other than very gentle trickle over horizon edge.

Re: I'm confused over name of borax/boron products

Postby Cameljockey » Fri 24 Sep, 2021 00:13

Teapot, I persuaded Lovibond's Thai reagent representative to sell reagents in smaller quantities. In fact looking at their website (example: https://www.lovibond.com/en/PW/Water-Te ... Photometer) they should really be doing this anyway.

The price for say 100 tabs (probably the minimum, which is fair) will be higher than for full boxes of 500, obviously.

I'll take some Alka-M tabs from them right away.

:thumbup:

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