CLOUDY BLUE WATER!!

Causes and cures for cloudy swimming pool water.
Milky pool water, white, pink, brown, purple, black cloudy water.
Frustrated in IL

CLOUDY BLUE WATER!!

Postby Frustrated in IL » Tue 25 Jun, 2013 22:54

Arghh!! This thread is so frustrating! Everyone seems to be an expert and no one agrees on anything. I've just read all 15 pages and am more confused than ever. Floc, don't floc, vacuum, don't vacuum, leave the filter running 24/7, shut the filter off. Stop the madness! Not trying to offend, just wanted to share my reaction after over an hour of reading this thread.

Fwiw, here's my situation...
I have a 13,000 gallon above ground pool with a cartridge filter. I use two chlorine puck filters. I've used this pool for three summers and had no problems the first two summers. However, this last winter was the first winter the pool was left up. Unfortunately, a lot of leaves fell into the pool upon opening and the water was a very green swamp. I removed all of the leaves and shocked and it quickly turned into a pretty shade of pale green and then... stopped. At this point, I decided to ask for help.

We have two pool stores in town. I chose one and quickly left when the lady told me (within the first 30 seconds of me being in her store) that she wasn't "very pool savvy." So, I left and went to Pool Store #2. Well, fast forward two weeks later and you can predict the outcome: two samples and $50 worth of chemicals later and my water is still not clear. There has been one minor change: the pretty pale green is now a pretty pale blue. I had been leaving the filter on 24/7 (and cleaning the cartridge regularly) but, after my reading marathon here, have decided to turn it off overnight. I'll keep my fingers crossed and check first thing in the morning. I'm also going to try to vacuum tomorrow but not sure I can figure out the "filter to waste" option everyone on here is talking about. I'm also considering using some type of floc but honestly don't want to spend more money unless I *know* it'll fix my problem.

Here are the results of my latest reading, June 18, 2013-
FC- 0
Total chlorine- .4
pH- 7.1
Tot. Alkalinity- 113
Tot. Hardness- 85
CYA- 0

I was concerned about the CYA and considered looking into acid but the pool store lady told me that wasn't a problem. She just wanted me to add some chlorine and Phos-Free, both of which she was happy to sell me. I did a check with a strip tonight and chlorine now seems to be okay, according to the strip. I know those strips aren't always the most reliable but it's all I had and I really don't want to go back to the pool store. I do plan on investing in a better pool test kit eventually.

Sigh... Anyone think they can help me? Thank you in advance *very* much!

Sincerely,
Chad


chem geek
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CLOUDY BLUE WATER!!

Postby chem geek » Wed 26 Jun, 2013 15:14

There are not multiple opinions from experts. Anyone can post in a thread and very, very, very few people actually know anything about pool water chemistry.

First of all, you can't trust pool store testing of your water. Yes, maybe your pool store is using an accurate test and maybe the person doing the test, usually a part-time summer-only student, was trained properly in how to do the testing, but more often than not the tests are either poor or the tester doesn't do the tests properly or the results are put into a program that promotes sales of chemical products. Remember that the pool store is in business to make money, not to help you in the least expensive way. If they can sell you algaecide, phosphate removers, clarifier, flocculant, enzyme, metal ion products, etc. then they have a very strong incentive to sell you these high margin products. If they can sell you Alkalinity Up which is nothing more than sodium bicarbonate which is identical to Arm & Hammer Baking Soda you can get for much less at a grocery store, then they will usually not tell you that tidbit of helpful information. Nor that pH Up product is nothing more than sodium carbonate which is identical to Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (careful: NOT the laundry detergent) or that you could use 20 Mule Team Borax to raise the pH instead and have less of a rise in TA. Nor do they tell you that you can use Peladow or Dowflake calcium chloride ice salts instead of Calcium Hardness increaser. See this post for details and links that prove what I just wrote. Yes, there are some very honest and helpful pool stores, but most manufacturers of these chemical products do not tell the pool store people the truth about them -- it's not all the pool store's fault, but that doesn't mean that you, the consumer, don't get deceived.

If the CYA level is truly zero, then if your pool is outdoors and exposed to sunlight, then it absolutely positively needs CYA in the water or else chlorine that you add will get cut in half every hour in direct noontime sun. Adding pure CYA is slow to dissolve and while the least expensive approach, if you are in a hurry and have to shock the pool with chlorine anyway, then using Dichlor is the fastest way to add both chlorine and Cyanuric Acid (CYA) at the same time. This is because of the following chemical facts that are independent of concentration of product and of pool size -- facts that hardly any pool store or chemical manufacturer will tell you:

For every 10 ppm Free Chlorine (FC) added by Trichlor, it will also increase Cyanuric Acid (CYA) by 6 ppm.
For every 10 ppm FC added by Dichlor, it will also increase CYA by 9 ppm.
For every 10 ppm FC added by Cal-Hypo, it will also increase Calcium Hardness (CH) by at least 7 ppm.

You should get your own good test kit, either the TFTestkits TF-100 or the Taylor K-2006 with the former kit having more volume of reagents you use the most (both kits use Taylor reagents and chemistry).

Then, what you should do depends on your ACCURATE water chemistry parameters. This is because there are at least 100 Reasons for Cloudy Swimming Pool Water . The most common reason is algae growth and that is most likely when the FC level is too low relative to the CYA level so algae is then able to grow faster than chlorine can kill it. Another reason could be that your pool is too high in some combination of pH, TA and CH so that you have over-saturation of calcium carbonate (I think that less likely in your case given the history you gave). You could have added incompatible chemicals such as certain types of metal sequestrants that are anionic polymers with certain types of algaecides (e.g. Polyquat 60) that are cationic polymers (again, less likely given the history you gave). And so on. Starting with an accurate set of water chemistry parameters and some relevant history of the pool prior to the cloudiness will help a lot.

From what you wrote, you were using Trichlor pucks. As I noted above, that increases the CYA level. So if your CYA level is truly at 0 then that can come from a bacterial conversion of CYA into ammonia or nitrogen gas over the winter when the FC was left to go to 0. If the conversion resulted in ammonia, then the chlorine demand can be huge, but with an accurate test kit you would see that after adding chlorine and waiting 10 minutes or so that the FC was still low or 0 while the CC was higher. You could also test with an ammonia test kit from a fish/pet/aquarium store as further confirmation.

(too many URLs so splitting this into two posts...)
chem geek
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CLOUDY BLUE WATER!!

Postby chem geek » Wed 26 Jun, 2013 15:16

(...continuing from previous post due to too many URLs)

I suggest you read the Pool School to learn more about how to maintain your pool. Some relevant articles depend on the specific reason for your cloudiness. If you have algae as the primary cause, but the pool will at least hold some chlorine though may drop over hours, then read Defeating Algae and The Shock Process . If you truly have no CYA then use Dichlor for some of the shocking, but not more than 30 ppm FC worth and then use chlorinating liquid or bleach (unscented, plain, NOT outdoor or splash-less). If the FC won't hold for 10 minutes even after building up the CYA and if you measure ammonia in your test kit of have high CC, then see this post for what I did in terms of frequently adding a lot of chlorine before it held, though you could do a separate bucket test of pool water to see how much chlorine demand is really there knowing that 1/4 teaspoon of 6% bleach in 2 gallons is 10 ppm FC. You may decide that some water replacement will be less expensive than adding lots of chlorine.

But whatever you do, do not mix pool store advice with what you should do based on your own accurate test results.
Frustrated in IL

CLOUDY BLUE WATER!!

Postby Frustrated in IL » Wed 26 Jun, 2013 21:51

Whew... You've given me A LOT of information to take in and act upon. Thank-you so much! It sounds like the first step is to order a decent test kit. I'll do that and began reading the various article you mentioned in your post.

Thanks again! :)

Chad
Guest

CLOUDY BLUE WATER!!

Postby Guest » Sun 04 Aug, 2013 12:17

get PH to 7.2 and do NOT add any more chlorine. filter continous and backwash at least once per week
chem geek
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CLOUDY BLUE WATER!!

Postby chem geek » Sun 04 Aug, 2013 14:56

Pool User wrote:get PH to 7.2 and do NOT add any more chlorine. filter continous and backwash at least once per week

This approach will only work if the reason for the cloudiness were due to over-saturation with calcium carbonate where lowering the pH would help to dissolve it, but the reported numbers (probably from a pool store) were as follows:

Here are the results of my latest reading, June 18, 2013-
FC- 0
Total chlorine- .4
pH- 7.1
Tot. Alkalinity- 113
Tot. Hardness- 85
CYA- 0


where if the numbers are even in the ballpark the problem is not an over-saturation of calcium carbonate. With the zero chlorine it is most likely to be algae growth and a combination of killing the algae with high chlorine levels combined with good circulation/filtration will clear the pool.
female pool owner

CLOUDY BLUE WATER!!

Postby female pool owner » Sun 08 Sep, 2013 13:02

after a number of years the water gets saturated with chemicals, and the water dies. Your water may be dead. go to a good pool supply place and ask them to check your water.
chem geek
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CLOUDY BLUE WATER!!

Postby chem geek » Sun 08 Sep, 2013 16:45

That's baloney. Water doesn't die. Chemicals that are generally insoluble will get removed by the filter (or a scum ball if one is used to remove surface grease/oil). Chemicals that are soluble will not saturate in pools with a few exceptions, the main one being calcium carbonate that is intentionally saturated in plaster pools to protect their surfaces.

The only parameters the pool store will check are ones you can check yourself with a Taylor K-2006 test kit, namely Free Chlorine (FC), Combined Chlorine (CC), pH, Total Alkalinity (TA), Calcium Hardness (CH), Cyanuric Acid (CYA), and Total Dissolved Solids (TDS). You won't saturate the water with chlorine. The combination of mostly the pH, TA and CH (TDS and temperature also have a minor contribution) determine the amount of saturation of the water with calcium carbonate. TDS itself is mostly sodium chloride salt and that will not saturate at pool levels. Though high salt levels can increase the rate of metal corrosion, it does not "kill" the water.

The idea of water "dying" or that high TDS means "old" water that needs to be replaced comes from the fact that OTHER water parameters were too high and the true source of the problem. Usually, it's the CYA level that is too high and the FC/CYA ratio is then too low to prevent algae growth so the water turns dull/cloudy or shows visible green or black algae.
lflynn

CLOUDY BLUE WATER!!

Postby lflynn » Sun 11 May, 2014 21:50

I would agree with the Floc. Some Floc requires a higher Ph than just balanced. The one I use says 72 or up. I just did mine today, I will vaccuum tomorrow.
Guest

CLOUDY BLUE WATER!!

Postby Guest » Wed 21 May, 2014 21:05

when using drop out how long do u let the pump run

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