Problems with zeobrite or zeobest

Pool pumps, pool filters and the plumbing of
swimming pools. Sand filters, cartridge filters,
fabric filters and alternative filter media.
TSH Tech

Part 2

Postby TSH Tech » Fri 24 Jun, 2011 21:23

A company by the name of Bio-Dex makes a cleaning agent specifically designed for Zeo products. We haven't tested that product yet, but will do so in the next summer season year.

Zeobrite offers the clarity of a DE type filter with the maintenance of a sand filter. Uhhh, yes and no. We have found that cleaning the Zeobrite before each swimming season must be performed without exception. Pools that have high frequency of becoming dirty, with oak trees and other high oily shedding shrubbery must be cleaned 2 times a year without exception.

Zeobrite's secret to filtration is keeping it's pores 'rough' and 'jagged', chemicals such as water clarifiers, liquid algaecides or other chemicals that trap inside the filter clog those pores rending Zeobrite pretty much useless and the pool will cloud up or turn green which ever comes first. Regular backwashing and physical cleaning of the media is a must for Zeobrite in order to maintain a crystal clear pool.

Nowhere is this information readily available, I had to discover this for myself in my kitchen labratory and experiment on my own clients :thumbdown: Eventually I found the answer and I hope this information helps all of you. It's not a bad product, it just needs maintenance that regular beach sand does not require.

-Tech "G", TSH

TSH Tech

GREEN Zeobrite

Postby TSH Tech » Fri 24 Jun, 2011 21:48

Karen wrote: I opened my filter and couldn't believe the "pea soup" that existed there. The Zeobrite was completely green. It was disgusting. The top layer of water in the filter was relatively clear, but as I removed the Zeobrite and got to the bottom I was afraid for my health! I just replaced the Zeobrite with sand, and within a few hours the pool water is clearing up. Thank you!!!

When cleaning our clients filters, we discovered this phenomenon: "Green Zeobrite". It's simply a discoloration, the product is not destroyed by any means.
Brand new, it is white, but should you discover it turned green as Karen discovered, hope it not lost. Zeobrite discolors when there is copper present. Copper in pools comes in very basic forms, copper pipes, pool heaters and copper-based algaecides. I experimented with a Muriatic Acid type cleaning hoping to whiten the Zeobrite, only to find the discoloration is permanent. However, it did perform a very deep cleaning of the product. I don't advise this type of cleaning due to the sheer danger of messing with acid. Bio-Dex Zeo Filter Cleaner is perfect for the job. Green Zeobrite 'n all! :thumbup:

Problems with zeobrite or zeobest

Postby Harvey » Sun 06 May, 2012 18:51

I have had no problems. If you read all the comments it is obviously that it is a user caused problem, the "pool specialist" did not know how to use the product .


Problems with zeobrite or zeobest

Postby BeckyB » Sun 10 Jun, 2012 17:48

I have have had my 24' above ground pool for 5 years. It was installed with Zeobest sand and I have never, ever had a problem with it. I've never even had to shock it during the swim season. Only to open and close. This year is the only time I can't get it clear. Pool guy says its time to change the sand. Other than that it's worked like a dream.
TSH Tech

Problems with zeobrite or zeobest

Postby TSH Tech » Mon 11 Jun, 2012 02:31

Every pool is different. I attribute my experience when making the following statements; Some pools are problem free with Zeo-sand and typically have little to no vegetation planted around the pool. Other pools with Zeo-sand simply crash out green on a whim due to excessive tree sap & shedding, plant shedding, lawn services blowing debris into the pool because they're too lazy to remove the debris, all create problems with Zeo-sand.

Update - The pools mentioned in my previous posts have all had their Zeo-sand removed and regular sand filled. It has been determined these particular pools encounter unusual amounts of sap and vegetation shedding, making Zeo-Sand a poor choice in filtering media for these pools, given their surroundings. The improvement of water clarity since switching to regular sand was significant requiring normal backwashing to clean the filter.
On the flip side, we have additional customers running Zeo-Sand that a experiencing no problems with the filter media.

Problems with zeobrite or zeobest

Postby bugcollections » Thu 14 Jun, 2012 20:18

I found this thread searching for problems with zeo sand. I have had zeo sand for three years (4th pool season) and am having the non-filtering problems as described by others. Pool perfectly balanced with chems and relatively high chlorine readings will not clear up after brushing and shocking the last time. Filter simply appears to be not filtering. So what do I do: Replace the zeo sand, trash the zeo sand and replace with regular sand, attempt to clean the zeo and if so what is the best method? Help. Would mention that I am in east Texas with lots of trees and vegetation in the neighborhood and all around the pool.
TSH Tech

Problems with zeobrite or zeobest

Postby TSH Tech » Fri 15 Jun, 2012 19:22

bugcollections wrote: Would mention that I am in east Texas with lots of trees and vegetation in the neighborhood and all around the pool.

^^^ That combination is not a good match for Zeo sand. I would highly suggest your take out the Zeo sand, trash it, put it in the garden and just go with regular plain 'ole filter sand. This will save your lots of trouble so you will spend more time enjoying your pool.

Problems with zeobrite or zeobest

Postby LovePool » Thu 05 Jul, 2012 09:20

Karen: When Zeo is wet it is green (even dry Zeo has a hint of grey/green).

Problems with zeobrite or zeobest

Postby ksap » Tue 17 Jul, 2012 14:48

I am a recent user of zeobrite and concur with many others on their problems. Had an old sand filter that burst, was told zeobrite was the way to go. First season was subpar (took a long time to clear up after shocking), but figured the filter needed time to 'age' and increase filtration capacity.

This year was much worse, green pool, but not algae....a blue/green color that won't go away. I finally opened up the filter and it was AWEFUL! Hardened zeobrite that was filthy, despite back washing. I mechanically rinsed all material and backwashed. Looked like I pored paint into the filter. STILL, is not clearing up the pool.

So....I'm spending more money to go back to sand. I have a pool that does have a lot of vegetation input from trees etc....but never had this problem with sand that supposedly filters less efficiently.

As for not backwashing as much with zeobrite, that just tells me the filter is letting more stuff pass through, which is definitely the case with my pool. Should have stuck with sand.

Problems with zeobrite or zeobest

Postby Sparkndex » Sat 04 Aug, 2012 07:27

Yes sir.
That is the exact scenario that I have been going through this summer.
Exactly to a "T".

It was good for about 4 weeks and now I have spent 2 weeks and hundreds of dollars in chemicals to try and fix it. I emptied my filter Zeobest last night and was going to put it back in once I inspected my filter but now I think I am going to just swap filters or change back to sand.

I called ZeoBest and they acted surprised like this has never happened.

Did you have to drain you pool to get it to clear or will putting in new media and running it clear it up?

Kalamazoo, MI
Sparky the engineer

Problems with zeobrite or zeobest

Postby sparkndex » Sat 04 Aug, 2012 10:48

This is Sparky

I just emptied my filter of Zeobest at 11:00 this morning and replaced it with Sand.
I have made no other changes. I will let you know if things change.

I am 100% confident that the issue is with the Zeobest or the filter.
I removed our Aquabot Filter Sock, cleaned it and then held it over our pool return for about 3 minutes to see if contaminants were returning to the pool without getting filtered by the Zeobest.
After 3 minutes I inspected the filter sock and it had a lot of contaminants returning to the pool.

I had tried backwashing my filter and no contaminants were coming out during backflush.
I inspected the filter and found no issues.

When I emptied the Zeobest from the filter, it was loaded with green scum and what appeared to be contaminants that would not release from the Zeobest with normal backwash.

I will keep you posted.

TSH Tech

Problems with zeobrite or zeobest

Postby TSH Tech » Wed 08 Aug, 2012 03:48

Sparkndex wrote:Did you have to drain you pool to get it to clear or will putting in new media and running it clear it up?

The clients I have replaced Zeo-sand to regular sand ranged from murky/cloudy to green. Never had to drain any of those pools, once the new regular sand was in place. From there, it was 24/7 filtering plus backwashing and rinse until the pool was crystal clear again. Then the time clock was put back to regular schedule.
Important - just a reminder, when putting new sand into a filter, always backwash the new sand for a while to remove that fine silt that comes with new sand. Do this step before any filtering.

When you get your pool sorted out and all clear again, the best trick up my sleeve for getting regular sand filter pools crystal clear, is to take the brand Super Blue water polish, pour about 4 to 6 ounces directly in the skimmer so it goes into the filter. The results are the best you will ever see from a sand filter.
TSH Tech

Problems with zeobrite or zeobest

Postby TSH Tech » Mon 03 Sep, 2012 02:24


It’s now September in the USA, winter will be setting in soon. I’ve been servicing Zero sand products for our remaining clients for over five years now and will wrap this subject up by entering my final opinion as pool industry tech. I’ve seen enough.

Short Answer: Don’t do it, just go regular filter sand and enjoy your pool.

Long Answer
I believe there were good intentions with Zeo sand. Originally, Zeo sand came from the live fish Aquarium industry and used for its ammonia scavenging filtering properties as well as fine water particulate filtering properties. I assume somewhere down the line, they thought this would be of benefit to the swimming pool industry and began plans to capture the pool market as well. What they did not understand, and it shows, is that unlike aquariums, swimming pools are an entirely different animal. Swimming pools have people that get into the pools and people get into the pools wearing greasy, oily suntan lotions, which eventually wash off and absolutely glop and heavily soil swimming pool filters of every type. Swimming pools often at times require chemical additives that are specifically designed to “trap” into the filter. Water clarifiers, liquid algaecides, mineral removers are designed to coagulate so they can be trapped. Trees, vegetation, shrubberies and other organic matter planted close to the pool by misguided landscape designers, deposit matter into the pool that clogs filters of every type. Analyzing all these dynamics of swimming pools, the evidence is clear they did not research pool usage, nor did they come up with a solution to clean Zeo media. If it was their intention to advise replacing Zeo sand, then they clearly do not know swimming pool owners. Unlike Aquarium people, who would gladly spend the money replacing Zeo sand for their children fish, swimming pool people on the other hand want work done for cheap, parts for free and any other special discount, but have no problem spending $24,000+ (USD) on a new boat, or $30K on a Europe trip. That’s just how it is.

In my opinion, every pool on a case by case basis must be qualified for Zeo sand media for pool owners that are absolutely sold on Zeo sand. The criteria range from usage, water hardness to the amount of yard landscaping that drops into the pool. Then there’s the gardener leaf blower factor. Eventually, what it comes down to is, you’re better off just going with regular sand unless you won the Zeo sand sweepstakes are getting the stuff for free.

The concept of having a sand filter with filtering properties of a D.E. filter is very attractive. I’ll be quite honest, I’m not at all fond of taking apart D.E. filters and cleaning them. They’re messy, they’re dirty, they soil my clothes with hose back-spray. Unless I look dressed like the Gortons fisherman, I’m going to get dirty. I would much rather move a backwash valve, adjust my tie in a James Bond fashion and be done with it. However, Zeo sand has a tremendous flaw. That flaw being, when those micro-fine jagged surfaces of the filtering media clog up, the water bypasses the Zeo sand and does not get filtered. The effective filtering of the media is gone. Regular backwashing will not clean it, resulting in pools that turn green no matter how many additives poured in(making matters worse inside the filter) frustrating techs and home owners who have not been told this media needs a special cleaning. Thus, the entire purpose of this forum thread. Zeo sand cleaners have been rolled out in recent years which have helped. Sometimes it takes three cleanings if the filter media is clogged badly. I would suggest this route if a pool owner already has Zeo sand installed and is in not that big of a hurry to replace it out with regular sand. Zeo cleaners are your only saving grace if for some reason, it is the intention to keep Zeo sand.

Officially, my company is permanently done with all Zeo sand products. I cannot recommend Zeo sand anymore due it’s unpredictable nature to turn a pool green on a whim in the summer swimming season. During this exciting adventure, in the very beginning, we lost four clients who grew impatient with cloudy and green pools. I speak for myself when I say that I don’t sweat loosing four clients, one I really hated(laughing), turned into a blessing in disguise and the rest, that’s just how the swimming pool business works in general. All of our existing clients we phased out of Zeo sand and changed back over to sand. Sand is cheap, we ate the cost to keep our clients. We now only have one client on Zeo sand, which is a complete freak of nature. This client’s pool is humming along just fine on the product.
I like the concept, but put into practice is a failure. Perhaps if I had an indoor pool, that was a show pool only, no swimmers, I might consider Zeo sand.

I’ll check back in this thread to answer any specific questions.
paul wahler

Problems with zeobrite or zeobest

Postby paul wahler » Mon 08 Oct, 2012 12:28

to TSH tech

After reading this blog and others like it, I think your comments on Sept. 3, 2012 seem to sum-up the majority of bloggers' experiences with zeolite products. I have over 40 years in the pool business as a service tech. I understand the variables in environment that make direct comparisons of filter types and filter medias difficult. I would like to thank you for taking the time to share your experience with zeolite filter media.

I anyone wants to do further study on why some times the zeo products work great and other times they work less well than plain silica sand I would suggest including the filter rate (that's the GPM/sq.ft. of filter area) as a variable. I suspect that filter rates higher than 10-12 GPM/sq.ft. lets fine particles pass through the zeo media. And that includes the "fines" left in the new media which is why proper initial backwashing is so critical.

I don't have time to do that testing myself but I was surprised that not one of the bloggers reported what their flow rate was even though many did give good filter size and pump size information, but without a TDH number calculating flow rate is not possible. Without a flow rate number you cannot calculate actual filter rate.

Thanks for everyone's input.

Problems with zeobrite or zeobest

Postby VAC » Mon 12 Nov, 2012 16:04

I am writing on behalf of the Vermont Achievement Center to let you know about our displeasure with a product recommended and install recently at our Mitchell Therapy Pool. In the spring we contacted a local pool service company to schedule some work on our sand filters. We called to request removal and replacement of the sand in our filters. During the conversation we received advice that installing Zeobrite in our filters would be a better product than sand and although more expensive than sand, Zeobrite would keep our pool cleaner and clearer, we would need less product , it would cutback on the amount of backwashing and it would not have to be replaced as often as the sand. Based on these recommendations we opted for the Zeobrite.

The day came and we replaced the sand with Zeobrite and since that change we have had nothing but problems with both the Zeobrite product and the installation of the Zeobrite. The water was constantly cloudy and we had trouble seeing the bottom of the pool and when we would vacuum the pool a gray residue was fond on the vacuum filters that were never there with the sand.

Because of the pool safety issue with the cloudy water, flow restriction of the filters, and a residue in the pool we found it necessary to incur the additional expense of removing the Zeobrite and replacing it with sand. Interesting that when the Zeobrite was removed it looked like mud and we kept a few sample to document how awful this filtering media had become in just a few weeks after installation.

We are pleased to report that since we had replaced the Zeobrite with sand that our pool is clear again and we no longer have a mess on the walls and the bottom of the pool.

I very rarely write these kind of letters but just wanted you to know about how poor this product performed and how we had problems during the install of the product both of which we had to incur an added expense to correct the problem. I would not recommend Zeobite for sand filters based on our experience and would hope that this product is not being recommended for commercial pool installations.

From the Zeobrite website they make the following claims, which we found none to be true and will be placing an online review of this product:
• Provides Superior Water Clarity
• Cuts Backwashing up to 50%
• Keeps Your Pool Sparkling Clear, Naturally
• Saves Water, Energy, Labor and Chemicals
• Easy To Install, Works In All Sand Filters
• Lowers Total Operating Cost
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and just felt it was necessary to let you know of our dissatisfaction with this product.

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