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joecus
06-15-2010, 10:42 PM
Hello all - I'm in big trouble. I have a inground liner pool. Last week, I noticed some small black algae attached to my wall at different spots. I super shocked it and scrubbed a few days in a row and thought things were going good, but not resolved. So, I spoke to my pool dealer and he suggested adding "black treat" (sodium bromide). I followed the instruction which said to add 2 gallons of hydrogen peroxide. I did. BTW, my water was crystal clear at this point, just small black algae on wall. I waited 8 hours and checked chlorine level, it was low so I added a bag of shock and boy was I shocked. The entire pool water turned bright green. I am so upset and don't know what to do. Any help, please please please. This just happened two hours ago. I've been looking online and have not found a similar case. Obviously there was some sort of chemical reaction, but what? Do I need to empty pool?

Watermom
06-15-2010, 10:50 PM
Don't panic. Take a look at the following thread. This is pretty much the same situation that you are in. Then, come back if you have any questions. We will need current water testing readings taken with a drops-based kit (no test strips.) Do NOT empty your pool.

http://www.poolforum.com/pf2/showthread.php?p=63310#post63310

joecus
06-15-2010, 11:24 PM
Ok, I read the post but I'm not sure what part of that is the same as me. Since the water is bright green, how am I going to take a reading? Do you know what caused the reaction? Why would the idiot at the store tell me to buy sodium bromide if this was going to happen? Please tell me step by step what I should do, I'm at a loss. This is not my first experience with a pool. Nothing like this has ever happened to me. So, what caused it? What will fix it?

PoolDoc
06-15-2010, 11:36 PM
Hi Joe;

I've never seen a bright green reaction, either.

Yellow, yes. Orange, yes. Cloudy, yes. Brown and clear, yes. Brown and cloudy, yes. Even purple, yes. (Boy, that's a wild story I should tell sometime. BIG boo-boo!)

Bright green? nope.

Odds are it doesn't matter. You've got a mess, but it will probably eventually clear up with chlorine bleach and sunshine.

I would cautiously add bleach -- the peroxide will keep destroying it for awhile -- till you can hold a residual overnight. Once you get there, you'll have to start shocking the heck out of it at night, to get rid of the bromide / bromine.

By the way, if you can reach any of the spots, scratch one with your fingernail. Then, spread the goo from under your fingernail onto a white card. If it's black algae, the smear will be dark green. No smear, or nothing under your fingernail, it's not black algae.

Oh, and if you can dig that shock container out of the trash, and find out exactly what was in it, that would be good to know and post.

Good luck,

Ben
"PoolDoc"

Watermom
06-16-2010, 12:16 AM
Joe -- what I meant was that the poster in the other thread had also added sodium bromide. Lots of bleach may be needed. PoolDoc has jumped in on this one, so you're in good hands. Good luck.

joecus
06-16-2010, 12:49 AM
Thanks Ben - I don't have the exact mixture of shock in front of me but it's the shock I've always used. The one pound bag, purchased at Costco. I'll get the name in the morning. I thought about it and wanted to add this. Did you ever use the test kit where you add 5 drops of oto to water sample to get a chlorine level? If you had a lot of chlorine in the sample, the water would turn bright yellow, if you had a real lot it would turn bright yellow with one drop. This is what happened to the entire pool. The color is bright yellow/greenish so maybe saying its bright green is not totally accurate. Bright yellow/greenish would be more accurate. Instant chemical reaction.

PoolDoc
06-16-2010, 12:55 AM
Was there an odor?

What was the pH at that time?

joecus
06-16-2010, 09:28 AM
I woke up this morning and pool back to being clear, wow. I turned the filter on and the residual water that was in the tank came out bright green/yellow. So, something happened, overnight, that caused another reaction. I checked the chlorine, zero reading (I'm using the kit with the drops). The PH was low. Any suggestions? Thanks.

Watermom
06-16-2010, 09:43 AM
Glad it is clear. Post your current water testing results. Also, did you look at the ingredient label?

joecus
06-16-2010, 02:42 PM
The shock I've been using is Pace Clear Shock - 99% sodium dichlorio-s-triazinetrione hydrated.

OK, hopefully my troubles are almost over. Like I said, when I woke up the pool was clear. I took a water sample to a local store and here's what they found.

CYA - 40
Tot Chlorine 0
free chlorine 0
ph - 6.2

Tot Alkalinity 0

They wanted to sell me 50 lbs of Balance pak 100 to increase the Alkalinity.

I didn't buy anything, I just added two lbs of "pace" shock. It's 99% sodium dichlorio-s-triazinetrione hydrated.
Please help. What should I do about the Alkalinity, PH and pool using so much shock? I can't keep the levels up. Thanks again.

joecus
06-16-2010, 02:50 PM
OMG - Like my previous post just said, I added the shock. I just looked out my window and the water turned bright Green/yellow again. What the heck is going on? I don't know what to do. This has to be related to the Algicide (sodium bromide). Please, please help.

joecus
06-16-2010, 03:03 PM
10 minutes since my last reply, the water totally clear again. Something in the algicide is reacting with the shock. However, not the chlorine. Please help.

Watermom
06-16-2010, 03:54 PM
I do not know what is going on with the green water/bromide thing. But, I can tell you that you must get your pH up ASAP. Any readings below 7.0 are acidic and will damage your pool. You can use some 20 Mule Team Borax to raise your pH. Look for it in the laundry aisle at Walmart. Can't suggest how much because I don't know the volume of your pool. Also, what type of pool is it?

I doubt that your alk is 0. Pool stores often give inaccurate readings. That is why we suggest buying a good test kit like the Taylor K-2006 so you can do your own tests. If it is, you can raise it with some baking soda.

Is this a newly filled pool? You have no cya in there and that is one reason (in addition to the algae/green pool mess) that is causing you to lose chlorine so fast. The dichlor is stabilized which means it has cya in it, so if you continue to use it, your cya will rise. We like 30-50ppm for cya. You might just want to use bleach for your chlorine right now. It won't contribute to any cloudy water problems. If you want to use dichlor later after you get this all cleared up, that is fine. (As long as you monitor the cya level and don't let it get too high because that creates a whole different problem.)

Right now, the most critical problem you have is the low pH. Must get it up ASAP. Also, more chlorine. Like Ben noted above, it is probably going to take a lot of chlorine over a period of time to rid the pool of the bromide/bromine.

joecus
06-16-2010, 06:31 PM
I just had the water tested for copper. It came back with a positive reading of 1.7. According to the local pool store, that's why my water turns green when I add shock. Does that make sense? He sold me something called pool magnet plus. He said the algicide probably contained copper. I looked at the ingredients of the algicide and it was not listed but did have 51% OF "Inert ingredients". Any suggestions on the removal of copper? I am working on getting the PH up. I added 6lbs of baking soda. How long do I need to wait to retest PH?

Watermom
06-16-2010, 06:38 PM
I'll let Pool Doc or Marie talk to you about the copper issue. But, just wanted to tell you that baking soda is used to raise alk, not pH. You need Borax to raise pH. Wait a couple of hours before retesting. If you are dealing with a metals problem you'll want your pH to be no higher than 7.4 and probably 7.2 is better.

joecus
06-16-2010, 07:42 PM
Won't the baking soda raise both the ph and alkalinity?

sturev
06-16-2010, 07:57 PM
Washing Soda raises both PH & Alk. Baking Soda only raises Alkalinity. But in your case it may be you don't want your PH going up right now, so hold off until Marie can respond about the copper.

Watermom
06-16-2010, 08:26 PM
No, he needs to bring his pH up. Early this afternoon, he posted that his pH was 6.2. That is dangerously low. I'm not sure how he got that reading since most testers won't register anything lower than 6.8, but nevertheless, he needs to be bringing it up to at least 7.0. As I said above, since there is a metals issue, he wants to keep pH on the low end of normal -- 7.4 or lower and probably 7.2 is better but he definitely MUST get it above 7.0 ASAP or risk damage to his pool.

PoolDoc
06-16-2010, 08:32 PM
Hi Joe;

First things first . . . unfortunately, you've got several first things.:eek:

=> pH, chlorine, copper

FIRST:
Get a CHEAP drops test kit -- the kind that turns yellow for chlorine, and yellow to purple for pH, and test your pool. We need to know if your 6.2 pH reading is real, or bogus. Some pool stores might be able to test for pH; in others it's just going to be a bogus reading. I'd like to see YOUR readings, to either confirm or repudiate the pool store readings.

Verify that your pH is actually very low (yellow on the drops kit -- but don't confuse OTO drops (yellow = chlorine present) with phenol red drops (yellow = low pH). Don't test pH if the OTO drops turn orange: the chlorine / bromine is too high for phenol red to work well.

SECOND:
Dose with 1/2 gallon of bleach each evening, simply to maintain sanitation control a way least likely to conflict with anything else.


THIRD:
Assuming the pH is low, gradually start raising it, using 1/2 box of borax per 10K gallons, added every few hours. If you have a pump timer, disable it, and run your pump & filter 24/7.

FOURTH:
Answer some questions:
=> Do you have a heater?
=> Have you added any algicide, recently or last fall? What kind?
=> Do you have a Nature2, 'mineral' or any other gizmo that might contain or add copper.

FIFTH:
Do the fingernail scrape test I described, and include the results from that.

SIXTH:
Post your info, after you've collected it. Post the pH as soon as you've confirmed it -- if your pH is REALLY that low, and the color was yellowish-brownish-greenish, I know what it is.


PoolDoc

joecus
06-16-2010, 09:06 PM
Thanks -
first - the 6.2 ph reading came from my local pool store. I have both the strips and the tester that you add yellow and red drops. I just took the strip reading, showing ultra low ph. The drop tester turns water yellowish when I add the red drops indicating a very lowph. I will work first on getting the PH up.

second - I did the bleach
third - I am running the filter 24/7 and will add borax (1/2 box ? what size box?)
forth - I'm sure the copper came from the Algicide I added since this is when the water started to change color to greenish/yellow upon adding shock. Like I said, the water quickly turns back to clear. I do have a heater. The copper reading of 1.7 also came from my local store.

fifth - I did the fingernail test on the black spots and it does dissipate.

So, tomorrow I will work on getting the ph up using the borax, correct? Don't add the backing soda yet, correct? What about the alkalinity, don't worry yet? Is there a reason you don't want me to raise both ph and alkalinity at same time using baking soda? Lastly, what do I do about copper? Thanks a million, again. Did I forget anything?

joecus
06-16-2010, 09:13 PM
Sorry - I forgot to mention, I'm was using the Arm and Hammer baking soda instructions on how to raise the PH and Alkalinity. I bought this 12 lb bag at Costco and it has specific instructions for raising both. I'm not sure why some people are saying washing soda instead of backing soda.

Watermom
06-16-2010, 09:18 PM
I'm gonna let PoolDoc address most of this with you but just a couple of comments. I think the only size of box of Borax that I have seen is 4lbs. 12oz. Don't put off until tomorrow adding the first 1/2 box of Borax. Go ahead and get it in there tonight. Low pH is REALLY bad for your pool. Critical to get it above 7.0 ASAP. After a couple of hours, retest and redose as needed.

Also, baking soda raises alk a lot, but not the pH much. The low alk is nowhere near as critical as the low pH.

PoolDoc will be by shortly to direct you further.

EDIT -- Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and washing soda (sodium carbonate) are not the same thing. Washing soda is the same thing as soda ash.

aylad
06-16-2010, 09:21 PM
Also keep in mind that one side effect of dichlor is lowered pH.....

Janet

Watermom
06-16-2010, 09:23 PM
That's right, Jan. I wasn't thinking about that. At any rate, Ben wants him to use bleach right now for his chlorine.

joecus
06-16-2010, 11:02 PM
OK - borax is in. I will retest when I wake up. I will wait for other answers to questions.
Thanks.

CarlD
06-17-2010, 07:52 AM
Sorry - I forgot to mention, I'm was using the Arm and Hammer baking soda instructions on how to raise the PH and Alkalinity. I bought this 12 lb bag at Costco and it has specific instructions for raising both. I'm not sure why some people are saying washing soda instead of backing soda.

Because they aren't the same thing! Baking soda comes in the famous orange box and is, among many things, edible.

Washing Soda comes in a yellow box, contains soda ash, and should NEVER be consumed.

Despite Arm&Hammer's hype and package info, Baking Soda is a LOUSY way to raise pH, but a GREAT way to raise Total Alkalinity. It's also what pool stores sell as "Alkalinity Raiser" for inflated prices.

Washing soda, or soda ash, is a great way to raise pH BUT it raises Total Alkalinity as well. Pool stores sell THIS too, packaged as things like "ph Up!" and other catchy names, also at inflated prices.

But we like Borax (20 Mule Team Borax) best because it doesn't raise Total Alkalinity but raises pH as well as Soda Ash. Pool stores do NOT sell any version of this, but some sell the test kit for Borates (which Borax adds and can inhibit algae).

I have seen the giant 12lb bags of Baking Soda at Costco. But please don't use it to raise your pH--it's not very good for that.

joecus
06-17-2010, 08:38 AM
I just woke up and retested the water, ph is still low (measuring yellow on strips and drop tester.) I added the other 1/2 box of borax. I will retest in 6 hours. I have another question, a few people have said my low ph is very dangerous. What exactly can happen? Is is bad for swimmers or the pool and equipment?. I have not let anyone swim since I found this problem. Thanks for your help.

PoolDoc
06-17-2010, 09:08 AM
If you are going to be home today, I'd start adding borax, 1/2 box every 2 hours, until you begin to see your pH rise -- go from yellow to orange-ish yellow. Then slow to every 4 hours, till you reach 7.0.

Don't go higher. The copper is most likely from your heater (not so good) but if it's not leaking, you may be OK.

Maintain reasonable chlorine levels -- 1 - 3 ppm, but don't worry about alkalinity or anything else, except pH.

Once you see a pH change, you can begin swimming, BUT . . . anyone with light colored or dyed hair is likely to end up with seriously green hair from the copper. This includes blonde OR gray hair. So, basically, only brunettes with no gray hair can swim. (That rules me out! :o)

PoolDoc

BTW, the color you have been seeing is bromine gas in the pool. Not so good. Try not to do that anymore. It's not likely to get out of the water, but if it does, it will rest on the pool surface and be VERY TOXIC to any swimmers.

Chlorinating by adding small doses of bleach to the skimmer should help avoid that. Once you get the pH up, it will quit.

joecus
06-17-2010, 11:52 AM
I'm sure the copper was added as part of the algicide since the water turned green right after I added it and then shock. Prior to the algicide, I was adding shock without any color change to water. Can you give me some ideas how to remove the copper? I will add borax every two hours until I see a move. Just took another reading, ph is not moving.

joecus
06-17-2010, 12:59 PM
If you are going to be home today, I'd start adding borax, 1/2 box every 2 hours, until you begin to see your pH rise -- go from yellow to orange-ish yellow. Then slow to every 4 hours, till you reach 7.0.

Don't go higher. The copper is most likely from your heater (not so good) but if it's not leaking, you may be OK.

Maintain reasonable chlorine levels -- 1 - 3 ppm, but don't worry about alkalinity or anything else, except pH.

Once you see a pH change, you can begin swimming, BUT . . . anyone with light colored or dyed hair is likely to end up with seriously green hair from the copper. This includes blonde OR gray hair. So, basically, only brunettes with no gray hair can swim. (That rules me out! :o)

PoolDoc

BTW, the color you have been seeing is bromine gas in the pool. Not so good. Try not to do that anymore. It's not likely to get out of the water, but if it does, it will rest on the pool surface and be VERY TOXIC to any swimmers.

Chlorinating by adding small doses of bleach to the skimmer should help avoid that. Once you get the pH up, it will quit.

PoolDoc - I don't understand your comment regarding bromine gas and not to do that anymore? Can you explain? Are you referring to my water turning green when I added the shock? One more question, do you use bleach to shock the pool as well as maintenance?

PoolDoc
06-17-2010, 01:16 PM
At low pH levels, both chlorine and bromine can appear in a pool as undissolved gasses. With bromine -- which you have because of the bromide -- the pH doesn't have to be nearly as low as it does with chlorine. In blue pool water, orange-ish bromine gas could easily look yellowish green.

To avoid this, keep working to raise the pH AND chlorinate using small repeated doses of bleach in the skimmer, rather than large doses of anything in the pool.

Shocking -- adding a bunch of chlorine of any kind -- is to be avoided till you get the pH at 7.0 or higher. But, don't go higher, because with all that copper, you'll start staining things like crazy.

You can use bleach for any chlorinating purpose in a pool.

By the way, I don't generally like to use metal control agents, but in your case, it might avoid some trouble if you can put a dose of metal control liquid in the pool. It's only a temporary solution, but it might give us time to get control of the pool before we start having to work on removing the copper. If you can get HEDP (probably no way for you to know, though) it will also help protect your heater from further damage.

PoolDoc.

PS. It's just curiosity, but do you know how your pH got so low?

joecus
06-17-2010, 06:32 PM
I have no idea how the ph got so low. It happened over the winter. PH still not moving. Should I be considering draining the pool?

PoolDoc
06-17-2010, 06:49 PM
No. Just add borax every 2 hours. If your pool is 20,000 gallons or more, you could go to a whole box.

You could get an acid demand test, but it's hard to use them accurately. The problem is, your pH will look like it's not changing at all, and then began to change suddenly.

Ben

PS. When you scraped the black algae, did you SMEAR it on a white card? If it doesn't smear green-ish, it's not algae.

joecus
06-17-2010, 09:23 PM
The PH looks like it's slightly higher than 6.2. I will check in an hour or so. I didn't so the fingernail test to determine if I had the black algae. I had black spots on numerous spots on the wall and just asked at the store and they sold me the treatment. I got screwed.

So, assuming I get the PH above 7, what should I do next? Do I add bleach tonight? Will the water turn green again when I add the chlorine? Remember yesterday ,I added the "pool magnet plus" which is supposed to cause the copper to get caught in the earth filter, then I backwashed and copper should have been reduced. I don't have a copper tester so I won't know if the copper level is down. However, If I add bleach and water turns green I would think there is still plenty of copper in there. Would you agree?

joecus
06-18-2010, 09:09 PM
Hello all. First I wanted to thank everyone for your help with the PH and copper. I finally got the ph, and all other reading into the normal range. However, now my water has turned cloudy. Through all the PH and copper problems, the water has been crystal clear. Just today, it's turned. I did notice something I think is out of the norm. My pressure gauge is higher than usual. Last year, the pressure after I would backwash and add the earth, would be about 12 lbs. Today, the pressure is up near 20 after backwash and earth. Could it be the low PH did something to the filter? I have a Haward DE3620 filter (it's a large barrel type, with the fingers inside). Could they be clogged and not clearing when I backwash? Thanks again for your help.

aylad
06-19-2010, 04:05 AM
There are many, many reasons why the water could turn cloudy, the sheer amount of Borax you've had to add to fix the pH problem being one of them....but another very common reason for cloudiness is impending algae bloom--have you consistently kept your Cl above 3 ppm, which is the absolute minimum for a CYA of 40? It's been awhile since you posted current testing numbers, if you would post a set of new ones, I'm sure we could help you figure it out.

Janet

joecus
06-19-2010, 09:44 AM
Good morning all, well I kept the filter running all night. The pool water is clear but a green residue has settled on the bottom, mostly in the corners. It's coming up when I vacuum at a unsustainable slow pace. If I move at a normal pace, the dirt (or algae) floats up and clouds that area. I do have the Phantom, but that will kick everything up. Maybe that's the way to go? Any idea what could have happened? Yesterday, all the levels were in the "ok" range, including CL. It looks like plain green algae that settled in the corners. Would that make sense, algae in just the corners? Maybe the sheer amount of Borax, that's when the cloudiness started? Thanks for your help.

CarlD
06-19-2010, 10:22 AM
Algae starts first in corners and angles between the walls and the floor--any place where the water doesn't circulate as well (inside drop-in steps is another incubator for algae).

joecus
06-19-2010, 10:40 AM
OK, then it's algae. Best way to solve? All my chemicals are in normal range. Should I over shock it? I'm using bleach, is that ok? I will keep filter running of course.

Watermom
06-19-2010, 10:51 AM
You should probably go ahead and post current water testing results.

joecus
06-21-2010, 01:23 PM
Finally, the pool is clear and the chemicals are stable. I opened the filter and totally cleaned it out and ran the filter. Backwashed about 10 times before I got it clear. I noticed the earth in the filter had a light blue color. I've never had this. Is it related to the copper? I used "copper magnet" which is supposed to make it stable and protect equipment.

PoolDoc
06-21-2010, 03:01 PM
Yep, blue is one of copper's colors.

PoolDoc

Watermom
06-21-2010, 03:06 PM
Now, time to go swimming and start enjoying the pool instead of only fighting with the pool. (But, YOU won!) Have fun!

chem geek
06-21-2010, 04:49 PM
Copper oxide (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copper%28II%29_oxide) is black, copper hydroxide (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copper%28II%29_hydroxide) is pale blue, and copper carbonate (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copper%28II%29_carbonate) is green though in practice mixtures occur so you get everything from blue to green. Then there is copper cyanurate which is purple/amethyst in color.