Salt Generator & Green Pool

by Lisa
(New Jersey)

Good afternoon, I hope you remember me. I wrote to you a while ago about me having a new salt generator.

Well my pool is open and I just want to thank you for your great information. It has been open now for a week and is finally clear ( we had really really green water. It was a mild winter here in NJ ) I did not turn on my salt because I wanted to shock it and clean it up like you said. Here are my readings as of today

  • Free Chlorine---- 0.08
  • Total Chlorine- 0.31
  • Combined Chlorine- 0.23
  • pH 7.3
  • Hardness 156
  • Alkalinity 83
  • stabilizer- 20
  • copper 0.1
  • iron 0.1 ppm
  • nitrate 2 ppm
  • borate 6 ppm (this is new to me I have no idea what this is)
  • Phosphate 100 ppb
  • Salt 2700
  • My pool is 20,000 gal

    They told me to shock it with 4 lbs of dichlor shock then turn on generator. Add stabilizer and hardness and alkalinity.. Now you told me not to put on salt while shocking isn't funny how they don't tell you that.

    So tonight I'm going to shock it but how long do I leave the generator off when I shock? (I have not put it on yet at all)



    Thanks for the question Lisa and good to hear from you again.

    I'll address the borates first.

    Borates is basically that same thing as 20 Mule Team Borax (sodium tetraborate decahydrate) and is good to use in saltwater swimming pools. But you don't need to use it. Some pools owners say it makes their water sparkle even more. I've used it a few times and it does make a slight difference, but in my opinion it's an added cost and not worth the trouble.

    Borax can help stabilize the pH and reduce the rate of scale formation in the chlorine generator due to its ability to buffer the pH. It can also be used as a cheaper algaecide.

    It takes 589 ounces (36.8 pounds) of 20 Mule Team Borax (7-3/4 - 76 oz. box) per 10,000 gallons to get to 50 ppm. The proper range is 30 - 50ppm.

    You also need 282 ounces of Muriatic Acid (31.45% Hydrochloric Acid) because you'll be raising the pH while adding the Borax.

    You're raising the pH, then adding acid to lower it, but allowing the borates to stay in the pool.

    All of your readings are fine, with the exception of the chlorine and CYA (stabilizer). They were right in telling you to add Dichlor, but don't do anything with the pH, alkalinity (TA), or hardness. They're fine right where they are. The pH will naturally rise due to splashing around. The bubbles burst and release carbon dioxide (CO2) which raises the pH so you don't need to use any pH Up or baking soda.

    pH range can be from 7.2 - 7.8, testing alkalinity (TA) between 80 - 120ppm and hardness 150 - 250ppm. You're right in the proper ranges so no need to add anything. Don't go any higher than 250ppm hardness when you have a chlorine generator.

    I had to replace 2 of them at the Y because the guards put too much calcium chloride in the pool. The hard water levels went from 200ppm to 450ppm and burned the cell up. Temporary hard water levels is sometimes unavoidable but too long and the the cell can burn up.

    How to shock a pool with chlorine - You're going to need to do some testing to get the chlorine where it should be. My advice is to shock the pool with Dichlor 3 1/3 lbs. for 20,000 gallons, This should bring the CYA up to around 30ppm or so. Then shock with liquid chlorine after that. This way you won't get more of a cloudy pool after shocking.

    Be careful when using Dichlor as it can get out of hand quickly. For every 10ppm of chlorine added with Dichlor, you'll raise the CYA by 9ppm. For every 10ppm of chlorine added with Trichlor tabs you'll raise the CYA by 6ppm.

    To get rid of the green water will require alot of shocking with liquid chlorine.

    Shocking is a process, not an event. The trick is to get AND keep the chlorine above 10 - 12ppm for a period of time. You'll need to manually dose the pool with chlorine to keep it at 10 - 12ppm. Make the adjustment at night, then retest in the morning. Be sure to have the pump running 24/7 and backwash once per day. You can go up to 15ppm, but no higher. Anything after that and you're wasting money and chemicals.

    You'll know this is working because the pool will go from green to a white/grey cloudy and the chlorine will begin to hold better. First you may lose most of the chlorine, then 2/3, then 1/2, and so on. Once you only lose 1 - 2ppm of chlorine 8 - 10 hours after the last application you know the algae is dead.

    Now it's just a matter of filtering and backwashing once per day. Broadcast the chlorine around the perimeter of the pool and brush well. This will loosen up any algae adhering to the walls and bottom. How to keep your pool water clear is simple after you clear it up and you won't need to clear up cloudy pool water.

    So basically it's this: Shock with Dichlor until the CYA get to 30ppm, stop and use liquid chlorine until the pool clears up. Backwash once per day and FILTER 24/7. Once the pool clears and the chlorine levels holds to around 4 - 5ppm you can add the salt and turn the cell on.

    You'll probably only need no more than one 50lb. bag of salt. Start with 1/3 of the bag, allow for once full turnover of the water, about 8 - 10 hours, then retest and make another adjustment if needed.

    It's pretty easy but it will take time and persistence.

    To post a reply, or if you have a similar question, you can see your post on the Q&A page in the "Salt Water Pools" category.

    Check back to this post for updates or answers.

    If you need immediate assistance (within 24 hrs) or for emergency personal assistance, you can make a donation of your choice and I'll answer your questions by phone.

    If you've found this site helpful please consider making a donation. Thank you.

    Hope this helps and have a great Summer.


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    My Saltwater Pool Is Yellow, Help

    by Heather
    (Takeetna, Alaska)

    I have an 1100 gal above ground pool with a saltwater pump with a filter cartridge.

    I filled the pool the first time this season, put in 27 lbs of salt and ran the filter pump 18 hours. Then I turned on the saltwater part for 6 hours.

    Now my pool is yellow.

    Copper .9
    chlorine .2
    pH 8.5
    total Alk 175.

    I didn't add Cyanuric Acid.

    Is my saltwater pump not working? Maybe I should clean it with vinegar and try again.

    Any help is appreciated.



    Thanks for the question Heather

    The first question I'd ask is if you're on well water or fill water with metals. You need to get that checked from your local pool store. If the sample comes back positive for metals you need to get a good metal sequestrant.

    Here's a link that covers the info. you need:

    Iron in Swimming Pool Water

    Next are the readings. When you say you didn't add CYA am I to assume you have none in there? If you don't you need to either get Dichlor or straight powdered CYA. Both are 1 lb. to raise the CYA 10ppm per 10,000 gallons. For For 1K gallons start with about 2 oz., FILTER for 10 hours then retest and make another adjustment. You don't want to over-shoot the target of 30 - 50ppm. Go for the 30ppm, stop with the CYA. and chlorinate as usual.

    The pH and TA are high. It's 1.5 oz. of muriatic acid to lower the pH 0.2 and lower the TA 10ppm.

    I'd add the CYA/Dichlor, sweep very well, then 1 hour later add the acid around the perimeter of the pool, sweep again, add the metal sequestrant, FILTER for 10 hours then retest everything and make another adjustment.

    I hope this has answered your question to your satisfaction.

    To post a reply, or if you have a similar question, you can see your post on the Q&A page in the "Salt Water Pools" category.

    Check back to this post for updates or answers.

    If you feel your situation is more complex and want immediate assistance (within 24 hrs) you can make a donation of your choice and I'll answer your questions by phone.

    Have I helped you find a solution to your pool problems? Did this information help you? Please consider making a donation to help keep this site going. Thank you.

    Have a great Summer.


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    Hot Tub and Salt Water System

    by Robert Lozon
    (Wallaceburg, Ontario, Canada)

    I am tired of using chemicals in our small hot tube so I bought a salt water system to run into the pump. Since installing this the water is green/brown/gold and I have tried adjusting everything. It clears a bit when I use shock. We have a maple tree near it that constantly sheds spinners is this whats doing it?

    Thanks for the question Robert. For chemical questions I'm going to need your chemical numbers:

    Chlorine, CYA (cyanuric acid/stabilizer), pH, Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness, and Metals (iron and copper). It makes troubleshooting much easier and the process of clearing up your water will go much faster. Green water is a symptom of the problem, not the problem itself. I also need the kind of filter you have and if it's working properly. If it's not working it must be fixed in order to clear it up.

    If you feel your situation is more complex than this, I do phone and/or SKYPE consultations. It makes things go much faster and many people have found it extremely beneficial, saving them time and money in the long run. All your questions will be answered. I have nothing to sell you so you know I'm not bias. If you purchase a personal phone consult you'll get all 3 eBooks for free.

    Pool Consultation

    Clear Blue Pool eBook

    How To Clear Up A Green Pool eBook

    Swimming Pool Resources


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    Help With Salt Pool

    by Diana jimison

    My husband put up a 16 by 48 pool...we got a salt water tank...we thought just needed salt...but my daughter's hair just turned green and her skin is really dry..i don't know anything about pools...please help..

    Hi Diana. I would need you to post a full set of chemical numbers: chlorine, pH, alkalinity, hardness, CYA, salt levels, and metals. I also need to know if you've used other chemicals such as clarifiers, floccs, etc...

    Normally, green hair is an indication of copper in the fill water. Are you using well water for your fill water? If so, you need a metal sequestrant. Jack's Magic Pink, Purple, or Blue Stuff is good. Also ProTeam Metal Magic is good. Phosphonic acid is the ingredient. Dose your pool according to its size and the directions on the bottle.

    Give me the chemical numbers and we can go from there.

    If you want immediate assistance I offer eBooks and phone consults as well.

    Clear Blue Pool eBook
    How To Clear Up A Green Pool eBook
    Personal Phone Consultation


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