New Saltwater Pool 5 Weeks Starting To Go Cloudy (Not Green)

by Kim Casey
(Camden NSW Australia)

I have saltwater clorinator (normal reading for nominal operation) on timer with the filter runs 2 x 4 hours per day, filter pressure normal, waste near clear. Zodiac always attached when no swimming.

I know you want numbers but the colurs are off the strip.

Strip test says very low free chlorine, bromide high, pH high, alkaline is high.

Have had few heavy wind storms and 2" of rain during this period.

Lost and a newbie.

Thanks for the question Kim

Yes it is much easier when I have the actual readings. "High" is relative and means different things to different people.

First I'd encourage you to take a sample of pool water to your local pool store for analysis. Get the chlorine, pH, alkalinity, hardness, CYA (cyanuric acid/stabilizer) and total dissolved solids, TDS.

Next is to get a good test kit. I'd encourage you to get a Taylor FAS-DPD K-2006 pool test kit.

Pool Water Testing

Water Testing Kit

Strips are convenient but lack the accuracy that a K-2006 kit can give, and that's what you're after, accuracy.

There could be a hundred reasons why a pool goes cloudy, but more than likely you might have the starting of an algae bloom.

Cloudy Pool Water

When the pH and alkalinity are "high", above 8.0pH and 150ppm alkalinity, the chlorine is much less effective. And the CYA plays a huge role in the effectiveness of the chlorine as well. Too low or high will render the chlorine ineffective.

Most people will tell you to shock the pool and keep filtering 24/7. This might be counterproductive because if your CYA is high, about 80 - 90ppm or above, then you're just wasting money on chlorine. You need to drain 1/3 - 1/2 of the water, refill, then balance the chemicals again. There's no chemical to reduce CYA. The only thing you can do is a water change.

If the CYA is too low, simply shocking with a stabilized chlorine, like Dichlor, is needed until the optimal CYA range of 30 - 50ppm is achieved.

I would start with getting the water checked, then go from there. Until we know the exact numbers, we're
just guessing at what the problem is.

If you've been using many Trichlor tabs, which has the CYA in it, the CYA might already be high, but there's no way to tell without the numbers.

You can also add gallons of acid which will get the pH and alkalinity down, but again, if the CYA is too high, you'll need to do a partial drain, which means all of that acid you just used will literally go down the drain.

There no need to panic but time is of the essence when dealing with a cloudy or algae pool. The longer you wait to fix the problem the more time is lost for swimming and possibly more money spent on chemicals.

Here are the pH and alkalinity pages to look over:

Swimming Pool pH Levels

Pool pH

Pool Alkalinity

Total Alkalinity

Balancing pool water is not really that difficult, but there are certain techniques that you need to use to ensure the right chemistry. And patience is needed. Many pool owners want a quick fix and it might take days or even a couple of weeks before the pool is ready to swim in.

If you could get the numbers to me quickly it would help out tremendously.

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 Pool" category.

Swimming Pool Questions & Answers

Check back to this post for updates or answers.

Hope this helps and have a great Summer.


Comment By Kim: You Were Spot On
Date: Feb 22, 2012

Robert, you were spot on the mark. I took your advice and visited my local pool and spa shop had the water analysed.

The solution was chlorine booster and acid (low & slow), which within few hours was amazing clear. 2 weeks later another test, added 40Kg salt and now, all is right where you want it.

The pool shop said that with all the recent high winds and heavy rains (extreme said the forecasters) all pools in the area suffered.

Thank you so much for your patience and advice.

Kim Casey (newbie)

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