Not Starting Off Too Good.....Really Need Some Help!

by Lanette
(Oxbow, SK, Canada)

I have a Pro Series Rectangular above ground pool, 18' L x 9' W, 52" height. Water level is 45.5" and holds 4,480 gallons of water.

I just bought the pool, and we set it up yesterday. It took 22 hours to fill, and just finished filling at 5:30pm tonight. With only concentrated algaecide that I was instructed to pour in while filling the pool, the water was a very dark green color. I did not test the water (I guess I should have). I purchased a Hydroforce Aquarius Chemical kit, and followed the directions.

Once the pool was filled, I was instructed to add 320g of Platinum Shock and let it sit for one hour. After that hour, I was then to add 17 tablets of Stabalized chlorine. It is now almost 12 hours later, and the water seems to be getting even darker (I was able to see a rung or two in the ladder beneath the water, however, now it is hard to see any of the rungs).

And, it appears that there are a kazillion tiny little bubbles everywhere. Against the walls, on the ladder, on the floor of the pool. I did some testing, and here is what I have:

Free Chlorine: 10
PH: 12
Alkalinity: 240
Cyanuric Acid: 75
Hardness: 1000

Might be important to note that the temperature in the pool is 17 degrees. I purchased the pool from Canadian Tire, and they sent me to their website, however, not very informative at all.

It indicates that I need to purchase an Aquarius PH Reducer. Any feedback is so greatly appreciated.

Thanks for the question Lanette

There are many things going on here. All of your readings are very high. I'm not sure if it's because the fill water is so off or something else was done to the pool.

First we'll start with the CYA. Stop using the chlorine tabs immediately, they're raising the CYA too high. Normal range is between 30 - 50ppm. Unfortunately there's no chemical or "easy way" to reduce the CYA. You need to do a 1/2 drain and refill with clean water. This will get the CYA to around 37ppm. The CYA needs to be 7.5% of the chlorine to be effective. If it's too high (above 70 - 80ppm) or too low (below 20ppm) the chlorine will be rendered ineffective. If you run the chlorine at 2.5ppm, then the CYA is 7.5% of that, or 33ppm. 2.5 divided by 7.5% = 33.

As the CYA rises the chlorine level must rise in order for the relationship to be met. You can have CYA of 70 or 80ppm and keep the chlorine at 2.5. It won't work. For every 10ppm of chlorine added with Trichlor tabs you'll raise the CYA by 6ppm.

Without knowing the fill water chemical readings it's going to be a little difficult to determine the course of action to take. Everything else will be diluted as well and the new numbers you get after retesting the new fill might not be the numbers I have.

I gather from the question all that was done was a new fill and an algaecide. Let's say that everything else is still high.

You need to get the total alkalinity (TA) and pH down. This is done with muriatic acid. You don't need any special or expensive pH or TA down, just simple acid.

Reduce the TA first. It's 0.8qrts. of acid per 5,000 gallons of water to reduce TA 10ppm. You need the TA to come down 140ppm so this will require some extra acid, a little over 1 gallon.

Start with 1 qrt. of acid in one spot (small circular motion) with the pump OFF. Gently sweep the bottom to break up any hot spots. Let sit for 3 - 4 hours, then pump back ON to FILTER for 8 - 10 hours, retest, and make another adjustment. Test the pH as well as the acid might affect lowering the pH.

Pool Alkalinity

Total Alkalinity

The pH is at 12 which is much too high. It needs to be 7.4 - 7.8. This is 0.6oz. of acid to reduce pH 0.2 per 5,000 gallons of water. You're going to need about 16oz. of acid broadcast around the perimeter of the pool with the pump on FILTER and retest after 8 hours. Obviously if the pH comes down after adjusting the TA then leave it alone.

Swimming Pool pH Levels

Pool pH

The hardness is very high as well. It should be between 150 - 250ppm. Nothing but a refill with clean water can reduce the hardness.

You need to shock the pool. Don't buy any Super Shock or Burnout Shock, just simple liquid chlorine will do the job. Don't use chlorine granules. It's calcium hypochlorite and has a pH of 12. You'll undo everything you just did in regards to lowering the pH.

It's 1 3/4 qrts. of liquid chlorine (almost 1 gallon) per 5,000 gallons of water to reach 10ppm. I'd use 1 gallon. It's better to go a little over 10ppm than not hit the mark.

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/gray cloudy and the chlorine will begin to hold better. First you may lose most, 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.

Swimming Pool Chlorine

Pool Shock

Pool Chlorine

Chlorine Tablets

Pool Chlorine Tablets

To recap, the first thing is to do a 1/2 drain and refill to get the CYA down to around 35ppm, then adjust the TA and pH, and shock the pool.

You can use a PolyQuat 60 algaecide while shocking the pool to reduce the chance of another algae bloom. Once the pool is right, use good pool chemistry and you won't need to use an algaecide. Only use a PolyQuat 60 as other less expensive and cheaper ones have copper and metal fillers in them. Here's a good post about that:

Sticky Pool Algaecide On Vinyl Liner

You don't need phosphate removers or clarifiers. Here's a post on that. It's long but worth the read:

High Phosphates Over 1000 & Cloudy Water

I know there's alot here and you have some work ahead of you, but have patience and be consistent and persistent. Your pool will clear up.

To post a reply, or if you have a similar question, you can see your post on the Q&A page in the "Shocking A Pool" 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.

Contact Me


Hope this helps and have a great Summer.


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Jul 09, 2012
Thank You!
by: Lanette

I want to thank you very much for your very timely and informative response. I was certain that I was probably sending my question into cyberspace, and was not anticipating a response. To not only have my concern acknowledged, but as quickly as you did, is incredible. So, many thanks!

I understand clearly all the information that you have provided me with, and, I am willing to take the action you recommended, however, before I do that, I went outside to test the actual water that I am using to fill the pool. Before I actually drain (half drain) the pool as you suggested, please consider what kind of water I am working with, to see if your instructions will remain the same. My readings on the outside tap water I am using to fill the pool are as follows:
Bromide: 3.5
Free Chlorine: 3
Alkalinity: 240
Ph: 7.6
Hardness: 1000
Cyanuric Acid: 30-50

You are right in your assumption that the green water started immediately, with ONLY the liquid algaecide being introduced. I poured half the bottle in as recommended, I think around 250 grams, and within a few hours of adding it while the pool was filling, almost instantly saw the water transforming to the green color. Today, I took a glass of regular water from my house, and compared it to the glass of water from outside. No physical difference in appearance. When I added 1ml of algaecide to the glass of water from the outside tap, and then compared it to the glass of water from the inside tap, the same reaction happened in the glass as I am seeing in the pool. It turned the same color.

My father came over today to help, and he told me that he thinks the water is brown, not green. The pool is surrounded by pine trees, and dad says that the reflection of the trees in the water is giving the green appearance, however, he believes the water is brown. Almost a copper colour. When we take the filter out of the basket, it has the same color as a penny. It is stained as though it is an indian red.

One last thing ... you mentioned in your post "Now it's just a matter of filtering and backwashing once per day". Please excuse my ignorance, but I do not know what backwashing means, or how to do it?

I promise I will go away really soon, however, bless the young people who are working at the store I purchased this pool from, but I will gladly send a donation your way, before returning to the store. I am only frustrating the poor young souls, as well as myself.

Jul 09, 2012
Water Gets Darker After Adding Algaecide
by: Robert

Thanks for the follow up Lanette

The hardness is not something you can control, unless you get pool water delivered.

Pool Water Delivery

If the total alkalinity (TA) of the fill water is at 240ppm you're going to be fighting to keep it down. It can be done but you need to be vigilant in testing the TA twice per week and being proactive with the acid. The pH is fine so don't touch that. No pH Up.

The brown color of the water may indicate a high metal content. Get your fill water tested for metal. The most common are iron and copper.

If the tests come back with high iron, you'll need to use a good metal sequestrant.

Metal sequestrants that are based on HEDP, phosphonic acid and/or its derivatives are the most effective.

Some popular brands are Jack's Magic Blue, Purple, and Pink Pink Stuff, Metal Magic, Metal Free, & Metal Klear.

This is normally not a one shot deal. A metal sequestrant does not remove metal from pool water. It holds it in solution until it can get filtered. Then you backwash the metal out.

Because metal sequestrants break down over time and get filtered and backwashed out, you will need to add a bottle once per week.

As for backwashing, it's fairly simple. You may have what's called a Multiport Valve (MPV) with markings such as FILTER, WASTE, BACKWASH etc... Turn the pump OFF, press down on the handle and turn the dial to BACKWASH. Unroll the backwash hose if you have one. Turn the pump back on and allow to run for 1 - 2 minutes, or until the water runs clear. Pump off and turn the dial to RINSE. Pump back on for 5 - 10 seconds. Pump off and turn the dial back to FILTER and pump back on. Never change any settings when the pump is on.

Swimming Pool Sand Filters

If you have a DE filter with a MPV it's the same procedure. Let me know the kind you have and we can run through it. A DE filter sometimes has a plunger kind of backwash valve.

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