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More & more swimming pools are having to deal with biofilm, mold & slime !


GREAT questions from all over regarding these issues.


Click here for a video & information biofilms and mold & slime.

Bio-film - Par Pool & Spa has one of the best handles on how to recognizing & treating this problem; it is the root cause of White Water Mold & Pink Slime and other problems. We tackle the 2 together because you typically see one with other.  White Water Mold (WWM) first, then the Pink Slime (PS) grows on top of that.  Remember that Pink Slime & White Water Mold are not forms of algae.  They are bacterial in nature. If you haven't dealt with it yet, you will. Read about Bio-films by following the links above.

Question: I found your company by searching for a solution for "Pink" algae (pink slime) and white water mold. I know I had both.

I physically removed all signs of the pink slime, and have been shocking my pool excessively for the past couple of weeks. I am now putting two pounds of Calcium Hypo chloride in my pool every night to try to keep the free chlorine level up. I know that this is the wrong type of shock to use with a salt water pool, but the local pool store owner recommended it to raise my calcium hardness.

My problem is the chlorine disappears during the day. Last week after Super Shocking the pool (by recommendation of a pool service man), The free chlorine went from 50 ppm to less than 0.5 ppm in one day. We used 17 pounds of Sodium Dichlor shock.  I believe that I have a biofilm in the underground plumbing causing the high chlorine demand.

My pool is 13,500 gallons. One piece fiberglass construction. Cartridge filter (Unicel 175, new this season). Hayward Goldline Aqua Logic controller with a T-15 salt cell. The entire system is on it's 4th season. The salt cell controller indicates that it is using just over 6 amps when on. The pump/filter is set to run 16 hours a day, with the chlorinator set at 50% (8 hours). According to a service technician from Goldline, my cell is producing chlorine as long as there is more than 4 amps drawn when running.

My questions to you are:
1. Is the [AquaFinesse] Pool Puck compatible with a salt water pool?
2. Do you think, based on what I have said, that the Pool Puck will help eliminate my chlorine demand?
3. Will high Cyanuric Acid levels affect the Pool Puck? My CYA is between 200 and 300 ppm from the excessive dichlor shock.

Sorry for the long explanation, but I want to include all information so you could give me an educated answer. Thank you for taking the time to read and answer this. Barry S.

Answer: Hi Barry, the folks from AquaFinesse forwarded me your question & I would like to help you as best as possible. You do have several things going on & I'll give you basic answers but would prefer if you could call me so that I can answer them with some depth plus do a few follow-up questions for clarification.

1. Yes, pink slime & WWM do grow & fester even in salt chlorine treated pools. I am assuming that you have had the pool for a while but the AquaRite & salt system is a relatively new addition to the pool.

2. The PS & WWM, we have found, are both "off-shoots" from the bio-film. It is very likely that the infestation begun a while ago. Possibly last year. By the way, where do you live? & Tell me more about the pool.

3. You can have severe chlorine demand issues with a salt system. Your situation is "made worse" with the addition of the dichlor. There's nothing wrong with the cal hypo, especially if your Cal. Hardness is low. Unfortunately, the more dichlor that is added the higher you will drive cyanuric acid. Over 100 ppm, it should be diluted by adding fresh water. In your case you may have to drain & refill about 1/2 of the pool. This deserves a longer/better explanation.

4. We have experienced great success with our customers around the country in using AquaFinesse Pool Pucks and treating chlorine demand. One customer who is a NASA engineer living in MD had a fairly severe chlorine demand back in June. We got the demand under control & he is using Pool Pucks to control the bio-film. Just received a note from John on 08/07/09 with an update: he's still in very good shape.

Please call me & let's talk more about HOW to get your pool under control. 203-377-0100. Looking forward to the call.


Question: I have a 20,000 gallon pool and we are about to close it for the winter.  Over the summer we got the pink slime in our pool and had a lot of trouble with it.  We shocked our pool several times with 4 times the normal amount of shock.  The pink slime would go away for a week but then it would re-appear.  We live in Pennsylvania and we are about to close our pool for the winter.  I am wondering if the pink slime in our pool will die over the winter months.  If you could answer this question I would highly appreciate it!  Thanks!
                    
Answer: In a nutshell, no.  The pink slime will only go dormant.  It will be there waiting for you in the spring - especially if you don't open it until late May or early June.  You could probably get away with it IF you opened BY April 1. Any later than that & you'll be dealing with a pretty severe case throughout the pool.

I presume that you're using a biguanide like Soft Swim or Baquacil.  If so, you'll need to clean the pool well, including under the ladder treads, in the nooks & crevices of the skimmer, in back of the return eyeballs, in back of the underwater light.  Any "hidden" place where there is poor water circulation.  Be sure to shock thru the skimmer to clean out the lines.  When adding a peroxide shock like Soft Swim "C" or Baqua Shock thru the skimmer be very careful & add it slowly.  Treating the pool's plumbing lines with Soft Swim Assist will also help.  Essentially, you want to get your peroxide shock level over 60 & keep it there for about a week - at least.  This treatment would require about 8 to 12 gallons of shock.  By the way, don't use the cheaper generic stuff; it just doesn't seem to work as well (that's what our customers tell us). If your pool is treated with chlorine, you'll need to hit it well with Burn Out Extreme for a good shock (12 lbs or more).  Again clean, clean, clean.

Question: I have an above ground 10,000 gallon pool.  I have had problems with pink slimy mold around underside of ladder rungs and around underside of skimmer and hoses.  After draining pool and refilling we changed to chlorine and have "shocked" it 3 times this week.  We had formerly used Baquacil products and I am very leery about going back to this product.  Are pool molds as prevalent with chlorine pools? Thank you for the info you have on your website regarding pool molds.  I have gotten very little info on it from our local Baquacil dealer. 

Answer: Make sure that the chlorine holds on the high side (3.0 or more) for several days.  You may want to run some of the shock treatment through the skimmer (be sure to remove any slow dissolving tabs or sticks from the skimmer) to purge the hoses between the filter & pool.

As far as White Water Mold (WWM) & Pink Slime (PS) are concerned, both conditions used to be more prevalent in biguanide (Baquacil or Soft Swim) pools.  However, we have seen more & more cases of them in chlorine pools over the past couple of years.  Most of the WWM & PS is more than likely coming from the make up water you add to the pool (especially city / municipal water).  You've probably noticed a lot more pink rings in your toilet & shower over the past couple of years.  The stuff is not pathogenic, but it looks awful.

The keys to controlling WWM & PS are regular shocking of the pool AND good old' elbow grease with brushing & cleaning of all the pool surfaces.  Using additional products such as BioGuard Optimizer Plus is great because it will take away some of the "work" of sanitizer in better algae prevention & allow the chlorine, bromine or biguanide to "concentrate" on bacteria.  Follow a good weekly 3 step care program PLUS the Optimizer Plus AND good water balance (pH, total alkalinity & calcium hardness) & you'll have a pretty easy to care for pool.

Follow up question: I wanted to change out my pool filter at the end of the summer. I have chemically cleaned it several times in the last month as we have been battling the water mold issues.  

1. Is super chlorinating the water harsh on the filter?  I wasn't sure if I should hold off on tossing the old filter and putting in the new filter until I have completed the frequent shock treatments, or if it is better to start the new filter now as the water is clearing (does mold linger in the filter?).  The old filter still seems to work fine.  I was just going to change it prophyllactically as it is 2 swimming seasons old (just use pool during the 3-4 summer months).
2. Also, do I need to chlorinate/disinfect the bathing suits? I had read on another website that normal laundering does not kill the mold. 

Follow up Answer: Super chlorinating is not hard on the filter.  They can take it.  However, you may want to consider putting ones in next season.  Biguanides & the stuff they trap can be hard on filters, so when anyone is converting from one system to another, we always recommend putting new filters in & keep the old ones as spares (like for when you're first starting up & have a fair amount of junk in the pool).  Also put new hoses on the filter system next spring when you get started. It just makes sense. 

As far as the bathing suits are concerned - I wouldn't worry about them.  I've never heard of transmission of WWM or PS between pools due to bathing suits.  Is it possible - possibly?  If you wanted to wash them using a bit of bleach, it certainly wouldn't hurt.

Question: I have pink algae [slime - remember that it is NOT algae, Par Pool & Spa notation] as well as at least one kind of green or black.  I have three floating chlorine dispensers going but no matter how much chlorine granules I add on top of the dispensers, I can’t seem to keep any chlorine in the pool so after I brush and adjust chemicals and add algaecide, the algae keeps returning.  I have a Hayward C-1250 cartridge filter which I run for about 6 hours a day.  I live in San Jose Ca. not exactly hot and right now the pool temperature is pretty cool.  Usually the cool weather ends the algae season but not this year.  This is the 1st summer for pink algae in the pool.  The pool is 19 years old and has never been drained.  I notice you don’t recommend draining by Leslies says to drain.  HELP.   Also, when I use the wire brush to scrape off the algae from the sides and when I clean the filter a chalky pasty green white stuff comes off. Is this me scraping the plaster off my pool?

Answer: It sounds like you have a serious chlorine demand issue caused by the algae & the pink slime.  The algae provide a terrific bed for the pink slime to breed & flourish. The ONLY way to combat this is to AGGRESSIVELY shock the pool with chlorine.  Depending on the pool size, you may need to shock with possibly 25 to 50 lbs. of chlorine at one time to completely kill it. Unless you thoroughly eradicate the algae, it WILL come back.  Once you get it cleaned up, the pool MUST be shocked & algaecided weekly.  Don't skip.  When you skip, that's when the problems begin.

As far as the filter goes, for best results, we always recommend running the filter a minimum of 10 hours daily.  That icky looking stuff would be a normal color for the algae that is being trapped.

In regards to your concern about the plaster walls, you may be getting close to needing the pool replastered after 19 years.  There's no set time, it all depends on the look of the plaster, but more importantly, how the pool has been chemically treated & balanced over the years.  pH, Total Alkalinity & in particular the Calcium Hardness MUST be maintained in their proper levels otherwise, etching of the pool's surfaces WILL occur - sometimes sooner than later.


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