What to do

I have a 30 foot above ground pool I have had a problem with algae all summer. It has continued getting worse and I have put every chemical that was suggested to me by my local pool company. Another company suggested I uses blackjack yellow then 6 gallons of shock. I did this and nothing has gotten any better. I have had my water tested at a local pool company and bought a whole set of chemicals that they said I needed still with no improvement in the algae. I have no chlorine in my water and no bromine. I drain my water to skimmer level at least 2x weekly,recently I started backwashing 5-10 minutes and rinsing every day.I would say I have spent right at $1000 and put more shock in my pool than I can count. My pool is still green. Can someone please help me with this ?? I am at my wits end and almost end of my financial outlay this pool

We are sorry to hear of your issues, but we are happy to help!

The only chemical you need is plain chlorine (preferably liquid).  If you use liquid chlorine either use pool chlorine or plain, unscented, unthickened (cheapo) bleach.  You really don’t want to or need to add anything else.

A good test kit like the Taylor K-2006 is recommended since you will need to know the levels of the stabilizer in your pool to get the necessary levels of bleach to kill the algae.  Figure out the level of stabilizer and use TroubleFreePool.com’s recommended chlorine level that you get from the drop-down menu here to see how much chlorine you will need to get to shock level.  MAINTAIN that level (be patient - this will take a few days) until an overnight chlorine loss test indicates no chlorine loss from sunset to sunup (this may be a day or more after the water is clear).

Our guide on How to Clean a Green Pool? gives much more detail, but it’s basically about finding out what level of chlorine you need to really shock your pool and maintaining that level for a few days until the algae is gone.  It is reasonably simple, inexpensive, and it works!

Keep us updated!

I am sorry to bother you but buying pool bleach is very affordable. My pool master testing kit I believe has been affected by our really hot weather. I can’t afford the $ for the kit from the link. I have overspent more than I could afford buying chemicals, algae killers etc. I asked our local chemical company if there was a company that sold test strips that they would recommend and they said their customers used Easy Test Pool and Spa Test Strips 7in1. Using those strips . No cyanuric levels were present at all. In fact the block that was supposed to be orange was green. I couldn’t use the info on the link you sent me because I had to enter a cyanuric level and there wasn’t an option for 0. I know it must be aggravating when someone asks for help and starts crying off with a problem but I need info if you can help me out. I can’t find one single pool service that offers this service


  • I’m sorry that your local pool companies have treated you so disrespectfully. We can clear your pool using nothing more than pool chlorine and maybe some stabilizer if there really isn’t any in the water. And based on your statement about draining and backwashing, you probably don’t have any stabilizer.

The first thing we need is information. Since the pool is above ground I’m assuming it has a vinyl liner. 
Yo can get the other information from the pool company. 
Take a water sample back to the pool store and have them test it. Most pool stores test water either by using reagents in a dropper bottle or with a digital water tester. Either will be adequate for the initial information.

NOTE: If they use test strips take the sample and go to another store. Test strips are unreliable and useless.

Here is the initial information we need:

  1. How many gallons of water are in your pool. This is very important. The pool store can figure this out for you. You’ll just need to tell them the length (30 feet) whether it’s round or oval or oblong and how deep it is. I’m assuming it has a flat bottom.
  2. Free chlorine reading.
  3. PH level.
  4. Total Alkalinity.
  5. Calcium Hardness.
  6. CYA (stabilizer) level. 
    They should give you a print out of all the information. 
    Also, what type of filter do you have?

Do not let them sell you any chemicals. Tell them you will get back to them! 
With this information we can start the clearing process. But you are gonna have to make some decisions. This process requires that we shock the water With enough chlorine to kill the algae. The shock level is determined by the amount of stabilizer in the water.

The shock level needs to be maintained until all the algae is dead. This means testing the chlorine levels frequently. So you are going to need to take a water sample to the pool store several times a day or buy a test kit like the one InyoRich recommended. The PoolMaster kit you have is an OTO reagent kit that only reads up to 5ppm of chlorine and the shock level we need to maintain will likely be more than twice that high. The Taylor K-2006 kit is a FAS/DPD chlorine test kit capable of reading chlorine levels up to 50 ppm.

Your only other alternative is to drain the pool, scrub the liner with a water/chlorine solution to kill the algae and refill the pool

If you decide to do that please let us know and I would recommend that you get the Taylor kit so you can do your own testing going forward. And come back here when you start refilling the pool and we can tell you how much stabilizer you need and tell you about inexpensive household products you can use to get the TA and PH levels where they need to be.



Finally some hope!! I know the volume of the pool- 22,000 gal. It is an oval pool with a vinyl liner . But I have a problem, in April I had minor traffic accident, which was not my fault. (Funny, I should want somebody to know that,)  but the insurance company said it was a total loss. It was not an expensive car but  I had everything put in it from leather seats to the limit. They offered me a really small amount as a settlement. I tried dealing with them, telling them the upgrades that I had put on the car. At 78. I planned on this being my last car… I I bough a car with low mileage at a cut rate dealer. The car has a defective transmission and it is in the shop. I’ve had it a month😠 I don’t have any transportation until I get it back. I do have a pool master test kit that has the test tubes and reagent. I feel the reagent is patent I just don’t have the chart that you compare samples. I am going to go to the pool master website and see if they have a chart on there that I could look at as I do the tests. or should I drain the pool, scrub the bottom and sides and fill it back up to the skimmer then use a pool opening kit. That will be a solo job but I am very willing to do it. By the time I get the pool up to speed it will be time to shut it down. But I will deal with that later. It has already cost me so much. So what do you think I should do? This has been an ordeal and I will proceed as you recommend.


I can’t tell you what you should do. But I can point out some things you should consider. 
If you drain the pool you need to consider the water cost to refill it. 22,000 gallons is a lot of water. In some municipalities the cost of water is very reasonable. In other municipalities water costs are high. Some municipalities (depending on drought conditions and other factors) won’t allow people to fill their pools from the city/county water supply. They require that pool owners use water suppliers and that means trucking the water in and that gets expensive in a hurry. Your municipality can give you this information.
If you are on well water that could present other issues.
If you drain and refill the pool you’re still going to have the costs for chemicals needed to bring the stabilizer, PH, TA and calcium hardness to the acceptable levels to let the sanitizer work efficiently. 
Your cost for sanitizer (chlorine) will be less if you drain and refill but if the cost for water is a lot more than the cost of the chlorine you haven’t saved anything.

I can give you a ballpark figure of what the chlorine costs would be and once you find out what the water would cost to refill, you can make the decision. 
For a 22,000 gallon pool with a stabilizer level in the 35 ppm range the chlorine shock level that you would need to maintain until the algae is dead is 14ppm. 
With no chlorine in the water you would need 4 gallons of 10% pool chlorine initially and that 14 ppm level would need to be maintained until all the algae is dead. You wouldn’t need to add that much chlorine every time. You would take chlorine readings every 2-4 hours during the day, subtract the chlorine level in the water from 14 and add enough chlorine to bring the level back to 14 ppm. 
We should be able to accomplish this with 15 gallons of 10% chlorine give or take a gallon or 2. 
In my town the local WallyWorld carries Pool Essentials 10% pool chlorine for $5.47 a gallon. So 15 gallons would cost $82. plus tax. 
If you don’t have a Walmart in your area check the big box home improvement stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot. If you have an Ace hardware in your area, some of those stores carry it. If all that fails check the pool supply stores but be prepared to pay more. The pool supply stores in my area charge almost 3 times as much for a gallon of pool chlorine as Walmart.

You pool master test kit won’t work for this. You’re gonna need an adequate test kit or you’re gonna need to take the water and have it tested several times a day l

Let us know how you want to proceed and we will help you anyway we can.

  • j

Lordy I had a response and it went away. I just put two more chlorine tabs in the pool. The water is still green and now it has small flakes of algae, floating in it with a few bubbles. My daughter accidentally dreamed the pool, a couple of years agoand I filled it back up and I think my water bill was $400 but in today’s economy it might be $800. I’m just concerned that if I drain the pool and over the winter, the liner might crack. If I covered it, would that be an issue if there was no water in it? I am done with this pool I am telling you. If I could, I would set the whole thing on fire and let it go up and smokebecause I had a $10,000 deck put around it about three years ago and since I can’t swim I haven’t gotten a lot of use out of it. There was a lady that works on pools that was supposed to come by here yesterday, but she stood me up. So I will just see if anybody has any suggestions. I know that to keep throwing good money after bed would be fruitless and expensive. I just can’t get the concept of it and I don’t know why. I have went to the chemical company twice and bought chemicals after they tested my water and gave me a printout and they said I needed chlorine and bromide. I was told that there was absolutely no chlorine in the water. I got every chemical that they suggested and I followed the directions religiously even setting my alarm so I could get up and put the chemicals in the pool at the right time.My daughter decided on her own to drain a couple of years ago the pool because the pump was not working correctly. So I had to refill it completely and I think my water bill is about $400, but at least it was a one time charge and the chemicals except for the chlorine and the clarifier would probably be a one time charge, and the chlorine would be an ongoing charge. if I did drain the pool and going into fall, and winter would be liner crack over the winter if I put a cover on it? I’ve never had anything beat me like this because I can’t figure it out. It seems like it just turned green overnight and that was it. The fact I am on SSI is problematic because I don’t have the access to money like I once did

a pool is a hole in the ground that you throw your money into

“I’m just concerned that if I drain the pool and over the winter, the liner might crack. If I covered it, would that be an issue if there was no water in it?”

I think that would depend on a lot of factors…the age of the liner, how cold it gets in your area, etc;. I’m not qualified to answer that question. Maybe InyoRich or another InyoPools staffer could answer that for you.

“I have went to the chemical company twice and bought chemicals after they tested my water and gave me a printout and they said I needed chlorine and bromide.”

I’ve never heard of bromide for pools. Did you mean Bromine instead of Bromide? If they said you need chlorine AND bromine you need to stop listening to them. Chlorine and Bromine are both sanitizers for pools but they aren’t compatible with one another. You use one or the other, not both.

And you don’t need all of the other chemicals that you have mentioned, blackjack yellow (that’s for mustard alge), algaecide, opening kits, clarifier…

The only things I use in my pool are stabilizer, liquid chlorine, baking soda for total alkalinity (and the PH should stabilize in the recommended levels) calcium chloride and occasionally Muriatic acid if the PH drifts too high and needs to be lowered.

If you are willing to get the test Taylor K-2006 test kit and get the stabilizer and liquid chlorine that is going to be needed, we can kill the algae and clear the water up.

This is my water…and we just had a storm that dumped 1 1/2" of rain

Draining your pool completely for the winter would probably be disastrous.  The water pressure helps the stability of the pool; with no water it would be relatively easy for a winter storm to blow the walls down and, if you put a cover on it, any weight from snow/ice/water could also fold the walls inward.  Follow JCMC70’s advice - you will only need chlorine and a test kit - and be patient.  Your pool will eventually clear up perfectly!