Pool Water Problems - What do I do Now?

An at-a-glance look at how to fix what ails your pool.


Possible Cause


Water is Cloudy, Smoky Or Hazy
  • Poor circulation or filtration
  • Back-wash and clean filter. Clean skimmer baskets and pump strainer basket. Filter may need chemical cleaning
  • Improper water balance
  • Test pH, Total Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness. Adjust if necessary
  • High Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) and/or Calcium Hardness.
  • If one or both are high, TDS over and/or Calcium Hardness. 3,000 ppm or Calcium Hardness over 400 ppm, drain off 1/3 to 1/2 of your pool water and replace with fresh water. Then adjust chemical balance
  • Excess organic waste
  • Shock with 1 Lb. Suncoast Super Shock for every 10,000 gallons of pool water.
  • High Total Alkalinity
  • Low sanitizer level
  • Add chlorine to bring it to its proper range
Water Is Green
  • Green algae growth, a free-floating variety which imparts a cloudy green color to the water. It's easy to correct if treated early.
  • Low Total Alkalinity.
Yellow Or Green Dust On Floor And Walls
  • Mustard algae
Black Spots On Floor And Walls
  • Black algae, a very resistant, hard-to-kill variety which appears as small, black dots or blotches that are pin-head to quarter-sized on the walls and bottom of the pool.
  • Suncoast Super Black Algaecide is the finest product on the market for the treatment of black algae. If Metal Control is used in conjunction with Suncoast Super Black Algaecide, even the most severe problems can be eliminated faster. You need to brush the spots to remove them after chemical treatment.
Pink Slime
  • Pink Slime is a form of bacteria with a pinkish center that's surrounded by a fl at gelatinous mass. This bacteria can usually be tracked to some swimmer who has recently visited a coastal area where this type of growth is common.
  • Double shock the pool with 2 gallons of liquid chlorine per 10,000 gallons of pool water. After 48 hours, use Suncoast All In One Algaecide at twice the recommended rate for visible algae.
Water is Sudsy
  • Overuse of some types of algaecides.
  • Discontinue use of current algaecide and switch to a high-quality, non-foaming one such as Suncoast All In One Algaecide. You may want to replace some of the pool water with fresh water and/or use Suncoast Stop Foam.
Water Burns Eyes
  • Low or high pH.
  • Check pH and adjust to 7.4 - 7.6 range.
  • Excessive organic wastes.
  • Too much sanitizer.
  • Check automatic chlorinator setting.
Water Tastes Salty
  • High Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)
  • Drain 1/2 water in the pool and replace with fresh water.
Blonde Hair Turns Green
  • Usually occurs in natural blondes or blonde children between the ages of 6 and 13, because of the amount of time they spend in the water. Also, certain forms of copper at concentrations of 1 or 2 ppm, like those found in some algaecides, can turn hair green.
  • If the problem is due to reaction with a copper, consider a special shampoo. Shampoos, like those containing aloe vera or anti-chlorine shampoos, are available to neutralize the chlorine reaction. If copper is your problem, add a sequestering agent to disable the copper minerals in water.
Chlorine Test Turns Orange
  • Pool water has a very high chlorine content , above 4 ppm.
  • Discontinue using chlorine until chlorine returns to normal, or use a chlorine neutralizer.
pH Test Looks Purple Or Blue
  • Very high chlorine content.
  • Neutralize chlorine and retest.
pH Always Tests Too High
  • High Total Alkalinity.
ph Always Too Low
  • Total Alkalinity is too low.
  • Use of Tri-chlor or other low pH disinfectants.

View Pool Water Problems portion of our Pool Care Tips manual.