What Pool Chemicals do I need to Maintain My Pool?

green pool water treatment

Table of Contents

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

In a perfect world, we would be able to fill our pools with water and lounge back, and relax. However, when it comes to pool maintenance, several areas need to be treated and maintained. Suppose these areas are not given the needed attention. In that case, you can make are sure to quickly find yourself dealing with a breeding ground for multiple organisms and contaminants that will then lead to nasty and gross bacteria buildup.

By putting in a little bit of work up front, you will save yourself the heartache of dealing with an infestation of algae that could cause such an imbalance in your pool water that your only recourse would be to completely drain it and start from the beginning.

The Key To a Clean Pool—Chemicals

Let’s face it – you could put fresh, clean water into your new pool and skim and vacuum it until the cows come home, and believe it or not, the water would still get dingy and dirty. Nature and pools are not a good combination, as anything and everything will end up in your water—leaves, twigs, bugs that have taken their last breath, and let’s not forget about birds dive bombing it. YUCK!

There is also the fact that when we swim in our pools, we leave behind such items as hair, dead skin cells, shampoo, soap residue, and even body oils. Your pool will need several chemicals to maintain the proper balance to keep your water sparkling and clean.

The pool chemicals that you will need and that will need to be used in the proper order are:

  • Total Alkalinity
  • pH
  • Calcium Hardness
  • Sanitizer (aka Chlorine)
  • Cyanuric Acid (CYA)

You are probably wondering why these particular chemicals, in this specific order, are even needed in your pool, right? Well, unless you like swimming in something akin to the black lagoon, you will need to maintain a specific chemical balance.

But, what does each of these chemicals do precisely? We are glad you asked!


When sanitizing your pool water, there are several different options to choose from:

Chlorine Tablets
When using a 3-inch chlorine tablet, you will add approximately 5ppm (parts per million) of free chlorine to every 10,000 gallons of pool water. For best results, it is advised that you add two chlorine tablets each week for every 10,000 gallons of water, three chlorine tablets for 15,000 gallons, and 3-4 chlorine tablets for 20,000 gallons.

You can increase the chlorine content to approximately eight to ten ppm per 10,000 gallons of pool water using one pound bag of pool shock. It is suggested that for every 10,000 gallons of water, one bag of shock is needed per week (or as needed), one to two bags for 15,000 gallons per week, and two to three bags for 20,000 gallons of pool water per week.

Unlike chlorine, bromine is not stabilized but is an option for a gentler alternative to chlorine. Bromine is better utilized with indoor pools, where they are not exposed to sunlight, which will burn it off. There is the advantage that bromine has a longer life than that of chlorine. Bromine, in order to work efficiently, needs to reach a level of three to five ppm of sanitizer.


Alkalinity Increase (sodium bicarbonate)
A total alkalinity of ten ppm per 10,000 gallons of water can be reached with one pound when utilizing sodium bicarbonate. It is important to note that you will need a reading of eight to 120 ppm to achieve the ideal Total Alkalinity. To increase your Total Alkalinity of 10,000 gallons of pool water, you will need one pound of sodium bicarbonate for each ten ppm.

Alkalinity Decreaser (Dry Acid)
If you find that you’re Total Alkalinity levels have gotten too high, you can adjust them with the use of dry acid. To decrease your Total Alkalinity by ten ppm, for every 10,000 gallons of pool water, you will need to use two pounds of dry acid.

pH Increaser (soda ash)
PH works hand in hand with your chlorine, and as such, aids in it working more efficiently and gives it a longer life. PH also affects those reactions, such as how corrosive, neutral, or even scale forming your water will be. As a general guide and reference, six ounces of soda ash can increase the pH level by .2 for every 10,000 gallons of pool water. The ideal range for the pH in your pool is between 7.2 and 7.6.

Borax For pH Increase
If you do not have any soda ash on hand, you can use Borax to achieve the same effect. You will need twenty ounces of Borax, per 5,000 gallons of pool water, to raise the pH by 0.5.

pH Decreaser (muriatic acid)
If you find that your pH levels have gotten a little too high, you can lower them back down using sodium bisulfate, otherwise known as muriatic acid. In this case, it is best to follow the dosage amounts indicated by the manufacturer’s instructions.

Increasing Calcium Hardness
Calcium hardness plays a role in how the water feels—whether it feels soft and silky. The range for calcium hardness for the best feeling water is between two hundred and four hundred ppm. If the range goes any higher than that, you will feel a noticeable difference in your pool water’s overall texture. For each one pound of calcium harness added to 10,000 gallons of pool water, the hardness will increase by eight ppm.

Pool Stabilizer (cyanuric acid)
With the addition of one pound of cyanuric acid, the CYA levels in 10,000 gallons of pool water will increase to twelve ppm. The recommended range is thirty to fifty ppm.

Specialized Chemicals

In addition to the chemicals that we have already mentioned, a few specialized chemicals can be used when troubleshooting various water issues.

And algaecide is designed to kill any existing algae and prevent the formation and spawning of any new algae spores. For the best results, it is best to add your algaecide after you have balanced your water. Your first time, initial dose will need to be twelve ounces for every 10,000 gallons of pool water. Then, it is suggested that you maintain the process on a weekly basis, with three ounces per 10,000 gallons.

Phosphate Remover
Phosphate remover is excellent to use when you want to give your algaecide somewhat of a boost. This chemical is designed to work with your pool’s filter to remove any lingering phosphates in the water, which are what algae feed on. For the initial dose, it is suggested that you use five ounces per 10,000 gallons of pool water and then maintain it on a weekly routine with five ounces per 10,000 gallons as well.

A clarifier acts to clump any contaminants that may exist in your pool water, which in turn allows your filter to do a better job of catching them. An initial dosage of the clarifier is recommended to be four ounces per 10,000 gallons of pool water, with a weekly maintenance dosage of two ounces per 10,000 gallons.

The mineral systems present in the pool utilize minerals, specifically metals, to aid in the water’s sanitization—notable silver and copper. Silver is a well-known bactericide, and in some instances, copper is utilized as an algaecide. When placing these metals into water, upon contact, they will release positive ions, which instantly destroy those contaminants that are negatively charged. The minerals are supplements for chlorine and other pool sanitizing chemicals but are not intended to be the complete sanitizer system.

Enzymes are designed to aid in the keeping of those bacteria such as pink slime from forming in your pool water. However, they have a double advantage of preventing and removing organic stains. It is recommended that your initial dosage be five ounces per 10,000 gallons of pool water, with weekly maintenance of five ounces per 10,000 gallons as well.

Prevention of Stain & Scale

These two chemicals perform just as their names imply; however, typically, they will need to be purchased separately. The stain remover will work on organic and metal stains, whereas the scale will prevent the accumulation of calcium scaling and buildup. Typically each product has a lifespan of approximately six months, and it is suggested you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for dosage.


Here is a little “cheat sheet” of the chemicals you will need for your pool, along with how much of each one to utilize:

  • Tablets – Two tablets per week for every 10,000 gallons of water
  • Shock – One pound per week for every 10,000 gallons of water
  • Alkalinity Increase (sodium bicarbonate) – One pound to increase the Total Alkalinity by ten ppm for every 10,000 gallons of water
  • Alkalinity Decreaser (dry acid) – Two pounds to decrease the Total Alkalinity by ten ppm for every 10,000 gallons of water
  • Increase Calcium Hardness – One pound to increase Calcium Hardness by eight ppm for every 10,000 gallons of water
  • Cyanuric Acid – One pound to increase CYA by twelve ppm for every 10,000 gallons of water
  • Algaecide – Three ounces each week for every 10,000 gallons of water

Having a pool is not an easy endeavour, not by a long shot. But, if you do your research and your due diligence, it doesn’t have to be an arduous one either. The key to success is to make sure you use the proper chemicals in the appropriate order and the suggested amounts. Contact us today for all you pool chemical needs!


© Copyright 2022 Bliss Pools & Hot Tubs       Web Design & SEO Services by Adrian Martinez