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Can Aquatabs be used to prepare/chlorinate water for swimming? They are used to clean water for drinking so is it safe to assume that if used in proper quantity they can also clean water for swimming?

We are currently at a place where there is no pool and the temperatures are soaring, our 3 year old son has a small pool which we take along on picnics. I was not able to find pool chlorine somewhere over here but we do have adequate quantity of aquatabs with us.

I tested this and the water smelled/tasted just like it does in a properly chlorinated pool but want to be sure if they are adequate.

Just in case, the label says

Each tablet contains 500mg Sodium Dichloroisocyanurate (300mg Free available chlorine)

I am not really worried about maintaining a pH level over the matter of days, its more of a one time thing then we can change water.

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  • $\begingroup$ What is the source water? Is it turbid (cloudy, silty)?And FYI, taste/smell should not be an indicator of a properly chlorinated pool, because if done properly a pool should not have that "chlorine smell" (it's actually chloramines you're smelling in a bad pool). $\endgroup$ – prof.kvothe May 9 '17 at 12:45
  • $\begingroup$ Its very clean and theres no visible trace of dirt or contamination in it. People use it for drinkng as well after boiling it but we use Aquatabs for precaution $\endgroup$ – Hanky Panky May 9 '17 at 15:04
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Aquatabs can certainly be used as a disinfectant in a small swimming pool like you've described. The active ingredient has many uses, including drinking water treatment as you've pointed out, but it is also used as a disinfectant in swimming pools.

According to this Wikipedia article regarding the active ingredient of Aquatabs, sodium dichloroisocyanurate:

As a disinfectant, it is used to sterilize drinking water, swimming pools, tableware and air, fight against infectious diseases as routine disinfection.

A study was done[1] comparing the effectiveness of sodium hypochlorite (common household bleach, also used for pool chlorination) with sodium dichloroisocyanurate. From the abstract:

A comparison of commercial sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) and sodium dichloroisocyanurate (NaDCC) products was made. Solutions of NaOCl and NaDCC containing the same levels of available chlorine (av.Cl) exhibited very similar bactericidal activities, despite significant differences in pH.

The ideal level of active chlorine for a swimming pool at neutral pH is about 0.5 to 1.5 mg of active chlorine per liter of pool water. So, if you aim for the middle of this range, you would want to add one Aquatab tablet for every 300 liters of water in your pool. Also, note that chlorine is less than half as effective at a pH of 8 as it is at a pH of 7, so I would pay some attention to the pH anyway.

  1. D. Coates, J. Hosp. Infect. 1985, 6 (1),31-40. A comparison of sodium hypochlorite and sodium dichloroisocyanurate products. DOI: 10.1016/S0195-6701(85)80015-3
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  • $\begingroup$ Great! Also, I have one comment on a comment made to your question; you definitely should smell some chlorine. It is true that the smell of chloramines can fool one into thinking their pool is properly or even over chlorinated when in fact it's just been neglected and bodily fluids and other stuff have used up the chlorine, leaving the stinky chloramine byproduct. As you've described your use case (changing water after a few days) I wouldn't worry about this. Again, the smell of chlorine is perfectly normal when you've done everything correctly. $\endgroup$ – airhuff May 11 '17 at 13:49
  • $\begingroup$ Yep, that is why i didnt argue on that comment. I swim frequently enough to be able to distinguish properly chlorinated pool's smell vs properly contaminated pool :) $\endgroup$ – Hanky Panky May 11 '17 at 14:45

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