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Algae In Your Swimming Pool

Algae In Your Swimming Pool

Controlling the growth of algae in your swimming pool is an ongoing process that is just a part of pool ownership. Fortunately, regular care and maintenance will help minimize algal growth. However, if you do notice algal growth on your pools surfaces or if your water begins to turn cloudy, it is important to take action quickly. Algae can spread across your pool's surface and plumbing very quickly. The longer it has to establish itself, the harder it is to eliminate.  

What Is Algae

Algae is a very diverse group of organisms that belong to the kingdom Protista. Algae carry on the process of photosynthesis but they do not have the same leaves, stems, and roots that we associate with plants. They also reproduce asexually, producing spores similar to mosses and bacteria. 

Algae use a variety of photosynthetic pigments similar to chlorophyll. These pigments are helpful in the identification process. The color of your infected pool water will depend on the type algae present. These colors can vary from dark green, neon green, yellow, pink, red, brown, and even black. Determining the type of algae present in your swimming pool will help you select the most effective treatment. 

Prevention of Algae

We all know the expression, An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is absolutely to case for algae in your swimming pool. It takes a lot less time to take prevention measures than to clean a pool full of algae. 

To prevent algae from growing in your pool you will need to maintain proper water balance, especially alkalinity, pH, and chlorine levels. In addition, you will need regularly brush all pool surfaces, keep your filtration system optimized, and maintain sanitizer levels. If these are practiced regularly, you should not have any issues with algal growth. But, let's face it, life happens and algae happens. So, one day you will need to rid your pool of one algae or another. Don't worry, in most cases, algae is fairly simple to remove from your pool.

Common Types of Pool Algae

Green Algae

Green algae is probably the most common variety of pool algae. Green algae is easy to control but should be treated immediately because it reproduces very quickly and can spread into your pool plumbing and other equipment. You will first see green algae on the bottom of your pool in corners and other locations where circulation is weak. Brush these spots regularly. You will notice the formation of a small green cloud after brushing. Your sanitizer should be able to neutralize the suspended algae. Run your filter for a few hours after balancing your water and brushing. 

Yellow Mustard Algae

Yellow Mustard Algae is much more stubborn that green algae and it's often resistant to chlorine. Mustard algae is also sort of tricky to identify. It can look like a stain or a sandy substance on the pool floor. 

One of the features of mustard algae that makes it difficult to eliminate is its ability to remain alive and viable on things around your pool outside of the water. For example, mustard algae spores can exist on your pool tools, equipment, toys, and even bathing suits. This means you and other family members can reintroduce the algae back into your pool after treatment. This results in the recontamination of the water and will require continued treatment. 

Black Algae

Black algae is probably the hardest type of algae to get rid of. Black algae loves porous surfaces like concrete and grout. Because of this, black algae is most often found living in concrete swimming pools. It is difficult to remove because the black algae sends little tendrils like roots into the pores of the concrete. It is impossible to completely remove black algae with surface brushing. This deep penetrating action also makes black algae resistant to chlorine. Like brushing, chlorine can't penetrate deep into the pores of concrete. 

Black algae is not more harmful that other types of algae, it's just harder to completely eliminate. 

Red Algae

Red algae will appear as pinkish slime in your pool. It is sometimes referred to as pink algae. Red algae is not as dangerous as it is gross. A build up of red algae will cause your pool surfaces to become slippery. Like black algae, red algae can contaminate bathing suits, toys, and pool tools. This can add it's persistence. It is also resistant to chlorine and other sanitizers. Red algae can take hold when water is not balanced or in pools in very shady areas. Red algae can also be introduced into swimming pools by heavy rain. Red algae can damage concrete, grout, and plaster. It is important to treat red algae as soon as it is identified. 

Preventing Algae in Your Swimming Pool

Preventing algal outbreaks in your swimming pool comes down to simple maintenance. 

  • keep your water balanced
  • brush your pool surfaces regularly
  • maintain your filter medium
  • keep your circulation optimized 

If these are all working together, you should not be bothered by algae very often. But, sometimes we all get busy or go on vacation and our pools are temporarily neglected and at risk of algal contamination.  

Most of the time brushing and shocking your pool will do the trick. You may have to double your normal amount of shock to eliminate heavy algal contamination. I have even heard of people using 3X the amount of their typical shock, but I have never had to use this technique. 

When all else fails, it's time to all an algaecide product. These come in various strengths and formulas. I recommend;



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