Algae growth is a very common problem among swimming pool owners. There is nothing dangerous about algae itself. In fact, you can purchase it in health supplements. However, algae is really good at converting sunlight into food and then realeasing waste. This waste creates an hospitable environment for harmful bacteria and other undesirable micro-organisms.
There are over 20,000 species of algae, but only a few are ever found in swimming pool water. You can't really keep algae out of the pool--it is constantly landing in the water. It is not until sanitizer levels drop that algae becomes a problem. In just a few hours, algae can multiply and take over a swimming pool.
Types of Swimming Pool Algae
Algae is commonly identified and referred to by its color.
Green algae is the most commonly found in swimming pools and is easy to prevent and treat (relatively speaking).
Yellow--or Mustard--algae is more difficult to treat than green algae, but does respond to treatments.
Black algae is not only unsightly, it can be very difficult to eradicate from your swimming pool.
Pink algae is not actually algae, but a fungus called Paecilomyces Iilacinus. It creates white, pink, or grey colonies that are slimy.
Treating Swimming Pool Algae
The best way to deal with swimming pool algae is prevention. Proper water balance and sanitizer levels will prevent spores from taking over the pool. The most effective sanitizer is chlorine, which should be present in the water at a minimum of 1.0 part per million (ppm).
Once you have an algae problem, you have some work to do:
- Check the pH levels of the pool water. You want it to be in the range of 7.2 - 7.6. This will help the chlorine do its job more effectively.
Use a monitoring system like our ePool Wireless Water Chemistry Monitoring System to get notifications sent to you when chemical levels are out of balance!
- Shock treat the pool water with the pool filter system running. You need at least 10 ppm of chlorine.
- Circulate the water 24 hours a day until the algae is completely gone.
- Brush the walls and floor of the pool thoroughly and then vacuum. Repeat daily until the algae is completely gone from the pool.
- Purchase an algaecide formulated for the type of algae in your pool (green, yellow, etc.). Add it to the water according to the manufacturer's instructions. Add algaecide weekly to prevent algae from returning.
- If the algae problem does not significantly improve in 12-24 hours, shock the pool again.
- Clean or backwash your filter to ensure any live spores are cleared out. Do this regularly as part of preventative maintenance.
- Submerge all of your cleaning equipment (brooms, vacuums, etc) in algaecide overnight to ensure you've killed any spores that may be hiding on them.
Note: Do not use the swimming pool until all the algae is gone and chlorine levels are back to 3 ppm or less.
How do you handle algae problems in your pool? Got any tips or tricks to share? Tell us in the comments!