Swimming Pool Algae and the Different Types

By January 24, 2021 April 30th, 2021 Water Chemistry
Swimming Pool Algae

There are few things as delightful as a swim in your pool on a hot day, but equally as few things as off-putting as encountering algae during your dip. Algae is slick and unsightly, often discoloring the water and surfaces around the area. If you have a pool, you may notice algae. Algae is a living organism that appears quickly, and that can clog your filters, cloud your water, and ruin your swim. This slippery plant is generally caused by the sun, so if your pool is in a sunny location, battling algae may seem like a full-time job. Certainly, hiring a pool professional in the area to regularly clean and maintain chemistry is a prudent and practical option that makes sense.

Pool owners should also realize that there are several different types of algae that they may see in or near their pools. Depending on the type, removing algae requires some effort and attention.

Here is what you should know about different types of swimming pool algae:

Green Algae

You have probably seen green algae – the slimy kind that lurks on your swimming pool, jacuzzi, and hot-tub or spa. When it comes to green algae, you should wipe or brush it away at the first sign. Once it begins to grow, it can be more difficult to remove, and removal does not necessarily kill the algae, itself. It is a fast-growing species that spreads quickly when ignored.

Yellow Algae

Yellow algae is sometimes called ‘mustard algae’ because of its distinctive color. Yellow algae does not grow quite as fast as green algae, but it is harder to get rid of once it arrives. Brushing is not the ideal way to get rid of yellow algae, though you may start with a rigorous scrub while also super-chlorinating your pool’s water; but, more on that later! Be wary when using a firm brush to scrub your pool that you don’t do damage to porous surfaces in the process.

Black or Blue-Green Algae

Black and blue-green algae are the same and are usually found in lakes, ponds, and other bodies of water. However, if your pool is ill-maintained or neglected, you could see it grow. Black algae is problematic and considered to be an issue that warrants professional pool service intervention. This type of algae can seep into the porous surfaces in and around the pool, causing stains and subsequent damages to your pool area.

Pink Algae

Pink algae is slimy and sometimes has an orange hue. You most commonly see pink algae along the swimming pool’s waterline, but also near any piping or PVC tubing that is near the water. Brush away pink algae and use a pool sanitizing product that is recommended by the manufacturer to keep algae at bay.

Preventing Algae

Algae prevention can help homeowners never have to scrub and deal with algae. Simple steps and strategies make maintaining a pool a lot easier- and make the pool a lot less susceptible to algae of any kind. Algae is a form of bacteria, so while it isn’t necessarily harmful to your health, it is unappealing and could indicate that the pool is not being cared for properly. However, if you ever observe thick scum on the water’s surface- either white, red, green, or brown- do not get in the pool. This could be a harmful organism that could be dangerous if ingested; stay out of the water and call a pool professional for assistance.

When trying to prevent algae, it can help to know what causes it in the first place. Some reasons you may have algae in your swimming pool include:

  • Hot temperatures
  • Circulation issues
  • Problems with the pool filter
  • Improper chemical balance
  • Excessive debris in the pool

When you know what is causing algae to grow, it can be easier to prevent it from growing. Some issues will be harder to contend with like if your pool is positioned in an area with too much sun or too much shade. In these situations, you may have to build or install an overhead or shelter, of some kind, to curb bacterial growth in the water.

There are some other, less-extreme things that pool owners can do to mitigate the risk of algae, including these suggestions:

  • Vacuum debris from your pool regularly.
  • Sanitize your pool with a recommended sanitizer.
  • Check the circulation system to ensure it is working properly.
  • Regularly brush the sides and surfaces of the pool.
  • Maintain proper chemistry.
  • Clean the filter regularly.

Arrange repairs or maintenance during times of the year when you may not use the pool as frequently, such as late fall or very early spring- depending on your climate.

Treating Algae

So, what else can you do to prevent and treat pool algae? What if you are noticing signs of an ongoing issue? Well, the first thing that pool owners may consider is to hire an area pool professional to clean and treat the pool on a regular schedule during peak usage months. They will manage issues like pH and algae for you- so all you do is enjoy your swimming pool!

However, if you want to maintain and prevent algae on your own, here are some tips:

  • Become familiar with testing the pH level of your swimming pool; there are kits and an online tutorial that can help! The ideal pH is around 7.2-7.6, so strive for a pH level within this range.
  • Make sure to be consistently sanitizing your pool’s water. It is recommended that you adhere to around 1-4 ppm chlorine residual, for optimal safety and sanitization.
  • Shock the pool when needed.

So, how do you shock the swimming pool? Why would you want to? In basic terms, shocking the pool involves super-chlorinating it to kill off any stubborn algae or bacteria that could be lurking in the water.

Shocking is when you add up to five-times more chlorine than normal to super-chlorinate the water and remove bacteria. Naturally, you need to stay out of the water when super-shocking; testing will indicate when it is safe to return to the pool. This is a very effective way at getting rid of algae that seem to continuously crop-up, due to sunlight, weather, or other environmental factors.

Algae is also a sign of stagnation. Run the pump more frequently to keep the water moving and decrease the opportunity for algae to grow. Take items like pool toys and accessories out of the pool and clean them thoroughly. Perhaps not surprisingly, things like inflatables and other pool toys can foster algae and make it more challenging to keep the pool water clean.

Got an issue with algae? Talk to the team at Pool Troopers and enjoy your sparkling-clean, clear swimming pool. Pool Troopers is a full-service swimming pool service company providing chemical service and pool cleaning to pool owners in Florida, Texas, and Arizona, since 1952. Call the professionals or schedule your appointment online today!