Getting Rid of Swimming Pool Algae

As summer progresses, one of the best ways to enjoy the hot sunny days is swimming in or lounging by a pool. Pool owners consider themselves lucky during the summer heat waves, but many frequently battle to keep their pools clean and attractive. Pool algae is one of the most prominent problems that pool owners deal with, and getting rid of algae is a constant struggle.

While algae may be unsightly, it is not a disease nor is it hazardous to swimmer’s health. Algae is a water-based plant that lives off of sunlight and carbon dioxide. While swimming pool algae is microscopic, other forms of algae include marine seaweed that washes up on beaches. Although pool algae is not dangerous, pool bacteria, which can cause illnesses, tend to feed off of algae and multiply. Thus, pool algae should be taken care of when first discovered.

Many pool owners agree that controlling algae is easier than trying to completely get rid of it. When trying to get rid of algae, harsh algae killers and algaecide are normally needed, and its usually required that the pool not be used during the treatment. Additionally, many algae killers recommend scrubbing the walls and floor before or during use to maximize effect, an activity that can be difficult and time-consuming.

When choosing a strategy to control algae, pool owners should first identify the type of algae present. There are three common types of pool algae. The most common is green algae which is a free-floating algae. It is normally found on the sides or steps of a pool but, unlike other algae, it is not attached to the pool itself. Green algae grows when a pool’s chemistry is off, and thus, even the slightest change in a pool’s chlorine level can result in green algae build up. Luckily, its easily avoided by maintaining and monitoring the pool’s chemistry.

The second most common type of pool algae is yellow algae. This algae tends to be yellow or “mustard” in color and usually takes longer to develop then green algae. Normally, if green algae is taken care of when first spotted, yellow algae will not be able to fully develop. However, while yellow algae is less common, it is more problematic than green algae. Once yellow algae develops, it can attach itself to the pool making it very difficult to get rid of. Moderate to harsh algae killers are usually recommended for yellow algae.

The third type of algae, and the most difficult to combat, is black algae. Unlike green algae, when black algae develops it immediately takes hold to the sides and floor of the pool. Black algae can also appear as dark blue or dark green algae, but should not be confused with green algae (usually a lighter shade). Black algae also develops a wax-like coating which makes it even harder to get rid of. Treatment usually requires an algaecide specific to black algae as well as daily brushing of the pool’s sides and floor. Treatment isn’t successful in a day, but over time, can get rid of black algae.


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