How to Get Rid of Algae

Types of Algae

Algae is a marine organism that multiplies rapidly in warm, sunny weather. It can enter a pool by wind, rain, or contaminated equipment and swimsuits. Algae thrives when chemicals are imbalanced in the pool.  Often this is due to poor circulation. While algae is not typically harmful to swimmers, it can be quite a nuisance.   If not treated immediately, algae can block filter pores, consume chlorine, become breeding ground for pathogens like E-coli, and permanently damage pool walls from the deep penetration of algae roots.  There are three main types of algae that appear in the typical swimming pool: Green Algae, Mustard Algae, and Black Algae.

Green Algae

Green Algae is the most common swimming pool algae.  This algae tends to free-float in the swimming pool, causing the water to become murky and green.  It is the easiest kind of algae to get rid of.  

Yellow Algae or Mustard Algae

Yellow algae tends to grow in shady areas of pools along the wall and bottom of the pool.  It is easily mistaken for sand, therefore not always taken care of in a timely manner. Yellow algae is more difficult to get rid of.

Black Algae

Black Algae creates deep roots in the sides and floors of the pool.  Black algae is the most difficult type to get rid of, and if all of the roots are not aggressively removed, the algae will come back.  Luckily, it is the least common type of algae.  


How to Get Rid of Algae

The first step to getting rid of algae is to ensure that your filter is properly working, and your water chemistry is where it should be.  Set your pump and filter to run 24 hours a day, and backwash your filter as necessary.  The pH levels in the pool should be between 7.4 and 7.6 and alkalinity levels should be between 120 and 150 parts per million.

The next thing you need to do is scrub the walls and bottom of your pool with the proper pool brush.  If you have a plaster or gunite pool, use a heavy duty wire brush.  However if you have a vinyl, fiberglass or tiled pool, use a nylon brush to safely brush the pool walls.  The chemicals will be more effective after scrubbing the walls.  

Next, shock the pool with chlorine.  Depending on how widespread the algae has become, it may be necessary to triple shock the pool.  Use a bucket to add a little bit of water to the chemicals to dissolve them before adding them to the pool.  Always add the chemical to water, rather than water to the chemicals.  Pour the mixture into the swimming pool, evenly distributing the mixture throughout the pool.  Repeat the process after three days if necessary.

If the algae is still stubborn after a few chlorine shocks, add some algaecide to the water.  It is important to purchase the right kind of algaecide for the type of algae in the pool.  Wait until the chlorine ppm has dropped below 5.0, then add the algaecide and brush the pool again.

After the algae is scrubbed off the walls and floor of the pool, vacuum the pool.  If you are using your filter as a vacuum, make sure the valve is set to waste and you clean your filter often.  You must remove as much algae as possible so that the algae cannot continue to reproduce inside the pool.  

The last step is to sanitize all pool equipment and swimming suits.  Algae finds its way onto pool toys and suits, so it is necessary to clean them before placing them in your algae-free pool.

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