A pool owner’s biggest nightmare is seeing algae growing in their swimming pool. Even running an automatic pool cleaner won’t remove algae, especially if it has been left to grow for a long time. This is because it sticks to the edges of the pool and protects itself from harm by a slimy covering or a very hard one. There are many types of algae, of which 4 main types are likely to be found in swimming pools.
- Green algae
- Black algae
- Pink algae and
- Yellow algae
While algae is not harmful to humans of itself, it can become a host to bacteria such as e.coli that are. Besides that, it looks horribly ugly and will spoil all the pleasure you have in your pool and swimming in it. If you have an algae infection in your pool it may not even be your fault. Algae spores can be blown into the pool where they wait for the right condition to grow and bloom.
Nearly all water sources have some kind of algae in them, including the ocean which is where black algae comes from. Green algae is found naturally in many watery homes such as the local creek or river, or any pool of water.
Green algae particularly can grow and bloom quickly, taking your pool water from very slightly opaque to fully green in just a few hours.
Conditions that algae love
All algae needs to the right conditions to grow and bloom. Here’s what to watch out for.
- Warm water temperatures
- Sunlight – especially green algae that needs sun to make chloropHyll.
- Nitrates in the water. This can happen if you fertilised the surrounding area then got a downpour of rain that washed water into the pool. It can also happen when there’s a thunderstorm with lightning, which produces nitrogen in the soil.
- Too high a pH level in the water, making chlorine less effective in killing spores.
- Poor circulation in the pool water
- Lack of sanitation. Teach your little ones to get out of the pool and go to the bathroom when they need to go. Not doing so creates pink algae.
Automatic cleaners can’t get rid of algae, although they can help in removing some of it from the water. Algae that sticks to the sides of the pool usually gets a very tight grip on it and must be scrubbed off with a stiff brush, or in the case of black algae with a wire brush to break the hard shell and allow tri-chlor, the solution that kills it in. Even then, the roots may grow back.
To keep algae away, make sure your pool conditions are not as above. An automatic cleaner can help with this. In the worst cases, the pool will need to be drained, acid washed or resurfaced.