Seeing the crystal-clear pool water turns to green is one of the worst nightmares that every pool owner does not want to see. However, even the most well-maintained swimming pool is not exempted from being affected in this challenging pool problem. But what causes this pool menace from happening? It is the presence of algae in saltwater pools that makes all precious crystal-clear pool water turns into milky and greenish color.
Pool algae are types of a living organism that has the ability to rapidly multiply and can turn the entire swimming pool into greenish color at the quickest possible time. The source of these organisms comes from the rain, leaves, wind and even from swimmers who previously swam from dirty and contaminated pool waters.
But what is the best way to deal with this pool problem? There are a number of ways to deal with this perennial problem from destroying your swimming pool. The need to familiarized this type of organism and learn how to prevent and remove it away from the swimming pool is a good skill that every pool owner must possess. In this article, we will show you everything you need to know about algae and the different ways to handle this swimming pool menace.
Do you need to add algaecide to a swimming pool with a saltwater system?
The saltwater system and regular swimming pool using chlorine do not have any significant difference. All have the same traits when it comes to its chances of being affected by algae. Both of these swimming pool types can also be treated similarly from any algae infection in the swimming pools.
However, all swimming pools using saltwater system and the salt cell must need to be applied with an algaecide in order to prevent the algae from infesting in the pool water. It can also help in preventing the organism from clinging and attaching to the different sides of the swimming pool. Pool owners need not to add chlorine tablets into the pool with a saltwater system. But he should put up a comprehensive plan in sanitizing the swimming pool regularly using algaecides or applying shock treatments using liquid chlorine.
Algaecides are considered algae killers and use ammonia, silver, and copper in completely removing all algae from the swimming pool. There are some algaecides that were manufactured to specifically remove the usual green algae and there are some which are made to eradicate the most difficult organism which is the black algae.
Pool owners should always remember that using only chlorine will not have a major impact in removing algae in the swimming pool. One must also add the right amount of algaecides to keep it free from unwanted organism. You must ensure to follow the instruction provided by the algaecide manufacturer on the adequate amount of algaecides to be used in relation to the volume of water in the swimming pool.
Algae Types and Impostors
When you begin to notice the presence of algae in the swimming pool, the first order of business for the pool owner is to know what type of algae is infesting in your swimming pool. Different types of algae also differ in the process of removing or eradicating the organism away from the swimming pool. For you to be familiarized, we have listed the different types of algae in the list below:
1. Green Pool Algae
This type of algae is said to be the most common algae to infect in the swimming pool. The green pool algae are also the easiest to kill among all the types of algae in which it can turn the water green when it floats above the water. This type of algae also has the ability to multiply on the walls of the swimming pool especially on cracks or narrow openings. The green pool algae can significantly reduce the clarity of the pool water so the need to eradicate it completely should be a priority by the pool owner.
2. Yellow Pool Algae or Mustard Algae
The yellow pool algae are often called the mustard algae due to the similarities of its color from the plant. These organisms are similar to yellow stains in appearance and may look like sand or dirt lying on the swimming pool floor which will give the pool owners some confusion. The yellow pool algae are one of the most challenging organisms to remove but the presence of products to eradicate this type of organism should help the pool owners.
3. Black Pool Algae
The black pool algae are the most difficult organism to thrive in the swimming pool. It is considered to be the hardest to be removed as it has the ability to defend from algaecides and sanitizers while having deep roots. Although this type of algae is quite uncommon when it forms in the swimming pool, it is usually found on corners and walls looking like black patches.
4. Pink Slime
This type of algae can be found in areas in the pool where the water circulation is limited. It can be found in a small area with narrow openings or cracks and appears in red-pinkish color with a slimy texture. It can appear to look like rust but is actually some sort of bacteria and usually forms on surfaces where frequent brushing happens.
Why do I have green pool water?
When the pool owner begins to notice that the water of his swimming pool is starting to turn green, this is not the best time to panic. In fact, this is where his expertise is needed in dealing with the issue. Moreover, there are many reasons why the sudden change of the crystal pool to greenish color even if the pool is properly, maintained and cleaned. The list below has the complete detail of the causes.
- Lack of Chlorine – Apparently, the lack of chlorine is the primary reason for turning your pool water into green color. When there is a lack of chlorine in the water, it is expected that algae will spread immediately due to the lack of sanitizing agents. And without the presence of chlorine, these organisms can bloom in any parts of the swimming pool. If leaf untreated, the proliferation of algae can multiply rapidly and can spread the whole swimming pool at the soonest possible time.
- Metallic substance – Another contributing factor of the pool water turning into greenish color is the metallic substance found in the swimming pool. All the metals can be found on the water source of the swimming pool and the algaecides being used to sanitized the pool. There is also the metallic substance found in the pool water when it becomes acidic and can also be a contributing factor in turning the pool water into greenish color.
- Pollen – Another factor that can cause in turning your pool water into a green color is the pollen coming from plants and trees. This is only possible if there are plants and trees located in the swimming and this foreign substance has the chance to be transferred into the pool through the air or the wind. Please take note that pollen is too small for the pool cleaning equipment to remove it in the swimming pool. This common pollen threat can be felt throughout the year and the need to find a way to control it should be a priority for the pool owner.
How to get rid of pool algae?
Method # 1: Get rid of pool algae by shocking
When you want to shock your swimming pool to remove algae, please be reminded that there are 4 types of pool water that you must know when applying this method. Each requires a different amount of pool shocking level that must be done to achieve the most desired result.
- Light Green Pool Water – When you begin to notice that your pool water is turning to light green color, then the need to pool shock the pool can do the trick in removing algae. Algae multiply fast when there is a chemical imbalance and the water has a high pH level which means the effectiveness of the chlorine is greatly reduced. This is where this organism multiplies so fast and dominate your swimming pool.
You can start the pool shocking treatment by simply lowering the pH level of the pool water. This can be done by applying 1 to 2 liters of hydrochloric acid. Please be reminded to be careful in applying this chemical to avoid any untoward incident. Furthermore, if you have a vinyl liner swimming pool, apply only 1 liter every 24 hours as this chemical is too strong to apply with a bigger volume.
The next thing to do is shock the pool using chlorine by applying 400 grams of granulated type of this sanitizing agent. Meanwhile, if you have a saltwater swimming pool, using at least 2 to 4 bags of salt while converting the chlorinator to 100% for a few days can improve the effectivity of the chlorine in sanitizing the swimming pool.
After a few days and you found out that there is no chlorine substance being produced even if you use plenty of salt, there might be a problem with the electrode. The next best thing to do is to replace the electrode as usually in only lasts between 3 to 5 years. You can also backwash the sand filter or clean the cartridge filter thoroughly. You can also clean the skimmer baskets to increase the effectivity.
- Dark Green Pool Water – When the pool water turns dark green in color, the same procedure can be used in the treatment but you need to increase the dosage to be more effective. You can add at least 2 to 3 liters of hydrochloric acid within the period of 2 days and use 600 grams of granulated chlorine for the treatment.
Please take note that when you have dark green pool water, you must check the bottom of the pool of the presence of debris as this should be removed and clean before dosing the acid and the sanitizing agents. The cleaning should involve scooping the debris using a shovel and vacuuming it manually using a vacuum connected to a pole to add convenience.
- Black Green Pool Water – When the swimming pool is infested by the most challenging black algae, it can turn your pool water into black-green in color. Shocking the pool may need you to use the light green pool water procedure but multiply the dosage up to 3 times. It will also require you to exert more effort in backwashing, filtering, and cleaning the filter in a 2 to 3-week period.
Furthermore, when you have a black-green pool water, you will find a lot of debris and dirt trapped at the bottom of the floor which should be removed through cleaning and vacuuming before applying the dosage. You can clean all the debris by scooping it using a shovel and a manual vacuum cleaner.
- Pink Slime – When the swimming pool is infested by the pink algae, a type of bacteria in disguise, you will notice pink and red spots on the corners, light fixtures, and pipe-fittings of the swimming pool. It will appear as a pink slime and grows on different parts of the pool where the level of sunlight is low and the water movement is low to none.
Removing this type of algae may need you to brush the area being infected to bring the algae on the surface. Then make sure that you continuously run the pool water and backwash it twice daily until such time that it will be clear again. Then you can shock the pool to completely remove the algae and raise the chlorine level to 12 ppm. After shocking, you must continue brushing and cleaning the walls, then vacuuming the pool floor, backwashing, and filtering the pool to achieve the greatest results.
How to shock a saltwater pool?
Just like the regular chlorine pool, the need to super-chlorinate the saltwater pool is important to get rid of algae in the swimming pool. Technically, the saltwater pool is the same with all other chlorinated pools in terms of the chlorine level and the only difference is the cleaning system being used to sanitize the pool. Furthermore, a lot of people think that salt water pools do not need shocking but this is not true and the need to shock it at least once a week is still necessary.
In shocking a saltwater pool, you must first test the pool chemistry of the water and balance it using the right chemicals as needed. Then calculate the right amount of shock to be applied with regards to the volume of your pool water by following the recommendation of the product you are using. Then, you can turn on the filter before applying the shock in order for it to be evenly distributed on the water. After applying the shock, you should turn off the salt cell system as it could last for a few days.
Method # 2: Floc your swimming pool
A flocculant or floc is a type of chemical being used to take all tiny particles in the pool together so that it will settle to the bottom of the pool. After all these particles including algae settle on the pool floor, the pool cleaner will have an easier time removing all the particles by using a pool vacuum.
This process is a good way to remove algae in the swimming pool but it may need more effort on the pool owner or the cleaner in removing the unwanted organism away from the swimming pool. It can also take a lot of your precious time if indeed you decide to floc the pool to remove the algae.
Below is the complete guide on how to flow the swimming pool to remove algae.
- The first step is to stop the water from flowing your filter by turning off the pool pump and placing the valve to recycle or recirculate. This will help in spinning the water around the pool to combine the chemicals evenly.
- The next step is to add the flocculants to the pool water. Make sure to add the right amount of floc as stated in the recommendation or instruction found in the product with respect to the volume of water in the swimming pool.
- After that, you need to recirculate the water for about 120 minutes in order for the chemicals to be evenly distributed and mix in the pool water. Then turn off the pump and leave it overnight so the effect of the floc will take over in binding all the small particles together while settling in the middle of the swimming pool.
- The next morning, you should be able to do the cleaning using the manual vacuum. But before that, make sure to set the valve to waste before starting the pool filter.
- You can also connect the garden hose to the swimming pool in order to replace the thick water with clean water while you are vacuuming the debris and dirt.
- Make sure to vacuum the pool slowly as it might kick the debris as you move around the floor. This will lessen the effectivity and can make your water become cloudy. You can also turn on the pump for a few hours if it becomes too cloudy and wait for the debris to settle again on the floor and then process with the vacuuming again.
- After vacuuming the pool, you can have the option to shock the pool to completely remove the algae.
Method # 3: Pool Algaecide
As we speak, there are a lot of available algaecides in the market ready to be used to kill algae in your swimming pool. You need to do your research to find the right and the most effective to remove algae out of the pool. The prices of the algaecides vary depending on the brand and the quality of the one you are using.
Which method is the best?
There is no definite answer to this question because it really depends on your preference. But rest assured that all of these methods work and have the ability to completely eradicate algae in the swimming pool. It is all about looking for the best methods the suit your needs and the needs of your swimming pool.
1. Saltwater chlorination
Always remember that having the right pool chemistry and a properly maintain and a clean salt cell can do wonders in keeping the chlorination system working consistently. This will also keep your saltwater pool clean and properly sanitized. Furthermore, don’t be too foolish of thinking that your salt cell does need maintenance at all. It is also important to inspect the salt cell regularly and remove any scale formation so as to prolong the lifespan of your chlorination system.
2. Test Water
The salinity of the pool water indicates that the chlorination system of your saltwater swimming pool is working perfectly. Thus, it is important that the salinity of the water should be at the constant level of around 1500 to 4500 ppm. It is highly recommended to test the water at least once a week to be able to determine the salinity level.
Please take note that if the salinity is high, there is a higher chance that it can affect the effectiveness of the salt cell. It can even damage the salt cell and the other pool hardware if not salinity is not corrected immediately.
How to prevent algae growth?
There are many ways to prevent algae from growing in the swimming pool. The first thing is to keep the circulation system running smoothly while keeping the sanitizer at the desired level. The pool owner should also regularly shock the pool at least once a week while creating a schedule in cleaning and brushing the swimming pool.
Meanwhile, using the right type of pool vacuum can also do wonders in preventing these unwanted organisms from growing in the pool. Pool owners should also apply algaecides regularly just to make sure that these organisms are being killed and eradicated in the swimming pool.
The presence of algae in saltwater pools is a normal occurrence to the pool owner. The most important thing is for the pool owner to be properly equipped with skills and knowledge in handling these unwanted organisms away from the swimming pool. We hope our suggestions can help one way or the other in the prevention and control of algae in the pool.