Swimming pools often deal with algae. Algae spores constantly enter the pool via wind, rain, debris, or even contaminated swimsuits or equipment. “Green Pool” or the growth and spread of algae happens when the algae bloom from imbalanced pH in the pool water is exposed to nitrates and/or carbon dioxide, strong sunshine causing warm to hot temperatures, and combined with lack of proper circulation, filtration and sanitation of the pool water. If you combine pool issues and weather conditions, an algae bloom can occur seemingly overnight.
Algae are a living aquatic creature that multiplies rapidly on warm, sunny days. Containing chlorophyll, algae utilize photosynthesis to grow. That is, they take in carbon dioxide and expel oxygen as a byproduct. Algae itself is not harmful, but algae may harbor pathogens like e-coli bacteria. When these conditions are not treated it can decrease the effectiveness of filters and increase the demand for chlorine, consuming chorine that should be working on other contaminants in the water.
The Most Common Types of Pool Algae are:
- Green Algae
The most common type, green algae will usually the cause of lack of proper filtration and/or sanitation. It can be free floating in the water or on the pool walls. It reduces water clarity and is distinguished from severe copper precipitation, which will appear as a green color in the water. Green algae also appear as spots on surfaces, especially rough areas, or places where circulation is low or the entire pool is coated in green slime.
- Yellow Algae or Mustard Algae:
Yellow algae, also known as “mustard algae,” will cling to the wall and grow underneath the shady parts of the swimming pool. Once it shows up, re-infection is common, it is sheet forming, and can be difficult to eradicate completely. These are small, single-celled plants that form thick clusters if left untreated in the pool. Mustard algae tend to look like dirt or sand in the water due to its distinct color, but may also have a “pollen-like” appearance. This type of algae is resistant to normal chlorine levels or regular algaecides, and must be dealt with properly.
- Black Algae:
Black Algae comes from lakes or ponds and may get transferred into your pool via bathing suits, equipment, toys, and pets that have been in the lake/pond and then into the pool. Also, heavy storms with strong winds may carry black algae via wind and debris from local ponds. Perhaps the most aggravating type of algae, it is very difficult to eradicate due to the strong roots that grow deep into the plaster, and protective layers over top of the black algae plant. Black algae will appear as dark black or blue/green spots on your swimming pool wall. Their roots extend into the plaster or tile grout, and unless the roots are destroyed completely, a new head will grow back in the same place. The heads also contain protective layers to keep chemicals from entering the organism. Like yellow algae, once it starts, black strains can bloom even in the presence of normal sanitizing levels and proper filtration, and must be dealt with properly.
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