What is algae?
Algae is a nonflowering plant in the same group of seaweeds and other single-celled creatures. They contain chlorophyll but lack the characteristics of other plants such as leaves, stems, roots, and vascular tissue. They grow from spores and they are constantly entering the pool. With proper circulation, filtration and sanitation, algae problems can typically be stopped before it escalates into a serious problem. But neglected and given the proper conditions, algae removal can be both time consuming and costly.
Ideal conditions for growth include warm weather, unbalanced water, sunlight, and the presence of nitrates, phosphates and/or carbon dioxide. When conditions are met, an algae bloom can occur extremely rapidly, often within just a number of hours. Bad circulation, sanitation and poor filtration will only fuel the algae bloom once they have entered the water. The best treatment is taking consistent preventative measures.
Algae is a living creature that lives in the water. Like any other creature, it needs food to survive. A swimming pool is a perfect pasture for algae to graze. Swimmers leave cellular remains for algae to consume, as do previous blooms of algae. Dust and debris can a be nutritious meal for these aquatic dwellers, and a heavy rainstorm or a rambunctious pool party can turn an ordinary pool into an aquatic buffet.
Green algae contains chlorophyll, meaning it utilizes the suns energy through the process of photosynthesis to grow. As a result, a sunny day is a happy day for these critters, because they are able to multiply at an alarming rate. Although it is possible to grow in the shade, most forms of algae need at least a small amount of sunlight to grow.
What are the different types of algae in my pool?
In order to determine the treatment necessary to clean the algae in your pool, first you must be sure which type of algae you are dealing with. It is not always obvious just by looking at the color of the water.
Green algae: this is the most common type of algae found commonly in pools. It is named chlorophyta, derived from chlorophyll, where it gets its green color. Green algae floats in the water, resulting in a greenish tinge and a cloudy appearance. Slimy green algae will attach itself to the floor and pool walls, making it necessary to vacuum and scrub the walls clean.
This type of algae is typically a result of poor filtration and bad sanitation practices. If allowed to build up, green algae can take multiple chemicals and days of waiting to finish treatment. Proper maintenance is key for prevention of future outbreaks.
Green algae is introduced to pool water from moving water. It can attach itself to rocks, toys, and swimwear and is then transferred into the pool water. This is easily a result from improper washing of bathing suits and toys after visiting the beach, lakes or streams. It can also be a result of heavy rainfall.
Yellow algae – this type of algae is more rare, and is not slimy like green algae. It is common to resemble a sand like substance that lives in shadier areas of the pool. It is often referred to as mustard or brown algae because of its similarity in color.
Yellow algae is chlorine resistant so pools with low levels of chlorine with see more growth of this type. Because of its resistance to chlorine, if it is not destroyed completely it will quickly return. It also thrives in warmer water temperatures. It also has a natural ability to attach itself in hard to reach places such as pool filters, equipment, and swimsuit material.
Black algae- this is rarest of the 3 types of algae and the most difficult to remove. It is also known as cyanobacteria, which is not an algae at all. This type of algae will grow continuously like wildfire because it grows its own food by nature. Its roots dig deep into the walls of concrete, making it especially difficult to rid of.
Unfortunately, simply shocking or adding algaecide is not sufficient enough to fight off this tough specimen. The treatment must be aggressive enough to penetrate all the way to the root, destroying it completely, or else the return of this bad boy is inevitable.
Due to its stubbornness in nature, black algae must be prevented at all costs. The easiest way is to always maintain the proper pool chemistry, upkeep efficient filtration and circulation for best results.