Firstly I will make the point of how to try to keep the algae from forming which is really basic good housekeeping (or pool keeping in this case). But, as I have experienced sometimes even with the best intentions, events conspire against even the most diligent and attentive pool keepers and you get the dreaded attack.

Here they are anyway: Equilibrium is key. Correct levels of Chlorine and pH are the most important. Don’t just bung it in. Measure the levels constantly, or at least once a week and dose according to the volume of water in your particular pool. Check again soon afterwards, to check you have the dose correct. Remember it is always far easier to keep a clean pool clean than to clean a dirty pool and expect it to remain clean.

The other big factor is filtration. As a rule of thumb, all the water in your pool must pass throught the filter at least once per day. You can work out from this how long you need to run your filter pump for. In most cases, during the swimming season, I would recommend that for an 8m x 4m pool with a 1kW pump to run the filter pump for eight hours per day. Also it is important to run the filter pump during the day. Most people mistakenly break the timing up into chunks and run it stop start for 24 hours a day. You usually bath during the day and this is when the vast majority of debris will be entering the pool and the sun is at it strongest (thus multiplying the algae). You can put a half hour break in after say four hours if you want to give the pump a rest, but even this is really unnecessary.

Onto the Algae

There are almost 22,000 known varieties of algae, so you can probably roughly double that number for all living strains. But for reasons of understanding and control we can shrink this list down to manageable categories grouped by colour, see below.

As there are so many strains of algae and because their spores are almost permanently present in the air, there is nothing a pool owner can do from preventing the spores from entering the water. The presence of spores combined with out of balance water, warm temperatures, sunlight and presence of nitrates and/or carbon dioxide.can result in a bloom. But despite their presence, it is mainly good pool maintenance practice that prevents the spores from developing into an algae problem.

The pool must be kept in a constant state of correct equilibrium for preventing the spores taking hold and developing into a visual algae bloom, photosynthesizing on the sides and surfaces of your pool. Remember clean water is much easier to keep clean. Once you have had a bad case of algae or other water problem, the filters and other equipment are contaminated and its harder to get back to perfect conditions.

Firstly I’ll describe the four main types of problem algae presents, followed by the steps to cure a problem and how to take measures to ensure that you don’t have the problem again.

Different types of Algae,

Green Algae:

Green is probably the most common algae, certainly to be found in Spain, Portugal, France and the rest of Europe. It can quickly appear in your pool following the pool loosing clarity from a lack of proper filtration and, or poor sanitation due to chemical imbalance. It is frequently found free floating in the water, although it also will cling to the walls. Once it starts to form the water will remain cloudy and will get worse without proper treatment. This clouding distinguishes the problem as due to algae as apart form copper precipitation, which turns the water a clear green colour. Varieties of green algae also appear as “spots” on surfaces, particularly rough areas, or places where circulation is low. They also show up as “sheets”, where large wall sections, or even the entire pool, is coated in green slime!

Yellow Algae:

Yellow algae usually clings to the walls of the pool and is a mustardy colour. This variety is usually found on the shady side of the pool. It forms large patches in sheets, and can be difficult to eradicate completely. If you get a bloom of yellow algae it can be tremendously difficvult to get rid of. Frequently a pool owner can spend the entire season fighting yellow algae, and re-infection is common, often just when you think it is beaten. You will need to scrub the infected areas thouroughly preferably with a stainless steel bristle brush, shock with liquid chlorine then filter, filter, filter, backwashing frequently to waste to flush out the spores.

Black Algae:

Black algae will appear as dark black or dark blue/green spots, It is clearly raised like small bumps or buds from where it is rooted into the grout. This is a horror if you get infected and is a little like herpes to get rid of as it keeps coming back. Sometimes you really need to resort to drastic measures to get rid of this one. The main reason this strain is so difficult to get rid of is because the plant puts down deep roots into the grout between the tiles and unless you kill the roots it will just come back within a few days as bad as before.

Pools that are near the sea and frequented by bathers that like to have a dip in the sea then enter the pool without washing the swim suite between dips, are most susceptible to this form of algae bloom, but again, good water treatment levels and filtration usually keep it at bay.

Pink Algae:

Pink algae is actually a bacteria, however falls squarely into this category for treatment and even appears as though it is an algae. This tends to form in corners or dead spots where the water circulation is not what it should be and therefore the movement and changing of chemicals is not so great.

Where you get a mild bloom of the green algae you can use anitalgicides to solve the problem. The more you spend the better the product and less you will need to use in a dose, but these will have little or no effect on the other types of algae once you have the problem. It is good practice to put a small amount of algicide into your pool once a week when everything seems perfect, this will help prevent getting a bloom in the first place.

REMEMBER: Good filtration and constant checking of water parameters will save you time, money and frustration.

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