One of the most common problems to plague homeowners with a swimming pool is algae blooms. These occur when improperly treated swimming pool water is exposed to algae spores. There are many sources for algae exposure, including leaves, debris and even your body. Understanding how to identify the type of algae you are dealing with is the first step to clearing it out of your pool quickly. Here's a look at what you need to know.
Types of Algae
Since there are some special considerations for certain types of algae, it's important that you know what characteristics to watch for.
Algae with a yellowish-brown color that resembles mustard is known as mustard algae. It will often make the pool look as though the sides and bottom are dirty because of its color. It's part of the green algae family despite the unique color, and is among the easiest to treat.
Algae that is green in color is the most common type found in swimming pools. Green algae can appear in many shades, including yellowish or blue underlying hues. If the algae is floating over the surface of the water, it can make the pool look hazy. You may also see it growing in patches along the pool walls and steps. Like yellow algae, green algae is fairly easy to treat.
Algae that is black in color is a bit more problematic. This algae usually has a slimy protective layer over the top that makes it a challenge to remove from your pool. The slime protects it from the effects of chlorine, so you can't simply treat the pool to get rid of it. Unlike many other types of algae, black algae doesn't lead to cloudy water. You'll know it's there, though, because you will be able to see the black spots on the walls of the pool. Pools with plaster and other textured finishes are sometimes more vulnerable to this type of mold because the texture makes it easier for it to adhere. It's typically found in pools that are shaded, though it can grow in sunlight.
How to Get Rid of Algae Blooms
Heavy chlorine shock treatments are the most effective methods of algae treatment, but if you're dealing with black algae, you're going to need to do some preparation work first. Use a stiff brush and break up the algae off the sides of the pool before you treat it. Doing this will disrupt that protective slime layer that insulates the algae from the chlorine. Green and yellow algae are easier to treat. While you don't have to brush them before treatment, doing so may help to disperse the spores into the water for more efficient elimination of the bloom.
If the algae growth over the surface of the pool is particularly thick or you're struggling to get rid of it, you should reach out to a swimming pool maintenance technician for help. Be especially cautious if you've invested in a custom pool for your home.