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The water is almost always "very clear".  The water can have a "stinging" sensation. This is normal green algae, typically brought about by lack of homeowner care; i.e. not following a weekly maintenance routine such as the Once-a-Week 3 Step program combined with very low pH and very low Total Alkalinity.


Causes: typically poor routine maintenance. Lack of a regular sanitizing and / or algae prevention program (shock the pool & add algicide weekly for example).  Heavy bather loads combined with poor maintenance.  Excess trees & vegetation around the pool area.  Lack of direct sunlight on the pool. Source water contamination.  "Over-load" of nitrates or phosphates brought in through lawn or yard care treatments (not a true cause but more of an exacerbation of the problem).  Heavy rain (changes the water chemistry & causes a chlorine or other sanitizer demand).

Treatment:
Have water properly analyzed. BALANCE THE POOL WATER.  Proper pH, total alkalinity & calcium hardness are essential for the treatment to work.
 
Aggressively brush all areas that have visible algae in order to remove or loosen it from those surfaces.  Excessive algae should be vacuumed out of the pool on Direct Waste (if your filter is able).
 
Pools treated with chlorine or bromine should aggressively shock with chlorine (Burn Out or Smart Shock) and use a good quality algicide such as Spot Kill, Back Up 2, Algae All 60 or Banish in extreme cases.  Maintain a chlorine level of 3.0 ppm for several days.
 
Pools treated with SoftSwim or other Biguanides should top up their Bactericide level "B", add a double dose of algicide "A", and add a double dosage of shock or "C".
 
Follow up either method with Optimizer Plus. 

Prevention:
Maintain good, solid sanitizer levels all of the time.
Run the filter a minimum of 10 hours per day, everyday from opening to closing.
Vacuum the pool weekly.
Brush the pool walls & surfaces weekly (vacuuming doesn't count).
Shock the pool weekly.
Add algicide weekly.
Regularly clean solar blankets, ladders, pool toys, etc.
Use the pool.

It is known for a heavy slime layer and "skeletal growths" that make it impervious to normal chlorine levels (1.0 - 2.5 ppm).  Black algae can grow "condominium style" providing layers of algae one on top of the other. Slight cracks in plaster or fiberglass walls are perfect breeding grounds for black algae especially when the pool is not properly maintained

As shown in the photograph, the water remains relatively clear.  However, almost all customers notice a high chlorine demand (use much more chlorine than normal). Black Algae can be mistaken for iron, manganese or cobalt staining (if it brushes away, it's algae).

If the treatment is not complete, the "roots" of the Black Algae will support the re-growth in the same spot.  Keep in mind that when the pool is shocked or heavily chlorinated, the "upper levels" of the algae will bleach out but the remainder of the condominium is protected from the chlorine attack.

Since the end of 2008, we (and our customers) have found that using AquaFinesse Pool Water Care Tablets dramatically reduces the probability of Black Algae because it removes the biofilm that creates the base or the foundation for the Black Algae. Regular, continued use of AquaFinesse Pool Water Care Tablets is a great preventive measure against Black Algae.


Treatment: 
Have water properly analyzed. BALANCE THE POOL WATER. Proper pH, total alkalinity & calcium hardness are essential for the treatment to work.
 
Prior to and during treatment, the algae MUST be thoroughly brushed in order to "break open" the slime layer.  Failure to do this critical step will prevent the treatment from working.
 
- Pools treated with chlorine or bromine should aggressively shock with chlorine (Burn Out or Smart Shock) and use a good quality algicide such as Spot Kill, Back Up, Algae All 60 or Banish in extreme cases.
 
- Pools treated with SoftSwim or other Biguanides should top up their Bactericide level "B", add a double dose of algicide "A", and add a double dosage of shock or "C".
 
Follow up either method with Optimizer Plus.

Prevention:
Maintain good, solid sanitizer levels all of the time.
Run the filter a minimum of 8 to 12 hours per day, everyday from opening to closing.
Vacuum the pool weekly.
Brush the pool walls & surfaces weekly (vacuuming doesn't count).
Shock the pool weekly.
Add algicide weekly.

Add AquaFinesse Pool Water Care Tablets to remove & prevent the build up of biofilms that can promote Black Algae growth
Regularly clean solar blankets, ladders, pool toys, etc.
Use the pool.

Green Algae

Algae is a common problem in swimming pools.  What is it & how is it successfully prevented and treated. First of all, algae is a single-celled plant form. Some are aquatic (live in water), some are not.  Algae utilizes the process of photosynthesis to manufacture its own food.

Algae comes in very wide variety of colors and forms making it adaptable to almost any condition.  Although some forms are virulent, most are harmless and pose no more than a nuisance to most pool owners
.


Due to algae's microscopic size, it takes literally millions of these plants to accumulate to be noticed by the naked eye! 

A relative of regular green algae is "small-celled green algae" (SCGA). The difference is seen in these areas:
1. The water remains relatively clear.  Many people treat the problem (without proper analysis) as a copper or mineral problem, however the metal chelants will show no effect. 
2. When treating with chlorine, chlorine seems to "disappear".  SCGA is very resistant to even high levels of chlorine.

Other mid-summer types of green algae noticed is "green spots" all around the pool, especially in shady areas.

Black Algae

"Black Algae" (actually blue-green algae) forms in cracks and crevices on pool surfaces, especially plaster finishes.

We normally find black algae growing in, but not limited to, shady areas of the pool.


Black algae is more typically found in concrete or plaster finished pools; it is very uncommon to find it in vinyl liner pools.

In our market area (Fairfield county CT), the number of TRUE Mustard Algae cases that [Mustard algae] we treat can be counted on ONE HAND in most seasons.

Mustard Algae has these certain characteristics: It can be brushed away very easily, but returns quickly to almost the exact same location. Although it usually creates a large Chlorine demand (you have trouble maintaining a solid chlorine reading or residual (1.0 - 2.5 ppm), it has been known to survive in high levels of Chlorine (over 6.0 ppm).  It is not necessarily "slimy". 

Mustard Algae will also "climb" the pool walls; it will NOT simply stay on the bottom (this is where the confusion between dirt/dust and true Mustard Algae is realized).

The pool water tends to be otherwise clear. Can be mistaken for copper or iron staining (if it brushes away, it's algae).

It is extremely important to remove mustard algae growth from equipment (including the back of underwater lights & ladders) and bathing suits to avoid cross or recontamination of other pools (mustard algae spores are physically transported to a neighbor's pool). Pool equipment can be left in the pool during product application or cleaned separately with a mild cleaning solution. Rinse thoroughly if equipment is used in a SoftSwim® pool. Bathing suits should be washed with detergent as directed on garment label.

Mustard algae will usually create a fairly large chlorine demand, although it can survive in high levels of chlorine.

In SoftSwim, Baquacil or other biguanide treated pools, mustard algae will deplete SoftSwim Clarifier or Oxidizer.


Treatment & Prevention: 
Have water properly analyzed. BALANCE THE POOL WATER. Proper pH, total alkalinity & calcium hardness are essential for the treatment to work.
Prior to and during treatment, the algae MUST be thoroughly brushed in order to "break open" the slime layer.  Failure to do this critical step will prevent the treatment from working. 
Pools treated with chlorine or bromine should aggressively shock with chlorine (Burn Out or Smart Shock) and use a good quality algicide such as Spot Kill, Back Up, Algae All 60 or Banish in extreme cases. 
Follow up either method with Optimizer Plus.

Algae... in every shade & color...

Mustard Algae

"Mustard Algae" is probably the MOST misdiagnosed form of algae.  Mustard algae  is a chlorine-resistant form of green algae (yellow-green to brown in color)  typically found in sunbelt areas (Florida, California, Texas).

It often resembles dirt or sand on the bottom or sides of a pool. Mustard algae can be very easy to transfer & cross-contaminate another pool (a neighbor or a public pool).

By that time it may be too late and very costly to correct.  Prevention of algae blooms is the best solution.  Click here for all of our Algae treating products.

The most common form of algae that we deal with in swimming pools is "green" algae.  Green algae (varies in color from blue-green to yellow-green to dark-green) can be free floating in the water (turning the water a hazy-green) or can be wall-clinging (patches of green). Wall-clinging varieties range in severity from small patches on pool walls and bottoms to virtually covering the entire pool surface. Green algae has the ability to clog filters and may even cause surface damage if left untreated.  Green algae can be treated fairly simply and quickly with a proper, aggressive shocking & algicide.