Black Algae Friday

black algae

What’s your first reaction when you hear the words “Black Friday?” If you’re anything like me, when you hear the words “Black Friday,” your eyes begin to dance, and your heart sings. Black Friday is more than just another day to find amazingly good deals on Holiday gifts. For me and people just like me, it’s an all out adventure.

Another adventure in its own right – yet doesn’t elicit the same results – black algae is perhaps the hardest type of algae to get rid of. There is, however, an art to removing Black Algae – and ensuring it never rears its ugly head again. Now, here’s what you need to know about certainly the most persistent, slimy, and potentially damaging algae.

What is Black Algae?

Black algae, the most aggressive form of algae, comes from the ocean. If it comes from the ocean how does it infect backyard pools? Good question! One of the most common ways for your pool to be infected by black algae is by a bathing suit that has once been in the ocean. It’ll only takes one time!

Black algae has very deep roots, and while it may start out small, chances are that it will grow into a much larger problem. Black algae has many layers. These layers protect it from normal shocking and algaecide. The roots of the black algae tend to anchor themselves into the sides of the pool plaster, making destroying it nearly impossible.

How to Get Rid of Black Algae

The best way to get rid of black algae is to attack it head on.

You will need:

  • A pool pole and brush
  • Chlorine tablets
  • Shock treatment
  • Gloves

I cannot stress the following information enough – it is the key to getting rid of black algae growth once and for all. Wearing heavy-duty gloves, rub ALL black algae spots with a chlorine tab in order to attack its head. You may want to consider draining your pool if the algae spots on the pool’s floor.

Your next step is to brush the heck out of your pool. Brush hard, brush thoroughly, brush often! You may notice a dirty looking cloud rise up while brushing. This is absolutely normal.

Triple shock your pool by adding three pounds of shock treatment for every 10,000 gallons of water your pool holds. Make sure to add the shock once the sun has set. Run your filter for a minimum of twenty-four hours after adding the shock. Brush three or four times beginning on the next day following treatment.

Tips for Preventing Black Algae

  • Always keep your pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels in the correct ranges.
  • Always run your pump/filter for 8 to 12 hours a day all year through.
  • Always keep your pool clean through regular vacuuming and brushing.
  • Always shock your pool once a week – 1 lb. of shock per 10,000 gals.
  • Always keep your pool equipment clean. This includes your pool toys, floats, ladders, diving boards, slides, solar covers, and of course your personal swimming suits.

How to Kill Green Pool Algae

green pool algae

With 110 degree days just over the horizon, there’s no better way to combat the heat and have fun, than to spend the day relaxing poolside. With towels in hand you head out to your pool…only to find that the water’s turned a murky green. Any hopes of having fun are then quickly dissipated – as you find yourself battling against green pool algae instead.

So what exactly is algae? Algae, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is…

“A plant or plantlike organism of any of several phyla, divisions, or classes of chiefly aquatic usually chlorophyll-containing nonvascular organisms of polyphyletic origin that usually include the green, yellow-green, brown and red algae in the eukaryotes and especially formerly the cyanobacteria in the prokaryote.”

Green algae is the most common type of algae there is. As the name implies, it’s green, slimy and unfortunately grows extremely fast given the right conditions. Conditions such as warm temperatures, sunlight, out of balance water, and the presence of nitrates and/or carbon dioxide can quickly lead to your blue water’s demise.

Of course, the best way to avoid encountering a green pool, is to destroy the algae spores before they get the chance to develop into full-on algae blooms. Good circulation, proper sanitizer levels, routine brushing of the pools walls and floor, and weekly shocking can help you avoid problems with this type of algae.

If your pool’s water has become infested with algae, you have to find ways to fix it, before your able to use your pool. While algae itself does no harm to swimmers, it may harbor pathogens such a E-coli that can. Chlorine shock is one of the most effective treatments for algae.

Getting Rid of Green Pool Algae by Shocking

How Much Shock Will I Need?

  • 2 pounds of shock = 10,000 gallons of pool water
  • 4 pounds of shock = 20,000 gallons of pool water
  • 6 pounds of shock = 30,000 gallons of pool water
  • 8 pounds of shock = 40,000 gallons of pool water

Tips for Shocking Your Swimming Pool

  • Always use protective eye wear and gloves.
  • Always wear clothing you don’t mind getting ruined.
  • Add 1 pound of shock to a 5 gallon bucket of warm water that is 3/4 full (warm water dissolves shock faster than cold).
  • Always add shock to water NOT water to shock!
  • Using a wooden stick slowly stir in the shock. Make sure it is completely dissolved before proceeding.
  • Slowly pour the bucket of pre-dissolved shock into your pool on all sides. If you find some dissolved shock at the bottom of your bucket, simply dip your bucket into the pool water, and gently agitate the bucket before pouring the remaining shock into the pool.
  • DO NOT mix all the bags of shock together in one bucket.
  • Always shock in the evening or night time hours so the sun doesn’t burn off the chlorine. If you have a pool cover, keep it off on the nights you shock.
  • Use your pool skimmer or filtration system to help mix, speed up the oxidation process, and distribute the shock treatment for best results.

Happy Swimming!

The Importance of Proper pH Balance

proper pH levelsMost pool owners understand that maintaining the proper chemical balance in a pool is the key factor to keeping it clean and preventing algae from growing. However, many people simply focus on the chlorine levels and pay little attention to pH levels. It’s true that pH levels don’t change as often as the chlorine level, but that doesn’t make them any less important. As a matter of fact, the pH levels directly affects how well chlorine will perform in keeping a pool clean.

Simply put, pH is a measurement of the total acid-alkalinity balance in a pool. Chemical reactions can cause damage such as corroding metal equipment, create etching on surface materials, and even cause skin irritation if the pools is too acidic. On the other hand, high alkalinity is a source of scaling and can make your pool look cloudy. In both cases of high acidity or alkalinity, chlorine will not perform as well and its ability to kill pathogens and bacteria is greatly reduced.

The pH scale ranges from zero to 14 with zero indicating high acid levels and 14 meaning high alkalinity. The recommended level according to most pool experts is somewhere between 7.0 and 7.6. When the level drops below the ideal range, soda ash or even baking soda is added to raise the level. Muriatic acid and sodium bisulfate are used if the pH level is too high and needs to be lowered.

There are a number of factors that can affect the pH levels in the pool including heavy rains, oils from swimmers body, and leaves and dust in the pool. There are many home testing kits that you can use to check pH levels, but you may want to take a water sample to a professional if you are having a particularly hard time keeping a pool clean.

The main takeaway here is don’t take your pH levels for granted. Keeping them in balance will save you money in the long run as your chlorine will be much more effective with proper pH balance.

Algae the Green Pool Monster

Seems like if you miss just one week of adding chemicals, your pool can take a dramatic turn for the worse. Especially during the summer here in Arizona. Once algae spores become full algae blooms, it can take several days or even weeks to gain control again. The key to fighting algae once it appears is to act quickly. Here a few recommended steps to take if the algae monster invades your pool.

Regain Balance
More than likely the reason your pool developed algae was due to an imbalance of your water’s chemistry. Getting your chlorine and pH balance back in order should be the first thing you do when your pools starts to turn green. Some pool companies even recommend keeping your pH levels slightly higher around 7.8 and 8.00 when fighting algae.

Brush Brush Brush.. then Vacuum
If algae has developed, it has taken root on the walls and floor of your pool. You will want to dislodge the algae by thoroughly brushing your pool, especially in the areas where algae is visible. The type of brush you use, such as wire or nylon, will be determined by your pool finish. Consult a pool store if you are unsure which to use. After brushing, wait until any floating algae settles, then vacuum.

Shocking Advice
Adding super chlorination in the form of shock can dramatically improve your chances of destroying algae. We highly recommend checking the ingredients before purchasing shock as some contain more actual chlorine than others. Any pool store employee should be able to answer any question you may have, but be wary if that only suggest their ‘brand’. You will want to shock your pool at night at run your filter for a least 8 hours to maximize the effect.

To Algaecide or Not To Algaecide
In more extreme cases you may have to use and algaecide to kill the algae. There are different categories of algae like Green, Mustard, or Black. You will want to determine which type of algae your pool is infected with to know which algaecide to use.

Circulate and Re-Circulate
You will probably want to run your filter longer than normal, 24-hours if possible, when fighting algae. Be sure to clean or backwash your filter also to help remove contaminants.

Without a doubt, algae is the bane of existence for pool owners. Regular pool maintenance, chemicals, and circulation is the best way to avoid the dreaded algae invasion. But if it happens, act swiftly and you can have a clean, clear swimming pool once again!