The Many Shades of Algae

Algae’s rapid growth rate can be explained through the symbiotic relationship it shares with most bacteria. Bacteria in swimming pools require oxygen to create carbon dioxide. Unfortunately for pool owners, algae can use carbon dioxide to produce the oxygen bacteria requires and perpetuate an endless cycle of blooming. Wind and rain can introduce the unsightly plant life into your swimming pool, but spotting the early sign of an algae outbreak will mean less headaches in the future. About 30,000 varieties of algae exist, but this hefty count can be simplified into three categories of swimming pool algae.

Green algae is the fastest growing and it usually floats, but can stick to walls. A hazy tint to the water and slippery feel on the sides of the pool, are just some of the early warning signs that green algae is tainting your swimming pool’s water. Mustard or yellow algae is a more serious problem, as a few days of careless maintenance will afford the algae enough time to become chlorine resistant. It tends to grow in the shaded areas of your pool, forming a deposit of the powdery substance. If you happen to find 1 to 3 centimeter dark blue-green spots on your pool, black algae is the culprit. This variation forms layers in which chlorine may be able to penetrate the outer or first layer, but not the numerous ones protected underneath it. Black algae’s growth takes more time than the other two, but it is the most difficult one to treat a swimming pool from, as it extremely chlorine resistant.

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