Having a swimming pool is a gift that keeps on giving. It creates the perfect ambiance for relaxing with your friends or family after a long day in the blistering heat. However, not keeping a pool clean can disturb this serenity. It can also be detrimental to your health.
It’s not just leaves and other debris that can affect a pool’s sanitation standards. Algae is a constant threat to indoor and outdoor swimming pools.
Algae don’t merely make your pool look filthy. It can also act as a pathogen for viruses and diseases. You can do nothing much once an algae invasion is in full bloom – save for calling in the professionals.
But, today, we’re not here as the prophets of doom. This article will look at everything you need to know about algae invasions. We’ll cover various eradication methods, chief among them: how to get rid of pool algae without a vacuum cleaner.
Once you’re armed with such information, you can deal with the issue and go back to focusing on what matters the most –Making the best of each sun-soaked summer day!
So, let’s get started by looking at the root cause of algae in a swimming pool.
- What Causes Algae to Grow in Your Pool?
- How Can You Get Rid of Algae in Your Pool?
- Removing Algae from Pool without a Vacuum Step by Step
- How to Prevent Algae From Growing in Your Pool?
- FAQs: Removing Algae From Pool
What Causes Algae to Grow in Your Pool?
Before we look at what causes algae, it makes sense to understand how an algae-infested pool looks. Below are a few sure signs of such an infestation:
- Slimy pool walls, rails, and ladders
- Discolored pool water
- Invasion of marine life, i.e., insects, frogs, and tadpoles
- Pool water with a cloudy consistency
- Not being able to see the bottom of your pool clearly
- The water will turn to a darker shade of green
These are merely a few of the tell-tale signs of an algae attack. And, maybe the perfect time to take some of your pool looks this awful. Let’s look at the effect of different types of algae to help you formulate a better counter-attack strategy.
Understanding the Role of Different Types of Algae
Algae is a rapidly growing network of interconnected plant-like microorganisms. Aside from coming in different shapes and colors, they also have varying physiological qualities.
Why do you need to know all that? Chemical intervention is the first step to eradicating algae in a pool. And you have to prescribe a chemical treatment based on the species of algae.
You needn’t worry if this is confusing at this point. We’ll cover this proudly later. For now, let’s learn how to identify the main species of pool algae.
A green algae invasion turns pool water into a misty dark-green mess. They bloom after a heavy downpour through natural processes in the absence of choline and other water purifying chemicals. Green algae on its own are comparatively safer than most algae infestations.
But, it creates ideal conditions for invading marine life and harmful bacteria. So you may want to deal with it before it spreads to other parts of your yard or in-door pool setup.
Pink is the rarest algae type in the world. We typically refer to it as pink slime or mold. Technically, it’s a bacteria that thrives on PVC piping and pool surfaces at times.
It has a slimy consistency that’s often confused for green algae. So, a chemical treatment may fail to subdue it. Fortunately, it’s not harmful to humans. But, it makes your pool look unsanitary. You can use shock choline treatment to kill algae.
Black algae is the most stubborn and harmful species that can invade a pool. They present as bold black or dark green spots of varying sizes all over your swimming pool. Black algae also have roots that can penetrate beneath your tiles, making them harder to remove.
It also has a protective slime layer that shields the spores from mechanical and chemical damage. This means black mold can bloom even in water with high chlorine or other pool treatment chemicals.
So, the only way to get rid of black algae is to destroy it at the root and sustain a high chlorine concentration. Otherwise, it will persist even if you drain and dry your pool.
Mustard algae come in the form of a yellow-green membrane that spreads to all pool surfaces. Unlike most algae, it’s soft and squishy instead of having a slimy consistency. The worst thing about it is the high level of chlorine resistance.
Yellow algae spread slower than other species. But, it’s comparatively harder to eradicate. So it may be wise to take action as soon as you see even the slightest hint of an invasion.
How Can You Get Rid of Algae in Your Pool?
Now, you know some of the causes of algae in a pool. So let’s move on to a few methods that can help you prevent or contain the spread. It all comes down to how you respond to your duty of care or your relationship with your pool boy or cleaning service.
Here are some care and maintenance measures that can help you get rid of algae in your pool:
Understand Water pH Levels
Testing your pool water’s pH level is the most effective means of gauging its cleanliness. Most people do this before embarking on a pool cleaning process. But, it may be advisable to do this at least twice a week.
This measure is essential in knowing if there’s a harmful compound in the water, especially if you have an uncovered outdoor pool. Even an inexpensive pH tester is up to this task. However, it would be best if you didn’t skip the review when looking for a reliable brand.
What is the ideal pH balance? Anything between 7.2 and 7.6 is safe. A lower score means the water is acidic. In such a case, you can add a “pH increaser” to level things off and ensure your pool doesn’t have the right environment for algae growth.
Take Proper Care of Your Pool Filter
Your pool filter is the first line of defense against algae and other pathogens. This is especially true if you want to clean a pool without a vacuum cleaner. That’s why it pays to clean it even in the off-season. And this also doesn’t present a challenge, especially if you clean your pool weekly and it’s less inundated by debris.
You can add some flocculant to prevent the formation of cloudy water precipitates. It may also be wise to keep up a regular pool cleaning routine, especially after a storm: The less debris in your pool, the lower chances of an algae bloom. Your pool filter will handle the rest!
Brushing Pool Surface Regularly
Your pool’s steps, ladder, and walls offer a stable ground for algae to take root. You can dislodge algae from such a surface with a firm brush and a little elbow grease.
Insist on a brush with a telescopic handle long enough to reach the pool’s bottom. Add some chlorine shock to the mix, and you’ve effectively stopped algae in its tracks!
So far, we’ve learned that algae is an invasive plant that feeds the bacteria inside your pool water. There’s a symbiotic relationship here as the bacteria also nourish the plant. So what’s the best way to defeat both? Well, it comes down to sanitizing the pool to break this co-dependent cycle.
You can produce chlorine shock by adding some chlorine tablets to water. This measure effectively increases the pH balance enough to choke algae and bacteria. It subsides after a while, and you can go back to enjoying floating on azure and calming waters.
Removing Algae from Pool without a Vacuum Step by Step
A vacuum cleaner is the perfect algae and debris stripper. Unfortunately, acquiring one may seem impractical for some. Especially if you have a pool cleaning service or don’t use your pool regularly.
You can take the following steps to clean your pool without a vacuum cleaner:
Method 1: Using Potential Algaecide
The use of potential algaecide is a go-to response for people that don’t have the time to sweep every area of their pool’s surface. The market also has an assortment of such products that are highly effective at eliminating algae.
Some people use it regularly to keep their pools bacteria-free. But you can also use an algaecide developed to counter a specific type of algae. The packaging specifies if the formulation is effective against black, green, yellow, or pink algae.
What if you have an infestation of different algae types? You can get a broad spectrum or multi-purpose algaecide.
Now that you know a little about algaecide formulations, it’s time to look at how you can deploy them.
- An algae type-specific algaecide
- Ensure the swimming pool pump is active and the water is circulating.
- Add 16 oz. of the formulation for every 10,000 gallons of pull water.
- Allow the filter to run for 12 hours to a day.
Method 2: Using Shock Pool Care Products
The use of shock products is the most affordable and effective way to eliminate pool algae. Agents such as calcium hypochlorite create unsuitable conditions for the growth of algae, fungi, and bacteria.
- PPE (personal protective equipment), i.e., hand gloves, safety goggles
- A 5 gal. mixing bucket
- 1 to for packs of calcium hypochlorite pool shock
- Put on your hand gloves and other PPE before getting started – Safety first!
- Fill your mixing bucket with tap water
- Add 1 lb. of pool shock formulation to every 10,000 gals. of pool water.
- Stir thoroughly to ensure a proper mix.
- Pour in the mixture targeting the most afflicted parts of your pool. You can use a double dose if you’re facing a significant invasion.
This effectively raises the chlorine levels in the pool. Allow the filler and pump to circulate this mix for at least 8 hours to eliminate all traces of algae. Lastly, clean the filter to remove any debris.
NB: Pool shock may create cloudy white precipitates in your water. This is nothing to worry about as it dissipates after a while. You can also leave the pump on for 24 hours to clear all the debris and dissipate pool shock potency.
Method 3: Using Your Pool Pump and Telescopic Pole
Sometimes algae fibers (especially when dead) accumulate at the bottom of your pool. Not having a vacuum cleaner is an inconvenience in such cases. Fortunately, you can improvise one from typical garden and pool cleaning tools.
A telescopic pole can help you reach and remove dead algae at the bottom. At the same time, you can fashion a siphoning system from a garden hose. Once you put them together, you can fish for debris at the bottom of the pool.
Here’s how to go about this:
- A telescopic pole
- A pool cleaning brush
- A 25-foot garden hose
- Attach one end of the hose to the telescopic pole. You can strengthen this bond with a rope.
- Put the other end of the hose directly over the pool drainage outlet.
- Dip the telescopic pole to 2 to 3 inches and start siphoning water from the other end.
- Use this momentum to remove dead algae at the bottom of the pool.
- You can use a firm brush or sponge to wipe away any traces of algae at the side.
Method 4: Manually or By Hand
Removing algae is more straightforward if your pool has a filter. Follow the steps below:
- Clear your filter of all debris
- Brush over all the walls to dislodge the algae and other debris
- Use “method 3” to remove algae at the bottom of your pool.
- Turn on your filter and let it run for 24 hours
- Repeat step 1
Your task is more challenging if your pool doesn’t have a filter. But, it’s not impossible. It would help if you simply spent more time and had an attention to detail mindset.
Here’s how you can remove debris from a pool if you don’t have a filter:
- Drain your pool
- Scrub the algae off with a firm brush
- Sweep the bottom of your pool clean of algae and debris.
- Collect all the dirt and dispose of it properly.
NB: Insist on using a steel brush for a concrete pool. A nylon brush works better for a tilled pool.
How to Prevent Algae From Growing in Your Pool?
As they say, “sometimes prevention is better than a cure.” The same is true when it comes to the relationship between your pool care and algal bloom. Here are some helpful tips to prevent the growth of algae in the first place:
- Algae and the bacteria that feed on it thrive in waters with a pH imbalance. So, it may be prudent to use testing strips 2 to 3 times a week to ascertain you have the ideal pH level. If not, apply a “pH increaser” or some chorine to hit a level slightly higher than 7.
- Run your filtration system frequently and continuously. This measure is essential to eradicating trace amounts of algae, mainly after treating your pool.
- Use your pool more frequently. An active pool is an unsuitable breeding ground for algae. It also destabilizes dirt and debris, which attract algae.
- You can cover your pool when not in use. This method is also an effective way of staving off algae. A covered pool doesn’t attract debris such as leaves that can get blown into your pool. It also shields your pool from the rain, which carries loads of nitrogen that enrich algae, marine life, and bacteria.
- Use chlorine shock or an algae-specific algaecide as soon as you notice traces of algae in your pool.
Following these few care and maintenance tips can help you protect your pool from algae. But, consistency is critical. So it may also be wise to drill your local pool boy on these measures if you don’t have the time to do it yourself.
FAQs: Removing Algae From Pool
1. Can high chlorine cause algae?
Chlorine can keep your pool algae-free if the levels are properly balanced. Algae will bloom if you if the concentration levels are low. A higher chlorine concentration doesn’t cause algae. It does the opposite.
However, high chlorine often oxidizes metals and other mineral elements present in water turning the pool into a dreary shade of green complete with powdery precipitates. So, moderation is vital. Consult a pH scale before adding some chlorine!
2. Can you swim in a pool with algae?
Algae present a mild threat to your health. Indeed, you can swim in an infested pool. But, it’s highly inadvisable as the water is unsightly. There’s also no telling which types of disease-causing bacteria are present in such waters.
So, it may be wise to stop using it until someone performs a proper pool cleanup exercise and the pH balance is restored to the ideal level.
3. What causes yellow algae in pool?
There are a variety of conditions that make your pool the perfect breeding ground for yellow or mustard algae. Inadequate water filtration and a chlorine imbalance are the leading causes.
Some people also chalk it up to an inadequate filtration system.
You can look at pool pump speeds, run time, and bather loads. Even the weather comes into play as windy and rainy conditions ensure your pool is infiltrated by debris that carries yellow mold and nitrogen that acts as a catalyst.
Nothing beats a vacuum cleaner to eliminate algae and debris from your pool. But as you can see from this article, it’s possible even without such a handy tool. Of course, this calls for some ingenuity and knowing how to use your tools.
Some people have vacuum cleaners but still, buckle under the pressure of algal bloom. That’s because they don’t consider chlorine shock and other chemical interventions. With that said, we hope reading this article helps you rise above the challenge.
Have a beautiful day by the pool, and see you in the next one!