A swimming pool is a fun and valuable addition to your home. However, algae blooms that accumulate on pool walls, floors, and other surfaces are sometimes a frustrating and expensive problem for pool owners. In this article, you’ll learn how to get algae off the bottom of your pool and how to prevent algae invasions in the future.
Since algae are single-celled plants, millions of individual algae plants must accumulate before they’re visible to the naked eye. These plants are highly adaptable and are sometimes difficult to eradicate.
More than 20,000 different types of algae exist, but the most common forms that grow in swimming pools are black, green, pink, and yellow algae, which is also called mustard algae. Each variety of algae requires a different approach to eliminate.
Mid to late summer is primetime for algae blooms in home swimming pools. Several contributing factors include higher temperatures, longer sunlight hours, and inconsistent sanitizer and pH levels.
Read on to discover our best pool maintenance tips to keep your home swimming pool free from contaminants like algae.
Best Ways of Removing Algae from Pool Bottom
Whether you have an in-ground or above ground pool, keeping the water clean and beautiful requires consistent routine maintenance.
It’s critical to check your water chemistry frequently using a test kit that measures alkalinity, calcium hardness, water pH, and chlorine levels. As necessary, adjust your water chemistry to the recommended PPM measurements for each chemical.
Different solutions are required to remove calcium silicate from pool and eliminating algae. Regularly cleaning the filtration system and replacing the filter as needed is an essential step in preventing algae growth in your pool. The most common kinds of pool filters are sand filters and cartridge filters.
A sand filter is relatively low-maintenance and economical, as they typically last for five to ten years. Sand filters get cleaned by a process called backwashing.
Particles trapped in the filter sand eventually begin restricting the flow of clean water back into the pool.
When you notice the filter’s pressure gauge passes a certain threshold, it’s time to perform a backwash to flush dirty water out of a separate valve, which is usually labeled “waste.”
A cartridge filter is more efficient but requires more frequent upkeep. The cartridge usually lasts for one to three years.
When the filter’s pressure gauge rises above the level specified by the manufacturer, remove the pool filter and rinse it using your garden hose to clear away the buildup.
Loosen Algae on Bottom of Pool with a Brush
No matter which type of pool algae you’re dealing with, the first step in removing it is loosening its bond with your pool walls or floor with a hard-bristle pool brush. Make sure to use a brush that won’t damage the pool surface.
Wire brushes are only safe to use on plaster and gunite pools. For concrete, fiberglass, tile, or vinyl pools, use a nylon pool brush.
Black algae are sometimes more difficult to remove than yellow or green algae in your swimming pool. It forms a protective outer layer that’s resistant to chlorine.
Take extra care to be thorough when scrubbing black algae off your pool surfaces. Otherwise, the chemical treatments are ineffective.
Shocking Your Pool Water
The term “shocking” refers to raising the levels of free chlorine, or chlorine that hasn’t yet mixed with the water, by adding chlorine or other chemicals to your pool water.
Depending on how often your pool gets used, shock your pool once every week or two during the peak swimming season. Chlorine works best at a pH level between 7.2-7.8. Acidic water (below 7.0) is harmful to both swimmers and the pool itself.
With a pH above 8.0, chlorine quickly loses potency. The goal of shocking your pool is to raise the free chlorine level to eliminate contaminants, kill algae, and for clearing a cloudy pool.
Note that pool shocking chemicals that get rid of brown algae in the pool are different from clarifiers and flocculants. Water clarifier products consolidate particles in the water into small clumps that the pool filter is better able to catch.
Flocculant products coagulate debris into large clumps that sink to the pool’s bottom for easier manual removal.
Chlorine bleach works as a DIY alternative to name-brand pool shock chemicals. The active ingredient in swimming pool shock and chlorine bleach is sodium hypochlorite.
Pool shock contains about twice the concentration of household bleach. Clorox recommends using a half-cup of bleach per thousand gallons of water. It’s best to apply the bleach treatment at night, as sunlight quickly decreases its potency.
DIY Pool Algaecide
After the initial shocking and brushing treatment, it’s helpful to apply an algaecide to the pool water to kill any remaining algae cells. Most commercial algaecides are copper-based and work to disrupt the algae’s natural cellular processes.
If you’d like an alternative to expensive name-brand algaecide treatments, try making your own by following these easy steps.
Mix the baking soda and Borax, then add just enough bleach to form a thick paste. Apply the paste to your pool brush for extra algae-cleaning power. The baking soda and Borax lift stains and loosen the algae’s roots from the pool’s walls and bottom.
The chlorine bleach kills algae and bacteria in the water. Baking soda also raises the pH of your pool water, so be sure to test the pH after applying this treatment.
How to Get Algae off the Bottom of Your Pool using a Pool Vacuum
A skimmer is an excellent tool for cleaning floating or suspended debris out of your pool. However, pool vacuuming is usually required to remove contaminants on the sides or bottom of the pool.
Vacuuming algae out of your pool works best after using a flocculant, so the particles bind together and fall to the bottom in large clumps.
Most pool vacuums connect to the pool filter to run on the normal setting. For light to moderate cleaning, this is fine.
However, when cleaning up significant algae blooms, it may be necessary to set your pool vacuum to “waste” or “drain” mode. The contaminated water gets drained externally and bypasses the pool filter.
Get Algae Out of Pool without a Vacuum
If you don’t have a vacuum for your pool, don’t worry. It takes a little extra effort, but removing algae from pool bottom without a vacuum is possible.
If your pool has a filtration system, the filter should be able to take care of a swimming pool with algae after scrubbing it off the sides and bottom of the pool.
After scrubbing with your pool brush, agitate the water with your hands or a garden hose with a pressure attachment to lift algae on bottom of pool, so it gets picked up by the filter.
Large clumps of algae may clog your pool filter, so it might be necessary to rinse it part-way through cleaning up your algae bloom.
If your pool doesn’t have a filtration system, use a pool brush or regular broom to gather the sediment and dead algae on bottom of pool to one corner.
It’s critical to move slowly so the debris doesn’t spread too far in the water. Once you’ve made a pile in a corner, use a skimmer, net, or dustpan to collect the algae and sediment and gently lift it out of the pool.
If you discover your pool has gone from crystal clear to murky and green, don’t panic. While prevention is the best cure for an algae problem, eliminating an algae bloom is usually straightforward.
In addition to your regular pool cleaner products, you’ll need pool shock, flocculant or clarifier, an abrasive brush that won’t damage your pool’s surface, and a pool vacuum or skimmer. With a bit of effort, you’ll have your swimming pool looking like new in no time.
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