Variety of Chemical Products Help in War against Algae

Given the precise conditions, even the most carefully maintained pool can develop an occasional outbreak of algae. And service professionals know that there is no such thing as a magic pill in this fight. It takes conscientious work and a regimen that includes proper pool-water balancing, correct sanitizer levels and regular doses of shock and algaecide. Even then, when weather and environmental conditions are right, things are known to go wrong. The professional arsenal for confronting algae now includes six major types of specialty chemicals designed to kill or prevent an algae bloom. They include:

  • Metallic Algicides, which normally contain either copper or silver and kill by blocking the algae’s metabolism. That means they interfere with the plant’s ability to feed and breathe. Algae are simply a green plant that requires food and light to thrive. The light usually comes from the sun, which explains why algae grows better in warm, sunny climates. The food source is typically phosphates in the water that have escaped the kill normally provided by chlorine or bromine.
  • Quats are short for quaternary ammonium compounds. They usually contain some form of ammonia and have a positive electrical charge. Because algae has a negative charge, they are attracted to the quats. The quat interferes with the plant’s cell membrane, causing the algae to suffocate.
  • Polymers are huge molecules containing several repeating parts. Because they are also positively charged, they work in much the same way that quats do and suffocate the algae after attaching themselves onto the plant’s cell membrane.
    Herbicides are organic compounds that work by being absorbed through the roots of the algae plant, then interfering with the plants’ ability to produce food through photosynthesis.
  • Chlorine Enhancers work in concert with the chorine already present in the water, combining to create material that the algae thinks is a food source. Once the algae ingests the combined form, it is killed by it. The chlorine enhancer, then, is not really doing the killing. It is the chlorine itself. But the enhancer and chlorine are working together to make the chlorine’s job more effective.
  • Phosphate Removers commonly use a chloride-based metallic salt, which combines with the dissolved phosphates in the water to form a solid material that can be filtered out through normal circulation processes. While phosphate removers are not algicides, they help rid the water of a valuable food source that allows algae to grow. Phosphates occur naturally from rivers, lakes, oceans or mined rock and are used in detergents, soaps; shampoos and even soda pop. They are also common in fertilizers, organic debris such as leaves and bark. And they are even used in some pool chemicals. While minimizing the amount of phosphates entering the pool is helpful and they can be removed with a flocculent, sometimes bigger guns are needed in the process

Instructions For Removing Visible Algae At Start Up

A three-day procedure may be necessary for removing algae from the swimming pool.

  1. Before treating, be sure there is no metal content in the water, because the treatment may cause metals to stain the pool.  You can do this by bringing a pint of water into our store for a free analysis.
  2. Shock the pool with Super Chlorinator (1lb. Per 10,000 gallons) and an algaecide treatment (see label for manufacturers instructions).  Add during the evening hours for best results.  Pump and filter should be running, filter should be on by-pass mode.
  3. Immediately after adding chemicals brush pool walls and floor.  Brush, brush, brush.
  4. A settling (flocculant) agent can then be used to help remove the dead algae.  Algae must be dead, no more green before adding the settling agent.  Add settling agent, circulate pump for 4 hours, shut pump off over night.
  5. Be sure to add additional water to the pool so the pump does not run dry.
  6. With the filter in the waste position vacuum the dead algae out of the pool and onto the ground.
  7. Clean filter, brushes, all equipment, accessories, swim suits, etc., to prevent algae from reoccurring.
  8. Make sure to add regular chlorine immediately and keep level at 1.0 – 3.0 ppm to keep algae from returning.  A monthly/weekly algaecide treatment is advisable throughout the season.

If you have any questions please call Aloha at 503-642-4795 or Gladstone at 503-656-0021.