A sparkling aquamarine swimming pool is an image of relaxation, family, and fun. However, when an algal bloom strikes and the water turns a murky shade of swamp green, the dream quickly dissolves. Here’s how to keep your home swimming pool clean, fresh, and safe.


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What Are Algae?

Algae are a type of plant that flourish in water. The smallest are just a single microscopic cell, whilst the largest can be up to 60m in length. Most algae are not only harmless, but are actually beneficial for the environment due to their carbon dioxide and nitrate absorbing capabilities. However, some algae release toxins that are harmful to humans. These include black algae. Although black algae love swimming pools, they definitely shouldn’t be in there.

What Are Black Algae?

Black algae are not really an algae at all, but are a type of Cyanobacteria. This is one of the most important resources on the planet, and without Cyanobacteria life would never have evolved. However, coming into contact with black algae can cause neurological disease, liver disease, and skin reactions. Although they are referred to as black algae, the colour is often a blue-green shade, which can make it very difficult to detect. Black algae blooms are regularly linked to mass deaths due to neurotoxic poisonings in some parts of the world, although we couldn’t – fortunately – find any record of this ever happening here in the UK.

How Can I Prevent Black Algae In My Pool?

The most important step is regular pool maintenance. This can be done at home by carrying out weekly chlorine/bromine, alkalinity and pH tests and adding the required balance of chemicals. These will be clearly labelled on the packaging. Algae thrives in stagnant water, so always run the pump and filter for a minimum of twelve hours per day, even when the pool is not being used, although it is best practise to have it running continuously. It is also important to brush the sides of the pool and clean the fixtures, fittings, and filters regularly. If you suspect that you are at risk of a black algae bloom, a range of products are available to help to neutralise the problem.

What Else Can I Do To Keep My Pool Safe From Toxic Algae?

One of the best strategies is to invest in a pool cover. When sunlight is blocked, algae and Cyanobacteria cannot photosynthesise, so when the pool is not in use the water can be kept safe. A cover will also reduce the risk of biomaterials such as leaves falling into the water. As poor filtration is often the root cause of a toxic algae bloom, it is also worthwhile to have a routine maintenance check from a professional service. Maintenance checks sound expensive but are proactively cost efficient because they can prevent very expensive dramas such as black algae, inefficient filters, and algae-induced staining from unfolding.

What Next?

At JB Elite, we take algae seriously. Our pools are designed to minimise the risk, and our clients are given full support in pool care. For more information, please get in touch today.



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