Black Algae. Ick! Even the name of this nasty pool infestation sounds gross. And it is! Black algae is a nasty algae that is extremely stubborn to fight. Your pool water can be crystal clear blue and you can still have black algae! Your chemical balance can be perfect, and you can still have nasty black algae. Having never had this stuff before, I made a trip to my local pool store to learn more about black algae and how to get rid of it. What I found out is...well, some may call it interesting. I call it gross.
The first and most important thing you need to know about black algae is that it gets transported to your lovely pool from the lake. And how does it do that? Simple! It hitches a ride on the swimsuits of those who have been to the lake for a day of lake fun. When those friends come to swim in your pool, the nasty black algae organisms are released. They then attach to the side of the pool, grow roots into the plaster and secret a slimy film that protects the top layer. Can you say NASTY! Uh, yeah!
If you live in an area with lakes, like we do here in Oklahoma, you MUST require that swimmers keep two swimsuits. One for the lake and one for the pool. And you're going to have to be like a pool cop. Lake swimsuits must NEVER be allowed into your pool or you're gonna risk being infected with a nice black algae outbreak!
My outbreak of black algae seems fairly mild compared to some of the pics I've seen online. Apparently, black algae outbreaks can be large and disgusting. Of course, the question on my mind is, "Is it safe to swim in a pool with black algae?" The consensus seems to be that it is okay, but I would suggest you talk to your local pool expert to be safe.
The solution for dealing with black algae seems to be pretty straightforward. I went to the pool store and bought some black algaekiller. Make sure you follow the directions carefully and have your pool water tested prior to treating the pool. Also, you'll need a wire or other pool brush (depending on the kind of pool you have) because you're going to need to brush off the top black algae slime layer in order to allow the chemicals to get to the "root" of the problem (pardon the pun!). And, from what I understand, you're going to have to brush alot and treat with black algae killer and lots of shock. This stuff is stubborn!
So, if you're a new pool owner, be sure to heed the warning. Never allow lake swimsuits into the pool. Oh, and the same thing goes for pets who have been to the lake. In fact, did you know that letting one dog swim in your pool is like allowing ten people in to swim? But that's another conversation!
Now, it's off to brush my pool! Die black algae. Die! I want my pool back!
Pool Closed picture courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nieve44/1270945853/
Pool picture and Black Algae Killer picture courtesy of Bob Haywood!