There are over 21,000 known varieties of algae! In the pool business we avoid all of the complication by referring to algae by the color they exhibit.
An extremely common variety, green algae will usually rear its ugly head immediately following a hazy condition in the water from a lack of proper filtration and/or sanitation. It is frequently found free floating in the water, although it also will cling to the walls. It reduces water clarity and is thereby distinguished from severe copper precipitation, which will impart a clear, green color to the water. Varieties of green algae also appear as “spots” on surfaces, particularly rough areas, or places where circulation is low. They also show up as “sheets”, where large wall sections, or even the entire pool, is coated in green slime…UGH!
A wall clinging variety, also called mustard algae, is usually found on the shady side of the pool. It is sheet forming, and can be difficult to eradicate completely. Once begun, a pool owner could spend the entire season fighting yellow algae; re-infection is common. This variety is resistant to normal chlorine levels and must be dealt with firmly. Hit it hard!
Perhaps the most aggravating strain of algae, it has been compared to herpes; “once you’ve got it, it’s there for life.” This is not entirely accurate, but the difficulty in eradication is due to the strong roots and protective layers over top of the black algae plant. Black algae will appear as dark black or blue/green spots, usually the size of a pencil eraser tip. Their roots extend into the plaster or tile grout, and unless the roots are destroyed completely, a new head will grow back in the same place. The heads also contain protective layers to keep cell destroying chemicals from entering the organism. Like yellow algae, black strains can bloom even in the presence of normal sanitizing levels and proper filtration. I was once told that this form of algae commonly enters a pool inside the swimsuit of a person who’s recently been to the ocean.
Not really an algae at all, but a form of bacteria. Appears as spots or streaks in corners and crevices. It is slow to spread and rare that it will bloom over an entire pool.
Red Square Pools
Las Vegas, NV