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What is Pink Algae and How Can I Get Rid of It?

If you notice a weird pink coating or pink spots at the bottom of your pool, you may be dealing with pink algae. Any type of algae or bacteria growth in your pool is never good. If you’re currently dealing with that pink stuff in your poo, keep reading. The experts at LinerWorld are answering some of the most common questions about pink algae and how to get rid of pink slime in your pool.

What is pink algae in swimming pools?

Pink algae are not really algae at all, but a form of bacteria. Sometimes referred to as “pink slime,” this type of swimming pink bacteria appears as reddish-pink stuff in your pool and slimy streaks in corners, crevices, pipe-fittings, and light fixtures on the water’s surface and may slowly spread over an entire pool area.

Why do I have pink algae infestation in my pool?

Pink algae will form slimy pink or clear layers over your swimming pool surfaces. The pink coating typically appears in areas of the swimming pool that aren’t exposed to direct sunlight, and that has little to no water movement. While there’s no specific cause that’s known, pink slime is generally attributed to poor pool maintenance and water chemistry, which encourages algae growth and bacteria. 

How to get rid of pink slime in the pool

Looking for a great pink algae treatment? Here are a few steps to take to help you kill those pesky pink algae in your pool area:

  • Balance the chemicals. Be sure the pH, alkalinity, and water hardness are at the correct levels. Adjust the water’s pH to 7.2-7.8, the calcium hardness to 200-400 ppm, and the alkalinity to 100-150.
  • Pool Scrubbing MittBring the pink algae to the water’s surface by brushing the bottom, sides, and steps of the pool.

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  • Run the pool filter continuously and backwash twice per day until the water is clear again.
  • Shock your pool to kill off the algae. This entails raising the chlorine to 12 ppm.
  • Continue brushing the walls, vacuuming the bottom of the pool, filtering, and backwash to remove additional algae.
  • Once the chlorine level is between 1.0 and 3.0 ppm, it is safe to swim again.

It’s important to remember that correctly getting rid of any type of algae takes time. Unfortunately, pink slime tends to be resistant to chemicals. If the pink algae aren’t completely removed, there’s still a chance for it to continue to grow and spread. If a serious infestation occurs, it can turn the pool water cloudy or green and if it won’t come off at all by brushing it. Then you may have a more serious problem such as metal staining.

Other pink algae treatments

Algaecides and other anti-algae treatments are often useless against pink algae, but the pink slime is caused by bacteria, not by true algae. However, there are formulas that will kill most types of bacteria and specifically pink slime. You can find these treatments at your local pool store.

More pink algae tips

Although it’s not entirely clear why pink algae is a recurring problem in pools, we do know that it occurs outside of swimming pools as well. In fact, the growth of the bacteria can occasionally be seen in toilet bowls, sinks, saltwater tanks, and showers, so pool owners aren’t alone!

One thing is clear: by properly maintaining the water chemistry, structure, and environment of your pool, you’ll have a better chance of avoiding pink algae in your swim area.

Are pink algae dangerous?

Yes and no. Pink algae is not a pathogen, so it does not pose any real danger to your health. That being said, it’s never a good idea to swallow your pool water. Also, pink algae can make pool fixtures, like ladders and stairs, more slippery, which can contribute to injuries from slips and falls.

For more insights and tips for dealing with algae, weeds, and pests around your swimming pool, check out the other handy resources on our blog!

Last Updated 12/28/2020

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