What Causes Red Algae in a Pool?

red algae in a pool

Algae is a curious form of organic life. It’s impossible to say how many different kinds of algae exist on Earth, and scientists claim it could be anywhere from 30,000 to over 1 million.

Of all these kinds of algae, there are certain kinds that tend to plague the average pool owner. Of all these pool-dwelling species of algae, very few are red–and that’s because the so-called red algae isn’t actually a type of algae. 

What has been misnamed red algae is actually a form of bacteria, and it comes from a variety of sources.

Read on to learn more about red algae and have it treated right away.

Is Red Algae in a Pool Dangerous?

Yes, red algae in a swimming pool can be dangerous to humans. The algae can release toxins that can cause skin irritation and redness, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. In severe cases, the toxins can cause respiratory problems and even death. It’s important to keep an eye on the algae level in your pool and to take steps to reduce its growth.

To prevent red algae from growing in your pool in the first place, make sure to keep the pH balanced and use an algaecide on a regular basis. You can also hire a pool chemical service company like us to do this on a regular basis for you.

Identifying Red Algae

Red algae can grow on any surface in your pool, from the pool floor to the ladders and steps. This bacteria is often rust-colored and can even make the water, itself, look as though it has a light reddish tint.

Some algae blooms and bacteria are harmful, and it’s hard to tell by looking which ones can cause health issues for humans and pets. If you’re not a bacteria expert, it’s best to stay out of the water until you’ve had it treated and the red algae have cleared.

Sources of Red Algae

Red algae, like any bacteria, are introduced into your pool water by outside sources like rain, wind, pool accessories, and swimmers, themselves. In fact, humans are the primary source of red algae, as we all carry a variety of bacteria on our skin. That means that each time we get into the pool, we’re depositing some of our own bacteria into the water.

In addition, this bacteria can cling to pool toys and flotation devices before depositing itself into the water. Plus, rain and wind can stir toxins into your pool that will eventually lead to the growth of algae and bacteria. In other words, your pool is always susceptible to the growth of unwanted organic materials.

What to Do About Red Algae

If you notice the presence of red algae in your pool, make sure no one enters it until the algae are gone. 

Start by leaving your filter on 24 hours a day and backwash the water once or twice per day. Brushing the areas that are heavily affected before running your pool vacuum will also help to loosen bacteria that are clinging to the floor and avoiding the filter. 

You’re also going to need to treat the water, directly. That means balancing pH and chemical levels but also shocking the pool with chlorine to disinfect the water. Go ahead and bleach any pool toys and accessories that were hanging around the affected water, too.

This is a delicate process and you don’t want to start mixing chemicals unless you know exactly what you’re doing. A better solution is to hire pool cleaning professionals.  

Is pool algae harmful to humans?

There are actually several different types of algae that can grow in pools, and not all of them are harmful to humans. However, some types of algae can release toxins that can cause skin irritation and other health problems, so it’s always best to err on the side of caution and remove any algae growth from your pool as soon as possible. And if you notice skin irritation or feel sick please consult your doctor.

If you suspect that you have algae growth in your pool, the first step is to identify the type of algae. The most common type of pool algae is green algae, which often appears as slimy green patches on the walls or floor of the pool. Green algae is generally not harmful to humans, but it can still be a nuisance.

Treat Your Pool for Algae Today

If you’re in Santa Rosa and you’ve discovered a bad case of red algae in your pool, Pool Chemical Service is here to help. That is one bacteria that you don’t want to mess around with!

Contact us today to schedule your appointment and we’ll take care of those nasty algae blooms in no time.