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Thread: Who has actually had mustard algae..

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    Who has actually had mustard algae..

    I see lots of advice and whatnot about mustard algae and pollen in pools, but I was just curious how many people have actually dealt with confirmed MA in a pool, along with its relevant characteristics. I have battled something for over 2 years now that could be either/or but NOTHING seems to go along with the things I've read and learned on TFP.
    What I would really like to know is.....What does MA REALLY look like? Is it a uniform dust, or strictly just a series of "spots"(or both)? Can it exist in a massive quantity without ever actually "growing" on the walls(ever)? can it exist(and grow) without an overnight FC loss?
    Who has actually dealt with this stuff, and not just 'read' about it online and become an "expert". I really would love to hear from someone with firsthand knowledge and experience in what to do...
    24' AGP vinyl, 3/4hp Pentair 2-speed, Pentair Quad DE 60
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    Re: Who has actually had mustard algae..

    it doesn't always look the same, the last time I saw it; it looked like a brown gritty-ish stuff that was on the bottom of the pool and it would come back daily. took a while to figure out what it was since it didn't look like algae to me. I think it's been mentioned on here that copper based algaecide is effective against it. (keep it mind metals can stain though)
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    Re: Who has actually had mustard algae..

    Yellow/mustard algae prefers shade so will generally be on the shady side of the pool (sides and bottom) while pollen will settle based on circulation patterns so is usually on the bottom and not the sides. It is dust-like so difficult to capture, but if you can get a sample of it then generally dirt is gritty, pollen is squishy and algae is slimy. A more definitive test is to look under a microscope since dirt is usually jagged and solid, pollen is usually round and sometimes spiky but is solid, while algae is usually oblong but is also translucent so you can see inside it.

    If you get some into a pail or bucket, add a very small amount of fertilizer, and cover it with cheesecloth, then if it's algae it will usually grow while if it's pollen it will not. The cheese cloth is to prevent more pollen from blowing in and to partially shade the pail/bucket.

    You can get rid of yellow/mustard algae using chlorine but it takes a higher shock level of roughly an FC that is 60% of the CYA level and you have to get behind light niches or under ladders and put in all poles, toys, etc. (and wash your swimsuits) since you have to kill all of it.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
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    Re: Who has actually had mustard algae..

    The few times I had mustard algae, many years ago, it was only on the pool wall, shallow end side wall, the one that didn't get direct afternoon sun, and a bright yellow. Mine was kind of like a thinly veiled area about 4' X 6' and always in the same spot. The water was very clear so that probably made the color more prominent. I got on it so fast, indiscriminately dumping "tons" of granular chlorine in pool, pretty close to area probably reaching shock levels many times greater than needed, immediately started brushing, and ran the pump and cleaner 24/7 for at least a week. I actually have run pump and cleaners almost that much anyway for 24 years. And I've always hyper-managed the pool when I am not out of town (dog/house/plant sitters or house keepers were "made" to hyper-manage the pool when I wasn't here - that's about the only thing they had to do that sometimes drove them to tears worrying so much that they would make a mistake - shoot, all those years of hyper-management included many good intentions, but never the less mistakes, made by me ----- until discovering TFP last year) so it never got a good hold. By the next morning, after HYPER Shocking, there were no visible signs of it. I really didn't get to observe it in its dieing or dead state as I usually treated in evening and probably killed all living things that got too close to the pool that ended up in the filter before I saw the pool in the morning. I'm glad I had at least enough sense to keep the dogs out of the pool for a few days.

    I don't know if mustard algae is as much a problem in cooler climates as it is around these parts but it is a huge battle for many pool owners/care takers, around this area. I don't know any pool owners other than me and the people I converted to ionization, (I sincerely regret doing that now), when they were using ionization with adequate metal levels, that don't have several battles with mustard algae every summer, year after year after year. In summer our local Leslie's can't keep the shelves stocked fast enough with Yellow stuff.

    Another thing that contributes to mustard algae is areas that have inadequate water movement, or "dead zones" or where cleaners don't reach if circulation is inadequate or so I've read.

    I never had mustard algae or any other algae in my pool, for about 18 years after switching to ionization (or whenever Nature 2 came onto the market), with one exception. Before ionization I used bromine feeder and before that chlorine feeder, both probably putting way too much sanitizer in the pool. I switched from chlorine to bromine soon after we moved here because the chlorine was bleaching out the show dog coats; even the fawn colored Mastiffs. They lost the varying highlight colors. The Bromine, was actually no more costly than chlorine. (BTW... Now that I'm using BBB method, there is, of course, no chlorine smell AND the black Labradoodles show no sign of their black coats being afftect by the chlorine at all. They were in the pool for many hours a day, last summer and fall.) The upfront cost for Bromine was more but it lasted longer. I switched to ionization because DH couldn't handle the chemicals. This was before people recognized the importance of chemical balance and cya/chlorine relationship. (Many people "in the industry" still don't know about cya/chlorine relationship.) I did have mustard algae a few times way back before ionization but cleared it up pretty quickly using tons of granular chlorine and brushing. And this was prior to getting my first Polaris, which I've always used many hours a day. One summer I tried the Nature 2 express, which fed less metal into the pool than my big commercial canister and pool did get a touch of mustard algae. That was the one time I used Yellow Out, or what ever if is called, and it took more time to clear it up than good old chlorine I used back in the old days and cost a whole lot more. It's been so long ago.

    BUT, BIG BUT, how sanitary was my pool then and, yes, they, three different systems, did cause eventual metal staining. I fell for the "low chlorine" and shocking every once in a while mentality. There were a few exceptions to having no-algae pool. Several winters, for various reasons I couldn't be here to manage the massive amount of stuff going into pool, in fall and winter, and had to shut pool down, uncovered, leading to green algae only, which grows most months of the year, due to our usually mild winters. At least it was green (bottom brown and mucky but stayed there as long as it wasn't disturbed) until water started warming at end of winter. Then it went pretty quickly to greenish tan, then greenish brown, then greenish dark brown, and then black if I didn't get it cleaned out or drained out in time. I don't think mustard algae could have lived in those conditions.

    All those years, up to today, everybody I knew/know with pools, who weren't using ionization constantly fought/fight mustard algae in summer and fall. I'm sorry to say I was responsible for converting quite a few people to ionization. But I didn't know any better.

    Since switching to BBB I haven't had a speck of any kind of algae, even this winter into spring without a pool pump and filter running for two months. Thanks to TFP I used submersible pumps to keep the water moving (I actually knew about that before), chems totally in balance, and cleaned, somewhat filterd, and circulated with a very old used Aquabot running many hours a day.

    If all pool owners/care takers could or would subscribe to the practices prescribed on TFP, Pool School, and The Pool Calculator, yellow algae would be a pool "plague" of the past. It will still hang around and it is so opportunistic. It will rear its ugly "heads" if guard is let down; "guard" being well managed pool. It loves any pool that is even slightly mismanaged for a short period of time.

    I forgot the question.

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

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    Re: Who has actually had mustard algae..

    Some of the people I know have well working SWGs and they still battle mustard algae. It's a lot harder to see on some of the pebble type surfaces, untill it has taken a good hold. People are so touchy about their pools and pets. And most people don't want unsolicited advice. So I bite my tongue and don't offer advice about anything unless asked. Actually in the "real" world I don't "talk" nearly as much as I do on TFP. DH has spent years training me but has little control over my fingers at the keyboard. We actually have an earthenware canister in the kitchen, labeled "Unsolicited Advice" with a big cork top, that DH frequently opens up to capture my unsolicited advice to him. Really. Not fibbing.

    The other day I got to chat, between customers, with our, new last year, Leslie's manager. He is very supportive of the BBB method. When we get a chance to talk we spend a lot of time during our chats. I joking said, "If every one followed the BBB method you would be out of business." His reply was most people just don't want to do anything other than buy what they are told to buy, no discussion, and don't want to hear anything else. I've seen him try to offer better advice about product use. People typically glaze over.

    When he saw the young sales guy helping me at the Polaris cleaner accessory wall, and he had a moment between checking out customers, he raced over and joined our discussion about my old DE filter under the deck. The young guy had heard the story and was now connecting a person to that story. I told manager I finally got the new Intelliflo VF and Quad DE installed. So he excitedly asked, "And how about your new pump?" I told him I loved it and I've already noticed a reduction in my electric use. He got so excited, looked directly at the young guy, and said, "See, this is what I've been so excited about. You just heard her say it." (He has a VS) He was almost bouncing with excitement. He went on to say that he just can't convince people of the benefits of a VS, VF, or two speed pump. All they see is the upfront cost. Period....

    So I guess most of my friends, neighbors, and acquaintances will just have to battle mustard algae. Well, isn't that a part of pool owner ship with any pool in Texas, they proclaim (not a question but proclamation). I'm not getting in their pools but I will let the dogs, as long as they get a good ear disinfecting and antibiotic regimen going when they get home. We battle doggie swimmers ear anyway with my near perfect water. And yes, we have the Canine Swimmers Ear drying treatment, but I haven't gotten into the swing of treating 10 ears twice a day yet. Hopefully, the Blue Heeler Monsters, with their upright ears won't have the problems the others have. They were cured, for a few months during the winter, but I let my guard down this spring and didn't get started soon enough. So hundreds of dollars treating six ears before we can start the drying agent.

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

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    Re: Who has actually had mustard algae..

    I shocked to much higher than needed levels last night, and this morning I still have the brown plague all over the bottom of the pool. Shouldn't a hyper-shock of killed of at least SOME of the dust? So much doesn't add up with my situation. If you would of asked me 2 days ago, I'd of told you that I was 99% sure that I have a pollen problem. But this problem has manifested itself ALOT in the past few days. Coincidence that the water temp has also gotten a much warmer(almost 90) this week?
    24' AGP vinyl, 3/4hp Pentair 2-speed, Pentair Quad DE 60
    Pool Rover Jr.
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    Re: Who has actually had mustard algae..

    Quote Originally Posted by budysr
    I shocked to much higher than needed levels last night, and this morning I still have the brown plague all over the bottom of the pool. Shouldn't a hyper-shock of killed of at least SOME of the dust? So much doesn't add up with my situation. If you would of asked me 2 days ago, I'd of told you that I was 99% sure that I have a pollen problem. But this problem has manifested itself ALOT in the past few days. Coincidence that the water temp has also gotten a much warmer(almost 90) this week?
    People will be along to ask some pertinent questions. Is there any reason you think is could be mustard algae? Does it move when you brush it? If it doesn't it could be stains. What does it look like color, texture? Does it float up easily when you brush the bottom. Is the cleaner picking any of it up in the bag? I'm assuming that the Pool Rover Jr. comes with the fine fabric bag. Is that correct. If so it should be collecting some of it in the bag. What does that look like? If using a regular mesh bag it might just go right through it, though. Have you tried vacuuming to waste?

    Have you been battling the same thing for 2 years? I'm sure someone will ask you to please post your pre shock numbers. High levels of chlorine will throw off the pH so you can't trust the actual reading until you get the chlorine down, I think around 10.

    What else have you been using in the pool besides the very basics?

    Could also be connected to something having to do with the filter and/or sand condition/age too. Nasties can take up residence in just about any filter and/or filter media.

    Has this been continuously or only during certain times? Has it responded to anything? If so what?

    All algae doesn't die over night, especially if there is lots of it. And loads of chlorine will be used up killing it. How does your FC reading this morning compare to last nights, hopefully calculated using The Pool Calculator, with known amount of chlorine added?

    Try to get some of it too look at and feel, one way is PR Jr. fine bag, and describe it in more detail.

    Others will be along to help.

    I'm dingier than normal having been up all night but someone with a fresher brain will also ask these questions in a more organized way.

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

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    Re: Who has actually had mustard algae..

    Here is a picture of mustard algae:
    This was taken relatively early on, when it had just taken hold and hadn't spread too much. It started along that edge, which is the most shaded spot in the pool, and was on the walls nearly as much as it was on the bottom of the pool.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Who has actually had mustard algae..

    Thanks for the replies everyone. I wish I could say for sure what I was dealing with here. When I finish with the latest super shock period, and the problem slowly returns, I will attempt to collect some and try Richard's suggestion on seeing if it grows.
    I do have a question right now: What would a few days of a pool at shock level do to excessive (brown)pollen in the water?
    24' AGP vinyl, 3/4hp Pentair 2-speed, Pentair Quad DE 60
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    Re: Who has actually had mustard algae..

    If you are at regular shock level and brush the entire pool, mustard algae will go away and not come back until the FC level comes down. It is tricky to kill it completely, but it will never grow while at shock level. Pollen, on the other hand, comes back even when you are at shock level. Occasionally pollen will bleach out (turn white/gray) at shock level, but mostly it is unaffected by the FC level.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Who has actually had mustard algae..

    I'm trying to figure out what keeps causing this stuff to keep coming back as I've been down this SAME road several times in the last 3 yr.s It does seem like I either stop or slow the problem while in the process of super chlorinating, but as mentioned, the problem always slowly eases back in. I feel like I've left no stone unturned in the past and I've followed all the guidelines for treatment. What I'm wondering is how this water continues to be reinfected? I have oaks around and a wood deck. Is contamination basically imminent in my environment? does this stuff have the potential to come in from dry surfaces?
    24' AGP vinyl, 3/4hp Pentair 2-speed, Pentair Quad DE 60
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    Re: Who has actually had mustard algae..

    I'm watching this thread closely because I'm 99% certain I'm battling MA. Fits the description, keeps re-forming in the same places (mostly in and along the seams of the liner and in the corner of the deep end where the pool is in the most shade), and something is certainly eating my FC!! (Plus, we've had it before so I'm a little familiar with it, but not since switching to BBB.)

    I've been trying to shock at the MA shock level since Sat (60% of my 40 CYA = 24) and not having much luck. Here's how it's been going: raise FC to 24, check in 30 mins, FC = 24! Check in 1 hour, FC = 17. Huh??? Add more bleach and repeat. At least since I've been shocking at the MA levels, no new traces have reappeared, but something is still eating my FC! This morning it was 19 so progress I guess.

    One thing which I'm starting to think may be part of the problem and what may have caused this in the first place is that I switched brands of bleach about 2 weeks ago - I saw someone posted about a Sam's Club brand in the restaurant section that is cheaper. I usually get the 3-per-case of Clorox at Sam's so thought I'd try this instead. After a week, I started noticing green and then MA algae. Now I can't hold the FC level. The product hardly even smells like bleach. Could that be the issue?

    So at this point I'm on the fence about whether to go back to Sam's, get a boatload of Clorox and start shocking all over again, or just go to the pool store and get some MA killer. And if and when I DO ever get rid of it, should I then maintain FC at the MA levels in Chemgeek's version of the Chlorine/CYA chart?
    13.5K gal IG vinyl, Hayward 1 HP pump, 20"-ish sand filter

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    Re: Who has actually had mustard algae..

    If you get behind light niches, under removable ladders, etc. and completely get rid of the MA, then normal FC/CYA levels are OK. The higher FC/CYA levels for yellow/mustard algae are to prevent its growth when it is already in the pool. It's better to get rid of it completely and not reintroduce it, if possible.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: Who has actually had mustard algae..

    Hi there. I'm new here but wanted to chip in....that image is identical to the stuff that was on the bottom of my pool a couple times last year. We had a vinyl tear on the bottom and after I repacked the lost foundation, sealed the bottom and refilled the water the liner "slid". So I have slight overlapping folds on the bottom in a couple of places now and that gunk started showing up. I scrubbed/bleached it away whenever it came but the past winter....well....it was free to do what it liked right?

    Anyway, the cover caved in this winter and when I opened my pool it was a full on swamp. Dark green, scummy floaters, the whole works. I have been pounding the sucker with chlorine (140 liters / 37 gallons in a week, 60 liters / 15 gallons last night alone) and seeing no actual progress. I don't have a decent test kit, yet, so I can't post usable numbers to ask for help or anything but the FC seems to have held overnight on my little test kit and the green is turning milky which I believe I read is a good thing. Just wanted to say "Thanks for existing" as you have given me hope that my pool will become usable again and to verify I have seen that stupid mustard algae stuff.

    *shakes fist* Curse you goo.
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