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Thread: Algae I.D. PLEASE!

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    buzzbait00's Avatar
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    Algae I.D. PLEASE!

    Been fighting this stuff for a wile now.Thought it might be dust or pollen but I now know it is algae.It looks like a brownish dust on the bottom of the pool.Wave your hand at it and its gone only to come back in a day.I took a pimpet and sucked some up and put in in a jar.In the jar I can shake it up and it looks like pea soup(GREEN),but it doesn't stay in the water colume after 30min or so It all settles back to the bottom.
    I,ve shocked for 4 days at 25 to 30ppm FC with all equipment in the water and brushed as well as I could.It took 40 bottles of bleach!It came back in a week.
    I have been a faithful follower of BBB but am getting tired of poring bottle after bottle of bleach in my pool,pluse I don't have alot of money.
    I am thinking of going to the dark side!Algaeside that is!
    Is polyquat 60 the best stuff?
    What about that Aquachem Algaeside 50 stuff at wally world?Idont know what it is.I dont think its copper though.
    36x18,MAYBE 27000gal?,VINYL.3/4 HP,PAC-FAB SUPER FLO SAND FILTER

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    TizMe's Avatar
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    Re: Algae I.D. PLEASE!

    Just think of how much it would have cost if you had gone to the pool store. Can you post a full set of numbers and possibly a picture of the algea your referring to so we can see it? Please ...
    Les
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    buzzbait00's Avatar
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    Re: Algae I.D. PLEASE!

    All the #'s are within range except ph is a little high 8ppm.Cya is bout 40.Fc 6,CC-0

    I'll have to work on the pic's
    36x18,MAYBE 27000gal?,VINYL.3/4 HP,PAC-FAB SUPER FLO SAND FILTER

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    Re: Algae I.D. PLEASE!

    It sounds like mustard algae. At some point, your FC has been allowed back down low enough to let it reoccur.

    You must shock to kill it and then maintain higher than normal levels of FC to keep it away.....around 6-8ppm with a CYA of 40.

    Generally speaking, few of us on the forum think that Algaecide is a cost-effective way of dealing with it but that's your call.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
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    Re: Algae I.D. PLEASE!

    (I believe this query was also posted on another forum so I'm copying my answer here as well.)

    If this stuff tends to grow on the shady side of the pool, then this sounds like yellow/mustard algae. If it's all over, then it's more likely to be dirt or pollen.

    If you take some of it in a jar in the shade and cover it with a breathable fabric/cloth, then does it grow in the jar? Also, can you feel any of it -- is it gritty like dirt, squishy like pollen, or slimy like algae? Do you have a microscope and can you look at it -- if it's round and solid looking possibly with spikes, then it's pollen, but if it's somewhat transluscent and more oblong, then it's algae.

    Yellow/mustard algae takes higher levels of chlorine to get rid of -- the shock level is an FC that is 60% of the CYA level and you have to soak equipment and get behind light niches, etc. If you don't completely get rid of it, then to keep it from coming back requires an FC of 15% of the CYA level. Use of PolyQuat 60 algaecide will help let you use a lower chlorine level (for maintenance, not for shocking) and use of a phosphate remover will also work but will need reapplication. Another preventative approach is to have 50 ppm Borates in the water, but I've seen less experience of this reported on pool forums regarding yellow/mustard algae (it does seem to prevent green algae even in high phosphate level pools).

    You can also try using a skimmer sock to collect some of it if you stir it up.

    The AquaChem Algaecide 40 MSDS (I couldn't find 50) is here and is an inexpensive standard linear quat. It is better to use PolyQuat as it is more effective, longer lasting, and doesn't foam. Algaecide is not very helpful for killing an existing algae bloom, but it does work as a preventative (at extra cost relative to chlorine).

    Richard
    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: Algae I.D. PLEASE!

    Richard, we did the baster trick and got a good supply of our "sand". I put some in a test jar and added some Yellow Out. It had bubbles the next day and the sand appeared a little green, but also appeared to increase just a tiny bit. In another test jar, I put bleach, with no change in the "sand". In the last jar, I just left it alone in the original pool water without a cover of any type, and left it out of the sun. No change, no increase in sandy stuff.

    When we put some under the microscope, it looked like a grain of salt, and a grain of sugar: spikey-round with sort of strings/fingers throughout. Really, it looked just like the sugar and salt did. We put some sand in and it was just a dark spot, opaque.

    Ours seems to multiply anywhere - no pattern. When I haven't brushed the pool the pool in several days, then brush it - especially the sides - a tannish dust flied off the sides. It WILL increase in the pool if I don't do anything. The water remains clear, the stuff vac's up easily and stays gone until the pump turns back on. Oh, and I took a spoon and scratched it against the jar side and it felt gritty to me. But it doesn't necessarily feel gritty when I run my finger on it.

    Still not sure if it's MA or not and haven't done anything to battle it yet, since it's really not too much of a problem...yet! But we finally, last weekend, drained 20% of our pool to lower the CYA a little (from about 40 to 30) and to put our 2nd return jet in to improve our circulation. So we may go ahead and try the MA shock in the next few weeks.

    But we've had this stuff since the last week in June. Seems if it was MA, that it would have really taken hold by now. But it's the same amount day-in/day-in...unless I don't do anything with the pool for days!
    32x16 buried Doughboy, 4' shallow - 7' deep
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    Re: Algae I.D. PLEASE!

    A common mustard algae is "Pleurochloris pyrenoidosa Pascher", but I can't find any specific photos of it. The main distinction between algae and pollen or dirt is that algae is translucent as shown in photos here. What you described might be like the diatom photos if the spiky parts were translucent. Pollen is more solid and often spiky as shown here. Dirt is solid, but usually irregular in shape.

    Was what you saw translucent or solid? Since it didn't grow on its own in the jar (though mustard algae prefers shade, not direct sun), I'm leaning towards pollen. Feeling a little gritty with a spoon but not with a finger also sounds like pollen since that's "squishy" in between "slimy" like pollen and "gritty" like dirt.
    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: Algae I.D. PLEASE!

    Richard, it doesn't look like any of those pictures, algae or pollen. Since I have no way to take a picture of what I'm seeing in the microscope, I'll try my hand at pencil/water-color and see if I can closely duplicate what I see!

    What has me so stumped on this is that, when I vacuum at dusk, I then add my bleach, let it run for awhile and turn the pool off. It is still clean the next morning. And a couple of times, I've forgotten to turn the pool back on (have a timer now). When I went out to turn it on, usually about 3:00pm or so, I was surprised to see that the sandy stuff was still almost non-existent - it wasn't piled in crevices, but rather, laying sparsley, very sparsley, on the bottom. But a couple of hours after I turn it back on, and check again, the sandy stuff is back - just not as much of it, if I've vacuumed. I do catch a ton of sandy-colored stuff in my skimmer sock.

    I still have my experiments sitting in the kitchen and will try to do a hand-picture of it in the next couple of days and post here, if that's ok with this thread-owner. Otherwise, I can post separately. They've been sitting in there for a couple of weeks now...still with no growth.
    32x16 buried Doughboy, 4' shallow - 7' deep
    Pentair Dynamo 1 hp, 2-speed - Pentair 150# SD40 w/zeolite (75#)
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    Re: Algae I.D. PLEASE!

    I meant to ask this question a couple of weeks ago...does the algae move, swim, interact? What we saw just sat there, motionless. That's also what made me start leaning more toward pollen.

    Our pool sits almost middle of the acre and has a young maple about 8-10 feet from it. But that is the only thing back there, other than the kids' trampoline, fort, soccer net and huge mountain of dirt (clay) from the pool dig. But given that this stuff showed up one month after the fill, and one day after having friends over who swim in the lake and have mustard algae in their own pool, and we did the Yellow Out in June, vac'd to waste and cleaned everything up, and backwashed several times, it still came back a day or so after all that work! Could pollen be flying from the neighbors' homes, which aren't that close to our yard, since we all have 1-acre lots. And could it fly ALL SUMMER?
    32x16 buried Doughboy, 4' shallow - 7' deep
    Pentair Dynamo 1 hp, 2-speed - Pentair 150# SD40 w/zeolite (75#)
    One skimmer/two returns/Aquabot Turbo T2

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    Re: Algae I.D. PLEASE!

    Algae doesn't swim or move except from currents. Do you ever see anything floating on the surface? Pollen usually floats first before it gets waterlogged and sinks. Or it will get circulated to the skimmer and get caught in a skimmer sock which is something you've been seeing.

    The fact that this stuff seems to appear when you run the pump may indicate that this is sand or other material from the filter. Do you have a sand filter?
    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: Algae I.D. PLEASE!

    OK maybe it's not mustard Algae maybe it is!maby pollen! but its so fine that the sand filter won't get it.Does not stay in the water colume.It covers the pool bottom all over.Wave your hand at it and it comes off.Doesn;t seem to grow in a jar,looks brownish yellow looking at the pool but if you gather some in a turky baster it is pea soup green.The





    Dried out


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    Re: Algae I.D. PLEASE!

    Aha! Buzz' picture is identical to our pool! That's exactly what we have. I don't see stuff floating on the top, Richard. Although it could be that I'm not looking at the water at the right angle. Because I DID see stuff floating on the top on one of those days that forgot to turn the pool on, I think in July-ish.

    Buzz, when you sweep your pool sides, do you see a poof cloud of dust come off them? I don't see anything on the sides, especially when I swim and wear the goggles to check out the walls. But when I sweep the sides, there's sandy-like debris that goes flying off of them. If it's MA, wouldn't I be able to see it sorta climbing up the walls when I'm snorkeling right there at it? Or does it make a difference if it's vinyl? The stuff if my test jars isn't climbing the glass either.

    Richard, I have a Sand Dollar SD40, but with zeo sand, which I believe is white in color, right? It will be disappointing if it's been the SD40 all along and not something that we can just kill off with bleach and be on our merry way. Or maybe I should be looking at this the other way around, huh? I know that, so far, seems the majority of folks with this problem have a sand filter. But also, the sand, be it zeo or sand, wouldn't be on the side walls, would it?
    32x16 buried Doughboy, 4' shallow - 7' deep
    Pentair Dynamo 1 hp, 2-speed - Pentair 150# SD40 w/zeolite (75#)
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    Re: Algae I.D. PLEASE!

    and-yet-another-is-it-mustard-algae-or-pollen-thread-t8830.html

    Well, I don't know how to copy a page from another thread. But the above is where I posted a picture of our sandy-bottomed pool. You'll see that it's just like Buzz's - it looks greenish in the picture, but it's not greenish from looking down at the water.
    32x16 buried Doughboy, 4' shallow - 7' deep
    Pentair Dynamo 1 hp, 2-speed - Pentair 150# SD40 w/zeolite (75#)
    One skimmer/two returns/Aquabot Turbo T2

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    Re: Algae I.D. PLEASE!

    I haven't read this thread thoroughly but has OP done an overnite FC test? Pretty simple to find out once and for all and (probably) clear your pool of algae at the same time.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Algae I.D. PLEASE!

    Following this thread with great interest....
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
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    Re: Algae I.D. PLEASE!

    Dave, I did the overnight FC test and never lost anything. I did it for three nights straight and the most my FC went down was less than .5. But what he has pictures of on here, especially the stuff dried out on the towel, that's exactly what ours looks like. So I hope ya'll can figure this out and tell us what to do. We've had to look a pool all summer with this stuff on the floor!!
    32x16 buried Doughboy, 4' shallow - 7' deep
    Pentair Dynamo 1 hp, 2-speed - Pentair 150# SD40 w/zeolite (75#)
    One skimmer/two returns/Aquabot Turbo T2

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    Re: Algae I.D. PLEASE!

    We have the same thing going on in Greenville Tx, just down the road from Wylie. I am wondering if pollen or algae also. I had originally thought it was the sand filter, because we had a similar deal- vacuum and it is clear. Let the pump sit overnight, no obvious deposits. Start the pump, and a few hours later, those same deposits in all the little crevices on the floor only.
    It is very fine, and "poofs" when you wave your hand near it. I have not done microscope tests, and it does not really feel like anything, as it is too fine and loose to feel. However, I can see (and my nose knows) the pollen is in the air all the time, and have been seeing it floating on the pool surface.
    I have been able to keep my FC up with no problems using every other day chlorine addition, and my water sparkles (when it is not raining). And yes, the pollen blows almost year round here, and will travel quite a distance with the high winds, as will very fine dust.
    I am interested in seeing how this thread comes out. I am too new to pool ownership to have a definite opinion, but it seems to lean towards pollen. If you think otherwise, I guess I had better start shocking.
    28 ft round Doughboy Sand Dollar II AGP, Aug 2008: 4 ft shallow, 6ft deep end: 24K gal approx Hayward Power-Flo Matrix
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    Re: Algae I.D. PLEASE!

    Well at least there are some folks out their that can feel my pain! Maybe this is some sorta mutant algae ....Ok...If it is pollen or dust how do ya get rid of it!!!!
    36x18,MAYBE 27000gal?,VINYL.3/4 HP,PAC-FAB SUPER FLO SAND FILTER

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    Re: Algae I.D. PLEASE!

    If it's pollen or dust, then better filtration is the answer as with a skimmer sock or with a slime bag. For a sand filter, adding a small amount of DE might help (it's added through the skimmer and needs to be re-added after a backwash). Of course, this assumes your pool sweep is able to stir it up so it gets to the filter.
    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: Algae I.D. PLEASE!

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    If it's pollen or dust, then better filtration is the answer as with a skimmer sock or with a slime bag. For a sand filter, adding a small amount of DE might help (it's added through the skimmer and needs to be re-added after a backwash). Of course, this assumes your pool sweep is able to stir it up so it gets to the filter.
    Well I put a tube sock over the vac hose and pluged it in.Sucked up some of the"STUFF".The sock turned greenish/brown but didn't catch any of it.This "STUFF"is VERY VERY fine.
    What is a slime bag?
    What about a flock treatment?Think that might help the filter catch after I stir it up?
    36x18,MAYBE 27000gal?,VINYL.3/4 HP,PAC-FAB SUPER FLO SAND FILTER

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