Quarantine Swamp turned Icey Blue Paradise

Jun 9, 2017
18
Mcallen, Tx
Hi y'all! I'm hopping on here to let you know what the last week of my life, and my sibling's lives has consisted of. During the spike of the pandemic, we couldn't get our hands on any bleach. I'm sure y'all all feel my pain when I say I would walk into countless stores, just to be greeted by empty bleach shelves, or a search on Amazon came up with "product out of stock". This turned our already dingy looking pool into a dark green, smelly swamp.
1 Green Pool.JPG
As you can see in this photo, its pretty nasty. The walls and floors were not only covered in green algae, but black algae (the bane of my existence). We had tried everything in the past to get rid of the stuff but it kept coming back. Razor blades to scrape off the slime layer, hockey pucks rubbed over it, but nothing worked. So, we decided to power wash the pool. We knew this was going to take forever since our previous pool drain and power wash (see here Two-year Swamp drained, now rehabbed and startup, with test results. ) we did when I was 15. So, we started draining our pool with a high powered pump connected directly to the sewer hole.
5 Drain.jpg
Here's my 13 year old brother, Joseph, ankle deep in the disgusting smelling water, getting the last of it out. Don't let the smile fool you, it was miserable. You can see how bad the black algae is in the background of this shot. We started power washing as soon as the pool was drained. One of us kept the walls of the pool wet to avoid cracking the plaster, another power washed, and the third took a break in the shade. The weather could not have been hotter. 105 with 90% humidity down here in south Texas. We worked all day for two days, power washing an inch at a time from morning until night. 6 Night.jpg
This is the shot we took after we finished power washing our last section of the pool. We were SO incredibly sore and tired. The next day, we put gallons of 7.25% bleach into a watering can and bleach washed the walls and floor, making sure to cover every inch. We wanted to kill off whatever black algae roots still remained that we missed. Then, we started filling up the pool. Our cousin came to help finish off power washing the hot tub and filling the pool with all of our hoses. But she mostly came to splash around in our 2' pool ;)
2 Clean Pool.JPG
This is what it looked like post-power wash. We also took note to trim the palm tree haha. The pool looked better than I thought it would considering how old it is. Its a good 20-30 years old.
7 refill.jpg
I can't tell you how nice it felt to actually be able to wade around in our finally clean pool. Rachel, our cousin, and my sister Lorien sat on the steps and watched it fill up slowly but surely. With three hoses running, it took about 14 hours to fill the 26,000 gallons. Just in time for my 19th birthday party! It turned out so pretty! 3 Blue Pool.jpg
This last shot is after vacuuming and right before the party started! Suggestions for keeping black algae from coming back are appreciated!! We are dissolving CYA into the skimmers now and the FC is up to snuff.
 

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the_sphynx

Well-known member
Feb 19, 2019
75
North San Diego County
Good job! I don't have any thoughts on keeping black algae away as I have never encountered it but I suspect you have to keep the FC numbers up. Were you able to solve your bleach sourcing problems? I'd hate for all that work to happen and then it come back because you can't find any bleach to add to the pool.

It was a lot more work to do it your way but it likely solved the problem much much faster as sometimes a SLAM can take a week or two in bad situations like yours sounded like.
 

duraleigh

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Apr 1, 2007
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Nice work.....good looking pool.

I doubt that is black algae. Simply maintain your parameters as TFP suggests and test often to make sure you stay in those parameters.
 
Jun 9, 2017
18
Mcallen, Tx
Good job! I don't have any thoughts on keeping black algae away as I have never encountered it but I suspect you have to keep the FC numbers up. Were you able to solve your bleach sourcing problems? I'd hate for all that work to happen and then it come back because you can't find any bleach to add to the pool.

It was a lot more work to do it your way but it likely solved the problem much much faster as sometimes a SLAM can take a week or two in bad situations like yours sounded like.
We did! We found a store that's getting extra shipments every week and we have a janitorial supply place as backup for big bleach needs!
 
Jun 9, 2017
18
Mcallen, Tx
Nice work.....good looking pool.

I doubt that is black algae. Simply maintain your parameters as TFP suggests and test often to make sure you stay in those parameters.
Thanks, duraleigh! We're logging and making sure to stay on top of it. The algae was slippery and slime and was black until smeared on a white sheet of paper, which made me think it was back algae. I'd love to know what else you would think it is!
 

duraleigh

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Sebring, Florida
I have read there are 3-7,000 species of algae. I know we sure see a bunch of different ones on here. It is partly the location of your algae that makes me think it is not "black algae".

Black algae (that is so-o-o-oo tough to get rid of) is often found in the grout lines of water line tile and deep in any imperfections in the plaster. It generally is more localized and is difficult to remove without some residual staining. Yours seems to have cleared nicely.

I believe you will be able to keep your pool nice and clear by maintaining the numbers we suggest.

If it really is black algae, it will start to regain a foot hold pretty soon but I think you are OK.
 
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Jun 9, 2017
18
Mcallen, Tx
I have read there are 3-7,000 species of algae. I know we sure see a bunch of different ones on here. It is partly the location of your algae that makes me think it is not "black algae".

Black algae (that is so-o-o-oo tough to get rid of) is often found in the grout lines of water line tile and deep in any imperfections in the plaster. It generally is more localized and is difficult to remove without some residual staining. Yours seems to have cleared nicely.

I believe you will be able to keep your pool nice and clear by maintaining the numbers we suggest.

If it really is black algae, it will start to regain a foot hold pretty soon but I think you are OK.
We will try and keep it up! Thanks for the tip. I didn't know black algae didn't grow like our algae was growing.
 
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