Is it Safe to Swim in a Pool with Algae?

Taking care of a swimming pool however small it is can be a daunting task, which can cause it to be dirty and harmful for use. One of the first signs to notice when a pool is dirty is algae which makes the water have a slight greenish hue.

Algae are usually green plants which are predominantly aquatic i.e. they thrive more in a wet place, they are photosynthetic and nucleus bearing like plants but lack true stems, roots, leaves and specialized multicellular reproductive structures of plants. Algae is usually found in a pool that is unclean, with chemical imbalance and one that lacks a standard filtration system.

Is it Safe to Swim in a Pool with Algae

Why You shouldn’t Swim in a Pool with Algae

The question of can you swim in a pool with algae, Yes you can but should you swim in a pool with algae, No you should never.

If the swimming pool has only a few spots of algae, you can decide to risk it but swimmers are strongly advised against it, if a pool is green with large patches of algae and has a bad smell, you should clear it out as fast as possible and not try to swim in it.

  • Algae in itself are pretty much harmless, but they provide a breeding ground and great conditions for bacteria to survive and multiply. Algae has a way of attracting bacteria to itself, and it is almost impossible to determine if the bacteria around it is harmful. Often times, the bacteria found in swimming pools with algae are injurious to health and can lead to complications such as skin rash, bacterial infections in the nose, ears or eyes.
  • A swimmer can also mistakenly swallow while swimming which can lead to ingestion of bacteria and cause complications such as fever, diarrhea and other serious health risks.
  • Algae in a pool can make all the chemical treatment or shocks you use to help your swimming pool ineffective. In cases where the algae has spread over a pool and had stayed for a long time, all chemical treatments and shocks applied to the pool maybe ineffective until the algae is cleared out and resolved which makes it unsafe for swimmers.
  • Algae are known to be very slimy and slippery, if allowed to breed in pool water and swimmers use the same pool, anyone can mistakenly slip on it causing an injury or drowning if there is no lifeguard around.
  • There is no way a swimming pool can exist without decorative pieces around, algae are so strong that they leave their characteristic green color everywhere they touch. Algae in the pool can easily make your headstones, tiles, ladder, floaters and even swimwear dirty and difficult to clean off.

Algae are caused and transmitted by their spores, which can be carried by leaves and even the wind. They survive and multiply from little debris and solids that provide nutrient for them. Different types of algae to look out for include: green algae, which is most common and can be easily eradicated, black algae, yellow algae, mustard alga and pink algae. All these are named after their characteristic colors and have various levels of strength.

How to Keep Algae Away from your Pool

Like everything people use, a swimming pool needs constant maintenance to keep it safe and healthy for use. Some of the ways you can keep algae from your swimming pool are

  • A great circulation and filtration system will keep algae at bay for a long time, A great filtration system ensures that water with settled debris is regularly replaced with a neater and chemically balanced water where algae cannot thrive. If the same water is allowed to be at use or standing still for long, algae spores begin to develop from nutrients that are thrown their way by the wind, rain etc.
  • Ensure constant check of the water’s chemicals including alkanity, PH levels, chlorine level and any other checks required. This is to ensure that there is no chemical imbalance that may cause bacteria to grow. Algaecides (chemical products to eliminate algae) will not work if the pool’s PH and other chemical properties are imbalanced. This also helps when you want to use chemical shocks and algaecides as they will not perform effectively in the wrong conditions.

If you want to manually take out algae from pool surfaces, use strong pool brushes and disinfectants or sanitizers to take out strong stains.

  • Shock your pool regularly, apply algaecides regularly and filter out the algae using a proper filtration systems.
  • Also sanitize everything that enters your pool from swimwear to toys, floaters etc. to ensure they are not breeding sites for algae spores which can start to grow in the pool.
  • Ensure the cleaning and chemical treatments done are constant and timely so you can have a perfect pool all year round.

How to Apply Algaecides

Algaecides are chemical compounds used to combat not just algae but also molds, slime, pathogenic organisms etc. in a body of water. Most algaecides are copper based e.g. copper sulfate, copper chelate. Other types you can find are Fenton, hydrated lime, cybutryne, dichlone etc. The best algaecides for your swimming pool are copper free algaecides as many swimming pools already have high copper levels to prevent overloading which can stain your pool or causes itch for some people.

To use the algaecide, read instructions from the manufacturer, pour the recommended dose into the swimming pool evenly but more at strategic areas where algae is concentrated. Ensure the swimming pool pump is running to ensure proper circulation. Run the filter simultaneously for about 30 minutes. After the application, wait for about 24 hours, vacuum, thoroughly clean the pool and backwash your filter. The most important lesson to learn from this is DO NOT SWIM IN A POOL WITH ALGAE. It is not in anyway safe for your health as you never know the harmful bacteria that maybe lurking in the green water. Algae can also be very slippery and even for the most experienced of swimmers, it can cause slips and lead to drowning. Ensure there is constant cleaning and filtration of your pool so you can have healthy, clear and safe water for your swimming.

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