Can You Swim in a Pool With Algae?

 Understanding Algae Growth

Algae is a common concern for pool owners and can be unsightly and downright dangerous. Several types of algae can plague your swimming pool due to water that has been poorly maintained and balanced. So, when we get the question, “Can I still swim in a pool with algae growth?” We always answer the exact same way. NO…Nada…Nope on a rope!

Our pool experts at Parnell Pool and Spa never recommend swimming in algae pool water because of the harmful bacteria that feed on the algae. Whether your algae growth is mild or severe, the bacteria found in the water can pose a major health risk to swimmers and also damage your pool equipment. 

Pool Algae Explained

Algae are a group of aquatic organisms that are often considered to be beneficial to most ecosystems. When referring to a naturally occurring body of water (lake, pond, river), algae will provide oxygen and help to clean the water. However, algae growth in a swimming pool can cause serious health problems. 

Unlike a natural body of water, your pool is treated with chemicals to prevent the growth of microorganisms such as algae. With circulation and filtration systems in your pool, alongside sanitizers like chlorine, most algae spores don’t stand a chance of survival. So, the types of algae that do survive in your pool are extremely resilient and grow rapidly. In fact, by the time you can visibly see evidence of algae in your pool, the organism has reproduced a number of times and there is an outbreak in your water. 

Types of Algae

There are over 400 different types of algae that can be found in a body of water. However, there are three main types of algae that can affect an unbalanced pool: green algae, mustard algae, and black algae. Each type of algae bloom must be handled and treated in a specific manner. 

  • Green Algae: The easiest algae type to prevent and treat, free-floating green algae clouds the water making it appear a pea soup green color. 
  • Mustard Algae: Resulting in dirt-colored or yellowish-brown spots, this type of algae clings to the walls and floor of your pool. 
  • Black Algae: Appearing as black spots, this type of algae will adhere to the pool’s surface and is the toughest strain of pool algae to kill.

Algae and Your Pool

Where there is algae, there is a wealth of harmful bacteria. Algae can pose a health risk to both your pool and swimmers. With algae comes harmful bacteria that can result in a skin rash or irritation to the eyes or ears. While skin issues are the most common health concern, if the bacterial-infested water were to be ingested there is a possibility for fever, diarrhea, and intestinal issues. Physical injury can also occur due to low visibility in the water and slippery conditions.

Excessive pool algae can also clog your filtration system and permanently damage/stain your pool structure and equipment. Water chemistry and proper filtration are key to preventing algae growth. Along with weekly brushing and vacuuming, properly chlorinated and circulating water will eliminate (or greatly reduce) algae growth in your pool water. 

Pool Owner -vs- Algae: The Ultimate Battle

One of the easiest ways to make sure your pool is algae-free is to check your water quality and focus on the important levels for clear and contaminant-free water. Alkalinity, pH, phosphate levels, and chlorine levels are just a few of the things to test each week to make sure that there are no harmful bacteria for the algae to feed off and thrive. 

Need Help Testing the Water?

At Parnell Pool & Spa, our trusted specialists use only the best equipment and procedures to get a complete and accurate reading of your pool water. Our computerized Water Analysis System, BioGuard’s® ALEX®, provides results in an instant with step-by-step instructions. Bring us your water sample today and leave knowing every step needed to get your pool water safe and sanitary. 

 Contact Us Today

If you have a question about the proper running of your pool or spa, contact us or stop by our Fayetteville or Lumberton location anytime. While in the store, check out our products, purchase chemicals for your pool/hot tub, or get a specific question answered by one of our experts. Feel free to follow us on Facebook and Instagram as well.

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(910) 425-6138

4206 Cumberland Rd
Fayetteville, NC 28306

Mon-Fri: 9am to 6pm
Saturday: 9am to 3pm
Sunday: Closed


(910) 738-8110

1380 Linkhaw Rd
Lumberton, NC 28358

Mon-Fri: 9am to 6pm
Saturday: 9am to 3pm
Sunday: Closed

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