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How To Remove Pink Algae or Slime In Your Pool (Step-by-Step)

When people dream about having their own pool, rarely do they think about the amount of maintenance required to keep the pool in swimmable condition.

If regular upkeep isn’t adhered to, the pool water can quickly turn on you, resulting in a range of nasty water issues.

Once such contaminant is the presence of pink algae in the pool. Proper steps need to be taken as soon as possible to remove any form of algae that you see growing in the water.

What Is Pink Algae Or Pink Slime?

Pink algae is mischaracterized, as it’s not really an algae. Rather, it’s a slimy bacteria that has a pink coating on it.

Scientifically referred to as serratia marcescens, pink slime is a naturally-occuring bacteria. This means that the cause of it isn’t due to an oversaturation or undersaturation of any specific pool chemicals.

Pink slime can grow anywhere water is present, and your bathroom is the most common place you’ll find it. In the shower, around the toilet bowl, around your sink, or on your shower curtain, pink slime finds a home and just keeps growing until you take steps to get rid of it.

What Causes Pink Algae In Your Pool?

There is no single cause to having a pink algae problem in your pool, as it’s naturally-occuring.

However, if you don’t keep your pool properly sanitized, you’re creating the conditions for pink slime to develop.

Pink slime is the top coating that grows on a layer of white water mold. This mold is actually an overgrowth of naturally-occuring biofilm that is present on pool surfaces.

When the surface isn’t properly sanitized, the white water mold can build up, and as a result, so can pink slime.

Why Is Pink Algae A Problem?

A pink algae problem should not be taken lightly. It’s actually super unhealthy for humans to be around.

Due to its bacterial nature, it can cause health problems if it gets into your body through your eyes, nose, or any open wounds. This can lead to pneumonia, as well as urinary and respiratory tract infections.

Additionally, the filter system can get clogged up with this guck. As it grows on top of white water mold, there’s a high chance that both of them will have infested your pool’s pipes and filters. When the water is injected back into the pool via its return jets, the mold and bacteria will now have a chance to grow inside the pool.

Also not to be overlooked, pink slime tends to grow in low circulation areas, such as skimmers, lights, and ladders. This could be potentially hazardous as someone can easily slip and fall if the slime is present on a ladder or steps. If left to grow, pink slime can even leave stains on your pool finish

How Do You Fix Pink Algae In Your Pool?

So how does one eliminate all traces of pink slime in the pool? It’s very tough to get rid of, and will take some time and effort on your part. But it can be done by following this removal process.

Step 1. Check & Clean Your Filter

Pink slime grows on top of white water mold. White water mold is especially fond of crevices and plastics such as the PVC piping used for your pool. This does not bode well for your filtration system. 

The first thing you’ll have to do is clean out your filter. Chances are good there’s a lot of mold and slime already built up and possibly clogging them. Cleaning them out (rinsing or backwashing) will give you a fresh slate to work with.

Step 2. Test & Balance The Pool Water

Next up, you’ll have to test your pool water using test strips or a liquid test kit. This will let you know where the levels in your pool are currently at. If you’re dealing with pink slime, it’s a safe bet that the water chemistry is off, and you’ll need to bring it back into balance.

Step 3. Shock & Awe

This is where you’ll show no mercy to this bacteria, by shocking the pool.

Traditionally, shock dosages are 1 lb. of shock per 10,000 gallons of pool water. But because pink slime is notoriously hard to get rid of, you’ll need to triple, and at times quadruple the amount of shock.

With a 3 or 4 lb. per 10,000 gallons of water ratio, you’ll be massively dosing the pool, but also giving it a fighting chance. Also, remember to only shock at night for maximum effectiveness.

Step 4. Brush The Pool

Brushing the pool down will help remove any slime that has built up on the walls and floor (and don’t forget to brush around the ladders and skimmer!). You’ll also want to ensure you’re using the proper pool brush for your pool.

Soft bristle brushes are good for pools that have tiles or vinyl liner, whereas a steel bristle brush is better for hard surface finishes like plaster or concrete. By brushing everything off the walls, debris will get sucked up into the skimmer and run through the filter.

Step 5. Pump Hard & Brush Some More

With so much wall debris now floating in the water, you should run the pump for the next 24 hours.

This allows the filter time to work its magic, and plenty of time for the water to fully cycle a few times. On average it takes 8 hours to cycle a pool, so running it extra will give it multiple filter exposure.

Then, repeat the brushing process for a thorough wall cleaning.

Step 6. Break Out The Hoover

With a second pass over the walls completed, manually vacuum the pool. This will get rid of any lingering debris that may have been missed when the pool was first brushed down. 

After vacuuming, you may need to replace the water that was drained during this step.

Step 7. Clean The Filter & Retest Water

Finally, clean out your filter again. Only this time use chemical soaks or chemical cleaners because they’ll be full of mold now, and that needs to be destroyed. 

The finishing touch? Retest you water for pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels, and rebalance where necessary.

How To Prevent Pink Algae In Your Pool

The easiest way to keep pink algae from making a home in your pool water is to always stay on top of keeping the pool clean

Regular everything is what you should be striving for: regular brushing of the pool walls, regular cleaning of the nooks and crannies, regular running of your pump and filtration system, and regular testing of the pool water, and balancing it when it needs to be done.

It’s A Simple Fix!

Pink algae in the pool is a nasty thing to deal with. Not only is it unsightly, but it’s also hazardous to swimmers, and can clog up your filtration system resulting in inefficient operational levels.

Thankfully, it’s a problem that has a solution. By following our guide to pink algae removal (as well as taking the proper preventative measures), you’ll be back to enjoying your pool in no time.

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