Algae are plants that thrive in a pool environment. Algae found in pools can be green, mustard or yellow and black.
If algae exist, the pool's flooring and walls often have a slimy texture. Algae on walls make walking in the pool more dangerous and can also make water cloudy and smelly.
There are many ways to prevent and kill algae. Shocks are the most common form of prevention and elimination. Algaecide can also be used if the problem is out of control.
Shock treatment products are essentially a high dose of chemicals. Shocks are normally the first choice for effectively controlling algae. Some shock products contain chlorine. Others are chlorine-free so they can be used with other sanitization systems such as bromine.
Shocks are often used at the start of the season and throughout the swimming season as well. Be sure to consult manufacturers' literature to be sure you are using the right shock and to find out how often you should shock your pool. Some prefer to use algaestats or algae inhibitors to prevent algae growth.
Algaecides in contrast are used to eliminate existing algae. Algaecides or algicides are offered in many different variations, often formulated to kill a specific type of algae. The type of algaecide you can use will depend on the type of pool flooring you have and whether your pool is chlorine- or bromine-based.
Algaecides should be treated with caution and used only by strictly following manufacturers' directions. Some algaecides foam in the water, while others are highly toxic and require that you wait a long time before swimming again. Some algaecides, if they are not dispensed properly, can leave stains that may require you to brushing your pool's walls afterward.
For more information on using shocks and algaecides, check out the shopping links at the top of this page.