How to Remove Black Algae From Your Pool

WRITTEN BY:  Inyo Pools

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If you see black spots growing in your pool, it is a sign of the beginning of black algae and you will want to treat it immediately. The longer you let it go, the harder it will be to eliminate it. Black algae generally penetrate porous pool surfaces like concrete and gunite. Once these surfaces are infested with black algae, it will take time and persistence to eliminate it. Black algae are generally not an issue with smooth-surfaced pools like fiberglass and vinyl. This guide provides a step-by-step procedure for eliminating black algae.

Step by Step


Step 1

ASSEMBLY TOOLS AND CHEMICALS - Buy the required tools and chemicals ahead of time to have them on hand for this procedure. If you have a concrete or gunite pool, you will need to buy a stiff brush like one with stainless steel bristles. The chemicals that you will need to buy are shock treatments and an algaecide.

Step 2

CLEAN FILTER - If black algae are in your pool, it's also in your filter. If you have a sand or DE filter, backwash and rinse your filter a couple of times. If you have a cartridge filter, pull out the cartridge and rinse it off thoroughly.

Step 3

BRUSH POOL - Next you need to brush off the black spots vigorously with as stiff a brush as you can use. If you have a concrete or gunite pool, use a stainless steel bristle brush. If you are one of the few that have black algae in a pool with a smooth surface, use the softer nylon bristle brush. Black algae have a protective cover over the algae roots that penetrate the porous surface of the pool. This barrier has to be removed so that the chemicals can get to all of the algae. Brush the algae spots three to four times a day for the duration of the treatment. Pay special attention to the pool's corners and around fixtures like the pool ladder.

Step 4

WEAR GLOVES AND EYEWEAR - Before you start handling the chemicals used here to treat black algae, put on a pair of heavy vinyl gloves and protective eyewear.

Step 5

SCRUB WITH TABLETS - Break a chlorine tablet in half and scrub the edge of the tablet over the black algae spots. For the areas you cannot reach, buy a tablet holder online that attaches to the pole of your brush.

Step 6

SHOCK POOL - Shock your pool with Sodium Dichlor using three times the normal dosage. So, instead of one pound per 10 000 gallons of water, use three pounds per 10 000 gallons.

Step 7

ADD GRANULAR CHLORINE - If you have a pool with a lightly colored surface, sprinkle Granular Chlorine over all the areas where it may settle on or near the black algae. Do not use Granular Chlorine in pools with dark surfaces as it may bleach the surface.

Step 8

ADD ALGAECIDE - Add one 32 oz. bottle of poly 60 algaecide per  15 000 gallons of pool water.

Step 9

RUN PUMP - If you have a pool with a light finish, leave the pump off for 24 hours to let the treatment set in. Then, after those 24 hours, run the pump an additional 24 hours the next day. For a pool with a darker finish, run the pump for 24 hours after adding the chemicals to prevent bleaching. During this 24-hour/48-hour period, continue to brush three to four times a day where the black algae spots were.

Step 10

CLEAN FILTER - Clean your filter again to rinse out any black algae residue.

Step 11

BRUSH POOL - Continue to brush where the black spots were for two to three days while the chlorine level is still high from shocking.

Step 12

RE-SHOCK POOL - If there is any indication of the black algae reappearing after three days, shock your pool again with a normal dosage - one pound per 10 000 gallons of water.Continue to brush where the spots were for two to three more days. Don't skip brushing. It is a key part of the treatment.

Step 13

MAINTAIN POOL CHEMISTRY - Once you have had black algae, it has a tendency to reoccur. It is important that you maintain your pool's chemistry and that you brush down the pool walls and floor once to twice a week. Note: Due to the heavy chlorine treatment, the chlorine level may remain high for up to two weeks.


(1 to 16 of 16)

Inyopools  Posted: 01/07/2018 22:20 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

john - I wouldn't recommend swimming in any water that contains algae. You run the risk of getting it into your eyes or ingesting it into your lungs.

john  Posted: 01/04/2018 22:18 PM 

What stages can we still swim in the pool?

Inyopools  Posted: 08/28/2017 14:06 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Gina - The process is the same for salt water pools.

Gina  Posted: 08/28/2017 13:38 PM 

What about a Salt Water Pool? Is the process different?

Inyopools  Posted: 07/21/2017 13:29 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

GUSGUS - We use to sell pools that held a chlorine tablet at the end to scrub algae on the bottom floor, but they were ineffective. You might see if you can find something like that on the internet. Other than that, I would agree with you. The most effective way to eliminate black algae on the bottom of a small pool would be to drain it, scrub it for two or three days, refill the pool and shock to 2-3 more days with frequent brushing and daily cleaning of the filter.

GUSGUS  Posted: 07/19/2017 20:39 PM 

If I have black algae on the bottom of my pool some places hard to reach, would draining it and cleaning it be easier to remove the algae?

Inyopools  Posted: 07/07/2017 13:33 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Irene - You have to keep at removing the black algae. Initially, brush every black spot 3-4 times the first day then 2-3 times a day for the rest of the treatment period. Remember to clean your filter every day too.

Irene  Posted: 07/06/2017 11:36 AM 

I brushed some of the algae last night, today we'll finish and start chemicals, etc. do I have to re-brush the ones I did last night? i.e. how long before algae coated roots start again? I know I brush 3 times per day during treatment..

Inyopools  Posted: 07/05/2017 10:41 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

The goat - Yes, you can use a steel brush on a pebble tec surface. The key to eliminating black algae is persistence. Black algae tends to embed itself into the wall of the pool. You have to brush it to remove the hard heads of the algae to allow the chemicals to get below the surface. Brush the algae spots, then use half of chlorine tablet to rub chlorine directly into the algae spots before adding chemical. Then repeat this process every day for 3-4 days.

The goat  Posted: 07/03/2017 23:00 PM 

I have a dark finish pebble tec pool which also runs on a DE filter. I got black algae as soon as we moved into this house and the filter broke. Can I use a stainless steel brush on a pebble tec surface? Any other recommendations as to getting rid of this stuff?

Anonymous  Posted: 06/23/2017 17:56 PM 

Clear and straight to the point instructions. Worked great, thank you!

Anonymous  Posted: 05/25/2017 19:40 PM 

Inyo pools got it right.
I should have done a before and after with photos. I did everything they said and my black algae is contained.

Inyopools  Posted: 04/08/2017 12:43 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Anonymous (algae) - I'm not sure what you mean by "My algae is 12 down" but here is a good link to a recent video on "How to Clean a Green Pool".

Anonymous  Posted: 04/05/2017 20:25 PM 

My algae is 12 down what did do for that?

joe  Posted: 03/19/2017 12:32 PM 

very helpful, contains a lot of useful, practical information.THANK YOU

Anonymous  Posted: 11/09/2016 16:16 PM 

thank you...good tip..keep the good work..