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What to do when you have Pink Algae In your Pool

The complete guide to Pink Algae In your Pool

Have you noticed a pink slime in your pool water? Along the edges and walls? Someone will probably tell you that you have pink algae in the pool problem. While you do have a problem, it isn’t going to be one that involves algae. Let’s explain with a bit of background.

You are probably familiar with that icky green stuff known as algae. Depending upon where you live, you have probably also at least heard of yellow or mustard algae. The notion of having yet another type of algae to deal with is no doubt putting you on edge right now. However, as you will learn, the name pink algae are not accurate in the least. It is simply called that for at least seeming similar to green or even yellow algae. It is a matter of simplicity if nothing else.

However, referring to it by this name can also lead to frustration, in terms of trying to get rid of it. The first thing you are going to want to understand about this pinkish slime is that it is not, in fact, a type of algae at all. By shattering this misconception early, we can start to look at ways to get rid of your pink algae in pool woes.

What Is Pink Algae?

The first thing to keep in mind is that we are talking about bacteria, as opposed to a type of algae. Why is the distinction so important? Largely due to the fact that pink algae, which is also simply known as pink slime, presents a fairly serious danger to swimmers on a number of levels. This doesn’t take into account the fact that it is also extremely unpleasant to see in the water, and/or along the walls of your pool. It doesn’t feel particularly pleasant to the touch either.

Pink slime is also known as Serratia marcescens. There is a good enough chance that you have seen this wretched stuff in your bathroom. That is because it has a particular fondness for areas with a significant amount of moisture in the air, as well as along the various surfaces of the immediate area. You can sometimes spot it along the bottom part of your shower’s curtain. It can also show up in the ring of your toilet bowl. This pink slime also shows up in such places because it eats mineral deposits found in bits of soap scum/residue. It even feasts on the fatty deposits one can find in the residue of soap or shampoo.

Next, we’re going to better understand why pink algae/slime is so dangerous to men and women of all ages and health conditions. At the same time, it does have a particular significance with the danger it can pose to very young children, very old adults, and other individuals.

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What Can Pink Algae Do?

You will also want to keep in mind that we are talking about airborne bacteria. While it is slightly less problematic in hard-to-reach spaces in your bathroom, it can cause considerably more problems for everyone involved, if it happens to make its way into your swimming pool.

What you want to look for are red/pink blotches or the presence of slime streaks that can found in such locations as a corner or crevice. You can also find them in your pipe-fitting areas, as well as in the light fixtures on the surface of your water. That can be bad enough. What makes this worth is the way it can spread out across the actual surface of your water. This is the point in which it can cause serious health hazards for anyone who comes into contact with it. It will be most prevalent in areas of the pool that receive less light than other parts. These could also be areas that experience very little in the way of water movement.

What sort of health problems can be caused by pink slime? This form of bacteria can enter the body through the eyes or nose, but it can also enter your system through any open wounds. Should this happen, you may experience such illnesses as pneumonia. You also run the risk of contracting a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection). These bacteria can even get into the lungs, where it can cause a litany of respiratory problems. In other words, this is not something you want to experience in any form or fashion. These health risks can be particularly deadly for very young children, senior citizens, or those with compromised immune systems.

Given all of this information, it certainly makes sense to want to do everything possible to kill pink slime, and to do whatever is necessary to ensure it doesn’t return. This can be challenging, to be sure, but by no means is it going to be impossible to put into action.

How To Get Rid Of Pink Algae Permanently

Pink algae will often appear due to poor maintenance of your swimming pool. Don’t feel bad, given how challenging it can be to keep up with all of the care demands your swimming pool must contend with. You will also often find it has been joined by white water mold. This stuff resembles a mucus, and it can also often be found along the surface of your pool. One doesn’t automatically follow the other. However, if you’re dealing with both, you will need to take the proper steps to deal with both.

Just keep in mind that white water mold is its own issue, and must be dealt with accordingly. For the time being, we’re going to keep our focus on getting rid of pink algae.

Here is what you are going to want to do:

  • Clean the filter: This is the first thing you will want to do. More likely than not, the pink algae have gotten into your filter. You’re going to need that for several of the steps we are going to discuss here.
  • Balance your water: You’re going to have to adjust your balance a couple of times. For now, make sure your level is around 7.4 or 7.6. Many believe 7.5 is optimal.
  • Turn off your pump: This should be done prior to adding the chemicals we will use to address this particular issue.
  • Brushing your pool: This means a comprehensive brushing approach to both the walls and bottom of the pool. You’re going to want a good, stiff brush for a job such as this.
  • Algaecide: Even though this pink slime is not algae at all, many companies have nonetheless created products around the fact that people still refer to it as such. There are several products on the market that are specifically designed to deal with this pink slime.
  • Shocking your pool: This is something you should already be doing on a semi-regular basis. This process refers simply to blasting your pool with a “shock” of chemicals that are designed to completely eradicate unwanted elements. Normal shocking treatment for maintenance will involve using roughly one pound of your product per ten thousand gallons of water. For a more intensive measure such as this, we’re going to suggest using upwards of four pounds per ten thousand gallons of water. Yes, that’s a lot, but we’re talking about a big project. The best time to shock your pool is in the early evening. This allows the chemicals to work without interruption from UV rays and similar things. At this point, you will want to make sure your pump is still off, and leave your pool to do its thing overnight.
  • Vacuuming: The next day, you’re going to want to get a strong, durable manual vacuum. Then you will set about the task of vacuuming all of the debris away. Keep a garden hose on hand to ensure your water levels don’t drop too far.
  • Cleaning the filter (again): This time, you will want to use either a filter cleaner or chemical soak. It will depend largely on the type of filter you have.
  • Run your pump: At this point, you can turn your pump on, and keep it on.
  • Maintain chlorine levels and overall balance: Ideally, your chlorine levels should be around 5PPM (parts per million). You will want to do this for about a week, testing the levels each day. Once the week has passed, you can let your chlorine levels return to normal. You can also work to reestablish your optimal balance for your swimming pool water.


Even after you have successfully eliminated the pink slime problem, this doesn’t mean you are entirely out of the woods. Your best bet at this point will be to keep a close eye on the situation over the coming weeks. If you notice anything remotely resembling this slime, you will want to repeat at least some of the steps we covered, if not all of them.

Maintaining good maintenance will naturally go a long way towards ensuring you don’t have to deal with either pink slime or white-water mold ever again. Maintaining your balance, while shocking and treating your pool as needed, will accomplish a great deal.

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