By Stacey L Nash | Published Mar 31, 2022 9:03 AM
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Backyard pools are a great place to exercise, relax, and have fun with family and friends. However, algae can get in the way of that fun. Some types of algae are simply an annoyance, while others can cause rashes, illness, or even worse.
If algae is a problem in your pool, algaecides are among the best algae removers for pools. They can kill algae, and some types also can prevent algae growth. To help maintain proper water balance and safety, an algaecide is typically used alongside shock treatments, chlorine, and other pool chemicals.
Pool algaecides can break up, suspend, and kill different types of algae to keep pool water clean and usable. The best pool algaecide helps keep your pool clean and ready for a quick swim. However, the pool type, the type of algae that’s present, and the other chemicals and products that are used in the pool all help determine the type of algaecide that works best.
Keep reading to find out what to consider when choosing the best pool algaecide, and check out some of the top options on the market.
Algaecides are not all the same. Their ingredients target different kinds of algae, and some may target certain types of pools. Moreover, the algaecide’s concentration level and the length of time that the algaecide lasts can affect the pool maintenance budget.
Algaecides work by making the algae more susceptible to the effects of chlorine. Green, mustard or yellow, and black are the most common types of algae, though they can appear in a broad spectrum of similar colors and types. Of all the types, green is the easiest to prevent and control. Black and yellow, on the other hand, are more pervasive because they resist chlorine.
The best black algae killer for pools usually is not an all-purpose algaecide; instead, use an algaecide made with copper complexes and chelated copper. These formulas also are typically the best algaecide for mustard algae; however, the copper can discolor the pool, hair, or clothing.
For algaecides that contain any form of copper as its active ingredient, look for one that also strives to reduce or eliminate discoloration. Typically, if the pool’s water is balanced and appropriately chlorinated, discoloration is less likely.
A typical algaecide may require weekly or biweekly treatments, which means pool maintenance can get expensive. Long-lasting algaecides can cut down on overall maintenance efforts and costs, though they may cost more up front. These algaecides can last anywhere from 90 days to 6 months. Long-lasting algaecides have a slower dispersion rate, so each treatment lasts longer. However, many factors also affect how long it lasts.
Everything from rainfall to surrounding vegetation and the status of the filtration system help determine how long the algaecide treatment lasts. The cleaner and more balanced the water, the longer the algaecide stays effective.
The three broad categories of algaecides are: quaternary ammonium compounds (“quats”), polyquats, and copper salts.
The pool’s pH balance and filtration must be at peak efficiency to ensure the algaecide works correctly.
Some algaecides require a waiting time of as little as 15 minutes to a few hours before people can use the pool. However, swim-safe options are available that don’t require waiting.
Pool-safe algaecides work with any pool setup: freshwater, saltwater, vinyl aboveground, or concrete in-ground pools. To keep both swimmers and the pool safe, look for an algaecide that’s designed for the specific type of pool and water.
The best algae killers for pools last several months and even eliminate tough black algae. The characteristics of the pool help determine the correct type, and the best algaecide proves itself over time.
Kem-Tek Algaecide, one of the best algae removers for pools, contains polyquaternium, which is effective on most types of algae, making it a good all-purpose product. The polyquaternium polymers attach to negatively charged algae cells, effectively smothering the algae before it can grow and spread. This slow dispersion is effective not only at killing algae, but also in preventing its regrowth. Polyquat pool algaecides don’t foam or stain.
This algaecide’s high 60 percent concentration typically eradicates algae quickly. High concentration also means the algaecide disperses slower, making it last longer. However, a broad-spectrum algaecide doesn’t target any one specific type of algae, so persistent blooms of a particular type may not respond. Kem-Tek Algaecide works for freshwater or saltwater pools.
Get the Kem-Tek pool and spa algaecide on Amazon and at Walmart.
Aqua Clear Pool Products Pool Algaecide targets persistent green algae with quaternary ammonium compounds. It’s designed for use with all pool types, including saltwater. The fast-acting formula includes dosing instructions that depend on the time it’s used in the cleaning cycle. For example, at the beginning of the season, apply 8 ounces along the edges of the pool, weekly for maintenance, or a high 16-ounce dose to kill persistent green algae. As a quat algaecide, it can cause foaming if used in excess.
Get the Aqua Clear Pool Products pool algaecide on Amazon.
HTH Super Algae Guard attacks three of the big algae—green, black, and mustard. It’s compatible with salt water and won’t damage or discolor vinyl. HTH contains ammonium compounds that break down the membrane of the algae, helping chlorine do the killing part. The solution stays in the water to stop new growth.
Just 4 ounces of this concentrated non-foaming formula can clear up to 10,000 gallons. Although compatible with chlorine and bromine, the water should be balanced before adding it. However, users must wait 15 minutes after application before it’s safe to enter the pool.
Get the HTH Super Algae Guard pool algaecide on Amazon.
Pool RX 6 Month Algaecide cleans the pool with fewer chemicals and reduces pool maintenance. Each unit treats 20,000 to 30,000 gallons and lasts up to 6 months, staying in the pump or skimmer basket for constant release. Surrounding vegetation or rainfall may reduce the time that each treatment lasts.
The treatment kills algae with a copper compound. Copper is a highly effective algaecide, but it can discolor pool linings. However, this formula is designed to prevent discoloration. It’s compatible with salt systems, ozone, chlorine, and UV.
Users must purchase the right treatment for their pool size. Blue treatments are for pools that hold under 20,000 gallons of water, while black is for those with more than 20,000 gallons.
Get the Pool RX pool algaecide on Amazon.
SeaKlear 90-Day Algae Prevention & Remover contains copper salts that effectively eliminate algae and create an environment that prevents algae from coming back. This formula kills and prevents the four main types of algae—black, green, blue-green, and yellow (mustard). However, the pool water must be balanced for the algaecide to work.
Each treatment lasts 9 months with a 90-day algae-free guarantee. Users can increase the concentration of the algaecide to treat more severe outbreaks. A single treatment is 16 ounces, which is half a bottle. Severe outbreaks require an entire bottle, which can make treatment expensive if algae persists. Even though it contains copper, the manufacturers claim it won’t foam or stain.
Get the SeaKlear pool algaecide on Amazon.
Applied Biochemists Black Algaetrine targets resistant algae, specifically black algae, with a copper complex.
Thanks to a copper complex that’s designed for hard-to-kill algae, Applied Biochemists Black Algaetrine is the best algaecide for black algae. This algaecide coats and penetrates to prevent new growth in all pool types. As with other solutions, the water’s pH must be balanced for best results.
For it to work correctly, users must follow the directions exactly, adhering to the manufacturer’s recommendations as to timing and concentration. Applied Biochemists algaecide works alongside shock treatments, chlorine, and other maintenance products; no waiting period is required after treatment.
Get the Applied Biochemists pool algaecide on Amazon.
In The Swim Super Pool Algaecide contains copper complex and chelated copper. It comes in a highly concentrated solution that requires only 4 ounces per 10,000 gallons of water. After the first treatment, it takes only 2 ounces per week to maintain the same 10,000 gallons.
As with other products, make sure that the filtration and water balance are ideal before using the algaecide, and follow the directions carefully. For example, the solution must be diluted prior to adding it to the pool. Some users report that this algaecide causes some discoloration.
Get the In The Swim pool algaecide on Amazon.
The McGrayel Algatec Super Algaecide kills green, yellow, and black algae, and the pool is ready for swimming right after use. The solution contains biostatic inhibitors that prevent algae regrowth, and it generally takes 8 to 24 hours to kill yellow and green algae and 7 to 10 days for more resistant algae like black. It can be used in freshwater or saltwater pools and doesn’t foam or stain.
The McGrayel algaecide works with or without chlorine, but it enhances the effectiveness of chlorine when present. However, it’s more effective when the water is pH balanced with appropriate chlorine levels. However, since a lot of the solution is required for each use, a bottle might not last long.
Get the McGrayel pool algaecide on Amazon.
Designed for use in all pool types, including aboveground pools, the Rx Clear algaecide doesn’t foam and successfully attacks a range of algae, including black, mustard, and more. Plus, swimmers can jump into the water right after treatment.
Rx Clear is highly concentrated, so each treatment requires only 4 ounces per 10,000 gallons. The algaecides disperse and coat the pool walls, keeping algae in suspension so they don’t grow and bloom. Users must retreat every 2 weeks.
Get the Rx Clear pool algaecide on Amazon.
Kem-Tek pool and spa algaecide kills and controls a broad spectrum of algae and allows swimming right away. To save a bit on pool maintenance but still combat green algae, consider Aqua Clear Pool Products pool algaecide.
We researched the different types of algaecides and each type of algae it targets. We also considered ease of treatment, frequency of retreatment, and price. Other criteria included the concentration of the algaecide, the ratio of algaecide to gallons per water per treatment, and the frequency of the required treatments.
Above all, an algaecide must kill or prevent the targeted algae. While effectiveness is the biggest consideration, non-foaming, non-staining, pool-safe, and swim-safeness are also qualities important to this list of final picks.
Algae can be a persistent problem; however, you can stay ahead of it. But algaecide is just one factor in algae control. The best way to keep algae from starting is to maintain the pool regularly.
Picking an algaecide can be confusing, and it may take some trial and error to find one that works for your pool. Below are answers to a few common questions to help when selecting a product.
Yes, you can. Too much algaecide can cause foaming or discolor clothing or the pool’s surfaces. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for correct dosages.
Algaecides can affect chlorine, though not all do. Algaecides actually help existing chlorine to more effectively penetrate the algae to kill it and prevent blooms.
No. Even the best algaecide for pools can be neutralized by a shock treatment. Apply a shock treatment and wait for the chlorine levels to return to normal before adding algaecide.
Yes, it can. Make sure to follow the directions on any algaecide to properly dilute it before adding it to the pool. Too much algaecide can not only irritate eyes and skin, but it can also actually work against efforts to control algae.
The amount of algaecide you use depends on the concentration of the solution and the size of the pool. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, measuring and diluting as directed.
When it’s time for another algaecide treatment, add it after cleaning the pool. If added after a shock treatment, make sure the chlorine levels have returned to normal first.
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