The Best Treatment for Salt Water Pools to Prevent Greening

Having algae turn your salt water pool into an unhealthy mess is incredibly frustrating. But don’t worry! All it takes is some TLC to get rid of it. Check out this treatment guide for the best results.

There’s nothing more frustrating than algae that turned your once clear saltwater pool into a disturbingly cloudy mess. But don’t worry! It’s fairly easy to get rid of it, and all it takes is some TLC. 

How can algae be a problem for saltwater pools? What are some ways you can prevent algae from forming? How can you tell if your pool is exhibiting signs of algae and water maintenance is needed? Read on to find answers to these questions and more!

What Caused the Greening of Your Salt Water Pool?

Several factors can cause algae. It’s mostly because of the high levels of nutrients in the water, including ammonia and phosphates. These nutrients cause algae to thrive, especially if there is high pH or high chlorine levels. However, even with low pH and low chlorine levels, anaerobic conditions may still occur.

Caused of the Greening in your Salt Water Pool

Some other causes for algae are when the pool lacks proper water circulation, and skimmer efficiency is limited. There may also be an issue with bacteria below the pool’s surface, too much light exposure, not enough light exposure, or lack of chloramine-treated shock.

Pool algae may also come with you and your family. Bathers in your pool may carry algae spores in their bathing suits from other places they went for a dip. Pool algae also stick to pool floats, swim vests, and even your pool cleaning equipment. Have you notice tiny slimy spots on your pool floats or swimwear? There’s a huge chance that this may cause the next algae bloom.

To avoid these pesky algae pool problems, make sure you prevent chemical imbalance and algae spores entering your pool,. Also, maintaining the balance in your pool is way easier than trying to eradicate algae spores out from the pool.

Types of Algae That Can Make Your Saltwater Pool Turn Green

Most saltwater pools contain algae. Some types of algae may cause problems, while others won’t affect your pool at all. Knowing what type of algae you might find in your pool can save you many headaches down the road.

Here’s a list of common types of algae found in saltwater pools, along with their effects.

Green Algae

 Salt Water Pool Green Algae

When there is a buildup of green algae in the saltwater pool, you may notice that the pool becomes cloudy and murky.

This reduces the visibility under the water, which can cause accidents if you are diving or swimming. It can also make it impossible to see other swimmers and cause stinging eyes from the chlorine in the water.

Yellow Algae

 Salt Water Pool Yellow Algae

Yellow algae, also known as mustard algae, may not create much of a problem for your pool. However, if left uncured, it could lead to vinyl liner fading.

It can also cause stains on the concrete and flooring below your pool and leaves trails that you might need to scrub clean with a rough-textured scrubber. If you have an automatic chlorinator system installed in the pool, then yellow algae may reduce its efficiency up to 30%. 

Black Algae

Black algae are something that is found in saltwater pools and spas.

It has become a somewhat common sight in water and ponds, but it poses a serious threat to humans when it grows to the size that it does.

The black algae can be seen as green or brown, but its color will usually change based on certain factors like the amount of light present, the pH level of the water, the temperature of the pool or pond. 

However, if you have more light coming into your pool from a window or outside source, then black algae would be more likely to turn brown since there will be less sunlight available to change their colors. 

Pink Slime

In saltwater pools, pink slime is a term used to identify bacteria in the water. In addition, pink slime is an indicator that the pool may not be adequately sanitized and disinfected.

Nobody enjoys dipping in a pool full of bacteria, so as soon as pink slime presents itself, you must act immediately to treat it. 

Tips on Removing Algae from Your Salt Water Pool

Many pool owners have difficulty finding the exact best way to remove algae from your saltwater pool. This is because it’s really difficult to know which type and amount of chemicals may be necessary to get rid of the algae and what other factors might come into play. 

While you need chlorine, bromine, or both to keep your pool clean and algae-free, sometimes it can take a lot more than just these chemicals. If you walk away from your saltwater pool without knowing what else you can do, this could cause drastic damage to the environment and your own health. 

Here are 6 ways to remove algae from your pool without having to hire someone else to do it for you. But first and foremost, ensure that you have these necessary tools in hand to make the cleaning easier for you.

  • Algae pool brush
  • Pool vacuum
  • Pool water test kit
  • Algaecide
  • Pool shock
  • Protective equipment

Step 1: Test Your Pool Chemistry

Testing your pool chemistry to treat the saltwater with algae is essential because it helps to ensure how contaminated your pool.

This enables you to carry out the best decision on what chemicals you will need. In addition, if your water is too clean, then you’ll have a hard time finding algae or bacteria.

Step 2: Adjust the Balance in Your Water as Necessary

 Salt Water Pool: Adjust the Balance in Your Water as Necessary

The right pH level should be between 7.4 and 7.6. Moreover, the alkalinity should be between 120 and 150 parts per million (ppm). Although this technique will not eliminate the algae, it will help make the next process more successful.

Step 3: Shock the Pool

 Salt Water Pool: Shock the Pool

Before shocking your pool, it’s advisable to read the instructions thoroughly. Then, make sure to add the right quantity of pool shock to the size of your pool. Depending on the degree of the algae manifestation, you may need to add more doses.

Make sure you are using the right amount of shock according to how severe the algae is. For small, light green algae invade, double it. For large green and dark algae invade, triple it. For mustard invasions, triple it. For black invasions and pink slime, quadruple them.

Insiders note: It’s best to shock your pool with calcium hypochlorite to eliminate the algae without adding unnecessary chemicals.

Step 4: Turn On Your Pool Filter

 Salt Water Pool: Turn On Your Pool Filter

If you’re using an automatic filtration system, set up the pump properly before turning it on. The pump needs to run at least once every 24 hours to maintain its efficiency.

The filtration system will help distribute the shock evenly, resulting in better outcomes.

Step 5: Is the Water Still Green or Cloudy? Shock Again!

If the water is still green or cloudy, then it would be a good idea to shock your pool again. There might be compounds in the pool that still neutralize the effects of chlorine—such as organic molecules (sweat, dead skin cells, suntan lotions, oils, cosmetics, hair products, etc.) and bacteria.

You can also use pool clarifiers. Clarifiers are organic compounds that bind with small particles that cause cloudy water. This way, small specks, and clogs are easier to catch by your filter. 

Step 6: Test Your Pool Chemistry Again

Now that the water is clear, you’ll want to double-check that the sanitizer levels have been restored to a safe level before inviting anyone to swim in. Take out your test strips and give them a look. If your water composition still needs adjusting, do it right away.

Salt Water Pool Algae Preventive Measures

Salt water in swimming pool

Every pool owner desires to have clear, sparkling water. However, nobody wants to use their pool and find it surrounded by algae.

To maintain a healthy saltwater pool, certain preventive measures can be taken. When the season is right for algae growth, you will need to be prepared with the steps as soon as you see the first sign of algae!

Below are a few helpful tips on how to keep your pool algae-free.

Keep Your Saltwater Pool Clean

Saltwater pools need to stay free from debris, so they don’t become breeding grounds for harmful organisms like algae. To keep your pool looking healthy all year round, regularly remove leaves, twigs, sticks, toys, plants, and any other items floating around inside your pool.

Use a Quality Filter System

A quality filter system keeps your pool running smoothly while removing unwanted contaminants from the water. Run it at least 8 hours a day. 

Maintain Proper pH Levels

To ensure proper sanitation, your pool requires a specific range of PH values. When maintaining your pool, check the pH daily and adjust accordingly. Most pool owners recommend keeping the pH between 7.0 – 8.0. If necessary, you may need to increase the amount of acidity present in your pool.

Brush and Vacuum the Pool Regularly

Brushing and vacuuming your pool removes dirt and debris that could otherwise collect into unsightly spots. Brushing and vacuuming also prevent mold growth which can cause health problems if not removed promptly.

Shock Your Pool

Shock your pool after a heavy storm or after a large gathering at the pool to remove extra contaminants.


With these treatment techniques and preventive measures, you can have a clean, algae-free pool in no time. Anyone can keep algae out of the saltwater pool by simply following these simple steps.

If you understand why algae grow in pools and what you can do to avoid it from happening again, you’ll never have to deal with another full-blown infestation. So, try and keep this article handy, and once you’ve finally turned your pool to pristine blue, enjoy and have a great day swimming!

Listed below are a few tips for cleaning and maintaining your pool. Swim in a clean, safe pool with your family for a fun time!

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About the author

Brian Anderson

The rather dry pool world out there is in need of some passion to make it shine. With the help of my son Ruben and his wife Maria our mission is to help you create the favorite spot of your house - your pool.

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