What Causes Pink Algae?


Despite its name, pink algae is really a bacteria that can be spread to your pool from bodies of water such as other pools or even the ocean. Pink algae can attach itself to plastic pool toys or the porous surfaces of water filters, pool covers and the pool floor. To avoid pink algae in your pool, be sure to follow cleaning specifications and avoid conditions that encourage bacterial growth.

Pool Covers

  • Pink algae grows best on moist, warm surfaces that are shielded from ultraviolet light (which kills bacteria). For this reason, it is ideal to have pools and hot tubs installed where direct sunlight may reach the pool several hours a day. During warmer months, it is ideal to roll back pool covers and allow sunlight to penetrate their surfaces. Additionally, it is recommended that pool covers, such as solar blankets, be chemically cleaned every two years.


  • Inadequate filters inefficiently clean bacteria that turns into pink algae; they also provide a porous surface for it to grow on. Once the bacteria attaches itself to a filter, it is possible to continue to reintroduce the bacteria into the pool after treatment. To avoid bacteria-infected filters, be sure to use the recommended size filters for your pool. Also, if a severe infection has occurred, change your filters more frequently.

Improper Shocking

  • Improper and irregularly shocked pools provide environments for the growth of pink bacteria. Shocking, or chlorination, of pools is what kills most molds and bacterias. During swimming season, it is recommended for pools to be chlorinated every two weeks, although chlorination may not kill pink bacteria once it has set in. For severely infected pools, try "super chlorination" methods such as sodium bromide to add extra chlorination to the pool.

Other Comments

  • Although most common in pools, pink algae can also infect fish tanks and toys. To rid your tank of pink bacterias, use proper filters and clean your tank regularly. If your children use toys, swimming gear or floats in a pool that has mold, try cleaning them in bleach solutions. Lastly, to keep molds from growing back, keep up regular maintenance as specified for your pool.

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