Phosphates and Your Pool
If you own a home swimming pool, you know the hazards that phosphates pose to the health of your pool. The biggest result of having phosphates in your pool is that the growth of algae can be increased. There are many factors that can contribute to having phosphate problems. Runoff from ground water, decayed plant matter, waste from pool users, acid rain, sweat, contaminated well water, urine and bird droppings can all contribute to phosphate problems. Even swimming in a pool wearing clothes that were washed in detergent containing phosphates can cause them to taint your pool water.
Phosphates are made up of plant nutrients that are vital. Because of this fact, even low levels of phosphates present in a swimming pool can speed up algae growth if the pool does not receive proper, frequent maintenance. If the pool does receive frequent, proper maintenance, algae will most likely not pose a problem even if phosphates are present. Some people think that the chlorine in the pool will kill off any threats to maintaining a healthy pool water level, but this is not true. Algae, which feeds off the phosphates, is usually immune to the effects of chlorine.
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The most effective way to reduce phosphates in your swimming pool is to use lanthanum. Lanthanum can remove the phosphate nutrients that feed algae. It also stops pool algae from growing. In addition to removing the nutrients, it also reduces the pool's phosphate levels. You can purchase lanthanum products at your local pool or spa maintenance store. The best way to determine whether phosphates are a problem in your pool is to purchase a phosphate test kit. Some pool owners don't bother with these types of kits because they do regular maintenance on their pools and are not having problems with algae growth. But for those owners who are having trouble getting rid of algae, or are noticing a rapid recurrence of algae even after maintenance, then a phosphate test kit is essential in maintaining a healthy pool. The higher the phosphate level, the more difficult it is to control algae growth.
Types of Algae
There are different types of algae that can grow in your pool as a result of phosphates being present. The first type is a black algae, also known as blue-green algae. This type of algae is pretty resistant to chlorine. The second type of algae is green algae, which usually grows at the bottom of the pool. Being that it grows at the bottom, it isn't always visible at first glance. The third type is a mustard, or yellow alga. This forms as a deposit in the pool that appears to be powdery. All three types are chlorine resistant and will require more than just a chlorinated pool to rid you of the problem.
A Healthy Pool
A couple of things to keep in mind in maintaining a healthy pool is that the first step of combat is to reduce the phosphates present in your pool water. This may require draining the entire pool and cleaning it, then refilling it and adding lanthanum to the clean water. In other cases, simply adding the lanthanum may help the problem if it is not yet out of hand. Using too much lanthanum can result in chemical burns to the pool users. It's important to follow the instructions and to make sure that you are not adding too much lanthanum to the water, in hopes that the phosphates will be eliminated. As stated, if algae are a continuing problem, then draining and cleaning the pool, then adding the lanthanum to the water might be the best course of defense.