Pink algae is not really an algae, it is a type of bacteria. When the bacteria colonise a surface you will notice it in the form of a pink or clear slimy layer. Pink algae (i.e. pink bacteria colonies) are not very common in aquariums but they do occur. The main place where you can encounter pink algae is instead in swimming pools. Swimming pools located near the ocean seem to be at especially high risk. It is also possible to contaminate your pool with pink algae if you do not thoroughly clean swimsuits, under water goggles, water toys etcetera after a visit to the sea.
As mentioned above, pink algae will form slimy pink or clear layers over various surfaces. Brushing it off is normally fairly easy, but simply removing the slime is rarely enough to put a halt to the problem. If a serious infestation occurs, it can turn the water cloudy, almost like milk.
Algaecides and other anti-algae treatments are often inefficient against pink algae since the pink slime is caused by bacteria, not by true algae. There are however formulas that will kill both algae and most types of bacteria. The most common form of treatment against pink algae in a swimming pool is to use chlorine in combination with special anti-pink algae products. Most pool stores will offer some type of anti-pink algae product, but the exact content varies a lot from manufacturer to manufacturer.
This is one example of a commonly used pink algae treatment:
- Clean equipment, swimsuits, toys etcetera with diluted bleach.
- Brush all effected areas thoroughly (this step should be repeated frequently throughout the cleaning process).
- Purchase an anti-pink algae product and follow the instructions from the manufacturer.
- Make sure that the pH-value is in the 7.0-7.2 range, since this will make the chlorine more effective.
- Superchlorinate the pool.
- Add a sodium bromide product to the water. Bromine is known to be especially effective against pink algae.
- Let your toys and pool equipment (brushes, nets, hoses and so on) soak in the superchlorinated water.
- Turn off the filter and clean it meticulously.
- Circulate the water continuously and back-wash the filter.
- Once the problem is under control, continue to back-wash the filter and clean it out again to remove any pink bacteria colonies that might be living inside the filter.
- A clarifier can be necessary to remove dead algae and organic debris from the water.
- Resume normal filtration and chlorination.
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