Chlorine Demand And Algae
Say you’re struggling to keep up with high chlorine demand. Normally, the largest contributor to chlorine demand is the oxidant demand, and the second highest is the sanitizer demand. In other words, most contaminants are non-living organics and nitrogen compounds, followed by reproducing living contaminants like algae. Both reduce chlorine, but the difference is oxidants do not reproduce. Algae do.
This is why most attempts to clean up a green pool wind up with the pool consuming a huge amount of chlorine and taking the free chlorine down to zero overnight, and the pool might not even be cleared yet. The reason for that is when the nutrients are available in the pool, algae can be killed and new generations can reproduce every few hours. So you didn’t just kill one generation of algae when you dumped in that chlorine and algaecide. You killed multiple generations until the chlorine was depleted. Our Green Pool Cleanup procedure is gaining popularity because we don’t just shock the pool with chlorine, we remove the phosphates too.
Again, to reiterate: removing phosphates does not kill algae, nor does it completely prevent algae. Phosphate removal just helps minimize the growth rate. Sanitization is essentially a battle between the kill rate and the growth/reproductive rate of the contaminant. The Orenda Four Pillars of Proactive Pool Care try to address both sides of this equation.
Testing For Pool Phosphates
Phosphates are tested with the use of a color comparison test. Powder packets are added to a small vial of water or phosphate test strips can also be used. Results are ready within 1 minute, at which point the color of the vial solution or the test strip is compared to a blue gradient chart.
Phosphate test kits primarily measure orthophosphates. A Total Phosphate test kit will also measure for metaphosphates. This is quite similar to how Free and Combined Chlorine levels add up to Total Chlorine.
How To Remove Phosphates From A Pool
- Add a Phosphate remover containing Lanthanum
- Remove and replace the water from a low-phosphate supply
Phosphates and Nitrates are in your pool, all the time, you cant see them or taste them, but they are there. To keep them at bay, keep your pool as clean as possible, and keep your water balanced, including a constant chlorine residual. Be careful with fertilizers as you apply them, and if your pool is prone to flooding from surrounding planter beds, do what you can to mitigate the possibility of overflowing into the pool.
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How To Test For Phosphate In Water
The , Palintestâs top of the range multiparameter photometer, covers all major water quality parameters. It allows for effective data management, via USB, and is compatible with the Palintest Portal. The Photometer 7500 utilises the globally recognised DPD method, making testing quick and easy.
The Pooltest 10 makes professional pool and spa management easy it is suitable for poolside use and is certified to IP67. Up to 500 data sets can be stored for full traceability of results,
Benefits Of Using Phosphate Removers
The most apparent benefit of phosphate removers is that many can lower your swimming pools phosphate levels to almost nothing. Although maintaining a proper sanitizer level with frequent brushing and vacuuming is the best way to prevent algae, a phosphate remover can remove the phosphates in an effort to halt algae growth as well.
Another benefit is with regular phosphate removal, you may find your chlorine demand is reduced because the growth rate of contaminants has been reduced. Chlorine can stay ahead, and as a result, the water can stay cleaner.
Its important to note that many phosphate removers are non-toxic therefore, after using a phosphate remover, youll be able to use your swimming pool right after, unlike chlorine shock, where you have to wait sometime.
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How Do You Control Phosphate Levels In A Pool
All that being said, you can take steps to manage phosphate levels in your pool. Here are some of the best ways to manage phosphates:
- Skim regularly. Removing dead and decaying leaves and organic matter from a pool will remove one of the key sources of phosphates, and make your pool more attractive at the same time.
- Clean your filters. Like skimming, cleaning the pool filters removes organic matter and microorganisms that may be adding phosphates to your pool.
- Keep your pool balanced, and control your calcium levels. Calcium should be one of the values you regularly test and monitor when maintaining a pool. Calcium is a positive ion that bonds with phosphorous, a negative ion. This is why phosphates can soften pool water, but also why low calcium levels can create high phosphate levels. If you balance your pool for calcium, it will naturally control phosphates. And maintaining the correct pH, alkalinity, and chlorine levels will help to prevent algae.
- Control algae with an algaecide. Since all this talk about phosphates is really an attempt to control algae, just go to the heart of the problem and regularly use a good algaecide.
As you can tell, these phosphate removal methods are part of your pool maintenance routine anyway. Taking good care of your pool will naturally control the amount of phosphates.
Preventing Phosphate Buildup Without A Phosphate Remover
So, what do you do if you want to get rid of your swimming pools high levels of phosphates, but you dont want to purchase a phosphate remover? What then?
One of the best methods for preventing excess phosphate growth is to take care of your pool as best you can. Balance your chemical levels on a regular basis . If you live in an area thats constantly sunny and you have high phosphate growth, you should be brushing your swimming pool regularly to prevent algae buildup too.
If you ever see things like bugs, sticks, leaves, frogs, or other debris, get rid of it as soon as you notice it. In order to be more on top of eliminating waste as quickly as possible, empty your pools skimmer baskets regularly. This will help you get rid of that harmful junk quicker while also encouraging water circulation.
On the other hand, if youre ever doing lawn work outside, be very mindful of your surroundings. You dont want grass, fertilizer, or other debris ending up in your swimming pool and contributing to the high phosphate levels.
Although its entirely up to you as the pool owner if you want to use a phosphate remover or not, its essential to realize that there are other options from algaecides to chlorine to other sanitizers so dont feel boxed in by the idea of a phosphate.
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Remove The Phosphates And Solve The Problem
The maximum level of phosphate in pool water is something under 100 ppb. Once the phosphate climbs much above this level, the water quality begins to decrease and slime deposits can begin. Fortunately, draining to eliminate the accumulated phosphate is no longer necessary. Natural Chemistry’s Phos-Free is a natural mineral compound which effectively and rapidly reduces the level of phosphate in the water. SeaKlear also produces a phosphate remover under the name of SeaKlear PhosKlear 4000.
Sixty Percent Of Pool Owners Experience Two Full Algae Blooms Every Season So What Causes These Blooms And How Can We Prevent Them
Algae blooms place a high demand on the chemicals present in your water and cost time and money in clean up. While everyone agrees on how to kill algae once its taken over your pool, PoolSupplyWorld will teach you how to take a proactive approach to preventing anything from blooming in your backyard except for your prized begonias.
With that, wed like to introduce you to phosphates: a biological building block that is constantly being introduced to your water and nourishing algae spores. In this blog, well explain how being proactive with phosphate-fighting chemicals instead of reactive with huge amounts of chlorine shock and a scrub brush will help prevent algae blooms and make your sparkling pool water the crown jewel of the neighborhood.
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What Exactly Are Phosphates
Phosphates are a natural component of most swimmerwastes. Additionally, its also present in rainwater. Phosphate is persistent anddoesnt break down naturally. Believe it or not, landscapefertilizers may blow into the pool and they have a high phosphate content. Along with fertilizers, mulch or soil and even leaves that enter thepool contain phosphates.
**Phosphates are essentially a food source for algae which is why water
with a high level of phosphates becomes tinted green. With that said,
phosphates are like a buffet for algae. The greater the size of the buffet, the more
algae come to feed. Sadly, with more algae coming to feed in the water, it takes
more chemicals to keep the production under control.**
Brush Your Pool Regularly
It is crucial to brush the pool regularly. To avoid high phosphate levels and algae growth:
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Do Phosphates Cause Algae Growth
One of the most common questions about spa and pool algae is, do phosphates cause algae growth? The short answer is maybe.
Because phosphates are a food source for algae, high phosphates in pool water can promote algae growth. But the presence of high phosphates in the pool or phosphates in the hot tub does not determine whether algae will grow or not. Even a spa or pool with no phosphates can grow algae. At the same time, phosphates in a hot tub or pool do not necessarily grow algae. Thats because there are other factors in the process.
What Causes Phosphates In Your Pool
You have all kinds of uninvited guests in your pool every seasonleaves, sweat, algae, you name it. And phosphates are no different.
They are found in fertilizers, rotting leaves, skin and hair products, other pool chemicals, and even your water supply, as many municipalities add small amounts of phosphates to keep lead and copper levels low in drinking water.
This means that you cant 100% remove phosphates from your pool, but the goal is to maintain them at levels below 1,000 ppb.
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How To Test Pool Phosphate And Stabilizer Levels
Since it takes timesometimes months or even yearsfor phosphates levels to become excessive, it is easiest to take a water sample and have your local pool store check it for you instead of buying a test kit. However, if this is not possible, or you want to do your own phosphate test, you can always buy your own phosphate test kit. This will be a separate kit from the one for the other pool chemical measurements. If the phosphate levels are around 100 ppb or above, you should consider using a phosphate remover to reduce the levels.
To test stabilizer levels, I highly recommend a professional DPD test kit such as the Taylor Complete Swimming Pool Water kit. It is the same test kit the pros use and will give you very accurate readings. It tests for pH, total alkalinity, free and total chlorine, bromine, stabilizer, calcium, and acid demand. Although test strips are cheaperand most of the 6-way test strips do provide a stabilizer readingI don’t usually recommend them. You will never really get an exact reading they just give you a general idea whether a chemical is high or low. If your stabilizer is high, it will need to be lowered to a more manageable level .
Symptoms And Consequences Of High Phosphates In A Pool
Phosphates over 500 ppb, again, according to Falk, can fuel optimal growth and reproduction of microorganisms like algae. It is the reproducing organisms that chlorine gets used up fighting against. So while it may appear that high levels of phosphates coincide with high chlorine demand, it is actually an indirect relationship. This video explains more:
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Nitrates Are No Fun In The Pool
Nitrates are a matter similar to Phosphates, but of different origin. Their big similarity is that they are both a food source for algae. Nitrate is a plant nutrient and is present in all green plants and fertilizers. It is natural occurring and is found everywhere something is growing.
Nitrites are a close cousin to Nitrates and are just as much of a problem for pools, because when a Nitrite comes in contact with water, it easily gains another Oxygen atom to become a Nitrate. This additional atom gives Nitrates real stability, and makes eradication difficult. In fact, the only known way of Nitrate removal in pools practiced today is to drain a portion of the pool, and refill with water that is Nitrate free, if possible. Shocking a pool heavily will revert the Nitrates back to Nitrites, but from their once again, an additional Oxygen atom is easy to come by in a swimming pool filled with H2O
Should You Get Rid Of Phosphates
The short answer is maybe.
See, the thing with phosphates is that they are a food source for algae and aquatic plants. And even though there are other factors besides phosphate levels that cause algae blooms, this is one of them.
But some studies show that they really only affect pool algae growth at extremely high levels of 1,000 ppb or more.
So, monitor the levels but dont get overly concerned when phosphate is present because it always will be.
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Who Invited Phosphates To The Party Anyway
The challenge with phosphates is that they are constantly being introduced into your swimming pool water. They are found in lawn and garden fertilizers, decaying vegetation, municipal water, cosmetic items on bathers, and even other pool chemicals. This means a fresh batch of phosphates enter your water when any of the following occur:
- The wind blows dirt into your pool
- Sprinkler run off from your lawn or landscaping enters your pool
- Your water leveler puts fresh water into your pool
- Leaves, twigs, or bark enters your water
- You use chemicals containing TSP, or any amount of phosphoric, phosphonic or other phosphorous based ingredients to clean your pool
As such, you can never completely remove phosphates. Instead, we refer to it as maintaining a near zero level with a long-term solution that includes a blend of using Natural Chemistrys PHOSfree products, regular water testing, correct sanitizer levels and limiting exposure to phosphates.
What Does Phosphate Have To Do With A Swimming Pool
When testing your water chemistry, most check for sanitizer and pH. Others testing for commercial pools and on a weekly basis for homeowners include tests for alkalinity, calcium hardness, and cyanruic acid. There are many other tests out there including cooper, iron, salt, TDS, nitrates, and phosphates. But why are we testing for phosphates? Phosphates are mostly inorganic materials that have the potential to feed and encourage algae growth in your swimming pool, as well as cloud your water. Algae needs sun, water, air, and a food source such as nitrates and phosphates to flourish. That is why a swimming pool is the perfect environment for algae to bloom!
But you say that you dont add phosphates to your pool. So, how are they getting into the pool? Your pool is in an open environment subject to sun, water from rain, air, and algae food that can be introduced in many ways. These phosphates are present in your landscaping and fertilizer materials that can be introduced through wind and water run-off by means of rain or your own backyard watering efforts. Those phosphates can be deposited from environmental debris that enters in pool in the form of leaves and tree droppings. Also, you may be unknowingly adding phosphates to your water if you use any chemicals that contain phosphoric acid or phosphorus materials, or if your fill water has phosphates in it .
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Use A Phosphate Remover
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As we already mentioned, a phosphate remover contains lanthanum. Lanthanum is quite rare metal on the earth metal that can remove phosphates from your pool quickly. You can use a phosphate remover named PHOS free found in online stores and physical pool stores. If phosphate levels are above 900 ppb, the proper dosage is 1.5 L per 10,000 pool water gallons. You may see a milky white color when adding it, but it will disappear after one hour of circulation.
After the circulation is over, you can start swimming because there are no phosphates anymore in the water. Keep your pool at phosphate levels between 100-125 ppm, yet you should start the treatment if the level gets higher than 500. If you want to get rid of phosphates, use a chemical to remove them. Phosphate remover cannot entirely kill algae, but it is an excellent removal system of phosphates. Use a phosphate remover for prevention.
What The Heck Are Phosphates
Earlier this summer we had mentioned in our blog about algae that if you are still having cloudy water issues, you may have phosphates. If your water chemistry is balanced , but still suffer from rapid loss of chlorine and cloudy water, you may have a high phosphate reading. This can cause problems.
What the heck are phosphates, you ask?
Phosphates are described as one of the most common elements on earth and are essential to life. They are found naturally in food, water, and even human bodies. Phosphates can be introduced into your pool water by rain runoff, dirt, soil, bird, and animal droppings, or decaying organisms. Also, through the tap water that we use to fill our pools. Phosphates are essential to all life, even algae life, and you cannot escape them. But, they are considered a high-powered fertilizer for algae and can eat up your chlorine. Therefore, its essential to maintain and monitor the levels of phosphates in your pool.
How do you maintain a high phosphate issue?
Keep your water balanced, maintain your sanitizer levels, shock weekly, and use an algaecide. But, dont be mistaken! You can have a high level of phosphates in your water, without affecting the chlorine levels. And, although its not going to cure algae issues, it will remove one contributor to the problem.
How do you know your phosphate level?
Want to learn more about phosphates?
Watch Dolphin Pool & Spas YouTube video on phosphates here:
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