Algaecides and clarifiers are very important pool chemicals that no pool owner can do without. They work hand-in-hand to give your pool a sparkling look. However, as with most pool chemicals, it is never advised to use them together.
Follow me in this article as I explain in depth how to use these two wonderful chemicals.
Is clarifier the same as algaecide?
No, they are not. Pool clarifiers and algaecides are very important chemicals that pool owners must have. They are quite important to giving your pool a cool aesthetic look. Everyone wants to have a pool that is sparkly and free of all greenness.
Trust me when I say that no one wants to be dipping or soaking in murky waters(pun intended). These two chemicals go hand in hand in the clarification of your pool, but they do have major differences. So let’s look into the major characteristics that distinguish them.
Clarifiers for pools do exactly what their names imply: they remove cloudiness from pools. These are chemicals you add to your pool in order to remove cloudiness from your poop. On the other hand, algaecides are concerned with algae. These are also chemicals added to your pool to inhibit the growth of algae. Keep reading. I will go into them in detail.
What do algaecide and clarifier do?
As already mentioned above, clarifiers clear your pool. I will explain how they do this. Can you remember just one tiny bit from science class? Do you remember what you were taught about how charges of the same type repel one another and charges of different types attract one another?
If you do, then that’s exactly how clarifiers work. When introduced into your water, these positively charged ions attract negatively charged particles(this includes the debris and other materials causing cloudiness).
Polymers are the building blocks of clarifiers. These polymers release cations, which are ions with a positive charge, into the water, which causes the suspended matter to clump together. As they clump together, these microscopic particles grow in size till they become big enough to be removed by the filter.
These particles are responsible for the cloudiness in your pool. Hence, using clarifiers helps make them easier to be gotten rid of. However, your filters must be functioning effectively for this to be done with ease.
One of the common components of pool clarifiers is ammonium chloride, which has a highly positive charge density. Another one is chitosan, or chitin found in crab shells, which is termed a natural clarifier.
On the other hand, algaecides are chemicals that inhibit algae growth and spread. They do this by interrupting several of their life processes. Research suspects that it’s possible that they stop the algae from carrying out photosynthesis or preventing cell division by the algae.
There is also the possibility that they hinder energy transport. These are what scientists have speculated, but one thing that is clear is that they do it. However, it isn’t clear how.
Algaecides, however, are not as effective as chlorine for killing algae. Chlorine oxidizes the cell walls of bacteria and algae, causing cell walls to rupture. Algaecides work quite slowly, hence it is better to use both algaecide and chlorine sanitizers in tandem. Due to this, algaecides are preferably used as preventative measures.
Algaecides are usually of two types. The first is the copper-based algaecides. These algaecides consist of copper salts, such as copper sulfate or chelated copper ions (compounds with copper at their core). The major problem with this copper-based algae idea is that it can cause staining when oxidized.
The other type of algaecide is “quats”, which are made up of polymeric quaternary ammonium compounds. The downside to these kinds of algaecides is that they can cause foaming in your pool. If misused, this can cause disruptions in your pool filter.
Do you add algaecide or clarifier first?
Algaecides are to be added first. You would want to deal with the algae first. The algaecides kill the algae, then the clarifiers can clump together the dead algae and other particles, which will then be taken care of by your pool filters.
In recent times, most manufacturers produce 2-in-1 products. These are products that have the dual function of killing algae and also clarifying the pool. If you can get these products, they will make work easier for you.
How do you use algaecide and clarifiers?
As mentioned above, you use the algaecides before the clarifiers. Follow these steps below for the proper application of both.
- Scrub and vacuum your pool: The first thing you must do is scrub the pool of every visible algae. You can then use a skimming basket to remove any suspended debris. Lastly, vacuum the pool manually to remove any lingering debris.
- Test your water: Test and balance your water. You have to adjust the pH and alkalinity levels. Your pH levels should be in the range of 7.2 and 7.8, while your alkalinity should be between 80 and 120 parts per million. These values are important for what comes next: shocking.
- Shock the pool: If you discover that there is a high level of combined chlorine or chloramines, then you must shock the pool. Also, to deal with algae blooms, you must shock them. Remember that chlorine is the most effective way to take care of algae. So the intention is to make it easier for your algaecides to work. Depending on the severity of algae growth, you could double shock, triple shock, or even quadruple shock. While doing this, your filters and pump should be running. This is to let the shock circulate efficiently.
- Apply algaecides: You must wait at least 24 hours after shocking, before you apply algaecides. This is because the chlorine disrupts some of the polymer chains found in algaecides. The best thing to do is to wait till the chlorine levels have returned to normal(that is 1 to 3 parts per million). Then you can add the algaecides according to the manufacturers’ instructions. The dosage will be dependent on the volume of your pool. The pool pumps must be running all this time to ensure proper circulation.
- Pour in the clarifier: As mentioned above, some products come with algaecides and clarifiers packaged together. However, if you are using algaecides and clarifiers separately, then add in the clarifiers about 30 minutes after the application of algaecides. As the algaecides kill the algae, the clarifiers clump them together in addition to other debris in the pool.
- Vacuum the pool: Vacuum the pool about a day after the application of algaecides. You want to remove the dead algae from the surface of the pool. If there is still some algae in your pool, simply repeat the above procedures. Also remember to backwash your filter to remove aggregated particles and dead algae that might have been removed from the pool.
- Apply maintenance doses: Even after the algae problem has been dealt with, you must still add algaecides every 3-5 days.
How long after algaecide can I add a clarifier?
As mentioned above, you can add your clarifiers 30 minutes after the application of the algaecides.
How long after shocking the pool can I add a clarifier?
You shouldn’t add clarifiers immediately after shocking. This is because shock can destroy the clarifiers. It is best to wait until the chlorine levels have come back to normal.
Will algaecide help a cloudy pool?
This is dependent on what the cause of the pool cloudiness is. If it is as a result of algae, then it can help. However, algaecides are more effective when the algae is observed in its beginning stages. If the algae blooms have become severe, you might need to shock the pool.
Will a clarifier help a cloudy pool?
Yes, it will. That’s the major function of pool clarifiers. However, pool clarifiers are quite effective in mildly clouded water. If the cloudiness is very severe, you will need to make use of pool flocculants.
How often can I add a clarifier to my pool?
You can add clarifiers to your pool once a week. You can also decide to use it after every heavy use.
How often should you put algaecide in your pool?
You should use algaecides on a weekly basis. They act as a backup to your normal sanitizing routine. Algaecides should be used after every shock treatment.
What happens if you use too much pool clarifier?
If you use too much pool clarifier, it can have the opposite effect. When your pool gets oversaturated with clarifiers, the positive charges begin to repel. Due to this, the clarifiers, rather than acting as coagulants, begin to act as dispersants. This results in the dispersion of previously aggregated particles.
What happens if you put too much algaecide in a pool?
Adding too many algaecides can cause some problems. If you are making use of copper-based algaecides, these kinds of algaecides can cause staining in your pool when oxidized. The “poly quats” in excess can lead to excess foaming and disruption in your filter. In general, too, excess algaecides in your pool can lead to skin and eye irritation.
Can I add algaecide during the day?
Yes, you can. The reasoning behind this is that during the day is when plants carry out photosynthesis. Adding the algaecides during this period can increase the uptake of the chemicals, so they are more effective. However, if you can’t be patient enough to wait before you can swim, add it in the evening or night so that your pool will be ready for use in the morning.
Can I use shock and clarifier at the same time?
It is not advisable to use both at the same time. Chlorine can disrupt the chemical composition of your clarifiers. It is best to wait till the chlorine levels have returned to normal before adding the clarifiers.