Do Pool Vacuums Pick Up Algae?

Do Pool Vacuums Pick Up Algae?

Has algae invaded your pool for the first time, and you’re not sure if your vacuum is fit for the job? The sight can be unappealing and means there are particles in the water that your filter is unable to clean out alone. This can affect the lifespan of your filter, stain your pool, and make it unsafe to swim in.

Will you pool vacuum pick up algae? Keep reading to find out.

The Short Answer

Algae tends to form when there’s a chemical imbalance or a lack of sanitizer in the water.

Even the most advanced vacuums aren’t equipped to remove it completely from your swimming pool.

Read our detailed post for a more detailed explanation on why pool robots aren’t effective solutions to removing algae.

You can use a pool vacuum to remove some of the spores, but it won’t get to the root of the problem. The algae will continue to come back unless you treat the water with the proper chemicals and fix the water imbalance.

Types of Algae and Solutions

There are four main types of algae that can build up in your pool. They require different solutions to permanently remove because of where they grow and their texture.

Consider adding a flocculent to the water to help the spores coagulate or clump up. It’s similar to a clarifier and makes it easier to remove. Be careful when using a flocculent because the clumps can damage your filter. Sinking the clumps to remove them will make them much easier to clean out.

Green Algae

This is the most common type of algae found growing in the water of swimming pools. It can grow within a day in the summer months without warning. It often resembles a slimy stain on the surface of the water. Or, it can color the entire pool with a green tint. If it goes untreated for too long, it can grow so thick it covers the bottom and steps.

The solution: Brushing will remove it temporarily but won’t destroy it. A shock treatment will sanitize the water that may be resistant to normal chlorine. Regularly maintain the water during the summer and keep chlorine levels within the ideal range to prevent an outbreak. Read our detailed guide for more information on how to clean a green pool fast.

Yellow Algae

Yellow or “mustard” algae is another form of green algae but is more difficult to remove. It almost always grows on the surface in shady areas. If you spot slimy yellow-brown spots in the water, it’s time to grab your pool brush to break up the top layer.

The solution: Brushing will not remove it but it will expose the algae hiding under the top layer of slime. Superchlorination and regular maintenance will take care of the rest.

Black or Blue-Green Algae

These two colors identify the same type of algae that can be found in contaminated pools. A colony always grows on the surface, starting small and then rapidly growing into an invasive mass. The spores will cling to porous surfaces as they invade the pool shell.

The solution: Use a stainless-steel brush to crack the shell of the growth. This will help the sanitizer penetrate the spores. Do this as soon as you see signs of it to prevent a spread that invades the plaster and concrete of your pool.

Pink Algae

Pink algae is a relatively uncommon bacterium that appears as a reddish-orange slime often found around the pool’s water line. It’s also commonly found around PVC surfaces, like piping. Of all the types that grow in pools, this is the easiest to remove.

The solution: Simply brushing and sanitizing the pool will keep this bacteria at bay. If it has spread out of control, remove it and then use a calcium hypochlorite shock.

How to Keep Your Pool Free Of Algae

If you are concerned about an algae problem in your pool, the best plan of action is to prevent it from forming in the first place. The best practices to prevent the growth of algae are to keep your filter clean, balance your chemistry, and use algaecide proactively. Maintaining your pool every week will keep it safe from debris and bacteria that can be harmful to the body.

If you’re having trouble keeping your water clean, it might be time to upgrade your pool vacuum.


Thankfully, having dead algae in your pool is a curable problem. A pool vacuum won’t help you pick it up, so knowing what type of algae you’re dealing with will help you choose the right procedure to keep it from coming back. Your water will be crystal clear once again with the right treatment and regular preventative care.

About the Author

stefan schulzStefan Schulz is the founder and owner of PV Pool Cleaner. He spent his college years working at Niagara Pools and Spas, one of the largest Swimming Pool and Hot Tub Dealers in the Eastern United States.

Today, he utilizes his background, experience as a pool owner, and the resources of his digital marketing agency, Orpical Group, to generate informative and engaging content for pool owners everywhere.