You’ll love learning about these 25 common, but annoying, pool water problems with a user-friendly, step-by-step troubleshooting pools guide

I think you’ll agree with me when I say:

Owning a pool is great, but troubshooting specific pool water problems can be a HUGE pain and costly exercise.

Or is it?

Well, it turns out, you can potentially save yourself loads in time, money and frustration…

… just by taking a few simple steps to diagnose and treat common pool water problems, before calling in the professionals.

In today’s post, I’m going to share a comprehensive pool water troubleshooting guide you can use instantly, so you can handle common issues yourself.

To start things off, we’ll go over a few common problems related to algae and other growth.

Simply use the subheadings to find the description that best fits your pool water’s appearance.

murky green water with some growth troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems

Murky, green water (with some growth)

Culprit: Green Algaegreen algae troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems ultimate how to step by step

Causes

You may experience a bloom of green algae if:

– Your pool is low on sanitiser levels

– Your pool has been poorly maintained

– You have a improper water imbalance

– Your pool system has low circulation/poor water flow

How do I fix green algae?

You can try:

– Using a shock treatment

– Algaecide

– Clean the pool filter

– Do a thorough check over all components of your pool system

yellow green water with yellow gold growth troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems

Yellow, green water with yellow-gold growth (that brushes away easily)

Culprit: Mustard Algae mustard algae troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems ultimate how to step by step

Causes

You may experience a bloom of mustard algae if:

– Your pool is low on sanitiser levels

– Your pool has been poorly maintained

– You have a improper water imbalance

– Your pool system has low circulation/poor water flow

How do I fix mustard algae?

You can try:

– Thoroughly brushing your pool

– Algaecide

rough black spots on bottom of pool troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems

Rough, black spots on the bottom of the pool (that brush off with effort)

Culprit: Black Algae (AKA Black-spot Algae)  green algae mustard algae black algae troubleshooting pools 25 common annoying pool water problems

Causes

You may experience a bloom of mustard algae if:

– Your pool is low on sanitiser levels

– Your pool has been poorly maintained

– You have a improper water imbalance

– Your pool system has low circulation/poor water flow

How do I fix black algae?

You can try:

– Thoroughly brushing your pool

– Algaecide

– Clean the pool filter

– Do a thorough check over all components of your pool system

pink slimy bacterial growth in troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems

Pink, slimy bacterial growth (brushes off easily)

Culprit: Pink Slime

Causes

You may experience a case of pink slime if:

– Your pool is low on sanitiser levels

– Your pool has been poorly maintained

– You have a improper water imbalance

– Your pool system has low circulation/poor water flow

How do I treat pink slime?

You can try:

– Thoroughly brushing your pool

– Algaecide

– Clean the pool filter

– Do a thorough check over all components of your pool system

white mucous or tissue paper-like substance troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems

White mucous or tissue paper-like substance

Culprit: White mould

Causes

You may experience a breakout of white mould if:

– Your pool is low on sanitiser levels

– Your pool has been poorly maintained

– You have a improper water imbalance

– Your pool system has low circulation/poor water flow

How do I fix white mould?

You can try:

– Using a shock treatment

– Algaecide

– Clean the pool filter

– Do a thorough check over all components of your pool system

hazy or extremely cloudy water troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems

Hazy or extremely cloudy water (with difficulty seeing the pool bottom)

Culprit: Cloudy Water cloudy pool water troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems ultimate how to step by step

Causes

You may experience a bout of cloudy water if:

– Your pool is low on sanitiser levels or chloramines

– Your pool filter is not filtering the water properly

– You have a improper water imbalance

– Your pool system has low circulation/poor water flow

– There is particulate matter in your pool water

How do I fix cloudy water?

You can try:

– Using a shock treatment

– Algaecide

– Clean the pool filter and pump, and run continuously

– Do a thorough check over all components of your pool system

– Balance the water

Now if your water is discoloured, without visible signs of growth, you’ll also want to thoroughly check over the next step.

grey clear green or turqoise colour color pool water troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems

Grey, clear green or turquoise water

Culprit: Copper imbalance copper troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems ultimate how to step by step

Causes

You may notice that your pool water has changed colour due to a copper imbalance.

This is usually caused by:

– Equipment corrosion

– Contamination from external sources

– Recent water changes

– Copper based algaecides

How do I fix water discolouration due to copper?

You can try:

– Use a metal remover (You can try Zodiac’s Metal Remover for a quality Aussie made product)

– Discontinue use of metal based algaecide

– Treat with non-metal based algaecide

coffe brown or purple water troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems

Coffee brown or purple water

Culprit: Manganese imbalance manganese troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems ultimate how to step by step

Causes

You may notice that your pool water has changed colour due to a copper imbalance.

This is usually caused by:

– Equipment corrosion

– Contamination from external sources

– Recent water changes

How do I fix water discolouration due to manganese?

You can try:

– Use a high potency liquid flocculant (You can grab a bottle of Super Floc from Bunnings)

– Use a metal remover (You can try Zodiac’s Metal Remover for a quality Aussie made product)

– Vacuum out waste

red brown or rust coloured colored water troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems

Red-brown or rust coloured water

Culprit: Iron imbalance iron troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems ultimate how to step by step

Causes

You may notice that your pool water has changed colour due to a iron imbalance.

This is usually caused by:

– Contamination from external sources

– Recent water changes

How do I fix water discolouration due to manganese?

You can try:

– Use a high potency liquid flocculant (You can grab a bottle of Super Floc from Bunnings)

– Use a metal remover (You can try Zodiac’s Metal Remover for a quality Aussie made product)

– Vacuum out waste

If you’ve noticed surface problems, the next steps may get you out of trouble!

grey tan sandpaper like building up on surface troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems

Sandpaper-like buildup on the surface (Grayish or tan colour that is difficult to brush away)

Culprit: Scale build up scale build up pools troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems ultimate how to step by step

Causes

You may notice that your pool water has a slight grey-tan discolouration that is difficult to brush away, with a sandpaper-like build up on the surface.

This is usually caused by:

– Improper water balance where there is high total alkalinity (TA) pH

– Calcium hardness

How do I remove scale build up in my pool?

You can try:

– Use a high potency liquid flocculant (You can grab a bottle of Super Floc from Bunnings)

– Use a metal remover (You can try Zodiac’s Metal Remover for a quality Aussie made product)

– Balance your water pH

– Do a thorough acid wash of your pool

splitting pitting of plaster in troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems

Pitting of plaster surfaces

Culprit: Etching

Causes

You may notice that your pool surface has started pitting on plastered surfaces.

This is usually caused by:

– Improper water balance where there is high total alkalinity (TA) pH

– Calcium hardness

How do I fix etching on my pool surface?

You can try:

– Balance your water pH

– Re-plaster the damaged and surrounding surfaces

wrinkles in vinyl pool liner troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems

Wrinkles in vinyl liner

Culprit: Liner wrinkling wrinkles in vinyl pool liner troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems ultimate how to step by step

Causes 

You may notice that your pool’s liner has started to wrinkle.

This is usually caused by:

– Improper water balance where there is high total alkalinity (TA) pH

– Calcium hardness

How do I fix wrinkles in my pool vinyl liner?

You can try:

– Balance your water pH

– Replace the vinyl liner if necessary

pale to white spotty discolouration on surface troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems

Pale to white, spotty discolouration on the surface

Culprit: Bleaching bleaching troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems ultimate how to step by step

Causes

You may notice that your pool surface has developed a pale to white, spotty discolourationg on its surface.

This is usually caused by:

– Improper chemical addition

How do I fix bleaching damage in my pool?

You can try:

– Dissolve dry pool substances before adding it to your pool

– Replace the liner if necessary

– Repaint/restore surface

black green turquoise or brown spots on bottom troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems

Black, green, turquoise or brown spots on the bottom (that do not brush off)

Culprit: Staining stains troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems ultimate how to step by step

Causes

You may notice that your pool surface has developed black, green, turqoise or brown spots on the bottom, which do not brush off.

This is usually caused by:

– Stains from metal equipment or objects

– Fungal growth under the liner

– A build up of tannic acid

– Stains from leaves and other falling debris

How do I remove stains in my pool?

You can try:

– A stain remover (You can try this All-in-one Stain Remover from Zodiac)

– Use a metal remover (You can try Zodiac’s Metal Remover for a quality Aussie made product)

– Remove the liner and thoroughly clean its underside

– Conduct a shock treatment

If you’ve tried testing your pool water, and you’re having some trouble, the next two steps are what you’re after.

colour of pool test fades to clear troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems

Colour of test fades to clear

Culprit: Bleaching of reagent reagent coming back clear troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems ultimate how to step by step

Causes

You may notice that your reagent test has faded to a clear colour, instead of displaying an accurate reading.

This is usually caused by:

– High levels of chlorine or bromine

How do I fix a clear reagent testing strip?

You can try:

– Adding up to 5 drops of a chlorine neutraliser

reagent colour is different than should be troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems

Reagent color is different than it should be (e.g. the pH test turns purple)

Culprit: Reagent discolouration reagent strip returning odd colour troubleshooting pools

Causes

You may notice that your reagent test is turning into a different colour, instead of displaying an accurate reading.

This is usually caused by:

– High levels of chlorine or bromine

– Old or expired reagents

How do I fix a clear reagent testing strip?

You can try:

– Neutralise chlorine levels, then retest

– Replace old reagents, then retest

Now if you’ve gone through different water appearances, surface problems and testing issues check out the miscallaneous common problems your neighbours are facing too!

Have you noticed:

pool has sharp irritating odour and water irritates eyes troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems

Pool has a sharp, irritating odour and/or the water irritates the eyes

Culprit: Odour and/or eye irritation bad smells sharp odours troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems ultimate how to step by step

Causes

You may notice that your pool water has a sharp, foul odour or that your eyes are unusually irritated after having a dip.

This is usually caused by:

– Imbalance of chloramines

– Swimmer waste, oils and organic waste

How do I remove foul odours and irritating pool water?

You can try:

– A Shock treatment

short filter runs or clogged filter troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems

Short filter runs or a clogged filter

Culprit: Filtration problems clogged pool filter troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems ultimate how to step by step

Causes

You may notice that your filter is consistently clogging up or that the runs it usually does have become shorter.

This is usually caused by:

– A dirty filter

– Filter media has remained uncleaned

– Improper filter media amount

– Water is not balanced

How do I unclog my pool filter?

You can try:

– Replace the filter media

– Clean the filter thoroughly

unable to maintain free chlorine level or break high combined chlorine troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems

Unable to maintain the free chlorine level or cannot break the high combined chlorine

Culprit: Chlorine demand issues

Causes

You may notice that your free chlorine level is unstable or you cannot break the high combined chlorine.

This is usually caused by:

– Foreign contaminants from nearby environment

– Poor maintenance of your pool water

How do I resolve chlorine demand issues in my pool water?

You can try:

– Running a shock treatment

bubbles or foam on pool water surface troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems

Bubbles on pool water surface

Culprit: Foaming water

Causes

You may notice that bubbles forming on your pool surface.

This is usually caused by:

– Excessive algaecide use

– Foreign contaminants

How do I resolve chlorine demand issues in my pool water?

You can try:

– Use a de-foamer ( You can try this No Foam De-Foamer)

hairs turns green after swimming in pool troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems

Lighter hair colours (blonde) hair turns green after swimming

Culprit: Green hair due to copper imbalance hair goes green after swimming in pool troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems ultimate how to step by step

Causes

You may notice that lighter coloured hair turns green after coming out of the swimming pool.

This is usually caused by:

– Copper imbalance, usually resulting from:

– Equipment corrosion

– Contamination from external sources

– Recent water changes

– Copper based algaecides

How do I stop getting green hair after swimming?

You can try:

– Use a metal remover (You can try Zodiac’s Metal Remover for a quality Aussie made product)

– Use a bit of lemon juice or vinegar to rinse the hair, which will remove discolouration

increased sanitiser demand due to rain pool troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems

Increased sanitiser demand (due to rain)

Culprit: Heavy rains washing debris and particulates into your pool water, increasing sanitiser demand

Causes

You may notice that excessive debris in your pool and other symptoms associated with sanitiser deficiency.

This is usually caused by:

– Rain

How do I bring swimming pools sanitiser demand back to normal?

Unfortuntely, you can’t do much to stop the rain from happening, however you can try:

– Rebalance the pool water after circulating the it for 24 hours

– Shock the pool

noticeable change in water level pool troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems

Noticeable change in water level

Culprit: Water loss water levels pool troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems ultimate how to step by step

Causes

You may notice that the volume of your pool water changing.

If your pool water drops:

  • 12 mm or less per day
    • This may be caused by evaporation
  • 12 mm to 25 mm per day
    • This may be due to the pools active bather load (user load on the pool)
  • 25 mm or more per day
    • This could be from a leak in your pool. Consult professional advice IMMEDIATELY
How can I prevent water loss in my swimming pool?

You can try:

– Use a solar cover of water loss under 25 mm per day, and see if there is any improvement

– If no improvement, or you are experiencing more than 25 mm of loss per day, you need to contact a professional immediately

insects birds frogs animals bugs in pool water troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems

Insects, water birds, frogs etc

Culprit: Animals and insects bugs insects frogs birds in pool troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems ultimate how to step by step

Causes

You may notice the presence of insects or frogs, which may also attract aquatic birds.

This is caused by:

– Environmental factors

– Poor water quality

How can I prevent animals and insects from visiting my swimming pool?

You can try:

– Shock treatment to kill organic particulates

– Treat your pool with an algaecide

keep birds from pooping in your pool troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems

Birds Dropping Poop in your Pool

Culprit: Birds how to keep birds away from swimming pool troubleshooting pools

Most pool owners have asked themselves:

“How do I keep birds away from my swimming pool?”

Bird droppings in your swimming pool aren’t just unhygienic, but it will also cause your water to “fowl” up much faster, and “dump” your water quality.

If only it were as easy as using poorly constructed bird poop related puns.

Then thousands of pool owners wouldn’t be spending their hard earned money keeping their pools free of bird droppings.

We’ve done some research and found a couple of brilliant proven ways to keep those pesky birds from leaving their business in your pool.

Oh, it get’s better:

You won’t harm any birds in the process.

Causes

This problem will usually intensify over the warmer months of the year, when birds and their young are generally more active.

In some species of birds, the parent birds will scoop up their chicks’ faeces and fly it away from their nest.

This is so predators are not alerted of the nest’s presence.

Why they choose to poop and drop their youngs’ droppings in your pool may have something to do with hiding the scent far from the nest.

Here’s how you can keep birds from dropping poop in your pool:

Place a few rubber snakes around your pool

A quick fix and simple method for keeping those birds from coming near your pool area is to head down to your local dollar store and pick up a few rubber snakes.

Simply place the snakes around your pool area, where they may deter birds from landing.

Otherwise, if that doesn’t work:

Use balloons filled with helium

Another inexpensive and effective method for keeping birds away from your pool.

Fill your balloon up with helium, and fix a few reflective streamers to the bottom of each balloon.

Now that you have several floating balloons with reflective streamers attached, tie up the balloons around the pool area.

Vary the height each balloon floats at.

How it works:

It seems as though the sporadic movement of the balloons in the air, couple with the random light reflections from the shiny streamers cause birds to be nervous and apprehensive.

Now if you have REALLY persistent birds:

Install a motion sensor sprinkler

If you’ve tried the previous two suggestions, and those cheeky birds are still using your pool as a toilet, purchase and install a motion sensor sprinkler.

Head down to your local hardware store and pick up a motion sensor sprinkler which you can install near the affected areas of your pool.

Simply install it and leave it running.

Any birds who decide to visit will receive a quick burst of water, causing them to move on and find another spot to leave their droppings.

conclusion now it's your turn troubleshooting pools guide 25 most common pool water problems

Now it’s your turn:

You’ve read about the 25 common pool water problems pool owners deal with, as well as a troubleshooting guide for each issue.

If you found the cause of your pool’s issues, leave a comment below to let me know what it was and how you resolved it.

Perhaps now you can deal with that discoloured water?

Or you can finally deal with surface build up or annoying neighbourhood birds pooping in your pool.

Either way, leave a quick comment below right now.

But before that, click the image below to download a your FREE pool maintenance checklist, so you can also keep your pool clean in your own time.

The checklist has all the basic steps for you to follow, to make maintaining and cleaning your pool a breeze!

Click the image below to download the checklist now.

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