Swimming in Odd-Colored Water

An important part of the pool maintenance consists of the water upkeep. This includes balancing the chemicals as well as ridding it of debris, insects, and leaves. However, even if you maintain it balanced and in top shape, sometimes it might change its color. Although you might be tempted to disregard it and go for a swim, your main focus should be on returning the water to its natural, transparent color. Otherwise, you expose yourself and your loved ones to health risks.

Reasons for Coloring

There are two main reasons why the basin water can change its natural color: a high amount of metal inside the water, and poor water chemistry which leads to algae-formation. While both causes do change the watercolor, neither makes for a safer choice to swim in the pool. Therefore, unless you resolve the odd-color, you should refrain from utilizing the basin.


Although you haven’t deliberately inserted metals into the water, different pool chemicals might contain small particles of distinct metals inside their composition. When they add up to a certain number, a secondary chemical reaction takes place, the metal particles coloring the water differently. Another means of metal reaching your pool is through the water itself. If you refill the pool with ‘fresh’ water, make sure it is filtrated first, as impurities and metal compounds can hide inside it.

The most frequent colors the waterbody can take when confronted with distinct metals are the following:

  • Light tones of green – similar in looks with algae, this light greenish tone is the result of too much copper in the water.
  • Murky red or brown – if the water has a rusty tone to it, the main culprit is a large amount of iron.
  • Dark purple tones – if the entire waterbody is opaque with dark violet tones, you’re facing a high concentration of magnesium
  • Black – one of the most dreaded colors for its implications, this implies you have too much silver in the water

Luckily, while the color-change might be unpleasant to deal with, it doesn’t require complicated maneuvers to get rid of it. You can easily pre-filter the water, to prevent this event from happening, and with the help of other pool chemicals, you can easily redress the issue at hand.


When dealing with the secondary main culprit of changing the transparency of water, more precisely – algae – the problem can vary in difficulty. Some microorganisms are easier to deal with than others, therefore leading to different operations if you wish to get rid of them altogether. Algae tend to have the following colors:

  • Green – although they can be confused for the copper excess by many, the intensity of the tone is different. It tends to be more opaque and deep in shade, the color which you’ve surely seen in stagnant water bodies like ponds or lakes.
  • Yellow – often associated with a greenish-yellow, or a mustard-like tone, and not exactly a pure tone, these types of plants can turn the water into a sandy-nude. They do prefer shaded areas in the water, but are relatively easy to deal with.
  • Red – a more pinkish-red in tone, rather than pure red, these microorganisms although sharing the same family as natural algae, are in fact bacteria. They won’t color the entire water, but will rather stick with spots
  • Black – if you’d feared the black when a metal concentration was involved when black algae are concerned is a whole lot worse. These types of organisms are, in fact, bacteria, and the reason why everyone detests them is due to the difficulty and hard work required to get rid of them.

Health Issues

Regardless of what color the water is, you should never swim in it, or even worse, ingest it. The microorganisms present there can cause a series of health problems:

  • Skin irritation and rashes
  • Eye redness and macular degeneration
  • Fever and breathing problems
  • Stomach ache and diarrhea
  • Pulmonary problems
  • Mucus irritation and teeth degeneration

The problems caused by these bacteria don’t stop only to internal issues. They also create a slippery surface, which in turn can lead to serious accidents when pool stairs and involved, and even drowning. Therefore, indifferent to the color the pool takes, it is better to avoid going into water no matter what.

Prevention Methods

Although the situation might seem grim, it is not impossible to remedy it. Firstly, you should determine what caused the discoloration in the water. Was it from algae or accumulated metal? Once you’ve located the cause you can plan the next steps to fight against it. The metal accumulations are easier to deal with, as they will require special chemicals to redress the situation. Algae, on the other hand, depending on the colors, might require intensive hard work.

A sure way to prevent both situations is to regularly clean the pool, maintaining both shell and water in pristine condition. Check the chemistry every week and balance it if needed. Additionally, make sure you run a maintenance check on the plumbing and pool equipment from time to time, as well.

Final Thoughts

While colored water might seem interesting to see, at first, it hides many dangers for both swimmers and pools alike. Therefore, if you notice any suspicious miscolored spot in your pool, refrain from swimming activities and quickly deal with it to prevent the spreading. No matter if the result is organic or not, keep away from touching it directly as it poses a risk for your health.

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