Quick Definition:

Baking soda is also called sodium bicarbonate and is used to raise the alkalinity of swimming pool water.

What is Baking Soda?

Algaecides are chemicals that can be added to swimming pool water to keep algae growth under control.  As algae is a hearty organism, there are several types of algaecides that are effective on specific types of algae.

  • Quats or QAC (quaternary ammonium compounds) are organic-based materials relying on nitrogen to  disturb the membrane of algae cells, preventing algae growth.  They are the least expensive, but tend to foam and are only effective on green algae.
  • Polyquats are more effective than quats, as they are sold in higher concentrations. They are more expensive, but are effective algaecides for green, yellow, and black algae.
  • Copper salts are also used as an algaecide, as they give up a copper ion that kills the kills algae and prevents future growth.  These are not commonly used, as the excess copper ends up in the pool water and can stain pool walls.

Although properly maintained chlorinated pool water can provide enough algaecide-like protection, often the chlorine level may drop just enough for algae to gain a foothold in the pool.  Once this occurs, the algae can quickly become a problem.

Phosphates accidentally added to pool water, such as grass or plant fertilizers, are very efficient food for algae that can result in rapid algae growth.  In this case, an algaecide needs to be added to pool water to kill the algae growth.

UV, or ultraviolet light emitters are gaining popularity as an effective algaecide, as pool water is exposed to high levels of UV light, killing the algae.


  • “Pool & Spa Water Chemistry, A Testing and Treatment Guide, Waterproof Edition, 2005. Taylor”

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