Green Water or Brown Water in your Pool or Spa… Algae or Metal?

Identity your pool stains

There are so many factors that can cause your pool water to turn either cloudy or a green or even a brown color.

Some of the most common reasons are algae and or metals in your pool water. We all know that algae is always present in water, it’s just our jobs as pool owners to properly sanitize and oxidize our pools to eliminate the algae bloom occurring. What if it’s not algae that is turning your pool water a green color, or yellowish or brown color?

Some of our most popular questions when trying to decipher whether it is metals or algae are as follows

  • Are you on well water or city?
  • What is your Chlorine level?
  • How has your chlorine been in the last few weeks?
  • How long has the pool been up and running?
  • Do you turn your pool off at night?
  • How does your water feel?
  • Does your water change color when adding chlorine shock?
Brown pool water

Brown pool water

Of course one of the only true ways to tell if you have metals in your pool water or if it is algae, is to bring it into us at R&R Pools so we can run a test on your water. Making sure you have a good water sample is also very important when trying to clear a cloudy or discolored pool. Remember to always take your water elbow deep, away from any skimmers or returns (jets) and to bring it in within a few hours for your best accurate test results. High chlorine in the pool sample can cause a false read as well, so make sure your chlorine is at an accurate ppm before bringing in your water.

We at R&R Pools ask a lot of questions from or customers when they visit. We like to know as much as possible, before we try to treat any sick pool. The more questions we ask the easier it is to determine what ails your pool. No one likes to waste money on an algae problem if it is metals causing the problem. If it is metals and algae, we always treat the metals first. Metals are chlorine sensitive if they are out of solution.

We use Pool Magnet Plus to treat both pools and spas for metals. Then once the Pool magnet has a chance to work, we use Sparkle Up to collect the metals in the filter; once we have captured the metals we will then backwash when it is time to get the metals complete out of your filter. With serious amounts of metals we would recommend that you clean your filter after as well. Once this process is complete you are safe to add your chlorine sticks and shock your pool water. If you have algae at this time we would recommend that you use a heavy duty shock, one of our favorites, Power Chlor.

The easiest and best way, if your water is not clear, make us a list of what you have at home, what you have done to try to make the pool come around and bring in a 1 litre bottle of water so we can work our magic. Let us take the guess work out of it for you.


  1. Rajni Saksena

    We have a new liner vinyl in our pool. It is very slippery.
    The pump was not functioning for a few days and now the water is murky and greenish brown. How do we manage the pool

    • Kara Redden

      Hi Rajni,

      It depends on why the water is murky and green. We suggest you bring a water sample in for a water test and we will give you a free chemical lesson.


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