What are phosphates and how can you understand them in regards to your pool? Right here! Phosphates are non-metallic chemicals that pool owners should be knowledgable about when it comes to their backyard pools. Phosphates are compounds of the element Phosphorous (P). We’re going to give our readers a high-level understanding of how phosphates affect your pool.

What many people don’t know is that there are 22 natural phosphates found in the ground. Let’s get the worst news out of the way: phosphates will always exist in your pool. This is because phosphates, although natural, can be manufactured and added to lotions and sunscreens. They are even part of other pool chemicals, although minimally. The chemicals do exist in those products and, by extension, will leech into your pool water. Those phosphates that make it into your pool water become further broken down to orthophosphates. It’s just a matter of maintaining very low levels of phosphates for healthy pool water.

Algae Production and Process Around Phosphates

Broken down molecules of phosphorous double as food for algae. We are often asked about algae prevention, causes/effects, and algae in general. A big factor in algae production are phosphates, but that’s only one piece of the puzzle. Orthophosphates, the “algae food” needs to fall between 100-125 ppb (parts per billion). At 200 ppb, orthophosphates become strong enough to battle the chemicals regularly added to the pool. The more dense the orthophosphates become, the stronger the chemical is needed to bring the phosphates down to a manageable level.

A lot of people out there don’t know that re-balancing just your chemicals won’t fix the algae and phosphate problem. Even performing a chlorine shock won’t solve the problem. A shock will only drop the ppb of phosphates, which will then bounce back to a higher level. For our customers involved in simple monthly maintenance plans, we use Orenda’s PR-10000. As a very concentrated formulation of phosphate remover, you won’t need much per use. The “10,000” number indicates it is strong enough to attack pool’s water wherein the algae levels are as high as 10,000 ppb.

Phosphates Depend On Location

Especially here in Florida, excess phosphates are common problems. Almost all pools will experience what’s called an algae bloom twice a year. This is where your pool with turn a bold shade of green–we’ve all seen the typical pool algae takeover. We fix all the problems that phosphates cause for pool owners, both commercial and residential. Of course, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Therefore, we do our best to prevent algae growing and taking over your pool.

Algae production won’t occur without all 5 major elements in the atmosphere in the right combinations. Sunlight, water, air, nitrates and phosphates all play a role in algae production. Phosphates enter your pool more than you may know. Whenever leaves blow into the pool water, phosphates enter. Because phosphates are in the ground, when dirt gets added to your pool, so too does phosphorous. Through those first 5 elements of our world (sunlight, water, air, etc), algae (and phosphate production) forms as a result of several distinct scientistic processes:

  1. Oxidation (converting compounds into oxides) — this does not particularly mean adding oxygen to the compounds. It has more to do with adding electrons to the molecule compounds.
  2. Hydrolysis (decomposition by water) — after all, there are small amounts of phosphorous in most water.
  3. Enzymatic digestion

If you don’t have a pool maintenance crew on call and you have algae problems, the best way to resolve the algae is to do your homework and a little cleaning. If Orenda’s (or similar) products, call Erik’s Aquatic Care to safely re-balance your pool’s water for many swims to come.


Erik’s Aquatic Care is always here to answer questions you may have as a current or future pool owner. Cheers!