Category Archives: Swimming Pool Cleaning

The Zodiac MX8 swimming pool cleaner. A suction cleaner that does the walls

New to the UK market in 2012 is the Zodiac MX8 swimming pool cleaner. It was launched in the US last year and has been getting some great reviews.

zodiac mx8 pool cleaner

The New Zodiac MX8 Swimming Pool Cleaner

The Zodiac MX8 is unique among suction pool cleaners. The first thing you notice is the “tank tracks” at either end of  the unit it moves slowly along on these tracks and when it gets to the wall it just keeps going right on up the wall.

A look at the underside reveals two big circular intakes. These form a cyclone in the water to suck up the debris on the floor.

Side View

With the lid open

mx8 pool cleaner

Underside of the MX8

The internal drive system also means it keeps turning and moving and so it covers all of the floor of your pool (not just the deep end) and it should never get stuck in a corner or on the steps.

It has fewer parts that can wear out than other cleaners and a swivel head so the hose does not get tangled.

With a 2 year warranty we are quite impressed by this little machine.

The Tiger bites back

The launch of the Dolphin Supreme range has proved very successful for Maytronics so much so that it prompted its  competitor Hayward, the manufacturer of the Tiger Shark automatic swimming pool cleaner, to lower its price and chuck in some freebies.

The price of the cleaner was reduced from £1,226.00 to £1,150.00 and included a free caddy for carrying the cleaner around in and also a free set of filters. The filters are £70.00 so this was quite a generous offer.

The Tiger Shark works in much the same way as the Dolphin Supreme M4. An electric cleaner that work independantly of the pool’s filtration system. It has two paper filters to catch the finest of dirt. The Dolphin used to have a bag but has no gone over to paper filters also.

Tiger Shark Automatic Swimming Pool Cleaner

Tiger Shark Automatic Swimming Pool Cleaner

The offer expired on 31st July 2011 but call us and we may still be able to get a good deal for you.

Why algae grows in your pool in the summer

This is an article about algae in swimming pools and it has got graphs in it. I am sometimes accused of being a bit nerdy, I don’t know why!

Algae need light to grow, strong sunshine is algae’s best friend. Just when we are getting our pools ready for the warm summer days the daylight hours start to increase, just what the alage need. It is worth taking a look at just how the light in the UK varies throught the year.

Below is a  graph on which the blue line is daylight hours.  Note how all through June and well in to July we get 16 hours of daylight per day compared with 8 hours in winter. Twice as much daylight in summer as in winter.

The Blue line is daylight hours, the Red line sunset time, the orange line sunrise time

The next graph shows the altitude of the sun. Note how in summer when the days are 16 hours long the sun is up to 60 degrees above the horizon but in winter is barely gets above 20 degrees. The lower the altitude the more atmosphere it has to penetrate, the lower the strength of the light. The opposite in summer lots of light and lots of strength.

The higher the sun the stronger the light



That is why algae grows so much more in the summer than it does in the winter. Light = food for algea, give something twice the amount of food and it will grow twice as much.

Maytronics introduce a new range of automatic pool cleaners

Maytronics, the manufacturer of the Dolphin range of automatic pool cleaners have introduced two new cleaners for 2011 to replace the Dolphin Magic and the Dolphin Dynamic Plus. The new pool cleaners are called the M4 and the M5. Externally they look exactly the same but internally there are some significant differences.

First we’ll look at how the M4, full name the Dolphin Supreme M4, has improved upon the Dolphin Magic and then we’ll look at how the M5 differs from the M4.

The Dolphin Supreme M4 and M5 look alike but differ internally


The most obvious change is in the colour from the orange case of the Dolphin Magic to a more understated blue for the M4 but the Dolphin Dynamic Plus was blue before so now it is not so easy to tell them apart.

Maytronics have introduced a third roller brush to the new models. This is to give extra scrubbing power to get algea of the floor of the pool and also means that the problem that some cleaners have of getting stuck on a raised main drain is eliminated.

The Dolphin Magic had a bag to collect the debris in and so could not pick up the fine dust in the way that the Tiger Shark can. That has changed with the M4 because it now has paper filters like the Tiger Shark in two versions, fine and ultrafine but it can also have a filter bag if you prefer. Bags are easier to clean but paper filter can collect finer dirt.

When you want to take the bag or filter out to clean it on all other automatic swimming pool cleaners you have turn them on their side because the filters come out from underneath the machine. On the M4 the filters come out from the top, quite a handy little improvement.

Like all top end automatic swimming pool cleaners the Dolphin Supreme M4 will climb the walls and clean the scumline by default.


The Dolphin Supreme M5 differs from the M4 mainly because it has a wireless remote control. If the cleaner has missed a bit you can send it in to the area and make it clean up. In rectangular pools this is rarely necessary but is a very useful feature if you have free-form or kidney shaped swimming pool. As well as this the M5 tells you when the filter needs cleaning by means of a light on the transformer and the wall climbing mode can be switched off if required.

In the league table of automatic swimming pool cleaners the Dolphin Supreme M4 and M5 are clearly on top. There is no better pool cleaner but they are not cheap. At £1,420.00 and £1,995.00 they are the most expensive pool cleaners but they are definitely the best.

I’ve bought an above ground pool – what else to I need?

So you have bought an above ground pool for the garden, you have errected it and filled it with water – what now?

Well, first of all jump in and enjoy it! But you will need chemicals to keep the water clean and maybe you will want to warm the water up as well. This article will tell you what you should get.

Firstly when we say above ground pool for the garden we mean this sort of thing.

An Intex 16ft round Ultra Frame Pool

An Intex 16ft round Ultra Frame Pool

An Intex 18ft Easy Set Pool

An Intex 18ft Easy Set Pool



A pool with its own filter pump and paper filter cartridges. Although the pools above are the bigger type the advice here applies just as well to a pools down to 8ft round.

Keeping it clean

You are going to need to put chemicals in the water to keep it clean.  The easiest way to treat the pool with chemicals is just to drop a floating dispenser in the water. The Ficlor 5 Bouy is ideal. Turn the lid until the holes line up for your size of pool, drop it in the water and that is it. Take it out when you swim, put it back in when you have finished. Inside the 5 bouy are two types of chlorine and a clarifier to kill bacteria and algae and help the filter keep the water clear and clean.

The 5 bouy is ideal for the smallest pools up to about an 18ft round pool. From about a 15ft pool up to the biggest garden pools available you might want to put multifunctional granules in the pool. The granules come in  5kg tub and one tub should last a whole season. The granules contain chlorine to kill bacteria, an algicide and a clarifier to keep the water clear and clean. You will have to test the water to find out how much chlorine is in there and for that you need some 3 way test strips. They also test for pH (acidity) and alkalinity. For a small pool you don’t need to worry too much about the other two. Putting chlorine in a pool is a bit like putting petrol in a car, when the fuel gauge is low you put more in. Test your pool every day and when the reading is low put more chlorine in.

Multifunctional Chlorine Granules

3 Way Test Strips

3 Way Test Strips

Fi-Chlor 5 Bouy



Keeping it warm

Left alone the water in your pool will warm up and cool down each day with the warmth of the day and the cool of night and as the weather generally gets warmer so will the pool.  If you want warmer water than nature gives you then the first thing to buy is a solar cover. This is made with bubbles to make it float on the surface, it insulates the water and has a greenhouse effect of letting the sun’s ray penetrate to warm the water but retaining the heat at the same time. A good solar cover will keep the water about 3 to 5c higher than it would have been without one but the water temperature will still rise and fall with day and night and warm and cool weather.

If  you want your water to always be warm no matter what the weather then you will have to have a heater as well as a solar cover. For pools up to 12ft this is quite easy. You can buy the Intex 3kw heater or the better quality Elecro 3kw heater. 3kw is as much as you can run from a plug socket in the wall so the 3kw heater is a popular size. If your pool is bigger than 12ft then you should buy the 6 or 9kw heater. These have to wired in by an electrician. Above 9kw you will struggle to have enough electric capacity in your house for a bigger heater. Once you get in to the realms of the 12ft x 24ft you should be thinking about a heat pump. These things consume less than 3kw and so can be plugged in to the wall but they generate up to 12kw of heat.  Although they are much more expensive than an Elecro heater they will pay back in electricity savings in two years or less.

Intex 3kw Heater

Intex 3kw Heater

Elecro Heater 3 to 12kw

Ecowarm Heat Pump




See the next article for how to connect a heater to the flexible pipe of your pool (if there is no article below this then the  link to it is above the title of this article).