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How to Keep Fountain Water Clean for Birds

how to keep fountain water clean for birds

In the same way humans need water, so do birds. Birds need water every day for drinking and bathing. Aside from streams and ponds, they usually go to water fountains to supply these needs. That is why it is necessary to keep fountain water clean for birds.

Importance of Keeping Fountain Water Clean for Birds

Few birds use fountain water to bathe but, most of them come when they are thirsty and need to drink. Fountains, however, can be covered in algae and germs that contaminate the water on them. If birds ingest contaminated water, they can catch a disease and worse, spread it to other birds. It is essential to maintain clean fountain water so that it will remain safe to drink for birds.

Tips on How to Clean Your Fountain Water

Layers of algae, a bunch of leaves, or bird droppings can build up in your fountain water. That is why sometimes, it is hard and tiring to maintain a clean one.

However, if you let your fountain water sit dirty for a long time, chances are your fountain might stop working, and you may not attract birds to it. Whether you have a large or small fountain, you have to clean it regularly for them to continue working.

There are some factors you need to consider: such as the weather, location of your fountain, and the number of birds using it.

How Often Should You Clean Your Fountain?

During summer, it is best to clean your fountain once to twice every week and every few months during winter. You can also begin cleaning when you see discoloration of the water or the ground looks slimy already.

Consider The Location Of The Fountain

how to maintain a clean fountain water

If your fountain is located directly above the sun, it will most likely grow algae on it. You can choose a shady spot for your fountain, or put a cover above it, such as an umbrella to reduce algae growth.

On the other hand, if there is a tree above the fountain, leaves will surely fall on them. You can put a net above so that you can get rid of falling leaves.

Things you may need before cleaning

  • Clean water
  • Hose
  • Scrub brush
  • Sponge
  • Rubber gloves
  • Chlorine bleach

Steps in cleaning fountain water

  • Step 1: Empty the old, stagnant water completely. Do not just add water when refilling because it will make no sense if you let the old water mix with the clean water. You can use the old water to water plants so that it will not puddle and further attract birds to use and drink it.
  • Step 2: When the floor of the fountain is already exposed, remove any debris and materials you can see. Do not forget to put on your rubber gloves to avoid any injuries or irritation if ever you will encounter a sharp object or irritant. Use a large garbage bag to throw them away.
  • Step 3: Use a bleach formula with 10% bleach chlorine and 90% water. If the fountain is too dirty, you may want to let the bleach sit in for a while for it to work effectively. Using a scrub brush, scrub the ground and other parts of the fountain where birds usually land, bath, and drink.
  • Step 4: If you have water fountain accessories such as stones, remove them and clean them as well using the bleach formula. Also, do not forget to remove and clean the fountain pump with a sponge. Cleaning the fountain pump is necessary because this is where buildup takes place and where the water comes and is filtered. If not cleaned properly, water may not flow thoroughly.
  • Step 5: After scrubbing, rinse the fountain, accessories, and pump with pressure running water from your hose to completely remove any bleach formula on it. The smell of the bleach can stay there for a while but it is not too strong to keep birds away from the fountain.
  • Step 6: Allow the fountain, accessories, and pump to dry out completely to remove any chlorine from it.
  • Step 7: Once dried out, put back the pump and the accessories to the fountain. Refill the fountain with fresh, clean water to attract birds to come, bath, and drink again.

What Happens to Birds If You Don’t Clean Your Fountain Water

As mentioned above, contaminated water can bring disease to any bird that drinks it and spread it to others. It can even poison them especially if the fountain water has chemicals on it even in small concentrations. This includes pesticides, insecticides, or strong cleaning solutions that are not properly rinsed off. Avoid spraying chemicals near the fountain to avoid poisoning the birds.

Old and stagnant water can attract insects that can infect birds, pets, and humans. It can also attract predators that are dangerous and can attack birds while they are bathing or drinking in the fountain.

How to Maintain a Clean Fountain Water

To keep your fountain water clean and clear, remember to put it on a shady area or put a cover to keep falling debris out of the water. Always make it a habit to check it for any algae or any floating materials. You can use a net to get any floating materials on it so it will not pile up and contaminate the water.

You can also put water plants, such as lilies and lotus since they provide oxygen and shade which prevents algae formation. Changing the water monthly can also help remove any living algae.

Adding accessories such as a stream to your fountain can make birds happy while keeping mosquitoes away since they do not want to lay eggs in running water.


Like humans, birds need a clean water supply and if you practice bird watching and own a fountain, keeping the fountain water clean is your responsibility. Regular checking and cleaning will help make the water clean and slow down algae growth. Removing algae and cleaning fountain water is easy by following the steps listed above.

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