How to Keep Your Water Fountain from Turning Green

Do you have a beautiful fountain that ends up having nasty green water? Knowing how to keep a water fountain from turning green is important for health and aesthetic concerns. Fountains need regular cleaning, adding algaecide, and keeping the water fresh as often as needed.

Why Is My Fountain Water Turning Green?


Algae is a type of plant that ranges in size from microscopic to what is generally referred to as seaweed. Apart from size, it can also seem rather different. It is typically green, red, or brown in color. Additionally, it is highly adaptable to its environment.

Growth and accumulation of algae can be unpleasant, reducing your enjoyment of your garden fountain and perhaps obstructing the filtration system. Maintaining your fountain regularly might help avoid algae growth.

Bird Droppings

There are different kinds of debris that can fall into the water fountain, which makes it turn green. Bird droppings are a common debris form that end up contaminating your fountain water.

Still Water

Still water turns green also because of algae. Green-water or pea soup algae are algae that tinge the water green, whereas hair or string algae develop in long strands. Both are frequently found in outdoor fountains.

Other Plants

Following a windy or wet day, inspect your fountain for grass clippings, leaves, and other debris that may have accumulated in the basin.

Wipe everything out with a soft cloth and water. Apart from removing any debris that may fall into the basin, it’s a good idea to empty it and replenish it with fresh water daily or every other day.

What is Fountain Algaecide?

EasyCare FounTec Algaecide and Clarifier

If algae is a persistent problem, treat the water with a commercially available algaecide. Make sure that the product you add is safe for birds, pets, and plants by carefully reading the label. Fountec and GreenClean are two environmentally friendly algaecides. 

GreenClean Granular Algaecide - 8 lbs - String Algae Control for Koi Pond, Fountain, Waterfall, Water Features on Contact. EPA Registered

Occasionally, chemical algae controls operate too well and eliminate all algae at once. A new crop of algae will grow and feed on the decomposing organic materials when this occurs. The cycle then repeats itself. Avoid this by thoroughly cleaning the fountain prior to applying the algaecide.

Garden centers carry a variety of algaecide solutions for fountains, ponds, and pools. These products can be used to eliminate algae already present in the water or prevent algae from growing in clean water.

Bear in mind that harsh chemicals can be harmful to wildlife and humans, therefore the safest alternative is to use a natural algaecide for fountains. The application directions differ according to the product and the size of the fountain.

Algaecide is often applied to a fountain by diluting it with water. Typically 1 part algaecide to 4 parts water. Then pour the diluted solution into the fountain near the pump. The water appears frothy as the algaecide begins to act but finally clears completely.

RELATED: The 10 Most Affordable Outdoor Water Fountains for 2022

How to Clean Your “Green” Water Fountain

What You’ll Need:

  • Gasoline or electric blower
  • Scrub brush
  • Distilled water
  • Algaecide (like FounTec)
  • Garden hose
  • Fountain basin cleaner or dish soap
  • Water-clarifying product

Empty the Fountain

Turn off the fountain’s power supply so that water is cut off. Proceed to drain the water from the fountain by tipping it over, making sure you remove the components as directed.

Alternatively, you can use a wet vac for fountain drainage. Once the fountain has been turned off and drained, it is prepared for cleaning.

You can also use the blower on the water to remove dirt and debris from the fountain.

Note: Using a blower will cause dirty water to splash all around the fountain, especially in the opposite direction of where you’re standing. If you don’t want that, switch to an alternative way of manually removing dirty water from the fountain.

Rinse the Basin

After draining the fountain, use a hose to rinse the basin to remove any algae or debris that may have accumulated on the basin walls. A vigorous spray of the hose is usually sufficient to get rid of fountain algae, depending on the degree of buildup.

Clear all of the fountain’s water lines and clean any algae stains that remain with a rag. Rinse the basin thoroughly with new water and use a toothbrush to scrub away any stains. Use an approved fountain basin cleanser or dish soap to remove stubborn stains.

Clean the Pump

Carefully remove and disassemble the pump, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Scrub the hard-to-reach areas with a toothbrush, removing any crud that has accumulated in the pump. If you use a cleaner, ensure that it is safe to use on a pump and not only in the basin.

Turn the Fountain Back On

When you feel the fountain is clean enough, rinse the basin thoroughly with cleaning chemicals and vacuum up any remaining water using a wet vacuum. Conduct a final inspection of the basin to confirm that all algae and stains have been removed. Reassemble the fountain and turn it on if satisfied.

Can You Clean Fountain Water Without Chemicals?

Sometimes, you want to avoid chemicals as much as possible. You can also keep your fountain water clear using certain plants.

There are numerous advantages to incorporating plants into your water fountain. To begin, they give oxygen, allowing you to take a deep breath and take in the vista. If you have plants floating on top of the water, algae are less likely to bloom.

This means you will not need to clean your fountain as regularly as you would otherwise. The roots of plants have the potential to decompose any old trash that has accumulated in your fountain. Incorporating plants into the water will make your fountain a cleaner, healthier space.

Because water hyacinth is such a heavy feeder, it’s a particularly effective filter plant. Indeed, if left unchecked, they can cover the entire surface of your fountain water. Because they float on the surface of the water, they block out sunlight and provide shade for the fountain’s algae-fighting plants.

fountain with green algae

Things to Consider if Your Fountain Keeps Turning Green

Replacing the Fountains Pump

Cleaning the fountain pump is important but if that doesn’t solve the problem in the short-term, it could be a sign to replace the pump. Before replacing it, make sure you’ve cleaned it the right way.

An old toothbrush is simple and can be a great tool for cleaning the difficult-to-reach areas of your pump. Take care not to use any chemicals not mentioned as permitted by the manufacturer, and it is critical to thoroughly rinse your pump to eliminate any soap.

Soap can completely destroy a pump in less than a day, which is why it is crucial to thoroughly rinse your unit.

Replacing the Tubing

Cleaning your fountain’s pipes and tubing may require specialized tools. Pipe cleaners are one of the simplest and most effective methods for cleaning tubing. Ensure that each tube is completely clean to avoid clogging.

A clogged line might cause your pump to fail and may even leak tubing system. Avoid these complications by thoroughly examining all of your tubing’s following a complete cleaning. In some situations, you might have to replace them altogether.

Prevent Bird Droppings in the Fountain

Run porcupine wires – wires with tiny spikes protruding from them – around the perimeter of your fountain and around any ledges or beams nearby. This will deprive the pigeons of a roosting area. Once the pigeons have departed, the porcupine wires can be removed.

Sprinkle naphthalene flakes around the perimeter of your fountain. Pigeons dislike the odor created by these flakes, making them a great deterrent. Mothballs are primarily composed of naphthalene flakes.

Add a noisemaker to the vicinity of your fountain. This will frighten the pigeons and force them to flee. You can either utilize a motion-activated noisemaker or play a predator sound CD.

Use Distilled Water

You should clean your fountain on a regular basis, every three months to prevent algae from growing on the basin or pump of your fountain. Placing your fountain in a shaded spot might also help slow algae growth.

Algae will grow everywhere there is water and sunlight, although they will develop considerably more slowly in chilly, shady regions.

Distilled water is another excellent complement to your alga avoidance plan. This is an excellent strategy to eliminate chemical use, but it will increase your ownership costs slightly.

Fountain Cleaning FAQs

How Much Water Do Yard Fountains Typically Hold?

It really depends on the size and volume capacity of the fountain. You can use a container holding as little as a couple of water or install the pump and fountainhead in a huge pond.

What Fountain Algaecide is Safe for Birds?

You can choose FounTec, which is non-toxic, stain-resistant, and non-foaming. It is not toxic to birds, animals, or plants, but is toxic to fish.

Is Fountain Algaecide Dangerous to Pets?

It depends on the product you’re using. For example, FounTec is typically safe for mammals, including your cats and dogs.

Does Fountain Algaecide Harm Fish?

If used properly, algaecide treatments can be safe for fish regardless of the chemical employed. Although algaecides contain strong chemicals, they do not immediately kill your fish. Fish that perish as a result of the application of algaecides perish due to oxygen deprivation.

How Can You Fix a Water Fountain’s Water Pressure?

If the water supply is working properly but not at the same pressure as previously, check for leaks in the mechanical seal. If it is leaking, the pressure will decrease. Seal the leak or replace the pump to resolve the issue. It could also be that your pump requires cleaning.

Do Fountains Have Filters? Do they Need to be Changed?

Some fountains do. It really depends on which model you buy. And yes, if they have filters, they will need to be changed regularly. 

Final Words

In order to know how to keep a water fountain from turning green, you need to understand what causes it. Algae is usually the number one enemy of clean fountain water. Thankfully, there are both chemical and non-chemical ways to deal with this nuisance.

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