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Old 07-26-2019, 11:02 AM
Location: Idaho
5,017 posts, read 4,978,937 times
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Seeking some help and recommendations.

I have a Medici Lion four-tier fountain in the middle of my front yard. This is the first year that I have had issues with algae. The water is turning a light shade of green, and there is some dark growth at the "catch" points in the bowls.

So far thus summer, I have drained the fountain, brush scrubbed the bowls, wiped them dry, then re-fill with fresh water from the hose. That's a several hour job and seems a bit silly, and I can't get the bowls completely clean either. Would a better solution be some type of chemical additive? However there are two things I'm worried about.

1.) The local birds drink out of the fountain often and I don't want to harm them, nor "chase them away". Is there a chemical solution that is not harmful to birds?

2.) The fountain is made of resin. Some type of plastic, isn't that? I would need a chemical solution that will not harm the resin construction of the fountain.

So, does anything exist that will not harm the birds or resin? (Don't trust asking at the local hardware store.) Thanks for any help.

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Old 07-26-2019, 12:15 PM
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You can get a pool test kit (the ones with the eyedropper bottles of test solution are reliable) and add plain bleach to the low acceptable point for pools. The active water will limit the need for excess chlorine, but OTOH, it will only last for a relatively short while. Add it in the evening and much of it will have gone by the time the birds are out again. Other algaecides may be less bird friendly. After a while, you may find you get a sense - "Oh, I need to add 3 oz of bleach to the fountain tonight" and not need to test.

I have a little solar fountain, but most of the time I just use the garden hose to blast out the schmutz.
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Old 07-26-2019, 01:09 PM
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I forgot to mention - one of the things you learn in pool care is that if you smell chlorine that is not a sign that there is too much, but there is too little of it. The smell is it being used up by the algae and other junk. The first time you use the bleach, you might want to go strong with it and then dump it in the morning and refill then or next evening with a less potent mix.

Acid balance is another factor in getting the most out of the chlorine, but unless your water is way off, just the small amount of bleach should be fine.
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Old 07-26-2019, 01:34 PM
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I use a scrub brush and fresh water. I would never leave bleach in my bird baths. You could leave diluted bleach in the fountain long enough for it to do the work (about 15-30 minutes), then pour it out and put fresh water in.

I prefer scrubbing. It is a chore, but it's part of having fountains/bird baths.
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Old 07-26-2019, 01:52 PM
Location: Rochester, WA
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A small amount of bleach (tablespoon per 50 gallons) is OK for us to drink, but I don't know about birds. I would talk to people in your town that do fish ponds. There are probably algae treatments they use that are not harmful to fish or birds.
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Old 07-27-2019, 09:18 AM
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If you fill a waterdish in a birdcage with tap water, there is often a minuscule amount of bleach in it. Fish are sensitive to it, and some birds are more sensitive than others, so some concern is prudent. Doing a complete rinse-out only has the downside of having to clean more often, so if you are concerned that is entirely reasonable.

My sense is that the birds around here - cardinals, robins, meadowlarks, wrens, are pretty hardy. Tiny finches would be less so, while turkey vultures could probably drink battery acid without more than a burp.
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Old 07-29-2019, 07:40 AM
Location: Bel Air, California
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look into a UV filter
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