How To Keep Fountain Water Clean For Birds-[Simple Guide]

How To Keep Fountain Water Clean For Birds

When birds cannot access fresh rainwater, they will turn to other sources. If you happen to have an outdoor fountain on your property, birds are likely drinking the water. Fountains can improve the aesthetics of any lawn. But, they will become dirty over time.

Regular maintenance and cleaning is a necessity to keep fountains and the water stored in them clean. Below, you will discover several ways to keep the water in your found clean for birds.

How To Keep Fountain Water Clean For Birds

1. Routine Cleaning

Cleaning is key to keeping your fountain water clean. It is recommended to clean an outdoor fountain at least three times a year. This will ensure the water is clean and no algae and fungi build up inside the fountain.

Before you start cleaning your fountain, it is crucial to take the time to read the instruction manual. Each brand will specify how its fountains need to be cleaned. Follow these instructions to clean your fountain. It is important to not utilize cleaning solutions with dangerous chemicals, as these could be harmful to birds and other wildlife.

2. Frequently Replace Water

Another effective way to keep your fountain water clean is to replace it routinely. While this is not a process that most people would want to undertake frequently, it is a necessity in this case. Follow the steps below to replace the water in your fountain.

  • Step 1 – Disconnect the pump
  • Step 2 – Remove the pump if possible
  • Step 3 – Dip the water out of the fountain with a large bucket
  • Step 4 – Remove the excess water with a wet/dry vacuum or sponge
  • Step 5 – Wipe the interior with a clean cloth to remove any debris
  • Step 6 – Replace the pump and accessories
  • Step 7 – Fill with fresh tap water
  • Step 8 – Plug the pump back in

This is a timely process but once you get a routine down, it will not feel so burdensome. This would also be a good time to clean the fountain, so you won’t have to do it later.

3. Organic Algae Control

As mentioned above, algae is a problem with outdoor fountains. To eliminate and prevent algae growth, you should consider utilizing an organic algae control. These products age available in liquid form and do not contain any harmful chemicals.

For a 500-gallon fountain, you will need to add 1-1/3 ounces of algae control liquid. If algae are present in your fountain, you should repeat the process two more times, leaving three days between each treatment. Do not exceed the maximum of three doses. Once the full treatment is completed, you will need to clean your fountain thoroughly.

If you are looking for algae cleaner, I recommend this one from Amazon, Fountain Algaecide and ClarifierOpens in a new tab.. Just follow the instructions that come with it and your algae problem won’t be no more.

4. Install A Filtration System

Another way to keep your fountain water clean and safe for birds is with a filtration system. These systems are designed to filter impurities out of the water so it is safer for birds and other wildlife to drink. Regardless of the size of your fountain, there is a filtration system that will fit it perfectly.

Filtration systems work by filtering the water as it passes through. During the filtration process, the system is removing protozoa, bacteria and algae cells. Installing a filtration system in your fountain will decrease the need for routine cleaning.

Now, this does not necessarily mean that you will no longer need to manually clean the fountain. It only means that the number of times you clean it can potentially be reduced by half. So, if you normally clean your fountain four times a year, you may be able to decrease it down to two times a year.

5. Floating Waterlilies

How To Keep Fountain Water Clean For Birds

To prevent mosquitoes and other insects from laying eggs in your fountain water, you should consider utilizing waterliliesOpens in a new tab. or some other type of floating plant. These plants float on top of the water, so they will not pose problems for the pump or filtration system.

The benefit of utilizing waterlilies is to shield the water from the eggs of mosquitoes and other insects.

6. Guppies Or Killifish

Mosquitoes are known for carrying diseases that can be harmful to humans and pets. Unfortunately, outdoor fountains can draw mosquitoes. Utilizing fish that eat these insects is a great way to keep their population to a minimum. Guppies and killifish to help keep the mosquito population low around your fountain.

7. Skimming The Fountain

You will find that cleaning your backyard bird fountain is a little easier the cleaner it is. Of course, if it stayed clean all the time this would be something that you wouldn’t even have to worry about, but unfortunately, this isn’t the case.

The best way to make the entire cleaning process easier is by skimming the fountain every so often.

This will be something that you will want to do in abundance during the spring and fall month due to falling leaves. A fountain skimmer is basically just like a pool skimmer.

It is nothing more than a net attached to a long handle, which will allow you to scoop up leaves and other debris without emptying the entire contents of the fountain.

What Not To Do

When you speak with others, there is a good chance you’re going to hear many fallacies. For instance, a lot of people believe that you should put antifreeze or glycerin in the water fountain during the winter. This is never a good idea.

In fact, it could end up killing the birds. Instead, you should provide the birds with water with no additives. Using tap water is generally okay. However, some people have dangerous toxins and bacteria in their tap water.

If you fit into this category, you’ll want to treat the water in advance. You can find chemicals that cleanse the water. You just need to add a few drops to the water and you’ll be good to go.


Ultimately, keeping your fountain’s water clean is an ongoing task. Nevertheless, it will pay off in the long run. After all, your goal is to get birds to use your water fountain. To do that, you need to provide them with cool, fresh water.

If the water becomes stagnant or it is contaminated in some way, you need to get rid of the water, clean the fountain, and replace the water. As long as you keep the water in your fountain fresh and cool, birds will come for it throughout the day.

Brian Koller

Growing up on a farm in eastern PA, I’ve grown fond of wildlife and the woods and learning about the critters and firewood and everything else in-between. I made this site to share my experiences and knowledge.

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