Prevent Algae: Is Hydrogen Peroxide Safe for Bird Fountains?

Outdoor fountains, especially those specially made for birds, add beauty and tranquility to the general garden landscape. The cascading water, swimming birds and general appearance is pleasing to the eye and soothing to the ear. However, when water becomes green and full of slime and algae, the water not only no longer becomes beautiful but also becomes a source of odors, harbors mosquitos, and generally a potential health hazard.

To maintain your outdoor bird fountain sparkling and clean, you should treat it regularly with regular cleaning and refilling with fresh water. That said, most people find it challenging to find the best cleaning solution for their bird fountains. The wide array of cleaning substances not only makes it difficult to find the best but also makes it hard to choose.

Most bird fountain owners share the same question, is hydrogen peroxide safe for bird fountains? Well, sodium bicarbonate, which is a dry form of hydrogen peroxide, is widely used in cleaning and agriculture. It kills slimey algae and prevents its overabundant growth in bird fountains. The product is always available in 27 percent dilution strength powder, which should be handled and used with care. Rubber or latex gloves, for instance, should be worn when applying to the drained bird fountain for cleaning purposes.

Why Cleaning Bird Fountain is Necessary

Without a doubt, dirty water easily spreads diseases to flocks of birds trying to enjoy your fountain. It also harbors mosquito populations, which in turn infect humans and other animals at home. On the other hand, maintaining clean water is not only healthy but also attractive to birds. It brings a wider variety of birds into your backyard.

That said, you should always ensure that your bird fountain does not get dirty. While you will eventually have to undertake a cleaning process, you can minimize dirt and reduce the frequency of cleaning.

The frequency of cleaning your bird fountain depends on several factors. Among them, include weather, quality of water on the fountain, location, and the number of birds using it. Nevertheless, it is prudent to clean your bird fountain several times or regularly within months. In between the cleanings, you should maintain the fountain water fresh by adding one or two cups of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. This minimizes bacteria and algae growth without harming the fountain and birds who might want to enjoy fountain water.

Steps to Cleaning Your Bird Fountain with Hydrogen Peroxide

Cleaning your bird fountain might be easy or difficult, depending on your level of preparedness. Before cleaning, ensure that you have sufficient water, rubber gloves, enough hydrogen peroxide, hose, and something to scrub with, say scrub brush. With all these assembled, follow the following steps;

1.    Drain Existing Water

Just like when cleaning a pond, the first step in cleaning a bird fountain is getting rid of the already contaminated water. Dump out any pre-existing stagnant water, which is possibly contaminated. Ensure that the water does not paddle where birds can access before evaporating as well. Such water is always full of organic materials, such as algae, dirt, and feces, which might be safe for your backyard flowers and plants. You can dump out completely or recycle it to help brighten the rest of your garden.

2.    Remove any Debris

As expected, any fountain will have debris and lose material at the bottom. Use a disposable rag or a scrub brush to remove significant deposits of feces, debris, spilled seeds, and any other contaminants in the bird fountain. Combining these efforts with a pressure garden hose can be effective.

3.    Scrub with Hydrogen Peroxide and Bleach Solution

Most homeowners are familiar with cleaning their bird fountains by scrubbing, either with soap or bleach solution. Well, hydrogen peroxide can come in handy in several ways. As mentioned, using it in your fountain minimizes the growth of bacteria and algae. It also helps in cleaning the fountain surface, making it easy to remove the already grown algae.

For those using bleach solutions, an effective bleach formula should be made from one part of bleach chlorine and nine parts of water. You should always be cautious if your bird fountain is close to flowers and other plants, as it can cause damages. Use the solution to scrub any place where birds land, drink, or bath as well.

4.    Rinse the Fountain

Once you are done with scrubbing the bird fountain, you should rinse the fountain completely using pressure washer until there is no foam left. Unlike hydrogen peroxide, chlorine smell is bound to stay. However, with good cleaning, it won’t hurt or repel birds from enjoying the dives. You should then allow the bird fountain to dry completely before refilling it with water. Refill with clean water to increase the probability of birds coming back to drink, bathe, and enjoy the fountain.

Preventing Algae Growth in Bird Fountain

Probably the best way to prevent algae accumulation in your fountain is by reducing its growth. Below are some easy tips to reduce algae growth in bird fountain.

  • Remove algae when you see it – algae will grow unchecked if it is not removed promptly. You should spot-treat algae immediately you notice it to prevent infestation. If you notice growing algae at the bottom of your bird fountain, take proactive steps to empty the water, remove it, and add fresh water.
  • Use biodegradable balls – if you have a large bird fountain or even ponds, you should consider using biodegradable balls to prevent the growth of algae. The balls are designed to keep algae out of accumulated water. You should simply place the ball in the fountain, which should keep algae in check for the next 30 days.
  • Dispense enzymes – enzymes are the best options for small bird fountains. If you notice growing algae in your pool, purchasing a disposable container of enzymes online will also keep your bath algae-free for the next one month.
  • Perform light maintenance –to remove light algae growth in your bird fountain does not require that you dismantle the fountain completely. In most situations, you can simply wipe the algae from the inside basin, allowing water and lose algae debris to run through the fountain filter. For this, use a cleaning cloth or sponge with a mild abrasive effect to wipe algae away. If water appears dirty after knocking the algae loose, you can consider replacing the water with fresh water.
  • Clean the fountain thoroughly – you might have to undertake deep cleaning if your algae problem is extensive. In such a case, remove the fountain’s filter, empty the water, and clean the entire fountain thoroughly.
  • Leverage environmental prevention methods – as you may know, algae are photosynthetic, and it thrives on sunlight, even if it doesn’t have leave and roots like other plants in the garden. Without sun exposure, algae cannot grow. Therefore, the easiest way to prevent algae growth in your fountain is by placing it under the shade. If you don’t have a shade or tree in your backyard, place it near structures that block sunlight.
  • Use commercial algaecides – another effective way of preventing algae growth is by adding additives to your bird fountain to minimize algae growth. There is a wide array of algae-prevention products, better known as algaecides, including hydrogen peroxide that can be used for fountains, ponds, and pools. When using them, remember that harsh chemicals are harmful to humans and wildlife.

How to Attract More Birds to Your Fountain

Apart from maintenance and cleaning your bird fountain with hydrogen peroxide, consider the following tips to attract more birds into your bird fountain.

  • Provide cover – when bathing or drinking, birds need some cover or protection from danger. As such, you should keep your fountain in cover.
  • Install it in a shady place – among the reasons why birds enjoy bathing and drinking from fountains is because they want to cool off. This is especially true in summer. As such, place your fountain in a shady place to minimize evaporation while keeping water cool.
  • Keep it open – you shouldn’t sacrifice your bird fountains’ accessibility over anything. Being a bird fountain, your first goal should be to enable birds to drink water without immersing their bodies or being wet.
  • Have good footing – depositing pea gravel and large stones at the bottom of your fountain provide a good footing to birds when bathing.
  • Location – you should carefully consider the location of your bird fountain. Placing it in an area easily reached by a garden hose, for instance, makes it simple to clean.

The Bottom Line

Before cleaning bird fountains, most people have several questions regarding the nature of products to use and cleaning methodologies. Probably a common question among many remains “is hydrogen peroxide safe for birds’ fountains?” As mentioned, hydrogen peroxide is safe. However, it should be used in standard amounts to avoid being harmful to birds and humans alike.

Regular fountain cleaning and adding hydrogen peroxide to fountain water should maintain the algae levels in your bird fountain to a minimum. If you are dealing with a serious infestation, a thorough fountain cleaning is inevitable.

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