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Keep Fountain Water Clean: 9 Simple Maintenance Tips for Algae-Free Purity (2023)

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how to keep fountain water cleanYou’re sick of cloudy, algae-filled fountain water ruining your yard’s aesthetic, right? I feel you. But don’t worry – with some simple maintenance tips, you’ll be able to keep your fountain water clean and clear all year round.

First things first – combat existing algae by using white vinegar as an all-natural cleaner. After that, focus on prevention by installing a higher quality pump, changing the water monthly, and learning proper filter care.

Chlorine can also help during the summer, and a cover is great for when your fountain’s not in use.

Keep it running, clean regularly, and use additives too. Following these 9 tips will empower you to easily achieve pristine fountain water purity.

Key Takeaways

  • Use chlorine in the summer to kill bacteria and algae; monitor levels.
  • Run the fountain daily to prevent stagnation and algae growth.
  • Replace tap water with filtered or distilled water to inhibit algae growth.
  • Make weekly water changes for fountains with fish to remove waste.

Use White Vinegar to Remove Algae

Use White Vinegar to Remove Algae
You can spray white vinegar on algae buildup to kill it without harming plants. The acetic acid in vinegar disrupts algae’s cell walls and destroys the algae.

Monitor pH levels after using vinegar, as it can make water more acidic. White distilled vinegar is milder and better for fountains than cider or red wine vinegars.

Spray undiluted vinegar directly on algae growths on fountain tile, rocks, or decor.

To help prevent future algae, control temperature, add plants, increase oxygenation, and optimize lighting.

Vinegar removes algae safely without chemicals so you can keep fountain water clean and clear.

Install a Higher Quality Pump

Install a Higher Quality Pump
After that, ensure your fountain has a top-quality pump to maximize water flow.

  • Invest in a durable pump designed for fountains with adequate water pressure. Variable speed options allow for adjusting flow for energy savings.
  • Energy-efficient pumps run quieter and require less maintenance than cheap pumps.
  • Select a pump sized appropriately for your fountain – too small reduces flow, too big strains the motor.
  • Clean pump intakes routinely by removing debris. Clogged intakes burn out pumps quicker.

Change Fountain Water Once Per Month

Change Fountain Water Once Per Month
Swapping the water monthly prevents gunk buildup and keeps the fountain refreshed. For example, the White House fountain undergoes a full water change each month to inhibit algae and bacterial growth. To keep your fountain water clean, drain and rinse it thoroughly before refilling each month.

Use distilled or drinking water, not tap, to refill. Tap water contains minerals that leave deposits and support algae.

Monthly water changes remove built-up contaminants and prevent stagnation. Consider saving rainwater to use. Check the fountain flow rate and adjust for optimal circulation. Running water deters mosquito breeding.

Deep clean the fountain itself annually but change its water monthly.

Learn to Clean and Replace Pump Filters

Learn to Clean and Replace Pump Filters
Check filters regularly and clean ’em up as needed for optimal pump performance. Clogged filters spread bacteria and cut water flow, so inspect ’em weekly.

Give ’em a rinse or use vinegar to dissolve gunk. For basic pump filters, take off the cap and scrub away debris caught in the foam.

Cartridge filters need a soak and rinse. Follow manufacturer instructions to open the housing and slide out the cartridge.

Getting on filters before they’re totally fouled keeps your fountain flowing clean and clear.

Use a Little Bit of Chlorine in the Summer

Use a Little Bit of Chlorine in the Summer
You’ll want to add a pinch of chlorine occasionally when it’s hot out, but keep your plants separate or they’ll perish.

Use liquid pool chlorine or chlorine tablets in the recommended dosage for your fountain size.

Circulate the chlorinated water for at least an hour before running the fountain.

Test chlorine levels with test strips to maintain 1-3 ppm.

A little chlorine can work wonders for your fountain in summer by killing bacteria and algae. But take care – too much can damage the pump or kill your plants. Use the minimum effective dose, run tests, and give those lilies their own little oasis off to the side when you chlorinate.

Use a Fountain Cover

Use a Fountain Cover
Set a fountain cover over it every night. A fountain cover can help prevent debris, dirt, and algae from building up when the fountain is not in use. Covers are available in different shapes, sizes, and materials to fit your fountain.

Consider an elevated cover to allow airflow and discourage mold growth underneath. Opt for a tight-fitting, durable vinyl or polyester cover that won’t blow away in the wind. Set the cover in place at night or when not running the fountain for more than a day.

For large or elaborate fountains, a custom canvas cover may be needed. Anchoring straps or elastic edges keep the cover secure. Check fittings periodically as covers can shift over time. A quality fountain cover protects your investment, reduces cleaning frequency, and keeps your fountain looking pristine.

Keep Your Fountain Running

Keep Your Fountain Running
Running your fountain daily decreases stagnation and growth of algae, so it’s wise to let it flow.

  • Regularly check the pump for any clogs or debris that may affect its performance.
  • Clean the pump filters regularly to prevent bacteria buildup.
  • Use a high-quality algaecide to prevent algae growth in the water.
  • Consider implementing a regular maintenance schedule for deep cleaning and inspection.

By taking these steps, you can ensure that your fountain remains clean and free from algae. Keeping up with proper maintenance techniques will not only improve the overall appearance of your fountain but also extend its lifespan.

So go ahead, embrace the power of maintaining a pristine fountain!

Clean Your Fountain Regularly

Clean Your Fountain Regularly
Scrub away gunk regularly for crystal clear water. To keep your fountain pristine, give it a deep clean at least monthly.

Drain it completely and scrub away debris, muck, and algae with a stiff brush. Flush out particles with a pressure washer. Clean the pump by removing the cover and brushing out trapped gunk obstructing water flow.

Trim back water lilies and oxygenating plants before draining to access all surfaces. Make sure everything is rinsed thoroughly before refilling. Run the pump and check circulation and aeration.

A little upkeep goes a long way – a clean fountain not only looks great but keeps water fresh and healthy with regular scrubdowns.

Use Water Additives

Use Water Additives
Add a water purifier to prevent bacteria from growing. Use a chlorine-free option that softens the water, reduces scale, and filters debris. Consider an enzyme-based cleaner that digests organic waste without bleach. Or try an oxygen-releasing product to prevent algae growth.

Avoid harsh chemicals that damage the pump or pond plants. For color, add a blue dye tablet once a month. This shades the water to deter algae. Test kits let you monitor chemical levels. Replace water monthly, scrub away gunk, and swap dirty pre-filters. With the right additives, you’ll prevent most buildup.

Stay on top of cleaning, and your fountain will have healthy, crystal clear water all season long.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How often should I change the water if I have fish in my fountain?

You should change the water weekly to keep it clean for fish. More frequent water changes remove waste and prevent toxic ammonia buildup. Use dechlorinator when refilling to make tap water safe. Partial water changes are better than full drains to maintain good bacteria levels.

What kind of soap or cleanser can I use that won’t harm the fish?

When cleaning your fountain, use a mild liquid dish soap without degreasers. Dish soap removes oils and dirt without harming fish or plants. Dilute a small amount in a bucket, scrub, and rinse thoroughly. Avoid harsh chemicals that could be toxic.

Is it okay to use tap water in my fountain?

Use filtered or distilled water instead of tap water for your fountain. Tap water contains minerals and chemicals that can leave scale on the fountain surfaces, clog pipes, or cause algae growth. Filtered or distilled water keeps your fountain operating properly and the water sparkling clean.

How can I keep my fountain from freezing in the winter?

To prevent freezing, disconnect and store the pump indoors. Drain the fountain completely and cover it to protect from snow and ice. Use a submersible pond deicer for fountains that cannot be drained. This will keep a small opening thawed and prevent cracking.

You’ll want to drain and store the pump indoors before winter arrives. For fountains that cannot be drained, use a deicer to maintain an opening in the ice to prevent cracking and damage. Fully draining and covering the fountain prevents issues with snow and ice buildup.

What is the best way to clean calcium or mineral deposits from the fountain surface?

Use a vinegar and water solution to dissolve calcium deposits. Gently scrub with a soft brush, then rinse. For tough stains, try a non-acidic calcium remover. Let it sit before scrubbing. Avoid using abrasives that could scratch the surface. Rinse thoroughly after cleaning.


Like a flowing stream, the fountain’s purity depends on vigilance. As seasons change, so must your care. Vinegar washes impurities, pumps circulate the flow, covers shield from debris. Changing waters prevent stagnation, cleaning removes buildup.

With patience and persistence, the fountain remains clear, gracing your space with the sound of falling water, as refreshing and clean as it first began.

Stay attentive and you’ll know how to keep fountain water clean.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.