Can I Put Bleach in My Water Fountain?

If algae growth is ruining your fountain, the urge to pour some bleach may tempt you – however this could actually harm the pump and speed up its wear-and-tear cycle.

Excess chlorine can leave the water tasting unpleasant and may harm animals that drink from it, especially outdoor fountains.

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Algae is a simple organism that flourishes in warm, slow-moving water environments such as fountains. It often blooms fastest during the summer when conditions are most suitable. Preventative maintenance with regular applications of an algaecide product available from garden centers or online vendors should help your fountain remain free from unsightly growths of this sort. Simply follow product instructions regarding application frequency to avoid chemical imbalances in your fountain’s water; although algaecides should generally be safe for children and pets when applied according to instructions!

An algaecide works to both eliminate current blooms in your fountain and stop further ones by depriving it of nutrients that it needs for survival. Unlike chlorine bleach, which can damage materials in your fountain and harm plants and animals that drink its water, an algaecide contains only harmless ingredients – for instance a mixture of white vinegar and water can also kill algae while disinfecting it! Alternatively, commercial fountain cleaners are available; just be wary that some may damage materials used within.

Graham notes that switching out 15 percent of your fountain’s water each month helps eliminate existing algae blooms and buildup within its pump system. By doing this, he adds, you are also helping keep it clean while minimizing buildup in your fountain pump system. Simply take note that doing this may require replacing 15 percent more frequently in future months when refilling with fresh water from your storeroom!

If your fountain has an algae issue that persists, try introducing some bacteria that specialize in eating algae to the water. These organisms will consume ammonia, nitrates and phosphates which feed it as well as making surfaces hard for it to adhere, according to Old House Web.

To prevent algae blooms in fountains, the easiest solution is to keep it clean and scrubbed regularly. Be sure to change out your fountain water regularly, allowing the old water to drain completely before replacing with fresh. In addition, add rooted plants into your water feature, as these will absorb excess nutrients that feed algae according to PennState Extension.

White Scale

White scale, or calcium build-up, can make your fountain appear dirty and dim its light source. Like algae, it can be killed with household bleach if necessary – although first emptying out and scrubbing with scouring pad or brush to remove scale will likely do the job more quickly than using bleach alone can do so it may also be toxic for fish; so for optimal results use non-chlorine cleaner such as CLR or general kitchen/bathroom cleaner instead.

Outdoor fountains can be treated with Fountec, which not only kills algae but also deodorizes and freshens the water. Safe for all pets (dogs and cats included) it should not be used if live plants exist within your fountain as these could not survive treatment.

Large concrete outdoor fountains may require a more concentrated bleach solution to safely and efficiently remove stubborn stains and deposits from them. Add 3/4 cup of bleach per gallon of water, let the solution soak for 10-15 minutes, then scrub your fountain using a scrub brush before rinsing thoroughly with a garden hose.

Indoor fountains tend to be less sensitive when it comes to using bleach, though you must still be wary when adding any amount. Too much can irritate skin or be toxic for birds that drink from it. Rubbing alcohol may help kill scale insects if their infestation is light; apply directly using cotton swabs on each bug before pruning out affected plant parts to help eliminate problems.

Add old pennies to the basin of your backyard fountain as an effective solution to stop algae growth in summer when temperatures are higher and water can more easily support its development. Copper in these pennies inhibits its development, providing an effective deterrent against its accumulation. This tip works particularly well.


Discoloration may be caused by several issues, the most prevalent being dirt or algae build-up. To combat this problem, it’s best to regularly clean your fountain using a soft terry cloth towel and soapy water; unplugging the pump when doing this will further decrease any risk of electric shock.

Bleach may seem like the obvious solution to keeping your fountain clean, but it may not always be safest. Bleach can be highly corrosive and cause permanent damage over time to metal parts like the steel pump in your fountain as well as stone and concrete fountains. Furthermore, bleach may disrupt water flow in your fountain causing it to overheat and malfunction altogether.

Vinegar provides an eco-friendly and safer solution to cleaning fountains. It can break down and dissolve hard water stains while simultaneously killing off unwanted bacteria and loosening mineral deposits from fountain surfaces. In addition, vinegar works wonders as an effective deodorizer and can even remove stubborn grease, grime, or mold buildups.

White vinegar can also be an invaluable asset when it comes to cleaning out your fountain’s surface of algae buildup and staining, including grapefruit pink hues caused by Serratia marcescens bacteria – although harmless to cats, this strain should still be removed for your own good!

Alternative fountain sanitation methods involve using a solution of 35% hydrogen peroxide for outdoor fountains. As long as it is properly diluted, this type of solution should be safe to use; however, note that hydrogen peroxide will not prevent odors or be effective against algae growth.

An excessively strong dose of bleach in your fountain could cause it to corrode and overheat, leading to malfunctions and premature wear of its pump. Furthermore, too much bleach could harm fish, amphibians, birds, and other wildlife found within its borders if placed too close together in one pond environment. If using bleach in your fountain for any purpose make sure it’s cleaned daily so as not to allow its supply of water run dry.


Bleach is an extremely potent chemical that should only be used with extreme caution when cleaning your fountain. Overuse can corrode its surfaces and alter their color, as well as harm its pump and cause it to wear out much faster than usual, as well as pollute its waters with chemicals which could harm wildlife that might visit its source, such as birds.

Although chlorine tablets and bleach can be useful in dealing with algae blooms, it should generally only be used as a last resort. Indoor fountains tend not to get as dirty over time compared to their outdoor counterparts but may still become dirty over time. To maintain an indoor fountain’s cleanliness the best method is removing debris such as leaves, twigs, etc from its water regularly, checking its pump on a weekly basis for blockages, and using a net to scoop any animals lingering within.

If your fountain does begin to develop an algae problem, drain the water and apply a 1:1 ratio of bleach and water solution. Allow this mixture to remain for at least an hour before running your pump and rinsing with clean water – this should eliminate the algae while clearing away any stains that have formed on its surface. This treatment should kill off all remaining forms and help eliminate stains on its surface as well.

In order to prevent an algae outbreak in your fountain in the future, consider switching over to using distilled water rather than tap water when filling it up. Distilled water is free from minerals that could damage ceramic glaze or concrete surfaces as well as minimize calcium deposits from forming.

If you must use bleach, it is recommended that you first drain and rinse each piece of your water feature thoroughly afterward in order to eliminate any remaining residue. A net should also be used to collect any animals swimming in the water, while replacing your filter at least every week or more often if it becomes clogged with debris. There are many safe algaecides available at most pond and pool supply stores which make cleaning just as simple without being harmful for either you or any animals that might drink from it.