Preventing algae helps to maintain the beauty of your fountain.

How to Prevent Algae in Garden Fountains

by Kimberly Caines

The sight and sound of a trickling water fountain can have a soothing effect and liven up your garden. This can end when algae builds up in your fountain. This living organism can stick to the fountain, clog its pump and make the water appear green and dirty. Similar to weeds in the garden, algae can be removed, but keeps coming back. The only way to prevent it is by regularly cleaning your fountain so buildup never occurs and your fountain stays looking clean and fresh.

Unplug the fountain's pump and remove any visible debris, such as twigs and leaves, from the water.

Removing the drain plug or scoop the water out with a cup to drain the fountain. If you have a large fountain, use a wet-dry vacuum or a submersible water pump to quickly drain it.

Disassemble the fountain by removing the pump and its filter so you can clean these separately. Remove any decorative rocks and other ornamental parts.

Scrub the fountain with a nylon brush using a mixture of equal amounts of white vinegar and water. Use a toothbrush to get into small, hard-to-reach cracks and crevices. You can also use soapy water to clean the fountain. Rinse the fountain thoroughly with a garden hose, especially if you use dish soap. Wash decorative rocks and other ornamental parts in the same way.

Wipe down the pump's exterior with a damp cloth. Spray and rinse the filter with a garden hose, and use the vinegar-water mixture to clean any mineral deposits and algae off the pump. Thoroughly rinse the pump.

Scrape algae or mineral deposits out of the pump's intake valve with a bottle brush or wooden craft stick. Clean and unclog any tubes or spouts with a pipe cleaner.

Reassemble the fountain and fill it with water. If you don't want to clean your fountain every week, use a monthly water treatment that's geared toward preventing the growth of algae. Place the fountain in a shady area, because sun encourages algae growth.

Items you will need

  • Wet-dry vacuum or submersible water pump
  • Nylon brush
  • Vinegar
  • Toothbrush
  • Dish soap
  • Garden hose
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Bottle brush or wooden craft stick
  • Pipe cleaner
  • Commercial algae treatment


  • Before cleaning and disassembling, read the manufacturer's instructions that came with the fountain. Cleaning methods differ depending on the fountain.

About the Author

Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images