How To Keep
Your Birdbaths And Fountains Clean
A couple of years ago we bought the aluminum birdbath fountain that runs on a 110 volt pump. We also wanted to add a water supply to the birdbath to fill it several times a day and we found a timer that hooks onto our outside faucet. We bought this birdbath at www.overstock.com and noticed that in just six months the paint was chipping off. The only aluminum is the bowl, and the rest is made of cheap metal and steel that is rusting.
We first used a timer made by Intermatic which was the electromechanical timer HB35R that is a rotary dial with two on/off settings. We replaced it several times because the timer was not turning on or off at the specified time. Since this was, a rotary design we decided to get their digital timer HB800RCL and this is much better. It can be set many different ways, but we used the dusk and dawn settings, and it will go on at sunrise and go off at sunset, this timer has never quit and it is much better that the rotary design. We bought the timer at Lowes for about $20.00.
We ran a 1/2 inch PVC water line and tapped into it with the 1/4 inch tubing that is used for a drip system. We have three 4 GPH emitters that fills the bowl four times a day. We used the 3/4 inch hose end battery operated water timer by DIG, model number 9001D, it has settings that can add water up to four times a day for a minute to 12 hours. We have set ours to run for 2 minutes to add water to the bowl and this keeps it full. In the summer, I sometimes have to manually press the button to add water in between the cycles. We bought the water timer at www.dripirrigation.com for about $35.00.
Last year we decided to add another birdbath and chose the grey resin solar birdbath by Portsmouth from www.hayneedle.com and got free shipping. We added another 1/4 inch drip line to this birdbath with two 4 GPH emitters, and it is also off of the DIG timer and works great. With the solar panel that comes with this birdbath, we found that because it gets in the shade in the afternoon from a small pygmy date palm the pump quits by 3 PM. We decided to buy an external solar panel with a pump so that the solar panel could be out in the afternoon sun and run the pump for a longer time. We bought the pump at www.amazon.com from a company called Instapark for about $30.00, but now I see that they are asking $55.00 for the same pump and solar panel, so I would shop around for a better price.
After using the external solar panel and pump for a year, we have now decided to get a 110 volt pump to replace it. After researching on the web several pumps and calling the manufacture to see which one they would recommend, we bought the Sunterra Fountain Pump 75 GPH instead of their 30 GPH pump. We found the pump at Amazon and www.doitbest.com which my local hardware store is, and they matched their online price of $13.00. I had to make a new riser and then attached my nozzle and even with the pump at its lowest setting the spray goes over two feet in the air. We really only needed the 30 GPH with a lift of 12 inches instead of the one that we have, but for $13.00 I will make some adjustments to the nozzle to decrease the height. This is a small powerful pump, better than the one that is used on the metal fountain.
Our opinion is that the aluminum and steel birdbath were cheaply made in China and with the paint coming off it makes it hard to clean. The resin is much better and if we replace the other fountain, it will be with a resin material. Since we live in Arizona the summers are very hot, and the green algae in the birdbaths gets really bad, and I have to clean and scrub them out every three days during the summer. I bought a product called "Birdbath Protector," from Carefree, this is an enzyme that is supposed to keep the water clean and prevents stains and mineral deposits. We have used it for a year and a half and have found that it does nothing for the green algae or mineral deposits.
Since we now have two birdbaths to clean, we have tried copper pennies, white vinegar, and a small amount of Clorox in the water and nothing helps with the algae or the bird droppings. I started to check on the internet for a safe product that would work in my small birdbaths that only holds a little over two gallons of water. There are many products on the market that are for large ponds, fish ponds, and large fountains. After researching a product that I thought would be safe for all of the wild birds that we have come to our two birdbaths to bathe and drink the water, I found a product called "Green Clean Granular Algaecide," made by BioSafe Systems. You can go to their website at www.biosafesystems.com to read about this product. I called the company to ask if this product would be safe for our small birdbaths, and they said, "Yes," once the granular’s hit the water it becomes safe and it fights algae and releases oxygen into the water and it actually makes the bird droppings biodegrade making the water clear and clean.
Our Recommendation Is:
After searching the web for the best price, I found a web site that I recommend because of their customer service and price for the product and shipping. I called "Aquatic Ponds," at 215-525-1440 and spoke with a woman who was very helpful. I told her what I wanted to do with the product, and she said that she would call the manufacturer to verify that this product would be safe for the birds. She called me back and verified that it is a safe product and so I ordered the two-pound container for $18.00 and $11.00 for shipping.
I told her that when I get the product, I will call her back to tell her how it is doing in my two birdbaths for the green algae. I received the product in a week and cleaned both birdbaths with a scrub brush, and then I calculated that I only needed to add 1/4 of a teaspoon to each birdbath. After I added the product, I mixed the water by stirring with a wooden dow and then turned back on the water pumps for both birdbaths.
I am happy to report that after five days, I do not have any green algae and all of the bird droppings that were clogging my pumps are almost gone. I was told that I may need to add each week a 1/4 of a teaspoon or less to maintain the clean water and so for now, I will do that. So instead of emptying out all of the water and scrubbing each bath every three days, I will do it only once a week, and since I am adding fresh water to each bath four times a day, it helps refresh the water.
I would recommend this product, it is excellent and go to www.aquaticponds.com to order your "Green Clean."
Since I am giving you my opinion about this product, I will not be liable for how you use it. But, if you follow the directions on the package, you will get rid of the green algae and have a nice clean birdbath for your birds.
Over the years, we have bought new fountains selecting a resin fountain over the steel fountains.
To our surprise, on August 23, 2009 at 7:00 PM in Arizona we were looking out our front window and saw this “Great Horned Owl.” Nancy rushed to get our camera and took several pictures of him sitting on our fountain, he just kept staring at her and did not move.
The Great Horned Owl, is also known as the tiger owl or the hoot owl, a large owl weighting over three pounds, and is 18 to 25 inches tall, and is found in North America.
We can hear them “hooting” all night long, and when our dog wants to go outside at night for a potty stop, one of us is always with her. Our motion lights come on to light up the backyard, because a white dog that is only 5 to 6 pounds looks like a rabbit to an owl.
If you look at these photos, you will see how we used 1/4 inch drip tubing with our system to fill the birdbaths. Also, notice how clean the water is even though it is frozen. On February 3, 2011 we had a very hard freeze in Yuma, Arizona, the temperatures got down to 30 degrees the night before and many people had pipes that broke and flooded their homes.
We knew this was coming, and so we left our outside faucet run with a slight drip and kept the heat in the house set at a warmer temperature knowing about this forecast. We seldom get freezing temperatures here, but you never know.
Since we enjoyed our birdbaths, and liked to watch the birds come to get water, our neighbor had been putting out bird seed for the birds which was great, but then the pigeons started to come and so with the mess of the pigeons we decided to remove the two birdbaths. Oh well, it was fun to see them for a while but when you have pigeons all over the roof and making a mess in the backyard it was time to remove the birdbaths.
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