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Ok, so I have a little birdbath setup, where a fountain pump pumps water out of a 5gallon bucket into a small fountain into a bird bath, where it dribbles back into the bucket.  I've had this now for a couple years, and this year, probly due to how dry its been, its VERY popular with the birds, which is VERY cool (I'm getting a wifi camera for it so I can watch the birds).  But this year I'm also having HUGE issues with algae buildup.  Not just in the bird bath basin, but also in the bucket and in the tubing that runs the water up to the fountain.  Upping the frequency of cleanings isn't helping near enough, and I can't quite manage a daily cleaning.

There are a variety of products on the market that are supposed to help prevent algae buildup in small water features, and most of them state they're safe for birds and wildlife.  Has anyone tried any of them?

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I've seen those products but haven't tried them.

Try a smaller bucket, maybe a 1 gallon milk jug.  The smaller volume will turn over more quickly.  If you can adjust the water flow turn it up so it's moving faster.

If you haven't had problems in the past, has something changed?  Is your set-up getting more sun than previous years?  Any chance you can move it into the shade?  That will also reduce algae growth.

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I'm assuming its the extra bird poo honestly.  The setup itself hasn't changed at all.

I don't really want to reduce the size, we're having to fill it every 2-3 days (we're cleaning the bucket every filling) now as it is, theres so many birds using it!

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Have you tried copper pennies? Pennies made before 1982 are supposed to have qualities(real copper) that help control algae. I haven't tried it myself but I have read about it on various websites. A capful of apple cider vinegar is suppose to help prevent algae too, another one I haven't tried myself.

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The penny idea makes me twitchy.  To much copper can be lethal, and there's no easy way to measure the levels in the water.  Now, yes, the fact that we're having to add more water so frequently means that its unlikely to build up to that level, but without a good and easy way to tell what the levels are I'm wary of doing that.  Vinegar was one of the things that I saw too, though I have doubts that a capful or the like would be ENOUGH.  I used to have fish tanks, and a capful of vinegar in a decent sized tank of water doesn't really make a significant difference in any of the levels that are measurable.  Algae isn't especially delicate.

After reading way to many pages of info on the concept I went back to my fish tank roots and bought a pond algae preventer from a large brand that is known for good quality products.  We'll see how that goes. 

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