Rust? Red Algae in Bird Bath?

Spokane, WA(Zone 5b)

So today I scrubbed and I scrubbed and I scrubbed to get either red algae or rust off the inside of the bowl of my bird bath........ I used comet, then Bar Tenders Friend,and there is still a little left. It is made of concrete, so not sure what else I could try????? The birds have scoffed at it this year, lol. I got most of it off, but there is still a little red there....... Any suggestions anyone?

Northern, NJ(Zone 6b)

10% Bleach solution. Leave it sit in the bird bath for at least an 1/2 hr covered so birds can't get at it. One of the garbage can lids fits perfectly for my bird bath, then rinse and scrub out any remaining algae with a stiff brush.
I have old concrete bird baths that needed the bleach solution weekly.
I probably would do better to seal the concrete but I couldn't find a non toxic sealer so I finally removed the
concrete bowl of the one that is on a flat base and replaced it with a glazed bowl, easier to clean, just make sure it's a lead free glaze.

I did hear that leaving a sprig or 2 of lavender in the bird bath was helpful and I did try that for awhile but it
didn't prevent the algae from forming, only seemed to delay it. You have to change the lavender every few days because it blackens and becomes slimy in the water,

Spokane, WA(Zone 5b)

thank you! Will give this a try! There is lavender planted right next to the bird bath, so that will be easy to upkeep! Thank you so much!

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

I use straight bleach in my birdbaths and let it soak for about an hour. Birds have never gone near it when it was in there, guess they don't like the smell. Then with a plastic brush scrub it a little and rinse, rinse, rinse and refill.
I tried that lavendar trick but it wasn't strong enough as I have iron water and it reall turns it red.
Good luck, Bonnie
PS A couple of copper penny does keep algae away for a few days.

Lee's Summit, MO(Zone 6a)

A power washer will make it as good as new in a flash!

Dover AFB, DE(Zone 7a)

Barley straw is used to keep algae down in ponds.....maybe a few leaves in the water will keep it clean.

Spokane, WA(Zone 5b)

Thanks! It seems to be clean (for now) because the next door neighbor's cat likes to drink from it now.........

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 9a)

Don't mean to interject here, but the only thing you should use in a birdbath is a little pool chlorine or VERY little chlorine bleach. In small doses, chlorine will dissipate within 24 hours, & not harm the animals!
Sorry to tell you, but there isn't much that you can do to keep the algae out of a birdbath on a permanent basis---concrete or ceramic! The red, that you are seeing, is because you have a lot of iron in your water, as you already seemed to have found out.

Not to knock what everyone else has told you, but, any plant material, placed into a pool of water, ends up making tanic acid, which is more harmful to the animals than the algae. The algae it'self is not harmful, as long as you keep the water in the bowl clean.

Northern, NJ(Zone 6b)

Hey Camillia, I didn't see your post until now.
In the very old cement bird bath bowls I had black algae took root in the crevices, only a mild bleach solution removed it weekly. I was told this(black algae) was toxic. Do you have experience with this? The plastic bowl with the embedded heater and the ceramic bowl do not form the black algae. I just scrub them with a brush when I change the water daily.
Thanks for the info on the tanic acid.

This message was edited Jan 14, 2013 1:22 PM

Spokane, WA(Zone 5b)

I found another product, called "Bartenders Friend or Barkeepers Friend?" - it is WOW - and it is made out of rhubarb! I am thinking about just putting a little piece of rhubarb in it in the Spring and see what happens.......

This message was edited Jan 12, 2013 9:53 PM

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

I clean my glass top stove with Barkeepers Friend. It's great for that job. Thats a product thats been around for years. I still put straight bleach in my birdbath for a few minutes then scrub with brush every week right after and rinse rinse it out good. Never had a bird die yet from it.
I have a faithful pair of cardinals and doves that drink and bath in there. Love to watch them takeing a bath. Usually around 4 o'clock ea. day. Guess they have a clock in their little heads.
Have had major problem with a mouse getting into my bird feeders. Righ inside. Put out D-con inside windowsill where he also comes. Hope it gets rid of him.
Have a good week.
Bonnie

PS. Camillia, everytime I look at my squirrell statue I think of you. I so appreciate it.

Spokane, WA(Zone 5b)

Barkeepers Friend is good for many many things! I suggested it to my boyfriend, who kept buying expensive stuff from the car store, to clean his chrome wheels, that did not even work....... he was so amazed how fast and easy it worked, he couldn't stop talking about it for days. So funny. A girl knew how ........ hehehehehe.......

Spokane, WA(Zone 5b)

and I think as long as you thoroughly rinse out the bleach, after cleaning the bath, it should be fine. I'm not in to hurting animals either. But I AM going to try the chunk of Rhubarb in there this summer to see if it helps prevent that from happening.......

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 9a)

Am very familiar with "Barkeeper's Friend"----not something I would use in a birdbath, as it leaves a residue. May be plant based but has other chemicals that you don't want.

Stick to chlorine---you can't go wrong with it, & don't have to worry about poisoning the birds or squirrels. You can use a 100% solution in the bath, if it is really bad, rinse well, & fill it back. As before----chlorine will dissipate within a 24 hour period.

Spokane, WA(Zone 5b)

I think I AM going to go with chlorine. Now, do you mean bleach? Bleach is made out of chlorine....... soo 100% bleach?

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