fountain, kids, mosquitos and algae (tea tree oil/essential oils)

hsmama(COzn 5)May 4, 2005

My dh just bought me a cool fountain for our shade garden. It is low and my kids love to play in it. I'm concerned about algae and mosquitos growing/breeding in it. My son is two and will drink from it if given a chance. So, I'm looking for something to put in to to keep the algae and mosquitos at bay, that won't make my sweet babes ill. I'm wondering about putting vinegar into my fountain or baking soda, or essential oils or tea tree oil. Has anyone tried these? Do they harm the pump?



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faltered(Hamburg NY Z5/6)

As long as there is moving water, mosquitos won't breed in it. They need stagnant water. So you should be safe in that regard. You can get algicide at any pet store (in the aquarium section). It's safe for the fish, but not sure how other pets or humans would react to it.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2005 at 11:37AM
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nancyBinCC(6b/7a MD)

Tea tree is an essential oil. It is not safe to injest ANY essential oil or to apply them full-strength ( neat) to the skin. This is especially so for children.

PMif you need more info.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2005 at 6:59PM
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You can keep algae under control using 3% hydrogen peroxide. I only need 1-2 pints for my 1100 gallon pond (once every couple of weeks), so a little does the trick and it dissipates in the light so shouldn't harm either kids or pets. Fish are more sensitive than either and it's safe for them.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2005 at 12:04AM
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I had my fountain on my deck, shaded and never saw any algae all summer. I think; like the mosquitoes running water is less likely to get things growing in it.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2005 at 4:53AM
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Annie_M(z5 CO)

For skeeters you can use Mosquito Dunks

Here is a link that might be useful: Mosquito Dunks.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2005 at 5:08PM
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I was going to suggest the same thing, mosquito dunks. You can even use them in your dog's water dish, they are totally harmless to pets and people. But if the water is moving you don't need them, 'squitos need still water to breed in.

As for algae, I wouldn't worry too much about it - it's not harmful to drink water that algae is growing in. (In fact, should you ever be lost in the woods and about to die of thrist, the say you should look for moving water with a bit of algae in it. If algae is growing in it that means it doesn't contain too many nasty pollutants that might harm you!) As long as the water isn't stagnant not too much algae will grow anyway.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2005 at 10:52PM
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The important thing already mentioned about essential oils is that "neat" is bad. (Well, apart from lavender oil). Diluted in your fountain I would have thought it was a nice idea to put essential oils in. It would smell lovely and also have a small anti-nasties effect. A tiny amount of oil would not hurt a 2 year old. surely better than chemicals? I agree on the running water side of things, will put off mozzies, and algae too even though that's not poisonous or anything.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2005 at 10:23PM
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Mosquito dunks aren't chemicals, that's the beauty of them. They're 100% natural, made of beneficial bacteria. Much safer than essential oils.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2005 at 2:03PM
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hsmama(COzn 5)

Wow. That is too cool. Why don't they use those instead of chemicals to spray for the mosquitos?


    Bookmark   May 20, 2005 at 3:29PM
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barley straw can keep algae at bay. So can several types of underwater aquatic plants that oxygenate the water.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2005 at 8:28PM
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I put copper pennies in mine to keep fungus away.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2005 at 5:28AM
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Ann_in_Houston(z9 Houston)

algae isn't dangerous due to the possibility of ingestion, it's because it makes the surfaces slippery. Even if you don't get green water, check the surfaces on a regular basis. Nothing you can do will avoid this problem. You just have to scrub it up when it happens.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2005 at 10:38AM
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lynne_melb(z9b Melb FL)

In reading how to maintain my birdbath, I found a reference at audubon that says "It is important to keep your birdbath clean and filled with fresh water. Emptying and scrubbing the baths every two or three days will prevent bacteria, algae, Salmonella and other disease organisms from fouling the water. Household products such as vinegar are fine to use as a cleaning agent; never use chemicals."

Let me play devil's advocate. Mosquito's dunks are a bacterium. How do they know absolutely positively that they are safe for consumption, especially for a 2 year old?

The fountain sounds beautiful but I really worry about the children drinking the water. Even if you put nothing other than water in the fountain and somehow had time to clean it everyday, there could still be a disease causing organism in the water from bird droppings. Is there some way to keep the children from drinking the water?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2005 at 1:14AM
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