Garden Art forum: Solar Fountains?

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(Zone 6a)
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Celene
May 1, 2012 8:25 AM CST
I've heard really mixed reviews on these...I have a small yard, so I need a small, simple fountain. Solar would be easier, it's greener and I won't have to deal with cords.

Does anyone have any wisdom to share?

TIA!
Name: Sally
Wesley Chapel. FL (Zone 9a)
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Sossman
May 1, 2012 10:42 AM CST
I have no experience with the solar fountains, but I do have several types of solar lights around my yard. The only one I have problem with is the light that is connected to the spitter on my garden pond. The spitter itself is not solar, just the globe light that's connected to. It leaks water into the battery compartment so I have to change the battery out to a dry one frequently and I'm sure it's going to rust out sooner rather than later. Not sure how this relates to solar fountains themselves, but just some input. Smiling
Name: Becky (Boo)
Phoenix, AZ 85022
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Boopaints
May 1, 2012 11:30 AM CST

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I saw some a couple of years ago and heard good reviews but I live in Phoenix where the sunshine is plenty!
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
May 1, 2012 12:13 PM CST
I used to have a solar fountain in our old apartment. It really works well as long as you can provide full sun to the solar collectors, otherwise, even a small shadow of a leaf or branch can make it stop. My fountain also had a cord, so in case you want to run it at times when there is no sun, you can just plug it in. So do consider a location where it will get full sun and easy access to an outdoor outlet. It was good for awhile, hummingbirds and other critters enjoyed it especially on those hot summer days. I only get to use solar power during the mornings, as soon as the sun goes west the garden is in full shade so it needed to be plugged in.
Here is how it looked like before:
Thumb of 2012-05-01/tarev/d7bd00

And a video to see in action:
http://youtu.be/XpcJoHittKc

When we moved to our present home, I tried to use it for awhile, but we do not get continuous full sun either Sad Plus the city trees litters a lot on it, such tiresome clean-up. So I have turned it into a succulent planter instead Big Grin

Thumb of 2012-05-01/tarev/40c6fd

I have since switched to a regular plug-in water feature that fits more appropriately to the size of our sideyard.
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
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vic
May 2, 2012 6:44 PM CST

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I hope you find something that will work for you Celene - I'm not familiar with them. Confused
(Zone 6a)
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Celene
May 2, 2012 8:55 PM CST
I'm still iffy about how they'll work. I wish I could see one running here, rather than on the internet.

Petal
May 6, 2012 10:21 PM CST
Solar water pumps are really wonderful , of course it depends on the amount of sunlight it will receive. I have two at the moment, one is about 3 years old, still going strong, second one only a matter of months old. Cheap enough to try , I purchased mine in Hong Kong online A$28 including registered mail
(Zone 6a)
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Celene
May 7, 2012 7:58 AM CST
Do you have the site, Petal? I'd love to take a look...

Petal
May 9, 2012 3:36 AM CST
Celene said:Do you have the site, Petal? I'd love to take a look...


Hi Celine, I found the solar pump on this site hope this is useful http://www.dealextreme.com/

Smiling
(Zone 6a)
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Celene
May 9, 2012 6:16 AM CST
Thank you!! I am not sure if I want to try making my own fountain or not, I think a large pot would be pretty...

Petal
May 9, 2012 10:30 PM CST
I have not used the pump for a fountain, only in a reasonably deep pot and pond. I suspended the pump on the surface of the water by poking the outlet pipe through a small piece of polystyrene approx 1" thick by 3" sq. works well
Name: Char
Vermont (Zone 4b)
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Char
May 31, 2012 4:50 PM CST
The weather has finally warmed enough here to start putting out the garden decorations. I have a Sunjet 150 solar fountain. My son bought it 3 or 4 years ago for me and it has worked fine down in the front garden. Running power underground was not an option - not a good idea even if it wasn't so far, I cut through the satellite dish wire, twice, while enlarging a bed out back, oops. The solar panel must be in full sun, some very thin clouds are fine although the flow slows. The large pot was a wally world find several years ago as well.

Thumb of 2012-05-31/Char/cf485a
Name: Char
Vermont (Zone 4b)
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Char
May 31, 2012 4:51 PM CST
try that again...Thumb of 2012-05-31/Char/940e13
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
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vic
May 31, 2012 5:19 PM CST

Moderator

Are you saying the sun is running the fountain? COOL! Hurray! Hurray! Thumbs up
(Zone 6a)
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Celene
Jun 1, 2012 6:21 AM CST
Excellent, that's exactly what I need to know!
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Jun 2, 2012 11:44 PM CST
Char, that's so neat.
I need to check these out!
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Name: Char
Vermont (Zone 4b)
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Char
Jun 3, 2012 4:45 PM CST
Glad I could help Celene.
The solar panel is about 5 x 5 and has a 10 or so foot cord to the pump, no electric. This allows you to place the fountain in one spot and somewhat hide the panel or as in my case, place it in more sun. The shade creeps in about 2pm and with the panel stretched to the east I can get another 1/2 hour or so of action.This one comes with several different spouts as well. I was very skeptical at first but am so happy with it.
One other thing I do is put in the water a product for algae control, keeps the pump clean and saves spending a lot of time cleaning the pot/changing water.
(Zone 6a)
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Celene
Jun 3, 2012 8:46 PM CST
What do you use for algae control? Will it hurt butterflies or birds?
Name: Sally
Wesley Chapel. FL (Zone 9a)
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Sossman
Jun 4, 2012 3:29 AM CST
Even though they are illegal to have here in Florida, I use water hyacynth (sp). They are extremely effective in keeping the water clean, plus they have pretty lavender flowers. I collect them from the wild (so I am actually helping the state rid the public waters of this extremely invasive plant) and put them in my little pond. They reproduce rapidly so once the pond gets too crowded, I remove the older, rattier looking ones, seal them in a trash bag and toss them in the garbage. I've never had to add any chemicals to my little pond as long as I have had this plant in there. Smiling
Name: Char
Vermont (Zone 4b)
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Char
Jun 4, 2012 7:02 AM CST
I really like the idea of using plants to keep the water clean and algae from growing. I tried using plants available from the local pond supply place the first two years and couldn't get it to work correctly, they recommended the Eco System fountain product last year. It prevents photosynthesis and can be used with fish - I do not not have fish. Rain dilutes the water in the pot, it holds 45 gals, is much taller than it is wide and during the summer the overflow runs on plants planted around the pot with no noticable problems. I would much prefer a balanced natural eco system but I'm not sure it's possible in this pot.

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