Can You Put Food Coloring in Your Water Fountain?

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Water fountains are some of the most immaculate and attractive features to have in your home. Whether they’re in a courtyard, backyard, or the front lawn, a water fountain pulls the eyes of everyone who’s near it. You can make them even better by adding various colors, but how do people achieve the look?

You can put food coloring in your water fountain, but it’ll stain the surface. If you’re okay with altering the appearance of the stone, then you won’t have any other problems. However, acidic food dye can slowly erode the surface of the water fountain, in which case you shouldn’t use it.

Throughout this article, you’ll also learn the following info about using food coloring in your water fountain:

  • How you can color a water fountain with a few unique tips and tricks
  • Whether or not water coloring will stay in the fountain for a long time
  • Possible side effects of using food coloring in a fountain

How to Color Fountain Water

Coloring a water fountain doesn’t have to be tedious or expensive. Some water fountains are colored by food dye, while others take advantage of different light sources. If you’re trying to find out how you can make your water fountain look blue, green, red, or any other color, you’re in the right place.

Here’s a list of methods that you can try to make your fountain change colors:

  • Perhaps the most common method of coloring a water fountain is to add food coloring. There are many different types of food coloring, but the two primary dyes are made of water-based and oil-based additives. These will come into play later in the article, so keep them in mind.
  • You could also choose to install lights throughout the fountain. These lights can be positioned on the bottom or sides of the fountain, and they’re built-in, so they don’t take up too much space. The only downside about built-in lights is that they tend to cost a bit more, not to mention that repairs are more expensive.
  • SFGate mentions that you can paint some fountains. Although it won’t change the color of the water, it’ll appear as if it did. You can choose from an endless supply of painting patterns as long as they fit within the parameters mentioned in the article. Painting your fountain reduces your electric bill since you won’t be running power to the lights.
  • Consider getting floating lights in the fountain. If you want to cut costs and save time from using food dye, then floating lights will be the next best option. They’re fairly budget-friendly, and all you have to do is leave them to float around. Some of them are powered by batteries, while others have built-in solar panels.
  • TotalPond Blue from Amazon is another option if you want a dark blue pond. It’s designed to treat up to 4,000 gallons per bottle, which will be far less than you need for a water fountain. You’ll enjoy the UV protection that it provides for your fountain, especially if you have fish and plants inside of it.

As you can see, coloring your water fountain isn’t much of a challenge. There are plenty of options at your disposal, so figure out which one suits your needs and roll with it. Note that low-end versions of any of the methods above can cause adverse effects that you’ll learn about later on.

If you want to know more details about water coloring and how it interacts with your water fountain, read on.

Is Water Coloring Water Soluble?

Food coloring and water coloring are two different substances, though they’re often used for similar purposes. As a forewarning, you’d never use water coloring in food since it’s not edible. Given the name, you can assume that food coloring is edible. Nevertheless, we’ll break down both dyes below.

Will Water Coloring Dissolve in Water?

Contrary to what you might think, not all water coloring is water-soluble. It seems odd to think that a dye designed for water would dissolve in water, but there’s a reason for it: Some water coloring is made to reveal different chemicals in the water. Think of it as a tester kit, similar to the way it works when you’re testing pool water.

Some water coloring is oil-based, which means it won’t break down in the water. It’ll sit in a glob, just as it would if you poured vegetable oil in water. Oil-based water coloring shouldn’t be used in your water fountain since it’ll look tacky and cause clogs.

Will Food Coloring Dissolve in Water?

Food coloring is almost always water-based, meaning it’s water-soluble. You can pour food dye in your fountain, but you should review the negative possibilities in the next section before you make a decision. Water-based food coloring can dissolve in a variety of other liquids, making it a top choice for many people.

Although they’re few and far between, oil-based food coloring shouldn’t be used in water features, including your fountain. You’ll end up with stains, clogs, and a plethora of other issues in the water.

It’s almost always safe to use food coloring in your water fountain. It should be noted that the primary issues associated with using food coloring in fountains are caused by low-cost, low-end food color. As long as you get a high-quality dye, you won’t have to worry about the issues in the next section.

What Will Happen if You Put Food Coloring in a Fountain?

As mentioned throughout this article, there aren’t many problems that you’ll encounter when using good food coloring in your fountain. Hunker mentioned that you can use food dye in water fountains, but they have to be small. Medium and large-sized fountains end up losing their color too fast unless you use absurd amounts of the dye.

Before you start dumping the food coloring into your fountain, consider the following issues:

  • It could stain the surface of your water fountain. It’s no secret that food dye causes stains on your clothes, carpet, and furniture; But did you know that it can stain cement? If your water fountain is exposed to too much food coloring, it’ll slowly change the color of it.
  • Acidic food dye can corrode and ruin the feature. If the food coloring has a low pH, you’ll start noticing that the fountain becomes porous and cracked. Over time, it’ll ruin any plants in the fountain, as well as the water quality.
  • The wrong food coloring could ruin the pump. Acidic or thick, oil-based food dye will cause problems with the internal components of the pump, including the impeller, gaskets, and the pump seal. It’ll corrode the pump, just as it’d do to the fountain.

These problems aren’t too common, but it’s not realistic to think that there won’t be a little bit of discoloration. For this reason, it’s highly recommended that you choose a color and stick with it rather than switching it up too often.


Changing the color of the water in your fountain is exciting and artistic. You don’t have to worry about damaging your fountain if you follow the suggestions found on this page.

Here’s a quick recap of the post:

  • Never choose an oil-based dye for your water fountain.
  • Most food colorings will stain your fountain, but it won’t cause damage.
  • You could also try painting the fountain or installing lights.
  • Make sure the food coloring is water-soluble before you add it to your water fountain.


I am always happy to share all my knowledge about how to keep your garden in good condition and make it special.

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