View Full Version : Fountain pump/bubbler for water tank

Dec. 7, 2010, 12:06 PM
The barn where I board does not keep the water tank heaters plugged in full time because of the electricity costs, and we often end up breaking ice in the tanks. It's been this way for years, and I've been OK with it, but I have a pony who coliced last year, and now I'm especially concerned about making sure she has access to water.

A couple of years ago I insulated the tank with bubble wrap inside cardboard inside heavy duty contractor bags, and that helped. I'll be building the "redneck tank insulator" again this year.

But a friend recently pointed out that moving water won't freeze, so now I'm looking into purchasing a small pump with tubing that goes into the water and maintains a steady flow of bubbles to keep the water open. The pumps use far less electricity than the heaters do.

Has anyone else tried something like this? Did it work?

Dec. 7, 2010, 01:09 PM
Why don't you just offer to pay a bit extra to keep the heater in the trough full-time?

Dec. 7, 2010, 02:19 PM
Should have just gone down the page a bit to this:


A search might even pull up more information. However a bubbler does need to be left on ALL the time, with resulting cost for electricty. Might be less than a heater. You might want to just offer to pay for leaving the heater on in tank as suggested, instead of changing over to the pump bubbler.

I would be adding salt daily in the pony's feed, to encourage drinking MORE water all the time. Even with heater off, any pony or horse NEEDS that water access all day long in cold weather. We have built insulated boxes for the tanks, and they keep the water open even with heater off half the day. We may get an ice edge if below zero, but it never freezes over before night when the heaters go back on. I don't run heaters when horses can drink, to prevent any possible shock. I don't want any shy drinkers in winter. Mine are barned at night with buckets of water in the stalls.

Dec. 8, 2010, 11:33 AM
Thanks. I have offered to pay the extra, offer wasn't accepted. I'm gearing up for that fight again this year. I may have an edge this time, my pony's paddock mate is owned by a relative of the barn manager, and she's quick picky about her horse, so perhaps we can keep it plugged it. The people who do the feeding are good about breaking the ice and making sure the water's open when they feed, but when the temp's below freezing round the clock it doesn't take long to ice over again.

I looked into building an insulated box, but I was told that it's then too difficult for the feeding staff to empty and clean the tank when that's needed. My system from a couple of years ago, insulation wrapped in a contractor bag, worked pretty well and I'll be doing that again this weekend.

I have a large salt block in the paddock, and they're at it all the time.

And thanks for the link to the other search. I'd tried some searches but hadn't used the word "bubbler"...it's not how I think of a pump or fountain, and I only added the word to my post after seeing it on a web site ;)
A pump will need to run full time, but uses far less energy than the heaters.

Dec. 8, 2010, 08:18 PM
Here is a link to the folks who add salt daily, to horse diet. They feel that added salt, gets equines drinking more water in cold times. All their animals have salt blocks to lick, but they don't feel that is enough on a daily basis. I pretty much agree with adding salt daily, have seen increased liquid intake in my animals. I have a couple picky ones who may not drink well in winter, so adding the salt daily, eases my mind a bit.


Tood luck with the tank insulation and getting a heater left on all the time. Make sure heater is in GOOD shape, properly grounded, so horses don't get a shock when drinking. Older heaters can develop problems, hairline cracks, which let them leak electricity to shock the drinking animal and TEACHING horses that water is BAD! Certainly not something you want to happen, so look the heaters over carefully to prevent problems. Keep an eye on water level going down in tank, to insure they really are drinking and what is their "normal" amount consumed. If they don't lower the water level, you will know quickly and can do something about it fast.