I was wondering if anyone has put a fish in their horses water troughs to help cut back on the algae? If so what type of fish did you use and are there concerns with putting a fish in the water trough. Just curious.
I was obsessed with this idea for a summer, and just thought it was such a cool, eco-friendly way to keep troughs clean! It works great for a lot of people, but you definitely need to have a trough in a very shady spot for summertime. I was caring for young horses when I tried it, and unfortunately if the trough was less than FULL, they had a terrible habit of dumping it over and playing with it (a big metal stock tank, keep in mind). After coming out to feed twice to see batches of dead fish lying around the tank, I took pity on them and gave up. But try it if you think you have a good situation for it--it's very cool to have the sort of mutually beneficial thing going on, and I always think the less water we're dumping out to scrub buckets the better!
Thanks for the input. I have never had a fish in my life and I'm curious to see if it would work. However, I just started to think...I have two barn cats that are quite the hunter. Has anyone had cats that has fish in the troughs? And if so, did they catch the fish? I would feel bad if the cats got a hold of the poor fish.
I have a big metal tank for them (about 150 gallons?) and I have five comet goldfish in there. They have been there for almost two years and I have never fed them. They are happy, healthy and keep the tank cleaner than prior to their arrival. The tank is not in full shade and even in the hottest and coldest months (in the PNW) they stay fine. The water has become low a couple of times but they stayed okay.
I don't know if a cat would be able to catch them, they are really fast and the tank is pretty deep. I figure if mine have made it this far out in the pasture with squirrels and raccoons aplenty, a cat would not have much luck.
i'm a big fan of this. I got them because all the mosquito larvae twitching at the top of the water creeped me out. I didn't want the horses drinking that and I didn't want them hatching and biting the horses and me!
Plus, the fish are fun to watch! There was a thread on this earlier this week in off course if you have a look. A bit of an information overload there though.
We have had goldfish in some of our tanks for 5+ years! They get as big as the space will allow, depending on how many and the size of your tank! Year round they are in there, even with the heating element.
We never feed them and they do great! We have had fish in our tanks on and off for over 25 years.
Randee Beckman ~Otteridge Farm, LLC (http://on.fb.me/1iJEqvR)~Marketing Manager - The Clothes Horse & Jennifer Oliver Equine Insurance Specialist
We have two of the 300 gallon Rubbermaid tanks. The goldfish take out the mosquito larvae and the algae. We feed ours - I'm not sure it's necessary, but DH feels better when he does.
The horses seem to actively seek out the fish water. They like being able to put their heads in deep and splash around in it. And now I don't have to worry when we're out late in the summer that they might run out of water.
The fish poop sinks to the bottom, and it doesn't seem to be causing trouble. These are quite deep tanks, though; it might not work as well in something more shallow.
If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket
I have both goldfish and mosquito fish in my tank. It's a big tank, 5 or 6 feet across and 2-3 feet deep. I think there are about 20 goldfish and a gazillion mosquito fish. I never feed them. When I accidently overflow the tank some of the mosquito fish always seem to go over the edge, but they breed faster than rabbits. To clean the poop out of the tank I use a spa vacuum. It's pretty handy, all you do is hook the hose to it and turn the hose on. It vacuums the bottom and pumps water and goo out a big hose. I got mine at Home Depot.
I have fish in two of my 5 or 6 water troughs. They're the big rubbermaid ones (maybe 150-200 gallons?) and I started with 11 fish in each tank. It seems like there's a mass die-off in the beginning and the ones that survive thrive over time. I started with fish in 5 troughs, but the horses were too rough with 3 of the troughs and only two still have fish.
One trough has had 4 fish living in it for almost 5 years. They've lived through my [exceedingly sly] barn cats who have eaten everything else on the property (bats, birds, mice, rats, etc.), they've been frozen (maybe not *all* the way through since it doesn't usually get cold enough to make more than 6" or so of ice on the water), and I've never fed them anything. The trough stays WAY cleaner than my non-fish troughs for sure!
My other trough has one GINORMOUS fish leftover from the initial 11. I call him Moby Fish and it seriously looks like I stocked my tank with something meant for a koi pond. I got bad about checking water a few weeks ago and walked out one day only to find Moby Fish lying on the bottom of a dry trough. I was so sad that I'd inadvertantly killed my giant fish, but when I bent down to pick him up he surprised me by indignantly flopping around. I quickly refilled the trough and he's as happy as can be in there. I can't believe one of my cats didn't get him in that time!
As a fish person, I was reading this just out of curiosity. There are several "pet store" species of catfish that are alge eaters, those with "suckery" mouths to clean the sides (plecostamus) and general bottom feeders (corydoras). Catfish need less oxygen than many other types of fish, so a deep tank works great for them. I was wondering about the settling "waste" at the bottom too.
I've only used goldfish. The tropical fish wouldn't make it through the winter. I don't know that the tank is "cleaner", but they eat the mosquito larvae, which is more than enough in the plus column for me. They are cute too! In my 100-150 gallon rubbermaid tanks I started out with about 5 fish and most have 1-2 that have survived and grow large (2 1/2"). You can periodically dump the tanks to get the stuff off the bottom out, but don't chlorox it. I also don't scrub them to the point of being immaculate, so as to leave them something to eat.
I've had fish for probably 5 years and never feed them.
I've only used goldfish as well. Had the same 2 for several years, never fed them, never cleaned up after them. The water was always crystal clear.
The cats find them interesting, but usually don't want to go swimming to catch them. After a few times of horsey noses appearing to drink, they learn to swim down to the bottom whenever anything shows up.
I think it's more fun to watch the horse that actually notices there are fish in there. It's quite amusing!
I purchased 15 goldfish at WalMart in 2001 for one of my tanks. 10 didn't make it more than a few months. The other five got quite large and I just lost the first of them this past winter. In the past 10 months, however, I've lost all but one. I'm not sure what is going on - even talked to a "fish" person who couldn't figure it out - but I don't expect this one to live much longer now either.
My cats don't have any problem with the fish. I loved having them.
So...the goldfish don't have a problem with chlorine in the water? Dumb question...but gotta ask!
I think there's only trace amounts of chlorine in regular tap water. And I assume the posters here are using tap water just the same as fish hobbyists.
When you keep tropicals or exotics, you can tweak your water for hardness/softness to help "hard keepers", but few get into this. It's akin to having a marine fish tank and tweaking the salinity (density) to keep fish comfy.
This is probably why goldfish are used, they'll tolerate most any conditions - they are the easy keeper fat ponies of the fish world.