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Clean Livestock Water Tanks

Water tanks are a must, but they often pose the biggest headache for most farmers and ranchers. Keeping a full, fresh, clean tank is often one of the hardest aspects of farming. There are numerous products on the market to fill and clean tanks. However, these products are often unreliable, not durable, and can be very expensive. On the bright side, there are tips to keeping your livestock water tanks clean. 

Having clean, fresh available water is vital in raising healthy animals. Try to clean the trough thoroughly using hot water and a scrubbing brush. Eliminating the algae culture will restrict future algae growth and keep water cleaner for your livestock. You will need to perform this step every couple of months.

Sanitizing Water

The best method of prevention is to keep the algae growth from getting out of hand. Some horse owners will add a drop or two of bleach to a waterer to keep drinking water free of algae.  Because bleach contains chlorine, it can help sanitize the water. The chlorine in bleach is the same additive used in public water systems. The bleach might help with algae growth for a day but, if the water trough is exposed to sunlight, the chlorine will evaporate.

Treat the water in your watering trough to eliminate and prevent algae. Add 2 to 3 ounces of unscented bleach per 50 gallons of water in the trough, or dissolve copper sulfate crystals in warm water to add to the trough. Dissolve a 1/2 teaspoon of crystals in 1.5 ounces of warm water for a 350-gallon trough. Repeat the applications and cleanings. Bleach should be reapplied once a week, while copper sulfate should be reapplied every two to four weeks. Keep up the applications until the algae growth has stopped.

Maintaining Fish 

The use of fish in water tanks is helpful in the spring, summer, and fall in most areas of the U.S., but it is too cold in the winter for them to survive. During winter they have to be moved to a more temperate environment for a few months of the year. Fish are particularly helpful if it is a big water trough that is difficult or impossible to clean. The fish, typically goldfish or koi, help control algae growth and larvae. Keep in mind bleach and fish don’t mix, so choose one of these methods to control algae growth but not both.

Some properties have natural water sources available to horses, such as streams and ponds. If the water is fresh and not too stagnant, streams can be a great source of water for horses. 

Key points:

  • Horses will generally consume one gallon (3.8 liters) of water for every 100 lb (45 kg) of body weight. For most average-size horses, this comes to 10-15 gallons (38-57 liters) of water each day.
  • Keep water tanks as clean as possible. Weekly scrubbing will usually do the trick. Don’t overlook automatic waterers, as they too can become green and slimy with algae growth.
  • A couple of drops of bleach or a few fish can help minimize algae growth and are especially useful for tanks that cannot be emptied and scrubbed easily, such as cement structures.
  • Streams and ponds can provide horses with suitable drinking water, but make sure the water looks appealing and isn’t too sandy or muddy.

Stop in and see us at your local Olsen’s Grain to find out about products and tips to maintaining Clean Livestock Water Tanks for your livestock.