Goldfish In Horse Water Trough

natureandwildlife

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So along with recently getting into the aquarium hobby, I also love and own horses. I've been hearing about some other equestrians using goldfish in their horse's water troughs to keep it clean of misquote larvae, tadpoles, and such.

What are your opinions on this?

I'm think that water temperature would be fine. Most use a water heater in the winter. A lot of the water is replaced daily since the horses drink it of course. I do have a few concerns with this though, one being that the goldfish wouldn't be in declorinated water. Secondly, it is inevitable that debris is going to fall in the water trough like leaves, sticks, hay, grass, grain, and more. It can never be spotless all the time. Thirdly, mostly in the winter time, I feel like the fish wouldn't have enough to eat and I wouldn't feel comfortable putting fish food in my horse's water trough. Lastly, the fish poop. I feel like I would be intentionally contaminating the horse's water which kind of defeats the purpose.

Correct me if any of this information is wrong, I don't know a lot about goldfish.

Please let me know what you think!
 

oldsalt777

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So along with recently getting into the aquarium hobby, I also love and own horses. I've been hearing about some other equestrians using goldfish in their horse's water troughs to keep it clean of misquote larvae, tadpoles, and such.

What are your opinions on this?

I'm think that water temperature would be fine. Most use a water heater in the winter. A lot of the water is replaced daily since the horses drink it of course. I do have a few concerns with this though, one being that the goldfish wouldn't be in declorinated water. Secondly, it is inevitable that debris is going to fall in the water trough like leaves, sticks, hay, grass, grain, and more. It can never be spotless all the time. Thirdly, mostly in the winter time, I feel like the fish wouldn't have enough to eat and I wouldn't feel comfortable putting fish food in my horse's water trough. Lastly, the fish poop. I feel like I would be intentionally contaminating the horse's water which kind of defeats the purpose.

Correct me if any of this information is wrong, I don't know a lot about goldfish.

Please let me know what you think!
Hello nature...

The watering troughs are made of galvanized steel. At least the one I use for my backyard pond is made of this type of steel. The galvanizing process involves using zinc. Over time, the zinc can leach into the tank water. While this won't bother a very large animal like a horse, the mineral is very toxic to something small like a fish. You can use the trough, but you need to rough up the inside of the tank and apply an epoxy to seal it. I used something called "Pond Armor". It's not cheap, but it will seal the inside of the tank and make it safe for fish. You do need to remove and replace the water regularly, but you likely do this anyway for your animals. Let me know if you have any other concerns or questions.

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Algonquin

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I've seen this at a horse farm as well... and thought it was strange. Not really ideal for either the horses or the fish. It would make more sense to me to have a better water system for the horses, something with agitation or flow.
 

Skavatar

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oldsalt777

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Hello...

Actually, a few Goldfish would work in the trough, if you acclimate the fish by floating their bag in the trough for a few hours or overnight. The water should be chlorine free. Just the action of the water going into the tank will remove it. Goldfish are much hardier than other fish and most don't have a problem with the other chemicals the public water people put into the water to make it safe to drink. A few small fish won't foul the water with their waste, but trough water should be removed and replaced regularly. As far as the fish go, you won't need to feed them. They'll get by on algae and insects. I have some Water lettuce growing in my trough. It gives the fish some hiding places. I also have some rocks in there for fish cover.

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scarface

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What are your opinions on this?
I don't see an issue. A lot of them do better in troughs outside than indoor aquariums.

For a while, I used to do water changes without dechlorinating as long as it was no more than 50 percent water change, and my fish do fine. They actually like to swim right in front of the hose outlet with their mouths open, which I believe is because they "enjoy" having water rush through their gills. Never affected them adversely. Now I just like to change 90 percent or more, so I went back to dechlorinating. Mostly.
 

Asomeone

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What if you built a larger trough for the both? I would imagine the wood would form some type of bio colony. So if dechlorinated water was used along with water changes why wouldn't it be similar to a fish tank....aside from the horses drinking.
 

Basil

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I’ve heard of people doing this but don’t know anyone who personally does it.
I have two horses who would probably entertain themselves by “bobbing for goldfish”
 

Cognac82

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A few things.
I agree about the zinc, especially when you consider that goldfish can live a long time.
Predators can and will prey on trough fish, so be mindful of that. Raccoons love a carp snack.
Chlorine...yeah, I can see where that would be a problem. Anyone know if prime is safe to drink?
Hay, grain and other debris would be about the same amount of fouling as a pinch of fish food or some fish poop. Any of it will be in need of removing or being broken down.
Goldfish will constantly graze, so you won't need to feed much if there are bugs and algae there.
Taking away the mosquito larvae and lowering the risk of West Nile, EEE and other mosquito diseases might be worth checking it out. There are other fish too, like the gambusia, and they have a lower bioload, but they do tend to reproduce a lot.

I'm from north central Florida, aka horse country, so I know this is a popular thing here, I've just not done it as I'm not a horse person. Post pics if you do. I loves me some goldfish
 

Momgoose56

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Horses drink an average of 10 gallons of water a day, here, in the desert, it can exceed 20 gallons a day. So water, in a regularly refilled and well maintained trough of 100 gallons typically wouldn't build up ammonia, nitrites or nitrates. Ranchers here in the US who use troughs for cattle, many times have wells with pumps or windmills and floats that automatically top off water as its drunk or evaporates. Some ranchers use stock ponds that are filled by runoff during rainy periods and use goldfish, minnows or mosquito fish to control algae and biting insects. Still others have small ponds fed by streams that are continually replenished. The biggest problem with uninsulated above ground troughs (metal or otherwise) is the winter weather. Even trough heaters, in areas where winters are harsh, often don't keep trough water warm enough for even goldfish- just barely above freezing. So, on the ranch, the goldfish were moved into a 100 gallon aquarium in the house for 3 or 4 months a year. Chlorine can be a problem in a small trough, but the way around that is an automatic pump and float device. Water is topped off as it's used, very little chlorine is introduced at any given time, and gasses off very rapidly in bright sunlight so isn't usually a problem. Oh and as far as galvanized steel, the solution to the zinc is to never ever scrape that nice thick layer of green algae that grows on the sides and bottom of the tank lol!!!
 
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natureandwildlife

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I use a plastic livestock water trough so I don't have to worry about the metal. I'm thinking of getting a couple of goldfish tomorrow for my trough. I've really been thinking about it and I think it will help.
 

Annie59

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You should be fine putting gold fish in the water trough. I use to do it when we had cows and horses. As for the cold as long as it won't freeze solid, the fish will be fine. And I'm sure you use a heater of some sort in the trough to keep the water hole melted for the horses to drink from and that will be enough for the gold fish. Like I said as long as the trough won't be a solid block of ice the fish will live through the winter
 

Momgoose56

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You should be fine putting gold fish in the water trough. I use to do it when we had cows and horses. As for the cold as long as it won't freeze solid, the fish will be fine. And I'm sure you use a heater of some sort in the trough to keep the water hole melted for the horses to drink from and that will be enough for the gold fish. Like I said as long as the trough won't be a solid block of ice the fish will live through the winter
Goldfish won't survive sustained temperatures much below 50F for very long. They will not survive through a winter in any tank above ground where ambient temperatures stay below 45 for more than a few days. They definately won't survive in a small above ground tank that needs a heater to remain un- frozen. In above ground tanks, the water will freeze from the outside in not top down like submerged tanks or ponds. The water that will freeze last is the water closest to the bottom-center, sitting on the soil and on the side of the tank exposed to direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day. If there is no open water from where the fish are (usually at the bottom where water is warmest) to outside air, the fish will suffocate if they don't freeze first. That's why we brought the 800 gallon cow tank goldfish in to an aquarium for the coldest part of the year and why the pond fish stayed in the ~10,000 gallon pond.
 
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natureandwildlife

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Goldfish won't survive sustained temperatures much below 50F for very long. They will not survive through a winter in any tank above ground where ambient temperatures stay below 45 for more than a few days. They definately won't survive in a small above ground tank that needs a heater to remain un- frozen. In above ground tanks, the water will freeze from the outside in not top down like submerged tanks or ponds. The water that will freeze last is the water closest to the bottom-center, sitting on the soil and on the side of the tank exposed to direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day. If there is no open water from where the fish are (usually at the bottom where water is warmest) to outside air, the fish will suffocate if they don't freeze first. That's why we brought the 800 gallon cow tank goldfish in to an aquarium for the coldest part of the year and why the pond fish stayed in the ~10,000 gallon pond.
My water trough heater keeps the water pretty warm. It will not be too cold for the goldfish.
 

Annie59

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Goldfish won't survive sustained temperatures much below 50F for very long. They will not survive through a winter in any tank above ground where ambient temperatures stay below 45 for more than a few days. They definately won't survive in a small above ground tank that needs a heater to remain un- frozen. In above ground tanks, the water will freeze from the outside in not top down like submerged tanks or ponds. The water that will freeze last is the water closest to the bottom-center, sitting on the soil and on the side of the tank exposed to direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day. If there is no open water from where the fish are (usually at the bottom where water is warmest) to outside air, the fish will suffocate if they don't freeze first. That's why we brought the 800 gallon cow tank goldfish in to an aquarium for the coldest part of the year and why the pond fish stayed in the ~10,000 gallon pond.
All I can say is mine did and I live in central IL. As long as I had that water trough heater going they turned out fine.
I also had an above ground pond that did fine. I'm not arguing, just stating a fact when I had them
 

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When I was a kid, my dad built a fancy shaped pond in the back garden, he filled it with water via the hose attached to the outside wall of the house, put a few water lillies into it and some goldfish

No dechlorinator or any other chemicals, no heaters.....

The goldfish were still happily swimming around after 15-20 years, in winter we put a football in the pond to keep it relatively ice free

My cousin owned horses, I used to go ride out with her at weekends and all of her troughs had fish in them....some of her goldfish would play a game of stare me out with the horses....the goldfish always won and the horses would snort into the water in disgust and the little upstart goldfish

Again no chemicals in the water, it came right from the tap on a continuous flow and in winter she had tennis balls in the troughs to keep ice at bay

I don't know if goldies are weaker genetically thesedays but back then they were as tough as old boots and wouldn't care about the water, all they wanted it to be fed....and to tease the horses
 

Smalltownfishfriend

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Goldfish won't survive sustained temperatures much below 50F for very long. They will not survive through a winter in any tank above ground where ambient temperatures stay below 45 for more than a few days. They definately won't survive in a small above ground tank that needs a heater to remain un- frozen. In above ground tanks, the water will freeze from the outside in not top down like submerged tanks or ponds. The water that will freeze last is the water closest to the bottom-center, sitting on the soil and on the side of the tank exposed to direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day. If there is no open water from where the fish are (usually at the bottom where water is warmest) to outside air, the fish will suffocate if they don't freeze first. That's why we brought the 800 gallon cow tank goldfish in to an aquarium for the coldest part of the year and why the pond fish stayed in the ~10,000 gallon pond.
That's not quite true. I have goldfish in an outdoor above ground pond, they easily survived several weeks worth of below 0 degree weather, the water was at maybe 35 degrees, just so not freezing. All the adults and babies survived. People underestimate the toughness of carp.
 
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