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Creating a horse trough with balanced ecosystem

Posted by curlylindsay 6 (My Page) on
Thu, Oct 11, 12 at 20:44

Sound crazy? A little! Here's my problem/idea.

I have a 1500 gallon hobby pond on my property, and I also have two ponies who usually remain in their own paddock but come out a few times a week to mow (an extremely efficient method, I might add!), my problem is that the ponies LOVE the pond and for the second year in a row, have pawed a leak in the liner before the end of the summer. ;-(

My pond is very well balanced with plants and fish and very clear water and in watching the horses, it's clear they much prefer the pond water over the water in their frequently dumped and refilled stock tank.

Could I solve the liner problem and save me trough cleaning work by creating a little ecosystem in a giant trough? How large would a trough have to be to keep the water clear and healthy? (And support my 10 or 12 3-4" long goldfish)

I currently use a 1400 gph pump that pushes the water through a huge tank of lava rock, and also have a UV filter which I only used for a few weeks in spring this year.

If I lift the pond above ground, can fish co-exist with a trough heater? (I don't think a pond heater works quite the same- a trough heater has super hot coils that heat the surrounding water to 50 degrees and then shut off)

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Creating a horse trough with balanced ecosystem

I should add, I want to set it up so only about 1/4th of the tank is inside the paddock, 3/4ths out- so the fish and plants & equipment would be free from the tyranny of bored ponies.

RE: Creating a horse trough with balanced ecosystem

Can you do a dew pond for the horses and keep your fish pond for the fish? It would have to be a very large pond for the fish to survive and I think the horses would make short work of the plants.

RE: Creating a horse trough with balanced ecosystem

A 300 gallon Rubbermaid stock tank is a great goldfish pond and tough as nails. I like it set about a foot into the ground to provide some insulation, but many people set them on a patio. 10-12 goldfish are about the upper limit for this size tank, but they will do fine with good filtration. Yes, you can use a stock tank heater.

RE: Creating a horse trough with balanced ecosystem

Where I grew up as a kid stock tanks were common and some common goldfish in a stock tank were commonplace.

Heaters were not practical so among the chores for vexatious brats like myself was to break the ice fill the tank before and after school. Ice may have occasionally gotten two or three inches thick. I remember the tanks as huge but childhood memories often exaggerate. I've no idea how bit the tanks. The goldfish would survive the winters with regular replacement of some water twice daily.

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