Goats/water trough


i was wondering what is the best method to prevent algae from their water trough. thank you so much

copper sulfate /water trough chart
copper sulfate /water  
HI stmmfarm:

Much of it depends on the size of the trough, mine are less than 100gals- so I periodically dump when they are low and  scrub with bleach - rinse and refill adding a capful of bleach (Not the fragranced kind but regular  clorox) to the water - keeps them relatively clean for about 4 days in the summer (What I do in summer is to add an additional capful to a full tank midway of the week and empty-scrub-clean weekly - - if you do not have sheep some folks add copper sulfate - I have in the past - sometimes it will leave a sheen on top of the water - but the rule of thumb for copper sulfate is 1/4tsp  dissolved in warm water for a 125gal tank -

Here is some info on this subject:

During the hot summer month algae can become a problem in livestock water tanks. Some species of algae can be toxic to livestock. Most are just an unsightly nuisance. There are some tactics that can be used to eliminate the problem.

Periodically cleaning the tank to reduce nutrients can slow algae growth. This is easier said than done in some cases. Most commercial tanks have a drain that allows for easy water removal. Cattlemen often recycle, reuse, and find new uses for any vessel that holds water. Old bath tubs, half of a septic tank that didn’t have quite enough concrete to complete, barge pontoons cut in half, have all found new life as water tanks on farms throughout the southeast. Removing water from these items may be difficult.

Treating tanks with products that kill algae is another option. Copper and chlorine are two good and readily available options. Copper sulfate is used as an algicide in farm ponds and can be used in watering tanks. You can find commercially available liquid copper sulfate in small bottles that are sold as stock tank cleaners. You can also by copper sulfate crystals and make your own. The chart below gives mixing instruction for dissolving copper sulfate crystals in warm water to give 1 part per million copper in a specific size water tank. Apply every 2-4 weeks as needed.

Using copper sulfate in systems with metal pipes may increase deterioration of the metal over time and some livestock, such as sheep, cannot tolerate high levels of copper. Keep added copper levels to a minimum to reduce the chance of toxicity and to maximize the life span of metal pipes.

Using unscented chlorine bleach is another option to reduce algae growth. Adding 2 to 3 oz. of chlorine bleach for each 50 gallons of water capacity to the tank each week will reduce the algae problems.

Copper sulfate or chlorine applications do not require livestock to be kept away from the tank, but best results are obtained if the active ingredient concentration is maintained for at least 5 minutes. Withholding livestock access for that amount of time may achieve better results.

Other folks use goldfish .. but  I think we have too many cats in the  area for that :)  AND I worry about goats getting a fish accidentally and choking

Hope this helps  


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Specializing in New Goat Owner understanding of goat physiology, goat anatomy, goat care and herd management. *I am not a veterinarian, any advice and information should be verified by your veterinarian before administering to your goats. (! During times of severe weather in the Midwest, I may experience a delay in internet service due to the interference of the satellite reception - but will answer your questions as soon as service is restored. !) Note: Keep in mind, the goat expert is volunteering her time to help other goat owners, she also runs her farm with her own herd of 100 goats and may not be at her computer at all hours. Questions are answered as soon as she can possibly read and answer them, usually within 24 hours.


23 years experience of raising goats and herd management. Active hands on experience with goat herd and research with various Caprine University Research and Extension Centers nationwide. 15 years dedicated to helping other goat breeders/owners with goat anatomy, goat disease and goat health care issues via phone, published goat care articles and internet interaction. The information I have to offer is not only from personal experience and years of research updated often as new information is made available to me, but supported by many Veterinary Research colleges and all medications and information I have to offer on how the medications work and what dosages "I" use, is information I have acquired by discussing directly with the company's veterinarians and staff research experts.

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