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There's something fishy around here...

Updated on July 10, 2014

A Dirty Dilemma

For those of you that don't already know us, Epic Farms is a small family run non-profit [involving horses] in Southeast Alabama and one of Squidoo's Partner Charities. We have an itty bitty (almost invisible :o) budget, so we have to be both economical and creative particularly when we encounter a problem. Our predicament? Rapid buildup of algae in our two 70 gallon water tanks. While the tanks have drains at the bottom and can be easily emptied and scrubbed, it was a time consuming task that wasted an awful lot of water (plus it was pretty darn gross).

We needed to figure out the best and most economical way to keep those stock tanks clean.

NOTES: Most options had a monthly cost attached to them (and remember to multiply by 2):

1. Dumping out 140 gallons of water each month, scrubbing out the tanks (using more water), and then refilling both tanks (with still more water). You know, that sure does use up an awful lot of water.

2. The filter system required changing out the filters regularly (and I forgot to multiply that one by two: so that's $140.00 for two tanks, plus filters, and you still have to empty and clean the tanks, just less often).

3. Water cleaner additive ($36.00 to start, I did remember to multiply that one, plus monthly refills). Less expensive definitely, but kind of a headache...

Hey, what about using fish?

Would that work?

I knew that a lot of farmers used catfish in their tanks to keep them clean, but how well did it really work? Could you use Goldfish instead? What about the winter? Would they be okay when the troughs iced over? Would there be enough to eat in there? Believe it or not, the answers to my questions were all yes.

I found several online discussions on this subject too, so apparently we weren't the only ones with an algae issue. One such discussion even addressed a potential problem with the waste produced by the fish harming the horses. A vet responded that the fish were actually more sensitive than the horses, but it was totally safe to do all around.

HOT DOG! - Let's go find some fish...

Did you know Petsmart helps to adopt out strays? I didn't.

It's a totally pawsome program :o)

There is an adoption center right inside the store, is that cool or what? PetSmart Inc. donates retail space to PetSmart Charities so that their adoption partners can showcase homeless pets that are in need of loving homes. Over the past 21 years, the Charities Adoption Centers have completed more than 3 million adoptions. Wow, that's a lot.

They even have national adoption weekends throughout the year to help pets find their forever homes. That's pretty great, don't you think?

Oh, I wish we already had the barn built! - I would have taken these two sassy kitties home with me in a heartbeat (they were lots of fun to watch :o)

Oh, okay. Find fish. Right. - Hmmmm. The budget specials don't look too good...

Maybe we should try the $1.99 tank and see how they look.

What are you? A Rockafeller?

Well it is for a good cause (it's a green solution for a green problem, don'tcha know). Wow - what a difference $1.50 makes. These little guys all looked much healthier and happier zipping around in there. The lady was very helpful and carefully scooped out the fish we pointed to and put them in two different bags (that's three Cleanup Committee Members for The Girls and three for the Moo Crew - check).

I thought $1.99 was pretty steep for a little bitty fish, but would you believe they had some exotic Goldfish that were $29.99? Hmmm, maybe that isn't such a bad deal after all...

Without further ado, we would like to introduce you to the newest volunteers at Epic Farms. These two crews will be in charge of algae control in the tank maintenance department.

The Girls would like you to meet... - Well we ARE a non profit, Christians and a BC survivor :o)

And for the Moo Crew, we have... - It's SO them :o)

It's critical to have an automatic float which will keep your stock tank full of water and oxygen. - (Horses can drink up to five gallons at a time)

Larry started banging against the bottom of the bag when we got it near the water. - Looks like we definitely picked the right fish for the Moo Crew (little dud

Hang loose guys, ya gotta get acclimated first...It's a rule. - About 15 to 20 minutes should do it I think.

When it was time we opened the bag, turned them loose and watched 'em GO! - I got dizzy watching them zip around and around. They sure did look happy in there.

It was so much fun, we did it all over again at The Girls' water tank. - And they were just as happy and swam just as fast :o)

What rhymes with Jen? - Hint: It's pretty much a personal affliction (really)

For awhile I was counting fishies after every slurp session (yup still there, whew!) - I finally figured out that the fish just moved down toward the bottom whe

Sometimes it was a little tricky finding the fish because of the reflection. - Did you know that fish could swim in the clouds? Me neither ;o)

But most of the time they were pretty easy to find swimming around in there. - Or in this case, hangin' out. Hello ladies!

It was a little tougher at the Moo Crew's tank. - Wow - It's sure is dark in there!

I'll go ahead and confess to you that after a few days with no fish sightings, I panicked. - I got scared that one of the horses may have accidentally added a l

After carefully scooping out a few bucketfuls of water though, I found all three safe and sound. - THERE you are! Don't you know that we were worried sick about

One more thing for those of you interested in putting this simple green solution into practice in your pasture... - Make SURE you can keep an eye on the tanks;

Fine. Look at this photo of the Moo Crew's tank shortly after we put the fish in. - You can just BARELY see the sides of the tank (and the water is a greenish b

Now look at this picture of their tank a couple of weeks after Larry, Moe and Curly's arrival. - Ta-Da! Pretty darn awesome, isn't it? Hiya fellas :o)

A footnote to my fellow warts...

The horses are constantly dribbling feed or dropping bits of grass and things into the tank so the fish pretty much have a never ending supply of food (Yay :o)

Status Report: Our fishies have tripled in size - and look like little gobstoppers with gills :o)

There's something fishy on Amazon, too... - Look at all this fun stuff (Love that wall mount! :o)

I hope you enjoyed our little "Fishtail" :o) - Did it make you smile? We hope so!

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    • julescorriere profile image

      Jules Corriere 

      6 years ago from Jonesborough TN

      This is utterly fascinating. Who would have thoght? Certainly not me. Outstanding. Congratulations on Making the Best of Squidoo 2012 Earth Day Lenses. Blessed!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      You had me smiling with your little "Fishtail", delightfully done and congratulations on being featured on the Best of Squidoo 2012 Earth Day Monster Board!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thank you for publishing this amazing and very enjoyable article. You showed that natural solutions do the job while costing less. Fantastic!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Wow! That is an amazing idea! I never would have thought of that! Blessed!

    • norma-holt profile image


      6 years ago

      Lovely lens and a great reminder of what will and is happening to our oceans as fish and other life is destroyed. Featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012 and also on Earthday and what is wrong with our planet earth. Hugs.

    • chezchazz profile image


      6 years ago from New York

      This is such a great idea and a very enjoyable read too. Happy Earth Day!

    • PennyHowe profile image


      6 years ago

      Love you sense of humor and all your pictures. Thanks for the great lens and congrats on your great fish idea. Happy Earth Day!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Too cute ... I like how you get the message out with adorable humor.

    • KateHonebrink profile image


      6 years ago

      I learned something new with your lens! It never occurred to me that teeny weenie little goldfish could get and keep a couple of stock tanks so clean! What a genius you are to discover this idea!!! Super excellent job!!! Harmony, the tabby, wanted me to mention that she likes goldfish, too. Personally, I think her motives are not as pure as yours...

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 

      6 years ago from So Cal

      High five for a well crafted lens. What a clever way to solve the problem! Blessed!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hey Jen, what a cool lens! I always get such a kick out of reading your lenses - they are always so fun and informative! I was thinking the same thing about the 'protein addition' to the horses' diets, but it does make sense that the fishies would want to keep themselves alive by swimming away from a giant slurping thing ;-)

      Hope everything continues to go well!


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