Q12) How much maintenance do pasture water tanks need?
Water tanks in pastures need to be dumped out a minimum of once a week in the
summer time to control mosquitoes and to clean and scrub out algae. In the
winter, tanks should be dumped at least once per month.
Options for dumping include siphoning, pushing tank over, or use of a drain
or ball valve on the bottom of the tank. The later is the most efficient and
least labor intensive.
If tanks require disinfection, bleach solution is the most cost-effective
method (1 part bleach to 4 parts water). The solution should be rinsed out
thoroughly with clean water before refilling the pasture tank. While the bleach
solution will not harm the horses, the chlorine odor might discourage horses
from drinking normally and cause health issues.
Options for pasture tanks are plastic, rubber, metal, or fiberglass. There
are pros and cons for each. Make sure the one you choose is safe and smooth to
prevent injury. Horses will bump and knock the tanks, particularly when in a
group, so make sure the tank will hold up to abuse and not become a danger to
the horses using it. Make sure it is safe to use with a tank heater if needed in
cold climates. Give special attention to whether the material used to make the
tank will affect the taste of the water. Horses can be very put off by unusual
tastes or odors, and this can limit their water intake, which can cause severe
If cats or birds have access to the large tanks, you might leave a piece of
wood or board in the tank to offer an escape for a wayward critter. Make certain
the wood is non-toxic and untreated to keep the water clean and safe for
Set the tank in a safe location where horses have open access. Make sure
there won�t be crowding at the tank or it isn�t a trap for a weak horse. Make
sure it is a good spot for dumping out that won�t create a slick muddy spot in
front of the gate.
Thanks to Stable Environments Inc. (www.stableenvironments.com)
for providing these water tank tips. Stable Environments Inc. provides equine
facility design and stable management consulting services for horse owners.