Algae growth in a water trough doesn’t just give the water an unpleasant taste, if cattle ingest the algae they may become seriously ill, or even die. To keep your animals in top condition, it’s vital to ensure that troughs remain clean and algae-free. Detailed below are our five top tips for ensuring your troughs stay in top condition, all-year-round.
Ideally, troughs need to be cleaned regularly (at least every two weeks)in order to minimise the risk of algae build-up. If possible, empty the tank, then scrub it thoroughly with a scrubbing brush, using a weak bleach solution and rinsing thoroughly. The tank should then be refilled with fresh water.
If a tank hasn’t been used for more than week or two, the water needs to be drained, the tank cleaned, and the water replaced before animals can use it safely.
Algae need warmth and light to grow. Restrict sunlight by locating the tank in a shady spot if possible. Shade will help to reduce the water’s temperature; a further drop in temperature can be achieved by opting for a concrete tank, rather than a plastic one. Concrete is a poor heat conductor, ensuring water stays at a lower temperature for longer.
Regular, preferably daily, inspection is a good way to spot any early warning signs that the water contains algae. Prompt water testing can then be used to establish if blue-green algae (the toxic sort) is present, enabling remedial measures to be deployed.
A range of anti-algae options are available, including the barley straw mentioned earlier. If a chemical option is utilised, extreme care needs to be taken to ensure that no traces remain before animals are allowed to use the tank. Preparations such as Cupricide and Simazine are effective anti-algae agents but can be lethal to animals if ingested.
Contact Graham’s Precast to find out more about the advantages a concrete water trough can provide with respect to discouraging algae growth.
For more information on concrete troughs, septic tanks and other precast concrete products, read our previous blog Five Reasons Why Concrete Feed Troughs Are Better For Livestock.