Stock Tank Basics and Repairs

Coastal’s Urban Farmer’s Almanac

Stock Tanks

Watering Your Animals 24/7

Your livestock needs water, it’s just a fact of farm life. Whether you’re running a huge ranch in Central Oregon or a small farm outside Spokane, filling and maintaining stock tanks can be a tiresome daily chore. To help you out, we’ve put together some tips and tricks to keep your stock tanks clean and watertight.

Clean Regularly

Aside from differences such as shape, size, and whether it’s plastic or galvanized, stock tanks require regular cleaning. To make it simple, pull the plug (if there is one) and drain your tank. Then take a stiff bristled brush to the inside along with a mixture of bleach and warm water. Then just hose it out and refill.

Skim the Top

Remove leaves, tree needles, and other debris before they have a chance to clog your drain or encourage algae growth. Also, watch out for small critters that might drown in your trough. A decaying rodent can make your animals sick.

Coastal Tip: Give squirrels a way to climb out of your stock tank if they happen to fall into it. It’s easy to build a 3-sided incline out of a medium gauge, flattened stainless steel. Be sure yours is tall enough to sit at the bottom of your trough and reach out to the edge of the tank. Secure the top in place.

Keep Algae at Bay

There is nothing more frustrating than a layer of algae in your stock tank. While algae aren’t always toxic to livestock, it can pose health risks. To keep algae from forming, try Stock Tank SecretTM. It’s an all-natural option that you just put into the tank and change out every other month. This easy-to-use product releases lignin as the barley straw in the package begins to decay. That processes then kills the algae.

Other options include copper sulfate and unscented chlorine in very small amounts. However, these options can degrade metal pipes over time and could have a toxic effect on some animals. Be sure to follow manufacturer specifications.

Make Repairs

From heavy-duty Rubbermaid to galvanized stock tanks, troughs can develop cracks with extreme temperatures, movement, and daily use. Here are a few quick ways to repair yours.

Plastic: Simply heat up the cracked area with a propane torch until the plastic around it is moldable. Using a screwdriver, move the pliable plastic into place to repair the crack. You’ll need to do this on the inside and outside of the tank.

Metal: If you have a small crack, drill it out with a bit that is bigger than the fracture. Then simply use a right-sized nut and bolt to secure metal and rubber washers into place on both the inside and outside of the tank. Viola, instant seal.

Any Surface: Try J-B Weld or Flex Seal®. Either of these products work on virtually any kind of surface, from metal to plastic. They do take a bit of time to completely cure, but either are a great way to fix cracks of almost any size.

Coastal Tip: If cracks get to be too big or rust has overtaken your trough, there are plenty of creative ways to put that tank to good use.

Refilling Made Easy

If you have a spring on your property, you could use that water to continually fill your stock tank. Just dig a hole about 10 feet downhill from your spring ensuring it is big and deep enough to insert a culvert vertically into the hole. Before placing the culvert, add slits to one side. This will allow water to seep into the culvert from the spring. On the other side of the vertical culvert, add a pipe. This will force water to flow from the culvert and out the pipe. Then, run the pipe underground to your stock tank at the bottom of the hill and bring the pipe up into the stock tank. Gravity and pressure will trickle water into the trough. Add an overflow pipe on the other end of your tank and allow the spring to continue its original path at least 15 feet away.

Coastal has Stock Tanks in Stock

You’ll find everything you need to water your animals in stock at your nearby Coastal Farm & Ranch, including J-B Weld, Flex Seal®, stock tank valves, and other water-smart ideas. While you’re at the store, be sure to check out the latest selection of tack, work wear, feed, and footwear for your country lifestyle.

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