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 Goldfish in Your Rain Barrel?
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Ninibini
True Blue Farmgirl

7313 Posts

Nini
Pennsylvania
USA
7313 Posts

Posted - May 29 2012 :  6:01:00 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi girls!

My wonderful husband made me an awesome rain barrel for Mother's Day - he ROCKS!!! Collected rain water is one of the best ways to water your garden. It's extremely "green" and good for the earth's ecosystem. The water itself is "naturally soft" water, with dissolved minerals from the environment, which garden plants just thrive on - no chemicals other than what nature would normally bring. VERY organic, a natural "fertilizer," if you will. And because it's natural and soft, the plants just drink it up - pun intended, sorry... couldn't resist! ;) The best thing to do is to attach a "drip hose" (for those of you who don't know what that is, it's a hose that has little nail holes in it so the water slowly drips out) and lead it into the garden underneath your thirsty plants. When you turn on your spigot, the water drips at the plant's roots, which is the best way to water your garden. You reduce your water AND sewage bills (every bid counts!), you help reduce flooding in your yard and basement by capturing and directing water where you want it to go, and you're even slowly replenishing the precious groundwater supply. It's a good thing - a REALLY good thing! Captured rainwater is actually even better than treated tap water to wash your car and watering your indoor plants, too!

My wonderful rain barrel filled up with the first torrential rains this week... I think we need another one for spill-over! LOL! We get a lot of rain here in western PA. You'd think watering the garden wouldn't be necessary, but we do need to do it on occasion, so I thought this would be a great alternative! Why pay for water when you can get it free - and when it's as plant-nutritive as water comes! The garden will love it!

Somewhere I had read that you could (should?) keep goldfish in your rain barrel, not only to keep away the mosquitoes, but also because they eat any algae that might grow, and their waste is a real boon to the water when used for your garden. I cannot for the life of me find the article online or in any of my gardening and self-sufficiency books, and it's driving me nuts. I'm wondering if any of you have done this, and if there is anything special I need to be aware of or do to keep the fish healthy? We don't have a crazy mosquito problem or anything, but I thought it might be something really great to try. I remember that once we bought goldfish at the fair and they died because we didn't realize our home water was chlorinated... Do you know if there are similar concerns about rainwater? And how much should I feed them? Whatever you can share, I'll be very grateful!

Thanks so much!

Nini

Farmgirl Sister #1974

God gave us two hands... one to help ourselves, and one to help others!


Edited by - Ninibini on May 29 2012 6:55:24 PM

melody
True Blue Farmgirl

3241 Posts

Melody
The Great North Woods in the Land of Hiawatha
USA
3241 Posts

Posted - May 29 2012 :  7:20:30 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What a great idea....We tried collecting rain water last year for our raised garden beds, but it got to be so gross Nini with all the algae and gunk and I didn't want to have a harvest of mosquitoes so I had Bruce dump the barrels after a while.

I just hate having to pay for our city water...

Good luck with the Goldfish!

Melody
Farmgirl #525
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oldbittyhen
True Blue Farmgirl

1511 Posts

tina
quartz hill ca
USA
1511 Posts

Posted - May 29 2012 :  8:11:08 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I keep goldfish in my livestock water tanks, rain barrels, and in my pasture ponds, they keep out the mosquitoe larva, and eggs, plus keep the algae down to a healthy level...as long as the roof does not have any strange chemicals on it where the water runs down, they should be fine, I have asphalt shingles, and have not killed any yet...

"Knowlege is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad"
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countrymommy85
True Blue Farmgirl

898 Posts

Krystle
MT
USA
898 Posts

Posted - May 30 2012 :  07:29:44 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I never thought about using goldfish in a rain barrel! We use them in our stock tanks and don't have a problem with algae or mosquitoes. I'm surprised I didn't make the connection to use them in rain barrel's as well! Great idea! Thanks for sharing the question. Now, if I can get some rain barrels set up here that is exactly what I'm going to do! :)

Mothers are those wonderful people who can get up in the morning before the smell of coffee. ~Author Unknown

http://countryrenaissance.blogspot.com
http://www.etsy.com/shop/SunflowersAndHoney
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Bear5
True Blue Farmgirl

13055 Posts


Louisiana/Texas
USA
13055 Posts

Posted - May 30 2012 :  08:18:30 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I love our rain barrels, they sure help out when there is no rain for a while. I like the idea of the goldfish in the barrel.
Marly

"It's only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth- and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up- that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had." Elisabeth Kurler-Ross
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Ninibini
True Blue Farmgirl

7313 Posts

Nini
Pennsylvania
USA
7313 Posts

Posted - May 30 2012 :  08:24:27 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm so glad to see you all think this is a good idea! :) I'm just worried about how to care for the fish themselves. I am glad to hear that you've had success with this, Tina! I'm anxious to try! :)

Farmgirl Sister #1974

God gave us two hands... one to help ourselves, and one to help others!

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Ninibini
True Blue Farmgirl

7313 Posts

Nini
Pennsylvania
USA
7313 Posts

Posted - May 30 2012 :  08:34:12 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Oh! I keep forgetting to mention: Last night I was watching a gardening program and one of the featured guests mentioned that watering your garden with a drip hose, such as I will be doing with my rain barrel water, is actually the best way to water your plants. It goes right to the plants' roots, of course; but the key is that by directing water right to the where it is needed most, you are not wasting water. And since you're not watering the rest of your garden soil, you will experience a lot less weeds, if any at all! Where we live, we get very rainy summers, so I suspect that weeds will always be a trial for us, but in areas where you experience less rainfall, this really could be a blessing! :) - Nini

Farmgirl Sister #1974

God gave us two hands... one to help ourselves, and one to help others!

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acairnsmom
True Blue Farmgirl

1319 Posts

audrey
cheyenne wy
1319 Posts

Posted - May 31 2012 :  3:59:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Question for all those who already have the goldfish-what do you do with them in the winter (for those that have cold winters)? Do you bring them in or what? I like the idea of letting the fish take care of the mosquito larvae but I'd hate to freeze them in the wintertime!

Audrey

http://prairiecairncottage.blogspot.com/
Good boy Hobbs! I love and miss you.
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oldbittyhen
True Blue Farmgirl

1511 Posts

tina
quartz hill ca
USA
1511 Posts

Posted - Jun 01 2012 :  08:17:37 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Audrey, I have had my barrels freeze the top 4 ins, and still never lost a fish, I always float a chunk of wood, so when it does freeze, I can easily break that out so the fish will still get oxygen, the same goes for my livestock tanks, goldfish are extremly cold hardy, their metabolism will slow down to the point of hibernation in a sense...

"Knowlege is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad"
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nubidane
True Blue Farmgirl

2691 Posts

Lisa
Georgetown OH
2691 Posts

Posted - Jun 01 2012 :  6:47:53 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What about the heat in the summer???
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Ninibini
True Blue Farmgirl

7313 Posts

Nini
Pennsylvania
USA
7313 Posts

Posted - Jun 01 2012 :  7:43:08 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What a great idea, Tina! Thank you!!! Yes - as Lisa asked... What about the summer - will they survive the heat as well? And also, is there a certain number of fish we should place in our barrel? And what about daily feeding - just a sprinkle of goldfish food if there are no larvae or algae forming?

You'll all be pleased to know that I actually planted the last of my garden using my rain barrel store... We haven't done a drip hose or soaker hose yet, so I just put a large juice jug under the spigot, filled it and then dumped it into my watering can. The plants were happy as can be!!! I really think we need a second rain barrel, though, for overflow... It's been raining cats and dogs and the rain barrel is full again already. I am just loving it!!!

Krystle, my husband made this rain barrel himself - easy peasy! And he used mostly recycled materials or things we already had around the house - it didn't cost very much at all. I can ask him for "instructions" for you, if you like, but I'm also sure you can find lots of info online. I've been asking him to make one for me for a few years, but it hasn't been his highest of priorities (busy busy busy guy). Now that he has made it and seen it in use, he's pretty impressed. He said he doesn't know why he didn't just do this a long time ago! :)

Happy weekend, girls!

Nini

Farmgirl Sister #1974

God gave us two hands... one to help ourselves, and one to help others!


Edited by - Ninibini on Jun 01 2012 7:43:50 PM
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crittergranny
True Blue Farmgirl

1096 Posts

Laura
Lindrith NM
USA
1096 Posts

Posted - Jun 02 2012 :  1:56:38 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have kept goldfish in my stock tanks and I also built a small pond 8x5 about 2 or 3 ft deep. I once cleaned the stock tank and it killed the fish which were about 8 in long at the time. I found out later that it takes a while for fresh water to build up the proper microbial critters that balance the water and eat the bad stuff. Otherwise the fish are poisoned by their own pee. Our water is well water so chlorine isn't an issue, it was just too clean. It probably won't affect the fish if they are small to be put in fresh water but it will if they are larger. The fish in my little pond now are about 9 yrs old. They were small when I put them in and are about 9 in long now. There was a baby one in there last spring but I havent seen it in a while. They can take pretty cold temps but I put a stock tank heater in it in the winter or it will freeze solid. We are in the rocky mountains at 8000 ft altitude and the ground freezes solid down to 5 ft here. I have fed them a few times but they don't pay any attention to it. They just eat pond crud. I also have a water lilly in there and they eat the dead leaves on it. I put water in the pond and let it run over sort of partially flushing it about once a week or so and dig out the algae with a cat litter scooper. The water runs over into a small area where it makes the grass grow tall and I cut it with scissors and take it to my stalled stallions. I also dip the water out and put it on my flowers, they love it. So I guess it would work to keep fish in your barrel as long as it isnt too clean. Oh yeah I aerate it with a small pump that brings water out of bottom of the pond and it falls back into the pond from about 2 ft over the water from an old tea kettle. I will post a pic of it if I can. The lillies are about to bloom in it. They are a pretty pink color. But anyway You might need to aerate somehow. I hope this helps. I'd say give it a try after all they are just goldfish.
Laura

Horse poor in the boonies.

www.nmbarrelhorses.com
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Ninibini
True Blue Farmgirl

7313 Posts

Nini
Pennsylvania
USA
7313 Posts

Posted - Jun 02 2012 :  2:59:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Oh, Laura! I would LOVE to see pictures! Thank you for all the information!!! It's funny because I was actually wondering if we should put some sort of water plant in the barrel for them... I'll have to check into that a little more. And I'll ask my DH about aeration, too. Good points!!!

We just bought five little goldfish today, and they seem as happy as can be in our rain barrel... I'm so happy!!! I can't wait to see how it goes! Yay!!!

Nini


Farmgirl Sister #1974

God gave us two hands... one to help ourselves, and one to help others!

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oldbittyhen
True Blue Farmgirl

1511 Posts

tina
quartz hill ca
USA
1511 Posts

Posted - Jun 02 2012 :  7:34:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Lisa and Nini, I live in the high desert, we can get to 20 below in a tuff year, and its not unheard of to get to 115 in the summer, some sort of shade in the hottest part of the day, or if the barrels are on the north or east side, that should be good enough. I buy "feeder goldfish" from the feedstore, they are a 1 1/2 - 2 inches long, in a fiftyfive gallon barrel I would put in 6-8, its the surface area that is the concern, if all live, remove the extras in a couple of years when they get crowded. I do not feed unless its a new tank/pond/barrel, and it has not built up the alage yet, they will keep it trimed for you once they get going, as for city water, what ever container you use, let the water stand fish free for 72 hrs , then add them, float the bag they are in for 30 minuetes, and then dump them...

"Knowlege is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad"
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thebyrdhaus
True Blue Farmgirl

520 Posts

Patty
Columbus Oh
USA
520 Posts

Posted - Jun 11 2012 :  7:38:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We buy feeder fish from the pet store for a little of nothing every year to drop into our rain barrel. At the end of the season we dump the goldfish into the pond. They always survive without any care.

Patty #1840

http://ladygonegreen.blogspot.com/

A rind is a terrible thing to waste. Compost.

When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.”
-Jesus in John 6:12 NIV Bible
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rough start farmgirl
True Blue Farmgirl

3331 Posts

marianne
The Beautiful Pacific NW Washington State
USA
3331 Posts

Posted - Jun 12 2012 :  03:33:31 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We have them in our horse trough and they always survive too. They even survived our mare's footbath last summer. Who knows what possessed her to stand in the trough? I guess she wanted to soak her feet. IT wasn't even that hot ... She is a curious creature. Had to be a bit terrorizing for the fish though. Poor things.
Marianne
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Ninibini
True Blue Farmgirl

7313 Posts

Nini
Pennsylvania
USA
7313 Posts

Posted - Jun 12 2012 :  07:46:21 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well, and I have to share with all of you that our goldfish are happy as can be in our rain barrel - they seem to be very happy and are getting bigger by the day! I feed only a pinch of organic goldfish food each day, and they are thriving! The garden is, too! ;) YAY!

Farmgirl Sister #1974

God gave us two hands... one to help ourselves, and one to help others!

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FieldsofThyme
Farmgirl Guide & Schoolmarm / Chapter Leader

4928 Posts



USA
4928 Posts

Posted - Jun 13 2012 :  05:03:40 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm glad I read this. We have yet to put in our rain barrels and are still getting prices, and information. Thanks for the tip.

Farmgirl #800
http://pioneerwomanatheart.blogspot.com/

http://scrapreusedandrecycledartprojects.blogspot.com/

From my hands: http://pioneerpatchworkhomespun.blogspot.com/

From my Camera: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pioneerwomanatheart/
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Ninibini
True Blue Farmgirl

7313 Posts

Nini
Pennsylvania
USA
7313 Posts

Posted - Jun 13 2012 :  08:10:50 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Kristi - My husband just used a barrel from down at his family's docks, added a spigot near the bottom and sealed it with sealant, cut a hole in the top and inserted a plastic basket to filter out any big debris that might come down, and re-directed our downspout so the water would flow into and through the basket. There's also another 3 - 4" hole on the other side of the top of the barrel where I feed the fish and can look in and check on them daily. It didn't cost us very much at all, and it was very simple to make (easy for me to say - he did all the work!). Do you live near any of the rivers? Sometimes the marinas get rid of the barrels they no longer use and would gladly give them away for free. My husband did clean ours out inside, but it was really clean because it had only been used as a float for the docks. Further, there is a "junk store" near by that sells used plastic pickle barrels very inexpensively... You might want to check out local restaurants or specialty food stores to see if they would be willing to give you one when they're finished with it. It's worth a shot! :) Good luck! Hugs - Nini

Farmgirl Sister #1974

God gave us two hands... one to help ourselves, and one to help others!

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FieldsofThyme
Farmgirl Guide & Schoolmarm / Chapter Leader

4928 Posts



USA
4928 Posts

Posted - Jun 13 2012 :  2:58:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Nini!

Farmgirl #800
http://pioneerwomanatheart.blogspot.com/

http://scrapreusedandrecycledartprojects.blogspot.com/

From my hands: http://pioneerpatchworkhomespun.blogspot.com/

From my Camera: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pioneerwomanatheart/
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KansasFarmMomma
True Blue Farmgirl

91 Posts



91 Posts

Posted - Jun 13 2012 :  3:16:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've wanted to get some for our stock tanks. Does it matter how many go in?

Nicole
Farmgirl # 4209
www.bearpawphotography.weebly.com
www.KShappyhomemaker.weebly.com
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oldbittyhen
True Blue Farmgirl

1511 Posts

tina
quartz hill ca
USA
1511 Posts

Posted - Jun 13 2012 :  3:31:15 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nicole, in my stock tanks I put in 15 - 20 feeder size fish, you will lose a few, and if as they grow, it gets crowded, just move the over flow to something else...

"Knowlege is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad"
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KansasFarmMomma
True Blue Farmgirl

91 Posts



91 Posts

Posted - Jun 13 2012 :  3:52:36 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
How big is your stock tank? I've got a 150 gal rubbermaid tank & then two 6', one 8' & one 12' metal round stocktanks

Nicole
Farmgirl # 4209
www.bearpawphotography.weebly.com
www.KShappyhomemaker.weebly.com
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oldbittyhen
True Blue Farmgirl

1511 Posts

tina
quartz hill ca
USA
1511 Posts

Posted - Jun 13 2012 :  7:42:17 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have the steel oval shaped that are 300 gal.s each...

"Knowlege is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad"
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crittergranny
True Blue Farmgirl

1096 Posts

Laura
Lindrith NM
USA
1096 Posts

Posted - Jul 21 2012 :  1:13:13 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Here is a pic of my little pond that we dug and I was talking about a while back in this post. The cat is Quatre my daughter's kitty.

Laura

Horse poor in the boonies.

www.nmbarrelhorses.com
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Ninibini
True Blue Farmgirl

7313 Posts

Nini
Pennsylvania
USA
7313 Posts

Posted - Aug 04 2012 :  10:36:24 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That's BEAUTIFUL, Laura!! Kudos!

You know... yesterday I found a dead fish on the sidewalk next to my rain barrel. Ugh! We have a stray cat that has been coming around in the evenings (mornings?) and spraying in the yard. I'm thinking he must've reached down to pick one out when the water was high the other day, and I must've scared him away when I came out to feed the fish. I feel so bad to have lost one. Thankfully, however, the others are still happy and going strong! We're going to have to put something over the opening so the cat can't reach in... It's on my "to do" list for this afternoon! Wish me luck!

This rain barrel has been such a blessing - and the fish really have added a boost of natural fertilizer that my plants really seem to love! I'm so happy!!! I think I want to put another in next spring, just in case the drought worsens and begins to strongly affect our area, you know?

Again - I have to ask: Is there anything special I need to do for the fish/rain barrel for the winter? Friends and family say to just leave them in there and they will survive on their own through the freezing cold... that I don't need to insulate the barrel or feed them through the winter or anything. But I feel like that is just not enough... Any suggestions?

Thanks so much!

Hugs -

Nini

Farmgirl Sister #1974

God gave us two hands... one to help ourselves, and one to help others!

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