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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnanehttps://www.thatsfarming.com/
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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PHOTOS: How fish can keep your cattle drinkers and troughs clean and healthy

Cluainview Farm is a low-input, grass-based sustainable cow/calf operation using regenerative planned grazing management with an emphasis on animal husbandry and stockmanship.

The Kilkenny-based farm shared one of its regenerative farming tips on social media in recent days. Jennifer O’Reilly, Cluainview Farm, revealed a way to keep drinkers, troughs, and tanks clean and healthy for livestock.

A cattle aquarium 

The post on a cattle aquarium reads as follows:

“Anyone running cattle or other livestock with fixed permanent drinkers will know that cattle drinkers can be a breeding ground for the spreading of germs to herds.”

“Here’s a very handy way to keep drinkers, troughs and tanks clean and healthy for your cattle and other livestock. By adding the right number of fish to your drinkers, cattle troughs reach a comfortable and sustainable biological equilibrium.”

“The fish are never fed from day one. They survive all-year-round off of insects, algae and also cannibalize each other and eat their own eggs.”

“Being that they are underfed through the harsh times and feast on a bounty in the good times like summer, and are underpopulated. They produce very little ammonia. What ammonia is produced is detoxified easily by nitrifying bacteria that lives on the tank walls.”

“To this drinker, we added a breeze block on the base of the drinker for the fish to have protection from prey species like herons and other opportunists looking for an easy meal.”

“We also added a timber cross member that helps keep grey herons from feeling comfortable to land with their big wingspan. But it’s job ultimately is to prevent stock climbing into the drinker or climbing across into another pasture.”


“The 6 fish cost us €10.00 from Petmania and we calculated 2 fish per 60 gallons of water. pH tester strips are a good indication of your tank’s quality of water and whether the fish population is correct for your water capacity. 80 strips cost us €1:50.”

“With mobile drinkers and fast moves of livestock, this option of utilising fish is not practical unless your drinker is moveable on wheels. You don’t have to tip over the drinker before mob moves.”

“But if you have fixed troughs in locations across your farm, a cattle drinker is the ideal location for some fish that will give back and keep your herds satisfied with clean disease-free water!”

“We have lost zero fish over the years and the tanks are incredibly clean.” the post concluded.

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