Monday, January 3, 2011

Waiter!! There's a fish in my water...

I've received a number of questions lately from people about the lone goldfish I've shown in pictures that I keep in my donkey/llama stock tank up at the barn.

In the wet and often humid environment of northwest Oregon, mosquitoes can be a real problem. Any pools, puddles or containers of open, standing water beckon to female mosquitoes looking for a place to lay their eggs. Within 48 hours of being laid, these eggs hatch and and become mosquito larvae that must then live in water from 7 to 14 days, depending on the water temperature, to develop into adulthood. The precious goldfish, that I have lovingly placed in my stock tank, gobble these little larvae (and other bugs) up like candy. I like this. A lot.

Now, this handsome and hard working fish wasn't always alone. In May of 2010, we brought home three, small feeder goldfish from the store. One, unfortunately, immediately passed on and then there were two:

These two enthusiastically helped to eat bugs and mosquito larvae throughout the summer and fall and also seemed to enjoy nibbling on the algae that grows so quickly on the sides of the tank during warm weather.

In May, when I first put the fish into the tank, I watched closely to see how the donkeys and llamas would react. I was able to catch Dolly llama, who now lives in Washington with Marcee of "Fancyin' the Farm Life", getting her first drink after the fish had been added:

In she goes:

"Wait a second... what's this?!":

"Hold on, there it goes":

(smack, smack) "Hmmm...I detect a subtle fish flavor with robust forest and maple leaf undertones..":


Sadly, though, the white and orange fishy died, leaving Mr. Goldy as the sole remaining stock tank fish:

And he has been a robust guy, too, surviving even the heartiest wind storms that dump all sorts of debris on his head:

He has even survived ice chunk water:

and frozen solid water:

Every morning when I go up to the barn, one of my "to do's" is to scoop out the accumulated debris in the stock tank from the night before:

Every few weeks, depending on the time of year, the tank needs a good scrubbing:

At that point, my goldfish goes into the bucket and hangs out:

...while I drain and scrub and wash:

and then refill the tank:

He and I both love a pristine stock tank:

Even with Mr. Goldy floating around, Chester has never noticed anything unusual about the water at all:

But, then, he's not really the picky sort when it comes to his food and drink:

Come spring, if Mr. Goldy hangs in there, I'll add some new buddies for him to make friends with:


  1. Ah yes, I was wondering about your goldfish in the stock tank. You are a very smart farmgirl!

  2. I love this post! Especially the part with Dolly llama. Her expressions and your comments had me laughing out loud!

    I keep gold fish in my water tanks too. They are wonderful for keeping the mosquitoes eliminated. And they are very hardy little guys. They don't stay little very long though. It's amazing how fast they grow.

  3. Oh you are such a smarty! What a great idea. Thanks for the lesson on keeping down mosquitoes. I will put that one to use somewhere!

  4. We have a goldfish that we brought here from our rain barrel that collected the rain water off of the garage roof. He lived in that barrel for two full years thru frigid northern WI winters. When we put the house up for sale, we broke the ice and scooped him up. That was in '06. He's now living in a 29 gallon fish tank with a bunch of other fish friends in our rec room.

  5. Like Chester, I never batted an eye when I saw that goldfish in the stock tank Danni! We know you all too well! hahahaha! Hope you get more and he can start a family of critters all his own!

  6. Seriously? Your stock tank is Guinness-book-of-world-records pristine. I'm so very impressed.

  7. very interesting, and a great way to control those nasty skeeters.

  8. Sounds like Mr. Goldy is a hardy one. What a good idea. I'd do that with our duck pool, but I'm sure I know what the result would be.....goldfish dinner. :)

  9. That's a brilliant idea. I wish our winters were warm enough to do this.

  10. That is a hardy fish. I think a few friends would be just dandy

  11. Please God, don't bring me back as a goldfish. Yikes....that water looks damn cold! What a trooper he is! What does he eat now that the mosquitoes have left town for the winter?

  12. I love seeing that little goldfish in there when I use the net to remove all the debris that has managed to make its way into the stock tank.
    Just seeing him in there swimming around makes me smile. And knowing that he has a job to do makes it even better:-)

  13. That is a realyl really cool idea! It would never work in Montana, but what fun it would be if it was possible! I'll have to make sure my Mom sees this post. She'll probaly heat right out to the pet store. Then again...she's only watering chickens and they might have other ideas about a little goldfish in their water.

  14. I think I'll do this in the spring but I have to tell you my neighbor had some in her stock tank that supplied the cows with water and one day there was one floating...clearly bitten in half...yuk. That must have been one very surprised cow.

  15. We do the same thing with the barrels and concrete resevoir that catch rain water. We have a 5'X7'X4'deep gold fish pond that has about 20 in it that raise babies each year that we move to the barrels as soon as it gets warm enough for mosquitos. We have some that are over 5 years old. Those males get beautiful long fins with a couple years of age.


  16. This is a great story. I love the goldfish in the water trough. I may have to try this too.
    Dolly is a kick. "subtle fish flavor with robust forest and maple leaf undertones..": OMG! that's funny.
    What a character she is.

  17. ok now I want a goldfish for the goats water tank!

    Way cool!


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