On our little hobby farm we raise beef cattle and goats with always having to fight with algae growth in the water tank/bowls every summer. I looked into what could be done to remedy this besides dumping the water out and scrubbing the tank every two weeks. There are many products out there that can be added to the water and claim it is safe to be consumed by animals. To me, putting a chemical in the water of my future food is very unsettling.
When off on a feed run one day, just by chance I asked a clerk if they knew of any way to naturally keep algae out of my water tank. She brought me over to a side-cap that had these little burlap sack looking items. After reading the packaging, I thought to myself, ” Hey, it’s better than scrubbing the tank every few weeks.” So I bought one and gave it a try. Thinking that this was just a gimmick, I eventually forgot that I had put the magic algae cure into our tank until a few weeks later when my Mom came to visit and she commented on how tiresome it must be to keep the water tank that clean for the steers. I smiled and told her that I have not cleaned the tank in over a month and that the little burlap sack was the miracle worker.
Jump forward a year; we had some landscaping completed around our home. A very tranquil waterfall now cascades down one side of the front of our house. Sounds great right? I thought so too until I noticed that there was some green and black algae growing on our rocks, Ugh! So once again I was back at the drawing board to figure out what I could use to keep the waterfall algae-free. The first time around I used some products that were geared specifically for this issue:
Both these products worked great together until I found our two dogs drinking and laying in the running water. Absent-mindedly I also forgot that I need to treat our waterfall every so often to keep the algae away and so it started to become a bit green again. Then it dawned on me; I could use the stock tank sacks to keep our waterfall clean and also safe for the dogs! I placed a burlap sack just under the filter of the falls 2 months ago and have not seen any algae since.
You may be wondering what this magical burlap goodie is; surprisingly enough, it is called “Stock Tank Secret”. I bought it at our local Runnings Store. All it contains is barley straw. Once you add the sack to water it begins a decaying process which releases lignin into the water. This interacts with the algae and causes it to die. This is a completely safe and effective treatment containing no chemicals, pesticides, or herbicides; no toxic side effects! The only drawback I found to this product is that you need to replace the sack every two months or so and also when using it in a stock trough; it may need to be weighed down otherwise you cattle/horse/animals may think it is fun to play with it.