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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was wondering if anyone here had tried using an aeration system with their stock tanks to prevent the water from freezing. We run several stock tank heaters and they really hammer the power bill. I've been playing with the idea of using aeration stones and aquarium type air pumps instead. Being winter we have down sized our tanks as they are easier to keep heated, so we are talking 8 gallons at the most. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated, Paul.
 

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Well it makes sense, if you keep the water moving, it should not freeze. You can keep the heaters hooked up, but not used, just in case. Just my 2 cents. Later Travis
 

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I used to run a herd of cattle and traded winter vacation work with a friend and tended his herd on occasion.

I used a propane stock tank heater and later switched to a wood burning one. He broke and pitched ice to allow drinking. I kept the thermostat fairly low but on a cold morning steam would be coming off of the tank and most if not all of it would be clear of ice.

Guess which herd of livestock at the most feed---in part to heat the cold water they had drunk? Guess which livestock appeared to feel better after drinking while the others stood around for awhile with a hump in their backs?

There is no denying that it costs plenty to heat water enough to keep ice off of it. I'm a firm believer that you will reap the rewards from it however.

While a bubbler will keep ice from forming over a spot above where the bubbles arise to and may mix the water a little, it does nothing to raise the water temperature more than the temperature at the bottom of the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the thoughts. Curiosity got the better of me Thanksgiving day so I dug out an old air pump and stone from an old 50 gal fish tank we had in storage. Decided to start small so I headed to the chicken coup. We have a small water bowl in there, @ 1 gal. Hooked it up and it has worked pretty well so far. No ice. The air pump is rated at 2 watts instead of the 60 watt light bulb we normally use. Don't know if I'll bet the farm, but it looks promising. I did some research and found that I could buy perforated tubing instead of using aeration stones. Gonna try 5 gal next. Paul
 

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We used to use them at our old place. It was a very frigid zone 3. The tank was a big metal tank cut in half so there was lots of surface area and exposed metal sides. We used an aquarium pump and a couple of the longer stones, plus floated a basketball around. Sometimes it would freeze shut but it did a great job of keeping at least one hole open, or at least thin enough the sheep could get a drink.

In little tanks or buckets, the air couldn't keep up and they always froze tight.
 

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In my experience with commercial sized fish ponds I think aeration will cool the water and cause it to freeze solid instead of just on the surface if your area experiences subzero temps.

I've got a thread in Alternative Energy about the geothermal waterer I'm trying to build.

Solar Gary had one on his design for a solar heated waterer that looked really good.

Other people have said they were able to make compost heated waterers.

Can you insulate and cover?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The basketball sound cool. As far as insulating..... Yes I could, but instead I am trying to use double containers, one iside another to create air space but not freeze together. My experience with fiberglass insulation around water is that it doesn't work very well. Right now we are using rubber buckets inside hard plastic buckets. There is just enough differential between the dimensions to allow for a 1/2 inch air gap. It was my thought to use rubber bucket liners in case they actually froze. Take them out and beat the ice out. Thanx for your input. I realize now that I can't rely on the aerator in an exposed waterer. I drilled a 10 foot bore under the main livestock tank with an auger and lined it with PVC. We'll see what happens.
 
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