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Greetings from North Central West Virginia!


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Hi all! Just wanted to introduce myself. Along with my husband of 13 years we have 4 children ages 3-11 and are self-employed owners of a micro-dairy farm. 

 

I’ve always loved fish tanks, but have never been very successful at them. I had a 10 gallon fish tank as a kid, knew nothing of what I was doing, and no surprise my poor fish never lasted long. I tried again with a 10 gallon around 10 years ago, still didn’t know anything, failed again, and gave up in a few months. 

 

I never quit dreaming of having a really nice tank though. I’d mention it to my husband once in a while, but never felt quite ready to try again. Well, this past Christmas he said he’d like to get me a tank. In the years since my last attempt, YouTube became a thing. So I spent hours learning about all the things I should have known for my previous attempts. 

 

Finally the beginning of January, I pulled out my old 10 gallon, washed it up, and spent more than I intended to on test strips, fertilizer, and light. I started out with a Java fern that came with 2 stow-away trumpet snails, and let it go. A month later, and it was ready for fish.

51E3530F-3B72-4CB7-8EF3-D73D56285594.jpeg.1f652463c62369e2c3f470552c313894.jpeg

 

Long story short, I loved my 10 gallon so much that when I saw a beautiful 29 gallon setup complete with plants and fish come up for sale, I ended up with it too. I absolutely love this tank.

D99A4333-C740-4B27-B477-DE93D497B0BD.jpeg.797b44c1181b84f85182ab092752fb9f.jpeg

 

And then, because fish tanks are so very addictive when they go well and because my husband is awesome, he let me have a 300 gallon water trough we no longer used for the cows. I washed it up and put it on the front porch. My husband helped me build a filter for it, and it is filled with all kinds of pond plants and goldfish. 

E8C70723-25F6-43C1-B32F-53777C2FD58F.jpeg.06457df2d5d56e4f5061802150146652.jpeg

 

While I feel good that I’m doing a lot of things right this time, I’m still struggling a bit and have questions I feel unable to sort out on my own. I thought I’d go ahead and post an intro before starting to post my questions. 

 

Good to meet you all!

 

~Katie

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On 6/23/2022 at 1:45 PM, KatieF said:

Hi all! Just wanted to introduce myself. Along with my husband of 13 years we have 4 children ages 3-11 and are self-employed owners of a micro-dairy farm. 

 

I’ve always loved fish tanks, but have never been very successful at them. I had a 10 gallon fish tank as a kid, knew nothing of what I was doing, and no surprise my poor fish never lasted long. I tried again with a 10 gallon around 10 years ago, still didn’t know anything, failed again, and gave up in a few months. 

 

I never quit dreaming of having a really nice tank though. I’d mention it to my husband once in a while, but never felt quite ready to try again. Well, this past Christmas he said he’d like to get me a tank. In the years since my last attempt, YouTube became a thing. So I spent hours learning about all the things I should have known for my previous attempts. 

 

Finally the beginning of January, I pulled out my old 10 gallon, washed it up, and spent more than I intended to on test strips, fertilizer, and light. I started out with a Java fern that came with 2 stow-away trumpet snails, and let it go. A month later, and it was ready for fish.

51E3530F-3B72-4CB7-8EF3-D73D56285594.jpeg.1f652463c62369e2c3f470552c313894.jpeg

 

Long story short, I loved my 10 gallon so much that when I saw a beautiful 29 gallon setup complete with plants and fish come up for sale, I ended up with it too. I absolutely love this tank.

D99A4333-C740-4B27-B477-DE93D497B0BD.jpeg.797b44c1181b84f85182ab092752fb9f.jpeg

 

And then, because fish tanks are so very addictive when they go well and because my husband is awesome, he let me have a 300 gallon water trough we no longer used for the cows. I washed it up and put it on the front porch. My husband helped me build a filter for it, and it is filled with all kinds of pond plants and goldfish. 

E8C70723-25F6-43C1-B32F-53777C2FD58F.jpeg.06457df2d5d56e4f5061802150146652.jpeg

 

While I feel good that I’m doing a lot of things right this time, I’m still struggling a bit and have questions I feel unable to sort out on my own. I thought I’d go ahead and post an intro before starting to post my questions. 

 

Good to meet you all!

 

~Katie

Wow love your tanks and pond. I’ve got a  tiny pond of my own but would love to have a pond that bug some time! 

32E8AF3C-E7C2-4D7C-B3DA-A2F763B28034.jpeg

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Wow!!! You aren't a beginer that's for sure. And when you decide to get into the hobby you GO!  Supercool! I love all you tanks/pond. I'm actually a little jealous of you pond, I've wanted to set one up for years but to chicken to do it. 

Your business is a microdairy? Do you make cultured butter, or another specialty? I'm curious.

Welcome!

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On 6/23/2022 at 4:24 PM, sankaz said:

Wow!!! You aren't a beginer that's for sure. And when you decide to get into the hobby you GO!  Supercool! I love all you tanks/pond. I'm actually a little jealous of you pond, I've wanted to set one up for years but to chicken to do it. 

Your business is a microdairy? Do you make cultured butter, or another specialty? I'm curious.

Welcome!

Thank you on the pond! I’m afraid having just GONE is going to get me in trouble. I bought 10 feeder goldfish assuming half of them would die. They are all still alive and growing. It should be next year before they overstock the pond, but… I suppose there’s always room on the other side of the porch for a second pond if I can swipe another stock tank from the farm somewhere! And I have no plan yet for what to do with the pond when it gets cold this winter. My husband did make the mistake of telling me the living room floor would probably hold up 300 gallons… 😂 But for now I’m just really enjoying it. We have a cement trough that is spring fed on the back side of the farm and I’ve been able to source bucketfuls of moss and other plants from there. I even managed to bring back a pretty big crayfish with the moss. He’s a cool fella but I don’t see him often.

 

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For the dairy, we milk 14 cows. We are grass fed and almost organic (almost in that we use conventional NPK fertilizer on the hay fields but follow all other organic regulations). Raw (not pasteurized), fluid milk is our main market. I also make flavored Greek yogurt. We separate one milking a week for cream, and most of that sells as fluid heavy cream. When we have extra, we do churn that into butter. It’s not cultured though - just plain, sweet cream butter. The cull cows are butchered and we sell quite a bit of ground beef as well. Everything is sold off the farm directly to consumers.

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Sweet!!!

I had to come see what all you were doing after answering your questions about your 10 gallon.

Goldfish in your 300 gallon, how do you keep the water accessbile to your herd? (Former farmer from the WA/Canadian border. How deep your water freezes in WV determines a lot of your options, you may already have everything you need due to the dairy farm)

In other words, they may be able to stay where they are.

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On 6/23/2022 at 7:08 PM, Torrey said:

Goldfish in your 300 gallon, how do you keep the water accessbile to your herd? (Former farmer from the WA/Canadian border. How deep your water freezes in WV determines a lot of your options, you may already have everything you need due to the dairy farm)

Some of the herd access that spring fed trough I steal plants from. It never freezes over. One group has access to a barn with an insulated (but not heated) waterer. That works except for the depths of winter when it stays below about 20F for a few days. The big stock tanks we crack ice twice a day when it's cold, and run hoses to refill the tanks that we then drain and roll up inside so they don't freeze. Generally water lines get buried 2 feet down.

 

Our dairy cows stay in our main milking barn during the winter, and their body heat keeps that barn a degree or two above freezing most of the time. I've thought about moving the tank there for the winter, although moving a 300 gallon tank seems a bit daunting. But I have kids that enjoy the fish and would help, so it would be do-able. I could add a stock tank heater where it's at. It is surrounded by a half wall and most of the time that blocks much of the wind. But I don't know if that will be enough. We've kicked around enclosing that porch (my husband is a plant guy and dreams of an enclosed sun porch), but with building supplies so high in cost right now I don't see that happening this year. 

 

Winters here can very widely. The last few years they've been fairly mild, not dropping too much below freezing most of the winter. We did get some cold snaps close to 0F, but they didn't last. On the other hand, some years ago we went weeks without a high above 10F. 

 

I'm very open to suggestions. It seems I ought to have a plan in place before freezing weather arrives. These are just feeder goldfish, but I've named most of them by now and want them to live. 🙂

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If you have room to get hay bales that aren't worth feeding to the herd around your pond, that will keep them around freezing. We would surround the duck pond with the decomposing bales closest to the pond, and the more intact further away. We had weeks at -5 F and the action of the ducks kept them from refreezing during the day. I had to break ice in the morning.

Koi above a certain size can handle pretty cold water. Unlike ducks, you don't have to worry about curiosity burning their mouth (or them dragging a heater out of the pond, lol) A cattle stock tank heater can work, but if you are going to have to buy something, why not keep it cheaper and go with a heater in a cage? Repto heater, or even the Co-op heater set to 35 F (I am looking at mine, I think an Inkbird or a Pymeter control unit, and set that to 35 F to 40 F will keep you from needing to move the pond. Or buy the cattle stock tank heater, they work (my daughter uses them in the horse troughs when temps drop below 40 F for the endlers and comets she keeps in the troughs) as long as there aren't any ducks to pull them out and catch the grass on fire (ask me how I know. Actually... don't🤣)

If you don't have room for bales around the pond, you can wrap in the heater tape used for water pipes, and then wrap with some insulation.

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@Torrey There's not much room where it's at, but I think I could probably squish some square bales between the tank and the porch wall for extra insulation. It hadn't occurred to me to use anything but a stock tank heater. I like the idea of cheaper though! I didn't know things like that inkbird control unit existed. I will definitely investigate that further! Thank you very much for the useful suggestions!

 

And oh, my, ducks! The worst mine ever did was plug off my chicken waterer drain and flood the chicken house. Better that than set anything on fire! We're currently duckless but one of my daughters has been asking for ducklings for 2 years now... Maybe if I convince her they'll eat her goldfish she'll let the thought go. 😉

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