The Effect of Goldfish (Carassius auratus) on Water Quality in Horse Stock Tanks

Devan N. Catalano, Bradley J. Heins, Shahram Missaghi, Marcia R. Hathaway, Krishona L. Martinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Goldfish (Carassius auratus) have been reported as a method to keep water tanks clean; however, little information exists on this approach. The objectives were to evaluate the efficacy of goldfish on maintaining water quality in tanks and to evaluate the frequency that this method is used. The first objective was completed during June through October 2017 in St. Paul, MN, using plastic and metal 379 L stock tanks, each with and without goldfish in a drylot that housed six adult horses. The stocking rate was 5 goldfish per tank. Daily readings of total dissolved solids (TDS) and water turbidity (NTU), and weekly samples to measure chlorophyll a were taken. At the end of each 28-day period, tanks were cleaned and rotated. Plastic tanks had lower TDS than metal tanks (P <.001); however, metal tanks had lower NTU and chlorophyll a (P ≤.008). Adding goldfish resulted in lower TDS (P <.001); however, there was no effect on NTU or chlorophyll a (P ≥.097). No parameters had an impact on horse preference (P ≥.108). The second objective was completed using an online survey that was open from October 31 until December 15, 2018. Of the 672 completed surveys, 56% had not tried using goldfish in water tanks, 26% had utilized goldfish in the past, and 18% currently used goldfish. The inclusion of goldfish in water tanks did not affect all water quality parameters; however, 44% of survey respondents had tried, or were currently using, this management method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-78
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Equine Veterinary Science
StatePublished - Aug 2019


  • Algae control
  • Chlorophyll a
  • Survey
  • Total dissolved solids
  • Water turbidity

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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