How to Keep Your Livestock Water Tanks Full and Clean

lambs_stockphotoWater tanks are a must, but they often pose the biggest headache for most farmers and ranchers. Keeping a full, fresh, clean tank is often one of the hardest aspects of farming. There are numerous products on the market to fill and clean tanks. However, these products are often unreliable, not durable, and can be very expensive. On the bright side, there is an alternative. Jobe Valves and Goldfish.



Having clean, fresh, readily available water is vital in raising healthy animals. At Kencove we carry a complete line of watering systems manufactured by Jobe Water Valves. Manufactured and assembled in Matamata, New Zealand, Jobe Valves have been around since the late 1960’s. Founder Jim Jobe saw a need for a high-flow water valve for dairy cattle drinking troughs and created the Jobe Valve System. Jobe now manufactures innovative, float-operated valves for agricultural, light industrial, and process operations.



Kencove carries the Jobe Megaflow, Jobe Rojo, Jobe Rojo High Flow, Jobe Topaz, and Jobe Vortex Float Valves. Each valve is durable, affordable, and reliable. Depending on your operation, amount of water needed, water consumption, and water pressure, there is a specific Jobe Valve to fit your needs.

vjr_1For a gravity-fed system, we recommend the Rojo Float Valve (VJR). The VJR is ideally mounted above or below the water line and works well where low-flow water is sufficient. The Rojo is compact and non-corrosive, making it a worry-free aspect of your watering system. The operating pressure range is 0-150 PSI, and offers a max flow of 45 gallons-per-minute (GPM). Complete with a built-in check valve, the VJR is fully adjustable and allows for servicing without turning off the water. All Jobe Valves come complete with a switch to lock the valve in the off position allowing for maximum control with convenience in mind. With a low input cost of $29.95, the Rojo fits into any budget.

When working with high-flow water systems, we recommend the Jobe Topaz Trough Valve (VJT). The VJT can be mounted at the top or bottom of your water trough. With an operating pressure of 5-100 PSI, the VJT is ideal for high-flow, compact, robust watering systems where a high level of adaptability is essential. The max flow for the Topaz is 55 GPM. Complete with a wing bolt, the Topaz is easily adjusted to fit the needs of your operation and animals. Check out the video below of the VJT in action! With a competitive price of $72.95, the Topaz is a durable, reliable, affordable addition to your high-flow watering system.

With an assortment of attachments and accessories, the complete Jobe Valve System has add-ons to create a one-of-a-kind system to fit your needs. The Frost Pro Kit (VJTFP) allows for a low flow of water to continuously pass through the Topaz valve to prevent freezing in the valve and pipeline. Jobe also offers a Protect-A-Mount (VJPM) to keep your valves safe from curious livestock. The VJPM mounts over the valve with no tools required. The Protect-A-Mount is made with robust, durable, UV-protected material to protect your Topaz and Rojo valves from livestock, horses, and deer.


The second part of a complete system is a clean tank. A key component to this is…now stay with me here…goldfish. Yes, those dirty fish in that tiny bowl on your son’s desk that he won at the county fair two weeks ago and you figured would be dead by now.



Goldfish make ideal tank cleaners for a few reasons:

They are inexpensive.
They require little care.
They can survive cold weather.
They eat bugs, larvae, and algae.


Photo courtesy of Weisensee Farm and Ranch, Deer Trail, CO

Although we think of goldfish as dirty, they are actually quite clean. As pet owners we overfeed, and do not provide a large enough habitat. When using goldfish in livestock water tanks, you do not need to feed them. Although you may want to, the goldfish will not need the additional nutrients and can survive in the tanks with the nutrients present in the stock tank. There isn’t a general rule for the amount of fish-per-gallon. It was recommended to us that one fish per 30 gallons of water was ideal. However, if you have a larger tank, you don’t need one fish for every 30 gallons. That is simply the minimum space each fish requires.



For the colder months in areas where water freezes, you can keep your fish in your tank without worrying. As long as your tank doesn’t freeze completely solid, the fish will go into a hibernation stage and once spring emerges, they will be back to eating all the green grime that is growing in your stock tank.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Don’t overfeed your goldfish.
  • Don’t overstock your tanks.
  • Evaluate populations.
  • If mounting underwater systems, check your float string.

Here are some common concerns and solutions:

  • Livestock with bother the fish.
    • In our research, most farmers and ranchers say their livestock show no interest in the fish. As long as your tank is deep enough for fish to swim away from predators such as cats or raccoons, the fish have no fear of becoming dinner.
  • The fish will get stuck in the water system.
    • The only concern brought up by Jobe’s Manufacturing Specialist was the fish chewing on the string that connects the float to the valve. This is only a concern if you are mounting your valve at the bottom or middle of your tank. Although goldfish do have teeth, you shouldn’t worry since their teeth are designed for grinding rather than chewing.  
  • The fish need to be fed.
    • One reason goldfish tanks often seem dingy and dirty is due to overfeeding! As pet owners we often overfeed the fish, which causes them to produce excess waste. Since we recommend 1 fish per 30 gallons of water, you are allowing for enough natural matter per fish. By overfeeding and overcrowding your fish tanks, you are creating a dirty environment.


There really isn’t an easier, simpler, or more complete water system. With little to no maintenance, using a Jobe Water Valve System and a few goldfish, you can rest assured knowing your livestock have access to clean, fresh, full water tanks.


Next time you are out cleaning stock tanks and hauling buckets, remember Jobe Valves and Goldfish!


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