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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Gainesville, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    25

    Default Can I put fish in a water source?

    Not sure which thread is best for this one, so picking the 101 since this is my first year.

    Looking to set up a water source close to my hives, both to water the girls and help prevent them going for my pool, not to mention the neighbor's pool. I have a scheme figured out with a float valve to keep a 30-gallon tub full of water at all times, and I'll insert some rocks or netting for easier access. I'm good on this.

    My problem is that I'd like to avoid raising mosquitoes. I read about some folks putting goldfish into a rain barrel to keep down the mosquitoes, and it got me wondering....

    Does anyone have any experience putting fish into a small water tub for bees? The 30-gallon tub size should be a good size for water, but appears too small for standard pond fish. Our temperatures will break 90 or 100 (F) in the summer, which is too hot for goldfish, and they don't seem to be good larva eaters in any case. I found a site on tropical fish that suggested white cloud mountain minnows for a smaller outdoor tank. Of course, they prefer crowds so you'd need a handful of them, and would have to feed them over the summer. Ugh, sounds like work.

    Any thoughtful advice from the bee crowd on keeping the mosquitoes down and the bees happy. Has anyone tried something like this? Would appreciate any lessons or recommendations.

    Thanks,

    Erik

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Bloomfield,KY
    Posts
    290

    Default Re: Can I put fish in a water source?

    You could always put a small fountain pump in to keep the water agitated.
    "Of all God's creatures, only the honeybee improves its environment and preys on no other species."--Haydon Brown

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Battle Ground, WA
    Posts
    135

    Default Re: Can I put fish in a water source?

    I have a pond and a pool, 30 feet apart, they use both. I've not done a scientific study but based on observation, I think they use the pool more.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,727

    Default Re: Can I put fish in a water source?

    My Koi pond seems to be the watering hole of choice for neighborhood bees. They are all over my pond sitting on the lilypads and drinking off the edge or in marginal plant pots. Keeping the water cool enough for fish might be challenging. A waterlilly with its leaves helps with that or a lotus which enjoys the heat.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Des Moines, Iowa
    Posts
    74

    Default Re: Can I put fish in a water source?

    Large Flower Pots With tropical water lilies, water lettuse, near patio,lilie pads are landing strips for the Bees. Guppys into water.mosquitoes lay eggs and larva hatch, larva are a great feed for the fish. Guppy's are a very cheap fish at the pet shop. I keep about a dozen hives here at home. I do have a aquarium in the house for winter time. Neighborhood kids get all the guppys they want and my nice guy rating goes up. Kids always ask questions about the Bees.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Talladega County, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: Can I put fish in a water source?

    Sure you can. And 2 will last longer than a single. Gold fish will eat the algea also. no aireation is needed if they have some shade and not too big a population of fish.
    mike

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Gainesville, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: Can I put fish in a water source?

    Sharp, will a fountain keep mosquitoes from forming and hatching? I wasn't sure that would be sufficient, hence why I was thinking of fish. With evaporation and bee suction I suspect the water will be replenished enough (via an automated float valve) to keep the oxygen levels up. I suppose I might have to worry about the water getting too nasty for the fish.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry J View Post
    Large Flower Pots With tropical water lilies, water lettuse, near patio,lilie pads are landing strips for the Bees. Guppys into water.mosquitoes lay eggs and larva hatch, larva are a great feed for the fish. Guppy's are a very cheap fish at the pet shop. I keep about a dozen hives here at home. I do have a aquarium in the house for winter time. Neighborhood kids get all the guppys they want and my nice guy rating goes up. Kids always ask questions about the Bees.
    Jerry, worried the water might get too hot for guppies. Our pool, which is much deeper than a water tub will ever be, will reach 90F in the summers during a hot spell. That's why I was thinking of a tropical fish.

    But, sounds like you've had luck with the guppies in Iowa. Good to hear.

    Erik

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    lebanon, OH, USA
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: Can I put fish in a water source?

    i put fish in both stock tanks last year. the minnow types survived better than the feeder goldfish. they ate algae & bugs. i floated a couple big leaves for the fish to use as shade.

    can you put your water source in the shade? that would help keep the temp down

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Charlotte. NC. USA
    Posts
    60

    Default Re: Can I put fish in a water source?

    Erik,i have a small pond near my hives and keep goldfish in it,they are shubunkins and Ive never seen a skeeter larvae in the water. The orange store sells hyacinths and water lettuce in spring and they multiply like gangbusters,like Vance G said a good waterlily wont hurt either.Goldfish are a labyrinth fish which means they can gill breath or gulp air from the surface,i wouldn't worry about the heat so much as long as there is plenty of shade from the aquatic plants and no worries about oxygenating either.My girls will use the pond but last year they preferred the peat pot trays i was growing borage in,go figure they liked the muddy water better.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Des Moines, Iowa
    Posts
    74

    Default Re: Can I put fish in a water source?

    Erik, Tried a fountain but it only bothered the bees and made a small current, A bee in the water has a chance in still water. Lily pad will make shade and lower temp. Looked a the temp. in aquarium here in the house, 82 degrees. What makes the water nasty? Rain should add enough oxygen. Water for the bees is the main reason and they soon learn location. Always there in the summer.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    3,222

    Default Re: Can I put fish in a water source?

    I'd go with mosquito fish or something and provide it with shade. My landowers rescued a turtle off the freeway last year and put it into a kiddie pond, the bees loved it, and especially the turtle when it was up for air and his back out of water, the turtle didn't appreciate being a landing pad though.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA, USA
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: Can I put fish in a water source?

    Easy stuff. Bury your tub in the ground leaving a 6" rim above ground level. That takes care of most of your overly warm water problem. Get a large (10") terra cotta flower pot, cover the bottom hole with a folded used dryer sheet to keep soil inside the pot. Fill the pot within 3" of the top with garden soil from your garden--no peat, no manure,no bagged crap soil, no nothing extra. That stuff will make a mess. Buy a hardy water lily bulb at Home Depot when they become available. Plant it with the growing tip ABOVE the soil line by about 2". Cover the soil with 2" of pea gravel to hold the soil down and add weight to the pot to keep it and the contents from floating up and out. Lower the pot slowly into your tub. Go to your local bait shop, buy a dozen fathead minnows. Float the minnows for in your tub for 15 minutes or so to match water temperatures of the minnow bucket/bag/pond , empty them into your tub. The water lily pads will eventually shade the water, the minnows will eat all of your mosquito larva. Keep in mind that the water WILL likely get algae and look terrible for a while. It will clear up after a few weeks. If you add more water or change it, you will have just started that pond balance problem all over again. The bees may prefer some other water source in spite of your efforts.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Cullman, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    50

    Default Re: Can I put fish in a water source?

    Quote Originally Posted by erikebrown View Post
    Not sure which thread is best for this one, so picking the 101 since this is my first year.

    Looking to set up a water source close to my hives,
    <snipped>
    Erik
    Where I have bees without an obvious water source, I use an "upside down bucket feeder" in the bee yard. I think fat bee man described it in one of the "(maryland organic beekeeper)"pod cast interviews.
    for 3 growing nuc hives, a 2 gallon bucket lasts a long time, & the bees don't drown .
    I like the wet carpet idea, but don't know how to keep the carpet wet & floating. I may try that for the hives by the pond or something.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Gainesville, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: Can I put fish in a water source?

    Paulemar, that sounds like the ticket! I'll give that a try. Minnows or Mosquito Fish both sound like good choices. I'll see what our local store has available.

    Tech and others, was looking to have a permanent water source other than a bucket feeder since this is near my house. I'll run a hose and use the float value to keep the water level.

    Thanks for all the thoughts and advice.

    Erik

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Can I put fish in a water source?

    if you use a fountain, put it on a timer to only come on at night. That will put air in the water and cool it, but not bother the bees.

    also, i found that using a short section of copper tubing (2' for my set-up) on the output side of the pump helped to reduce the algae and didn't bother the goldfish.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clackamas Oregon
    Posts
    857

    Default Re: Can I put fish in a water source?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paulemar View Post
    Go to your local bait shop, buy a dozen fathead minnows. Float the minnows for in your tub for 15 minutes or so to match water temperatures of the minnow bucket/bag/pond , empty them into your tub. The water lily pads will eventually shade the water, the minnows will eat all of your mosquito larva. Keep in mind that the water WILL likely get algae and look terrible for a while. It will clear up after a few weeks. If you add more water or change it, you will have just started that pond balance problem all over again. The bees may prefer some other water source in spite of your efforts.
    Fantastic idea! They do not sell minnows here since they always get into the high mountain lakes and ruin everything. We go to the local park where the vector control stocks the mosquito fish by the millions and we net a dozen for the little pond out front. We have a lily and have tried the pump but it clogs daily.
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    5,184

    Default Re: Can I put fish in a water source?

    My problem: Keeping raccoons out of my bee fountain. Fish add to that problem.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
    Posts
    845

    Default Re: Can I put fish in a water source?

    Use mosquito fish if can get your hands on them. They can take quite a bit of heat, 90 should be ok, especially with some shade. Guppies would be ok as well. All are small enough that they should not attract raccoons, just not enough food for the effort. Partly burying the tank will reduce the temperatures. The other option that can go to wally world and purchase 1 of those 2.99 bettas males or 2 or 3 females. They can take significant heat and the low O2 that appears when temps get too high. They originally eat mosquitos and other aquatic bugs. Works well, seen them in water troughs. If winter kills them, get some more, are just bring them in for the winter.
    Started 9/13, building slowly, now @ 7 Lang hives + 2 nucs, and treatment style not decided yet

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    47,573

    Default Re: Can I put fish in a water source?

    If you have a "sandy shore" where the bees can suck the water out of the sand the fish will have no opportunity to eat the bees...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    itawamba county, ms
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Can I put fish in a water source?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paulemar View Post
    Easy stuff. Bury your tub in the ground leaving a 6" rim above ground level. That takes care of most of your overly warm water problem. Get a large (10") terra cotta flower pot, cover the bottom hole with a folded used dryer sheet to keep soil inside the pot. Fill the pot within 3" of the top with garden soil from your garden--no peat, no manure,no bagged crap soil, no nothing extra. That stuff will make a mess. Buy a hardy water lily bulb at Home Depot when they become available. Plant it with the growing tip ABOVE the soil line by about 2". Cover the soil with 2" of pea gravel to hold the soil down and add weight to the pot to keep it and the contents from floating up and out. Lower the pot slowly into your tub. Go to your local bait shop, buy a dozen fathead minnows. Float the minnows for in your tub for 15 minutes or so to match water temperatures of the minnow bucket/bag/pond , empty them into your tub. The water lily pads will eventually shade the water, the minnows will eat all of your mosquito larva. Keep in mind that the water WILL likely get algae and look terrible for a while. It will clear up after a few weeks. If you add more water or change it, you will have just started that pond balance problem all over again. The bees may prefer some other water source in spite of your efforts.
    This is just about spot on except I would rather just throw in a handful of a few types of floating aquarium plants such as frogbit, watercress, watersprite. And I strongly recommend mosquito fish. White cloud mnt. minnows are pretty but prefer cool water.
    If you are running electricity see if you can put in a small "bubbler" to run at least intermittently.

    A bigger deeper tub would be better, especially for thermal balance.

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