The Facts Behind Used Galvanized Water Troughs For Aquaponics

Have you heard about used galvanized water troughs for aquaponics? These troughs are often re-purposed to function as water tanks in an aquaponics system.  

However, many people worry if used galvanized water troughs are safe to use for your fish.  Lucky for you, we have done all the research on this topic.  This article will overview the ways people utilize used galvanized troughs water for aquaponics and all the things you should pay attention to before getting started.

Many people tell aquaponics users to avoid using galvanized water troughs for their fish tanks.  We will overview these reasons in this article.  Although it is discouraged, used galvanized water troughs are a very convenient way to upcycle something into your fish tank.

Water Troughs

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This saves money, and resources, and is better for the planet.  These troughs are commonly used to hold water for animals like cows and horses.  When they become older, many farmers throw them away.  This causes more waste for our planet.  

As our planet is suffering from all the human damage, we should try to create the least amount of waste possible. If you are interested in repurposing used galvanized water troughs for your aquaponics, read this article very carefully.  There is some important information you need to know.  

Keep reading now to learn more!

Is It Possible For Galvanized Water Troughs To Get Rusty?

First off, let’s begin by understanding what it means for something to be galvanized.  Galvanized is simply a process of dipping an object in a Zinc Solution.  This protects it from getting damaged by outside elements such as the sun, wind, and water.  

Essentially, galvanizing something will prolong its life.  This process is generally done with steel.  If steel is left untreated and exposed to the elements, it will degrade quickly.  One of the things steel is most susceptible to is rusting.  

According to NCH Europe, “ rust is the term commonly used for the corrosion and oxidation of iron and its alloys, such as steel.”  When steel is exposed to elements, a chemical reaction occurs between the iron in the steel and hydrogen/ oxygen in the air.  

Once the steel starts to corrode, the structure becomes compromised.  This is dangerous especially when the steel is being used for structural purposes.  Over time, the whole piece of metal can rust through and break.

This is the reason people galvanize their steel water troughs.  If they are galvanized, they will not rust or the rusting process will be extremely slowed down.

However, what does this galvanization mean for your aquaponics system? 

What Are The Things You Can Do To Reuse Old Water Troughs?

As mentioned earlier, when your water troughs are old, it is possible to re-use them for aquaponics.  But, you need to be very careful.  Since the used galvanized water troughs are coated in zinc, this mineral can leach into your fish tank.  

Zinc is a micronutrient that is necessary for all life to thrive.  Plants need zinc, humans need Zinc, and animals need it.  However, we only need it in small amounts. 


If there is too much zinc in a system, there will be negative side effects.  This is why many people do not suggest using galvanized water troughs for aquaponics.  When the used galvanized water troughs are left untreated, it will cause an influx of zinc to your fish and plants.

This is very problematic for a few reasons. 

 First off, fish are not able to tolerate high levels of zinc exposure.  Over time, the zinc will continue to rub off and enter your fish tank’s water.  

If this is not managed correctly with proper cleaning and filtration, it could end up killing your fish.  This is especially true if the fish are overexposed to zinc over a long time.  

If you want to try using galvanized water troughs for your fish tank, you need to monitor the zinc levels.  

An acceptable amount of zinc for your fish tank is between 0.3 – 0.5 ppm.  Anything that exceeds this will cause negative health impacts for your fish.  

However, zinc does not corrode on every galvanized water trough.  The amount of corrosion is affected by the conditions of the water.  Some factors that affect zinc corrosion are Chloride levels, PH Levels, and water hardness.

Is It Possible To Seal A Galvanized Water Trough?

One way to possibly control the zinc corrosion is to seal your trough.  However, this method does not work over long periods.  You can use special leak seal products available at hardware stores to do this job.

Not only will this slow the corrosion of the zinc into your water, but it can help prevent potential leaks in your system.  

Overall, if you have used galvanized water troughs available, feel free to use them.  But, we would not suggest buying them on your own to use for your fish tanks because of all the risks. 

Feel free to comment and ask questions below!

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FAQs

Do galvanized water troughs rust?

Galvanized water troughs can still rust but the process is much slower than non- galvanized water troughs. Once the trough is galvanized, it will not rust for a long time.

How do you seal a galvanized water trough?

You can seal a galvanized water trough by sanding down the area where there is a leak and using a special chemical that is used for sealing. These products are easily available at your local hardware store. Make sure to prepare your surface the right way before painting it with the seal.

What do you do with old water troughs?

You can do many things with old water troughs. Some people repurpose them as raised garden beds. If there are no holes in the water trough, many people try to use them as their fish tank in their aquaponics system. It is an easy way to store large amounts of water quickly. Be careful when doing this, there are some things you need to do to prevent zinc corrosion into your water!

How long does a galvanized stock tank last?

The lifespan of a galvanized stock tank depends on the conditions it is in. If you keep it in good condition it can last around 10 years. However, if it is not kept in good conditions you may need to replace it within 3 years.