Post By: Goosehunter82 Posted: 4/4/2020 7:08:53 AMPoints: 53574
I've been trying to use minnows more this past ice season and I'm planning to use them more this open water season. Problem is I can't seem to keep them alive for more than a few days. My question is first if I treated the water with some sort fish tank chemical or water treatment will that keep them alive longer? Second with the chemicals will they make the minnows taste like chemicals making the fish not want to eat them? Third am I overthinking this? Closest place for minnows is 45 minutes round trip.
GH . . . .I have tried to keep minnows alive at home and failed. I know that the minnow tanks at all the places that sell minnows have fresh water from (a well?) pouring in to the tank and all tanks have an overflow drain like in a live well.I'm guessing the problem is waste from the minnows. The water gets loaded up with fish piss/poo.I don't think there's a packaged cure for the P&P other than a slow steady flow of fresh water,be it a creek or well. I can't remember who it was,but somebody from here keeps em in a large fish tank in his garage. Get ahold of Sylvan and ask him how they do it at BPS.
Reply by: SGM Posted: Apr. 4, 7:45:30 AM Points: 12250
When I fished with minnows I would also use an aquarium pump for O2 and cold water. Another important thing was to add rocks or some structure to the bucket. Both the transport bucket and the storage tank/bucket. It calms the minnows down so they donít stress out and die.
Reply by: ScottyK Posted: Apr. 4, 8:45:49 AM Points: 133
I have a 30 gallon aquarium with a under gravel filter and a power head pump that filters and aerates the water. I have it set up in my garage. I have no problem keeping minnows alive during the winter. The pump keeps the water from freezing. In the summer I have a few one liter plastic soda bottles full of water that I freeze and cycle in and out of tank to keep it cold. Feed very sparingly regular fish flakes nothing special there...general rule of thumb is a gallon of water per fish to ensure good water quality. Set up tank and let run a few days to get chlorine out of water, then put in a few minnows..this will begin a bacteria cycle that takes a couple weeks to complete. Ramp up the numbers until you get to capacity...Clean with a gravel vacuum once a month. Only take out a quarter of the capacity at any time. Have rested water in a bucket for a day before you clean to replace water with. I keep the receipt in my wallet from bills live bait and present it to the inspector when asked...never had an issue with the date stamp. Love to slip bobber the minnows just over the side of the boat...its kinda a pain to get established but is convenient when you want to grab a dozen and go.
Reply by: Trotline Posted: Apr. 4, 9:36:44 AM Points: 884
I keep my water cold and do no use tap water because of the chlorine. I use distilled water and in the winter i use snow water. I can keep a few dozen alive for 3 to 4 weeks. I keep them in my minnow bucket and in my garage.
I'll reiterate what most everyone else has said. Keep the water cold/cool. Cold water holds more oxygen. It also makes the minnows more lethargic, which slows down their metabolism and helps to reduce stress. I keep the minnows in a plastic cooler in my garage. I think the cooler helps to reduce stress from outside stimulus as well. If you use a cooler, don't leave it completely closed all of the time, since the fish produce ammonia which needs to escape. I made an adapter for my air compressor to supply oxygen to the water, with an aeration stone at the end of the line. I don't do much for treating the water, except any water I add to the cooler I let sit for uncapped for a couple of days to let it dechlorinate. About once a week I exchange some of the water in the cooler for fresh water.
If you donít want to let the water sit out first to let the chlorine evaporate off. ďStress coatĒ from API is the treatment youíre looking for. Any pet shop or amazon has it. Foam bucket in the garage beer fridge and a oxygen stone should have them last for weeks or more. Change water about once a week.
Unless you want to go to the trouble of maintaining an aquarium.
Scotty has the best suggestions IMO. The more water the better. The more airation the better. The more filtration the better. Keep water cool. Donít use untreated tap water or give it time for chlorine to evaporate. I donít over feed.
If still having issues, test water for minerals. Pet stores will usually test for free.
Reply by: Ajax5240 Posted: Apr. 6, 10:39:48 AM Points: 29207
No doubt that Scotty has the best description of a setup that should keep them alive indefinitely.... but that is also about a $500+ setup all said and done to keep some bait fish alive. If you can find a used tank, and want to invest in cleaning all the stuff.. That may be an option.
For dirty bait fish, I would not go with gravel at the bottom of the tank. I'd leave it bare for easy cleanup. Especially if this is not something you are going to keep running year round. I have and under-gravel setup on both my tanks, but those are for pet fish.. not bait fish. If you are setting it up as a permanent fixture, that is the way to go.
I think my setup is around 100$.. you can find used good leak free tanks on craigs..I have the under gravel filter for simple nitrate removal and since I dont feed heavy it stays very clean...I dont have a hang on tank filter because they dont work well and take filters...the aquarium rocks provide an area for bacteria to grow and the power head pumps alot of water through the rocks...I know its a little over the top for 2.10$ a dozen minnows, but its simple and works great..
Used tanks can be cleaned by taking out rocks and undergravel filter, get fresh sponge and put table salt on the sponge and scrub the glass clean. Then rinse. The rocks can be cleaned by putting garden hose in bottom of bucket and then put in the rocks...let run till it percolates out sediment . Most under gravel filters use an air pump to move water up the tube..but a power head forces alot of water up the tube and sucks air in through a small hose.. dont ever use soap.. there is no difference between minnows and goldfish or guppies as far as the waste. No heater is required or light so in my opinion it is easier to set up and maintain than tropical fish...