View Full Version : Keeping baitfish alive?
04-29-2004, 09:36 PM
Hey, I got a 45 gal. bait tank and have had alot of trouble keeping my bait alive in it. I got enough oxygen in it so I dont think thats the problem. The bluegills seem to live alright but fish like suckers/ shiners keep dieing. I took 32 dead ones out of there today. Could I be over crowding it? Is there anything you can put in the water to keep them alive longer? Thanks! :confused: ;)
04-29-2004, 09:48 PM
Are you keeping it in a cool place? The cooler the better. And you could be keeping it overstocked. No matter how much oxygen you have, ammonia builds up. With no form of bacterial filtration, the ammonia becomes toxic and kills the fish. You can change part of the water every day or so to minimize this but it will not alleviate the problem. What type of tank is it? I may have some sugestions.
04-29-2004, 10:09 PM
Right, you may be needing a power filter with a good activated charcol or even a faster flow of water to eliminate ammoina. They also sell an ammoia stablizer at most pet stores and the Wall marts. It gather ups the ammoina particles(Somehow or another) and makes it easier and faster to trap it in your filter.
I have a 10 gallon tank that I have a big die off problem with if the ammoiia gets to high levels
04-30-2004, 07:26 AM
PM me if you still need help. I have had several aquariums for years and years. I have never tried to keep bait fish but have managed to keep some of the more difficult tropicals alive for a long time. I would try to answer here (and may once I get some details on your tank and setup but explaining the bacteria cycle and getting all the details would probably bore everyone here to tears). The main thing is to have good filtration and a completed bacteria cycle. after that its all downhill.
04-30-2004, 07:35 AM
Your going to have trouble with suckers and shiners no matter what you do, but there are a few things that might help. Keeping the water clean and fresh is very important. Keeping them separated from the bluegill will also help a lot. It also sounds like you have way too many fish in there. Even in the best conditions, it's hard to keep suckers alive for extended periods.
04-30-2004, 08:38 AM
Also try adding rock salt to your tank.Good luck
04-30-2004, 11:50 AM
Well its not a real bait tank. I made it myself from a 45 gallon Rubbermaid storage container. I have an electic airpump in there but thats about it. Its actually pretty simple. I have it in the shade but Ill try changing about half the water everyday. I dont think I could hook a filter up on it but I dunno. Thanks for the help.
Truck- is rock salt the same as table salt?
04-30-2004, 12:12 PM
trap it is the same salt used in home water softner system,most home improvment places sell it.Also if your bait starts getting red nose put a little baking soda in also.Daryl
04-30-2004, 12:13 PM
The ammonia is what is killing your fish imho. Massive water changes (50%) 2 times (or more) per week will help but most importantly you need to keep something like a sponge filter in the system so that the ammonia-eating bacteria have something to live on. Once you get a cycle finished you will have a much easier time of it.
04-30-2004, 04:46 PM
traphunter, its hard keeping suckers and chubs alive in a fishtank but everybody i know that keeps them all tell me the trick is keeping the water cold as cold as you can so if you have someplace that stays dark and cool at your house you may want to try that, i know with shiners as long as i keep the water iced down i can keep several dozen 4 to 6 inchers alive in a 10 gal bucket or several weeks.
04-30-2004, 09:13 PM
Couple of additional things like everybody else has given, it sure sounds like ammonia is killing them off, ammonia is heavier than water so it collects at the bottom of the tank, fishes gills absorb ammonia faster than they will O2 so they go belly up in a hurry if you can't get rid of it.
Suggest that you may go with a sprayer bar with a submerged pump like a Rule that will pull the water up off the bottom when the ammonia hits the air via the spray bar it will then disburse to atmosphere, that way you won't have to do a water change, I would also use a lot of salt but use pickling salt, it breaks down fast and has no iodine in it which is instant death to baitfish.
My rule of thumb is 3 baitfish per gallon of water, but I'm using a Grayline baittank which has a filtering system and sprays the water out so baitfish swim in a circular motion, I am keeping Shad alive in my tank and they are much more fragile than suckers and shiners, you can also use a product called Baitsaver which adds electrolites and slime coating to there gills and prevents them from absorbing ammonia.
If your water is getting dirty or starts to stink after awhile then you will need to change the water out, if you have a lot of foam on the water that too will prevent oxygen saturation of the water and they will go belly up on you to prevent foam from forming use Cremora coffee creamer in powder form, just sprinkle a wee bit till you see it disperse.
Ideal water tempature should be around 50-60 degrees, use a digital temp meter if you need one send me a pm and I'll send you one.
Something else, look at the water see if you see sparkly flakes in it, lots of times they will drop scales and when they breath those it cuts there gills and that is also a bad thing, again the pickling salt will lock down there scales preventing flakeoff.
04-30-2004, 09:24 PM
Hey Seth, since you have an airpump one of the simplest filters to use would be a sponge filter. I may have an extra one since I took down about 5 of my aquariums recently. I still have about 10 or 11 tanks going so I may even be able to spare a seeded sponge. These are sponges that have already cycled and I use them with my bait cooler for extended keeping. I have a bilge pump setup that works great but needs a 12 volt source to run. Once you set up a filter though you need to keep it going uninterupted in order to keep the bacteria alive. As you may know I have been keeping aquariums for a long time and can give you some good advice on this stuff. Kelly knows where I live and so does Thomas if he remembers. Let me know if you want to try this method.
05-01-2004, 10:08 AM
Thanks all for the very helpful replys. :) Fastlane, if they keep dieing I might have to take you up on that one. :cool:
05-01-2004, 03:13 PM
The larger baitfish can be tough to keep alive i. e. shiners, suckers, chubs. Fathead chubs, (crappie minnows), can be kept alive dern near forever if you put them in the refrigerator and change the water every week or so. A 150 or more will survive in a 5 gal. bucket with no probs.
This will also work for larger bait if the bucket is'nt to crowded and the water is changed more often. When changing the water only change half at a time to prevent thermal shock.
05-02-2004, 03:01 AM
anyone use an oxygenator? I like to freeze 2 ltr bottles or milk jugs and add daily when the heat is on to my outdoor bait tank.
05-02-2004, 11:52 PM
I find that I can keep Goldfish & Bluegills for darn near forever by using very minimal equipment. Walmart has this double size reg pump for something like $14. Heck i bought that 6 ft hose, 2 bubble bars (yes the cheap ones) & run that into a 40 qt cooler & it has managed my bluegills & goldfish for over 1 month. I also run a 350GPH bilge pump (Super Saver) for a few hours every couple days. I do change the water every 4 days or so. Now when I had my reg aquirums I just ran an undergravel filter w/ a couple of power heads, I just made sure the power heads were way more than I needed. You'd be surprised how mnay 4-8 inch goldfish & gills I kept alive in 10 & 15 gallon aquirums. I know it sounds generic but it worked.
I tell ya what, take a look at this web site (http://www.angelfire.com/oh5/catfish_hunters/baitkeepers2) & see what you think about his bait tanks ('Rat if you dont want anyone using tha tlink PM me) Look at the "Home Made" bait tank.
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