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Keeping minnows alive in summer heat

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by hailtothethief, Jul 12, 2017.

  1. Alright i got my 5 gallon bucket foam lining, a mr bubble air pump, and a lid. Anyone have any recommendations for an overloaded minnow bucket in the summer heat. Is there a super bubbler on the market that pumps out more bubbles. Had my first minnow die off the other day. Think it was too many fish. Obviously i want as many minnies as possible. Perhaps theres a thicker foam liner out there too. Any suggestions for better ways to keep minnows in the heat?
  2. dcool


    I have well water and i always freeze a large chunk of ice and put in there along with the bubble pump. This seems to work for me as long as you keep the water very cold.
    James F, backfar and fastwater like this.

  3. fastwater

    fastwater "My grace is sufficient for you"

    Like dcool said, you have to keep them cool. Like dcool, I have well water also and when I used to keep minnows, could do like he does with the chunks of ice melting into the water. If keeping in the house with the AC, could just do a partial water change using cool tap water(about 1/4 of total water) daily to not only help keep water cool but helps with the oxygen and reducing the ammonia in the water caused by the minnows excrement.
    If you have city water containing chlorine, you can do the same water change procedure by getting a small bottle of water treatment solution that removes chlorine from a pet store and adding that to the tap water. When I had city water, I always ran my tap water in a bucket, added my water treatment solution and let the water set overnight before doing the water change.
    All that said, for keeping them alive at home, you'll find it's much easier if you just get a small 10-20 gal aquarium complete with a filter, you already have your air pump and set it up. The filter will remove feces(much of the amonia) and you'll not have to do near as many water changes. If you set the aquarium up in the house, with AC, the water temp. will most likely stay cool enough. Water temps around 68-70 is ideal.
    If set up in garage or outside, you'll still have to keep it cool but you can then just drop a frozen gal. milk jug of water in daily to keep it cool.
    Too, I believe there is a solution from the pet store that helps with the amonia buildup as well.

    Don't know what kind of diffuser or air stone you have for the end of your air line but a longer diffuser/stone that puts off more small bubbles gets oxygen in the water faster. The more oxygen you can get into the water, the better.

    Lastly is food. Don't know how long you plan on keeping them but if for very long, they obviously need to eat. Used to feed mine regular fish food from the pet store. Just remember...the more you feed...the more they go and the more amonia in the water.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
  4. G3guy



    If you have a aerator with one of those air stones that is about the size of a peanut those are worthless when trying to keep a large amount of minnows alive. The above link is what I have, and have kept 6-8 dozen of Goldie's/ emeralds alive in a 5 Gallon bucket without insulation. The first chance I get I replace most of the water from the bait store with fresh, clean lake water not the water in the river or harbor. And usually change the water out several times while fishing. I will also take a metal minnow can( the one with all the holes in it) and put extra minnows in it and toss it over the side of the boat and get them out as I need them.
    James F likes this.
  5. Also if you keep your minnows cold.let them warm up before using them in the warmer lake water.....
    fastwater likes this.
  6. Lots of ice in aerated water works great.
  7. Lots of ice in aerated water works great.
  8. Colder the water they are in the harder the shock from the warm lake water and they won't last long on the hook anyway because of that.
  9. fastwater

    fastwater "My grace is sufficient for you"

    Yep...always best to acclimate them slowly to the temp. of the water your fishing in by doing small, partial water changes once you're out on the water.
    When I was keeping them at home, I tried to keep the water temp. around 69-70. When I'd go fishing, I'd put about 3gal. of water from the aquarium and about 1gal of tipid water from the well in my cooler that had the oxygenator with large diffuser/stone in it. That raised the water temp. about 5degrees or so. Then on the way to the lake the temp. would raise a bit more. When I got the the lake, if the lake wasn't anymore than about 80 Id get them in the lake as soon as I could. Seemed they always did better staying alive when I kept them in the lake rather then trying to keep them in the cooler. Also would take a 5gal. bucket and put a half dozen or so in the bucket to keep aboard for immediate use. Just dumped that water every so often and put lake water in it.
    If the lake water is in the mid 80's or so, you could put the minnows in zip lock bags(just make sure there's plenty of oxygen in the bag) with water out of your cooler and then put bag in lake for 5-10 minutes to let them get acclimated. Then transfer them to your minnow bucket that hangs over the side.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
  10. baitguy

    baitguy catchin my own bait since 1957 basin

    one thing that I've done, if you have the room, is use a cooler that holds more water rather than a 5 gal. bucket, it doesn't get so overcrowded ... the ice in the water trick helps, heat and temperature change kills them faster than anything, and the longer you can keep them swimming the better, but between water temps, stress on them being transported, and bouncing around the bucket from the time you get them for a couple hours on the ride out, it can be a tricky and often futile balance keeping them for any length of time, for the most part they're not very durable and don't last long alive anyway ... think about it, you take a minnow that's 1-2" long, especially an emerald which are particularly delicate, run a #6 or 8 hook that probably weighs more than they do thru their mouth or back :eek: or in the case of perching, the head or body or often a combination of those so the little bait stealing SOBs can't just suck them off the hook and get an easy meal :mad: then you drop them down 30 or 40 or 50 feet ... when's the last time you reeled in for a bait check and found a live one? Much of the time the perch don't care if they're alive or freshly dead, have caught many a perch on part of a minnow, cut the big ones in half, often can use it a couple times but my record is 5 on one minnow :p admittedly that minnow was a bit worse for the wear at the end but it was an experiment :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
    G&G Sportfishing likes this.
  11. I use several different insulated "buckets" . I also keep several 16 oz. bottles of frozen water in freezer and will add one to the minnie bucket just after getting them. Depending on temps, I may replace with another one that I've kept in my lunch bucket cooler.

    My go to minnie bucket is an older 3 gallon Igloo water cooler like you see on construction job sites. Garage sale score. It's the cat's ass IMO.
    Saugeyefisher and fastwater like this.
  12. fastwater

    fastwater "My grace is sufficient for you"

    Hey...I used to use the same thing. Only the orange 5 gal. one's. Had two and they worked great. Drilled small holes in the very top rim of the bucket and installed quick disconnect air line coupler to plug the aerator in. May it nice to be able to screw the lid on loosely for transport.
  13. I forgot about ice. Been awhile since ive used it. Ill stick with what im doing and add a handful of ice every hour.

    As far as keeping them at home i use green water, a sponge filter, a bubbler, duckweed, and i give them a house to hide under. Just keep em at room temp and ring out the sponge filter once a month. I feed em blood worms and shrimp pellets. Wild minnows > store bought
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
    fastwater likes this.
  14. Also use, and keep a bunch of frozen 16 oz. waterbottles on hand. Change out bottles with fresh/frozen one as needed. Using a five gal. insulated bucket , and have'nt had any problems with minnows dying yet.
  15. kayak1979

    kayak1979 Banned

  16. James F

    James F Senior Member

    I get my Insulin by mail,comes in a Styrofoam cooler,that isn't any good for minnows,great for worms! But I also get the frozen gel packs, guaranteed not to leak ? if you treat them right.I usually put them in a freezer zip lock bag just in case.last all day,or until you run out of minnows:(
  17. buckeyebowman

    buckeyebowman On the back 9 and loving it!

    I see a lot of guys have the same idea as me. The most important thing is to keep the water cool. It doesn't have to be cold, but you don't want it to get warm or hot. Cool water can hold more oxygen than warm water, making your aerator more effective.

    And if you stop and think about it, your aerator is one of the things making your bait water warm! It takes hot outside air, and bubbles it through your water. So, frozen water bottles make perfect sense. My buddy does this with his lunch box during Summer to keep his sandwiches and other food cool. And once they thaw, you can drink them to quench your thirst.
  18. I dont think the air pump heats the water. Forcing air through a small opening cools the air down. Its just too damn hot. Ill have to remember to freeze some bottles too.
    fastwater likes this.
  19. G&G Sportfishing

    G&G Sportfishing Captain Tim

    Just put them on ice no water. Perch really don't care if a minnow is alive or not. We don't let the minnows sit in water. Works great this way.