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Jan 23rd, 2013
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Bait Tank: Build or Buy #13236206 08/05/19 03:25 PM
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After watching my hard earned shad die in my boats baitwell in an hour this weekend I have decided that I need to do better. My baitwell is oval about 18 gallons and got completely clogged up with scales. My dilemma is to buy a tank or build my own. When I say build i am not taking about cutting up a barrel and adding a pump/filter. I would design and fabricate it from sheet PVC or HDPE and cut the parts on my CNC. Double wall with insulation. I'll probably spend 400 or more on the project so I won't save that much on doing it myself. I do like a project and it would be nice to have the tank fit my boat exactly. I have looked at many of the designs out there and it seems pretty straightforward. I also know that a lot of experience and trial and error goes into the design of these tanks that I don`t have. Other than round, insulation, filtration and oxygenation is there some secret to bait tanks? I would love to hear from anyone who has done DIY and commercial tank comparisons. Is DIY worth it?


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Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13236234 08/05/19 03:43 PM
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This is what I just did. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RvvsDS4Cgo&t=11s

I don't fish enough to justify paying $500 to $600 for a tank. I can move it where ever I need in the boat or truck. I have around $150 in this. I use bottles of frozen water to cool the tank down.

I did change a few things. I put both the light and pump on a switch. I did not cut holes in the pump housing I drilled 1/4 to keep bait out. I moved the door back and put a piece of cutting board in front to cut bait up and I put a drain with a hose adapter in the bottom to empty the tank. I also have a 400 GPH pump to pump water in. I also fabricated fish aquarium charcoal into a filter along with a few other things.

Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13236377 08/05/19 05:25 PM
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I like your diy baittank. Good idea!

Here’s my diy baittank for another idea to consider. It’s probably $100-$150

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MEMogBRo9Kg

Ultimately, buying a nice tank like blue water baittank or shad shack is worth it if you get serious about it but yes it’s $500-$700.


Clay

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Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: TGalyon1] #13236408 08/05/19 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by TGalyon1
This is what I just did. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RvvsDS4Cgo&t=11s

I don't fish enough to justify paying $500 to $600 for a tank. I can move it where ever I need in the boat or truck. I have around $150 in this. I use bottles of frozen water to cool the tank down.

I did change a few things. I put both the light and pump on a switch. I did not cut holes in the pump housing I drilled 1/4 to keep bait out. I moved the door back and put a piece of cutting board in front to cut bait up and I put a drain with a hose adapter in the bottom to empty the tank. I also have a 400 GPH pump to pump water in. I also fabricated fish aquarium charcoal into a filter along with a few other things.


Those are pretty nice tanks. About how many gallons is that?


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Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: RespectTheFish] #13236409 08/05/19 05:58 PM
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Clay, I caught your video and the one with your newer tank.. I was seriously considering going with the moeller tank and adding insulation. There is an outfit that is already using those for a base (striper soup I think). How was your luck with the DIY setup vs your new tank?


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Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13236518 08/05/19 07:18 PM
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I like your diy baittank. Good idea!


This was not my idea, nor is it my video. Don't want the guy thinking I am taking credit for his hard work. (but I did us it) I found it on youtube along with other video . My tank hold about 40 gallons of water. I just got it put together yesterday. I have made tanks in the past but with no filter. We will see how it works. I have a 20 gallon made into the boa without a filter. It work good for minnows but shad only hold about 10 or so.

Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13236549 08/05/19 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Boomerbrewer
Clay, I caught your video and the one with your newer tank.. I was seriously considering going with the moeller tank and adding insulation. There is an outfit that is already using those for a base (striper soup I think). How was your luck with the DIY setup vs your new tank?


Overall its like comparing a Yeti cooler to a cheap Igloo cooler. It is obviously better in every way. Worth the extra money? I think so, some would disagree. Can you get by with the smaller, cheaper version? To some degree yes and perhaps the best way to start out as it is maybe less than $200 versus about $600-700 by the time the blue water bait tank is at your door.

Yes sir striper soup is what I watched on youtube and was introduced to the Moeller through one of their videos. I didn't like how they had probably a 4 inch big pvc pipe taking up half the small 23 gallon tank so I made my own version as you saw in my video. They are good tanks and my filter I made was sufficient for numbers of shad which the tank could hold. I got by with my tank for a year or two before I decided to upgrade to a blue water bait tank.

How they compare? Well, frankly, the blue water bait tank makes keeping the temperature down about as easy as it can get I imagine. Once I add a few frozen milk jugs in the water I'll get the water to mid to upper 70's and that's good enough for keeping over a hundred shad alive over night versus in the summer the Moeller likely would be very very difficult to control temperature but with insulation of some sort it may help.. The filtration system is much better in the blue water as well so I am not afraid to catch shad and throw them directly into the tank immediately in the summer rather than put them in a 5 gallon bucket for a few minutes to slim and scale up that water first which is a must if you had the Moeller due to the filtration system I built. Fewer filter changes required and sometimes not necessary during a single trip with the blue water. Depends on your budget. You can always start off with the Moeller and upgrade if and when you feel fit. I just like the peace of mind knowing I can catch bait and leave them in my blue water bait tank over night with no problems.


Clay

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Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: RespectTheFish] #13237108 08/06/19 03:45 AM
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I think it depends on what you are going to do. I have a Moeller 30 gal tank, and a keep alive filter/ aeration system. In the heat of summer, I put in 20 gal of water, 10 lb of ice and a cup of pool salt. I can keep 80 shad alive for four hours and can add a frozen 2 liter to keep em frisky. I do put them in a bucket for a bit then transfer them to the tank. There is no way I could catch them and keep them overnight and I can only keep about half that number of small gizzards alive...


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Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13238035 08/06/19 09:54 PM
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I have a used 30 Gal Grayline that I am Selling for a costumer very lightly used nice clean tank has blue interior and removable filter box $300.00

Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Roger Grayline Bait Tanks] #13238580 08/07/19 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Roger Grayline Bait Tanks
I have a used 30 Gal Grayline that I am Selling for a costumer very lightly used nice clean tank has blue interior and removable filter box $300.00


That a good deal and if I was closer I would probably jump on it.


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Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13238610 08/07/19 11:55 AM
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I really appreciate the notes on how well the different tanks work. I really think I need something insulated so at this point I think I am going to try and build. After looking at the materials and new plastic welder I would need, I am not sure it is going to be much cheaper than buying a new tank. But I need a project to keep me off the streets, and it would be nice if it fit my boat just right.

I plan to cnc the base and lid from 1/2 in hdpe marine board and grove them to accept a double layer of 1/4 hdpe (maybe 3/16 or 1/8 if I can find it) material for the tank walls with about an inch of airgap between them. I'll plastic weld them together. The gap can be filled with 2 part urethane foam. I like the designs with a separate compartment for the pump and filter. I will probably go with multiple filtering socks if I can find them. Any suggestions would be appreciated at this stage, especially concerning the wall thickness and filtration.


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Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13238933 08/07/19 03:53 PM
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I would think you could build it and drill a few strategic holes to fill it with the Great stuff insulating foam.

We built a round drink tub out of plastic utility tubs by stacking two of them with spacers, and filling with great stuff foam. Made a lid out of large white cutting boards we bought at Sams Club. It serves its purpose, its no yeti, but it works.

Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13240020 08/08/19 11:23 AM
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I am looking at plastic suppliers and so far have found that 1/4 in is the thinnest marine hdpe board that I can locate. Are tank walls made by shad shack and blue water really this thick? It seems like it would be too heavy and expensive especially with foam in between.


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Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13242006 08/09/19 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Boomerbrewer
I am looking at plastic suppliers and so far have found that 1/4 in is the thinnest marine hdpe board that I can locate. Are tank walls made by shad shack and blue water really this thick? It seems like it would be too heavy and expensive especially with foam in between.



The tanks that I have had dealings with are about 1/16 inch or so, 1/4 would make it heavy I would think. But if you are not going to move it and weight is not a problem for your boat, then it would work.



Last edited by TGalyon1; 08/09/19 04:42 PM.
Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13248354 08/15/19 03:10 AM
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I bought a moeller 40 gallon oval tank for $175. After buying a bilge pump and making a simple filter system I only had $225 invested in the entire set up. I fill the tank with tap water from home and treat it with a de-chlorinator I buy at Walmart for treating aquarium water. I also ad 4 cups of salt to the tank. After a recent fishing trip this summer I forgot to empty the bait tank when I got home. 4 days later I walked by the boat and heard the pump running in my bait tank. All of the shad were still alive and happy. You can't beat that for $225.

Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13248399 08/15/19 04:01 AM
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An oval tank is going to matter. The square corners of cooler-tank (conversion?) will beat up your shad (they're not very bright and seems they don't turn well either).


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Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13270043 09/04/19 02:51 PM
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Thought I would do an update on the bait tank build, Just in case anyone wants to learn from my mistakes, and there are a great many of them. I source plastics in 1/2 1/4 and 1/8 by the sheet. For the tank the plastics ran about 230 or so, but I had to buy enough to build 2 tanks with some to spare.
For the top an bottom I used 1/2 marine board. Cut on my CNC router to 26x31 which should fit my boat well.

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]


I used 1/4 white marine board for the outer tank sides and 1/8 HDPE for the inner tank lining with a 1/2 inch air gap for insulation. I may latter foam fill that. Bending the 1/4 marine board was difficult requiring an elaborate form, space heaters, ratchet straps and some texas sun to help soften it up. I also required a a generous serving of adult beverages to keep the whole process tolerable. Getting these things aligned proved to be very difficult I should have used bigger groves in the top and bottom and 1/8 material on the outside.

[Linked Image]

Got part of the top on, but the internal divider would not cooperate, so it will be screwed in later to some braces that I am fabricating

[Linked Image]

The inside of the tank won`t see any UV light to eat up the plastic so I can use cheap HDPE cutting boards from SAM's to fabricate internal parts.
[Linked Image]

I welded everything with a cheap plastic air welder from Harbor Freight, it works but difficult to control the temperature and prevent smoking the plastic. Another note, probably should use a respirator when welding that stuff with you head in a tank.

I plan to work on it some more this weekend, since the fish in Belton lake don`t seem to be biting.


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Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13270116 09/04/19 04:17 PM
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Unless you are a professional guide with 4-6 fisherman on a boat I do not think you need a tank this large. I fished last night with my 17 gallon Grayline bait tank and never lost single shad. I caught 50-60 or so and threw a few back nice and lively at the end of the night. I did change out the charcoal filter for one with charcoal and zeolite, which I think helps a lot. I also used a 1/4 cup of shad keeper and a full cup of pool salt. Still had the filter full of shad scales and I think that is just part of fishing with shad. If I was fishing during the day I might drop a few frozen plastic water bottles in from time to time to keep the water cool.


Last edited by PKfishin; 09/04/19 04:18 PM.

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Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: PKfishin] #13270253 09/04/19 06:47 PM
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It wound up being a bit larger than I had intended, it is probably close to 40 gallons. I do want to try and keep some shad from day to day during the spring. If it does get unwieldy on the boat, I may build a smaller one and keep this one at the house to overnight them in. I already have the material and learned a lot about what not to do. I will definitely be using some zeolite and charcoal.


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Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13270352 09/04/19 08:36 PM
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Man that is cool but what a project! I applaud you for attempting/doing that....but also glad I just bought one for $550 plus shipping from blue water lol. Sounds like a bunch of work and a bit of a nightmare.


Clay

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Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: RespectTheFish] #13270785 09/05/19 02:15 AM
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Originally Posted by RespectTheFish
Man that is cool but what a project! I applaud you for attempting/doing that....but also glad I just bought one for $550 plus shipping from blue water lol. Sounds like a bunch of work and a bit of a nightmare.

I looked closely at the bluewaters, look like great tanks. This build turned into more of a project than I intended, but I learned a lot about working with marine plastic. Lots of ways to use that stuff on the boat. I would not recommend building over buying unless you in it for the experience. The cost is not much different.


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Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13275193 09/09/19 02:38 PM
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Another update on the bait tank build. This weekend I got the top cut and the internal divider and filter system mostly in place. The top is a three piece set. I cut in some graphics and a ruler to measure. I may fill the cut with colored epoxy for contrast before it fills up with fish dirt. It took 2 hours of CNC time to cut this with the 0.055 bit I was using.
[Linked Image]

I got the internal divider in to separate the compartments. I put the water return pretty low in the tank so I won`t have to fill it as much when I only have a few in there. I have it pointed to hopefully generate a slow whirlpool action.

[Linked Image]

The filter system probably got me thinking more than anything, and I am not sure that what I have so far will work out. I looked at what a lot of tank builders are doing and I like the filter sock approach the most. Having multiple redundant filters that are removable for cleaning seems like a good idea. Because this tank is pretty big and I want it to filter when it is half full, I can not use a filter where water enters the top. These filters receive flow from the bottom and contain about 12*15 inches of filter floss material used in aquariums. They are made from 1/8 hdpe and thousands of 1/8 holes. There are 2 main filters and I am planning a seperate pump for aeration. A third small filter box is there for carbon and such.

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

A few more hours should have it finished...hopefully.


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Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13275221 09/09/19 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Boomerbrewer
Another update on the bait tank build. This weekend I got the top cut and the internal divider and filter system mostly in place. The top is a three piece set. I cut in some graphics and a ruler to measure. I may fill the cut with colored epoxy for contrast before it fills up with fish dirt. It took 2 hours of CNC time to cut this with the 0.055 bit I was using.
[Linked Image]

I got the internal divider in to separate the compartments. I put the water return pretty low in the tank so I won`t have to fill it as much when I only have a few in there. I have it pointed to hopefully generate a slow whirlpool action.

[Linked Image]

The filter system probably got me thinking more than anything, and I am not sure that what I have so far will work out. I looked at what a lot of tank builders are doing and I like the filter sock approach the most. Having multiple redundant filters that are removable for cleaning seems like a good idea. Because this tank is pretty big and I want it to filter when it is half full, I can not use a filter where water enters the top. These filters receive flow from the bottom and contain about 12*15 inches of filter floss material used in aquariums. They are made from 1/8 hdpe and thousands of 1/8 holes. There are 2 main filters and I am planning a seperate pump for aeration. A third small filter box is there for carbon and such.


[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

A few more hours should have it finished...hopefully.


Awesome looking tank. How much $ do you think you have invested ?


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Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13275235 09/09/19 03:11 PM
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Really nice work there. thumb


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Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: GIG'EM AGGIES] #13275261 09/09/19 03:42 PM
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Total investment is tough to pin down, I had to buy more of everything that I used on this project. The biggest cost is the plastic and I bought 4 sheets for $430. This tank used less than half of what I purchased, but I have plans for the rest. Spent $50 on two part foam, $50 on HDPE welding rods (enough to to 10 tanks probably) , $25 on hinges and probably another $50 on odds and ends.


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Re: Bait Tank: Build or Buy [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13275282 09/09/19 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Boomerbrewer
Total investment is tough to pin down, I had to buy more of everything that I used on this project. The biggest cost is the plastic and I bought 4 sheets for $430. This tank used less than half of what I purchased, but I have plans for the rest. Spent $50 on two part foam, $50 on HDPE welding rods (enough to to 10 tanks probably) , $25 on hinges and probably another $50 on odds and ends.

You obviously know what you're doing and the work is impressive. I'd like to have/make one but don't have the tools needed. Probably end up buying one that fits my needs. Look forward to seeing the finished product.


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