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Jan 23rd, 2013
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Keeping native minnows alive #13979108 04/29/21 06:49 PM
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Lonestar Angling Offline OP
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[Linked Image]

I've recently started netting and using a lot of native minnows, and have had a lot of success with them. Whenever I'm fishing with them the same day I just net more of em as the need arises. Lately I've been fishing a creek too snaggy to throw a net in though, so I tried keeping some in a bucket overnight... No dice. All 6 died by morning, so I got an aerator and tried again. This time I only had one out of 15 or so die overnight, and replaced half of their water with fresh well water this morning to keep them lively. Now that I know I can keep them for a short time with a bubbler in the bucket, I got to thinking about keeping them long term. I assume that, like minnows at the bait store, native minnows will stay alive in a home aquarium? If so, does anybody have any estimates on how long they can live if you keep them fed? Sorry for the rambling post, I got excited at the prospect of keeping live bait on standby year-round.

Re: Keeping native minnows alive [Re: Lonestar Angling] #13979168 04/29/21 07:37 PM
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Treat them just like aquarium fish.

If you’re using tap water you have to treat it to remove the chlorine first.


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Re: Keeping native minnows alive [Re: Tommar] #13979201 04/29/21 08:04 PM
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Will do Tommar, thank you thumb assuming I keep proper water conditions and kept them fed would they eventually just die of old age in a tank? When I only kept shad from my net I looked into keeping them alive long term but it didn't seem doable with my budget/expertise, I'm sure I can keep a regular aquarium running no problem though.

Re: Keeping native minnows alive [Re: Lonestar Angling] #13979548 04/30/21 12:56 AM
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Hopefully no minnows you get will be able to die of old age, they need to die trying to catch you some fish!
Good luck with this, I bet an aquarium type set up will work well for what you want to do-

Re: Keeping native minnows alive [Re: Lonestar Angling] #13979656 04/30/21 01:44 AM
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Keep this information for the Texas Parks and Wildlife website in mind.

Live fish, including personally caught live bait, cannot be transported from the water body where the fish were caught in or aboard a vessel in water from the water body where the fish were caught. Personally caught live bait can be used in the water body where it was caught.

Re: Keeping native minnows alive [Re: Lonestar Angling] #13980138 04/30/21 01:40 PM
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Placing a frozen bottle of water in the bucket may help.


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Re: Keeping native minnows alive [Re: Lonestar Angling] #13980335 04/30/21 03:24 PM
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Well water, unless aerated, is dangerously low in O2. Best to aerate it before using it in your bait tank.

Re: Keeping native minnows alive [Re: Lonestar Angling] #13981489 05/01/21 05:13 AM
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Thanks Steve! I'm hoping that none have to die of old age, but I guess it was more of a question of if I could theoretically grow them to larger sizes over time.

I always appreciate any info trying to keep me legal Barry, all bait will be used in the same body of water they are harvested from. Hopefully everything regarding the water from the lake is resolved by using my well water, I could be wrong but have been told that you can't use lake water in your bucket if leaving the lake as it could transport zebra mussels?

Thanks Holzer, I've read this before and will definitely use it when it gets hotter, but with the low temps in my area lately I believe my main issue was having the water moving so it could re-oxygenate. The bubbler I added did a great job keeping them lively-- I could hardly grab any of them when baiting my hooks today.

Meadowlark, great info, thank you for letting me know! I have had problems with well water in the past when adding it too quick, I wasn't sure what it was but just assumed the water coming straight from the tap was too cold. I started adding the water in a very thin stream over a long period of time. I thought I was giving the fish time to adapt to the temp change but I guess was letting it oxygenate hmmm

Re: Keeping native minnows alive [Re: Lonestar Angling] #13989203 05/07/21 03:23 PM
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Put them in a styrofoam container.

Re: Keeping native minnows alive [Re: Lonestar Angling] #13989229 05/07/21 03:44 PM
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Keep them in a cool place. Please Release me makes a livewell additive you can use to treat your water. DO NOT use water from your hose to change it out, or the chlorine will kill them. Keep the air pumping and you should be good.

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Re: Keeping native minnows alive [Re: Lonestar Angling] #14031991 06/14/21 09:22 PM
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I remembered this thread after setting up a permanent minnow tank and thought y'all might be interested to hear about it. I was tired of buying D cell batteries so I bought a plug-in aquarium pump rated for 5 to 15gal and filled an old 120qt cooler partially with well water. After aerating the water for a while I put the minnows I had in and-- success! They have been much more lively than they were when I used my battery operated pump. Here's the first batch of minnows in their new home.

[Linked Image]

The cooler was originally free, and after tax the air pump and air hose were less than $14, so I set this up for the cost of ~8 batteries for my old pump... Only 4 days of use! I'm incredibly happy with how it turned out thumb Now I just need to find a way to power it in the truck bed while I'm out fishing!

Last edited by Lonestar Angling; 06/14/21 09:24 PM.
Re: Keeping native minnows alive [Re: Lonestar Angling] #14032008 06/14/21 09:35 PM
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Neat thread! thumb


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Re: Keeping native minnows alive [Re: Lonestar Angling] #14032058 06/14/21 10:25 PM
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Yellow frabil free flow minnow bucket placed in the lake will keep the the best that I have found. If you have to, put them in a cooler with an aerator and put some ice to cool the water down

Re: Keeping native minnows alive [Re: Lonestar Angling] #14032106 06/14/21 11:04 PM
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Thank you Banker and Fishin'! I actually have a floating live well that I made that mimics the free flow bucket, I keep my bait in it at the dock and it works better than any bubbler/bucket combo I've used. Even keeps shad alive for hours, and cost me about $1 to make. I really enjoy DIY and saving money, if y'all can't tell roflmao

Re: Keeping native minnows alive [Re: Lonestar Angling] #14032673 06/15/21 03:06 PM
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You can use tap water to fill your tank if you let the chlorine dissipate first. Fill a bucket and let it sit out overnight. Chlorine is a gas, and it will evaporate out of water.

If you are looking at truly long term, then you will need to clean out the water in your tank. The ammonia and nitrates from fish waste will build up in the water eventually and become toxic. About once a week you will need to drain out roughly 1/3 of the tank, and refill.


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