Adding salt to bluegill tanks?

Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by dinkbuster1, Mar 25, 2006.

  1. dinkbuster1

    dinkbuster1 New Member

    ive heard lots of folks saying they add salt to the livewells with shad, does this work for gills as well? chubs? suckers? etc? if so, how much per gallon? and what all does the salt do for the fish?
  2. Sinker

    Sinker New Member

    Dink, I don't think anybody is back from fishin yet. I never heard of this til I got here. Hope somebody can shed a little lite.

  3. Jamey

    Jamey New Member

    Pegram, Tennessee
    I'm not sure, but I have a theory. :)

    Most species of shad, much like striped bass, are anadromous species of fish (meaning they spawn and hatch in freshwater, but spend most of their lives in saltwater). At least until freshwater impoundments were built and blocked their access back to the oceans. Also like striped bass, it turned out that they COULD survive and even reproduce in freshwater (although they still try swimming upstream to spawn, which is one reason why you find so many shad and shad-eating fish, below dams).

    As far as I know, bluegill are strictly a freshwater species and probably can't tolerate very high-salinity waters.

    But like I said, I'm just theorizing here - the only way to know for sure is to give it a try. If you do, be sure to let us know how it works out!
  4. TA2D

    TA2D New Member

    Gils are a pretty tough little fish, I think that they would be able to tolerate salt added to the water in small increments, and it would probaly have the same effect on them... hardening the scales and toughen them up a bit, would probaly work with bullheads, this isn't fact just a little speculation.


  5. Mountain Cur

    Mountain Cur New Member

    Missouri, Warsaw
    When I change water in my aquarium I add one table spoon per five gallons of water (industry standard). With "gills" or chubs I would assume you would have to experiment a little, different water takes different amounts, but since longenvity in a live well would be measured in hours rather than weeks it wouldn't be as critical. For shad I drop them in a bucket of strong salt solution (one cup to 5 gallons) let them stay there for 15 or 20 minutes and then change them into a bucket of fresh water with the tablespoon per 5 gallons. Seems to work for me. Iodized salt doesn't appear to hurt them so don't worry about that, personally I use the cheapest I can find. I know others on the BOC use salt so there will probably be better info than what I've given here.
  6. Netmanjack

    Netmanjack New Member

    Question?:confused: Why would you need to add salt to bluegill, minnows, suckers, or bullheads? They have tough enough hides. And the will stay lively if kept in cool oxygenated water. Shad on the other hand are very hard to keep, from what I have seen. Their scales drop of and they die quickly even in a good bait tank. I can see the need for salt in the shads case. I hope someone will try this out on the gills, it would be handy for some brothers to keep them both in the same tank.:) I personally like to fish with cut shad. I tried live ones a few times and they always twist my line up, even with a barrel swivel.:mad:
  7. Jroc777

    Jroc777 Member

    Evansville, IN
    I agree. I fish with live bluegills and chubs all the time and I have never had trouble keeping them lively without adding salt. I use a bait bucket with a bubbler in it to keep the water oxygenated and it works very well. Shad on the other hand dont keep very well and need extra stuff added to the water to help keep them alive. Also, if you are fishing in warm weather add a little ice to the water every once in a while to keep the water cool.
  8. s_man

    s_man New Member

    south east ohio
    I don't know much about this subject but from my observation when you add salt to water the water gets a slimy feel to it. Home water softeners use salt pellets in the tanks, when you wash your hands they never feel like you get all the soap off. Maybe this would help the slime coat on the baitfish or put one back on after handling. They are much more prone to injury with no slime. Thats a reason I don't use a net on my catfish, the hard plastic scrapes off the slime and cuts the fish making them good candidates for infection and death.Their slime is like our skin,no skin and we'd be dead in no time. So it might help bait I'm not sure. Does anyone know if the bass tourney guys put it in their livewells to keep fish alive til weigh-in?
  9. Fishgeek

    Fishgeek Active Member

    I may be wrong, but from what I know salt is typically added to livewells to keep the fish healthy, not to toughen-up their scales and/or skin. When fish are caught, handled, thrown in a livewell and sloshed around in cramped quarters, fish get stressed. When fish get stressed they become more susceptible to getting sick; i.e. getting attacked by bacteria & fungus. Salt kills bacteria and fungus, and stimulates the slime producing cells on the fish's body. Salt also dehydrates the fish by pulling water out through the skin and gills, but when the fish is placed back into lake or river it absorbs fresh water like a sponge, flushing toxins.

    Non-iodized salt (livestock salt: available at farm supply stores) helps reduce stress. Recommendations call for 1/3 cup of salt per 5 gallons of livewell water. Salt can be pre-measured for the size of your livewell and put in small plastic bags. If you have more than 10 pounds of fish in your livewell you should exchange ½ the water about half way through your fishing trip and add ½ a dose of salt when you add fresh water.

    Temperature is also a key to keeping bait fresh & lively. Cool water is less stressful to fish and also holds more dissolved oxygen.

    Now, with that being said, we've (River Scum, HoosierPolecat, & I) have never added salt to our bait (bluegill) nor have we aerated the bait bucket. We simply scoop some freshwater when the gills start looking questionable. Plus, we seem to have just as much luck with fresh cut 'gills as with live we don't get too upset if our bluegill go belly-up.
  10. Doctor

    Doctor Member

    Springfield, Ohio
    I use salt in my Greyline tank for a couple of different reasons, it locks down the scales on the Shad that I use and keeps them from getting rednosed, Shad are really stressed out when you first put them in the baitank without the salt in the tank they will drop scales like crazy and clog up your filtering system or make it work harder than it already does and I use a lot of it, couple of cups to thirty gallons of water, I also carry Gills in the tank along with the Shad and they do well with it.

    The other reason is when you pull a Gill or a Shad out of that really salty water they snap around violently like they are trying to get used to the freshwater again, a better way to describe it is it looks like they are in convulsions so I quickly get them to the bottom of the river as they are snapping around hard and have caught some nice fish within minutes of getting them in the water, I always use pickling salt as it will break down quickly and leave no crystalls in the water for the baitfish to breathe.......Doc
  11. bigfish

    bigfish New Member

    Dunbar WV.
    that is some realy good information, thanks for sharing it. but as s man says i havent realy had that good of luck with live bait anyway.
  12. plainsman

    plainsman New Member Supporting Member

    Last summer I was havin a hard time keepin minnows alive, a guy told me that I should put some salt in the water, no specific amount. Just get a hand ful and put it in the minnow bucket. I picked up some softener salt outside the grocery store, and put it in the bucket. Next time I went to get minnows, they stayed lively longer, and lived longer. The guy said most minnow dealers don't put additives in the water, and the salt cleans their gills and gives em some kind of boost. I don't know why, but it helped.
  13. catfish4fun

    catfish4fun New Member

    makes heavy slim coat
  14. Catcaller

    Catcaller New Member

    I use some powder stuff called Bait fresh (Got it from the Cabelas saltwater catalog) in my 6 gallon Frabill insulated perch bucket...about every 4-8 hours...depending on quanity, size, and conditions.

    It removes amino acids, ammonia, improves the oxygenation process, hardens the scales, maintains and improves the slime coat, has a mild sedative in it, and prevents pesky foam buildup. (the stuff really works...I have lost zero baitfish since I started using it in conjunction with other preservation techniques as well)

    In the field I also utilize a Frabill 12 volt aereator with a stone micro bubble diffuser attached to it....taking care to keep the bucket out of direct sunlight...and perhaps adding a little bit of ice here and there if it's really hot outside.

    If there's leftover bait...and if I know I'll be going again soon...I'll change the water before I leave where I'm fishing...I take the bucket inside the house...and place it directly underneath an air conditioner vent.

    I then hook up my 110 volt frabill aereator...with the same micro bubble diffuser.

    By adding the chemicals...maintaining a cool temperature...and using proper aereation...I have kept 3 to 4 dozen perch alive for 8 days...WITHOUT changing the water.

    If you change the water every so can keep them alive indefinately.
  15. dinkbuster1

    dinkbuster1 New Member

    you know, i forgot all about this thread until i got a PM about it earlier. just so happens i started putting rock salt in my tank this past summer. it worked great! think i lost 10pc of bait all summer, and most of them were due to bullheads eating them. i was putting about a cup of salt a week (after the first initial 3 cups to start) along with 3-5 gallons (40 gallon tank) of fresh water each week. turns out i have very hard water (city water) and it was drying out the baits skin and slime causing them to produce sores really fast. once i filled my tank up in May i didnt change the water entirely, nor washed the gravel until i emtied it in november.
  16. CatAngler

    CatAngler New Member

    Omaha NE
    I've never tried putting salt into my gill live wells. But if I know I'm going to keep them for more than 48hrs, I add a slime coat protectant that you can buy at any local pet store.


    JERMSQUIRM New Member

    even wal-mart sells aquarium salt. not for salt water aquariums. for fresh. as a few have said and ill back em, salt promotes a good slime coat , reduces stress , and promotes health in fresh water fish. i usually add a spoon full every few months. its non evaperating.
  18. Quint

    Quint New Member

    I have regularly keep shad, herring, bream, crappie, perch, suckers, white bass, shiners, carp, and tournament cats in the same bait tank with out a problem, using either shad saver or rock salt, with foam off or coffee creamer.
  19. sambo

    sambo New Member

    I use rock salt that is intended for making ice cream . a good handful to start with and then change the water about every 3 hours without using an aerator . a round tank is a must though without it the shad will ram their noses into the corners until they beat their brains out . salt works wonders though the shad will actually change colors , if left long enough they will turn a goldish color , and be so lively that they are hard to hook.
  20. poisonpits

    poisonpits Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    for you guys that use salt and keep bait for longer periods of time remember that salt does not evaporate.when you add salt only add what is recomended for the amount of water that you add to your bait tank.