Homemade bait tank for my toon.

Discussion in 'Boat Tips' started by weathermantrey, Feb 15, 2007.

  1. weathermantrey

    weathermantrey New Member

    Messages:
    516
    State:
    central,sc
    I've been thinking for several weeks how to best set up a bait tank on my pontoon boat that would keep herring alive. After numerous designs and attempts to make a good tank I think i have FINALLY came up with the perfect bait tank. Let me know if you guys think this will work....

    I have one of those big white coleman coolers, i think it's 120qt or 144qt. It has rounded sides, this is what I will be using for the tank. I plan on positioning the tank long ways up against the side rail of my pontoon. The drain hole will have pvc pipe leading to a self priming pump which will rest on the top of my left tube, just under the deck of my boat(there's a good place to position a pump in this area and it wont be taking up my fishing space on the deck, Anyways, the pvc pipe from the drain hole will go to a Tee fitting with a shut off valve placed before the pvc pipe reaches the junction. The other side of this junction will have a pipe which drops off the side of the tube and below the water level water level to draw in water. This pipe will also have a shut off valve. THe Tee fitting will lead to the input of the self priming pump. The output of the pump will go along the pontoon tube for a short distance so an enclosed filter of some type can be held in place here. From the filter the pipe will then come up through the floor and into the top of the tank where a spray nozzle will shoot the water into the tank.

    Now, with this system I will be able to easily drain my tank by opening both shutoff valves on the intake.

    Also, I will be able to recirculate water without bringing in lake water by closing the shut off valve to the fresh lake water input and opening the shutoff valve coming from the drain hole of the bait tank. I want to accomplish this so that in the hot summer time I will be able to have a closed system so I can control the water temperature.

    Problems: One problem is that I am not exactly sure how I can connect a filter unit onto my system. They dont really make anything from pvc pipe that you can fill up with filter material/charcoal. I would like to find some kind of water proof box that has 2 connections for 3/4 inch pvc, but this box would need to have some kind of a way of getting in it to clean out the filter. Secondly, I am not sure if a water pump will be able to deliver enough power to do what I want it to. Does anybody on here have an idea of a good way to connect a filter into my water line that won't leak, but will allow me to open it up and clean it out?

    So what do yall think about this idea? Am I wasting my time or do you think this could be viable bait tank for keepig herring alive in the summer? What other problems do you think I might encounter?

    Thanks for your input!
     
  2. weathermantrey

    weathermantrey New Member

    Messages:
    516
    State:
    central,sc
    I forgot to mention, the reason I am trying to figure something out so hard is b/c last year it got really old using a bucket to get lake water and then dump it into my bait tank. The main objective of my new tank is to give me the ability to fill my bait tank with the flip of a switch.
     

  3. Tiny

    Tiny New Member

    Messages:
    118
    State:
    Oklahoma
    I'm uncertain as to what you're talking about when you say "herring" there are several different types of herring but the first thing that comes to mind when you say herring is skipjack herring and if you're wanting to keep those alive in a tank like you're talking about then you can probably forget that because they're constant swimmers and they'd beat themselves to death in a hurry in any kind of tank like that as far as I now unless you're setting up one that has strong current in it all the time and I still don't think that'd work and never heard of anyone able to keep skipjack alive.
    skipjack herring are too timid to keep in a tank though as they'll belly up just almost as soon as you put them in the tank.

    If you're talking about shad, which is also a herring then you can keep them alive in a tank like that but the spray type aerators aren't very good for that as they don't oxygenate the water very well or well enough to keep a lot of shad alive. all last summer I kept shad in just a plain old plastic 30 gallon barrel and kept them alive all day long just using a bubble aerator ... the bubble aerators put more oxygen in the water if you're using a taller system like the 30 gallon or 55 gallon is even better if you have the room for one which wouldn't be a problem with a pontoon boat. Last year I used the 30 gallon barrel with 1.3 cups of salt per 10 gallons of water with the bubble aerator mounted in my storage area up in my front deck and it has two outlets for the air or dual outlet I mean ... I've got one running to my livewell up front for my fish and one hose running along the gunwale to the right side of my boat that has a long aerator stone on it and I just drilled a small hole in the top of the barrel and put the hose in and put the stone on the end with the hose long enough to go to the bottom of the barrel and all those little bitty bubbles rising that far through the water really oxygenated the water a lot better than any system I ever made and I've made a lot of them ... first one was out of a 150 qt ice chest that I used in my pickup and I started out with the aeration like you're talking about then went to the waterfall type and then the bubble aerator worked better than both of those ... the most important thing afte aeration is to add enough salt so that they don't get rednose and to a 150 qt cooler you'd have about 30 gallon of water in it so you'd have to use about 4 cups of salt per tank of water ... fresh water recirculation doesn't work very well either because they get stressed too badly and they'll die pretty quick like that.

    the best aeration you could possibly get for the tank is a keepalive aerator pump and those really put the oxygen in the water and most commercial tanks have the keepalive pump in them to aerate the water ... I think greyline tanks use one and pump the water into a filter box similar to what you're talking about but if you're going to use the shad up within 8 to 20 hours you dont need filtration as the shad will keep most of their scales on them if you use enough salt unless they're little shad. I used the 30 gallon barrel all last year and never had a problem with keeping 100 to 150 shad in it even during the heat of the summer ... the bubble aeration kept enough oxygen in the water even when the water was hot.

    the keepalive aerator pump is just a Rule pump with the keepalive attachment on the bottom and you can get them from www.keepalive.net those are the absolute best aeration you can get without going to an oxygen tank system but those a very expensive.

    to fill the tank you could just put you in something like a washdown setup ... it's handy to have a washdown hose on a catfishin boat anyhow and that's how I've got mine ... I've got a hose that I just put over the end of my livewell outlet and use it for a washdown and also to fill my bait tank if I need to ... I normally use well water for my bait tank but if I fish a tourney I put my 150 qt tank in there for a livewell so the washdown is what I use to fill that and circulate it also.
     
  4. weathermantrey

    weathermantrey New Member

    Messages:
    516
    State:
    central,sc
    I will be trying to keep blueback herring alive. They are about the same size as threadfin shad. I will be netting these fish from the lake I am fishing during the summer, which is why it seems to me like a constant supply of fresh lake water would be the best for them, since they are coming straight out of the lake. I'm thinking about using some type of hose for my intake that I can place down maybe 5 or 6 feet deep into the water so i'm not drawing in the hot surface water. I can easily add an aerator to the tank if oxygen is a problem. Last year, I feel like the majority of my bait died from high ammonia levels and or scales in the water. That is why I want to be able to provide fresh lake water and/or be able to recirculate my tank water through a filter.
     
  5. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    A year or two ago, I looked at a couple of plastic garbage cans at Wal Mart. One is 32 gallon, and the other 28, or something like that. Anyway, one fit nicely inside the other, leaving a 3" or 4" space between them to fill with Great Stuff foam for insulation. The best thing was that the cans are round, so the shad or small skipjack can swim in a circle. You may find that you want one small bilge pump doing nothing but putting out water to create a strong current.
     
  6. crazy

    crazy New Member

    Messages:
    2,090
    State:
    Kansas CIty, MO
    It sounds like it will work great.
     
  7. catsmith1

    catsmith1 New Member

    Messages:
    1,073
    State:
    Haughton, Louisiana
    If you are using pvc pipe you can buy a 4x4x4 pvc electrical junction box (if you can find one get it without pressed knockouts) and put a pipe in each side and fill it with filter material like in a aquarium. when you seal the lid with the screws it will keep the water from coming out just as easy as keeping it from coming in. Then you can just take the top off and wash out the material and put it back when you need to.
     
  8. jim

    jim New Member

    Messages:
    2,579
    State:
    Jacksonville NC
    Probably the most important thing you can do to keep the herring alive is cool the water down to about 68.Temp is the most important thing,then oxy because the cooler the water the more O2 it holds.Salt etc will also help but I think it has to be rock salt.I have tried everything without much success until I started cooling the water and that made a world of difference.:smile2:
     
  9. Abu65

    Abu65 Member

    Messages:
    584
    State:
    Kentucky
    You need to install some type of overflow on your tank. While your on the lake you can constantly run water thru your system, this keeps the water super fresh and gets rid of the ammonia & scales. I run fresh water thru my tank almost constantly. If your fishing a lake you can always lengthen your intake tube to pull water from a deeper level so it will be cooler, but watch out for the thermocline theres little or no oxygen at that level. Alot of striper guides use this method and it really works. You wont need a filter as long as you are on the water. I can keep 20 big shad alive for a few hours by just recirculating the water if I'm trailering. From bait catching spot to fishing spot.Good luck!
     
  10. Tiny

    Tiny New Member

    Messages:
    118
    State:
    Oklahoma
    the shad get stressed when caught and put in a tank and I'd imagine these herring are going to be the same ... I've seen the skipjack die almost instantly when put in a tank as they're producing a hormone cortosol which causes them to bleed internally ... no amount of fresh water will help them deal with the stress hormones and they die in just a matter of a few hours with fresh recirculating water and even faster in the warmer water above 75 degrees ... fresh recirculating water when it's 80 or so will cause them to die in just a matter of an hour or two but if you make the water brackish (about half the salt content of the ocean) at 1.3 cups of salt per 10 gallons of water the water can get really hot if you've go a good amount of aeration like a bubble stone at the bottom of an upright tank like Jtrew mentioned. when the bubbles take longer to get to the surface they aerate the water a lot better and the smaller the bubbles the more air they put in there also. the amonia build-up is of little concern with the salt in the water as it keeps the amonia down even when the wate is hot it seems like ... it's almost like how pickling works to keep food from spoiling when they're brined ... the salt doesn't allow the bacteria to grow and spoil the water or allow it to sour. it also keeps the stress hormone in check as well as keeping the larger shad from losing their scales. without the salt additive they're not going to last no matter what you do except in the winter months when they'll last longer in the cold but will still develope rednose and die in about 4 to 6 hours even in cold water due to the stress levels. with a keepalive pump in the tank and 1.3 cups of salt per 10 gallons of water in the tank or a good bubble aerator in an upright tank like a trash can or 30 gallon barrel the shad will live a long time and never develope rednose in a 12 hour fishing trip .. if the herring you're talking about are the same as shad or as hearty as shad then that combination will keep them alive during your fishing trip with very little care or concern about filtration or amonia. I've already been through all this that you're starting on with keeping them alive and have tried a lot of different ways and the absolute best way I've found is as I've mentioned ... bubble aerator or keepalive pump and an upright tank with 1.3 cups salt/10 gallon of water. like i've said already ... I tried the constant fresh water circulation and they can't deal with stress that way ... aeration water fall with no salt ... fresh water jetted into the tank constantly. none have worked better than the 30 gallon plastic tank with bubble aerator in salt water.
     
  11. Scott Daw

    Scott Daw New Member

    Messages:
    2,002
    State:
    Allentown, Pennsylvania
    You can jerry rig some pvc piping fashioned after the old corner filter. which was just a plastic box with some filter floss and activated carbon. You can rig a pipe and put it inline with your pump. just a thought.
     
  12. Abu65

    Abu65 Member

    Messages:
    584
    State:
    Kentucky
  13. Abu65

    Abu65 Member

    Messages:
    584
    State:
    Kentucky
    I was assuming that we were talking about shad & not skipjack. Theres only one way I know I can keep skipjack alive & its expensive & time consuming and Im not sure it is worth it. However the method I use with fresh water circulation is proven to me to keep shad alive in all temps that I fish. However when the temps get up into the 90's it seems that they will not live near as long. They stay alive & in good shape for the 6 to 8 hour tournaments that I fish at night. There has been alot of good info on this thread. I would like to add that I have used a small 12volt air compressor with an air stone that as worked well when I'm not the water but was way to noisy to use while fishing It was one of those types you plug into a cig. lighter to inflate a tire. I think its important to use a high quality stone so youcan get the smallest bubbles possible. when the large bubbles make it to the top of the tank and burst they arent doing you any good.
     
  14. Little Mac

    Little Mac Active Member

    Messages:
    1,828
    State:
    NW Arkansa

    Thats a very good Idea right there........ You can also look at the pool industry to see what they might have. But I think Catsmith has the right answer for your setup.. Good luck to you on keepin your bait alive. These guys know what they are talking about. Keep em cool an the water moving and oxygenated.........Mac