How long can you keep baitfish alive?

Discussion in 'Catfishing Baits' started by ravenloft420, Apr 2, 2007.

  1. ravenloft420

    ravenloft420 New Member

    Messages:
    346
    State:
    mo
    I just bought a clean 5 gallon bucket and an air pump. will this keep fish for very long? will they eat like that? what do I feed them?
     
  2. RiverKing

    RiverKing Active Member

    Messages:
    2,232
    State:
    Yellow Spr
    Well what i use is a 30 gallon tank, with a double hosed aerator. I think the aerator was like 40 or 50 bucks, I have keep bluegills, and suckers and chubs alive in there for up to a month before...I just feed mine gold fish food, i dont even know if they eat it or not..But I do have the occasional fish die on me here and there..But out of 20 bluegills, I may loose 1 or 2 in a 3 or 4 week period.
     

  3. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Messages:
    2,554
    State:
    MO
    Nope. Shad wouldn't last more than a couple of hours; bluegill might make it a day or so if you're lucky.

    It's not lack of oxygen that kills bait fish - so the air pump you bought didn't do anything useful except to help the profitability of the company you got it from...

    Fish die in a bucket due to the accumulation of ammonia and other toxins in the water. Ammonia is a natural by-product of respiration and digestion and in the "wild" there are bacteria that eat the ammonia at about the same rate the fish produce it and everybody goes along fat dumb and happy.

    In a bucket that's over-crowded to begin with and has few if any bacteria, the only way to fix the problem is with regular water changes. But then you have to worry about chlorine in the city water supply which will kill the fish faster than ammonia and in less concentration.

    Even if oxygen was a significant issue, making bubbles in the water with an air pump isn't the solution - the solution is to keep the water moving, as the vast majority of oxygen exchange takes place at the surface of the water. The bubbles from an air pump help keep the water moving but they do very little to help the amount of dissolved oxygen in it.
     
  4. typer181

    typer181 Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,039
    State:
    Indy
    Name:
    Eric
    A trick I learned to help control the build up of toxins is adding one teaspoon of non dairy creamer to every five gallons of water. Periodically skim the foam that forms off the surface. This will add a little time to the lives of your bait. Also, a little kosher salt (no iodine) will help keep the slime layer intact on live shad which keeps them alive for several hours, oh and make sure not to put live shad in a container with corners, make sure it's round because they will swim into the corners and kill themselves. I use the same 5 gallon bucket as you when I'm hiking to a spot and have kept 2lbs of goldfish alive for 24 hours (a few died). If all your doing is going to the baitshop and then immediately hitting the water, your set up will do fine. You may want to consider an upgrade if you start using larger bait fish. Good luck!
     
  5. Kutter

    Kutter New Member

    Messages:
    5,379
    State:
    Arnold, MO
    I saw a shad near the surface once. Started to throw the cast net,,,,,too late, it died!

    Well, it seems that way sometimes.
     
  6. TeamWhiskers

    TeamWhiskers New Member

    Messages:
    536
    State:
    Missouri
    Wash out your new bucket with a mild salt water solution using meat tenderizer non iodized salt. 1/2 a teaspoon goes along ways. The newer buckets have a film on them from being processed and made.
    Treat your new water in another bucket getting the clorine out and then add it to your bait bucket. St Louis water needs to be treated due to the additives they put in.
     
  7. ravenloft420

    ravenloft420 New Member

    Messages:
    346
    State:
    mo

    ok so what do you suggest?? (thats not expensive)
     
  8. RiverKing

    RiverKing Active Member

    Messages:
    2,232
    State:
    Yellow Spr
    If this is for your garage or something, buy you one of those rubbermaid tubs...They are like tubs for storing, cloths, blankets, stuff like that...You can get them all the way up to 50 gallons, they are like 18 bucks for the a 50 gallon tub...I use the 30 gallon ones, and like i said i can keep bait alive for a month or so, and i only change the water like once a week. They also come with lids..They have been good for me..I have never tried to keep shad alive in one, shad is a whole different ball game when it comes to keeping them alive.You may want to invest in a good electric or 12 volt aerator, those DD batteries get expensive
     
  9. waterwalker

    waterwalker New Member

    Messages:
    604
    State:
    Louisville Ohio
    Your gonna need something larger to keep your live bait, stock tanks work well. On the pontoon I use a medium size cooler with a water mister
     
  10. ravenloft420

    ravenloft420 New Member

    Messages:
    346
    State:
    mo
    haha Im sorry I forgot to mention this would only be for hardy fish like bluegill/sunfish/small asian carp/large golfish. I know how easy shad die,they must be really soft and weak which is prolly why the big fish like to eat them so much.
    ya Im gonna go get me one of those tubs like you were talking about. in fact Im sure theres already one laying around here somewhere:smile2:

    if I were to invest in a cheap water FILTER like the ones in fish tanks do you think that would cut down on the build up of ammonia and such?
     
  11. catfishjohn

    catfishjohn New Member

    Messages:
    10,217
    State:
    Greenup Co. KY
    I think it would help a lot. I use 5 gal buckets w/bubbler to transport the bait to and from fishing holes.At home I have 2 10 gal aquariums with a bubbler and filter setup in them.I have kept dozens of gills and goldies(only a cpl to die) for weeks at a time in them.I just do a partial water change every couple days.When I'm at my fishin hole I use a live bait holder like the one I made(its in the library) so that way they can eat or whatever while i'm fishing.The main thing I do before I put them in the bucket or the tank is give them a squeeze to purge them of the unwanted stuff(you know what i'm saying) that pollutes your water real quick.That helps a lot.If you don't believe me try it.I did last summer and it makes a difference.I'll post the link of the holder for you.

    http://www.catfish1.com/forums/showthread.php?t=42291
     
  12. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Messages:
    2,554
    State:
    MO
    Nope. You can't filter ammonia to any extent. Either it gets metabolized by the bacteria or you remove it by way of a water change.

    The filter in a fish tank works its magic by providing a place for the bacteria to colonize, and a steady flow of ammonia-rich water for them to eat. It takes about a month for the bacteria to become plentiful enough to keep up with the ammonia output. Which is why the pet store will tell you to start out with just a couple of fish in a 10 gallon tank, adding a few more after 2 or 3 weeks and then a few more after that.

    If all you want to do is keep some bluegills alive long enough to fish with them over the weekend, just plop them in the bucket and try to change the water regularly while you're fishing.

    If you want to keep them alive for an extended period, think of it more like keeping an aquarium than keeping bait fish - you can use a barrel or whatever you want, it doesn't have to be an aquarium, but you should treat it like an aquarium and read up on how to keep one.

    Not worth the trouble in my opinion - just go catch the bait you need when you need it. I always plan for at least 1 to 2 hours of bait catching on every fishing trip - if I get lucky and catch all the bait I need in an hour, then it's a bonus and I get to fish a little longer. I've spent upwards of 3 hours looking for bait on several occasions, only to end up fishing for a couple hours or less. Some days are like that.
     
  13. ravenloft420

    ravenloft420 New Member

    Messages:
    346
    State:
    mo
    ya I was just thinking of going bait fishing the night before I actually go for the big boys. maybe a couple days at the most. just something to keep them lively for a little while. it just sucks that st louis hose water cant be used. I gues its better for us when we are working in the hot sun and need a drink of water out the customers faucet lol.
     
  14. DM1975

    DM1975 New Member

    Messages:
    217
    State:
    Manhattan, Kansas
    This is what I did. As some others said get a 30 or 40 galon rubbermaid tub and fill it with water. Treat that water with aquarium water treater like Aquasafe. Get a cheap wisper filter from wal mart and put two or three bream in it. Change the water by 10% a day for the first week. Keep them in there out side and out of the sun for a few weeks and the tank will by cycled (meaning that the amonia and nitrates and nitrites are leveled out) Then fill it up with fish. Rule of thumb is 1 inch (total body size, not just length) of fish per gallon of water but I have kept up to 30 large sunfishin a 30 galon tub alive for months in mine with changing 10% of the water ever three days or so (treated water). Total cost of the setup was around 15 to 20 dollars.

    Keeping it out of direct sunlight is very important or your water will turn green, very green. This is for a small setup. I would suggest looking in the library here for some better filtration ideas for stock tanks. I plan on useing an old freezer for my next one.
     
  15. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Messages:
    2,554
    State:
    MO
    There's a lot of folks in St. Louis who have aquariums. Where do you suppose their water comes from??

    Products such as AmQuel, Ammo-Lock, etc. (available at any pet supply store) will effectively neutralize chlorine and other chemicals in a public water supply. Plus there's the added benefit of neutralizing ammonia as well.

    Get som AmQuel or Ammo-Lock and you can use the water out of the hose. It works almost instantly, so just add the recommended amount to the water as you're filling the bucket and away you go. When you do a water change, just add more of the chemical before you add new water and the fish will be fine.
     
  16. superman

    superman New Member

    Messages:
    343
    State:
    DeSoto MO
    i use a 75 gallon tank with one cheap areator from wall mart and i use a water treatment for fish tanks ( it removes the bad stuff in water and helps with the slime on the fish it is called aquasafe) i have kept several gills alive for a month or so with only one or two dead i just throw several night crawlers in a week and have kept several shad alive for a week ( might have lived longer but the cats were bitting ) i also use the aqua safe in my live wells when fishing over night the cats are lively as all heck in the morning