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I don't do a lot of live bluegill fishing but hope to make a couple flathead excursions this summer. Past bait tank experiments were costly and failures so I am not looking for an elaborate setup. Just something I can use to both put the bluegill in when I catch them, and then add an aerator to the same container to keep them going for 24 hours.

Can I get away with a 5-gal bucket for this? Is there a minnow nucket aerator strong enough to keep bluegill alive 24 hours? I realize I will need to keep it cool by adding ice or something like that. What do you suggest?
 

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You can keep 12 alive pretty easy. When you catch them just get a couple extra 5 gal buckets of water. An ice chest 30 or 48 qt 1/2 full of water to start. I use a little 12v bubble maker but I they make a battery one. Keep them in the shade. If it’s hot put some ice in a zip lock bag and put it in with them to keep the water cool. Don’t put the ice in the water directly, Chlorine is not good. And replace some of the water every so often. I’ll catch mine in the daytime. Replace some water before bed and replace it again when I get up to go fishing. Works for me.
 

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It can be done and Cool above is telling you straight.

Important points.

Exchange water when you can. Fish excretions cause ammonia in the water and ammonia is not good. It can be filtered out but that gets more expensive so just change out the water. Fish get a little stressed when they first get in a bucket so within a couple of hours is a good time to change water and especially just before you leave the lake.

Keep the bucket in the shade as much as possible. Cool water will hold air much better than hot water.

Keep a bubbler running. My bubblers use D cell batteries and will last all night on a pair of batteries.

The ice in a ziplock is a good idea but do it in small amounts. A seminar at the catfish conference said "No bigger temp change than 5 degrees when adding ice". Too big if a change too fast will put them in shock.

As soon as you get back to the water, change the water out.

That is about all you can do.

Live bait is good and interesting to use but if a gill dies, use him as soon as you can as cut bait. Either cut into large chunks or just cut the tail off or maybe put sum cuts in his side to get some scent out. I have caught many more flathead on cut bait than I have live. BUT, I do tend to use cut bait more.

tight lines.
 

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5 gallon bucket should be fine. The deal is after you catch them they spit up everything in there system so you need to do a water change before finally taking them home. I normally fill up my bucket with treated water and turn on the aerator before heading to catch gills. Or I fill it up with river/lake water when I get there and turn the aerator on while fishing for them. I keep them in a floating bucket or basket while fishing. I also have 110 volt and battery operated bubblers

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Great advice here. I use a 10-gallon Gatorade cooler and a bubbler now, but will most likely upgrade it to a pump & filter. I can’t figure out how to link the thread, but there is a really good discussion of it right here in the DIY section.
 

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To link a thread to a new post, at least on my laptop, go to the top where you would type something in to search for. Anyway if it is not highlighted, tap on what is there and highlight it. From there, I go to the very top and click edit and then copy. You may need to give it a double tap or two fingered tap to copy the link.

Then go the the new post and do the same in a post to paste it. Sorry I can't be more specific but this should get you there.

tight lines.
 

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Thanks, Tom, but I rarely visit the forum from a computer; I’m on the Catfish1 app.

I can get to the “Web View,” but can’t get the link to copy back to the app.

No worries, though... without the convenience of a link, we’ll just have to poke around & spend a little more time here!
 

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I do something a little different that I don't believe has been mentioned. I got tired of going through batteries in the little pumps so I put a small 400 watt inverter in the boat and run a 110V aquarium bubbler in a cooler that is good for 25 gallons. I put a T in the line and run 2 large stone aerators. The water still needs to be changed after adding bait due to the puke and poop pollution but usually only once. It would be easy to add an aquarium filter system to it if you wanted. The inverter is just another option that opens the door to more accessories and styles.

Oops, just realized this thread was for portable tanks. Oh well there you go. Maybe I'll pay more attention next time.😕
 

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I don't do a lot of live bluegill fishing but hope to make a couple flathead excursions this summer. Past bait tank experiments were costly and failures so I am not looking for an elaborate setup. Just something I can use to both put the bluegill in when I catch them, and then add an aerator to the same container to keep them going for 24 hours.

Can I get away with a 5-gal bucket for this? Is there a minnow nucket aerator strong enough to keep bluegill alive 24 hours? I realize I will need to keep it cool by adding ice or something like that. What do you suggest?
I use a 5 gallon round water cooler from Walmart (about $20). Orange Igloo one. Get a 6" long airstone from the pet department ($4) and glue it to the bottom of the cooler. On board the boat, use a bubble box aerator and at home a small 110v plug in aerator, also from the pet department at Wally World. Cooler is insulated and don't add ice or you will shock your bait. When they hit the 80 degree water, they will croak. 8-10 small baits or 4-5 large ones will live a long time like this. Like others have said, change the water with fresh lake water on the boat every couple of hour in summer- less frequently in cooler weather.
 

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Folks. I have been following this thread also.
I bought a 10 gallon heavy duty trash can for $6.00 at menard store and went to Walmart pet isle and bought a $9.00 aquarium pump that is rated for 5-15 gallon aquarium. I have had it running for a month and cannot seem to catch any 4 inch bluegills. Ha ha. Never fails. Anyway do you think my set up will work to keep 6 small blue gills alive for 2 weeks at a time ? My pump is not really strong but has a little filter you change out. Might have should of went with the 15-30 gallon aquarium pump. It was only $23.00 I think. Anyway you think this set up will work for what I need to keep blue gills alive for 2 weeks at a time ? Thanks. Marty
 

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Yeah if you're going to keep them for a couple weeks you'll want the water filtered and treated. I have a temporary holding tank I use to keep my bait in for 2-3 days until they crap and spit everything up. It's 20GL but I keep it around 18GL and I have a 40GL Walmart filter and a pump on it.
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Ramon06…thanks for great response and great pictures. Yes that’s same kind of thing I want to do. Only want to keep 6 blue gills at a time. I live in a apartment and only get to fish maybe 1 day every week or 2 and will replace blue kills every 2 weeks.
I think I should jump up to a bigger aquarium size pimp / filter. These aquarium pumps at Walmart I think go up to 30-40 gallons. I think I should go to that size in my 10 gallon plastic trash can , gives me a little more oxygen and filter power. They have these filters I can replace every few weeks. Thanks again for your your help. Marty
 

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Not to keep it going but I almost forgot about small fish tanks. If you can find a 10GL at a yard sale or thrift shop they are awesome too. That was my first experiment menu years ago and it worked great. The lady found me one for $5 at a yard sale.
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RAMON06.... I am setting my little blue gill plastic holder just like your picture. Mine is 10 gallon and I have the same aquarium filter bubbler like yours. Mine is one step down in size. Question.... what is that 5 gallon white bucket in the picture ? it looks like some kind of extra filter or something. My little Gray aquarium filter/pump has a little 5x4 inch filter that slides down inside it. I am wondering if that will be enough for what I need to keep 6 gills alive for no more than 2 weeks ? Wondering what that 5 gallon bucket is in picture ? thanks. Marty
 

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If you mean the white bucket with the red top it was just there for the pump to sit on because my outlet was too high on the wall and the pump would pull out of the socket if I just let it dangle lol hadn't found a stand to hold the pump yet lol
 
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