: Help! Dead minnows
12-23-2002, 07:02 AM
Have been trapping minnows in an irrigation ditch this fall and putting them in a plastic 30 gallon barrel that I have in an outbuilding. It is airiated and has a light bulb over it to keep from freezing. It works well and I seldom have a dead minnow. The problem is when I take some and go fishing. I put them in an airiated bucket but by the days end out on the ice they are all dead.I have added lake water, put them in the camper at nite, but they die anyway. I gave some to a friend and he had the same thing happen. Anyone got any ideas?
12-23-2002, 07:27 AM
Was in the minnow business selling/buying/transporting/seining, for four years. Having them die, for both reason I could figure out and some I couldn't, was all part of the money making/breaking game. I know that temperature shock is a big quick killer. Using different water city/well is also a factor in some casses. Having foreign liquids or bodies contaminate your carrying devices such as oils, gas, bacteria and cleaners can also kill them. Transporting them during certain times in their own life cycle can scale and weaken them to the point of death in a hurry. They are in essence frail little rascles on one hand and very durable on the other. Wish I could give you a positive answer to your dellema.
I've had related problems also. Couple of things really seem to help. Water you put them in should be same temp (approximately) as water they came from. NEVER use city water as it is usually clorinated. Can't prove this last one, but don't put them in a galvanized bucket or tank. We also store them in plastic tanks when we sein them, but if we try to use a galvanized stock tank, they won't last 24 hrs.
12-23-2002, 06:07 PM
Few ideas: Use the water from your holding tank to start. Try skipping the aerator in the minnow bucket unless they start coming to the top and then only run it as needed. Add small amts of lake water or ice/snowballs only if the water warms.
Take a second bucket with way less minnows in it and see how they fare. If it's a rough ride out, try the same thing but leave the day two supply on shore.
Before they are stressed, try putting one out of the bait bucket into small pail w/lake water straight out of the hole. If it doesn't die in a few minutes, keeping them in a coffee can with holes in it, tied to a cord and dropped in the hole is an option if you keep your holes open or can spud it out.
I've never had problems with chubs, common shiners, or fatheads. Overnite with emeralds, best is in the hole, next best for me is to pack some snow or ice on the inside edges of the bucket and somehow keep from freezing on top. Low numbers in bucket helps. Limited experience with sucker minnows, but they seem very sensitive to even slight quick temperature changes.
Ice freezing on top in the bait bucket overnite can frequently be bad news. Starve them for a couple of weeks before use if possible. This reduces ammonia buildup. Ammonia becomes more toxic to them as the water warms. Lacking a filter system on the holding tank, my next guess would be to try "unused" water from the ditch in the bait bucket.
For me, it's usually better to have 2 buckets with 1/2 the water and bait than one with all.
Hope this helps,
12-24-2002, 11:48 AM
BPS sells a product called bait saver, i use it all the time, i also trap and keep minnows during the year and with this stuff i have real good luck, you can use tap water and put your minnows right in it and you won,t lose any and you can transport from container to container and still not lose any, youu do have to be careful with temp changes or you can put your minnows in a state of shock, try the bait saver it comes in a 3lb plastic jar and sells for 5.99 US 1 jar will last a season its good stuff and does work.
12-25-2002, 07:05 AM
One idea, go to pet shop and get a real cheap tiny filter,..not so much for the filter material but for the ammonia remover that you canuse in them,..activated charcol works but there is some white stuff just for the ammonia and it works well,..so you will be adding O2 AND getting rid of the ammonia which I believe is just as important,..also agree never use galvinized metal or prob any metal containers.
12-27-2002, 08:05 AM
I use city water all of the time to keep minnows fresh in my aerated cooler. When changing the water simply add some dechlorinater from a pet store. it's a drop or so per gallon and the stuff is cheap. works great. What kind of water is in the ditch? Maybe you should do a water test? For all you know it could be sewer run off or something.
12-28-2002, 07:09 PM
I keep 100-150 fatheads in a six gallon bucket (plastic) all winter using city water which is chlorinated and floridated. I change the water every day or every other day and remove the few that die. When I get low I just buy another 8 or 10 dozen. Keep them at or just above freezing if possible or you'll need to change the water more often. I've never had to treat the water for fatheads. When the surface of the water freezes I just bring them into my enclosed porch which is just above freezing. I can keep fatheads from around mid to late November until late March or mid April.
I have kept several dozen common river chubs forever in a 55 gallon plastic garbage can. I treated the water with the BPS stuff (forget the name now) as well as changed the water every day and areated. This also was using city water. I have used water that I got from a tap at the motel room at the Saginaw river. It killed my emerald shiners real quick. The motel was on the river just upstream from Hooters. I think the water is poisonous as it was'nt even drinkable.
12-28-2002, 09:09 PM
Whe tranfering from one water to another it is very important to temper the water first.To do this simply transfer some water(a quart a time) from one bucket to another over a period of 15 min or so that they have time to adjust.If you place them in chlorinated water you must rid it of chlorine first .Blue stone works for this very well but it will only take 1/2 of a teaspoon for 10 gals.
12-28-2002, 09:57 PM
About two winters ago I started having the same problem. I had always used a galvanized minnow bucket with no problems. All of a sudden the minnows were dying in a matter of hours. I switched to a styrofoam minnow bucket and they woudld last for 5-6 days even with ice on top of the water. This winter I have been pinching them in two and putting the head on a jig or spoon. They don't live to long that way but they do catch walleyes. Good luck.
12-28-2002, 10:36 PM
2 years ago I left about a dozen creek darters in a bucket outside and they froze solid ie the bottom of the bucket was bulging down,i figgure thats froze and they are gone ,melted ice in house all alive but one,unblieveable.