Care of Minnows

One of the most popular baitfish used by all types of anglers are minnows and for good reason. This particular baitfish is the favorite of almost every fish species sought out for sport. Therefore, the angler will get lots of action when using them. This is exactly what anglers look for in bait. They need something that will get the attention of the fish and entice them to bite.
This resilient little fish can be found in all types of water. You can buy them at local bait and tackle shops or you can catch them yourself. Since they are so popular among anglers, many people choose to raise them so they can have easy access to this baitfish anytime they’re ready to go fishing.
When you decide to raise minnows, you’ll need to take proper care of them to ensure they stay healthy and to prevent them from overpopulating the tank. The first step in caring for minnows is preparing the holding tank. If you plan to raise a lot of minnows (over 50), then you’ll need to set up a special holding tank. It needs to be placed in an area away from your home because having this many minnows at once will produce a strong odor that your family won’t enjoy smelling.
Minnows thrive best in fresh water that range between 60 and 75 degrees. Check the pH level of the water from which you get the minnows and try to get your tank as close to this level as possible. Doing this will prevent putting the minnows in shock when you transfer them from their natural environment to their new home. You can always collect some of the water and transfer it to your tank to make it easier. Place an air filter in the tank to provide the oxygen they need to live and you’re all set to go.
You can enhance the breeding process by using a procedure called the “photo-period” in which you expose the minnows to sixteen hours of light followed by eight hours of darkness. However, when doing this, keep a close eye on the minnows to avoid over-populating the holding tank.
Feeding Your Minnows
One of the great things about raising minnows is that feeding them is simple. There’s no special food needed for minnows but gold fish flakes are an ideal choice. Usually about two pinches will last a tank of up to 50 minnows for a couple of days but you’ll need to experiment a little to find the right amount for the number of minnows you have in your tank.
You can also use gold fish pellets but it’s a good idea to soak them in a glass or bowl of water for an hour or two before placing them into the tank. This will soften them up to the right consistency for the minnows so they can eat them easier.
Minnows will also feed off of algae and small insects, small shrimp, bloodworms and tubifex. Occasionally, you can even feed them breadcrumbs and crackers. The main concern is to avoid overfeeding them to the point that food is collecting in the tank. For this reason, you’ll need to keep an eye on the amount of food that you provide.
Caring for Minnows in a Small Aquarium or Pond
If you want to raise minnows just for fun, you can keep them in an aquarium. For the best results, choose one that holds at least 10 gallons of water. Make sure you have at least three or four minnows in the aquarium at all times because they are a social fish. If you have less than this, they could actually die from loneliness.
When keeping them as pets, consider putting rocks along the bottom of the tank along with a few small plants or an aquarium log. They will be happier when they have places to hang out that are similar to their natural habitat. When using gravel for the bottom, choose the dark colors to mimic their original home. If possible, add a cave or something similar where they can hid in and this will make them even more comfortable.
Placing minnows in your backyard pond is another option. Use the same tactics as you would for a holding tank to care for the minnows. Make sure you have a way to provide oxygen. The pond should be in a shaded area in order to keep the temperature desirable for the minnows to stay healthy and thrive or it should be at least four feet deep. This way the minnows can get close to the bottom to stay cool.
Minnows in a pond will have access to algae, insects and bugs but you still need to feed them too. They may not be able to get enough food naturally and you don’t want them starving to death. When you take care of minnows correctly, they will grow and multiply providing you with plenty of minnows to take along on all of your fishing trips.


Dan Eggertsen is a fellow crappie fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on crappie fishing since 2004.

One Response to “Care of Minnows”

  1. […] Care of Minnows One of the most popular baitfish used by all types of anglers are minnows and for good reason. This particular baitfish is the favorite of almost every fish species sought out for sport. Therefore, the angler will get lots of action when using them. This is exactly what anglers look for in bait. They need […] […]

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