Four secrets about breeding minnow

If you’ve ever gone fishing then you probably already know that the minnow is one of the most popular live baits used all across the globe. This is partly because they seem to be the favorite baitfish of numerous fish species. They’re also plentiful and easy to find. They usually grow about four to six inches (depending on the type of minnow you’re using) and they’re extremely resilient.

This creature can survive and multiply in small areas with a limited food source and they can be found in all types of water. Since they are one of the best baits you can use when fishing, many people choose to raise minnows. Some do it for their own personal use and others raise and sell minnows to other anglers. When you’re ready to start breeding minnows, the first thing that you need to do is prepare the habitat.

Preparing the Holding Tank

When preparing the holding tank, you don’t necessarily need anything special but it does need to be large enough to accommodate the minnows and give them room to grow and multiply. It also needs to be clean and free of chemicals or anything that could kill the minnow. Choose a holding tank based on the number of minnows you expect to breed. This will depend on what you plan to do with the minnows.

If you plan to fish with them personally, you don’t need a large facility. That is unless you go fishing every day. If you plan to sell them, then you may want to go with a larger facility so you don’t run out of minnows when anglers want them the most. It’s also recommended that you have two separate tanks, one is for the adult minnows and the other one is for the fry.

You’ll need to have a filter to keep the water clean. A sponge type filter is recommended to avoid sucking the eggs up and air stones will add much needed oxygen to the tank. You’re now ready to place your starter minnows into the tank. Feeding them is not very difficult because they will eat a variety of foods from algae to small insects. You can also feed them regular fish food, both the flakes and pellets along with small bloodworms and shrimp.

Secrets for Breeding Minnows

Breeding minnows is probably easier than raising any other type of fish species. They don’t need a lot of care but there are things that you can do to make your attempt as a breeder successful.

Here are four secrets about breeding minnows that you need to know:
1. The minnow won’t need a heated tank to survive but if you keep the water between seventy and seventy-five degrees, it will make a difference and promote the breeding process.
2. You must have driftwood, artificial caves and rocks in the holding tanks to give the minnows somewhere to lay their eggs.
3. To induce spawning you need provide a certain amount of light and darkness in sequence. You’ll need to expose the minnows to sixteen hours of light. This is called the “photo-period”. Then you’ll need to follow this period with eight hours of darkness. This will jump start the breeding process.
4. Once the eggs hatch, it’s recommended that you remove them from the tank. They do well when placed into a tank next to an air stone and they usually hatch within four to eight days. The reason for this is because once the eggs hatch, the adult minnows have a tendency of eating the fry especially if they get hungry.

Using these tips will help provide the best habitat for the minnows to grow and thrive, thus making your breeding attempt a success.

What You Should Know

There are a few things that you must be aware of before attempting to breed minnows. For example, the smell can be a little overwhelming for many people. For this reason, it’s recommended that you place the holding tank away from any living quarters to avoid smelling up your home.

You’ll also need to keep the tank clean and remove any dead or sick minnows from the tank and dispose of them properly. If the minnows are not healthy, they won’t attract many of the fish species and this defeats the purpose of raising them to use as bait.

Another problem you may run into is over breeding since this creature is so resilient. If your tanks are becoming overpopulated with minnows, you’ll need to slow down the breeding process. You can also choose to leave the eggs in the tank and this will help to reduce the population when the adults eat many of the fry.

Raising minnows is not very difficult but it’s not for just anyone. You need to be willing to put some time into it and monitor them regularly. This is the only way that you’ll be able to keep up with the progress. You must also be willing to get dirty and a little smelly at times when it comes time to clean out those tanks.


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

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