What you need to know about raising minnows

Raising minnows can be a fun experience. It can help you to have plenty of bait for your fishing experiences. It can also help you to have a great way to make some money by selling them to other people as bait. If you have children they will absolutely love helping you to raise minnows. If you want to sell more of them or use them to the fullest though you need to learn the right conditions that will keep them healthy and alive.
You can gather your own minnows through the process of seining. Before you begin this process though you need to have your tanks ready to go. They need to be clean and a good environment for the minnows or they will die soon after you place them in there. The size of your tanks will depend on how many minnows you plan to raise at any time.

A good stock tank (horse tank) will work very well for this type of process. They also don’t cost very much so you can keep your overhead low. You will want to fill those tanks with water a day or two before you begin the process of seining the minnows though. This will allow the water temperature time to become the same as the outside air.

If you seine minnows and then place them in water that is too cold or too hot they will die due to the shock. Their bodies won’t be able to adjust to those changes in temperature so quickly. Plan your tanks for the minnows in the shade. You want to find shelter under trees or even in your garage to offer enough shade. This is especially true if you live in hot, sunny areas.

The next element to tackle when you raise minnows is to be able to offer them enough oxygen. Without it they won’t be able to thrive in that environment. A good way to be able to offer them plenty of oxygen involves with a pump. You can even get an old one from a swamp cooler if you are trying to cut costs for getting started. You want to place our tank in a location where you have electricity for that pump though.

You are ready to build a filter, you don’t have to have one, but I highly recommend it. This filter will reduce the frequency of changing the water in your tank. That saves you both time and money. You can get an old piece of rain gutter and cut it 3 or 4 inches shorter than your tank. Drill holes in the bottom of it, about 1/8″ each. Cap each end of the rain gutter.

Fill the rain gutter with cotton. You want it to be held in place 5 to 6 inches from the surface of the water. Run the hose from your pump so that it will fill up the rain gutter. The cotton will filter the water as it flows out of the holes. It will splash into your tank through those areas. The splashing and pouring of the water will create a large amount of oxygen in your tank.

After a couple of days you will find that your cotton is becoming filled with debris and waste. Keep a good eye on it and when the cotton is no longer white you need to replace it. That means it has lost the ability to do any filtering for you. Scoop out the old cotton, toss it out, and replace it.

If the water becomes cloudy, you will definitely want to change that cotton immediately. Within a very short period of time you should notice that the water is starting to become clear again. Minnows need clean water to thrive so if you allow the problems to linger they will all die.

What you will quickly notice is that it becomes the common location for the minnows to hang out all the time. If you plan on keeping the minnows for several days or longer you will need to feed them well. You can use any quality type of commercial fish food. Make sure you get something that is small enough for the minnows to swallow them.

The type of food I recommend is called Trout Starter. I have found it really does the trick for raising healthy minnows. The food is also low cost and you should be able to find it at most pet stores. You can also buy it online and have it shipped to you if you can’t seem to find it locally.

If you follow these tips your minnows will look great and they will be thriving. If you plan to sell them this will help you to get more business. Fishermen realize the value of top notch minnows. They are going to do business where they get the best overall value.

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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