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minnows ALIVE


Christopher Quast

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I was throeing out dead minnows earlier in the year. I had been keeping them in my basement laundry room. But then I moved them to Cold storage in the basement we have a 6' X 6' Closet like space inder the front door entry, its dosent freeze but the Beer and Minnows Love it. Proably around 40 deg. grin.gif

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I have an old fridge in the garage that I drilled a small hole in the door.In the hole I glued in a small 1/4 inch tube and hooked up fish tank air lines/pump to keep the little guys happy!This works best in the summer but in winter the water freezes if it gets real cold outside.I never feed my minnows but Im sure you could get some regular fish food and give them a snack if so desired.Hope this helps some!c63 grin.gif

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sink water has chlorine and that is what killed them. You can buy a small bottle of chlorine killer at a pet store for cheap. Probably about 2 drops per gallon is all it takes. Also make sure the water you are adding is real close to the temperature they are swimming in.

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Here's what I do, it kind of involves alot but I've kept minnows for over a month this way. first i have a plastic bucket that is insulated with styrofome. then i place that bucket in a 5 gallon bucket with enough water so the minnow bucket floats. Then what I do is put the bucket outside overnight, or for the day, just long enough for the water in the 5 gallon bucket to freeze, also keep a plastic minnow scoop or cup in the minnow bucket so the water in there has a tougher time freezing. Once the 5 gallon bucket is froze of even just partially froze bring it inside and keep it next to a door if at all possible, or the coldest place in your house. The water will stay cold for up to a day, until you repeat the cycle. If the water does freeze in the minnow bucket break it up right away. Anyways it always works for me. Good Luck!!

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Tap water has a variety of chemicals in it, chlorine included. It will kill most any fish very quickly. As stated by others, you can buy special drops to add to the water before placing your fish in it. Though a massive change in temperature can also cause problems.

For best result if you don't have the additive, don't change all the water. Just rotate part of it. That way the tap water will not be as harsh.

Keeping the water cold also helps. Heck, you can even have it freeze over part way if you check it every day. Having a cheap fish tank aerator going in there will also help keep ice from forming, and oxygenate the water.

edit: I should note that I still have a hard time keeping all the minnows alive for more than a couple weeks. Though when you can buy a scoop for $2, two weeks is a pretty good amount of time. Lately on Mille Lacs we have been just using the minnow heads anyway, so I save the "fresh" dead ones to chop up when I get there.

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I use an old aquarium filter in a 5 gal bucket. Change half the water every other day and use the chlorine neutralizer drops for the aquarium. The power filter I use runs about 25 bucks at the pet store new.

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Heres what works for me. I use an older colman cooler (brown steel one) drill 1/4 inch hole thru lid and place in garage fill with water then install aquarium bubbler put minnows in and your good to go. For food I let a piece of bread get stale or hard as a rock then just scrape off some tiny crummbs and they minnies love it. you can also use guppy food

The bubbler helps it from freezing and ads O2 I change water about once a week but have gone for 2weeks before changing it.

Ive kept suckers and most all types of minnies alive for most or the winter and only once have I had a light skim of Ice on the water cause I didnt hook up the bubbler and it got down to -5 below over night.

Works well and doesnt need tons of maintance.

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Go to wallmart buy a ten gallon fish tank with all the aquarium stuff and fish food. Put it in your basement or next to a widow where the temp is cool.And you've got everything you need for the year. If you don't want to clean it toss the thing and buy a new one next fall for $10-$15. I just keep mine year round. Closest place for minnows from me is about 45 min. one way drive. One thing I do notice is that over time about half of the minnows die due to some disease or parasite that they have. Starts with black spots developing on the minnows. Thought that maybe it was from chlorine, but same thing happend when I used lake water. When ice out happened last spring I had about 8 minnows left in the tank. 3 of them made it to this winter since I forgot to take them durring the summer tongue.gif. One was stolen by a peskey bass, and two of them caught me a walleye. wink.gif

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For those of you who have a permanent shack out there, here is a way to save minnows for the entire season. Find a wide mouth plastic jug (has to be under 8" in diameter.) Drill the top 2/3rds of the jug including the top with holes (1/4" or little smaller). Drill a hole in the center of the cap thru which you run a wire or line to some kind of weight(enough to sink the water filled jug) you affix to bottom of the jug with wire or eyebolt to which you attach that wire or line. Attach free end of wire or line (which should be longer than twice the depth of the ice you anticapate for the season) to center of a stick or dowel which is longer that diameter of an ice hole by couple inches. To set up, drill 2 holes right next to each other outside your shack, pour your minnows into the jug (bottom 1/3 will hold water for them,) put cap on and push jug down one hole until it sinks and is suspended from the stick across the hole. Next time you come to fish, you will have to auger open the hole alongside the one with the stick frozen in place, then with a length of flexible stiff wife with a hook bent into the end, hook the suspended jug and pull it up the newly augered hole. I keep minnows for the entire season and they are always handy. Tip-when you are fishing on sub-zero days, either put your empty jug back down and re-auger when you are done fishing or every couple hours put that jug through the hole so it does not freeze and prevent you from getting that jug back down because if that happens you will cut that wire or line when you try to re-auger.

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Thermal Shock, sudden change in water temp, is the main killer followed by lack of oxygen/warm water.

Crappie minnows and fatheads are pretty tough and will do fine in tap water if you keep them in the fridge or in a cool place. change the water a little at a time, every few days. Keep them cold and they will last for weeks.

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About the issue of using chlorinated tap water. Just buy some chlorine remover at a pet supply store. It costs about three dollars depending how big of a bottle you buy. Follow directions. I usually pour in about a half a cap full for a 5 gallon bucket of tap water. It can usually can keep most minnows and suckers alive for about two to three weeks (St. Paul water). Also the water should be changed at least every other day due to ammonia buildup. You can buy ammonia remover there too, but it's not as effective as changing the water every day.

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I have the bait sized oxygenator and I never use it. I think the Frabil aerator is alot more simple, old fashioned and it works better. I've found the oxygenator will even kill the bait at times.

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Just an FYI for folks. Some citys are now using chloramine in the water systems instead of chlorine. Chloramine does not disapate into the air from standing water like chlorine does. Chloramine needs to be broken down using chemicals like sodium thiosulfate, but doing so increases ammonia levels which them have to be lowered.

So...If you are buying chemicals for your tanks, make sure they will deal with chlorine, chloramine, and ammonia.

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