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View Full Version : Using a chest freezer for a minnow tank



Iowabucks
12-14-2009, 12:44 AM
Hey everyone, first post here.

Our local bait shop will be closing at the end of the year. Really nice place that was in buisness for 30 years. I hate to see him go. I was talking with a friend the other day and we wondered what we were going to do about finding minnows after that. There is one other small time place, but i don't want to have to trust him. Otherwise it's a 20 mile drive to the next closest bait shop.

We go through about 3 to 4 dozen minnows a week during the spring and summer, and i would like to maybe have 100 to 200 on hand at all times. So i did some research about minnow tanks and come up with a couple threads from crappie.com. It looks like the chest freezer will be the way we do it. So i'm guessing these freezers don't get turned on? They must just insulate well enough.

During the hot summer months we may use some for of cooling to help keep the temps down. It will be in a garage.

Would it be possible to turn the freezer on with a timer for maybe 10 or 15 minutes out of an hour, or would pumping water through tubing coils into a refridgerator be a better idea?

biggerjigger
12-14-2009, 02:51 AM
I use a freezer to keep my minnows in, just bought an aquarium air pump and 2 air stones for aeration. Also put a amall pump in for circulation. I can keep 300 or so alice in a 14cf freezer for a month or so. Some of the guys use a working freezer in the summer and put it on a timer to try to keep it round 50 deg. if you change 5 or 10 gallons of the water every week or so, they will stay alive a very long time. Just be sure to treat your water for chlorine and feed them occationally.

Iowabucks
12-14-2009, 10:16 PM
Do some people turn their freezers on to cool the water, or is it not a good idea? Anybody else have an opinion?

I really want to figure out which way to go with this so i know whether to look for a working freezer or not this winter.

Thanks, Jerry.

creekslick
12-14-2009, 10:46 PM
Do some people turn their freezers on to cool the water, or is it not a good idea? Anybody else have an opinion?

I really want to figure out which way to go with this so i know whether to look for a working freezer or not this winter.

Thanks, Jerry.

I used a timer to turn on one that I was using foe minnows. I had is set at the warmest setting and the timer would let it run 30 minutes 2 times a day.

percher
12-15-2009, 10:01 AM
I use a livestock water tank from the big box farm store. Its about 60 gallons and I use two cheap aquarium pumps with a couple large stones from Wallyworld. One pump is enough but the other is for back up. I keep about 5 pounds of large, number 6 shiners in there. Smaller shiners will be less trouble and Rossie reds are the easiest to keep. I've also had good luck using a Cube ice chest for a pound or two while traveling. You have to change about half the water each day though. Don

gabowman
12-15-2009, 03:36 PM
I used a large chest freezer (minus the top) way back when I was catching my own bream for jug fishing for catfish. Water stayed cool enough to keep the bream alive as long as I wanted to fish, but I was through fishing jugs before summertime got here. But you bring up a very interesting question and I think a working freezer set up on a timer would be the ticket, especially for minnows.;) I dont know if you'd want your water COLD because once the minnows hits the lake water they'll curl right up on you, but COOL would definitely keep 'em alive during the summer months and fairly easy to aclimate 'em to warmer temps (in the minnow bucket) before you started fishing with 'em. That's a great idea. Thanks. I might start looking for a good used one myself to replace my 2-55 gallon barrels I currently use.:p

crappie cowboy
12-15-2009, 10:40 PM
I've kept minnows for 3 mos before in a 120 qt cooler. you must change 1/3 of the water at lease once a week, and the water you change must be treated, and the water must be treated and prepared a day before to let it warm up to the minnow tank water.

I used a cheap aquarium pump from WalMart, and in cold weather you can buy a tanker heater, they work great.
Do not feed them, it makes them dodo, and that is what cause's you problems.
Only feed them if you have kept them for 3 weeks or more, and then only very little, I used corn meal and very little of it.

I always siphon out water from the bottom with a hose. The water on the bottom is where all the yak stuff is. Be very gentle putting the minnows back in the tank. Always dip out dead or dieing minnows.

You'll figure it all out, it's trail and error. If you can get some pond minnow's they are much tougher than the bait shop minnows, and live much longer.
Good Luck.......crappie cowboy