View Full Version : Minnow tank by sac=-a-lait

03-30-2009, 12:54 PM
More pics and info to come. I'll reexplain everything again later in this thread. I'll pull the pump today and get the manuf info for you fellers that are interested.

03-30-2009, 01:06 PM
Thanks SAC, thought we had lost it. good deal.:)

03-30-2009, 02:06 PM
I don't see the original thread so we did lose it but I wanted to take a couple of more detailed pics of the set up for yall so i will tonight.

03-30-2009, 02:33 PM
Would love to make one but some of the new rules in Vermont you have to get your minnows from a bait shop!!!!!!!!!!!! even if you can prove you got them from the lake your fishing in. Gonna be fighting this one I'll be d***** if I'm gonna spend $3-4 on a cup of minnows when I can take my umbrella net at the dock and get them for nothing.


03-30-2009, 03:29 PM

Even though I don't plan at this time to make one of these, I think it's a nice thing for you to have taken the time to re-post and share something that a lot of folks are interested in. You can tell that you've spent a lot of time putting it together and thinking it out. The step by step pictures and response to those interested is admirable. Just wanted you to know, this ole lady thinks you did good! :)

Cane Pole
03-30-2009, 03:42 PM
I wanna know about the writing on the hand?

03-30-2009, 04:14 PM
The writing on the hand was there as this pic was taken the day before crappiemasters and I had made a few notes for some of the things I needed to get/remember.

Hoy Vonna thanks for the compliment. I make mistakes too, sometimes put my foot in my mouth but I'll make up fer it one of these days.

MORE INFO COMING EVERYONE. Gotta get home to take the pics and then we'll get back to bidness.

03-30-2009, 06:29 PM
Thanks for reposting,I went out and got a barrel and looked for a pump. I could not find any like the one you have what kind of pump is it. I looked at Lowes for bird fountain pumps and sump pumps but none matched.

03-30-2009, 09:19 PM
ok...the pump is a VERSA GOLD SERIES 325 (I have a 325A with the 3/4 inch threads) model for medium pounds. It's 300 gph (I thought it was 900) but still moves a lot of h2o. I found some on a garden website but it's pricy. Check on ebay or some other place for this model OR the 535 has the 3/4" fitting.

Here's a link for the pump but they are over priced here. I got mine from my neighbor for free so I had no idea they were $80.

Beckett Versa Gold Pumps (http://www.macarthurwatergardens.com/beckett-water-gardening/beckett-versa-gold-pumps.shtml)

Here's some more pics of how I put it together. The pic with the minnows left in the tank is what happens after you fish a crappie masters tourney. Your stock takes a BIG HIT as you can see from pics 3 days ago.

NO GLUE USED IN THIS PROCESS so you can take it apart easily to clean out the batting. Placing everything on the INTAKE sucks the parts together VERSUS on the OUFLOW all the parts want to be pushed apart.

03-30-2009, 09:21 PM
ASK QUESTIONS PLEASE. 2 more pics. If you want me to take any specific pics just ask.

I just figured out the 300 gph (gallon per hour) pump is turning my 50 gal tank over ever 10 minutes. WOW

03-30-2009, 09:25 PM
DUMB QUESTION... What is your filter material made of?

03-30-2009, 09:34 PM
batting. It's the cheap sythetic stuff in pillows at the sewing supply place or in a big bag at the fish aquarium store. Most wives will know what it is and she will get a kick out of "Honey when you run into town will you get me some of that batting from the sewing supply shop"...SHE WILL FALL OUT...TRUST ME. Try it. The stuff is cheap if you buy a $5 pillow from walmost and cut it open and just use a little at a time.

Anyone reading that's up on plumbing can you help me make sure I'm saying the right size pvc that I'm using.

I'm using 2" for the filter into a reducer that that takes it down to 3/4" correct?

I do know the threads on the pump are the same size as a garden hose. The threads on the INTAKE that is.

03-30-2009, 10:35 PM
Threads for a garden hose arent the same as NPT pipe threads. But you can purchase an adaptor to convert the intake threads to National Pipe Threads (NPT) . Most plumbing or major stores like Lowes , Home Depot will have the adaptors.
They are called a threaded bushing , if you have to ask a Sales Rep. Hope this helps and that I am correct in my termanology. Most of my terms are lay man terms and may not be known nation wide. I know I have problems translating sometimes to some people at certain stores. But I imagine you can get what you need throwing some of them out 'em.

03-30-2009, 11:39 PM
thx for the time to show us..I always knew you would amount to something..;)

03-31-2009, 01:18 AM
the little white thing going into the reducer that hooks directly to the intake was at lowes or HD. Like $3. But I did check it and the garden hose screwed ontpo it to. The little white thing that spins has a piece of 1 or 3/4" pipe that I cut that fits into the bottom of the reducer. The last pic it's 3 pieces of pvc stuff 2 of which I bought, 1 i cut myself. the thing I think you are talking about and the reducer.

The parts list is (and we'll correctly the terminology/pvc diam as I get it correct), the small threaded adapter from lowes. A 3" piece of 3/4 or 1". A reducer from 2 or 3" back to 3/4 or 1". You will also need a coupling unless the end is made to accept the filter body like you see in the pic. One end cap. And a pump. I think that any pump with an intake that's threaded to accept a garden hose (the end hooked the faucet coming from the house, not the other end of the hose) can be adapted for this idea. I think not sure.

03-31-2009, 01:46 AM
Lynard, If you look at the link I think specs for 1/4 MNTP or 1/2" ID tubing are for the OUTFLOW. If you look at the pick they have you can unscrew the INFLOW filter housing (the black round looking thing with small slits cut in it) and you even can see I replaced it back into the my homemade filter housing to keep the batting from getting sucking into the motor in one of the earlier pics and it has threads. The filter housing screws on and off. Look at my pics and you will see the OUTFLOW is for 1/2" ID tubing but mine is just running free as I'm not trying to control the outflow (at which time you would need the tubing). The inflow (once clear of the pump filter) that small white threaded piece screws on and its the one from lowes. Then on up the line till you get to the 2 or 3" filter body.

03-31-2009, 11:11 AM
i used to be an aquarium nut and these are the cheapest places i found to buy my supplies.. they have water pumps at a decent price


Pet Solutions (http://www.petsolutions.com)


03-31-2009, 01:41 PM

That's a nice set-up. Thanks for sharing this. How long are your minnows lasting with this setup. You can post it here or just email me. Take care my friend.

Arkie John
03-31-2009, 02:36 PM
I really like your set-up! Mine is really simple; a disgarded ice chest, an air pump running to a bubble strip (from wal-mart) and that's about it. I change the water every three weeks, eliminating the need for a filter. It works great for six-eight dozen minnnows.

I keep them cool by storing the cooler on a concrete floor in the shop and switching frozen water bottles at least once a day.

As I posted initially, I really like the addition of a timer. I gotta get me one of those. Thanks again, for posting and sharing this top-notch information! <><


03-31-2009, 02:50 PM
the bait stores around here are using small chest freezers to hold minnows. They change water daily..

03-31-2009, 08:07 PM
hey ship the minners last as long as I want them to. They will die in the heat of the summer if I turn on my dryer and leave the garage door down then it gets SUPER hot. But it takes a while to change the temp of 5o gals of water. Here's how cool the water is at any given time. Go unplug your hot water heater or turn the gas off to it. Use all of the h2o in the tank and let it refill and then the next day take you a shower and tell me how cold you think that water is? main reason I wanted a big drum is more water and I don't have to bend over to mess with them. This is all up high and tall for me to work with.

03-31-2009, 08:42 PM
Here is a good read about adding activated charcoal to get rid of the amonia. I am starting mine this weekend and will let you know what I did. Basically you would start will angel floss in the top then a layer of carbon and then angel floss again. I used it in my aquariums years ago and I don't see why it wouldn't work in this tank. It will keep you from changing the water.



03-31-2009, 09:06 PM
You can buy a small fountain pump at Home Depot for around $35, it doesn't come with 3/4 in garden hose threads, but with some tubing and pvc pipe could easily be made to filter water. I'm using an old aquarium purchased at a garage sale for $10 to keep about 6-8 dozen minnows alive. Feed them tetramin fish food every day. I put a small amount of bait chemical in the water I got at BPS, makes the water blue, takes out the chlorine and helps with the ammonia also. Can keep minnows for weeks, but my bait won,t last that long before use.

03-31-2009, 10:06 PM
Sac--did you put a drain plug on that barrel or just dump it over when you want new water? i got a barrel just like that i am gettin ready to fix up...

03-31-2009, 10:22 PM
I thought about adding one but I didn't want to risk a leak when it's as easy as dumping over. I usually do it after I take the last load out to go fishing with since I take about 10 gals of the h2o out with the minners to go fishing.

Greta idea on the charcoal. I have some around somewhere from old fish tank days and will add some in between layers of batting. Should work fine.

03-31-2009, 11:14 PM
I used to dive for mussle shells and we would make a filter ( which was for our air tank) but point being we would use charcoal and Kotex packed into a PVC pipe and inlets and outlet nipples on both ends. The batting will work as shown but just thought about the Kotex , they will keep the charcoal inside the tube/pipe filter housing and not allow it to be sucked into the pump. They can with stand the water and are really padded.
If you make one and intend on using charcoal, I would use a bigger piece of pipe and place the pads inside and line the bottom outlet of the housing with one , then coal, then have the other pads in the part/top of filter housing . The charcoal will not get into the pump nor back into the tank. More or less a selfcontained unit.
Hope this helps, not my idea just remembering a way we used to do it , and this was to purify the air we breathed while diving in the river. It was effecticent enough and was to keep any oil from compressor out of our systems. Maybe it worked , or maybe that oily air I breathed is what is wrong with me now. HAHAHAH, HHHHMMMMMM? Makes me wonder.

04-01-2009, 12:21 AM
Nice Tank!!
What would be the lowest capacity pump that you would use to safely keep minnows in a 55 gallon drum. The G90 has 92 gallons/hour @ 1' lift

04-01-2009, 11:41 AM
Just curious if you had a small airline fitting in the pipe to the pump inlet and ran a piece of 1/8" or 1/4" airline to the top and installed a small air valve. This would make a venturi-like inlet and you might be able to do this without an air pump. You could control how much air is injected into the water with the air valve. Just a thought.

04-01-2009, 12:26 PM
roh1961 the small pumps intake is shielded by the housing of the unit itself. The 230 looks like you can remove the intake filer as it looks just like mine.

Surfer Dave NOW WE'RE TALKING!!! Tell me more on what you think about adding the tubing. The holes are 1/4" and if not I'm sure I can make 1 that way. Why not just a 1/4" piece of tubing? what's this valve look like?

04-01-2009, 12:41 PM
I'm not sure how those pumps are made but you could possibly burn one of them up from cavitation by pulling air through the intake. At the very least it would be quite a bit less efficient.

sac-a-lait, if you don't have hot water in your gas heater the day after you fire the thing up.. it's time for a new hot water heater. :D

04-01-2009, 09:48 PM
[QUOTE=LYNYRD;751150] we would use charcoal and Kotex [QUOTE]

I will not go into the store and get the Kotex! No way! Not me! If one of my coffee shop buddies saw me I would have to leave town. :D

04-01-2009, 10:20 PM
I'm kinda curious, did you fill your tank with tap water or did you pull it from a lake somewhere? The reason I ask is I've always heard that tap water can cause a huge loss rate. Great looking tank by the way.

04-01-2009, 10:54 PM
hey guys and gals...added activated carbon between layers of batting today and the water looks better already.

belliott, I used 50 gals of tap water that I let sit for about a week before the minners went in. I just added about 5 gals of tap to the current 45 gal in the tank to bring it to 50 gals of which 5 are fresh out of the tap. It won't hurt them in those small numbers. Now if I were to add 40 gals of tap to 5 gals of minner water they would more than likely die unless I let the h2o set up for a while (like new water).

The great thing about these 55 gal plastic drums is they are marked on the side every 5 gals.

wannabe fisherman
04-02-2009, 06:12 AM
YEP the tap water has chlorine in it if you use a lot of it it will kill the minnows. let it set for 24 hrs or more and the chlorine will dissipate. then it's safe to use. OR you can get some stuff called CHLOR-OUT and that will neutralize the chlorine for immediate use.

04-02-2009, 06:51 AM
hey ship the minners last as long as I want them to. They will die in the heat of the summer if I turn on my dryer and leave the garage door down then it gets SUPER hot. But it takes a while to change the temp of 5o gals of water. Here's how cool the water is at any given time. Go unplug your hot water heater or turn the gas off to it. Use all of the h2o in the tank and let it refill and then the next day take you a shower and tell me how cold you think that water is? main reason I wanted a big drum is more water and I don't have to bend over to mess with them. This is all up high and tall for me to work with.

Great. Thanks Rick. I'll talk to you on the phone again soon.

04-02-2009, 07:55 AM
how much did it cost you to get that set up ready?

04-02-2009, 10:10 AM
Thanks for the tip on the tap water, I'll be building one of those tanks. Do you trap your minners or buy them in bulk? I've been wanting to get a trap and have not got around to it yet, you've inspired me.

04-02-2009, 10:42 PM
You could try just running a piece of tubing to see how much air the pump will pull. The air valves can be found at any pet store that sells fish. They use them to regulate air to air stones/diffusers in aquariums. It's definately a good way to oxygenate the water. As a side note, most venturi setups have the air inlet close to the pump inlet and use a reduced water pressure to pull air into the suction side of the pump. Of course a true venturi has a smaller diameter section or flow restriction on the open or free water side of the air inlet but I've seen several other people just insert an air line close to the impeller on the suction side and make it work. You might be able to drill a hole in the PVC at the pump inlet and install an airline fitting and put an airline on and run it up top to the valve. That way you still get the filtration above it in the large PVC and also inject enough air in the water. Just a thought.
Here's a link for the valves: http://www.aquaticeco.com/subcategories/1897/Air-Line-Gang-Valves/air&#37;20valve/0

I don't think that it will hurt a pond pump. You're not going to be pulling all air. That's what the valve is for, to adjust the amount of air to inject into the water stream. It's done all the time on saltwater reef aquariums for a foam fractionator or protein skimmer. Of course the total flow of the pump is reduced but you also have a trade-off of more oxygen in the water.

Surfer Dave NOW WE'RE TALKING!!! Tell me more on what you think about adding the tubing. The holes are 1/4" and if not I'm sure I can make 1 that way. Why not just a 1/4" piece of tubing? what's this valve look like?

04-04-2009, 12:42 PM
Cool set up. I built a similar rig, with the drum cut into 1/3, and top siliconed back on for my boat to keep shad alive while trotlining. The venturi I made did not go in the inlet: It went on the outlet, as about a 45 degree angle. Idrilled a 1/4 inch hole into outlet at that angle, slid in tubing, and epoxied it in place. At that angle, it wont shoot the water up the tubing, but will still pull air into the discharge. No air going through your pump at all! This was on a 12volt bilge pump, but it should work fine on your 110 unit.

04-04-2009, 07:46 PM
how long will the activated charcoal last before it needs to be changed?

04-05-2009, 11:32 PM
Got the stuff to start my tank today. got to get a pump. What did you put in the pipe for filteration. Was it polyfill or something like that. Best one I've seen and cheap except for the pump but been looking for something cheaper.

04-11-2009, 08:39 PM

how about an update? How are those minners doing? Are you getting and smell off the tank? I built a setup similar in functionality as yours but have been struggling with getting the biolfilter part running and some ammonia buildup. I ended up paying the bucks on a filte rlike yours - i went through a bunch of smaller ones only to learn I needed a decent pump.

04-11-2009, 11:11 PM

how about an update? How are those minners doing? Are you getting and smell off the tank? I built a setup similar in functionality as yours but have been struggling with getting the biolfilter part running and some ammonia buildup. I ended up paying the bucks on a filte rlike yours - i went through a bunch of smaller ones only to learn I needed a decent pump.

The activated charcoal will neutralize the amonia.

04-11-2009, 11:15 PM
Hey guys. What's left of the original 3 pounds are in the pic below. I only had a few die and I mean like 3. I think they died from overeating. I would guess it's around 100 in there maybe a couple more than a 100 left. I only use it if on a guided trip as I prefer 1 pole 1 or 2 jigs. But this tank will hold mongo bait without a problem. I think.


55 Plastic drum that had soap in it...FREE
AIR PUMP and AIR STONE...FREE had an old one
3/4" threaded piece to fit on the pump...$3
PUMP...FREE from neighbor's old pond
2 nets and goldfish food...$5 had one of the nets already
light timer...FREE in drawer of things that never gets used
Batting and charcoal...$5 and will last forever
TOTAL...$17 so less than $20. If I had to buy the pump it might have made a difference in the size of the pump.

Based upon a great suggestion someone made in an earlier post, I added a layer of charcoal in the filter to help clean the h20...and will NEXT be removing the airpump and airstone in place of the 1/8 or 1/4" tubing on the OUTFLOW, set at a 45 degree angle with the flow (I assume) and epoxied in place. To remove the air pump will be sweet and I hope it works.

I like the air on the OUTFLOW set at an angle idea. Do you just glue the 1/4" tube in the screwhole and then nothing on the other end but open air?

The minners are stronger than ever. I can/could take 100-200 them to the lake and leave them in a cooler all day and some days they don't get touched and when I get back EVERYONE of them is alive!!! TRUE TEAM PLAYERS.

The water is clear and little to no smell or at least I can't tell.

I think I might buy another 3 pounds and see how it goes again. The greatest part is riding past the baitshop and seeing how busy they are as I'm headed to the ramp.

11-23-2009, 08:40 PM
nice tank

02-22-2010, 11:51 AM
bump for EZPOLE to see

05-16-2010, 10:39 PM
And a few more to see. This is great info. I am new here, and ironically I built a nearly identical system with a different variation on the filter. I used half a drum. With a 110 air pump, and the pond pump and charcoal filter, on 25 gallons, How many minnows do you think I can Carry?

Wknd Warrior
05-17-2010, 11:08 AM
I built sac's setup exactly. It works well, but everytime I add minnows I think the tank cycles and I have a die off. I have had up to 3.5lbs at one time and they were doing fine until the nitrate spike. It seems like the happy medium is about a pound to pound and a half. I think I'm going to go away from the barrel approach and switch to more of a trough.

I don't really know what I'm talking about regarding the nitrate. I hope someone that knows exactly can explain.

05-17-2010, 11:17 AM
i used a old deep freezer(still in working order) and sealed the inside of it with epoxy paint....have it set on a timer and keeps the water around 50-55 deg.....holds 10lbs with no prob.

05-17-2010, 02:44 PM
this the same setup we have in our truck....we keep bluegil,l bass and suckers alive for weeks in ours...we run a voltage converter out of the cig lighter, and works perfect.....

05-17-2010, 09:10 PM
Thanks for the input. I used a blue drum, i read it "calms" the minnows. i also heard a round tank was better because it keeps the minnows from bottling up in the corners and stressing. I used refrigeration sheet insulation and made a big "beer hugger" for my drum. I haven't had any die off, but I've had just a cpl of dozen at a time in it. Just whats left from trip to trip. Still have to locate a wholeseller.

10-29-2010, 09:26 PM
i missed what the timer's for. can someone tell me? thank. dw

10-31-2010, 05:06 PM
i missed what the timer's for. can someone tell me? thank. dw

The timer is so that the pumps don't run all the time and heat up the water. I usually have mine set to run for thirty seconds every three minutes. Seems to keep them lively and can keep them in the tank for up to a month changing out part of the water every third day.

10-31-2010, 07:36 PM
what kind of fish food do you use?

10-31-2010, 07:46 PM
Most people dont feed their minnows to keep from building up the ammonia levels in the water. I recommend you buy what you feel you'll use up in a month and go with that. Just so you know, I fed a small piece of white loafbread after a couple of weeks, giving them a small 1/4 slice (or less) every 3 or 4 days. I think it kept 'em alive a little longer but as mentioned, you'll need to change out some water pretty regularly. Cold weather isnt hard to keep minnows. You wont have to run a bubbler every day either.

10-31-2010, 09:32 PM
makes sense. thanks grubby

11-01-2010, 02:35 AM
they can live for a month with that little food? They seem pretty low maintenance.

11-01-2010, 07:55 AM
Looks good my friend.

crappie josh
11-01-2010, 08:37 PM
when I lived in my apartment I kept a 5 gallon square bucket with an aquarium filter for a for a 29 gallon tank and I kept a dozen or 2 minnows in that bucket for about a month or so I had a few die here and there but they keep well and I gave them some of the fish food from the wife's fish tank and I changed the water maybe once or twice and never even really knew it was there and I maybe sent $20.00-$30.00 or maybe not even that much the bucket was like $1.50 for some one that only had time to fish on the weekends and for the amount of space it worked well for me

crappie josh
11-04-2010, 12:28 PM
I've been thinking about pulling my square bucket back out and goin and getting about 2 or 3 dozen for the next couple of fishing trips what do yall think shinners or rosey reds? and do they keep the same?

11-25-2010, 04:54 PM
I fed mine everyday. THEY LOVE it and it will fatten them up and make them strong. NEVER changed the water JUST THE CHARCOAL and filter material. If anything I had to add water back as I would alwyas take out about 10 gals when we loaded up to go fishin. And man those minners LOVED to go fishing! When they see you they think it's eating time so they come RIGHT TO YA!

11-27-2010, 09:15 AM
Not to hijack the thread but i thought i would jump in here, show my tank and ask a couple questions.

I used a clean decorative yard planter (maybe 30 gallons) and insulated it as well as i could. Started with farm pond water. I built a filter system for it and always had ammo carb and filter material in it. I went through a couple different variations of the filter but found that the more filter space (holes in the pvc) in a couple different locations worked the best. Using one filter would clog pretty fast down close to the base. I usually kept a couple dozen minnows in it at all times. Keeping minnows in it constantly would require me to clean the filter every 3 weeks. I always cleaned and reused some of the material to keep the beneficial bacteria going. Had a pretty good size air pump with two longer sized airstones.

I never fed them to keep ammonia levels down, it stays in my basement and i always kept ice bottles in it during the warmest months. Temps were usually 50 to 60 degrees. I religiously checked ammonia levels, nitrates, nitirites, and every other test there is. Changed around 30% of the water weekly (from area farm pond). I kept this tank all summer up until last month, but still always had about 3 to 8 minnows die every day.

A buddy had a very similar tank with the exact same results. I don't understand why they died off all the time if i test the water, change the water, filtered the water,kept it cool, and provided plenty of air.

With the amount of time invested in this tank this year i was hoping for some better results. Anybody have anything to suggest to make this work out better when i get it going again next spring?

11-27-2010, 09:46 AM
i wonder if they starved to death. or maybe stress. how many total minnows would you keep in there?

11-27-2010, 12:05 PM
Never over 3 dozen at a time, usually more like 1 dozen.

Every thread i ever read about keeping minnows said not to feed them or the ammonia levels would go up.

I don't think any one minnow stayed in the tank for more than 3 weeks, so i doubt they starved.

11-27-2010, 12:49 PM
read once where too much o2 was a problem.

11-27-2010, 01:29 PM
Worked in a baitshop for several years; am no expert but over 3+ yrs did notice a couple things; !- having extra fine ("micro") aeriatores/ stones cut our minnow loss in half INSTANTLY from time we installed them, even with over stocked tank right after bait delivery. Cost a little more than "normal" stones, but WORTH it long term. 2-kept a small channel cat in the tank; it did a marvelous job recycling dead minnows, got too lazy to actively chase healthy ones, watched it lazily swim after destressed ones untill "GULP!"; fished very few dead ones out of the tank most mornings after adding it, actually even in 56 degrees was a FAT little specimen when put it back in lake in Oct, probably gained 2-3 lbs! Am sure it DID eat some good minnows, but the dead/ dying ones were probably far easier to catch, and just plentiful enough to keep it regularly fed. Not sure if practical in a smaller tank (we used a 100 gal), but worked well for us for 2 yrs...

11-28-2010, 10:15 PM
read once where too much o2 was a problem.

How do you know if you have too much oxygen?

11-28-2010, 10:32 PM
i don't remember exactly what they said but its in one the threads here or under the live bait section. i took notice of it because i was losing minnows in my 55gal barrel and had 2 air stones feeding it. made me wonder.