How to Raise Shiners for Fish Bait

How to raise shiners for fish baitShiners are minnows that stay close to aquatic plants. Prey to bass, perch and catfish, shiners only venture into open water at night when their chance of survival is greater. To raise shiners for bait you'll need a few resources. The process is moderately easy, but creating the right temperature and environmental conditions is important if shiners are to thrive while in your care.


Difficulty: Moderate

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Bait tank with lid
  • Water
  • Vegetation
  • Food
  • Aerator pump
  • Bubbler
Step 1
Purchase a bait-holding tank with a 20- to 50-gallon capacity. Fill the tank with water. Water should settle at room temperature. Females spawn eggs from May to June and require a minimum temperature of 75 degrees F (room temperature).
Step 2
Add vegetation (living plants) to the tank as well as small artificial structures, which are available at pet stores. Stock feeding fish such as algae, snails, flies, beetles, minnows, small gold fish and other small aquatic animals for the shiners to eat.
Step 3
Oxygenate the water. Place the aerator pump inside the tank and allow the hose to hang over the side. The aerator draws in air through the hose.
Step 4
Attach a bubbler to create current and minimize stress. Install it on the inside of the tank.
Step 5
Cover the tank with a water tank lid.
Step 6
Clean the tank weekly. Females use debris and vegetation to lay eggs, so clean the tank after eggs have hatched. Eggs typically require four to eight days to hatch. Adult shiners do not offer protection to newly hatched eggs, so special care is not required. Have a second tank with room temperature water on hand so you can quickly transfer the fish for storage while you clean the primary tank.

Tips & Warnings

Large shiners can measure 2 to 4 inches in length, whereas extra large shiners can measure 4 inches or longer.
Female shiners can lay as many as 10,000 eggs over the course of a two-month period, so decide if you want to house male and female shiners together. If you do not wish to breed a large number of shiners, house males and females separately.

Article Written By Charlie Gaston

Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.

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