How to Raise Baitfish Minnows

How to Raise Baitfish Minnows
Anglers can save money if they raise their own bait fish, and minnows can be sold as bait for a profit. The cost of raising bait fish is usually less than the price paid in a retail store.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • 10-gallon aquarium for each breeding tank
  • Two 4-inch sections of PVC pipe, 4 inches in diameter
  • Undergravel filter
  • Aquarium thermometer
  • Aquarium light to keep temperature constant
  • Bag of gravel
  • Light timer
  • Two males and four female minnows
  • Bottled or sterilized water
  • Minnow or fish food
  • Aquarium fungus prevention product
  • Additional tanks/filters/gravel as needed
Step 1
Set up the 10-gallon aquarium. Install the undergravel filter, then cover the filter and the bottom of the tank with gravel. Lay the two sections of PVC pipe in the tank horizontally. Fill the tank with the bottled water. Install the aquarium thermometer on the side of the tank.
Step 2
Set up the lighting and check temperature. Install the aquarium lighting and timer. Set the timer so the light is turned on for 15 hours every day. Make sure the water temperature is holding at 72 to 74 degrees F before placing the fish into the tank.
Step 3
Acclimate the minnows to the tank. If the fish are in a clear plastic bag, place the bag, still closed, in the tank. This will allow the minnows to get acclimated to the tank water temperature. After one to two hours, empty the bag of minnows into the tank.
Step 4
Harvest the eggs. If you plan to keep the original tank as a breeding tank, remove the PVC pipe sections that have eggs attached. Do this weekly or as needed and place eggs in a new tank, preferably a 20- to 30-gallon size. Limit it to one pound of minnows for each gallon of water. The hatchling tank should also have regular aeration and be treated to prevent fungus (see Resources).
Step 5
Release, use or sell the minnows. If there are too many hatchlings for the tank size and for individual use, release the minnows into the wild or sell them to a bait shop or other fishermen. Minnows reproduce rapidly and must have a proper breeding and living environment or else they will die.

Tips & Warnings

Minnows should be fed in the morning and the evening.

Article Written By Kelsey Childress

Kelsey Childress runs a freelance creative business called Awen Creative that specializes in SEO Web content, social media marketing and blogging. She has been writing for online and in-print publications for over six years, and has a bachelor's degree in English literature and creative writing from Kansas State University.

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