Bait Holding Tank

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liveinavandownbytheriver's picture
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Bait Holding Tank

I was wondering if anyone has made a big bait tank like out of a garbage can. I have heard of it being done but now I would like to give it a try. Any suggestions?

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I have used a rubbermaid storage container with and aerator and it has worked even during the heat of the summer. I think multi species has a nice setup he might post a pic, I'm thinking I need to get a nicer set up like that as well.

I dont go around guessing cup sizes either I just know a nice rack when I see one.

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I have a 55 gallon greek pickle barrel. Got it at runnings for $35.  I have a 200 GPH pump that recircs the water through a 10 gallon biological filter. which I also made.   The entire setup was less then a hundo and I have chubs that have been alive for over a year.

renegadefisher
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my uncle and i are keeping some in a old freezer that we got for free just need to set up a better pump for them. I was wondering if you guys know of a good pump for a tank? 

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An old chest freezer makes a really nice bait tank.  Plumb a drain in the bottom if it doesn't have one already. 

Jim Carroll NPAA #13

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so far the best I have found is the metal stock tanks from ag supply stores (Home of Economy, Tractor Supply)  the have a drain, they're inexpensive, and their design allows you to hang as many power filters off the sides as you need.

I keep mine in the utility room in my basement, where its a constant 65 degrees on my floor which keeps the bait tank at the perfect temp.  I keep a 4' X 2' sheet of plexi-glass over the top to keep chubs from jumping out (which they are very good at) and I have a 350 gallon per hour power filter (35$ at walmart) on the back, which I change the cartriges on whenever they start to clog

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Multi-species - now that is dedication to a craft, the craft being fishing

"No, I'm not a good shot, but I shoot often." - TR

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 Being it is in your basement, you don't notice any increases in smell or moisture levels?  

I've even thought of using a cooler when the lid is broken off.  The cooler could be the container and help keep the temperature steady.   I wouldn't need to keep such a large container for thousands of minnows/chubs, but maybe around a few hundred.

Kentucky Windage
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Joined: Friday, May 6, 2011 - 10:27am

I am in the process of building one as well.  Is an aeration system all a  guy needs or do you need fresh water cycling through as well?  I would imagine having both will keep the bait alive for a longer period of time. 

 

zoops
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Joined: Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - 12:03pm

Ice cream bucket in my fridge keeps a scoop of fatheads alive for plenty long enough.  At least several weeks if you change the water every week or so. 

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How many minnows can one legally have

There's a whole generation of Americans that have no idea about the truth of the Clintons, particularly Hillary 


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You can make a great bio filter out of PVC pipe and nylon pot scrubbies, you will get much more waste processing capacity and its cheaper than aquarium filters. I will take a picture of mine and post it sometime, maybe today if I get around to it.

 

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The best one's I have seen are setups identical to multi's.  I know guys who keep shiners alive for a year in them.  Gotta drain the water every now and then even with filters, but with the drain it is real easy.  All the guys I know have them in their insulated garages and don't worry about them freezing, even in the coldest part of winter. 

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” - Albert Einstein

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I buried one of these 70 gallon Menards tanks into the ground near an outside outlet on back side of my house - flush with ground. Dropped a pond filter into it. Built a hinged cover of plywood and pink insulating foam under the plywood to keep it cool/warm depending on season.

Never froze in last 5 years and stays very cool in summer. Don't have minnow stink in the house - which is why I did it.

If I need to switch water I let the pond filter pump out 25-30% and I replace water. Insects constantly drop in and feed the suckers/chubs.

I can take pics and send if you PM me.

Also serves as tornado shelter for really really small people.



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Dakota G-man Said:
 Being it is in your basement, you don't notice any increases in smell or moisture levels?  

I've even thought of using a cooler when the lid is broken off.  The cooler could be the container and help keep the temperature steady.   I wouldn't need to keep such a large container for thousands of minnows/chubs, but maybe around a few hundred.

Zero smell.  just for a week or 2 after the initial setup after some fish are added there is a little bit of a smell until the bacteria gets established to break down the ammonia & other waste. 

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multi-species-angler Said:

Dakota G-man Said:
 Being it is in your basement, you don't notice any increases in smell or moisture levels?  

I've even thought of using a cooler when the lid is broken off.  The cooler could be the container and help keep the temperature steady.   I wouldn't need to keep such a large container for thousands of minnows/chubs, but maybe around a few hundred.

Zero smell.  just for a week or 2 after the initial setup after some fish are added there is a little bit of a smell until the bacteria gets established to break down the ammonia & other waste. 

I put mine outside because I've raised/spawned huge variety of fish (aquarium guy for 30 years) including reef aquariums - so I know fish tanks, etc. and I know what fish smell like. I don't mind it - but wives and guests do not dig it.

I agree that established systems usually have zero smell. But systems with large population fluxes (due to adding new bait) do tend to smell. Also, some of your bait tips over eventually and stinks if you're not there to babysit, remove victims, etc. every day. And let's not forget the occasional long power failure at an inopportune time.



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what about water?  What do you initially fill the tank with?  the water where I live has killed every minnow I have ever tried to keep.


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I need to get a tank set up.  A scoop of minnows goes for 4 bucks now and half of them don't get used.

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$4/scoop? DANG, where is that? I trap my own so always have a lot. You could set up a tank using a rubbermaid trash bin easily enough, but something more like a cattle tank would be easier to get them out of. Youd prolly have to drop about $75 to get a good setup, with a pump and filter and tank, if you build your own filter. You can use tap water, just let it sit for a day before adding fish, with the pump running. Also dont put in 400 minnows right away. Go to a pet store and ask them for one of their dirty aquarium filters, pay for a new one and have them swap it, throw that in there and it will help establish your bacteria colony much quicker. Still you gotta watch your biological load for the first few weeks until your filter is populated well.

 

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dpgunsmith Said:
what about water?  What do you initially fill the tank with?  the water where I live has killed every minnow I have ever tried to keep.

Go to walmart and get aqua safe it comes in yellow bottles and it makes tap water safe. Or use water from where you caught them. That should keep them for awhile. If you want to establish a new bait tank for long term do the above but also let it sit for little while plus get some bacteria growing in there to remove the fish waste or their ammonia and other growth will kill them if the bacteria is not there to control it. Easiest way to do this is get a filter and bring it to a pet store and trade them for a used one, the dirty filter will get the good bacteria going much quicker.

I dont go around guessing cup sizes either I just know a nice rack when I see one.

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johnr Said:
How many minnows can one legally have

150 without a bait vendor license is what it says in the fishing guide.


Liebel's Guide Service 

Fishing on North Dakota's Beautiful Lake Sakakawea!

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Yea what Lycan said, beat me to it.

I dont go around guessing cup sizes either I just know a nice rack when I see one.

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Thats 150 per licensed fisherman. If you have 2 adults and 2 kids in the house, you can have 600 if Im not mistaken. You just cant take them all with you when you go fishing unless there are other fishermen going with you.

walleyes n whitetails Said:

johnr Said:
How many minnows can one legally have

150 without a bait vendor license is what it says in the fishing guide.

 

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How many Fatheads you think a guy could keep alive in a ten gallon tank all winter?

zoops
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I've kept a 10 gallon tank in the spring and kept 100+ alive for several weeks without doing anything other than changing the water every few days (no filters, etc.).  Found the ice cream pail/fridge works just as well for me since I use up a scoop within a week or two and have bait stores near my house. 

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10gal tank is pretty small, maybe 2-3dz if you provide food and adequate filtration.

duckduckgoose Said:
How many Fatheads you think a guy could keep alive in a ten gallon tank all winter?

 

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I catch so many fish there are no minnows left over.thats the best way to solve the problem

My idea of happiness is killin' things - Phil Robertson "Duck Dynasty"
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How warm do you think fatheads can get? I need to set something like this up in my shop, but it gets really hot in there with the doors closed, and these days, I really don't feel comfortable keeping it open. I've got a fridge in there but think it's too small, also have an old chest freezer that doesn't work. Any suggestions?

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vanhookguide Said:

How warm do you think fatheads can get? I need to set something like this up in my shop, but it gets really hot in there with the doors closed, and these days, I really don't feel comfortable keeping it open. I've got a fridge in there but think it's too small, also have an old chest freezer that doesn't work. Any suggestions?

I have had fairly good luck with them in my garage, it has no AC and gets just as taosty as outside, as long as the tank is big enough and the water keeps moving/bubbling it should be ok.

I dont go around guessing cup sizes either I just know a nice rack when I see one.

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The cooler you can keep the water, the more dissolved gases the water can hold so your fish capacity will be greater for your specific area. You wouldnt want the temp over 70 deg but 50-60 would be much better.

 

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doublebarrelsaloon Said:

vanhookguide Said:

How warm do you think fatheads can get? I need to set something like this up in my shop, but it gets really hot in there with the doors closed, and these days, I really don't feel comfortable keeping it open. I've got a fridge in there but think it's too small, also have an old chest freezer that doesn't work. Any suggestions?

I have had fairly good luck with them in my garage, it has no AC and gets just as taosty as outside, as long as the tank is big enough and the water keeps moving/bubbling it should be ok.

I better add if you trap the minnows in a slough that is pee warm in the summer those minnows will prolly handle a toasty garage better than the bait store version.

I dont go around guessing cup sizes either I just know a nice rack when I see one.

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I just made a second live well for my boat out of a cooler that would work for you garbage can also. Send me a pm with your cell and ill send you some picts

Y'all call me a paranoid gun-nut now, but we all know who you're going to be running to for help when the zombies show up.
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I made my tank! The only issue is that i am worried about the water. I am not using a filter so i will just drain it when needed. My question is what happens if the water I use kills the minnows. Is there an easy fix? remember i do not have a filter running

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CPR?

liveinavandownbytheriver Said:
 My question is what happens if the water I use kills the minnows. Is there an easy fix?

 

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liveinavandownbytheriver Said:
I made my tank! The only issue is that i am worried about the water. I am not using a filter so i will just drain it when needed. My question is what happens if the water I use kills the minnows. Is there an easy fix? remember i do not have a filter running

Buy a big jug of chlorine/chloramine/etc. neutralizer from pet store, walmart, etc. Pay attention to the label! Some are very concentrated so it's like 1 drop per gallon (great) while others are like 1 teaspoon per gallon (RIP-OFF!).

It used to be (10-20 years ago) that letting your water sit for 24 hours let all the chlorine out - but things have changed if you're using certain city's water because many cities now use chloramines (I think that's what they are, I forget) and they are way more stubborn and stay toxic much longer than old school chlorine (which is why they use them). It also doesn't smell like a swimming pool coming out of the tap.

Make sure waters are close to same temp although minnnows are darn tough in this regard compared to tropicals.

If you're not running a filter you need either a bubbler of some sort or a fan blowing across the surface to create waves/ripples. A fan is actually very effective if you don't have a bubbler (aerator) . Down side is that you'll have a lot of evaporation!

And finally - throw a couple test minnows in the replacement water before you do the replacement for all the minnows... they'll tell you if water is OK to swap (canaries in the coal mine).



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How deep is your tank, its not tough to make a filter or you could buy one. Where is it located? How many gallons and how many minnows you keeping?

 

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liveinavandownbytheriver Said:
I made my tank! The only issue is that i am worried about the water. I am not using a filter so i will just drain it when needed. My question is what happens if the water I use kills the minnows. Is there an easy fix? remember i do not have a filter running

 Do yourself a big favor and purge out the minnows for a week in a tub before you put them in your  tank.   If you plan on keeping a lot of minnows get a pump, If the minnows swim to the top of the water and gulp for air the oxygen is low.    Make sure you take out any minnows that die.    

 

 

 

Life is good
 

 

 

 

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Yeah, I think they use Bromine now.   We just got rural water last fall and now my minnows don't last very well despite a filter and aerator.   Had a 50 gallon Sprawl Mart plastic storage thing set up in my shop but gave it up and now toss leftover minnows in my pond. . 

Kentucky Windage
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I have a 110 gal tank that I want to keep shiners in.  Tank will be outside, plans are yo bury it as deep as i can to keep the water cool. Shiners are really sensitive baitfish.  What do i neet to keep these minnow alive for as long as possible?  I priced out a water pump to cycle fresh water that will run me $260 bucks.  Originally I wanted to put in a water pump for fresh water and an aerator as well.  What does a guy need to make it work and not fail?

 

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Kentucky Windage Said:
I have a 110 gal tank that I want to keep shiners in.  Tank will be outside, plans are yo bury it as deep as i can to keep the water cool. Shiners are really sensitive baitfish.  What do i neet to keep these minnow alive for as long as possible?  I priced out a water pump to cycle fresh water that will run me $260 bucks.  Originally I wanted to put in a water pump for fresh water and an aerator as well.  What does a guy need to make it work and not fail?

If you just want to "move water" the simple powerhead pumps sold at aquarium stores (and Walmarts, etc.) are inexpensive because they make millions of them for a hobby trade). Some allow you to let the pumps suck air into a tube, which it mixes inside the pump, so you get both current and aeration.

The sown-side to bubbles is that bubbles burst when they come up to surface, throwing a fine mist in the air. This speeds evaporation AND cause a salty crust to form everywhere. That's why most folks hand an external aquarium filter on the top edge of the tank



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260 for a pump is overkill for a 110 gal tank. You should be able to find a pump thats more than adequate for less than $50.

Kentucky Windage Said:
I have a 110 gal tank that I want to keep shiners in.  Tank will be outside, plans are yo bury it as deep as i can to keep the water cool. Shiners are really sensitive baitfish.  What do i neet to keep these minnow alive for as long as possible?  I priced out a water pump to cycle fresh water that will run me $260 bucks.  Originally I wanted to put in a water pump for fresh water and an aerator as well.  What does a guy need to make it work and not fail?

 

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Lycanthrope Said:
260 for a pump is overkill for a 110 gal tank. You should be able to find a pump thats more than adequate for less than $50.

Kentucky Windage Said:
I have a 110 gal tank that I want to keep shiners in.  Tank will be outside, plans are yo bury it as deep as i can to keep the water cool. Shiners are really sensitive baitfish.  What do i neet to keep these minnow alive for as long as possible?  I priced out a water pump to cycle fresh water that will run me $260 bucks.  Originally I wanted to put in a water pump for fresh water and an aerator as well.  What does a guy need to make it work and not fail?

tech guy told me that's what I needed to suck water from 25 yards away and uphill approx 5-8ft.  1/3hp 2-4 gal per minute.  I don't need that much flow but that was what they have. 

 

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Are you taking water from a fresh water source? I figured you were recirculating water. Shiners arent legal baitfish in ND, did you mean creek chubs?

Something like this for $90 would be plenty I would think. You need to figure your electricity cost also when you are running a pump that is way larger than necessary.

www.little-giantpump.com/new_page_13.htm

 

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Kentucky Windage Said:
I have a 110 gal tank that I want to keep shiners in.  Tank will be outside, plans are yo bury it as deep as i can to keep the water cool. Shiners are really sensitive baitfish.  What do i neet to keep these minnow alive for as long as possible?  I priced out a water pump to cycle fresh water that will run me $260 bucks.  Originally I wanted to put in a water pump for fresh water and an aerator as well.  What does a guy need to make it work and not fail?

If you plan to use that pump to constantly recycle water from an outside source there's no need to burry the tank to keep the water cool since it will always be the same temp as your source anyway.

My bait tank is at least 150 gallons and I only have a $39.99 external power filter running that to keep 50 to 100 large creek chubs alive.

what species of shiner are you planning on keeping?  some are way more sensitive than others.  common, spottail, emerald?  if you live in ND all shiners are illegal for bait, only creek chubs and fathead minnows may be used.

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Lycanthrope Said:
Are you taking water from a fresh water source? I figured you were recirculating water. Shiners arent legal baitfish in ND, did you mean creek chubs?

Something like this for $90 would be plenty I would think. You need to figure your electricity cost also when you are running a pump that is way larger than necessary.

www.little-giantpump.com/new_page_13.htm

Everyone I talk to who sells pumps tells me I need something with more power to suck the water from the lake than long of a distance.

This is in MN, job brought me from central ND where I am from to Eastern  ND.  The GF has a cabin on Ottertail which is great walleye fishing, so I net my own shiners in the spring instead of paying $5.50-6.00/doz at bait shops which is crazy IMO

 

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multi-species-angler Said:

If you plan to use that pump to constantly recycle water from an outside source there's no need to burry the tank to keep the water cool since it will always be the same temp as your source anyway.

My bait tank is at least 150 gallons and I only have a $39.99 external power filter running that to keep 50 to 100 large creek chubs alive.

what species of shiner are you planning on keeping?  some are way more sensitive than others.  common, spottail, emerald?  if you live in ND all shiners are illegal for bait, only creek chubs and fathead minnows may be used.

Spottail, they so much get a wiff of stress they die.  There will be more than a 100 in there at time I would bet so i want to keep everything fresh

 

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Kentucky Windage Said:

Spottail, they so much get a wiff of stress they die.  There will be more than a 100 in there at time I would bet so i want to keep everything fresh

You don't have to bury the tank if you have direct overflow of constant lake water, especially if the water is taken from 6' below the surface where its typically cooler.  I'd keep the bait tank indoors in a shed or at least in the shade.

And yes, if you jump over the top of the tank and yell "BOO!" you can kill spot tails, common shiners are much more durable.

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You could get something a little larger, but a 1/3 hp pump is severe overkill for keeping some minnows. Whats the electricity draw on a pump like that? They make smaller pumps that dont move a lot of CFS but they can handle pressure better than other pumps. IMO if you replace the water twice an hour you should be just fine. There are graphs available for pumps that show the volume they will pump compared the the lift required. You could use a larger pump on a timer and run it intermittently, but the fish would handle a lesser stream of continuous water better and you wouldnt get as much temperature fluctuations that way either.

Here is a graph for the pump I suggested earlier, even with a 10' head, you are still gonna get 200gal/hour water flow which would be great for that application I think.

If you want to spend a little more, something like this would also work, get at little more pressure at the head you are describing, but its probably unnecessary.

www.plumbersurplus.com/Prod/Little-Giant-3E-34N-1-15-HP-670-GPH-Dual-Purpose-Pump-10-Power-Cord-503603/13137/Cat/773


If you really want to spend some extra $$$, I would go with a larger tank and use the smaller pump.


 

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multi-species-angler Said:

You don't have to bury the tank if you have direct overflow of constant lake water, especially if the water is taken from 6' below the surface where its typically cooler.  I'd keep the bait tank indoors in a shed or at least in the shade.

And yes, if you jump over the top of the tank and yell "BOO!" you can kill spot tails, common shiners are much more durable.

I have a spot in the shade for the tank.  It works out best to have the pump close to the tank (25yds from the water).  The eletricity is close and the pump can be protected easier but it is harder to draw water up 5 ft gradual slope and 25yds from the water.  The pump I am told I need for that distance is way more than I want to spend.  If I have a 200-300 shiners in the tank can I get away with burrying it and just have an aerator or do I need the water circulating as well?

 

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Kentucky Windage Said:
I have a spot in the shade for the tank.  It works out best to have the pump close to the tank (25yds from the water).  The eletricity is close and the pump can be protected easier but it is harder to draw water up 5 ft gradual slope and 25yds from the water.  The pump I am told I need for that distance is way more than I want to spend.  If I have a 200-300 shiners in the tank can I get away with burrying it and just have an aerator or do I need the water circulating as well?

Spot tail shiners have almost zero tolerance for ammonia, so just a bubbler/aerator won't do.  you will need some sort of mechanical & biological filtration.  I'd recommend at least 2 large (hang on the side) power filters (about $40 each) set up similar to the picture I posted on page one of this thread.

You'll also run into the trouble of cycling the tank and building up the propper types and amount of beneficial bacteria to handle the waste of a few hundred shiners.  Your best off finding an in-expensive pump and circulating fresh lake water through the tank with an overflow system.  But like lycan said, you don't need such a huge pump, 200 to 300 gallons per hour is plenty.

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MSA what do you feed your chubs and minnows.  I have gotten some minnows to take flake food from the pet store but not all that I have tried it with.  On a side note anyone in the Hazen area that wants crawlers can pm me and we will work out a time and you can come get some free.


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