Home Bait Tank Aeration

I thought I'd share something I'd figured out as I've come up with a pretty good and cheap aeration system for home storage of shad or bluegill or any other baitfish you'd like to have at home and ready for the next fishing trip. This is really handy for me as I guide quite a bit and any shad I have left over I can store at home and have plenty of shad on hand or days like this when my clients don't show up I can go out to a local lake and catch a bunch of shad for the next 4 or 5 fishing trips so that I don't have to worry about it when I get to the lake.

This aeration system uses a pond pump like you could purchase at Wal-Mart and a short piece of 3/4 inch cpvc pipe, and a 1/4 inch section of air hose. I tried to set this up as a fountain type aeration system but I found out pretty quickly that it wasn't the best way to go as we got some 30 mph winds and it blew all the water out of my bait tank and the 150 shad I'd collected the day before died. I wanted to have an aeration system like the one in my keepalive bait tank so I took the pond pump into my shop and started tinkering and this is what I did ... the 3/4 inch piece of cpvc pipe fit perfectly inside the suction side of the pond pump so I cut about a 5" piece of it off and drilled a 1/4 inch hole in it as the picture below shows. I slipped the filter housing over the cpvc pipe so that the 1/4 inch hole lined up with one of the gaps in the filter housing and then stuck the hose in the hole that I'd drilled in the cpvc pipe. I then slipped the filter over the whole thing laying the air hose down along the filter housing. The filter has to be on it because you need a little water flow restriction so that it'll suck air through the air hose or if you don't want to run the filter on it you can drill the hole closer to the pump suction end and it'll work like that also. After I'd done all this I sat it in the 150 gallon rubbermaid stock tank and it worked perfectly. It injects a lot of air into the water which is really important for keeping shad good and healthy and any other bait fish you want to keep at home. I set up two of these tanks like this ... one for bluegill and buffalo and the other for shad. I kept about 400 shad alive in it for several days which is a little overloaded but it aerates so well that I only lost a few but I think those were some that had already made a few trips out to the lake and back into the bait tank. I think I only lost about 6 or 7 shad total. That isn't bad since they'd get really stressed out by my swishing the net around in the tank all day to catch shad and the survivors went back into the home bait tank.

Here is a picture of how it looks without the filter on it.

This is a photo of the aerator in the water. You can see how well it aerates the water like this. The air looks like a mist when the pump mixes the water and air and it shoots out a lot of oxygen into the water this way. Now all I have to do is figure out a place to get some activated charcoal to put into a filter box so that I won't have to change the water out very often. When it's cool like it's been this spring I won't have to worry about it too much but later on when the temps start getting pretty high I'll have to have a good filtration system on it. They've got filter boxes at Wal-Mart so I think I can put the pump into the box and then fill it with the activated charcoal and that'll reduce the bio material in the water a great deal.

To treat the water for shad I put in 10 cups of water softener salt that I got from Lowe's hardware for $5 per 40 lb bag and about 5 caps full of the water condition they sell at Wal-Mart (Pond Starter) to condition the water for home-pond tanks. The water conditioner takes out the chlorine and heavy metals that are in the water and stimulates the natural slime coat on the fish that you put into the bait tank. When I condition the water for my bait tank in the boat I put in 1.3 cups of water softener salt per 10 gallons of water which is about 4 cups per 30 gallons of water and I also use a cap full of the water conditioner or I'll use about a level tablespoon of the Better Bait conditioner that I purchased for $13 for 3 lbs which will treat 2400 gallons of water.

For more information on this go to Aerator II