Raising Bait Minnows in Tanks

Raising Bait Minnows in Tanks

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Fishermen will tell you that you can catch just about anything with minnows. They are the "catch all" of the fishing world so it is no surprise that bait minnows are a billion dollar industry. Whether you want to use them for your own fishing adventures or you want to sell them for profit raising bait minnows in tanks is a simple process.

Items you will need

  • Tank

  • Non-chlorinated water

  • Aerator

  • Water plants

  • Clay pot

  • Minnows

  • Feed

Select the tank you want to raise your minnows in. There are many different things you can use for this purpose. A stock tank works well but you could choose to use a large fish aquarium or large plastic storage bins as well. Whatever you choose, be sure to wash it out with soapy water and rinse well.

Fill the tank with fresh, non-chlorinated water. Chlorine will kill your minnows. Well water is perfect for filling the tank if it does not have a water softener on it. You can also use filtered water or add chlorine removing drops or tablets to chlorinated water.

Set the tank up properly before adding the minnows. Attach an aerator to the tank to keep the water oxygenated so that the minnows will not die. Electric aerators are not very expensive and work well but solar-powered aerators are also available if there is not an electricity source near by. Add water plants for the minnows to feed on as well as clay pots or rocks where females can spawn.

Acquire the minnows you need for breeding. Minnows are not very expensive and you can purchase them from a bait store, pet store or online. If you live near a lake or river and it is allowed you can trap or seine for the minnows you need. Consider the size of your tank when deciding how many minnows you want to start out with.

Temper the minnows to the water from the tank. This is accomplished by adding a little water from the tank into the water your minnows were transported in. Keep doing this until the water is the same temperature as the water in your tank.

Release the minnows into their new environment gently. Dip the container you minnows are in down into the tank and allow the minnows to swim out.

Keep the minnows fed well. Minnows need a healthy diet. You can purchase high quality fish flakes and high fat supplements, frozen brine shrimp or oatmeal. Feed the minnows two to three times a day but do not overfeed or they will die.


  • Do not let the water level in the tank drop too low. Add fresh, non-chlorinated water as needed.


  • Feed minnows a variety of foods for best results.
  • Minnows feed mainly on plant material so it is a good idea to add water plants to your tank when setting it up.
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