How to Keep Minnows Alive Without an Aerator

If you’re looking for the best fishing bait, minnows are a great choice. A majority of fish will be attracted to the movement of live baits. However, minnows can be a little challenging to use since they need to be alive longer. Using them as bait requires know-how. Before you venture out on the lake on your next angling adventure, stock up on equipment and supplies, it is also crucial to have a heads up on how to keep minnows alive without an aerator. Keep your minnows alive long enough to put them in your baiting hook.

Preparing to purchase the Minnows– how to keep minnows alive without an aerator

How to Keep Minnows Alive Without an Aerator

Make plans on went to purchase the minnows

Minnows do not live long, especially when they’re in subpar conditions. It would help if you kept them alive long enough when you go fishing. However, this can be a challenge if you plan on going fishing in the early morning hours since many bait shops are not open by then to serve you on the day you want to go fishing and buy some minnows.

If minnows are kept in subpar conditions such as overcrowded conditions, it can die within a day. For your minnows to live longer, you need to apply optimum care and maintenance.

A minnow’s lifespan greatly varies depending on the conditions it has been living in. Flathead minnow’s species and blunt nose can live several years in an optimal environment such as a pond. These are minnow species that can live as long as 10 years. When using the minnows for your angling, however, the condition will not be so ideal. Meaning they are likelier to die much quicker.

Get storage to put your minnow

A majority of people store minnows in a foam insulated camp cooler or some other disposable container. But there are containers which you can purchase specifically made for minnows.

Foam insulated coolers are available at most shops. Containers made specifically for minnows are usually available at fishing stores and even sporting goods stores.

Special containers utilize various special features such as the capability to float it over the water, and some even come with an aerator attachment.

Ready the container for the minnow

Prepare distilled water to fill your container or water from the lake or creek prior to purchasing your minnows. Ideal water conditions should be cold since the fish needs a cool temperature to stay alive.

Never use tap water since the chemicals can kill your minnows.

How to keep minnows alive without an aerator? It is crucial that the storage you put your minnows in must have a steady temperature, which will help your minnows stay alive longer.

Getting your minnows acclimated to a bait container- how to keep minnows alive without an aerator

Add some water

How to keep minnows alive without an aerator? It is crucial to add some water to the current water the minnows are currently in. Pour some of the lake stream or distilled water you are using into a plastic bag where the minnows are placed. This will acclimate them to the water and its temperature gradually.

Put the plastic in the bait bucket

How to Keep Minnows Alive Without an Aerator

Place the plastic bag containing the minnows into the bait bucket. Do not simply dump them in the container immediately. Instead, allow time to pass for the minnows to adjust to the water’s temperature in your bait bucket. How to keep minnows alive without an aerator? Close the bag shut and place it inside of the cooler for about 15 minutes.

Add the minnows to the container

Place the minnows inside a holding container. After 15 minutes, let them swim in the foam cooler or the bait bucket. The period of adjustment they went through should give them the capacity to adapt to their new environment quickly.

Keeping Minnows alive- how to keep minnows alive without an aerator

Don’t overcrowd

How to keep minnows alive without an aerator? Never overcrowd your minnow tank. Too much crowding in a container can cause the bait to die off. Overcrowding will reduce the oxygen supply and increase heat.

For example, you can only put about several dozen small minnows in a container with an 8-quart capacity.

Store in a dark area

How to keep minnows alive without an aerator? Place the container in a dark area. As an example, you can place your bait container in a closet or the basement. Minnows are sensitive and are healthier in cooler water. The water will warm up immediately if you keep the cooler in a sunlit area.

Use an aerator

Place an aerator in the container. This device will add oxygen to the water so the minnows will thrive and not suffocate. This is especially crucial if you need to keep your fish alive for a day or a couple of days and if you don’t have any plans on switching out the bait container often.

In the fish shop, an aeration system oxygenates the water for the minnows. Compressed oxygen was used.

Utilizing an aerator can help keep your minnows alive longer. This is because other means of aerating the water, such as adding more water or adding hydrogen peroxide, can cause high-stress levels in the fish. With this device, the minnows are simply staying in the water that you have already adjusted them to.

Hydrogen peroxide

Put small amounts of hydrogen peroxide into the box if there is no aerator at hand. You only need to put an ounce of 3% oxygen solution in 3 gallons of water. The hydrogen peroxide promotes oxygen formation in the water and replaces oxygen that has already been used up by the fish.

You may also add additional distilled water as needed to refresh the waters.

How to keep minnows alive without an aerator? Putting some hydrogen peroxide in the water is a cause of debate. Some experts believe that it helps in oxygenating the water and won’t hurt the fish, but others believe it might kill the fish. If you are not sure or doubtful about adding hydrogen peroxide to the water, find other options such as an aerator or adding fresh water frequently.

Keep the waters cool

How to keep minnows alive without an aerator? Put some ice cubes in a jar in the water inside a bait bucket to keep it in optimal cool conditions for the minnows. Repeat this as frequently as needed to keep the water cool.

Although minnows can thrive in warm water death rate increases dramatically once water reaches 60°F. Set the temperature on the water below this degree.

Never put ice directly on the water the minnows are in. The ice may contain trace amounts of chemicals or chlorine that will harm the fish.

Keeping Minnows Alive While Fishing– how to keep minnows alive without an aerator


Submerge the bait bucket into the lake

Submerge the bait bucket into the lake or stream when you are fishing. You can do this by putting the container on the water’s edge where it stays in the water, or you can utilize a container that allows the water from the body of water to get in and out of the container without letting the fish escape.

Put your bait back into the lake or stream so that the water is refreshed and oxygenates the water. It keeps the minnows alive.

Attach the minnows to the bait

There are several strategies about the best way to attach the minnow. Make your decision based on what you think will keep the bait alive and how the attachment allows the bait to move in the waters.

You can attach the minnow via the mouth. Place the box through the fish’s bottom lip up through the nostril area. You can also attach them through the back. Place the minnow on the hook in a natural position on the water. This method may be more effective in luring fish.

Replacing minnows

It is crucial to replace minnows regularly. Once you have used a minnow on a line, it will soon die no matter what you do. If it has stopped moving, it is a much less successful bait than when it was alive. Because of this, it is the best move to replace the minnows on your hook once they die.

The speed at which minnows die-off vary dramatically depending on their health condition, to begin with when you place them on the hook. The conditions of the water are also a factor. Be aware that when you are recasting, try to examine whether the minnow is still alive or not.

Easy methods to Keep Minnows Alive in your home — how to keep minnows alive without an aerator

Minnows aren’t exactly affordable, and they do not come by easily. Thus, you may find it crucial to keep them alive in your home. It is not complicated to keep them alive for an extended period.

What species of minnows are used for fishing?

Minnows that are commonly used in bait are fathead minnow. Fish shops in other areas may have other varieties such as shiners and chubs, but the most widespread are fatheads.

Minnows are the optimal baitfish for many fish species you want to catch, including the crappy, walleye, and even bass. Even though you are fishing for crappie, you may end up hauling in a few bass.

Why should you keep minnows at home?

Minnows can be kept in the bait fridge utilizing an aerator to keep them fresh. There are several reasons why you want to keep your minnows alive and kicking in your home. The top reason would be convenience.

If you live in a rural area away from commercial shops, it may be a hassle to go out of town just to buy minnows. Thus, you may want to purchase enough minnows at a single time that can last you for weeks.

If you are a dedicated angler, you want to have a steady supply of baits for fishing, especially during those seasons of the year when living minnows seem to be the best lure for fish you are targeting.

Thus, it is important to pay attention to your minnows’ health so they can live longer.

Frequently asked questions– how to keep minnows alive without an aerator

What if I don’t want to use minnows for bait?

Do the following if you want to keep your minnows as pets.  Minnows can be kept in a goldfish tank. The tank will need oxygen, which will keep them alive for months. You can feed them ordinary fish food. Try to be vigilant about the fish disease such as white spots or ich on your minnows.

What is food for minnows?

Minnows are not picky eaters and will eat almost anything. You can purchase fish food, or you can also give them oatmeal.

Can I use tap water?

Sure, you can use tap water if you let it out for a few days, and it can be used after since this process has helped distill the water.

Is there a better way to put oxygen in the fish tank?

You can take some water and pour it back again through the containers and then pour it into the container where your minnows are. How to keep minnows alive without an aerator? Agitating the surface of the water is good for aeration.

Can minnows be placed in a jar?

This is not possible since minnows need oxygen to live.

Will minnows clean the algae from the fish tanks?

No, even if you keep a lot of minnows in the tank, you will still need to clean out the algae at least once a week.

How long will minnows thrive in a plastic bag with a supply of oxygen?

When you buy minnows in the shop, they will be put in a plastic bag with oxygen. The next day the minnows will still be alive and kicking.

Final thoughts

Minnows are a great way to lure hard to catch fish. They are small enough and in optimum conditions will live long. A majority of big fish find living fish to be the ultimate bait. You may want to use minnows in your next angling adventure. It is crucial to know how to keep minnows alive without an aerator so you can have living minnows by your side ready and on hand to be attached to your hook.