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I'm a long-time fisherman, and I've been wondering about raising minnows and other bait fish. Have any of you raised minnows in your systems?

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Aloha Damon

I don't know what species you mean by "minnows", but we've raised hundreds of thousands (or more, never counted em!) of mosquito fish (latin name gambusia affinis) in our troughs and fish tanks over the last six years. They are self-regulating, and eat mosquito larvae, algae off the edges of the troughs, and gammarus ( a type of "water flea"). You can make a WHOLE lot more of them faster if you feed them a commercial fish food. Aloha, Tim...... "The Friendlies" in Hawaii

i've raised rosy red minnows and emerald shiners.. the shiners are open water spawners, and i didn't get any recruitment, but the rosy reds (a color morph of the "fathead minnow") have spawned multiple times

Lots of small fish do well in an aquaponic system. Just know most that you would use as bait for fishing are cold water species so another option like live bearers or other small fish that are normally from warmer water might be a better option.  I personally wouldn't recommend rosy reds simply for the fact that they are VERY prone to parasites so make sure if you go that route that you get them from a good source. Your best bet would be gambusia, guppys, platys, mollys or sword tails. Mollys are my personal favorite and are a great option for a fish to put in a cycling system as well because they come from naturally poor and varied water conditions in the wild.

I think minnows are perfect for starting a system - and if you end up putting bigger fish in they end up as a tasty treat.

i got my first batch of rosy red minnows from a big box petstore..i've had no problems starting them in isolated tanks

i didn't start feeding them to my fish until i had them breeding.. i use regular glass tanks for minnows and crayfish, but have both in my sump, an i've already had a couple hatches of minnows in the sump this year..i use both minnows and crayfish for supplemental feed.. and sometimes i'll get a few dozen shiners from the bait store as a treat for the fish..

young tilapia, bluegill and yellow perch will eat the minnows and crayfish, i'm sure many other "gamefish" will as well, but that's what i've used and had success with

i do treat new fish to a pretty strong salt dip to kill external parasites - about seawater strength.. 35ppt - i've used this on all fish brought in- but not the crayfish (marmokrebs)

     Keith  what do you feed your minnows . Ive got a 1400 gal tank and was wanting to raise minnows also. I have some bait shops nearby and think I could make a little to off set the cost of feed. Also do you have to pull the babies out to keep the larger fish from eating them? I do have an extra 200 gal tank I could use for this if necessary. I currently using goldfish [baitfish] and was wondering how to raise them.

with fatheads, when i first started breeding them i used clay pots and rocks in the tank, they lay the eggs on shelves so that the male can take care of them until they hatch,,, i would remove a pot with eggs and the male and put them in a different tank, and remove the male when the eggs started hatching.. now i just have them in the sump, and they're making babies just fine without any intervention, so i'm leaving them together..

i use store bought flake food, and i grind up high protein pellets i got when my tilapia were 1" - i grow greenwater, scuds and daphnia to feed the fry as well

if you want to do batifish, see if you can find golden shiners.. they're a bit more prolific than fatheads, and fisherman pay more for them.. i don't think goldfish are legal for bait fish where i live

thanks Keith I think Im going to try some. pound for pound they ought to be better than tilapia for fueling your garden.

You really shouldn't feed live feeders to your fish. The chance of passing something on from one fish to the other is just to high its why its almost never done in the aquarium trade unless something is starving to death. you are far better off using a frozen or preserved food.

Steve - i think there's a big difference between dumping in a bag of feeders from the fish store, and minnows you've grown in your tank or sump. 

i've been feeding live feed to my fish as a supplemental feed for over 3 years with no issues.. both crayfish and minnows i've raised

I also raise rosy reds (fatheadsn) in my system. those suckers are PROLIFIC!!! I use lengths of 4" PVC bundled together as nesting/spawning areas. I then pull the bundle and put it under a raft bed for hatching and grow out.

I do not actively feed them to my tilapia or catfish, but I know many are being consumed. Otherwise I would've be up to my ass in minnows. :D

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