How to Raise Minnows for Profit

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One way to start a minnow business is to catch your own minnows.
One way to start a minnow business is to catch your own minnows. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Minnows are used as bait by many fisherman to catch larger game fish such as crappie, bass and pike. Minnows come from a variety of species of fish and grow at different rates and to different sizes. To raise minnows for sale requires planning because it takes a few months for the minnows to reach a desired size for the game fish in your area.

Things You'll Need

  • Tanks
  • Aerators
  • Hatching shelter
  • Plants
  • Feed

Select the type of minnow species you want to raise. Species of minnows include fathead, creek chubs, slippery, shiners and many more. Each species grows to a certain size and has specific breeding patterns that must be learned to effectively grow the minnows.

Start two separate tanks for the minnows. One tank is for breeding minnows and minnows that are ready for sale. These mature minnows will keep the business going. The second tank is for hatchlings. The size of the tanks can vary depending on how big the business is. You can use regular fish tanks or specialized aluminum tanks.

Fill each tank with nonchlorinated water. Minnows are fresh water fish, so do not add salt to the water. If using tap water to fill the tanks purchase chlorination tablets which can be found at pet supply shops.

Add equipment and accessories to the tank prior to introducing the fish. Equipment that is required are aerators which help keep oxygen in the water and heaters to help keep water temperature regulated. Add in accessories such as clay pots and fresh water plants. The accessories are for the fish to attach their eggs to when breeding.

Obtain the species of minnow and introduce them to the first tank. Minnows can be purchased at bait shops, caught in lakes and streams or ordered online.

Learn the breeding habits of the minnows. For example, the male fathead protects eggs and demonstrates aggressive behaviors. When this behavior is observed remove the accessory from the first tank and place it into the second tank and wait for the minnows to hatch. Place another accessory in the first tank so breeding can continue.

Feed the mature minnows fish flakes two or three times a day. The amount should be enough to feed all minnows. If feed is reaching the bottom of the tank, then you are feeding them too much. Hatchlings can be fed brine shrimp.

Tips & Warnings

  • Successful bait business offer multiple types of bait, including minnows, bee moths, worms, crickets and a selection of artificial baits. This makes it a one-stop shop for fisherman.
  • Add more tanks for each species or for different size minnows. For example, keep crappie minnows, which are small, separated from pike minnows which are much larger.

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