How to Raise Shiners for Fish Bait

••• fish image by Henryk Olszewski from

For some people, the catch of the day is the highlight of a fishing trip. Using the right bait is helpful in catching a prize fish. Live bait is known to attract more potential catches. You can buy artificial bait that is motorized to simulate the actions of live bait. A simpler and more practical means of acquiring live bait is to raise your own. Shiners can be raised in your own home and at low costs.

    Fill a holding tank with water. The size of the tank can be from 2 to 4 feet deep and 6 to 8 feet wide. If possible, use well water to fill the tank because well water has fewer chemicals and biological contaminants than other water sources.

    Fill the bed of the tank with both living plants and decorative accessories. Most pet supply stores will have a large selection of plants and accessories.

    Install an aerator in the tank. The pump of the aerator will go into the water, while the hose attached to it will extend over the side and suck in air from the room and oxygenate the water in the tank.

    Position an air bubbler inside the tank. The bubbler should be underwater and sit on the frame of the tank. It will make a wave current in the tank and reduce stress on the fish as it will help maintain the water temperature in the tank.

    Add feeding materials for the shiners into the tanks. Algae, goldfish, and some flies and beetles are excellent sources of nourishment for the shiners.

    Place the shiners into the tank. Make sure that the water is at room temperature when you place the shiners in the tank. A temperature shock may cause the shiners to die. The water in the tank should always be kept at room temperature as it is the temperature required for the fish to lay eggs. Cover the top of the tank.

    Monitor the food given to the shiners daily. Do not overfeed the fish. Give only enough food for each day that they can eat in a 10 minute-period.

    Clean the tank every week. Regularly replace the 10 to 20 percent water in the tank with fresh water. This will prevent heavy algal blooms, which also can cause the shiners to die. Also refrain from putting soap or chemicals inside the tank. These substances may be toxic to the fish.

    Things You'll Need

    • Holding tank
    • Plants
    • Decorative accessories
    • Feeding materials
    • Aerator
    • Air bubbler
    • Small tank


    • Female shiners lay eggs on the debris in the tank, so clean the tank only after the eggs have hatched.


About the Author

Based in New Jersey, Susan Raphael has been writing technology-related articles since 1991. Her work has appeared in “Wired” magazine, and “Mac Addict” magazine. Raphael received the Janet B. Smith Literary Award in 2002. She holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from New York University.

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