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Old 04-18-2012, 06:23 PM
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Default Homemade Livewells

If was to want to fish a bass tournament and keep "Five Alive", what is the minimum volume you would use to be pretty confident the fish would live through the duration of the tournament and weigh-in?

There is plenty on google about different set-ups, and the HVBA site has some good links on DIY types.

My main question is what there seems to be some vagueness online about.

Size/capacity/volume.

I know it kinda/sorta depends, am I trying to keep five 6#'ers alive or five 3#'ers, that would definitely make a difference in the setup.

If it's something I pursue down the road, I'd definitely want to err on the side of bigger. I wouldn't want to lose a winning bag of lunkers because I cheaped out on the size of the igloo.

This isn't a "next weekend" project, but just for reference in case I decide to hop on one of these jb trails next season. Thanks for any thoughts or input.
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:50 PM
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bump, I'm interested too.
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Old 04-18-2012, 07:42 PM
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I use a 120qt cooler and it is big enough to hold at least a 30lb sack (5 fish). I caught a 25lb bag fun fishing once and put them in my cooler to take a few pics then release and they all had plenty of room inside. I got mine at wal mart for $52..
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Old 04-18-2012, 07:43 PM
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ditto what corey said
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Old 04-18-2012, 07:53 PM
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What did you guys use for an aerator?
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:10 PM
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I use the frabill aerators that run off D batteries. I have two of them mounted on the the top of the cooler using Velcro and I drilled two small holes to run the small hose to the inside of the cooler. I have never lost a fish using this setup.. Maybe others will chime in with more serious live wells than I have. Good luck
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:23 PM
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Go to Walmart and buy a 120 qt Coleman Extreme Cooler ($53) which is rated the best of the inexpensive coolers. Then get this or Academy sells a similar aerator

http://www.cabelas.com/product/Super...h-All+Products

which runs of one of your boat batteries and finally cut a small piece of plexiglass with a hole in the center about the size of a decent size bass and sit this plexiglass piece in the top of the cooler where it rests on the lip of the cooler. This way your swimming friends don’t jump out the cooler when you open and close the cooler lid. This ought to do you for right at $100.
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:59 PM
tillman86 tillman86 is offline
 
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Buy a 120 quart cooler and drill 4 small holes and bolt down a power bubbles 12 volt from metal marine products (Academy sells them). Drill two more holes for your air hoses. The power bubbles is a very good aerator I have had mine the older model for close to 5 years. Only complaint with the new ones is they have lower quality clamps.
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Old 04-18-2012, 11:56 PM
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When building in an aluminum livewell into a customers boat, I generally shoot for 30 gallons to the brim (about 23 gallons or so when the airspace for the aerator is accounted for), unless directed otherwise.

Everyone seems to be going with the 120qt. cooler, and many bass boats have ~30 gallons, so it seems to be the industry standard these days. I'm very comfortable putting a sack of large fish ('course, they are somebody else's fish - I only produce a sack of small fish.) into a 30 gallon tank.

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Old 04-19-2012, 02:29 AM
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I used to use a 120 quart cooler and one recirculating pump during the summer. We lost two eight pounders in two tournaments a few years ago when we had more than one eight pounder in the livewell with that setup. We went to double larger size recirculating pumps and and 150 quarts after that. It looks like a whirlpool but it kept the fish alive. If you plan on having over 2O lbs in the livewell during summer or more than one big fish, bigger and more is better. The other plus is you can often find the 150 quart with an extra small door on top so the fish don't jump out as easy. I got mine at KMart.
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Old 04-19-2012, 05:25 AM
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I got lucky and came across my dads old bait tank. Not quite sure of the capacity but its big and I have the aerators he used too, all are 12 volts hooked right up to a battery.
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Old 04-19-2012, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robo83 View Post
I got lucky and came across my dads old bait tank. Not quite sure of the capacity but its big and I have the aerators he used too, all are 12 volts hooked right up to a battery.
That looks to be about a 30 gallon tank.
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Old 04-19-2012, 08:30 AM
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http://www.tinboats.net/index.php/Pr...-livewell.html here is a good step my step on how to rig the aeration system. i use the big storage tubs like that you buy from walmart and mine will hold a pretty good amount. i am thinking about switching to the cooler though to keep the water cooler in the summer time.
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Old 04-19-2012, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robo83 View Post
I got lucky and came across my dads old bait tank. Not quite sure of the capacity but its big and I have the aerators he used too, all are 12 volts hooked right up to a battery.
I'd say you got lucky indeed!
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Old 04-19-2012, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duckhunter2010 View Post
http://www.tinboats.net/index.php/Pr...-livewell.html here is a good step my step on how to rig the aeration system. i use the big storage tubs like that you buy from walmart and mine will hold a pretty good amount. i am thinking about switching to the cooler though to keep the water cooler in the summer time.
I filled one of those with water one time, I forgot why, maybe running small outboard in driveway, doesn't matter.... but the whole thing buckled. Do you use some method to keep it from buckling when the water gets in it? Maybe your rubbermaid was/is just a little sturdier than mine.


Edit: After looking at the link, I guess the trick is to not fill it all the way up.


Edit#2: So that set-up doesn't circulate fresh water, just really aerates. Do you have any problems with ammonia or other boogie men with your fish? In my experience, ammonia will kill live shrimp very quickly. I've found that aquarium additive significantly raises their lifespan. Probably the same with bass, I assume.

Last edited by Fletch_W; 04-19-2012 at 06:15 PM.
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Old 04-20-2012, 02:15 AM
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Use the same pump you fill it with to pump out some mid day and add fresh water, Need a bilge pump, and 5 or 6' of hose and a 5 or 6' lead.
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletch_W View Post
I filled one of those with water one time, I forgot why, maybe running small outboard in driveway, doesn't matter.... but the whole thing buckled. Do you use some method to keep it from buckling when the water gets in it? Maybe your rubbermaid was/is just a little sturdier than mine.


Edit: After looking at the link, I guess the trick is to not fill it all the way up.


Edit#2: So that set-up doesn't circulate fresh water, just really aerates. Do you have any problems with ammonia or other boogie men with your fish? In my experience, ammonia will kill live shrimp very quickly. I've found that aquarium additive significantly raises their lifespan. Probably the same with bass, I assume.

That link posted is actually the first livewell that I built which Jim at Tinboats.net posted as a sticky on his site.

I used that setup for the first season of our club a few years ago and had no problems keeping fish alive. It never buckled either, but I could see that happening with a flimsy container. I've got a few videos on tinboats.net as well showing how it works with the circulation.

I had it set up to recirculate and pump out by a ball valve. If I wanted to put fresh water in, I carried a separate 800gph bilge pump with a long hose - I threw the bilge pump over the side of the boat and pumped fresh water in while the pump inside the livewell pumped water out. But... I hardly ever recirculated the water. I use those cooler packs that you can freeze (hard sided) and put them in the livewell with the fish, along with Rejuvenade. Unless I could pull cool water from down deep, I don't want to put 80-90* water in there with the fish in the middle of summer. I've never had a problem keeping fish alive either.

I had a problem one time with foam, but I got some stuff from the guys who make Please Release Me called "Foam Off" (I think that's the name).

But... If you go to Lowe's, they carry a very sturdy container that will not buckle, and it's a little bigger than that rubbermaid container I used in the link above. I wanted to be able to take that livewell in and out because that was in a 1236 jon boat and took up a lot of room.


Here's a few links showing more pictures with fish in it

http://www.tinboats.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6863

http://www.tinboats.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6991
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  #18  
Old 04-21-2012, 09:40 AM
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Thanks for all the info.
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Old 04-21-2012, 03:17 PM
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I've already got a 120qt igloo that never gets used for anything.

120 qt is 30 gallons.

Freshwater is 8.6 pounds per gallon.

Filling the cooler up 2/3 (does that sound right?) is 20 gallons.

That's 172 pounds added to the boat.

That's an important consideration... maybe competitive bass fishing isn't in my cards until I can upgrade to something bigger than a 1436.
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