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Thread: Keeping suckers alive

  1. #1
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    Keeping suckers alive

    Anyone have any hot tips for keeping suckers alive? I have a huge cooler with three aerators in it and I still have a hard time keeping them alive for more than 3-4days. I've tried some kind of additive from Gander (blue drops) and it really doesn't matter whether I add that or not. Suckers are hard to come by again this year so when I can find them I'll usually get 6. I'll get to fish with 2 of them and the rest end up as really expensive fertilizer.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Steve Heiting's Avatar
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    How big is the cooler? Suckers really like to be able to turn around in the tank where they're being held. Not sure if they get claustrophobic and stressed and then die, but if they can't turn around because of tank size or crowding, they won't last long.
    Steve Heiting

    www.steveheiting.com

  3. #3
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    In part sounds like your doing things correctly. The air stone / bubbler is a must and you are already using one. However the more Suckers in the cooler, the more frequently you should be changing out some of that dirty water. That will kill them very quickly if you don’t.

    Try replacing some, if not most of the water every 2-4 days. Depends on the out side air temps and the number of Suckers you have. The colder it gets outside, the less you will need to have to change out some of that water.

    Only use water from a well or a lake / pond.. Never city water.

    Also keep them in a shaded area and not in direct sun light. A cool concrete garage floor will work good and help keep the cooler / water cool.

    Just my experience, hope this helps as they are costly, but very effective.

  4. #4
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    The cooler is very large, I can get 40+ gallons of water in there and I never have more than 6 suckers in there. I have well water and I usually change it every other day. I keep a separate tub next to the tank and I will fill that with clean water several hours (or longer) before I change the water to let the temp. equilibrate. Maybe that's all the longer they last. What is so different about the tanks at the bait shops that they can stay alive better? Thanks for the replies.

  5. #5
    You might try some salt. Go to a pet store and they sell salt additive for both fresh and saltwater tanks. It doesn't take much, follow directions for the amount on the label.

  6. #6
    Bait shop tanks have water circulating in them, always fresh water coming in and old water going out. Plus it is a constant temperature and usually have aerators in them too.
    40 gallons really isn't that big for a half dozen 12" or so sized suckers. A stock tank would work better with water running in and an aerator. If that's not an option, getting fewer suckers for your cooler would be a better way to go than to use the spendy dead ones for fertilizer...

  7. #7
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    stayin' alive...

    If you have well water, just run a hose into the tank on low pressure and let it constantly overflow. You should put lid on the tank, not to seal it but to keep the suckers from jumping out. They do that. Well water should be cold enough to keep them alive for a good while. Good luck!

  8. #8
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    Just put ice in it. I've kept suckers alive for over 10 days with aeration and ice. You don't need all the fancy drops, additives, or special tanks, just ice, air, a lid, and keep them in a dark place.

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