Ammonia is released into the water through the gills by the “breathing” action of the minnows. Oxygen is taken from the water and nitrogen is released into the water, which instantly becomes ammonia when it contacts the water. This is similar to the way we take oxygen from the air and release carbon dioxide into the air. The waste from the minnows may also produce ammonia, however this occurs only when waste has accumulated over a longer period and begins to deteriorate. Some water sources have small amounts of ammonia present either through water treatment or accumulation in the aquifer through farming practices in the area. Excessive ammonia accumulation in the water is the single biggest hazard to the well being of the captive minnows.


The effect ammonia will have on minnows depends largely on the pH level in the water and to a lesser degree the temperature of the water. When pH levels are 6.5 and water temperature is below 47 degrees, minnows will tolerate ammonia levels in the range of 5-6 parts per million. As the pH levels in the water range higher, the lower the ammonia levels must be. Warmer water temperatures and/or inadequate aeration will have a significant additional negative effect.


The MINNOW MASTER Live Bait System will have a batch of activated bacteria introduced into the filtering system, when the system is installed and running on site and after minnows have been added. A running in period with minnows in the system is desired to give the bacteria time to acclimatize to the colder temperature and establish colonies on the filtering media. During this run in period, usually after three or four days of operation with minnows in the tanks, the ammonia level will rise to a point where it may be necessary to dilute the ammonia by draining off contaminated water and replacing it with fresh water. This procedure will help the colonized bacteria overpower the ammonia and might however, be required on several occasions.


Our Live Bait Systems use a UV Sterilizer to control unwanted bacteria and algae. It will not be plugged in on installation and should not be plugged in until the ammonia count is less than 2 PPM (for about four weeks), to give the floating bacteria a chance to colonize on the filtering media. This UV Sterilizer when in operation, will destroy all bacteria; good and bad, floating freely in the water.


Bacteria will survive only six hours without ammonia to feed on. Therefore, if you decide to let the unit run without minnows during a slow season; (a) ammonia can be added to keep the bacteria alive (call for information); or (b) the start up procedure can be repeated just before putting minnows into the tank for the season and bacteria can again be added; or (c) the easiest and probably the most economical, is to just keep a minimum quantity of minnows in the tank, such as one-half gallon of crappie minnows, during the slow periods.

Our Filtration system

Dollar for dollar per square foot probably the best profit center in your store!



Odor Free

Quiet Operation

Environmentally Friendly

Use City, Well, Lake or Salt Water

Attractive and Compact

Cabinet Color Options

Saves Water

Easy Maintenance

Economical Operation

Total Water Recirculation

Temperature Control

Constant Air Circulation



Our tanks are very quick, simple and easy to clean. Just wipe the inside of the tanks with the minnows still in the tank. Use a cloth or a sponge that has not been treated with any cleaners, soaps or detergents, wipe and rinse the cloth or sponge in the same water. The filter system will pick up the debris. Cleaning will probably take less than five minutes per tank and can be done anytime.


Call 800-556-9267 or email us for additional information!

The MINNOW MASTER Live Bait System is a unique design with a BIOLOGICAL filtration system that utilizes bacteria, which thrives on ammonia to eliminate the ammonia from the water. The minnows produce ammonia naturally.