Oxygen is Not Air


Oxygen, air, oxygenation, aeration, air pumps pump oxygen are common words fishermen, outdoor  writers, salesmen and pseudo experts use often and interchangeably every summer (June-August when the livewell water gets hot (>78 F) and the death and dying in livewells and bait tanks begin… it’s predictable.

Air is the limiting DO water quality factor in all live bait transports.

Fish are listening and humming pump sounds travel great distances under water: Your water pump is running fine,  humming, pumping water and the aerator is singing, blowing hot AIR bubbles in the livewell water that’s already warm while tour tournament fish and bait is getting sicker and dying. The tournament officials have your entry fees and of course, certified your livewell a “Functional Livewell.”  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Livewell

Summer livewell mortality is here again right on time, predictable. It’s July, water temps are 80F and rising…there’s plenty air and water going into your livewell, but your water quality is bad. Plenty of air and water, but your livewell contains  low – no oxygen and that’s what is suffocating and  killing your tournament fish and live bait, summer is always predictable. And, every live bait fishermen and tournament fisherman will tell you the livewell problem is low/no oxygen in livewell water in their livewell water ever summer.

We casually use the two words oxygen and air interchangeably. We hear this and read this in fishing articles all the time. We know the problem is low/no oxygen yet we give our bait more air hoping more  air might make more oxygen, but more air and more water never solve the problem in the summer. Many fishery biologists tell fishermen the same thing, more air, bigger water pump, ice, chemicals… hydrogen peroxide!… and this stuff never works.


OXYGEN – what is it?    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxygen

AIR – what is it?    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth’s_atmosphere

Nitrogen – what is it?    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrogen

Air is a mixture of these 16 different gases:

Constituent Chemical symbol Mole percent
Nitrogen N2 78.084
Oxygen O2 20.947
Argon Ar 0.934
Carbon dioxide CO2 0.0350
Neon Ne 0.001818
Helium He 0.000524
Methane CH4 0.00017
Krypton Kr 0.000114
Hydrogen H2 0.000053
Nitrous oxide N2O 0.000031
Xenon Xe 0.0000087
Ozone* O3 trace to 0.0008
Carbon monoxide CO trace to 0.000025
Sulfur dioxide SO2 trace to 0.00001
Nitrogen dioxide NO2 trace to 0.000002
Ammonia NH3 trace to 0.0000003


The chart makes the FACTS simple to see and easy to understand;  why oxygen (supplemental pure 100% oxygen ) is superior to Mother Nature’s Air and mechanical aeration  if and when livewell oxygenation is your primary goal in the summer.  

Electrical aerators and water pumps with air entrainment venturi’s and spray bars aerate livewell water air, not oxygen. Air is often confused and misrepresented as oxygen.

FACT: The primary application of mechanical aeration used during live fish transports is simply to off-gas dissolved CO2 and ammonia gas in live haul water, i.e. fish tanks, boat livewells and bait tanks.

The Oxygen Edge ™ is the original commercial fishing oxygen-injection system fishermen use to supplement livewell water with the correct dose of pure 100% compressed welding oxygen. Optimum dissolved oxygen saturation is sustained at 100% – 150% DO Saturation continuously insuring safe oxygenation for 1-225 lbs. of fish or live bait being transported for hours or days. The dose of oxygen is adjusted to the lbs. of live bait or fish in the livewell, more bait/fish in the livewell  need and require more oxygen.

Many fishing articles, fishermen and some biologists are often unclear and may be very misleading when it comes to talking and writing about these different gases. How often have you read in fishing magazines or heard fishermen, a biologist, fishing tournament official or salesman tell you that, “more aeration or bigger water pumps will ensure more oxygen and better livewell oxygenation,” or something similar. The glaring fact that will not go away is that pumping more water and more aeration does not and will never ensure minimal safe oxygenation in any livewell or bait tank that is overstocked at any time of the year, especially in the summer.

The reason that fish hatcheries always transport live fish with pure compressed oxygen or liquid oxygen (LOX) is to ensure that their transport water quality will never fall below 100% dissolved oxygen saturation, whether they are transporting one fish (like Texas Parks & Wildlife Department [bass] Lunker Program) or hauling 10,000 fish for a one hour overland trip or a three day trip hauling live fish from Florida to Texas.

It’s  easy to confuse air with oxygen and nitrogen because these gases are all colorless, odorless and tasteless and they all make clear bubbles in livewell water.

Now you have read this web page and you know the difference between oxygen, air and nitrogen. When your bait or fish are dying in your livewell from low/no oxygen in the summer – give them oxygen and flush your livewell water twice a day and have great bait all day. Success is really that simple.