Live Bait Care Livewell Oxygenation

WEBSITE UPDATED                   Monday  November 22, 2021    


Always prepare the ER livewell and bait tank before you create the hypoxic crisis, especially in the summer.

Always prepare your livewell water by bubbling oxygen into the water several minutes before netting live bait, shrimp or hooking tournament fish.

Fact: Reversing the cellular oxygen debt as quickly as possible is vital for live bait and tournament game fish, seconds count, not minutes or hours  

Always pre-oxygenated livewell water several minutes before introducing live bait and tournament caught fish into the livewell to ensure safe re-oxygenation quickly as possible especially in the hot summer months.

Catching and netting bait fish and shrimp and hooking, fighting, landing mature tournament game fish then transported all day is a small boat livewell or bait tank produces extreme unnatural sustained stress. This kind of  stress activates maximum sustained continuous adrenaline production and massive cellular oxygen consumption causing a serious biological oxygen debt at the cellular level.  Adding additional stress like normal summer heat of environmental conditions, traumatic caprutre  and overstocking can cause a life threatening  physiological and psychological stress responses quickly depleting the animals biological oxygen reserve. The result of these stressors is suffocation, hypoxia, cell death, and disease… or dead live bait and dead tournament fish. Hypoxia kills brain and other organ cells within seconds, a minute or 2, death from ammonia buildup in livewell water can take all day. pSuffocation (hypoxia) causes a profound automatic stress response, excessive slime production, maximum sustained adrenaline production (fight or flight response), maximizing intercellular oxygendemands and cellular oxygen depletion (severe physiological tissue oxygen debt), increase in CO2 production acidifying livewell water,  lactic acidosis and **** excessive sustained cortisol production (a stress hormone).

Hooking and playing a tournament fish also causes identical adverse physiological responses including  sustained cellular oxygen deprivation (suffocation)  which again is the most serious stressor. It is vital, most important to reverse the cellular oxygen debt and oxygen deprivation stress as quickly as possible in seconds if possible. Reversing the cellular oxygen debt quickly requires supplemental oxygen administration using pure 100% oxygen gas. Reversing the oxygen debt quickly cannot be done with ice (hypothermia), large hive volume air pumps or super high volume livewell water pumps or tuna tubes flushing 1000’s of gallons of environmental water through the tube in the heat of summer.

What is oxygen deprivation stress with  profound fear and horror like for people? It’s like “WATERBOARDING.”

Hold your breath when your live bait or fish are out of the water and then put them back into the oxygenated livewell water when you feel like you need a breath. When you need to take a breath. that is the signal that your brain really needs more oxygen… most people and all fish know that feeling when a fresh breath and more oxygen is needed.

SUPERCHARGING YOUR LIVE BAIT WITH 100% OXYGEN: Live bait fish and shrimp may be reeled in, placed back into the highly oxygenated bait tank water, supercharged again with a quick 30-second submersion and cast out again for a second tour of duty, then a 3rd, 4th… if necessary. This procedure may be repeated several times as needed. The Oxygen Edge™ reduces live bait replacement costs for the rest of your life.


Sometimes, oxygen systems for fishermen are often discouraged by bait shop owners because oxygen keeps bait alive and healthy longer than air or high volume water pumps. With supplemental oxygen administration, fishermen transport healthy live bait and tournament fish for hours, days, weeks.

Most freshwater bait shops package shiners and other live bait fish in sealed plastic bags containing 1/4 water and 3/4 pure 100% welding oxygen for a good reason – to keep the fresh purchased bait not only alive, but healthy during transport to the fishing area.

Supplemental oxygen dramatically improves live bait quality and tournament fish survival during transport in summer livewells by simply preventing suffocation.

Oxygen ensures less stress for fishermen concerned about bad bait quality, dying, sloppy live baits, want more early morning sleep, saves money, ensures high quality live bait, and saves time and energy catching and acquiring live bait daily.  Fishermen that use oxygen enjoy, the nighest quality live bait, lower bait cost, fewer trips to the bait shop, no early morning bait lines or extended predawn daily cast netting.  Live bait dealers expect less live bait sales when anglers oxygenate live bait with the Oxygen Edge™ because they can keep much more bait alive and healthy every summer.


Live bait dealers that use 100% compressed oxygen on live catch boats and in their shop tanks will have the best live bait because they provide the best possible bait care for their product from initial catch to final sale.

Expect excellent live bait quality from these dealers, seek bait shops that use compressed oxygen extensively. It’s worth the effort to find these bait shops any buy their live bait. Ask the bait dealer if his live bait catchers or bait transporters use compressed oxygen when transporting their live bait or mechanical aeration and water pumps to oxygenate their baits.

FACT: It’s worth driving extra miles to buy oxygenated live bait. With the Oxygen Edge™,  you can buy live bait from the dealer that sells high quality baits and transport those bait safely overland for hours to the boat ramp. Begin your fishing trip with highest quality live bait you can find, then “SUPERCHARGE” them with pure oxygen.

Buying live bait: Avoid bait dealers selling live bait fish and bait shrimp that are sickly, lethargic, exhibiting white spots on the head and body, damaged scales and especially “red-nose” bait fish. With supplemental oxygen administration, you can control all livewell water quality. You can transport and stockpile live bait fish and shrimp for days like fish hatcheries.   Buy or catch live bait a day or two before your fishing trip, transport, stockpile and keep your live baits alive and healthy overnight.

Avoid aggravation and those early morning bait lines.  Buy your live bait later, around 7-9 PM the day before your fishing trip, keep them overnight at home or camp. Don’t buying sickly, red-nose, poor quality bait and avoid getting up early every morning to throw that cast net.  Leave early and be at your favorite spot early the next morning with high quality live bait you kept healthy overnight.

Igloo water coolers make great livewells for live baitfish.   Water coolers are insulated, have tall water column, drain at the bottom, are insulated, have a secure lid and are easily cleaned. They are great transport bait tanks, convenient to use in boats, planes and vehicles. They work exceptionally well with The Oxygen Edge.

Bait shrimp need more livewell bottom surface area or hanging webbing to prevent overcrowding, pinching injuries, cannibalism…shrimp need room. Transporting shrimp and baitfish in one livewell for a few hours is OK, not overnight. Never put mud minnows and shrimp together even for a short period of time.

Your ability to managing safe livewell water quality is the key to successful live bait care and transport.


Flushing live bait tanks and livewells with fresh water dilutes toxic metabolic waste, foam, pH, ammonia, nitrites, dissolved carbon dioxide and carbonic acid. Some bait tank chemicals may assist in controlling bait tank water quality, but chemicals and water quality testing equipment is expensive and cumbersome.

Partial water exchanges are important and eliminate the need for most bait tank additives, especially for bait fish, shrimp and tournament fish. After 25-30 hours of captivity, exchange 90% of livewell water and stockpile live bait fish, bass and crappie for weeks. The more you feed the captives, the more water exchanges you must make. Exchange 30%-50% of the total livewell water capacity, then, refill the well. Five gallon plastic drinking water bottles are excellent for storing exchange water at home or extended overland transports, especially for transporting live bait fish, tournament bass, crappie and walleye in boats, autos and airplanes. Bait tank exchange water may be stored for months and used as needed.

Keeping bait in bait pens in areas of poor water quality (low oxygen in the summer-hypoxia) can be deadly and disappointing when your bait dies overnight and you must delay your trip to catch more runners. Fix that problem – drop the OE diffuser into the pen and bubble pure oxygen into the pen overnight. Metabolic waste build up is a not an issue in pens.


The Oxygen Edge™ cools bait tank water about 2 degrees F. below ambient temperature. The pressure change at the diffusing rock creates a cooling effect just like your home air conditioning system. If you’re fishing in 90 degree summer water, maintain your bait tank water temperature between 87-92 degrees F. for the best quality bait performance on the hook.

Temperature shock begins when bait tank water temperature acutely changes 5 degrees F., up or down. We do not recommend cooling live well water with ice for live bait fish and shrimp when using The Oxygen Edge™ because the dissolved oxygen concentrations will remain highly supersaturated, even in warm or hot bait tank water in the most adverse summer conditions. Warm livewell water temperature has marginal effect on the dissolved oxygen supersaturation with The Oxygen Edge™.

Using an oxygen system is very different from using mechanical aeration or water pumps.

You may have hears or read that “too much oxygen” (DO Super-saturation) is toxic and will poison your live bait and tournament fish in livewells and bait tanks during transport. THIS IS NOT TRUE AND MISLEADING

FACT: Diffusers and devices that make tiny pure oxygen  micro bubbles that are so small the bubbles remain suspended in the livewell water column and make livewell water look milky can and do cause oxygen toxicity. ***Tiny micro oxygen bubbles will kill bait and fish in livewells and bait tanks. Chemically burned gill tissue is deadly.

Tiny pure oxygen micro  gas bubbles chemically burn gills and cornea tissue when the tiny  micro bubbles sticks to delicate tissue, scales and skin.

How does that work? Visit – Toxic Micro-Fine Oxygen Bubbles Kill Bait and Fish