Live Bait Care Livewell Oxygenation

WEBSITE UPDATED                        Tuesday June 22, 2022 


Always prepare your livewell water by bubbling oxygen into the water several minutes before you catch, bet, trap or buy live bait, shrimp or tournament hooked fish.

Fact: Reversing the cellular oxygen debt as quickly as possible (seconds vs. minutes/hours) is vital for live bait and tournament game fish immediately post capture and summer transport.   

Always pre-oxygenated your livewell water several minutes before introducing live bait and tournament caught fish into your livewell/bait tank. Ensuring safe re-oxygenation, reversing the cellular oxygen debt as quickly as possible especially in the hot summer months is VITAL.

Catching and netting bait fish and shrimp, hooking, fighting, landing mature tournament game fish then transporting these fish all day/all night several days offshore in a small, overcrowded boat livewell or bait tank produces extreme sustained unnatural stress.

This kind of extreme summertime stress activates maximum sustained continuous adrenaline production and cortisone production. High stressed fish result in serious biological oxygen debt at the that cannot be reversed with voluminous aeration or hundreds of gph water flow through the livewell.

Adding additional stressors like normal summer heat of environmental conditions, traumatic capture and overstocking can cause a life threatening physiological and psychological stress responses quickly depleting the fish’s 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 cells and other organ cells within seconds, a few minutes.

Death from ammonia and other metabolic toxin buildup in livewell water may take hours, all day or longer depending on stocking density. Suffocation (hypoxia) activates an extremely profound stress response; continuous excessive mucus (slime) production, maximum sustained adrenaline production (fight or flight response), maximum sustained cortisol production, maximizing intercellular oxygen demand and cellular oxygen depletion (severe physiological cellular oxygen debt), increase in CO2 production, >carbonic acid >water pH, lactic acidosis and other water quality issues.

Hooking and playing a tournament fish also causes identical adverse physiological responses including sustained cellular oxygen deprivation (suffocation), > sustained cellular oxygen debt that is not reversable with mechanical aeration…. this is the most live fish transport stressor.

It is vital, most important that the fisherman reverses the cellular oxygen debt and oxygen deprivation stress as quickly as possible in seconds if possible. Reversing the cellular oxygen debt requires supplemental oxygen administration using pure 100% oxygen gas. Reversing the oxygen debt quickly cannot be done with ice (hypothermia), large high volume air pumps or super high volume livewell water pumps or tuna tubes flushing 1000’s of gallons of environmental water per hour through the tube in the heat of summer.

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

When continuous is lost (near drowning) resuscitation with oxygen quickly revives the subject. This may be repeated over and over numerous times daily for many days.

LEARN THE FEELING OF SUFFOCATION, HYPOXIA: Hold your breath when your live bait or your tournament fish is out of the water. Put the fish back your oxygenated livewell water when you feel stressed, and you need a breath. When you feel that need to take a breath, that is the signal that your brain demands more oxygen… people and all fish know that distressing feeling when oxygen their oxygen level is low.

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™ dramatically reduces summer live bait replacement costs for the rest of your fishing 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 much less stress for fishermen that has concerns 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 highest quality live bait possible, lower bait cost, fewer trips to the bait shop, no early morning bait lines, stockpile live bait overnight -1 week and eliminates predawn daily cast netting.  Live bait dealers expect less live bait sales when anglers oxygenate live bait with the Oxygen Edge™ because the fisherman can keep live bait laive and healthier every summer.


*When supplemental oxygen is used by bait shrimpers, bait catchers and live bait transporters.

*Live bait dealers that use 100% compressed oxygen on live catch boats and in their shop holding tanks will definitely have the best live bait for sale because they do sell the highest quality of live bait possible. Their live bait is oxygenated with compressed oxygen from initial catch to final sale.

If you want highest quality live bait fish and shrimp

Always call and ask the bait dealer if his catcher provided uses mechanical aeration or bait pumps or compressed oxygen on the catch boat and live transport to the bait dealers holding tanks… this is vitally important if you are interested in high quality.

Always ask the bait dealer if he uses compressed oxygen in his holding tanks… this is vitally important if you are interested in high quality.

FACT: Expect excellent live bait quality from bait dealers that use supplemental oxygen, seek out bait shops that use compressed oxygen extensively. It’s worth the effort to find these bait shops any buy their live bait.

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 then to your favorite fishing area. Begin your fishing trip with highest quality live bait you can find, then “SUPERCHARGE” that bait 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 in livewells and ice chest.   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 those aggravating early morning bait lines.  Buy your live bait later, around 7-9 PM the day before your fishing trip, keep the baits overnight at home or fishing camp. Don’t buying sickly, red-nose, lethargic poor-quality bait and avoid getting up early every morning or getting up early, finding bait and throwing that cast net.  Leave home or camp early with plenty high quality healthy live bait and be at your favorite fishing spot early the next morning with bait you kept alive and 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 plenty 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.


Partial or total livewell/bait tank water exchanges are necessary, important and eliminate the need for most bait tank additives, especially for bait fish, shrimp and tournament fish. Exchange your livewell water and insure safe continuous oxygenation continuously for stockpiled live bait fish, bass and crappie for weeks. Do not feed the captives in the first week of captivity. Feed captives beginning the 2nd week of captib=vity, shrimp are excellent fish food.

Exchange 30%-50% of the total livewell water capacity every 3-4 hours while fishing. Five-gallon plastic drinking water bottles are excellent containers 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.

MYTH: You may have told by your favorite internet bro-brothers 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. HUMBUG! 

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.

FACT: Tiny micro-oxygen bubbles produced with flat plate ceramic diffusers in small closed 25–50-gallon livewells and bait tanks can kill bait and fish. The high oxidative property of O2 gas cab chemically burned gill tissue resulting in infection and irreversible gill and cornea damage.

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