I have owned two very good tanks, my first one was a Super Bait Tank II The top, bottom, lid and all structure elements are made of marine grade polymer. The tank weights 65# empty and tops the scale at 400# full with bait. They do make a smaller version at 30 Gallons and a monster for pontoons at 50 gallons.
This is from the top looking down into the bait side of the tank,the
small tube is the air induction system I installed,water is pumped from the filter side by
a 350GPH Rule bilge pump into the tube and air is drawn down through the top of the tube.
The water spins in a counterclock wise rotation and the Shad swim in a circular motion
which makes them swim parallel with the sidewalls and prevents them from banging into the
walls or each other and reduces the risk of injury. At the bottom of the tank is were
water dirt and scales are pulled from the bait side and sent to the filter assembly, the
little red thing is a light I installed for dipping Shad out of the tank without having to
have a flashlight in your hand,all it is is a yellow side trailer light assembly that
casts a nice glow on the tank, to the left is the double filter assembly.
The picture to your left is the filter assembly, it is a filter in a filter, both are removable. The pump is located in the bottom on the outside of the big filter, the big filter is a solid filter with the exception of a screen in the very bottom to allow water to filter through it. Activated charcoal is placed in the bottom of the large filter and the small filter fits down inside the big one, the small filter catches all the big stuff, scales, dirt anything that is floating in the water,water is gravity fed from the holding side and travels up the center of the two filters and pours into the small filter and the water flows through the sides and out the bottom of the small filter, I place a filtering media on top of the activated charcoal so the water is really clean by the time it gets through the large filter and the pump pumps clean fresh water to the bait side of the tank. The filter system is very hard to get to as space is very limited. All chemicals are placed on the filter side of the tank except for No-Foam which I put directly in on the bait holding side if I have to use it. I have experimented many times over the years trying to develop ways to keep these very fragile bait fish alive, over the past two years 1998-1999 the weather has been real hot and keeping Shad alive has been easy due to the years I have been doing this. I quit using all the chemicals they say you should use like BaitSaver, ShadSaver, BetterBait all these chemicals due is put a slime coat back on the Shad and bond there scales, Salt will due the same thing but is much cheaper and more available at your local grocery store in fact the best stuff to use is Pickling Salt that your mom uses for canning. This stuff is great, it melts down as soon as it hits the water so the Shad are not breathing crystals through there gills, which cuts them up and stresses them out. I place about 3-4 cups in the tank and this will last about 8 hours, I like it real salty and the Shad love it, and I think the salty taste brings Catfish to them also. Stay away from salt that contains Iodine it is instant death to a Shad.
The dimensions of this tank are three foot high, three foot length, and two foot wide. This is the forty gallon tank.
The lid is split in the middle and each side can be accessed independently of each other, all hinges and hardware are marine grade high polished stainless steel, the tank itself has a very large o-ring that the lid fits tight against,so the water will not leak out of the tank even in rough conditions on the water. Each side is held down with wingnuts, and the pump draws a mere 3amps so I let it run constantly after I catch bait. The filter clogs quickly after you put bait in the tank but after about 15 min. the water is cleared.
Everything can be removed and cleaned in this tank, another option that I like.
My second and most current tank is a Grayline Tank, it is thirty gallons and I paid $423.00 for the unit. I consider it the best I have owned, it has a few cons which I'll get to that later.
This tank is made of some very lightweight material, it weights in at 38# empty with filter in place.
This is a view of the inside of the tank, the filter assembly is the white box,The blue round piece at the bottom is a screen assembly, water is drawn up the tube into the filter box and is discharged from a Rule pump. I installed a light in this tank to make it easier to see the bait at night.
Here is a shot of the filter assembly in place in the tank, water is drawn up from the bottom of the tank and discharged from the Rule pump out that hole in the front of the filter, water then flows up and over top and cascades down through filter media,that black foam media and Charcoal media and empties back into the tank from the bottom of the filter box.
Here is what I call the best feature of this tank, when your filter media gets clogged up the water just rolls right over to these holes and dumps back into the tank, there is no way that bait fish can suffer from non oxygenated water. it is a great feature as soon as you replace the filter media the tank goes back to filtering the water.
A couple of things that I don't care for in this tank are the seals for the lids, there made of foam and in trailering the boat and while out on the water they have a tendency to leak, not bad but I still don't like to have the water in the boat, second thing is the lids are not removable, very tough to clean but I'm going to change that and the seals in 2003 to make it better for me.
These are shots of the filter system water is drawn up in the rule pump and is discharged out that small hole, sometimes this will get clogged up, I may relieve this hole just a bit to keep it from clogging, the plastic tube stays above the water and draws air down to the discharge of the pump, works real well, water flows up and over the white platform and drains down through the media
I have removed the filter media and the black foam, under that plastic panel is where activated charcoal is stored.
This is the main discharge from the filter medusa into the tank. The small hole to the right is the pump discharge the large hole top left is one of five overflow holes, this whole assembly sits flush into the tank and is very easy to maintain, the lid lifts up and gives you full access to the filter assembly.
Here are pictures of a homemade bait tank that I made early in 2002, it
will support Shad, not the best but a dozen will stay alive for a night on the river, it
will keep chubs and suckers alive for a couple of days.
I used 1/2" Gortex to put a seal on the
inside of the lid to keep sloshing down to a minimum while in transport, and also corded
the lid down, lost a couple of lids, all and all this will do the job if you have a small
boat or if you fish from the bank. Use Shad Saver or Bait Saver to help keep your bait
healthy, the tank being white will help to reflect the suns rays during daytime use, as
there is no insulation.