Stoner's Largemouth Bass Aquarium

My 150 gallon bass tank.
Back in December '96 I caught two largemouth bass weighing about a half pound each from the private lake of Charles & Gail Cox of Quitman, TX. I brought the fish back to my tank and they have been doing great! They each eat about 5 minnows per day. Each minnow costs nearly 10 cents, so that's about $365.00 in minnows per year. Yikes!

Well, actually that gold fish wasn't about to be eatin' - yet. That's a picture of the famous bass "yawn" that bass do. I've noticed that they do it just prior to feeding. Any bass behavioral experts out there?

Yep, that's an original GI Joe (with Kung-Fu grip)

Below are some Windows Media Video clips of my bass feeding. If the video appears jerky, let it finish and then play it again.

Bass tries to eat a minnow, but it gets away
Bass eating worms

*** Update On The Bass ***

After having the bass in captivity for one year, they started turning slightly yellowish in color. I figured this was not a good thing. So I released them into White Rock Lake here in Dallas in December of 1997. Both bass tripled their weight during their one year stay with me - going from .5 pounds each to 1.5 pounds each. And they both swam off in a very healthy fashion in White Rock Lake.

*** Tips On Keeping Bass ***

I get quite a few emails from folks wanting tips on keeping bass in an aquarium. Since my bass began turning yellow after one year in captivity, I'm not sure I'm the right person to be answering such questions :)    But since there's not much on the net about keeping largemouth bass in an aquarium, I might as well list what little I learned...

  1. I had never owned an aquarium of any type. It turns out that following the general guidelines one would follow for any fresh water aquarium works pretty well for bass.
  2. Before I added bass to my aquarium I put in some live minnows and a small bag of gravel that already contained the much needed bacteria from my pet store. I waited a day or two to let the bacteria grow in the gravel of my tank before I added the bass. That way, the bacteria was ready to help clean the waste of the bass. From what I learned, this is pretty much standard practice for any new aquarium.
  3. Every month I'd perform a fairly basic fresh water aquarium chemical analysis. Amazingly, it usually revealed that everything was in check - if not, I'd add the appropriate chemicals to remedy the problem.
  4. Every month I would change half the water in my 150 gallon tank. Luckily, I have a utility room (with a sink) not far from my aquarium. I bought one of those special hoses that you hook up to a faucet to help drain and/or fill an aquarium. That made the monthly chore of changing half the water much easier. As you drain the tank move the hose around on the gravel to clean up waste material that collects on the rocks. It all ends up going down the drain of your sink. Very cool.
  5. Along with the three traditional gravel filters I also used a carbon filter that was housed under the tank. It really seemed to keep the tank crystal clear.
  6. If you place your aquarium against a wall, tape a dark colored background to the back of your tank to make it standout. This really makes it look sharp!
  7. I would recommend putting in bass that were a half pound or won't believe how fast they grow!
  8. After one year my two bass tripled their weight. At one and a half pounds each, I think they outgrew my 150 gallon aquarium. I felt sorta sorry for them being so penned up so I released them (the fact that they were turning a little yellow also influenced my decision to release them).
  9. Each bass ate at least 5 minnows per day. Sometimes I would feed them "large feeder goldfish" that I would buy from a pet store. Each bass would usually eat 2 or 3 of those per day. Generally speaking I always made sure there were minnows or goldfish in the tank. But if I knew that guests were coming by my house I would sometimes let the bass eat all the food that morning so that by that afternoon I could feed them some minnows and be guaranteed a good show!
  10. The bass didn't seem to like it when I turned on the tank the bass would fade their colors when the lights were on (I assume it was an attempt at camouflage). So I rarely turned the lights on.
  11. Although my two bass were starting to turn slightly yellow, they seemed extremely healthy and were still putting on weight after one year in captivity. I'm not sure why they started turning yellow but I suspect that they needed more room to move around. I suppose it could also have been something in the water that my fresh water aquarium tests weren't checking for. Some people think that my bass were telling yellow simply due to the coloration of the goldfish they were eating. I have my doubts about that, but who knows.
         Good luck!

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