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  Sep 25, 2016

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Ed Guice
Spiking Your Livewell with Oxygen


Spiking Your Livewell with Oxygen

By Edward Guice

Culling bass usually makes for a good tournament outing. It can be hard to cull bass, or, due to state laws, illegal to cull dead fish. In many situations, the largest and best bass is the one that expires. Fresh water and salt water tournament fishermen have to try to keep their fish alive or face a penalty for weighing dead fish. With competition growing among tournament anglers, ounces count and could mean the difference in bringing home money, making the cut for the next day, and/or the championship. Case in point, a pro-bass fisherman last month had two fish to expire on the second day of a tour tournament. He was penalized a total of 16 ounces. This penalty was very costly. It meant the loss of $10,000 and not qualifying for the championship tournament by less than 9 ounces. Keeping fish alive is important to most tournament anglers. We will discuss how and what to do to help keep your catch alive.

Most anglers know the basic ways to improve the survival rate of their fish. Some of the basics include changing out the livewell water several times during tournament hours, utilizing the recirculating system, adding chemicals to improve water conditions, and decreasing the temperature of the livewell water during hot weather. Each of the above basics helps to reduce the mortality rate of the fish.

The mortality improvements have both positive and negative effects. One of the most positive effects achieved from changing the livewell water is the reduction in nitrogen levels released by the fish. The negative effect of changing livewell water is the surface water which is being used to change the livewell water is most often the poorest quality of the lake (lowest oxygen level and highest chemical level). Running the livewell recirculating system helps improve the oxygen in the livewell water if your boat has a surface spray system. The improvement of the water is even greater if your boat has a Venturi Air and/or a Pro-Air type system by T&H Marine. Adding chemicals like Catch & Release or Rejuvenade has positive effects by helping to reduce nitrogen levels and replacing the protective slime on the body of a fish. Decreasing the livewell water temperature will improve the water condition and help to improve the mortality rate of the fish. All of these positive factors are important in improving the catch and release survival rate, however, the most important factor to help reduce the mortality of fish is the water condition. Water in the livewell has three key ingredients: oxygen level, nitrogen or acid level and temperature. Oxygen levels are the key to quality livewell water. Without adequate oxygen in the water, the fish will die. Nitrogen depletes the oxygen in the water; therefore, high nitrogen levels could also affect the survival of the fish. Finally, since hot water normally has low levels of oxygen, cooling the livewell water is critical in decreasing the death rate of fish.

There are devices like the Fish O2 Oxygen Generation System and the Fish-Flo2 Oxygen Infusion System which add oxygen back to the water contained in the livewell. Under normal conditions, water in the livewell cannot be over-saturated with oxygen. Therefore, there should be no worry of the placing too much oxygen in the livewell water.

The Fish O2 Oxygen Generation System adds oxygen to the livewell water through the recirculating system (proper installation of the device is required to be effective). The Fish O2 system is a self-contained, oxygen generator that uses outside air and separates out nitrogen. The generator delivers 90 to 93 percent pure oxygen to be mixed with the livewell water, therefore there are no oxygen cartridges or bottles used. The Fish O2 system can be mounted in the boat’s back compartment and runs off of the DC power from the boat’s battery. The Fish-Flo2 system releases oxygen into the water through a defuser stone which is placed in the bottom of the livewell. The oxygen comes from a gas cylinder which would be mounted in the boat. For more information on either of the devices, please visit their websites (Fish O2: and Fish-Flo2:

The development of these oxygen defusing devices is the next big step in reducing the mortality of fish in catch and release tournament. I can testify to how quickly the oxygen levels in the livewell are increased with the Fish O2 system when compared to just a recirculating surface spraying unit. Oxygen units may be considered optional equipment or special order with boat manufacturers but they are well worth the extra price.

The PowerFishing Report
P.O. Box 54
Navarre, MN 55392

Contact Ed Guice: Email
Ed Guice is sponsored by: Ranger Boats, Evinrude E-Tech, Lowrance Electronics, T&H Marine, D&D Marine Lawrenceburg, TN., Berkley Trilene, Spider Wire, Berkley Power Baits, Strictly Bass Lures, Strictly Bass Rods, Castrol Syntec, Castrol Blend



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