Bass Care 101 - Oxygen
The amount of dissolved oxygen in your live well and weigh bag is also a factor in largemouth survivability. Bass and all fish obtain needed oxygen by passing water over their gills. The MSU study proved that the minimum level of dissolved oxygen in your live well is 5.5 ppm. It also showed that higher oxygen (8.5 ppm) was not a problem at 77 degrees or 84 degrees, but these higher dissolved oxygen concentrations were not enough to prevent mortality at 91 degrees where the mortality rate was over 50%. In other words, oxygen is essential, but more oxygen won’t make up for too-warm temperatures. Cool water is essential to survival, but cooling water also aids providing sufficient oxygen. Cool water holds more oxygen and reaerates faster than warmer water, and bass in cooler water use less oxygen than bass in warmer water. In addition, more or bigger fish in your live well, use dissolved oxygen faster. Additional oxygen can be added to your live well by adding fresh water periodically, but you must remember to add additional ice to maintain temperatures below 84 degrees. Add air, to your live well, diffused through an air stone creating small bubbles, or run recirculating aerators continuously to maximize the amount of oxygen absorbed in the water.
Fish need oxygen. Maximize aeration and flush the live well with fresh water periodically to ensure you have adequate oxygen levels.