How much water flow do I need?
This question is asked around the world for bait tanks, tuna tubes and yes, bait socks.
Traditional Tuna tubes require massive amounts of water flow. Boats often employ 2hp (or larger) swimming pool pumps and 2″ or larger plumbing to supply the tuna tubes and even larger plumbing to allow the water to overflow and leave the boat. This type of system requires several large holes to be put in the boat’s hull, large generators, expensive plumbing fittings, valves, hoses…etc. This type of system is out of reach for all but the most elite boats and crews. On top of the expense it doesn’t keep bait alive very well in most cases.
In a traditional tuna tube installation if one bait is added to a 4 tube system, the other 3 empty tubes flow increases and the tuna tube with the bait in it decreases in flow due to the obstruction of the bait inside the tube. This type of situation will quickly kill bait, so boats employ valves on each tube. Not only do the valves reduce overall flow of the system due to restriction, but they must be constantly adjusted and monitored after each bait is added or removed.
Bait Socks employ a completely different, much more efficient and reliable strategy to keep bait alive. In a Bait Socks system there are actually two separate water flow systems. There is no need for large, bulky, expensive pumps, generators or plumbing. In most cases Bait Socks will be virtually plug and play. Bait Socks are also easily removable so the baitwell/livewell can be used for smaller bait.
In this example we will discuss a typical Bait Socks install on a 30ish foot center console boat. This boat in particular has a 15 gallon baitwell along the transom. The baitwell already keeps smaller size bait alive very well. The Primary Flow is the normal flow into and out of the existing livewell/baitwell on the boat. The Secondary Flow is the actual flow through each Bait Sock.
Bait Socks flow independently of each other. There are no valves, nothing to monitor, each tube receives perfect flow, no matter if the other socks are loaded or empty. All bait gets perfect flow, all the time.
Since Bait Socks handle the flow through each tube, you will only need to worry about the Primary Flow through the livewell/baitwell.
So, back to the original question: How much flow do I need?
Without getting too scientific, a general guide is to answer this question: Does my baitwell keep normal/smaller size bait alive? If it does, it should have enough flow for Bait Socks. If normal bait dies in your baitwell, you will need to examine your flow and possibly increase or adjust it.
Do I have too much flow?
Yes, this is possible. To determine if you have too much or improper flow look at the water flowing through a Bait Sock. Do you see little bubbles? If you see bubbles there is too much or improper flow. Micro-bubbles equals dead bait. Water flowing through the Bait Socks should be clear and bubble-free.
For a detailed look at water flow and other important parameters check out our detailed 3 part series on keeping big bait alive