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BaitMaster+ Trouble Shooting

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Your BaitMaster+ live bait system is a biological system. The system is comprised of a sediment filter and one, two or three filers, depending on the model, with special media that harbors friendly bacteria that removes ammonia from the water. There is an aeration system to add oxygen to the water and a continuously running water pump for a constant-flow water recirculation, a chiller unit to cool the recirculating water and an ultraviolet sterilizer to control unwanted bacteria.

In the following trouble shooting section, we have listed problems that you may encounter, their probable causes, and usable solutions that you can use to get your system back on track. If you should encounter a problem that is difficult to solve, even after referring to this section, please contact us. 

PROBLEM: Water circulation has slowed up or stopped. Red indicator light on.

POSSIBLE CAUSE: Sediment filter has become clogged.

SOLUTION: Change the sediment filter.

PROBLEM: Water circulation has slowed up or stopped filter is not clogged. Red indicator light on.

POSSIBLE CAUSE: Water circulation pump has stopped because debris or dead minnows are lodged in the pump intake or impeller.

SOLUTION: Undo the coupling that connects the drain line to the intake on the pump. reach in with a small tool, dislodge and remove the obstruction.


POSSIBLE CAUSE: After changing the filter, one or both of the red handled valves on the circulation line that shut off the water flow, is still in the closed position.

SOLUTION: Open the valve or valves.

PROBLEM: Water doesn't cool below room temp. No numbers displayed on temperature control.
Red indicator light on.

POSSIBLE CAUSE: Water flow is not sufficient to activate the flow sensor.

SOLUTION: Check the sediment filter and change if necessary.
OR An obstruction is in the line at the pump or in line before the pump and must be removed.
OR The biological filters are clogged and need to be cleaned. Check the filter with the orange dot first, it is quite likely the one. To clean any of the biological filters, remove it from its cap, dump the media into a bucket and wash with water from the bait tank. Refer this section in the owners manual.

PROBLEM: Water doesn't cool below room temp. No numbers displayed on temperature control.
Red indicator light on.

POSSIBLE CAUSE: Water flow is not sufficient to activate the flow sensor.

SOLUTION: The flow sensor unit might be slimed up, which then should be cleaned. Turn off the circulation switch, unplug the chiller unit and indicator light from the sensor. Undo couplings and remove the sensor unit, wash the inside and place it back in the system.

PROBLEM: Water will not cool below 54 degrees.

POSSIBLE CAUSE: Chiller unit cannot cool the water because ventilation for the chiller unit has been obstructed.

SOLUTION: Remove the objects that have been placed next to the Live Bait System, which are covering or blocking the ventilation grill. Leave about eight inches of space between the ventilation grille and the appliance or object placed next to it. When only 5 or 6 inches are available, invert the grille to direct the air flow upward.

PROBLEM: Water will not cool below 62 degrees.

POSSIBLE CAUSE: Chiller unit cannot cool the water because condensing coils for the chiller unit are covered with dust and lint. 

SOLUTION: ​Condensing coils are covered with dust and debris, and must be cleaned. Turn off the switch that controls the water pump and chiller. Then with a long handled soft brush, such as a snow brush used to clean windshields, reach in to remove dust from the coils or use a vacuum cleaner to remove the dust from the coils.

PROBLEM: Aeration in the tanks is weak, stopped or uneven in the tanks.

POSSIBLE CAUSE: ​Diffuser stones are clogged. This will happen when you repeatedly shut the unit down to clean out the dead minnows from the tubs. A build up of slime forms on the inside of the lines. The air pressure will move this slime and solidify it in the orifice in the stem of the air stone or inside the air stones.

SOLUTION: ​Replace all with new air diffuser stone so the aeration will stay even in all the tanks. Save the clogged stones, soak them in a strong bleach solution, then blow air through them to dry them with air pressure. When this type of cleaning no longer restores the aeration, it will be necessary to replace the diffuser stones. We recommend that you replace the stones at least every two years.


POSSIBLE CAUSE:  A series of power outages over a period of time has let water into the air line through the diffuser stones. When it has happened repeatedly, a slime forms as in the cause above.

SOLUTION: Refer to the solution above.

PROBLEM: Aeration in the tanks is weak, stopped or uneven in the tanks.

POSSIBLE CAUSE: Air pump has lost air volume. The diaphragms in the pump have deteriorated.

SOLUTION: When the air diffuser stones are not serviced or cleaned they will become clogged, the pressure will build up and cause the pump to heat excessively and the diaphragms will develop holes. Replace them with new diaphragms.

PROBLEM: One tank is filling more than the rest.

POSSIBLE CAUSE: Drains and/or water leveling manifold are plugged with dead minnows or debris.

SOLUTION: Remove the dead minnows from around and stuck in the drains. When removing dead minnows from the area does not resolve a problem immediately, it might be necessary to employ a sink plunger to dislodge the dead minnows from under the drains and/or in the lines.

PROBLEM: SOME minnows are dying in ALL the tanks. Ammonia level is very high.

POSSIBLE CAUSE: ​Too many minnows in the tanks when the system has just been installed.

SOLUTION: The bacteria has not yet established on the filtering media and the ammonia in the water (produced by minnows) has overwhelmed the bacteria. Keep only minimum amounts of minnows on hand until the bacteria has established.


POSSIBLE CAUSE:  There are various types of water that will delay the development of bacteria. Usually hard water, water with more mineral content. 

SOLUTION: This is usually only a temporary situation and bacteria will grow, but, more slowly. Drain water down and let fresh water come in at the same time to dilute the level of ammonia in the water, then add more bacteria. This may have to be done several times before the bacteria has fully developed, but, it will develop .


POSSIBLE CAUSE: Tanks have been running without minnows in them to produce ammonia, for some time

SOLUTION: When the tank has been running with no minnows in it for a period of time, the bacteria will die. A new batch of bacteria should be introduced and the initial startup procedure be done again. See the procedure inside the front cover of the Owners Manual.


POSSIBLE CAUSE: pH level in the water too low (acidic). Bacteria will not establish on biological filter media

SOLUTION: Water conditions can change and if it is only a temporary situation, it can be treated with a household baking soda. Use baking soda sparingly (1/2 tsp./per .2 of pH). When water conditions are too acidic on a continuing basis, use baking soda.


POSSIBLE CAUSE: pH level in the water too high (alkaline). Higher pH levels do increase a negative effect of the ammonia on the minnows.

SOLUTION: Water conditions can change and when it is only a temporary situation, it can be treated with white vinegar. Use vinegar sparingly (1/2 oz per tub/per .2 pH). The vinegar is produced by using a bacteria, this bacteria will accumulate with each addition of vinegar and will add the slime build up.


POSSIBLE CAUSE: Copper in the water from the source. Any amount of copper in the water kills the bacteria that controls the ammonia.

SOLUTION: Copper in the water from the source can be taken out with a copper filter plumbed into incoming water line. The filter will slow down the incoming water flow.


POSSIBLE CAUSE: Copper from the copper lines installed on the premises.

SOLUTION:  Copper from copper lines on premises is usually only temporary condition that

will clear up in two or three months. This can be controlled, for this period, with a solution that is compatible with bacteria. Contact Lolkus Outdoors for information.

PROBLEM: SOME minnows are dying in ALL the tanks.

POSSIBLE CAUSE: High sulfates in the water are causing some minnows to suffocate.

SOLUTION: ​Sulfates in the water take up the available oxygen. Removal of the sulfate to tolerable levels, can be achieved through using a reverse osmosis filtering system on the incoming water line. Additional aeration can be of some benefit when sulfate levels are 300 to 500 PPM.

PROBLEM: SOME minnows are dying in SOME tanks.

POSSIBLE CAUSE: Minnows life cycles vary and it is possible that the minnows are old.

SOLUTION: Check for signs on the minnows that they are indeed aging. If so, there is little you can do, other than changing your supplier.

PROBLEM: ALL minnows are dying in ALL tanks.

POSSIBLE CAUSE:  Chlorine is coming in with the incoming water. The activated carbon filter is depleted.

SOLUTION: Change the incoming water filter. Drain all the water from the tanks. Refill the system and drain again while the system is running, to flush the filters. Change the sediment filter, refill the tanks and add minnows. The system will then be treated as a new startup with the adding of bacteria.

PROBLEM: SOME minnows are dying in ALL the tanks. They seem to be bleeding around the mouth, fins, gills and anal area.

POSSIBLE CAUSE: Usually this occurs when the water is being contaminated by bad air in the surrounding area at the floor level - such as oil or gas, or automotive engine fumes.

SOLUTION: The air pump is picking up these fumes, at the floor level and distributing them into the water. Attach a length of 1/2" hose to the air intake on the air pump and run it up to a higher level, probably higher than the bait tank or even as high as eight feet. You can install the hose through the floor and up the back of the system. Use a stiff hose, such as a garden hose that will not collapse to obstruct the air flow. Do not kink the hose when installing it.

PROBLEM: Minnows have fuzzy spots on their body and around the mouth area.

POSSIBLE CAUSE:  The fuzz is called "ich" and is common in aquariums. Ich is a fungus and usually is brought in with the bait from your dealers.

SOLUTION:  Ich can be controlled with the use of salt. Use 3 to 4 ozs. of untreated water conditioner salt or about 1 1/2 ozs. of pickling salt, (DO NOT use iodized table salt). Add salt to system after you drain to dilute the ammonia, on start ups and about once a month in regular operation. Using salt in the bait system at all times will add to the over all health of the minnows. Injuries on the minnows will heal, their scales will be tighter to their body, also a reduction of slime on their bodies and in the tanks.

PROBLEM: Minnows are  dying on route to the lake, ammonia level and pH levels are normal.

POSSIBLE CAUSE:  Lack of oxygen in the water, because the aeration system in the tank is not properly functioning.

SOLUTION: The air diffuser stones in the tanks should be cleaned or replaced to restore aeration to the to maximum, also check the air pump. Refer to this section in your owners manual.

PROBLEM:  Surfaces, sediment filter and secondary filters are accumulating a build up of slime.

POSSIBLE CAUSE:  The water temperature setting on the chiller unit is set too warm.

SOLUTION:  Lower the temperature setting to below 50 degrees. Bait tank water will become slimy when warm, reducing the filter life. An untreated salt, such as water softener salt (3 to 4 oz per tub) or pickling salt (I l /2 oz per tub) can be used to control the slime build up.


POSSIBLE CAUSE: The water source, such as the water from a well, could contain a bacterial iron that will build up in the system, (because of the aeration) over a very short period and will effect all aspects of the system.

SOLUTION: Wells should be treated for this type of bacteria. A UV Light can be installed on the bait systems incoming water line to alleviate this bacteria problem. The whole system must be treated with a chlorine bleach to remove all of the 

bacterial iron from the system, rinsed thoroughly and the ammonia eliminating bacteria introduction procedure will be

required again. 

PROBLEM: Sediment filter does not last very long.

POSSIBLE CAUSE:  Dirty water taken in with fresh supply of minnows.

SOLUTION: Change the sediment filter. In the future have your supplier put only the minnows from their tank, into water taken from your tanks.


POSSIBLE CAUSE: Tank has just been cleaned and built up sediment from cleaning has clogged the filter.

SOLUTION: Tanks should be cleaned fairly often. Clean the tanks at least once a month just before a filter change. The ideal time to clean them is an hour before changing the filter. Tanks should be cleaned on a regular basis.


POSSIBLE CAUSE: ​The unit has been running with a clogged filter for some some time and the other filters have built up a sludge because no water has been circulating through them. 

SOLUTION:  This will cause a backup of sediment in the water circulation line throughout the system. When a new filter is installed the slime and sediment will be release into the water and will fill it very quickly. The line from the tanks to the filter can be flushed to remove the sediment. With the filter housing removed, place a container close under the filter housing cap, open the valve on the line to the circulation pump and briefly tum on the switch, (only long enough to almost fill the container). Tum off the switch and the valve, empty the container and repeat the procedure until the water has somewhat cleared up. The filter will then last much, much longer.

PROBLEM: Incoming fresh water slow or stopped.

POSSIBLE CAUSE:  Incoming water filter has become plugged

SOLUTION:  Change the incoming water filter.

PROBLEM: Tanks staining

POSSIBLE CAUSE: Some of the chemicals and minerals in the water might stain only the surface of the tank.

SOLUTION: Staining will not affect the operation of the system. But, for appearance sake cleaning the tanks is beneficial. To clean mineral stains from the tanks, soak a cloth that is free of any other cleaner, with white vinegar. Rub it slowly on the stain till it dissolves the mineral stains and wipe them away. The small amount of vinegar used on the cloth will not harm the minnows.

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