Raising Happy & Healthy Fish In Your Dam

Fish are a wonderful addition to any dam. They can provide entertainment and companionship, serve as a food source and help improve your water quality under the right circumstances. Keeping certain species, such as the Tandanus Tandanus (Freshwater Catfish), can even help ensure that an endangered native species doesn’t become extinct.

Ensuring that your fish stay happy and healthy, however, isn’t as simple as just plopping them in and visiting every so often. You’ll need to manage your dam’s water levels and quality to ensure that their home can not just keep them alive, but help them thrive. Think of it this way, you wouldn’t want to move into a rental where there’s mould everywhere, the toilet leaks and the kitchen is falling apart, likewise, your fishy friends don’t particularly want to live in a dam that isn’t properly maintained.

Don’t let this deter you though, keeping your dam in top shape requires less work than you might think and you’ll receive benefits that extend far beyond simply keeping your fish happy.


Keeping your dam ecosystem healthy:

The two main factors that must be maintained to look after the health of your aquatic ecosystem are your oxygen and bacteria levels.

These can be managed by installing an aeration system and implementing a biological augmentation treatment program.


Why do I need to aerate my dam?

Every living thing needs oxygen to survive but unlike us, your fishy friends can’t just swim to the surface and take a big old gulp of air. Instead, they rely on dissolved oxygen within your water body which is why aeration is so critical to good fish keeping.

In regards to wider benefits and general water quality, an aeration system can also assist with

  • Keeping your water body circulated and preventing stagnation.
  • Helping avoid stratification and other issues associated with have layers of water with wildly different conditions.
  • Reducing the quantity and severity of nasty outbreaks such as algal blooms and aquatic weed take overs.
  • Making conditions inhospitable for nasty, smelly anaerobic bacteria.
  • Making your dam less appealing to moquitos and other undesirable insects.


If you’re unsure whether surface or sub-surface aeration would be best for your dam, check out our handy guide.

Units are available in standard mains, solar and windmill powered varieties so there’s an option to suit everyone.


Why should I use biological treatments in my dam?

Biological treatments are comprised of beneficial bacteria that will help reduce excess nutrients and support your aquatic ecosystem. This is particularly important in dams where fish are stocked as, like all living organisms in your water body, they alter nutrient loads and balances. In an untreated dam, nutrient will accumulate over time and form sludge layers which can deprive your fishy friends of oxygen and cause further imbalance issues.

When left unchecked, sludge will spread its nasty muck throughout your dam, eventually taking over and leading to the need for expensive and damaging dredging.

Note: Even when fish are not present in a dam, ducks and other visitors drop off plenty of excrement and organic waste and nutrient-rich run-off, decomposing aquatic plants and other contaminants will all increase your ecosystem’s bioload.

Biological water treatments, such as the Biostim Range, provide an extra point of defence for your dam as the bacteria contained within them are specially selected for their ability to out compete sludge, algae and other nasties for nutrients. They can also help support your nitrification cycle as well as reducing your eocsystem’s bio-load, promoting overall health and water quality and helping you keep your fishy friends happy.


Long story short – Aeration and biological treatment will be your best friends.

Well, technically second best as we’d hope that your new fishy friends are your favourites.

We know you’ll love your aeration and treatment program as well though because adequate oxygen + properly maintained treatment schedule = happy fish and a balanced, biologically rich ecosystem. 

The best bit is, your new aeration system and biological treatments work even better when they’re paired together so you’ll be able to clean up and maintain your ecosystem far more easily than you would by any other method and even than you would by using either alone. Plus, the bacteria within the treatments we stock are all aerobic which means they need oxygen to thrive.


Optional Extras For Super Happy Fish:

Keeping your water quality and oxygen levels high will be enough for your fish to live comfortably but if you’d like to make their lives even happier (and safer) you can implement the suggestions in this section for creating optimal fish habitat:


Adding vegetation is great for the biodiversity of your aquatic ecosystem and can help boost dissolved oxygen levels during daylight hours but it also provides some fish specific benefits that greatly increase the safety and happiness of your fish.


Plants situated within or on the bank of your dam can provide biological filtration for your water body. This is great for your fishy friends as it means nitrates and excess nutrients will be efficiently removed from the water.

Room For Activities:

Underwater plants provide cover for your smaller fish to hide from larger ones that want to turn them into dinner. They also give your fishy friends somewhere to swim and play with each other which more closely mimics their natural habitat and increases happiness.

Duck For Cover:

Floating wetland panels are a great way to provide cover that your fishy friends can hide below if they find themselves under attack from birds of prey or other external predators. These panels also provide the same benefits as plants that are on the edge or your dam or under water do making them a ponderfully versatile addition to your ecosystem.

A Kitchen

Well, not literally a kitchen, more just a homely touch.

Placing a fish attractor (also known as a fish habitat) within your dam in close proximity to an automatic feeder will help ensure that your fishy friends always know where to go to grab a bite to eat.

You can also use these accessories to train fish to gravitate to a certain part of the dam which is great if you want to fish in it.


So what now?

If you haven’t already, it’s now time to select what species of fish you would like to keep in your dam.

If you’re unsure which fish would be best for you, click through to the articles below and see if any type stands out:

You can also give us a call on 1300 005 670 or fill out a contact form if you’d like some personally tailored advice from our team of friendly experts.

Then all that’s left to do is collect (or take delivery of) your friends and get them into your dam. You can generally get your hands on most species locally but if you’d like assistance sourcing them, give us a call and we’ll get it sorted for you.