How To Raise Happy, Healthy Fish In Your Dam
So you’ve decided that your dam could do with some fish to enjoy it. Maybe you want to be able to catch and eat them, perhaps you’re looking to do your bit for the environment and help keep an endangered Aussie species safe, or maybe you just want some fishy friends to go chat to every now and again. No matter what your reasoning is, the key to success with fish is managing their home. Much like you wouldn’t want to move into a rental where there’s mould everywhere, the toilet leaks and the kitchen is falling apart, your finned friends don’t particularly want to live in a dam that isn’t properly maintained. At best, you’ll have sad fish, but more commonly, they’ll simply die off because they can’t live in the conditions they’ve been dropped into.
What fish are best for my dam?
Fish are a great addition to any dam but you’ll need to check with your local council to see which species their regulations permit you to stock. Silver Perch are generally a great option as they are hardy fish, you can eat them and they’re an acceptable species to stock in most areas.
We also quite like Tandanus Tandanus (Freshwater Catfish) as they’re native to Australia and are one of the few fish species that can successfully colonise a dam which means that as long as you don’t overfish them, you’ll have a strong, consistent population which is great for your dam but also helps support our wider ecosystem. Plus, they provide good eating if you’re into that.
For further information on what fish species are good for private dams, click here.
A note on council regulations:
If you are unsure whether the breed you wish to stock is considered accepted under your local by-laws, you can request a list of acceptable and banned fish species for private stocking from your local council. Even if they do not have official resources, they will be able to advise you of whether your chosen species are allowed under their jurisdiction.
How can I raise happy, healthy fish in my dam?
So how do we make sure that everything is nice for our new friends when they move in?
With aeration and the correct application of biological augmentation of course.
Every living thing needs oxygen to survive but unlike us, your new 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.
Improving water quality with aeration:
The use of an aeration system improves overall water quality as well by:
- Ensuring that everything is properly circulated.
- Helping you avoid stratification.
- Reducing the quantity and severity of algae and aquatic weed outbreaks.
- Fending off nasty, smelly anaerobic bacteria.
- Making your dam less appealing to mosquitos as they prefer still, stagnant water.
Improving water quality with biological augmentation:
Nutrient accumulates in your dam over time from factors such as animal excrement in your water. Your new fish are no exception to this rule as any living organism in your water body effects your nutrient balance in one way or another. Ducks and other visitors can be particularly bad for this type of contamination as well. Other sources include nutrient-rich run-off and aquatic plants which are left to die and decompose in your water. Your dam stores this in the form of sludge, a nasty muck that will slowly spread and eventually take over (leading to the need for expensive and damaging dredging) if you don’t keep an eye on it. Biological water treatments, such as the Biostim Range, contain beneficial bacteria and key nutrients that support their growth. These bacteria actively consume excess nutrient in the water (as well as sludge, algae and other nasties), therefore reducing the nutrient load and helping you keep everything nice.
Long story short – Aeration and biological treatment work hand in hand.
When we have adequate oxygen and a properly maintained biological treatment schedule, we have happy fish and a balanced, biologically rich ecosystem. We pair aeration with biological augmentation as, by utilizing both simultaneously, you will be able to clean up (and maintain) an ecosystem far more efficiently than you would be able to with either alone. The bacteria contained within our biological treatments are aerobic which means they need oxygen to thrive and aeration is always recommended.
Optional Extras For Super Happy Fish:
Now you’ve sorted out how to ensure the environment is right for your new fish, there’s just a few more things to consider before bringing them into your dam. While the suggestions in this section aren’t necessary, they can certainly make your fish’ existence happier and healthier which will never be a bad thing:
If you’d like to provide your fishy friends with a little extra protection you can install some floating wetland panels so they’ve got some surface cover from birds of prey. Floating wetlands panels also have a ton of other great benefits for your water and the environment so we definitely recommend considering them.
Additionally, if you’re looking to make things a bit more homely, you can utilise a fish attractor (also known as a habitat) and automatic feeder so they always know where they can grab something to eat. These accessories are also a good idea for those wishing to be able to fish in their dam as the attractor and feeding will train your fish to gravitate to the selected part of your dam, therefore making it easier to catch a bite.
It’s all well and good to read an article but we understand that sometimes you just want (or need) that special personal touch. We want your fish and dam to be happy and healthy and our friendly team of experts are always here to help.
We can even help you source your new fishy friends if you’re not sure where to start.
If you’d like personalised advice or assistance stocking your dam, please get in touch via our contact page or give us a buzz on 1300 283 387.