Residential Water Solutions

A Personal Approach to Improving Residential Dams

A healthy lake or dam surrounded by lush native flora is a beautiful addition to any residential property. Kept healthy, such a water body can be used for far more than just irrigation and supporting wildlife. You and your family can use it for swimming, fishing, yabbying or simply making yourselves the envy of your neighbours.

This is of course if you keep the water healthy. An unhealthy dam or lake can be everything but beautiful. Sludge, murkiness, algae, odours, and dead wildlife, can all occur when your water body loses balance. This can be dangerous to not just your animals and native wildlife but you and your family.

The fact is, unlike natural lakes, man-made water bodies are not set-and-forget. With weather and water conditions constantly changing, a once healthy, balanced aquatic ecosystem can quickly turn to a rotten swamp. 

This is where we can help. Our speciality is helping you improve your water in a natural, environmentally-friendly way. This means we steer clear of chemicals wherever possible and look instead to ways at improving your water and the surrounding area in the same way that mother nature does—by bringing all the elements of your aquatic ecosystem back into balance.

Scotty Tucker and our team of experts offer a range of services, including:

  • Consulting (onsite and e-consults)
  • Issue diagnostics 
  • Installation and renovation of dams, lakes and other domestic water bodies
  • Servicing and maintenance of dams, lakes and other domestic water bodies
  • Aeration options, including standard mains powered units, solar and wind operated systems
  • Algae control solutions
  • Biological water treatment advice and application
  • Lining services
  • Beautification services and products

We install, service and maintain all residential dams, private fishing lakes and domestic water bodies over 10 x 10 metres in size.

Get Scotty Tucker’s advice

For free no-obligation advice, fill in our dam diagnostics form so we can better understand your situation. We’re happy to explain why your water is misbehaving and provide personally tailored advice as to what can be done to improve things. We can also go over your long-term goals and help you create a plan to keep your lake or dam healthy well into the future.

 

Dam Aeration

What is aeration?

Aeration simply means adding oxygen to water. Oxygen is the backbone to any aquatic system, keeping fish, plants, wildlife and “good” (aerobic) bacteria alive.

Aerators add oxygen to water through circulation and gas exchange. First an aerator circulates your dam water by pumping air or water into your dam. This encourages cooler, de-oxygenated water to rise to the surface and warmer, oxygenated water to sink to the bottom. When the bottom waters reach the surface, gas exchange occurs between the water and the air. Here, “bad” gases like ammonia, hydrogen sulphides and methane can get out of the water, while “good” gases like oxygen can get in.

As well as adding oxygen directly to the water, circulating the water in your dam prevents stratification. You know when you jump into a dam and it’s warm on top and cool beneath? That’s stratification. The different layers have different levels of oxygen in them. Sometimes the bottom layer never even sees the surface and therefore is uninhabitable to most beneficial life. When you see mass fish kills in dams, it’s often because stratified layers are broken apart by a change in weather. i.e. All of your fish are living in the top (oxygenated) layer of water, but because of a change in weather (e.g. a storm or heat spell), the water mixes and the oxygen is spread thin, hence there is no longer enough oxygen for the fish to survive and they all die at once.

Why is aeration important?

If your dam has odour, sludge, algae, weed, or dying fish, it’s more than likely you don’t have enough oxygen in your water. Here are a few ways aeration helps water bodies:

(i) Reduce Algae and Aquatic Weed

Aeration helps reduce the frequency and severity of algae and aquatic weed outbreaks because algae and many weeds aren’t big fans of circulated water (a benefit of aeration). Aeration also feeds beneficial bacteria which compete with algae and aquatic weeds for nutrients.

(ii) Boost Beneficial Bacteria

Bacteria tend to get a bad reputation, but like anything else, there are both good and bad varieties. As a general rule, good bacteria tend to be aerobic (meaning they thrive in high-oxygen environments), while bad bacteria tend to be anaerobic (meaning they thrive in low-oxygen environments). This means, the more oxygen you have in your water, the more good bacteria will thrive. Good bacteria help improve your water quality by consuming excess nutrients which helps to reduce sludge and algae. 

(iii) Mix Your Water

Aeration also helps mix your water. When a body of water isn’t mixed properly it tends to form layers of different temperatures, with oxygen levels varying greatly between these layers. This can lead to stratification which is essentially where your water layers “flip” due to a change in weather. This causes cold, low-oxygen water from the bottom to spread throughout the entire water body. Not only is this bad for your bacteria and ecosystem in general, but it is extremely dangerous to your fishy friends. This is generally why those with unaerated water bodies experience mass fish kills during the warmer months.

(iv) Reduce Odour

Smelly water bodies are not only unpleasant but they can even be dangerous (and illegal) depending on how strong the odour is. When your dam or lake does smell it’s not because of the water but rather because of excess bad bacteria taking over the low-oxygen environment. By adding more oxygen to your water, bad bacteria will die off while good bacteria will thrive, hence reducing the odour.

(v) Less Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes aim to lay their eggs in still, stagnant water. By aerating your dam, the water is constantly being circulated and disturbed, which prevents it from becoming stagnant. This reduces the chances of mosquitoes using the water to breed in.

 

Which aerator is right for you?

Take our Choose An Aerator Test

Let us help you choose

Scotty Tucker provides free no-obligation advice. Simply Fill in our Dam Diagnostics Form and we’ll be in touch to provide ideas on the best aeration options for your situation.

Solar Aeration

Often the dam we want to aerate is a good distance away from the nearest power source. This is where solar aerators come into play—they bring aeration even to the most remote areas.

We stock Australia’s largest range of solar aerators. Our models suit everything from large ponds to lake-sized dams.

But before you jump straight into solar, it’s worth considering whether solar is actually right for you.

Is a solar powered aerator right for me?

(1) The first thing to consider is that solar aerators can cost significantly more than mains powered aerators. Of course, once a solar aerator is up and running there’s no monthly power bill, but be prepared for a higher upfront cost. If the higher cost does put you off, the good news is we can run power cables up to 200m. So if your dam is less than 200m from a power source, a powered aerator is still an option for you.

(2) The second thing to consider is that solar aerators only operate when the sun is around. This means they’re off at night and they tend to slow when clouds come in. The good news is that we account for all of these measures when we recommend a solar aerator for you. By choosing the right sized aerator, you can properly aerate your dam even on just a few hours of sunlight.

How big of an aerator (and how many solar panels) do I need?

The size of your solar aeration unit is determined by the water body you’re trying to aerate. This doesn’t just mean measuring the surface acreage, it also means considering the depth, shape, location, seasonal shift (e.g. annual water rise/fall), ecology, and purpose (e.g. fishing, swimming, livestock) of your dam.

Choosing the right aerator is a bit of an art. If the unit is too small, the motor can burn out from working too hard (i.e. trying to push too much water and tiring out). The same thing can happen if the motor is too big—it can burn out from generating too much pace, because aerator motors are designed to have resistance when operating. If they don’t have enough resistance (e.g. the aerator is positioned too shallow in the dam) the motor can get too fast and also tire (and retire) sooner.

I know the above is a frustrating answer, so here are some tangibles:

We offer solar aerators in: 0.33 hp, 0.5 hp, 0.75 hp, 1 hp, 2 hp, 3 hp and 5 hp.

Generally, a 1 hp aerator can aerate 0.5 surface acres of water, if the dam is shallow (less than 2m) and conditions are ideal (i.e. the dam is circular, there are no islands, the area sees a lot of sunlight etc)

And typically, a 1 hp aerator requires 1 x 270-300W solar panel to go. So a 2 hp aerator needs 2 x solar panels.

What solar aerators do you have?

We stock dozens of solar aerators but our Managing Director, Scotty Tucker’s, favourites are: the WaterTreats (sub-surface), Air-O-Lator Aquarian Professional (surface), Air-O-Lator Carnival Fountain (surface), Air-O-Lator Aquarian Commercial (surface), Matala MPC (sub-surface) and Vertex (sub-surface). Watch the video below to see each of them in action.

Can I use my own solar panels?

Yes, but only approved models. We’re dead serious about this. If you connect the wrong panels to your aerator, you can easily short and break the motor. Talk to us first and we’ll happily provide advice on which panels you should and shouldn’t use. You can then source them yourself, or we can organise them for you.

Need advice?

Fill in our Dam Diagnostics Survey and Scotty Tucker can provide you with free, no-obligation advice. We can also provide you with all of the equipment.

Solar Dam Aeration

 

Customer Story: Solar Aerator Installed at Byron Bay

Take a look at a solar aerator we installed at a community in Byron Bay, NSW.

Windmill Aeration

Another eco-friendly way to aerate your dam is with a windmill aeration system. Windmill aerators are a superb option if you don’t have access to mains power or if you enjoy the beautification properties of owning a windmill. They are carefully designed to aerate dams by pumping air instead of water and only need around 3-5 mile per hour winds to operate.

Water Quality Solutions windmills come in a kit so they are easily transported and can be assembled by anyone with basic mechanical skills. We supply complete galvanized metal kits or partial kits for you to build from locally sourced timber if you are so inclined.

Watch the video below to see a windmill aerator we installed in a farm in Gippsland, VIC. 

Algae Control

Stop! We understand that algae is unbearable but try not to jump straight to a solution without fully assessing the situation. There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to algae control. Chemical algaecides work alright but in most cases algae is the symptom of an underlying problem so starting with a chemical solution can put you on a merry-go-round of frequent, larger doses as the algae returns and builds up a resistance. At Water Quality Solutions we investigate the cause of the algae first and foremost.

The discovery phase includes understanding what individual circumstances you face that will influence our recommendation. It doesn’t make sense to offer a chemical treatment to someone when their water overflows into a river full of platypus, nor does it make sense to suggest aeration to a client with a lakeside wedding reception in three days time! Below are some of our approaches to remove algae.

 

Before algae treatment
Before algae treatment
After algae treatment
After algae treatment
Some recommended options for algae control
Dam Aeration
Biological water treatments
Floating Wetlands
Nutrient Reduction

Algae requires temperature, food and sunlight to grow. Reducing algae’s food source is ultimately the best treatment method, tackling the underlying problem found in most dams – too much nutrients (eutrophication). The main nutrient sources for algae are nitrogen and phosphorus, decomposing leaves, animal waste and stormwater inputs. Nitrogen can be removed from water naturally by combining aeration and biological water treatments. This combo boosts beneficial bacteria that then converts nitrogen into a gas that escapes into the atmosphere. Beneficial bacteria can take care of phosphorus by locking it up in their cell structure making it unavailable for algae. This process is assisted by biological water treatments  and flocculants that can be sprayed over the surface causing the phosphorus to sink, making it less available to algae.

Sunlight reduction

Limiting the amount of sunlight can help with some types of algae control, especially filamentous species and some of the smaller types such as planktonic algae. Lake dyes turn water blue or black and reduce the amount of sunlight available to plants and algae. A treatment in late winter can be useful to prevent the first onslaught of algae as the water warms.

Ultrasonic

Many types of algae have an internal buoyancy chamber that allows them to float. These chambers can be broken with ultrasonic frequencies in a similar way that a crystal glass can be shattered by the right sound wave. With the buoyancy chamber gone, the algae sinks to the bottom.  Not all algae have buoyancy chambers and different algae is effected by different frequencies so it’s important to choose equipment with a wide range and use them in conjunction with nutrient reduction methods for best results.

Chemical water treatments

Copper is the most commonly used algaecide but copper sulphate has been replaced with safer chelated copper products that are less damaging to the aquatic environment. Copper sulphate should never be used in your dam as it is toxic to every living thing inside. Other chemical treatments to combat algae include Clearwater Flocculant that can bind and sink phosphorus removing it as a food for algae; Algae Lift, a peroxygen chemistry used to bleach the Chlorophyll-a found in algae, making it susceptible to attack from naturally occurring bacteria.  Water Quality Solutions consider chemical treatments a personal preference. If choosing a chemical path you must ensure they’re applied using appropriate equipment, by trained personnel or with professional advice. We’re here to guide you through the selection and usage process so you can make the most out of these chemicals whilst causing minimal negative impact on the environment.

Fish Stocking

Silver Perch are a native fish that are effective at grazing on filamentous algae. This however, is site specific because just like we prefer dessert over spinach, if more preferable food is available in your dam they’ll probably eat that first. Fish have tastes too, ya know! That said, why not add some friendly Perch with the chance of a little helping hand with algae control!

There are thousands of species of algae and it’s been on the planet a lot longer than we have (prehistoric!) so it’s excellent at evolving to suit the environment.  Controlling algae successfully over the long term isn’t just about the algae it’s about manipulating the environment it grows in. Water Quality Solutions will make sure you reach a decision that best suits your situation when battling the all powerful algae monster.

Water Treatments

What are biological water treatments?

Biological Water Treatments increase the biological activity and effectiveness of beneficial microbes in your dam. These eco-loving organisms out-compete algae, weeds and odour-producing bacteria for available nutrients. They either digest the nutrients into elements such as water, hydrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide or take them up as part of their own cell structure. Either way, they steal the nutrients away from algae or aquatic weeds; the only kind of thieves you’ll want in your life!

Why do I need them?

These beneficial bacteria are actually naturally occurring, but in man-made waterbodies there’s too much organic waste for the indigenous bacteria to process. So the aim is to grow more beneficial bacteria and less algae/ aquatic weeds.

Biological water treatments can be either all purpose or highly specialised to target problems such as sludge reduction, odour control, ammonia reduction, clarifying water (flocculant) or even degrading rotting vegetation after an algaecide or herbicide application. Water Quality Solutions can help you better understand biological water treatments and ensure you are specified the best one(s) for your application.

To learn more about biological water treatments click here.

Consultations

We offer a range of consultation options for those wishing to get the best advice possible:

On-Site Consultations:

Sometimes it’s best for one of our specialists to pay a visit to your dam. During an on-site consultation, our focus is on providing practical recommendations communicated in easy to understand terms. We’ll discover your goals, study site specific circumstances, raise awareness and provide a range of solutions to assist with your choice of action.

Our head consultant assessing the situation at an on-site consultation

Specialist E-Consultations

Specialist E-Consultations carry all the same benefits as on-site ones, they are simply carried out remotely.

You can learn more here.

Phone Consultations:

While phone consultations do not allow us to provide as in-depth assistance as an On-Site Consultation or Specialist E-Consultation, they provide a good, budget, alternative if you need personally tailored advice. Ordering a phone consultation gets you a calendared booking with our head consultant, Scotty Tucker. Scott has over 20 years worth of experience and can design a water quality solution to fit any need.

Quick Chats:

Our friendly, expert team are always happy to have a chat about any problems you may be having with your dam. Give us a buzz on 1300 283 387 if you’d like to have a chat.

Installation and Maintenance

 

When the job is large, the area is hard to access or you just don’t have the time to DIY our Australia-wide network of trusted waterbody workers are here for you.

Installers have the tools and know-how to bring your dam design from concept to reality including all the trimmings such as aeration and fish.

Additionally, members of our maintenance team are highly trained and always happy to help. Managing and maintaining dams is our life blood; we love bringing our dingy out and getting our elbows dirty, rain, hail or shine! Spend more time swimming or fishing by getting one of our specialists to pop in regularly and keep your dam looking schmick!

We have plenty of options for our installation and dam maintenance plans so if you’re curious or need any help at all, give us a call on 1300 283 387 to ask any questions you may have.

 

 

Dam Cleaning

If you want a healthy aquatic ecosystem, it is important to keep your dam clean.

Run off, weeds and algae, fish waste, livestock and sludge are some of the main reasons why your dam could need a clean, but they are not the only causes.

While the installation of a dam aerator and regular application of biological water treatments can greatly reduce the frequency of cleaning required, you may still need to remove weeds and perform other cleaning tasks occasionally.

If you don’t have the time, or simply don’t want to go wading around in your dam, we’re here to help.

Our maintenance superstars can remove weeds, trim aquatic plants, get rid of surface scum and more and if you’re unsure what actually needs to be done, you can tie their visit in with a specialist consultation to get easy to understand, actionable advice.

Dam cleaning services can be requested as a single visit or as part of an ongoing maintenance plan and our field technicians are fully trained to ensure the best outcome for your water body.

 

If you’d like to transform your dam from dirty and smelly to happy and healthy, give us a call on 1300 283 387 or fill out a contact form.

 

Solar Dam Aeration by Water Quality Solutions

Fountains

Fountains can be grouped into two overarching categories: Floating and Aerating.

Selecting the “right” type of fountain for your water body will depend on what your goals are, so it’s important to have a clear idea as to what your aim is before you go hunting.

Floating Fountains:

Popularly found in public spaces and loved by photographers hunting a background with a bit of wow factor, floating fountains are all about aesthetics and design. This style of fountain pairs an impeller with the user’s choice of nozzle to create a striking water feature.

Top Benefits of Floating Fountains:
  • Creates a beautiful display with minimal effort.
  • Super easy to install and maintain.
  • There are enough fountain nozzle options on the market for most units that you’ll never get bored of your display.
    Important: Remember to check whether your chosen unit features interchangeable nozzles prior to purchase to avoid disappointment. While this option is standard to most manufacturers, it is not universal.
  • Many floating fountains are compatible with light sets which can be fitted to add an extra layer of beauty to your after dark display.

Please Note: As floating fountains are powered by an impeller rather than a propeller, they do not provide much in the way of aeration.

 

Aerating Fountains:

Designed with oxygen transfer in mind, aerating fountains provide a ‘upside-down cone’ display while also improving water quality. If you’re wondering what makes them different to their floating friends, consider the difference between how much water an outboard boat motor moves compared to a swimming pool pump.

Top Benefits of Aerating Fountains:
  • Have your cake and eat it too: Aerating fountains utilise a propeller driven system and nozzle which means you get aeration for your dam, lake or pond and a nice display.
  • Improve overall water quality and decrease the frequency and severity of issues.

 

Want a fully customisable display and great oxygenation?

If you simply don’t want to compromise on your ability to change your spray pattern on a whim but also need to keep your oxygen levels high, installing a sub-surface aeration system in combination with a floating fountain could be the perfect solution for you.

This partnership provides powerful aeration thanks to the army of bubbles making their way up from the base of your dam and allows you to have any decorative elements your heart desires.

Dam Liner

Installing a Dam Liner can combat quite a few on the most common dam issues.

Not only will the installation of a dam liner in a new dam prevent ground leakage, it will also greatly reduce the chance of soil particles from the base being sucked up into your water column. This means you’re far less likely to end up with a muddy brown dam.

Adding a Dam Liner is also the perfect way to fix a leaky dam, even if you’re exactly sure where the leak is!

Plus lining your dam means that the only sludge you’ll have to deal with is that which builds up once your dam is built (or lined) rather than trying to fix decades worth of dormant nutrient build up.

Water Quality Solutions are experienced with dam liner installation using a variety of materials such as EPDM, HDPE, LLDPE, PVC, polyethylene, GCL and Bitumen.

Each variety has its own advantages and specific uses and our friendly expert team are happy to help you work out which is best for your personal situation. We understand that the massive range of choices in this field can feel a bit overwhelming so we’re here to ensure things are easy for you as possible, from selection all the way through to installation and continued dam maintenance.

Floating Wetlands

Over time, man-made waterbodies accumulate more nutrients than they can process, resulting in an excessive amount of algae or aquatic weeds. Floating wetlands (or floating islands) are an effective tool for soaking up nutrients in aquatic systems making them unavailable for algae or aquatic weeds. Floating wetland panels float on the surface of the water and are planted with selective species of wetland plants. As the plants grow, their root system penetrates the water, taking nutrients in order to survive.

Floating treatment wetlands are a low-tech (in-vogue!) tool to strip nutrients from any waterbody, and in many cases are more cost effective than traditional wetlands; no earth moving construction and no additional land space required.

Floating wetlands can:
  • Clarify water
  • Absorb heavy metals
  • Remove dissolved organic matter
  • Reduce odour
  • Suppress wave action and bank erosion
  • Provide a habitat for fish, birds and other wildlife
  • Reduce evaporation
  • Dramatically improve your aesthetics!

The modular design of our floating wetland panels mean they’re easy to ship on standard sized shipping pellets and are easy to install with no cranes or other equipment other than a small boat or kayak required. Water Quality Solutions love floating wetlands and you will too!