Why Is My Dam Horrible And My Neighbour’s Is Perfect? – Six Reasons Why Your Neighbour’s Dam Looks Better Than Yours (And How To Fix Them)

Why Is My Dam Horrible And My Neighbour’s Is Perfect? – Six Reasons Why Your Neighbour’s Dam Looks Better Than Yours (And How To Fix Them)

It can be incredibly disheartening to look over at your neighbour’s property and see a perfect dam while yours is suffering from issues such as aquatic weed, algae, or stinky dam water.

Luckily, this is not a fate you have to resign yourself to.

There are many reasons why your neighbour’s dam could be healthier than yours but the good news is, they’re almost always easy enough to fix.

Read on to discover why their dam is lovely while yours is gross, and how to fix it:


Problem: Your neighbour aerates their dam and you don’t.

Installing a dam aerator is one of the best ways to improve water quality so if your neighbour’s dam shines and yours doesn’t, look for the telltale fountain or bubbles rising to the surface.

Oxygen starvation is one of the main causes of dirty, smelly dam water and aerated dams are always going to be in better condition than un-aerated ones since aeration helps keep ecosystems balanced which results in a nicer dam and happier, healthier fish and plants.

Solution: Install a dam aerator system.

In nine out of ten cases, step one for fixing your dirty dam will always be adding more oxygen to your water. You can do this by installing a dam aeration system.

Aeration supports the ecological elements that your dam needs to be healthy and boosts beneficial bacteria populations so adding an aerator with greatly improve your water quality.

If you’re unsure whether you need a surface, or sub-surface aeration system, give us a call on 1300 283 387 and one of our friendly expert team members will be happy to help.

If you’re fairly certain you know which type of dam aerator is better for you, check out these blogs so you’re prepared once you get your aerator in:

The Pros And Cons Of Dam Aeration

Maintaining A Surface Based Dam Aerator

Maintaining A Sub-Surface Dam Aerator


Problem: You’ve got mail.

You may thinking that visiting ducks and wildlife are wonderful but your dam almost certainly doesn’t. When ducks or other visitors go in or near your dam, their faeces follows and since ducks can relieve themselves up to a hundred times a day, that’s a lot of caca for your dam to deal with. Plus, while larger wildlife may not necessary enter your dam, their offerings are still going to end up on the banks which means they’ll eventually wash in. (Not to mention the damage that they can do to the stability of your banks).

Animal excrement greatly increases the organic waste and nutrient load within your dam and that can wreak havoc on your water, especially if you’re not aerating and treating it.

Solution: Install an aerator and/or scare away wildlife.

Your dam probably provides vital sustenance and possibly even a home for your wild friends and if you love animals as much as we do, you’re not going to like the idea of shooing them away. If you want them to stay, however, you’re going to need to invest in an aeration system.

Your dam is full of bacteria and the nasty ones that cause foul stenches and poor water quality absolutely love all that poop and the lack of oxygen that results from the issues caused by the excess nutrients.

Beneficial bacteria, however, will help your aquatic ecosystem eliminate all that waste before it feeds algae and weeds. The caveat – beneficial bacteria are aerobic which means they need oxygen to survive and thrive. So, if you wanna keep your visiting wildlife and your fishy friends happy and healthy, it’s vital that you install a quality dam aeration system to maintain oxygen and beneficial bacteria levels and avoid fish kills.

Adding a biological treatment will also help out with this as it’ll boost your beneficial bacteria populations, but aeration is vital for the health of your dam and your new friends in this situation.


Problem: Your dam catches run off.

If your dam is downhill from crops, paddocks where animals are kept, ground with loose soil or any other set up that can experience run off during rain events, your water quality is going to suffer.

This is especially true if any pesticides or other chemical treatments have been used in said areas but even natural fertilisers and basic dirt particles can spell disaster for your dam in high enough quantities.

So if your dam has brown, dirty water and your neighbour’s is crystal clear, it may just be that location is everything.

Solution: Plant out your banks.

Luckily, you’re not stuck with that muddy, smelly water and no, you don’t have to move your dam to fix the problem. You just need to plant out your banks.

Although aeration and biological treatments can help you pick up the pieces once all those excess nutrients and nasties are in your dam, ideally, we want to stop them from ending up in your water in the first place.

Raising your banks so that run off is diverted is the most effective strategy here but that isn’t always possible due to environmental, budgetary or usage requirements. In instances where you cannot divert run off away from your dam, the best thing you can do for your water is to plant all around your banks and edges. Adding plants around your dam can provide mechanical filtration by physically stopping some run off from making it into your water but the main benefit here is going to be from the biological filtration that your new plants will offer.

As run off and contaminants pass through your planted area, the newest additions to your dam will help filter out any nasty chemicals that may be washing in and will draw the nutrients they need to survive, therefore helping to minimise the excess that ends up in your water.


Problem: Your neighbour removes their algae and aquatic weed manually or treats them with aeration and biologicals whereas you treat yours chemically.

Anything that dies in your water settles into, and adds to the sediment in your dam. This layer then acts as fertiliser for the next generation of algae and aquatic weed so if you’re just killing them without treating the underlying cause, or at least removing the resulting dead matter, you’re creating a self-perpetuating cycle that will require more chemical use each time.

Solution: Follow their lead.

Manual removal and aeration are the two most effective ways to treat algae and aquatic weeds so in this instance, all you need to do is follow your neighbours lead. Dosing with biological treatments will also help clean up any outbreaks at a faster rate and can assist in preventing future outbreaks as thriving aerobic bacteria are really good at out-competing algae and other nasties for the nutrients in your dam.


Problem: Your sludge layer is thicker than your neighbours.

What’s going on at the bottom of your dam can have serious implications for the rest of your aquatic ecosystem. Over time your dam will generate a sludge layer (collection of dead and rotting organic matter, also known as sediment) at its base and if left unchecked, this build up will eventually turn your dam into a swamp.

Solution: Implement a biological treatment plan.

If your sludge levels are particularly bad, you may need to resort to draining and dredging your dam but ideally, this is to be avoided at all costs as it is not only expensive, but extremely damaging for your dam and the environment.

If you have not reached a point where such drastic actions are required, implementing a biological treatment plan can help improve your water quality and reduce your sludge. Biostim Pellets are a particularly effective sludge treatment as they sink to the bottom of your dam and start digesting all organic matter down there. They won’t be affected by any irrigation activities that you may be carrying out and can be used as a spot treatment if you have patches of particularly bad build up.

If you’re unsure how to get started with a treatment plan, our team of aquatic specialists will be happy to devise one for you.


Problem: The trees around your dam are dropping leaves and bark into your water.

There’s nothing like kicking back in the shade of a nice big Gum Tree and spending the afternoon fishing in your dam but if said Gum Tree has branches that hang over your water you might be in for some trouble.

Any organic matter that finds it way into your dam can upset the balance of your ecosystem and generate excess nutrient load and leaves, bark and anything else that might come out of the tree are no exception.

Especially if your trees drop tannins in your water.

Solution: Prune branches that hang over your dam or dye your water.

Completely removing the trees surrounding your dam would be counterproductive, expensive, and just straight up sad (plus it could damage the structural integrity of your dam) but pruning any branches that have gotten a bit too big for their boots can be beneficial to both your dam and the tree.

By removing these branches, you reduce the amount of nutrients falling into your water and allow the tree to focus its energy on growing other parts of itself bigger and stronger.

If there’s absolutely no way to stop barks and leaves ending up in your water and leaching tannins everywhere, you can also consider dyeing your water to cover up the tea colour they leave behind.


Your dam, like any aquatic ecosystem, requires that a delicate balance be maintained for it to be in the best health possible.

As a general rule, installing an aerator and implementing a biological treatment plan will vastly improve your water quality but if you’re not sure what’s wrong, it’s always best to speak to a professional first.

Our friendly team of specialists are always happy to have a chat and offer advice on how to get your dam in the best shape possible.

We can probably even help you make your dam even nicer than your neighbour’s*.

So don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions, we’re happy to help. Fill out an enquiry form or give us a call on 1300 283 387 to get started.

*Depends on whether we’re also working with your neighbours.
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