Environmental Remediation of Wetlands and Dams
Water is the liquid of life.
It is essential to keep it pure and clean and for many people they are looking for
environmentally friendly sustainable ways to improve their water quality. This may be
for newly created wetlands, retention ponds or farm dams. There are numerous different
things you can do to help improve water quality but one of the easiest and most
effective is to add freshwater mussels into your system.
Freshwater mussels are native Australian animals and there are approximately 50
different species of mussels in Australia. Many of these species have small
environmental tolerances and specific requirements for survival so are not suitable for
the average wetland, pond or dam.
One species however is extremely suitable for just this purpose. The Freshwater
Mussel Velesunio ambiguous is a native of Queensland, NSW and Victoria and a
very tough, hardy species that thrives in still static water. Most rivers in Eastern
Australia have species of mussels in them but these are river mussels and unsuitable
for the still, static water found in wetlands and dams. River mussels require flowing
water to breed and survive and will not multiply in static water. The Flood Plain
Mussel Velesunio ambiguous is a mussel that thrives in static water and will
readily breed and multiply to massive numbers if the conditions are right.
Freshwater mussels are a small clam like animal with 2 shells hinged together. They
have a relatively smooth shell that helps them burrow into the mud of the dam etc. They
have a large long foot/tongue that they extend out of the shell and use this tongue to
move themselves around. As your dams and ponds flood and then dry up the mussels will
move up and down the banks using their tongue for traveling. Mussels are a very tough,
hardy animal that survives extremely well in your wetlands and dams. They will survive
very high temperatures over 30°C and very low temperatures around 4°C.
Freshwater mussels are biological filters; they spend their time sucking water in,
filtering the algae and bacteria from the water and discharging pure clean water. This
filtering lifecycle is the key to their success. They constantly filter and clean your
water 24 hours per day. They create a small current around themselves as they suck
water in and then eject the cleaned water out, both feeding and breathing at the same
They also breed this way by the males releasing sperm into the water column and
the females sucking the sperm in with the water to fertilize her eggs. A few hundred
initial dam stock mussels can, over a 3 year period, produce thousands of new recruits
to the population to help filter and clean your water. These mussels are a long lived
species and survive for over 20 years, all that time helping you and the
The mussels are never a problem in your pond, they are smooth and round so you can
walk on them without injury and they do not bite or sting so are a great addition to
swimming dams and ponds. You can eat these mussels; they are traditional aboriginal
tribal food but are relatively tough to eat - more like a clam, not like a salt water
Freshwater mussels work equally well in glass aquaria and outside fish ponds. Many
people with a gold fish pond in the garden have water that tends to go a green pea soup
colour from the algae. Instead of adding chemicals or filter they just drop a few dozen
mussels into the pond and let them naturally clean the water, giving them clean clear
Freshwater Mussels are a great addition to any pond, lake or dam so if you want
cleaner healthier water then consider adding Mussels.
Freshwater Mussels are available all year round from Aquablue. They are spring
summer breeders and this is our highest demand period. We are also progressing towards
using these mussels for freshwater pearl production and they are great for this extra