What causes muddy & smelly water

Q. The dams on my farm are very muddy & smelly. Would like to have the water crystal clear and put fish in.


Yuck. Muddy and smelly water is very unappealing. So what causes water to become like this?

Making Foul Smelling Mud

Foul smelling mud is a natural by-product of the breakdown of organic debris e.g. leaves, dead algae and decaying aquatic plants, in your dam. But if it’s natural why does it smell so bad? The foul odour comes from anaerobic bacteria feasting on all the yummy rotting organic matter. If your dam has been unused for a long period of time, or you get a lot of stuff floating or falling into your dam, that material eventually builds up, breaks down and begins to decompose, forming mud and gases.

You know what I’m talking about when you stand in the water and feel all that slimy mud squishing between your toes only to be hit with a rotten egg smell. If you don’t like it imagine your poor fish living in it! So how do we deal with it?

Dealing with Foul Smelling Mud

You can’t prevent all organic matter from entering your dam, but there are things you can do to reduce the amount of mud accumulated and eliminate those foul odours.

Here are three easy steps to reducing the mud in your dam:

  1. Add Beneficial Bacteria: Beneficial bacteria is different to anaerobic bacteria and they do not cause foul odours when breaking down organic matter. Add Waterbac to your dam to breakdown mud faster and without the odour and get clear water faster! Beneficial bacteria is not harmful to fish in any way.
  2. Add Aeration: Anaerobic bacteria exist in environments with little to no oxygen present. By adding an aerator to your dam, you prevent those bacteria from existing in the first place! Aeration also promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria to reduce the accumulation of mud even further. Aeration is also super important for happy and healthy fish.
  3. Don’t forget Dam Maintenance: Regularly rake out dead and decaying organic material and keep the dam bottom mud free with the Muck Razer. Keep plants trimmed and aquatic weeds managed with our Weed Razer. Do what you can to prevent leaves and debris from falling into the water.

By using beneficial bacteria, adding aeration and preventing decomposing debris, you’ll be well on your way to a mud-free dam that’s ideal for fish and swimming!

by Aquatic Technologies
If you have any questions regarding looking after your dam or pond and what products are the most suitable for your situation, please read through the helpful articles on our site or feel free to contact our friendly team who can help you maintain proper health in your water body year round.
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