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Freshwater mussels

Environmental Remediation of Wetlands and Dams

Freshwater musselWater 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 time.

Freshwater mussel 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 environment.

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 mussel.

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 water.

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 benefit.

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