There are plenty of ways to clean out a pond. Some ways are better and easier than others, such as doing it by hand, or using a pond vacuum.
The easiest way to clean out a pond is to use a pond vacuum. However, if a pond vacuum is out of your budget, you can use a net to clean the surface of the pond and can scrub the bottom of the pond by hand. You can also drain your pond to clean it, though that can disrupt the natural ecosystem.
What are the benefits to owning a pond vacuum? Is it worth the purchase?
What Does a Pond Vacuum Do?
Do you need a pond vacuum? Short answer, yes. If you don’t want a surplus of debris in your pond, a pond vacuum is the best and easiest way to keep your pond clean.
Pond vacuums can suck up all of the muck and gunk at the bottom of your pond so that you do not have to do it manually. Without a pond vacuum, you will have to use a net and your hands in order to thoroughly clean your pond. You will have to reach down into the dirty water and scoop and scrape any unwanted slime and goo from off the bottom of your pond.
Now, if you are like me and do NOT want to do all of that, then I suggest that you invest in a pond vacuum. Maintaining your pond does not have to be a chore that takes up your entire life. It can be quick and easy!
Ponds collect plenty of stuff that makes the bottom of the pond a gross place to dwell. Fish poop settles to the bottom, along with debris from your yard, such as anything from large sticks to the garbage that somehow made it into your pond. Algae is another unwanted pest that will quickly take over your beautiful pond and turn it ugly if left alone.
Pond vacuums have long, adjustable hoses that can usually reach any place in your pond. The pond vacuum works just like a normal vacuum; it creates a suction through the hose and will suck up anything from small algae to large sludge at the bottom of your pond.
Most pond vacuums work the same way. Once the debris is sucked into the chamber, it flows through another hose in the back that empties the debris out. It is best to place the discharge hose in plants near the pond, so that the extra water can water the plants, and so any animals that might have been accidentally sucked up can easily make it back into the water.
Some pond vacuums come with a mesh covering that you can put over the discharge hose, so that all of the grime and debris is caught in the mesh and only water leaves the hose. Then, all you have to do is empty the mesh into a trash can and you are good to go!
Larger ponds might need additional work to stay clean and free of debris, but if you have a small pond, a pond vacuum is all you need!
Depending on the size of your pond and how often it fills with unwanted algae or debris, you will need to deep clean your pond at the minimum once a year. Preferably, you should lightly clean your pond once every few months. Luckily, it is easy to keep up with cleaning your pond if you use a pond vacuum. You just need to plug it in (or not if you decide you want a manual vacuum) and get to work!
Do Pond Vacuums Harm Fish?
Many pond vacuum reviews testify that fish are not harmed by using pond vacuums.
“I use a pond vac and in 4 years have never sucked up a fish and I have ponds from 175 gallons to 8500 gallons. They know and do get out of the way.”Source
If you do happen to accidentally suck up a smaller fish or tadpole (though unlikely), it will be expelled through the discharge hose. This is why I suggest emptying your hose near your pond, so that any sucked up animals will be able to easily return to the pond again. The suction chamber will not harm any fish that may get caught in your hose.
“I’ve been using a shop vac for 3 years now, and also have never sucked up a fish (ranging from 2 1/2″ to 7″). Did my spring clean up today and the water was so murky I couldn’t see 3 inches into it once I started stirring it up, but the fish stayed away. My hose is only ~2″, so maybe not as much suction as some. Tiny fish may take a wild ride, but can be netted and put back into the pond.”Source
If you still have concerns about the safety of your fish and other animals that may be in your pond, you can always safely remove them from the pond before you begin the cleaning process. Using a net is typically the safest way to remove fish from water. When in doubt, it is better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to animals that you love and care for.
While it may be scary to use this equipment to clean your pond, it is also terrible for the fish and other animal life to dwell in a dirty environment. A clean pond equals happy fish. When a pond is full of debris, algae, and pond sludge, your fish can easily be harmed or even killed. It is much safer to regularly clean your pond, whether by hand or by a vacuum, than to leave your animals to live in the muck.
Things to Consider When Buying a Pond Vacuum
When purchasing a pond vacuum, there are a few factors you will need to consider. First, you will need to weigh the pros and cons of a manual pond vacuum and an electric pond vacuum. Manual pond vacuums are easier on the wallet and the budget, but are only good for small ponds and light cleaning jobs.
If you need something more heavy duty, you should consider buying an electric pond vacuum instead. If you want to purchase an electric pond vacuum, then you need to take into account where you plan on plugging it in and where the nearest outlet is. You may need to purchase an extension cord as well.
You will also need to think about the size of your pond and hose lengths. The larger the pond, the longer hoses you will need in order to reach all of the surface areas in your pond, top to bottom.
You will need to think about what you will do with the discharge hose and where you will put it. If you want the pond vacuum to empty right back out next to the pond, then your discharge hose will not need to be very long. But if you want to empty the pond vac into someplace further away, then you will need a longer hose.
You can often purchase attachments and hoses separately, but when you are searching for the perfect pond vacuum, it is best to make sure it includes everything you need.
Suction is another variable when buying pond vacuums. Some vacuums have more sucking power than others. The bigger the pond the more power you will need in order to get your pond completely clean.
There are single chamber vacuums and twin chamber vacuums. Single chamber vacuums need to turn off once the chamber is full to allow the dirty water to empty through the discharge hose. Twin vacuums do not have to turn off, because they are able to suck in and discharge dirty water at the same time.
Twin chamber vacuums are usually more expensive, so it might be worth the extra time spent cleaning in order to save some money.
What are Some Good Pond Vacuums?
FYI – we may get commissions on qualifying purchases through some of the links below (at no additional cost to you). Now here are some pond vacuums to consider if you’re in the market for one:
- The OASE 032232 Pondovac 4 Pond Vacuum Cleaner weighs 30 pounds. It can suck up to 7 feet deep. Its suction hose is 16 feet long and its discharge hose is 8 feet long. This vacuum does great with leaves in your pond.
- The Matala Power-Cyclone Pond Vacuum with Dual Pump System has a twin chamber and does not need to be turned off to use the discharge hose, however, some users say that it does not do well with leaves.
- The Aura 6250 Paradise Power Spa Vacuum is a manual vacuum designed for spas and pools, but is also great for small ponds. It is a good option if you are just looking for something to suck up leaves and small debris from the surface of your pond.
- The The Pond Guy ClearVac is another twin chamber vacuum you might try. It has a 13 foot power cord. It also comes with 4 hose attachments to use on different pond surfaces.