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Using Pond Vacuums to Clean Your Water Garden – Water Garden & Feature Q & A

Cleanout Out the Water Garden by Draining and Power Washing.

Water Gardens & Features Q & A

Q: Muck and leaves have built up on the bottom of my water garden and I have been climbing in and out of my water garden trying to remove as much as I can. Is there an easier way to do this without all the hard work and having to get wet? – Rick of South Carolina

A: Cleaning and maintaining a beautiful water garden takes time. We’ve all done it. We’ve all drained the water garden to try and clean out the pond. We’ve all fallen in one time or another to try and get those leaves and muck out. So what can you do? Well, if you haven’t used a Pond Vacuum yet, I highly recommend it.

Cleaning Your Water Garden with Ease with a Pond Vacuum.

“You mean you can actually vacuum your pond”?: I’ve heard that statement many times while talking to some of you on the phone or in person, and fortunately, you can! Having a pond vacuum for your water garden is similar to having a regular vacuum for your home. Think about it. Would you have carpet in your home and NOT have a vacuum? Probably not. This is similar to having a pond vacuum for your water garden. Simply one doesn’t go without the other.

First, lets consider why we need to vacuum our ponds: As time passes by, our ponds accumulate “muck” from leaves, fish waste, uneaten fish food, lily pads, etc. This “muck” is very high in nutrients and a great food source for algae! Although we do suggest a complete cleanout each and every spring, this is sometimes not an option, especially every year. So having the ability to remove waste without removing all the water is a huge advantage. In general, you will only lose about 10-15% of your water after a complete vacuuming, which is just the right amount for a small water change to freshen up the pond.

Which vacuum is right for you?
The real decision when choosing between the Pond-O-Matic XL or the Pond-O-Vac III really only comes down to a couple of questions. How large your pond is and how often you will need to vacuum?

If you have a smaller pond (less then 300 sq. ft) then a Pond-O-Matic XL will be sufficient: The Pond-O-Matic XL features a automatic fill-and-drain system that senses when the vacuum basin is full and automatically shuts off, drains and then turns back on. You will get a good 30-45 seconds of cleaning time between each drain with the drain time approximately the same. So 45 seconds of cleaning could take you up to 90 seconds.

Larger ponds (over 300 sq. ft.) and ponds that receive an excessive amount of debris would be great candidates for the Pond-O-Vac III. The biggest advantage of this “Cadillac” of pond vacuums is its ability to drain a pump at the same time. This is a real time-saving operation because it does not have to stop and drain before continuing.

Other advantages of the Pond-O-Vac III:

  • 5-year warranty compared to the 2-year warranty of the Pond-O-Matic XL.
  • Clear vacuum extension for monitoring operation.
  • Built-in rack for to conveniently store and organize accessories.
  • Built-in wheels for greater mobility.

11 Responses

  1. Joey Thompson,

    Its okay to remove the debris off of filter pads, just be careful not to remove the entire colony of beneficial bacteria. Joey, do you have a waterfall box? or do you have a pressurized filter? One thought of mine if you have a waterfall box, is you could use more of the bio balls instead of the filter pads. Another thought, is have you ever tried the Matala Blue Filter Pads or Matala Green Filter Pads? They work great and last quite a few years.

  2. We have the pond vac III and I would highly recommend it over the XL. I used/rented an XL and found the fill and drian to big a real pain. With the Pnd Vac III you just keep working until you fill the debris bag or you finish. The clear tube is alos great to see if the muck is all pulled out of the area you are working in.

  3. I am on the third day cleaning my smaller pond. I do have a vaccum but the stop and drain one. Wish I had known about the other. Is there a faster way to remove muck. The pond is drained about 2/3 but I have fish and don’t want to remove them. Do you have suggestion on repotting lilies? One of the roots is attached to the bottom of the pond and I am afraid to pull it up. Do I cut up the roots and plant more pots? I have bioballs in my other pond. I just found out they are to be strung together. At present they are in bags floating on top. Should I string them and put them between the filter mats? It seems to take forever to clean the mats. Is there a faster method than just hosing them off? Should I make some kind of a rack to put them on when I hose. I have been putting them on grass but it seems to make even more work. I love your newsletter and website. I have learned more from you an anyone else. Thank you. I am really looking forward to hearing from you.

    • Ninaida Napredikin,
      Another way to help remove muck, or at least accelerate its decomposition is by using a product called Muck Defense. Muck Defense are natural bacteria tabs that sink to the bottom of your water garden to begin to break down muck. They are great to use throughout the season to keep muck levels at bay.

      As for the lilies. As long as the roots are still in tact when you pull them up, you shouldn’t have a problem repotting them in another spot in your pond.

      As for the Bio Balls, I would put them into the waterfall filter box on top or between the filter pads would be fine. What it comes to cleaning the mats, be careful not to clean them to much. They are suppose to get dirty and kinda grimy. A lot of what builds up on the filter pads are vital natural bacteria that help break down ammonia and nitrites. I would only clean the filter pads maybe a couple times a year. When it comes to hosing them off, that’s another issue. The water from your hose can contain chlorine or other heavy metals that can kill off the vital natural bacteria on the filter pad. If you need to remove debris from the filter pad, I would suggest using the water garden’s water to do so.

      I am glad to hear your are getting good information from these newsletters. I’ll keep writing if you keep reading! Thanks for the great questions!

      • I have a question about the “not cleaning the filter pads”. I have a terrible time with mine, they get so mucked up they slow and even almost tope the flow of water. Is there something I should be doing???

  4. If you have small rocks at the bottom of your pond, (2″ or so) can you still use a pond vac?


    • Becky,

      There are a few attachment tools that come with both the Pond O Matic XL as well as the Pond O Vac III. The crevice attachment tool works great when you have bigger rocks such as what you have to help get the debris out between them. The silt attachment tool will work good when the rocks are a little smaller, this tool will reduce the suction size to less than a half inch to reduce any vacuuming of rocks. Great question!


    • Jim Gore,

      Have you tried using the silt attachment tool to reduce the vacuum intake size. This should help when vacuuming with rocks on the bottom of your water garden. Let me know, I’d be glad to help. Thanks for your thoughts!

  6. We have a 1/4 acre rubber lined pond. The bottom is covered with small stones. How do we clean it?

    • Nancy Renninger,

      It sounds like you have more of a pond or lake than a water feature. A 1/4 Acre is a good sized pond. In this case a Pond Vacuum is probably not your best option. I would suggest using a product called PondClear Packets keep help keep your pond clean and clear. If you have muck build up on certain parts of your pond, you could use MuckAway Pellets to help with this as well.

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