Fishponds add a wonderful aesthetic to a garden and can be a beautiful water feature but let’s be honest, it takes a fair amount of maintenance to keep them looking their best.
While automated filters and drainage are great, it is normal for ponds to still collect and accumulate debris. Not only can the debris block your filtration equipment, but the bacteria build-up can also harm your fish. Sure, there are methods for removing sludge and nets for skimming debris but how labour intensive is the pond cleaning process, never mind its limitations?
A pond vacuum, yes they really exist, is a faster and highly convenient solution to your debris woes and well worth the spend to keep your pond healthy and the envy of the neighbourhood.
How do Pond Vacuums Work?
There are two main types of pond vacuums. The cheaper hand-pumped vacuums are great for removing silt and debris from small ponds. Motorised vacuums, on the other hand, use electrical power to pump the dirty water and are more effective at removing silt and debris. Some models dump water and sludge out via a discharge tube while others pass the water through a filtration system and trap the debris. The latter offers a greater advantage for the enthusiastic gardener as pond debris can often make a super fertiliser.
Bigger ponds often accumulate more debris and for this reason, it’s sensible to purchase a more powerful vacuum. As a rule, the higher the wattage, the more powerful the vacuum is likely to be. Do keep in mind though that extra power comes at the expense of weight.
The capacity of the vacuum determines how often you need to discharge it. A bigger capacity would make cleaning a large pond much faster. While some models allow you to return water into the pond, it’s important to note that this can often return fine silt too. A pond vacuum can also be heavy, especially when filled with debris and water, so if you choose one with a large capacity, make sure it has wheels, so you don’t put your back out moving it around.
Most pond vacuums have a single chamber design, which means you’ll need to stop cleaning when the vacuum is discharging its load. However, the higher-end models may have two-chamber systems which allow for continuous cleaning.
Three factors affect the cleaning radius of a pond vacuum such as cord length, hose length and maximum suction depth. The maximum suction depth is not the same as the hose length, so make sure the vacuum you choose is capable of cleaning the bottom of your pond. Also, consider the length of the discharge hose – how far away do you want the vacuum to dump the cleaned material from your pond?
Just like the vacuum cleaner for your home, many motorised pond vacuums come with handy attachments. Smaller suction heads are great for silt but may struggle with leaves. Larger heads can suck up debris faster but might not be able to get into the smaller cracks. Some models also come with gravel heads, algae nozzles and more. Consider the needs of your pond when choosing a vacuum model with the right variety of attachments to suit.
Pond vacuums vary in price depending on the type, capacity and power. As with everything, you get what you pay for, so it’s worth taking everything you want to achieve into consideration and getting good advice when shopping for your pond vacuum.