If you have a fish pond, fountain, or large aquarium at home, you know how hard it can be to keep the fixture clean. With so much water, it’s hard to get a thorough clean without spending three hours doing it.
Instead of removing all the fish, fixtures, and water or climbing into your fish pond to clean it, why not invest in the best pond vacuum? Pond vacuums do all of the hard work for you with minimal effort on your part.
Sound like a good idea? Great! Consider the vacuums below and read-on for our buying guide, FAQs, and general information on these handy water-based vacuums.
The 5 Best Pond Vacuums
1. OASE PondoVac Classic Pond Vacuum
The OASE PondoVac is ideal for removing stubborn sludge, grime, and built-up algae from ponds and large aquariums. It uses automatic activation and emptying. This automatic system sense when the tank is full pauses the motor, empties the tank, and allows the motor to startup – all without any input from the user.
The debris collection bag attaches to the discharge hose to allow you to recycle the water while removing debris, which can be used as a fertilizer for plants. Giving it its power is a 1200 watt motor, with the 6-foot suction height and depth make it easy for the vacuum to clean deep bodies of water.
Included with the compact vacuum is a range of nozzles including a gravel cleaning nozzle and a nozzle for removing string algae.
2. Matala Pond Vacuum II
Known as the “Muck Buster”, this 1.5 HP pond vacuum is highly trusted for the removal of tough algae and debris. It can blast away pebbles of up to ⅜-inches in diameter with ease. This makes it an ideal koi pond vac.
It features an autofill and drain system, allowing you to deposit excess water and beneficial debris into your garden or nearby plant beds. Each time the vacuum shuts off and drains, it takes roughly one minute to complete the entire cycle.
The vacuum can handle a body of water as large as 3,000 gallons, with its water holding capacity being 4.5 gallons. It features 5 extension hoses of 15 inches each, boasting the ability to reach a depth of 6 feet.
To make cleanup even easier, it comes with three interchangeable vacuum heads that can be used for various cleaning functions. The hose used is 16 feet in length, giving you plenty of room to clean every inch of your pond.
3. OASE PondVac 4
The PondVac 4 is a hardy, highly-reliable pond vacuum cleaner that effortlessly combines ease of use and efficiency. It uses a two-chamber system that simultaneously vacuuming and emptying the tank once it is full.
In addition to the automatic emptying, PondVac 4 is suitable for use as a wet vac for in the house. It has a suction depth of 8 feet and is operated by a 1,800-watt motor. Its suction hose is 16 feet long, with an 8-foot long discharge hose that allows you to direct dirty water away from your pond.
When it comes to debris, the vacuum can handle a range of particles including algae, leaves, and small pebbles that other vacuums may not be able to withstand.
The vacuum is on wheels and comes with a number of vacuum nozzles for your cleaning convenience. These nozzles include one for string algae, a brush, and a flat surface nozzle with roller brushes that achieve an efficient clean.
Related: Top Aquarium UV Sterilizers
4. Matala Power Cyclone Pond Vacuum
With a 1 HP pump, the Power Cyclone vac is a powerful addition to any pond cleaning routine. It pumps at a rate of 1,500 GPH and can even operate at an uphill position. The water from the discharge hose can be deposited to an elevation up to 18 feet high.
The canister can hold 13 gallons of water at any given time, with debris being caught inside of the internal mesh netting that separates debris from the water. Moreover, the vacuum’s exhaust hose can be lengthened by adding another hose.
On the bottom of the vacuum is a set of easy-roll wheels that make it easy to maneuver the vacuum on grass, smooth surfaces, or uneven ground. The tote-style handle makes moving the vacuum easier, as well, as do the 4 included attachment heads.
Related: check our guide about best pond liners
5. KUPPET Wet/Dry Pond Vac
The KUPPET pond vac boasts an incredible amount of power – 5.5 HP! It uses a 1,400-watt motor and synchronized switch technology that switches between suction and draining automatically. It has a large, easy to find on/off switch that is clearly marked.
KUPPET’S multi-layer HEPA filtration system can withstand dust, leaves, algae, water, and other inconvenient substances found within the house or in the pond. The external portion of the device is waterproof for your safety, with the PP plastic material resisting warping and moisture-related damage.
It comes with a number of attachable brushes, an additional filter, and a handy cloth carrying bag for the extra nozzles and accessories.
Related: Best Pond Filters
Pond Vacuum Buying Guide
Weight and mobility
Pond vacuums aren’t all the same size. Some are bigger, while others are small and much lighter. If you’re a small person or someone who has a disability or trouble moving about, you should pay close attention to the weight of the koi pond vac that you’re looking at getting.
This being said, it’s always a good idea to look for a model that has wheels, as well. Wheels make maneuvering the pond vac around the yard or pond area easier, which in turn makes the whole process go more smoothly. It also means that your vacuum will be used more, too!
The suction depth and nozzle size
Suction depth is the maximum depth at which the vacuum’s cleaning head cab reach. Some pond vacuums have modest depths (5 feet or so), while others can reach depths of up to 8 feet.
Be sure to know the depth of the area you intend to use your new pond vac on. This measurement will be incredibly helpful when you’re browsing the shelves for a pond vacuum with a generous suction depth.
Nozzle size is important when it comes down to what you can suck up. It goes without saying that the bigger the nozzle head, the larger the debris, right?
Well, large nozzle heads are great for picking up large debris but they can also mean less power is put out. This can happen when the suction power is spread across too large of an area.
Additional cleaning heads
Most pond vacs come with one or two (if not more) additional cleaning heads. These heads are interchangeable.
Each has a dedicated use and can be used in combination with your unit to provide your pond with a thorough clean.
Before taking the plunge on a pond vac, though, make sure it has the heads you need. Do you need a brush head? Pay attention! Not all models have one.
Customer reviews are a beautiful thing. They can help you decide on a purchase or prevent you from buying a dud of a product.
If you’re shopping online for a pond vac, it’s easy to do a quick search for customer reviews of whichever model you’re leaning toward. Be sure to check on various websites; this helps to ensure that the reviews you find are authentic and honest.
Also, pay attention to both good and bad reviews. Both are useful and worth remembering.
Shopping in-store? No worries! If you have a smartphone, Google is at your fingertips – and so are tons of customer reviews and ratings!
However, if you prefer to save your mobile data, you could also take note of the models you like and look them up at home.
The budget will likely play a big part in which vacuum you purchase. Pond vacuums go at a wide range of prices, with the most luxurious being out of the question for most people.
Before you go looking for a new pond vac, consider your budget. Remember: just because you have enough to buy the biggest, most opulent model, doesn’t mean you should.
As a rule of thumb, you should go for the most affordable model that meets your most important needs. If you’re on a strict budget, this can help you stay within it.
If you’re worried about going over budget, you could always go on the hunt for deals. Sometimes pond vacuums will be on sale. Other times, they can be found cheaper online.
The term “tank size” refers to the tank that holds the water that is sucked up. You can think of the tank size like you would the gas tank of a vehicle: some vehicles have larger tanks.
This is true with pond vacuums, too. Most models can hold a decent amount but some really go above and beyond.
Tank size is a factor to consider because every time the tank is full, it needs to be drained. So, if you have a very large pond and a small tank, you’ll spend a lot of time draining your unit.
Alternatively, if your unit drains automatically, you’ll be spending a bunch of time waiting for the unit to drain.
Pond Vacuuming Tips & Tricks
If your vacuum seems to be putting out a little amount of suction, check its position. It should be at or near the water level with the suction hose lying flat. Ideally, the hose should have no kinks.
You can then prime the unit by removing the hose from the water and elevating it. This forces the leftover water into the chamber, which will then provoke the unit to draw in more water.
When using your vacuum, you’re bound to end up with a big pile of sludge. The sludge is the algae and organic materials that were sucked. d up from the bottom of your pond. This sludge is a great fertilizer for gardens or flower beds.
You’ll want to vacuum the water using slow movements. Using slow movements ensures that the vacuum picks up as much as it can within one pass. Going too fast means that you may have to go over certain areas more than once.
Before starting to vacuum, you should always ensure that the drainage hose is positioned. Once the vacuuming has started, it’s much harder to direct water flow.
When positioning your hose, be mindful of whether your hose needs to be flat or if it has the ability to be positioned on an incline. Failing to position it correct if could cause clogging and/or water backup.
Is there a problem with your pond vacuum? No problem! The good news is that the majority of pond vacuums have great warranties. Be sure to reach out to the manufacturer with your concerns. You could end up with a brand new vacuum or with free repairs.
Are pond vacuums any good?
Like any other product, there are good pond vacuums and not so good pond vacuums. Most of the time, though, your pond vacuum will be able to do its intended job without any problems.
Can I use a wet/dry vac for a pond vacuum?
If you already have a wet/dry vacuum at home, there’s no need to spend the extra money on buying a pond vacuum – unless, of course, you want to!
Pond vacuums are made for cleaning ponds, but wet/dry vacs can work quite well, too. All you have to do is remove the bag before sucking up water. This can be done by following the instructions your wet/dry vac manufacturer has outlined.
When should you use a pond vacuum?
You should use a pond vacuum for your large, seasonal cleans. They are especially helpful for springtime pond maintenance, as they make the job of clearing away the winter’s debris ten times easier.
You might also want to use your pond vacuum if your pond has been neglected for a long period of time or if you have had to deal with a fungus or sickness within your pond ecosystem. Using the pond vacuum in this situation can give you peace of mind knowing that as much of the infected debris as possible has been cleared away.
Are pond vacs safe to use?
Pond vacs are safe to use. They shouldn’t be operated by children, though, and are not a toy. For capable adults, they are perfectly safe to use so long as basic common sense is used.
In addition, they should be kept on dry land and not submerged in water. They should also be plugged into a stable outlet and preferably not a power bar or portable power strip. If you do use a power bar, make sure it has surge protection and that it is kept far away from the edge of your pond.
How do you vacuum sludge out of a pond?
You can vacuum sludge out of your pond by using your vacuum’s dedicated cleaning heads and brushes.
Your vacuum likely has a sludged net inside. This net is designed to catch and contain sludge so that it doesn’t end up draining out of the drainage hose. You can empty your sludge net wherever you see fit.
How often should you vacuum your pond?
Ponds should be maintained throughout the warm months of the year. Every week, you should add a bit of new water into your pond to keep it from going stale.
But when it comes to vacuuming, it isn’t necessary every time you do a tidy up. In general, you should be sure to vacuum your pond at the beginning of each spring. After the snow has melted, vacuuming will be a good way to remove debris that fell during the colder months.
If you want to use your vacuum on a more regular basis, you could do a quick sweep of your pond every month or so.
How big of a motor should a pond vacuum have?
If you have a small pond, a vacuum with a 1200 watt motor should do the trick, The bigger your pond is, though, the bigger your motor should be.
For example, if you have a large pond or a very deep pond, you’ll probably be happiest with a 1400 to 1600 watt motor. Alternatively, you could also opt for a vacuum that has two motors.
You’ll notice that in dual motor models, the motors may both be on the lower range of power. Together, they will provide an adequate amount of power for larger ponds, so don’t worry!
Do I need to remove my fish before vacuuming my pond?
You don’t have to remove your fish if you don’t want to. Most vacuums have specialized guards that protect the intake hose from accidentally sucking up fish.
However, if you’re worried that your fish are skittish and that they could end up trapped underneath rocks trying to escape from the vacuum, you could always remove them before you start to vacuum.
If you do decide to take your fish out, put them in something like a plastic kid’s pool with some of the pond water in it. Make sure you give them a few inches of water so they have plenty of space to move and oxygen to use. If you leave them for a longer period, do not forget about automatic pond feeder!
Can my pond vacuum get wet?
Pond vacuums are electrical devices. This being said, it’s best to avoid getting them wet. The bottom exterior portion of the vacuum should have some level of water resistance, as it often comes in contact with the edge of the pond.
However, a pond vacuum that is fully submerged if left out in the rain will surely get ruined. Additionally, the pond vac should be stored somewhere where it’s safe from rain and excessive moisture.
Can pond vacuums overheat?
Yes, they can. If they get clogged and the user continues trying to use them without solving the problem, they can overheat.
They can also overheat from prolonged use. Moreover, some models are more prone to overheating than others, which can be another important thing to consider – especially if you have a large pond.
If your vacuum likes to overheat, you can remedy the problem by ensuring that all of its parts are clean and free of trapped debris. You can also take short breaks during your cleaning to allow your vacuum’s motor to cool down.
Now that we’ve gone over some critical information about pond vacuums, went into the factors to consider before purchase, and learned a few handy tricks from the experts, you can vacuum your pond with confidence.
You won’t be disappointed by any of the models we’ve suggested, and we highly encourage you to check them out. What are you waiting for? The best pond vacuum is within reach.