Pond Vacuums And Rock Lined Ponds

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Pond vacuums are a terrific tool for keeping a pond cleaner and in doing that, you’ll make great strides in limiting algae growth and avoid a variety of water quality problems.

All good stuff of course.

But many people wonder whether a pond vac will work in a pond with rock or stones at the bottom?

It’s a great question and one that I’ll try to address here.

If you have a lined pond that simply has a rubber, concrete, or plastic lined pond bottom, these are fairly easy to clean with a pond vacuum. For those wanting a more natural looking pond however, it’s not uncommon to put stone or rock in the bottom to improve the appearance. Rocks can help provide a home to good bacteria which is certainly desirable in a small pond. At the same time though, a lot of debris and gunk can build up in the rocks and this can be challenging to clean out.

A pond vac, in most cases will work well as long as the rock is large enough. I usually suggest using something in the 1″ to 2″ diameter range if you’re planning on a rock bottom. This size is normally too large and heavy to be sucked up into a traditional pond vac. Flat stone can also be laid on the pond bottom and provides a very large surface for easy cleaning with minimal cracks or gaps in between each slab. In a setting like this, the Pond Monsta would be ideal because of it’s great suction and power. It won’t have to be “held back” because of a concern about vacuuming up a stone.

The most challenging situation involves rocks or stone that’s smaller than 1″ in diameter. As these get smaller they are more easily sucked up by a pond vacuum. The Pond-O-Vac 4 has a head attachement that has an adjustable opening that allows it to be closed down to 1/8″ to 1/4″ so it can remove muck and sediment without picking up the stones. The Matala vac has three head attachments of varying widths that you can use depending on the size of the bottom material. There is a catch however in that if you have large wet leaves settling in the pond, the restricted opening won’t be large enough to pick those up in most cases. So you end up with a bit of hitch in this case. If you can keep the hose off the bottom and pick up leaves and algae with that, it may provide a bit of a workaround but there’s always a chance you might still suck up a rock if you get too close to the bottom.

If you have smaller rock in the pond, and your debris load is fairly light, I normally recommend the Muck Vac because it uses moderate suction to pull debris out of the pond. It doesn’t have the power of an electric vacuum and would leave most of the small rocks in place.

As you can see planning your pond out in the design stage is important. It’s very useful to look ahead and potential maintenance issues and look for ways to make this necessary work as easy as possible. By choosing the best bottom material for your needs and preferences, you won’t be restricted in terms of what type of pond vacuum will work, and you can match that selection based what you actually need to remove, which is the most important consideration of all.

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2 thoughts on “Pond Vacuums And Rock Lined Ponds”

  1. I have a smallish pond with a natural bottom. I get a lot of muck buildup especially where a small stream from the woods empties into the pond. (Yes I have a catch basin before the pond, but I still get sediment in the pond, especially over the winter).
    Would any of the pond vacs handle a lot of muck (say 10 ft by 10 ft by 3 feet deep) or would I just burn out the motor?

  2. Hi Russ,
    Of what we have the most powerful vac would be the Pond Monsta, It’s by far the most capable of the lot and could probably handle what you’ve described.

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