cleaning water garden

Tucson, AZ

i attempted to do a search for info on cleaning water gardens. it turned out to be a site-wide search with way too many links. i thought it would be quicker to start a new post. perhaps, there are others wondering the same thing.

my water features either have sand or kitty litter on the bottom. debris and gunk has piled up on the bottom and i am wondering how to clean them. does anyone have any recommendations on how to go about this w/o removing too much of the aquatic life?

Danville, IN

There are all types of pond vacuums on the market, but I've not had any experience with them. Most of the pond owners I know, myself included, periodically empty the pond completely and power-wash the sides and rocks. Then, it's a chore, but all the goop has to be scooped up and removed by hand. This has to be done only every few years, thankfully.

I'm sure there are easier ways, and look forward to hearing from others with better methods!

Tucson, AZ

yeah, that would be a chore hoosier. it seems like you would kill off lots of acquatic life though. thanks for the advice.

Danville, IN

The "trick" is to have a few buckets of pond water in reserve. I hold my fish, tadpoles, etc. in a few buckets, and my plants covered with a wet sheet. Regardless of how well you clean, there is going to be plenty of slime algae and pockets of the good stuff full of beneficial bacteria that you miss. After refilling the pond and letting the new water get to air temperatures, dump the reserved pond water back in and add your plants and fish, etc. You don't even have to power wash at all. The main thing is to get the gunk that has accumulated on the bottom out of the pond.

I've heard that some aquatic garden centers actually rent pretty powerful vacuums to homeowners. You might check that possibility.

Good luck.

Tucson, AZ

thanks again hoosier.

Deer Park, IL(Zone 5b)

I own a vac. I love it and use it weekly. BTW: I have my pond power washed, inspected and cleaned in the fall including re-install of my bio-filter and all my filters in general (I live in a cold climate and we have to remove it or they will crack). I also will be changing out my UV lighting. I get a company to come in and do this maintence and it costs approx. $200-$250.00 of well spent money. They have all this powerful equipment, a portable holding tank for my fish. I will probably have them treat the koi for flukes and other stuff if necessary. It would take me days to do this by myself and I probably would resent my fish and pond for a while afterwards . . . (LOL) even though I am dying to see the fish and plants and waterfalls going again (long winters in Chicago). It just makes good sense for me to out source this first major clean up of the year and I maintain it all summer.

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

what kind of vac do you have?

Deer Park, IL(Zone 5b)

It's packed away in storage at the moment and the brand is Oase (spelling?). It has continous sucking power an auto emptying (although you wait for it to finish to continue to suck . . .). I abuse it a lot and it keeps on going . . . There was a 50% off sale at Fosters and I know they put them on sale at least once a year. There was more than one brand that I heard good things about and in the end chose this one on price and my previous experience with the brand.

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

wow thanks, I will keep that in mind for future reference. I'm just now putting mine together this spring, so I don't think I will need the vac for a while.

Deer Park, IL(Zone 5b)

put in the bottom drain-put in two (more is better and keeps the pond cleaner)

Tucson, AZ

thanks for the tips.

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

If anyone would be so kind, could you please explain what this 'bottom drain' thingy is?
How does it work? is it difficult to install or expensive?
I put in a small pond a couple years ago, but didn't do a bottom drain. It's only about 450 gallons anyway. But my new pond will be larger.

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