Showing posts with label pond gadgets. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pond gadgets. Show all posts

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pond Vacuum Cleaners Redux

I get questions about pond vacs all the time. People want to use a pond vac or a wet vac to clean the bottom of the pond and not have to do a total clean out.  And will that work?  In a word, no.

A pond vac sucks up water.  It sucks up the junk at the bottom of the pond, but it sucks more water than junk.

The other big problem with pond vacs is that they do not have enough suction to reach from the top of the pond where they must sit to the bottom of the pond where the junk is.  Wet vacs are better at this, but still not the best.

 If you want to clean the bottom of the pond and not pump all the water out of the pond first, try this: Go to the swimming pool supply store.  Find a gadget that looks like the picture in the link above.  Do not buy the mesh bag that the salesman wants to sell you. It doesn't work because the mesh is not fine enough.  Also, if you don't already have a telescoping pole for your fish net, buy one of those as well.
When you get the saucer/vacuum cleaner home, attach your garden hose to the fitting on the saucer and a leg from an old pair of panty hose over the hole in the middle of the blue saucer.  You now have a water pressure powered pond vac that will (sorta) clean the pond bottom. At least it will do a better job than the ones you pay lots of big green dollars for.

Put the saucer on the bottom of the pond.  Turn on the water.  If you turn the water on first, you will start the job wet.

Using the pole, which also has a handy place to attach, start vacuuming the bottom of the pond.  The panty hose will fill up fast with all that pond scum on the bottom.  You will quickly have a panty hose leg full of decayed plant material, fish waste and other unspeakable stuff that drops to the bottom of the pond.

When the panty hose leg gets heavy, turn off the water and empty the panty hose leg.  Repeat until the bottom of the pond is as clean as you want it.

By the way, I put a water shut off valve at the saucer end of the hose so I can turn off the water without having to walk back to the hose bib every time.

This is a dirty, messy job.  Wear old clothes and be prepared to shower immediately after.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pond Gadgets

Now that you have a pond, you need a pond shelf in your garage, or a pond place in your outdoor shed to store your pond gadgets. We accumulate pond gadgets that we find we cannot be without. For those of you just starting, this is a beginning list of pond gadgets to have around the house because you will need them and you will need them when stores are closed.

HIP BOOTS for getting in the pond to fertilize water lilies or to trim plants. If the pond is deeper than hip boots are tall, you either need a BOAT because you have a lake or a BUCKET AND A ROPE because you have a well.

Of course, you can go in the pond barefoot unless you think there may be critters in there you would rather not encounter without foot and leg protection.

AQUA GLOVES You can fertilize lilies or cut back plants with clippers in your bare hands or you can use aqua gloves, a glove with long plastic sleeves, if you are afraid of pond critters and there certainly is no reason to be unless you live where poisonous water snakes also live.

HAND POND PRUNERS These are made with ultra long handles so you can clip plants while standing next to your pond, but if you have your HIP BOOTS on and are already in the pond, you can use regular clippers. Your bare hands will work pretty good here too.

POWER NOZZLE What on earth is a power nozzle? It will become your most valuable pond accessory and here's how to make one: Get a hose cut off valve and a separate nozzle with a small hole at the end. It fits on the cut off valve. Get both at your local hardware or big box store. Screw the pieces together and to your hose. You now can spray a stronger stream of water than you can with any one piece nozzle. Buy several of these because everyone will like it, borrow it and you will never see it again. Use the nozzle to get dirt and algae off the waterfall, the rocks and to clean the filter. Do not wring out filter material as it breaks down, gets smaller and smaller and soon you will have to buy new.

TWO SCREWDRIVERS One Phillips head and one flat head because the makers of screw driver bits have visited a plague upon us and make two different kinds of common bits, so we never know which one we need until we see what needs to be done and we always have the wrong one in our pocket. Buy and carry them both for pond chores like removing hose clamps and using your POWER NOZZLE to blow dirt out of your tubing and pump.

NET You need a net to scoop debris from the bottom of the pond. I normally do this from outside the pond so I don't need the hip boots. If you need to catch a fish, the net comes in handy as well.

DECHLORINATOR Please, please keep a bottle of dechlor on hand. If you never need it, that's wonderful, but here's why you need to have it on hand. You turn the water on to top off your pond. It's going to take a bit of time, so, you decide to fold the laundry while you are waiting. The phone rings. You chat with your friend for a few minutes. Then you remember you have to get some bill payments in the mail, so you hop in the car to drop them off at the post office. While you are out, you decide to pick up a few things at the grocery store and pick up the dry cleaning. In the cleaners, you talk with the clerk about the weather for a few minutes, get back in your car and see the car needs gas, so you stop to fill up the tank. You get home and for the life of you, you can't figure out why the driveway is flooded.

Suddenly it dawns on you. You rush to turn off the water and see your fish lying at the bottom of the pond not moving. If you have dechlor in the house, you can probably save those fish. Whew, aren't you glad you have some?

EXTRA PUMP, TUBING, HOSE CLAMPS Because they always break when no store is open and you need to do repairs immediately before tonight's dinner party.

AQUATIC PLANT FERTILIZER If you don't have fertilizer made for water lilies, you can use Job's Tomato Spikes, if you can't find those, you can use Job's Tree Spikes, if you use the tree spikes, then you will need a HAMMER because you must break those babies into 4 parts and only use one per gallon pot and you can't break them with your bare hands

MICROBE-LIFT PL I have found this to be the best thing to eliminate blanketweed or string algae and to keep your ecosystem balanced and water clear.

BEER I don't know who tried it first, but it often works to clear up blanketweed or string algae. Just pour it in the water. Or if it's really hot outside, drink it.

With these materials nearby, you will be able to do the necessary pond maintenance, do quick and easy repairs without running to the store first.