A pond in the garden is a beautiful extension of your own green oasis and can be integrated for relaxation, the settlement of a wide variety of pond inhabitants and to improve the ambience. A disadvantage of creating a body of water yourself is the cleaning required to keep the water clean. In this article you will find out in detail when and how to carry out the pond cleaning.


The most important aspect of pond cleaning is timing. This determines the effectiveness of the cleaning and a wrong time can have a negative impact on the residents and plants that share the small biotope. The best season is spring, but not every period is suitable for pond cleaning. It is recommended to clean the garden pond at the beginning of the season, right after the end of winter. In this way, an excess of nutrients can be counteracted and dead plant material only decomposes slowly despite the ever stronger shining sun. This protects against the following problems:

Alternatively, you can do the cleaning at the end of the summer, but this is suboptimal compared to cleaning during the early part of the year. This time is recommended if your garden pond is only slightly dirty and does not heat up too much over the summer.

Tip: If you do not want to repeat the cleaning every year, you should remove leaves, plant remains, uneaten food and the excretions of the pond inhabitants from the garden pond as much as possible in autumn. In this way, they do not rot and the typical layer of dirt that can severely affect plants and pond inhabitants in the new year does not accumulate.

materials and tools

Now that you know the right season for pond cleaning, you need to get the right supplies to clean the pond. You cannot clean the garden pond without these, as the sludge is difficult to remove by hand. The following list gives you an overview of the necessary materials and tools for cleaning the pond:

  • mud sucker
  • pre-separator
  • mop
  • steam jet
  • Skimmer
  • PVC glue (waterproof)
  • pond liner

If you have a particularly large pond or need to siphon off most of the water, consider relocating the fish. Buckets are best for this, as they make relocation much easier and give even large specimens enough space during the cleaning period. Of course, the resettlement is also aimed at the pond plants, as they must not dry out, which can happen quickly on sunny days in spring. More is not needed for the cleaning itself, since the main purpose here is to remove the accumulated sludge and let fresh water flow into the garden pond. You will not accidentally suck in the following pond inhabitants through the pre-separator:

  • small fish
  • Molche
  • frogs

In addition, this does not accidentally damage plants or suck up stones that could damage the vacuum cleaner. The pre-separator is a sieve that is mounted on the end of the hose and has an effective filter effect when cleaning. You can use this to clean the pond in a relaxed manner and do not have to worry about the pond inhabitants.

Tip: If you don’t want to buy a mud vacuum cleaner yourself, you can rent the device for a day and save yourself the purchase in this way. The prices for mud vacuum cleaners are between 25 and 35 euros per day for private individuals, companies or hardware stores that rent the devices.

Cleaning the pond: instructions

As soon as you have stocked up on the cleaning utensils, you can start cleaning the pond. As mentioned above, you should remove fish and plants from the pond beforehand so that they do not get in your way during cleaning. However, this only applies to larger fish, as small pond inhabitants such as guppies or mildew are often difficult to remove from the pond. Store them in tubs or buckets filled with water while cleaning, but do not place them in direct sunlight. The water in these can evaporate quickly. Once this point has been completed, you can start cleaning the garden pond according to these instructions:

1. First fish the surface of the water with the skimmer for coarser dirt, algae and plant remains. A variety of these materials can accumulate on the pond surface over the winter, especially if the winter has been mild. Likewise, melted lake can deposit dirt on the surface. With the skimmer you clean the surface accordingly so that you collect as much dirt as possible. You can safely dispose of this in the compost as long as it is not made of materials such as plastic, glass or other non-compostable materials.

2. Turn on the mud vacuum and insert the hose into the pond. Be sure to mount the pre-separator on the hose. Start by siphoning most of the water out of the pond, otherwise it will be difficult to get to the debris and make it difficult to bring in fresh water. Be careful not to siphon off all the water, just about 75 percent. If the pond has not been cleaned for a long time and the water has completely tipped over, you must empty the pond completely.

3. If the water has been vacuumed up, use the steam jet. Turn the steam jet on to a low level and use it to treat the bank area first, as this is where most of the mud in the garden pond often accumulates. For this reason, it is particularly tiring to clean this part of the pond. Then continue with the rest of the pond including the rocks and gravel. The steam jet is not used for the dirt in the rest of the pond water. If there are still small fish or residents in the garden pond, do not treat them with the steam jet.

4. Then thoroughly clean the pond with the scrubber from the bottom to the shore area. You have to use a little force to do this, especially in the rest of the pond water, as you could not use the steam jet in this. If you need to clean a deeper pond, you can use a telescopic scrubber pole to reach all parts of the pond. While you are cleaning the pond with the scrubber, the mud should visibly come loose.

5. Once you have scrubbed all the areas with the scrubber, the pond water should now be clearly covered with mud and the exposed areas should appear a little cleaner. Depending on the degree of contamination, the sludge is only present in small or large quantities. Now use the sludge sucker for the loosened sludge. Vacuum this off completely. Do not be surprised that a lot of pond water can be lost at the same time.

6. Then check the pond liner for possible tears. If you discover cracks, mend them with the glue and some pond liner. Since you have to wait 24 to 48 hours after cleaning the pond before refilling the pond, this step is recommended.

7. After cleaning, you should also check your aquatic plants for dead plant parts. Remove these before putting the green back in the pond. Dispose of the dead plant parts and the sludge on the compost.

8. 24 to 48 hours after cleaning, slowly refill the pond. First the plants are used and then the fish. Filling the water too quickly is not recommended, otherwise the temperature of the water body cannot adjust. It also allows you to identify suspended matter that you can fish off with a skimmer. After that you have completed the pond cleaning and you can enjoy your garden pond again.

Note: you will significantly improve the water quality in your garden pond if you decide to keep oxygen plants. These filter the water, reduce algae build-up and absorb CO2 and convert it into oxygen. Suitable plants include water buttercup (bot. Ranunculus aquatilis), horn leaf (bot. Ceratophyllum demersum), pondweed (bot. Potamogeton), waterweed (bot. Elodea), fir frond (bot. Hippuris vulgaris) or the water feather (bot. Hottonia palustris).

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