on July 17, 2011
I've used the pondovac 3 for about 4 years now. Before that, if we needed to do a complete pond drain and clean, we drained each of our three 1000 gallon ponds with a sump pump then got down in them and shovelled smelly muck into 5 gallon buckets which we then carried to our garden. That's a back breaking gruelling chore. So we got the pondovac. At first it was very frustrating to use and at times I really hated it. It would work for a while then hang up requiring a restart. Gravel and twigs would clog the intake. The drain hose bag would fill up and get very heavy. The vacuum adjustment on the hose handle leaked and reduced the vacuum power. OVer time we figured out a few things to make it easier. We don't put gravel or small rocks in our pond if we can avoid it. We no longer use the drain hose and bag but let the pondovac drain out in the grass then just rake it up. This makes a huge difference in avoiding restarts (maybe the pondovac 4 doesn't have this problem?). I sealed up the vacuum adjustment on the hose handle with duct tape as it was sucking air. I also switch to clean foam filters about half way through doing the ponds. when they get covered with algae performance drops off. I"ve also gotten good at pulling the intake tube off the handle to check for rocks and sticks clogging them. now I appreciate the labor saving the pondovac provides. When we get down to the last few gallons of water in the pond I start running clean water into the ponds to dilute the muck, so it's pretty clean when we're done and we no longer haul buckets of stuff up out of the ponds. Spare parts are ridiculously high....foam filters for $20 each??? I buy the overly large black foam shop vac filters at home depot for a few bucks. they are the right length just too large in diameter, so I fold them over and use 2 rubber bands to hold it in place. I also found that putting some o-ring grease (home depot plumbing dept) on the O rings makes it much easier to take the top off the pondovac for cleaing and removing debris. I don't know what it would take to make a better unit. I had tried to put together my own invention using a pool pump but ran into some design roadblocks. A better vac might have to be much larger. I like the pondovac 3 size and weight. It's easy to grab the handle and move it to a new location, and it doesn't take up too much space in my shed. It's easy to set up for a quick pond touch up. Easy to clean up the unit when you're done. Hope this helps other users.
on October 11, 2014
This product is expensive enough that people seem to expect a miracle. You won't find it here, but it will cut down considerably on the effort to keep a pond in good working order. The documentation that comes with the device is horrible, obviously never having been subjected to any testing on real people whatsoever. The most important omission is that they left out any mention of how the cleaner works, resulting in a whole bunch of nasty reviews by people who just didn't get what was going on. So here's what's going on:
The cleaner has two holding tanks inside. When you start it, what I'll call Holding Tank One is in use. Water and fine debris is lifted from the bottom of the pond into the holding tank, with the vacuum pump drawing air out of the top of the tank in the manner customary with wet/dry vacuums.
When a float switch in the tank reaches a certain level, it triggers an unique sequence: The vacuum action stops dead in its tracks for a few seconds (leading to all the negative reviews). Two valve switches occur. The first one switches the vacuum pump over to Tank Two, currently empty. The second one opens a port allowing the water to flow out of Tank One. The pump goes back into action, now emptying water and debris into Tank Two while Tank One drains out the exhaust hose. When Tank Two is full, the cycle repeats.
Without this cycling, using this device would be like using any wet/dry vacuum: In less than a minute, the tank would be full and it would be time to shut down and manually empty it. The two-tank scheme lets them approach continuous up time without the user having to tip the vacuum over ever to empty it. This would work perfectly if they bothered to tell people what was going on. Instead, people are assuming something is going wrong once a minute or so when the vacuum action seems to stop for several seconds before resuming.
The instructions also talk about the general-purpose head to be attached to the wand. I've used a lot of different kinds of vacuums in my life, but never have I seen a more specialized head on any cleaner. it is not even close to "general purpose," but it is remarkably useful: Attach it so the slot is facing up and push it forward into the goo. The goo mixes with a bit of water, lifts up slightly, and gets drawn right into the vacuum before it can escape and cloud your water.
Know when to quit: It's a pond, not a bathtub. There will be new dust settling into it tomorrow. If you strive for perfection, you'll end up frustrated. You need to draw in all the silt that's almost the same weight as water; that's what stirs up and clouds your pool. The general purpose tool will do that. If there are some heavy particles left behind, leave them for next time.
Finally, as others have pointed out, this is not the right tool for general debris, like entire leaves and twigs. Use a fine-mesh pool net before starting. This vacuum will do a fine job with fine silt, and that's what clouds our ponds.
This is a really good product, but the company needs to get its act together. All they have to do is get one person who has a pond and is of normal intelligence, sit him or her down with an unopened box, and watch him or her crash and burn. You'd think with some of the reviews they've gotten, they'd do something about the product, and maybe they will before they drive themselves out of business.
on June 12, 2011
I do not generally write reviews but I am compelled to here. I just used the Pondovac 4 for the first time and it does a very credible job at a very difficult task.
My pond is 4000 gallons and 3.5' at its deepest. The Pondovac design is ingenious and the suction is strong even at my maximum depth.
Yes, it will clog at times or the float valves may get hung up requiring a brief (just seconds) shut down, but, lets face it folks, look what you are asking this thing to do. Wet leaves and twigs are not so easy to vacuum up.
Its a pond and ponds will never be squeeky-clean. Mine, though, has never been cleaner than it is now and I'm thrilled with this product.
My only regret is that I didn't buy this sooner and before spending a lot of time and money trying to "invent" my own pond vacuum by various means.
One thing.........at 1800 watts, this has a big motor that really demands a good/clean circuit and a heavy 12awg extension cord if one is needed. Keep the cord as short as possible to minimize any voltage drop which will hurt performance and may damage the motor.
Its a little pricy compared to the others buy in my opinion worth every cent.
on January 19, 2013
I have a quite large koi pond (16ft diameter, 4.5ft deep) with an artificial river and waterfall. Living in south florida with lots of sunshine, no pond netting (I don't care for the look), and a koi pond nestled in between a ton of oak trees has made this pond quite a headache.
Previously to clean the pond it took 2-3 people, 2 or 3 days, using a semi-dangerous, "semi-trash" pump. This method was the best I could come up with giving the large amount of acorns, leaves, and silt on the bottom of the pond. Needless to say this cleanup effort occurred twice a year at best.
Having just purchased this product (from amazon) and used it I have been incredibly impressed. It does not suck up acorns or leaves well, but with the included attachments and watching what you are doing you can avoid them quite easily. The duel chamber vacuum design "clogged" only once during the 2 hours of use. This required only a quick dis-assembly and was remedied in less than 3-4 minutes.
I've switched to a ton of expensive chemicals to maintain chemistry and algae control. The last thing i wanted was to suck a ton of water out during cleaning (as was previously necessary). This unit did an exceptional job of not stirring up the water badly and removed and extraordinary large amount of silt for the amount of water removed...
Con's: #1 The included netting for recycling water is WAY to small... In fact, it's pretty much worthless. If recycling water is a necessity you truly need some sort of dedicated system.
#2 The duel chamber/float system works quite well... But not perfectly. about every 7-8 minutes BOTH floats would get stuck in the up position preventing use. To remedy this it only required securing power for about 25secs (you could hear both floats drop and immediately restart)... however, This could be quite annoying if you were doing the work alone. I was fortunate to have someone giving me "moral support" and was able to standby the unit.
Overall I give it 4.5stars (i had to give 5 on amazon)... It's not quick, but with steady use will maintain better than any other system I have seen.
on November 22, 2011
My husband and I read the various reviews for this item, some of which were great and some not so great. Since our pond was in dire need of a good cleaning and we had no other option, we decided to take a chance. We used it for the first time today and we were delighted in the ease of use and performance. We did a pre-cleaning of the pond with our swimming pool net to remove as much big stuff (leaves, rocks, etc.). I recommend doing that to minimize plugging issues. We also used the vacuum attachment that can be adjusted for a variable sized opening and we used it at the largest opening. We cleaned the whole pond (1500 gallons, two feet deep) in about 30 minutes and it plugged up twice in that time. However, it was really simple and easy to remove the plug (leaves that we didn't get out with the net). There is a short pause in suction (a second or two) when the vacuum switches to the empty mode and again when it switches to the fill mode, but the delay is very minimal so it really is continuous except for those short pauses. Some people complained about the vaccum adjustment on the hose handle (I'm not sure why they put that there). It does suck a little air and reduces the vacuum a bit, but I just put my hand over it as I was cleaning the pond and it solved the problem. We found the performance to be as advertised and we are very glad we purchased this product.
on September 5, 2011
Bottom Line - It might work for a swimming pool, but definitely not for a fish pond.
I bought this because it seemed to be powerful. Just the opposite. Our pond is about 3 feet deep and the ground level is about 4-6" above the water level. I tried to expel the vacuum water into our bog filter over a 4" brick retaining wall, but the vacuum motor isn't powerful enough to overcome this little head. So you have to expel back into the pond through the mesh filter. Which is unnecessary pain. The vacuum itself clogs up on the smallest pond gunk, twigs, nuts, etc. There is a flap on the inlet that trips open on small debris and when that happens the vacuum quits sucking. Just disassemble the vacuum and start over. But this only occurs every minute or so - no big problem :) Even with relatively clear water, the suction is feeble. The suction is intermittent - the water does not suck in continuously, but rather in plugs. I tried everything to get this vacuum to work, but it's much easier to just clean the pond by hand. I'd be happy for someone to show me what I am doing wrong. I tried getting help from the manufacturer but got nothing. The vacuum will probably go on Craig's List.
on June 17, 2015
We have had a 10,000 gallon backyard pond for 10 years now. We have been very "lucky" that it has not needed to be drained and cleaned during that time, until now. Our small ecosystem became disrupted with a combination of wildlife and weather, that pushed the bog filtering system past it's limit. No amount of chemical additives, scrubbing or cleaning could keep the algae at bay. The chemical only made it worse by killing the algae, in turn, ending up a thick muck that blanketed the bottom of the rock covered liner.
It looked as though we were going to have to drain, until a neighbor suggested we vacuum. Never using one but reading several reviews we purchased the POV4. It only went up hill from here. First, it came early, packaging in-tact and no damage to contents. Second, instructions easy to understand and very easy to assemble - maybe 10 minutes. If you have a shop vac pretty much the same. Third, unit is light, wheels are large which allows it to move around the lawn with ease.
Plugged unit into extension cord, connected hoses, wands and an attachment that allowed the removal of the sludge, leaves and other junk, but did not suck up the rocks. Off I went, thoroughly amazed (yes, like a kid at a magic show) at the vacuums ability to clean and empty itself. After 20 minutes of constant vacuuming I decided to open canister. I was shocked, both chambers looked as clean as they did when I started. The filters covering the two "pump mechanisms" had a small amount of algae on them but it was easily removed with fresh water.
Completed 50% of the pond in about 1 hour with one stoppage due to a stick jammed in the attachment opening. Suggestions. First, keep the water fill source ON. This vacuum pulls quite a bit of water out. You're pretty much making a water change in your pond, so watch the pH balance or chorine removal chemistry, if you have fish. Second, if you can, let the unit drain directly out of drain port. The hose provided works, but needs to be on slight incline, as it become full of debris and slows I think another reviewer made this suggestion as well. Third, be patient, let the tool do the work, moving the attachment quickly stirs up more than the vacuum can pull. I found that a frosty beverage in one hand, vacuum in the other, prevents "over-vac" (highly technical term).
Finally, I know, right? Keep an eye on the clear part of the vacuum handle. This is a great indicator of how the vacuum is performing. You will see a surge of water and debris, then a pause as tank empties, and then the cycle repeats surge, pause etc. I don't write reviews, but it has been a long time since something has performed, right out of the box, as advertised.
on April 9, 2013
I recently purchased this product to clean out a koi pond that came with a house we recently purchased. This pond had been neglegted and not used for 5+ years, so needless to say I had quite a job ahead of me. I got a head start on the pond last fall and removed a lot of large debris, and now aboout 4-6 inches of old leafy muck was left to contend with. The pond size is about 2800 gal. 10 feet long, six feet wide, and 3-4 feet deep. The pondovac 4 cleaned it out in about 4 hrs and did a great job.
Strong vacuum force
Easy to assemble and clean
Made of plastic, some parts are kind of fimsy.
Gets clogged often, but does clean out easily
Would I buy it again? Yes! The price is worth it since I was going to hire a pond company to do this. They would have charged me about the same amount as the price ot the pondovac. Luckily the local pond guy gave me a hard time and was fired. Now I have a clean pond and a pond vacuum/heavy duty wet vac.that I can clean the pond with many times over!
The clogs I spoke of happen less frequently once I got a system down. My clog items were pecans and walnuts. This machine handled most leafy material well, even large sycamore leafs.
on April 27, 2013
For years, I have manually mucked my pond. It's been a 1-2 day process for two people, requiring me to get into my 12'x12'x4' pond. It smelled, and ended up causing me to do at least a 50% water change, if not more. Every few years, I'd end up draining the whole thing, causing me to have to move the fish to the stream, drain, then swap them to drain the stream. I actually redid my stream so it was deep enough to handle the bigger fish. Obviously, all of this was traumatic on ALL of us!
I chose this vac, although slightly more expensive than others, because the design is right. The twin chambers is an absolute necessity. The extra tools are a nice thing, although I didn't switch back and forth between them much. The aluminum tubes will stand the test of time. The motor is powerful, and I certainly didn't want to end up with too little power -this is muck at the bottom of a pond after all!!! I read a lot of reviews, but this one felt right.
This sucker was so simple!! Yes, it got stuck on a rock once or twice, and I had to disconnect a hose. Yes, it overheated and shut off for 5 minutes (I'm in Phoenix, in the sun). Yes, the exhaust hose could be longer. But otherwise, WOW. I didn't even get my feet wet! It took maybe two hours before I was done, and the amount of water vs waste was awesome! I've replaced more water just due to evaporation!
With the clear tube, I could see what I was pulling out.
There is a hole at the top of the handle, which I quickly got used to working. This is the same kind of hole you're used to on your house vac that controls auction. It's extremely useful in the pond. I kept my thumb over it, and had precision control over the suction, especially useful for when you hit larger pockets of muck, or when you want less or more water coming thru.
I am already sharing this device with other pond friends, and they also love it! None of us have used the bag feature, although, I could see using it once we start being able to keep UP on things. Mucking has always been such a chore, we've never gotten ahead of it before. With this, we just might.
There will always be naysayers, however, let's be serious. This sucker paid for itself on day one. If I had to buy a new one every year, I probably would, although I expect it to work for many years. It's worth the price.
on April 17, 2016
Great time saver in cleaning up pond sludge and leaves. I have been trying my best to maintain a KOI pond for the last 8 years and what a pain several times a year in really trying to clean the bottom of the pond with out draining it when Using a shop vac it took 4 to 5 hours with several stops to drain and unplug . The pond OVac4 really works , I love the auto discharge, only plugged stopped working once with a rock in the main intake connection, picture attached. Overall the only thing I would add for me would be a 5 foot hose as my pond has a deck near the deep end so I can do 75% of my cleaning right from the deck. Being in this location I do not need the extra long hose, but doing the other 25% of the pond this hose allows me to reach 100% of the pond and water fall without moving the PondOVac4.
I also attached the two discharge areas as I did not use the filter bag I just discharged into two flower bed areas, once it dry's out I will pick up the large pieces leaves, sticks and rocks. Cut my chore time down to 40 minutes !!!PondOVac 4