The best advice I have is that a vacuuming system has to be tailored to you and your pond. It may take you several tries, practice and some tweaking before you get a system you like. A system that is perfect for one ponder will be a nightmare for another. But it is worth the effort.

I have a web page that makes some vacuum comparisons.

Small Ponds

For small ponds, ones you can easily touch the bottom the best vacuum I've found is a simple cheap minnow net from the pet store. You know, those green ones. Just scoop it around on the bottom until you're not getting any more stuff. If the pond hasn't been cleaned in awhile this with probably stir up water making it dirty. It should settle soon unless it wasn't clear to start with or has a lot of fine clay on the bottom. Come back in a day and repeat. At some point, maybe a few days, you won't get very much in the net. Now you only have to repeat every week or so. With so much less debris in there so bugs and bacteria will turn their attention on what remains and produced which helps. But there is no pond where bugs and bacteria can take take of everything.

Large Ponds

For larger ponds I suggest a two step approach. Leaf vac for removing leaves and large waste once a week before it breaks down into fine matter. Once or twice a year vacuum for silt with a vacuum that removes water from the pond onto a lawn or other place to water garden plants. Silt is really too fine to be filtered effectively. Ponds should have regular water changes anyways, so why not when vacuuming? And your garden plants will really like the deep watering in summer.

Small Lakes

For really large ponds, small lakes, forget about removing silt unless it's so bad you're losing too much depth. Removing branches, leaves and string algae can be needed in some cases. But always keep in mind that Koi and Goldfish are just fine in what we would call dirty water. Given a choice they would no doubt feel safer in a green pond invisible to birds and also find more natural food. Look at the ponds in Japan where the finest Koi are grown. Mud bottom and water as algae filled as you will ever see. The only problem we can get into is having way too many fish for the pond size. Then yes, clean water and huge water movement is required. But we're taking hatchery type conditions or a ton of huge Koi.

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