Pond Academy

The Best Pond Cleaner & Cleaning Tools (Natural & Safe for Fish)

Pond Academy is reader-supported. Buying through links on our site may earn us an affiliate commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Pond cleaner products and tools are a must-have if you want your pond to be as clean and clear as possible.

They’re designed to help you achieve a clean pond with minimal effort and time invested on your part.

So, let’s look at the best tools and products designed to help you have the cleanest pond possible.

Psst! Pin This Page For Future Reference

Best Pond Cleaner Products & Tools

Here are the best pond cleaning solutions, broken out into 3 sections – natural pond cleaners, pond cleaning tools, and pond cleaning chemicals - that will help you get your pond in tip-top condition in no-time.

Natural Pond Cleaner

All of these natural pond cleaners are mostly hands-off solutions that are safe for fish and other aquatic life. We recommend using a mixture of these natural pond cleaners to get the best results.

API Pond-Zyme Sludge Destroyer

API Pond-Zyme Sludge Destroyer does exactly as the name suggests, it effectively eliminates pond sludge and fish-waste.

It does this using natural active ingredients like barley straw and beneficial bacteria. These ingredients help break down organic debris, like fallen leaves, that contribute to sludge on your pond’s floor.

Using this pond cleaner regularly will help reduce the amount of time you spend on other pond cleaning and maintenance duties.

API Pond-Zyme Sludge Destroyer

API Pond-Zyme Sludge Destroyer

Price:
Buy Now on Chewy
Buy Now on Amazon

Clicking this link to make a purchase may earn us a commission at no additional cost to you.

If sludge and muck is an issue in your pond then check out our Pond Sludge Remover guide with the best products and steps you need to take to get rid of sludge once and for all.

Crystal Blue Natural Pond Cleaner

Crystal Blue Natural Pond Cleaner is another popular beneficial bacteria product designed to break down organic debris and reduce the amount of sludge and muck that would build-up on the floor of your pond.

This is important because that sludge and muck provide a nutrient source for algae and weeds to grow.

So, not only does this pond cleaner help break down organic debris, it can help control algae and vegetation from growing.

And breaking down organic debris can help improve water clarity and quality, a well as, reducing the amount of maintenance needed to keep your pond filter clean.

Crystal Blue Natural Pond Cleaner - 1 Gallon

Crystal Blue Natural Pond Cleaner - 1 Gallon

Price:
Buy Now on Amazon

Clicking this link to make a purchase may earn us a commission at no additional cost to you.

Typically, in healthy, well-established pond water, the bacteria levels shouldn’t be low, and if they are, adding beneficial bacteria like Crystal Blue won’t solve the initial problem. So be sure to check out our Beneficial Pond Bacteria guide to figure out why levels might be low and how to maximize beneficial bacteria growth in your pond.

Pond Cleaner Fish

Pond fish can add character and beautiful, vibrant color to your pond.

And more than that, some fish can help keep your pond clean by eating excess algae.

These algae eating fish are a great way to naturally keep algae levels in check and keep your pond clean and clear.

Siamese Algae Eaters, Koi, and Grass Carp are just a few examples of fish that enjoy eating algae.

10 pack of 3-4 inch live select butterfly koi

10 pack of 3-4 inch live select butterfly koi

Price:
Buy Now on Amazon

Clicking this link to make a purchase may earn us a commission at no additional cost to you.

Check out our guide to the Best Pond Algae Eaters to find the fish that’s right for your pond.

Pond Snails

Pond snails are another natural pond cleaner that is often overlooked.

While the diets of snails will vary by species, most pond snails enjoy eating algae and organic debris.

One popular variety of snail that eats both algae and debris is the Japanese Trapdoor Snail. They are known to crawl the bottom of ponds eating up uneaten fish food, decaying leaves, fish waste, and other muck that accumulates on the floor of a pond.

12 Large (1/2

12 Large (1/2" - 1") Japanese Trapdoor Snails

Price:
Buy Now on Amazon

Clicking this link to make a purchase may earn us a commission at no additional cost to you.

Introducing snails to pond’s has some drawbacks though, so be sure to check out our Pond Snail guide to see if it’s the right move for you and your pond.

Pond Plants

Pond plants are a fantastic addition to any pond as they add visual appeal and they provide shade to protect fish and other pond life.

But they also help keep your garden pond clean by acting as a filter to help remove pollutants, consuming nutrients that would otherwise be used by algae, and they help oxygenate pond water.

1 Hornwort Bunch - 5+ Stems | Ceratophyllum Demersum

1 Hornwort Bunch - 5+ Stems | Ceratophyllum Demersum

Price:
Buy Now on Amazon

Clicking this link to make a purchase may earn us a commission at no additional cost to you.

There are many different types of plants you can add to your pond which can be kind of confusing. So, we put together a list of the 10 Best Oxygenating Pond Plants to help keep your pond clean and healthy. Check it out and let us know if you have any questions.

Pond Cleaning Tools

Pond cleaning tools are going to be a little more hands-on than the natural solutions above, but these tools make cleaning a pond a whole heck of a lot easier than manually doing it by hand (especially if you have a large pond). Plus, they are better at handling large debris than the natural solutions above.

Each of these tools has its own special place in the cleaning process and we recommend for the cleanest pond possible to use as many of these pond tools as you need to.

Pond Vacuum

If your pond is like a black hole sucking up all kinds of leaves, sticks and other outside debris, then you certainly know how much work is involved in keeping it clean.

And that’s where pond vacuums come in!

A pond vacuum cleaner can turn arduous tasks like debris removal into simple, dare I say, fun tasks that can be done in a fraction of the time.

A pond cleaning vacuum is similar to a wet/dry vac, but instead of pulling in air, the pond vac pulls in dirty water, separates out the debris, silt, and sludge, and returns the water to either the pond or it can be used as fertilizer in your yard or garden.

They are also great tools for draining a pond, as well!

Oase Pondovac 5 Continuous Suction Pond Vacuum Cleaner

Oase Pondovac 5 Continuous Suction Pond Vacuum Cleaner

Price:
Buy Now on Amazon

Clicking this link to make a purchase may earn us a commission at no additional cost to you.

If you really want a healthy and crystal-clear pond (or swimming pool), then a pond vacuum is a great investment. And be sure to start with our Pond Vacuum Cleaner guide! It contains a detailed review of the best pond vacuums on the market today plus a handy buyer and user guide.

Pond Rake

When it comes to removing weeds, string algae, and debris from your pond, a pond rake makes that job much easier.

Of course, it’s a bit more laborious than using a power tool like a pond vacuum, but pond rakes are a fraction of the cost, last forever, and are still pretty darn effective at quickly cleaning a pond up.

Razer Rake - Collapsible Aluminum Lake and Pond Weed Rake

Razer Rake - Collapsible Aluminum Lake and Pond Weed Rake

Price:
Buy Now on Amazon

Clicking this link to make a purchase may earn us a commission at no additional cost to you.

If you’re looking to save even more money, we have an entire step-by-step guide on how to make a homemade pond rake using some fairly common household supplies.

Pond Cleaning Net

Similar to a pond rake, a pond cleaning net is effective at helping you remove debris, some algae, and even scooping fish out of your pond.

Be sure to get a net with a telescoping handle to make it easier to reach the middle of your pond (or as close to the middle as possible) and a fine-mesh netting to capture even the smallest debris.

Pond Net w/Telescopic Handle

Pond Net w/Telescopic Handle

Price:
Buy Now on Amazon

Clicking this link to make a purchase may earn us a commission at no additional cost to you.

Pond Filter

Pond filters work 24/7 to help keep your pond crystal clear by removing debris that is pumped through it. And filters with biological media even encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria, further helping your pond’s water quality.

We always recommend you use a pond filtration system, though it is possible to keep a pond clean without a filter (it just requires more manual work).

OASE BioSmart 5000 Pond Filter System

OASE BioSmart 5000 Pond Filter System

Price:
Buy Now on Amazon

Clicking this link to make a purchase may earn us a commission at no additional cost to you.

And because there are so many types of filters on the market, we created a super helpful guide with reviews and comparisons of the 7 Best Pond Filter Systems. And be sure you are using the correct sized pond pump and the right pond filter media for the best results.

Pond Skimmer

A pond skimmer is the perfect complement to your pond’s filter! It essentially sits on your pond’s surface and pulls in water. Any debris sitting on the surface of your pond is pulled into the skimmer and trapped in its filter system, which is subsequently cleaned out by the pond owner on a regular basis.

Skimmers actively remove debris from the surface of your pond, before it sinks and starts to decompose, causing all sorts of issues for your water clarity and quality.

And the nice thing about skimmer systems is they work 24/7, making it so you don’t have to physically stand at your pond removing every little piece of debris that falls in it all day and night (I love ponds, but not that much).

Lastly, if you’re having foamy pond water issues, skimmers are great at cleaning that up, as well.

OASE SwimSkim Floating Pond Skimmer

OASE SwimSkim Floating Pond Skimmer

Price:
Buy Now on Amazon

Clicking this link to make a purchase may earn us a commission at no additional cost to you.

Check out our review of the Best Pond Skimmers available today as well as answers to the most frequently asked questions on the subject.

UV Clarifier

Ultra-violet pond clarifiers work in conjunction with your filter to help clear your pond of green and blue/green algae.

Essentially, the ultraviolet light from the UV clarifier destroys the algae as it passes through it, then the filter traps and removes the dead algae cells from the water.

This 1, 2 punch is a great way to quickly rid your pond of green and blue/green algae and improve water clarity.

TetraPond UV Pond Clarifier

TetraPond UV Pond Clarifier

Price:
Buy Now on Amazon

Clicking this link to make a purchase may earn us a commission at no additional cost to you.

Pond Cleaning Chemicals

In certain circumstances, you may have to resort to chemical use to clean your pond. For example, out-of-control algae blooms, large ponds and lakes where manual clean-up isn’t possible, and so on.

In these cases, we recommend the following pond chemicals to help clear up algae and weeds.

Pond Algaecides

Pond algaecides are super effective but can be potentially dangerous, at cleaning up algae.

did you know Important

It’s very important to choose the right product and always follow the directions on the product exactly as described.

API Pond ALGAEFIX is one of our recommended algaecides that is registered with the EPA and is safe for fish and live plants as long as it’s used as directed.

API POND ALGAEFIX Algae Control Solution

API POND ALGAEFIX Algae Control Solution

Price:
Buy Now on Chewy
Buy Now on Amazon

Clicking this link to make a purchase may earn us a commission at no additional cost to you.

Before using an algaecide treatment in your pond, check out our guide to the Best Pond Algaecide available today. Not only are there product reviews of the best algaecides, but we also give helpful tips to get the most out of algaecides and answer the most frequently asked questions.

Pond Cleaning FAQ’s

How do I control algae in my pond?

There are many ways to control algae in a pond, and the best solution will depend on your specific pond and the type of algae you are battling.

Manual algae removal, UV clarifiers, beneficial bacteria products, and pond algaecides are just a few of the methods used to control algae.

For more in-depth detail on all of the effective algae removal and control methods, check out our Pond Algae Control guide.

What is the best pond cleaner?

The best cleaner is not one specific product or tool but rather a combination of pond cleaners and tools that when combined, effectively lead to a clean and clear pond.

All of the cleaners, tools, and even chemicals mentioned in this article play an important part in removing debris, sludge, muck, and algae from your pond that would typically cause water clarity and quality issues.

We detail the benefits of using each cleaner and tool above, so if your pond is experiencing an issue, just find the cleaner/tool that eliminates that issue and add it to your pond cleaning routine.

And, as always, reach out if you have any questions about a particular issue your pond might be experiencing.

How do you clean the bottom of a koi pond?

A koi pond is more susceptible to build-up on the bottom of the pond due to fish-waste and uneaten food sinking and decomposing, thus adding to the pond’s sludge and muck problem’s.

We covered several effective methods above, including natural pond cleaner methods like beneficial bacteria products, and manual removal tools like a pond vacuum.

Combining a pond sludge remover, like API Pond-Zyme Sludge Destroyer with regular vacuuming of any sludge build-up is a great way to keep the bottom of your koi pond clean.

Other preventative measures, like using a filtration system and skimmer, will also help keep debris from adding to the sludge problem, thus removing the need to clean the bottom of your pond as frequently.

How do you keep a large pond clean?

The best way to keep a large pond clean is going to be similar to how you would keep any sized pond clean.

But, using the proper pond cleaners and cleaning tools will be even more important as they could potentially save you a lot of time and make the cleaning process much easier. For example, in a small backyard pond, you might be able to get away with manually removing debris with your hands, whereas that wouldn’t be feasible in a large backyard pond.

It’s hard to accurately answer this question without knowing the specifics of the pond and what, if any, issues the pond is currently experiencing. With that said, combining as many of the tools and cleaners mentioned in this article that makes sense will definitely help you keep a large backyard pond clean.

For extremely large ponds and lakes, many of the tools mentioned above just won’t cut it. You’re not going to add on a filter or try to vacuum a lake…

In those cases, a rake and/or algaecide to clean up any weeds and algae, proper aeration, and perhaps dosing with beneficial bacteria will provide a good start to the cleaning process.

How do you naturally clean a pond?

You can naturally clean a pond using beneficial bacteria, stocking it with algae eating fish, introducing algae and waste eating snails, and even planting some pond plants in and around the edge of your pond or water garden.

We cover each of these methods in more detail above.

And it also depends on what your definition of natural is. You could potentially add to the aforementioned methods manual removal (using either your hands, a pond rake, pond net, or pond vacuum) since technically you’re not using any unnatural chemicals in the process. With that said, I typically look at natural as something you could potentially find in a wild pond (like fish, plants, bacteria, and so on)

How do you vacuum the sludge out of a pond?

Vacuuming the sludge out of your pond is a pretty straightforward process. But first, it’s important to follow any instructions that come with your specific vacuum for proper use and care.

To vacuum the sludge out of a pond:

  1. Place your pond vacuum cleaner within 6 feet of your pond.
  2. Be sure to route the drain hose to where you want the water discharged. This can be back in your pond or in a garden, etc. It’s usually a good idea to have at least a slight downgrade to allow gravity to help flush the water out the discharge hose.
  3. Begin vacuuming your pond, working from the top down. Start with any large debris on the surface, then vacuum up the sludge working down the sides of the pond liner and lastly the bottom of the pond.
  4. Experiment with different hose attachments to see which ones work best. Some attachments work better than others in the nook and crannies of your pond.
  5. When done, unplug the vac, remove the hoses and flush the inner tank. Wash out with clean water.
  6. Reassemble and store the vac for future use.