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Shop Vac for pond

Posted by jcjcjcx (My Page) on
Sun, Apr 8, 07 at 13:26

I'm considering getting a shop vac (the kind with the built in water pump).

(Details: 8-gallon Shop-Vac Pump Vac $139.99
4.5 peak HP
Cartridge filter wet or dry
Pump outlet that pumps 5G/min up to 50'
8' lock on hose 2"
2 wands, 14" nozzle, squeegee, elbow grip
Tank drain and tool holder )

Does anyone have this model? Will it be enough to do occasional cleanups on a small pond (600 gallons)?

I've tried the muck vac once and had problems getting it going and didn't like the fact that I was wasting so much tap water. Pond vacs sound great but are a lot more pricey. By getting this shop vac, we could get more use out of it with my husband using it in the garage.

Are there any disadvantages I should be aware of? Also I'm thinking of hooking it the output outlet an old hose, so that the dirty water coming out will go in my flower gardens & grass.

Here is a link that might be useful: shopvac

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Shop Vac for pond

I've been looking at the pump-out Shop-Vac. We had one once and it was great for water and much better than emptying the reservoir every few minutes.

For pond use, the discharge hose is only 5/8" and might clog up with leaves and other debris. That's my guess though, not my experience.

We ended up getting a Leaf Eater with an additional silt bag for under $50. Your hose creates a vacuum and what you vacuum goes in the bags. No electricity. Again, no experience as it started snowing and freezing again the day I was going to give it a trial run.

Other opinions on the Shop-Vac and the Leaf Eater will be helpful. I found mine at Justliners.

RE: Shop Vac for pond

We have had a pump out for several years made by Shop Vac. There is a large assembly that gets connected inside to use it to pump out. The assembly has a fairly large screen area, and with the fairly small flow (compared to a pond pump) it has never clogged. We use it mainly to get the water and leaves of the winter pool cover, and it accepts the leaves and all without a problem. It does suck water in much faster than it pumps it out, so you have to stop vacuuming to let the pump catch up.

As I say, our is several years old, and we have had one recurring problem. There is a stainless steel spring that tensions a check valve in the pump mechanism. Has has broken several times, and then it will not pump. You have buy the whole assempbly when that happens, so I really wish they would make the springs available separately. We had one replaced in warranty, and have purchased one. Other than that, it has proven to be a useful dirt sucker!

It is possible they make them differently now.


RE: Shop Vac for pond

I have a 900 gallon pond and use a 6.5 hp 16 gallon ridgid provack use it once every 2 weeks and suck out about 60 gallons works great and gets up all the muck.

Here is a link that might be useful: ridgid

RE: Shop Vac for pond

Thanks for the replies. Sounds like I should be considering a stronger vac.
Shop Vac sells a something similiar to the Ridgid.

Shop-Vac Ultra Pump Vac $179.99
Ideal for medium to heavy-duty jobs
Pump pick-up assembly for pumping water from tank - uses a standard hose (not included)
Pumps water up to 50' (15.24m) & empties up to 4 gallons (18.2L) per minute
Quiet operation head assembly
Rugged polypropylene tank with drain plug and 4 easy roll hooded casters
2" accessories include a 8' (2.44m) hose, 2 wands, combination nozzle & squeegee
Includes a wet filter, dry reusable filter and a collector filter bag - eliminates tank mess
11.5-gallon (52.3L) tank capacity
11.5A motor 3-year warranty

I don't know what the HP is on this one. But it must be better.

If using a ShopVac for cleaning the pond works pretty good, then I'm going to try it. (Now only if it would go on sale this weekend! :)

Another idea would be to buy some kind of external pump and
set up some kind of device to copy a ShopVac/Pond vac, but I guess external pumps would be even more expensive.

RE: Shop Vac for pond

I have used a few different wet/dry vacs over the years to suck water off the cover of my pool and to clean out my pond. I don't think that you need to get very high end at all for basic pond maintenance. Right now I have a $50ish basic 16gal wet/dry vac and it works fine. When it gets full, I dump it. And in regards to the power of the vac, IMO you don't want too much power because then you are sucking the water out too fast. On the end of the hose, I use the standard wand for sucking along wall boards. I tape off 1/2 of it with duct tape to reduce the water intake.

RE: Shop Vac for pond

I purchased a reducer for my hubbies ridgid and then attached a 1 1/4 in hose to it with a small Kiddie pool type vac head and pole. Works great, and you get much more time out of it before the tank fills.

RE: Shop Vac for pond

Lowes has a 16 gallon, 6hp vac w/pump-out feature for $109.99. I just received mine so I haven't had a chance to try it out yet, but will do so soon!

I also bought the 1.25" set-up so that I won't fill the tank so fast. And there'll be less chance of vacuuming the fish.

Here is a link that might be useful: 16 Gallon Shop Vac

RE: Shop Vac for pond

  • Posted by horton 6 b Ontario. (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 12, 07 at 7:10

It maybe worth mentioning that using the 1" wands on some 2" sized wet/dry vacs, with the pump-out feature, will deter the pump from priming.
Read the vac's instruction booklet to be sure.
Sears Craftsman model 678.29400 [13 gallons] is one type that will have problems priming the pump if a 1" wand it substituted for the 2" wand.

If you slip a leg of a pantyhose over the inlet of the vac's tank, it will collect the heavier junk that is sucked up and stop it from plugging up the pump.

RE: Shop Vac for pond

Thanks for all the comments and advice, everyone!

Sounds like using a ShopVac will work good. Still have to decide which model to go with, but I'm leaning toward the smaller one (plus its on sale right now).
And I'll definetely look into using the 1 1/4" reducer.

Too bad the ShopVac Canada website is under construction. The US website lists slightly different models.

Thanks again everybody! :)

RE: Shop Vac for pond

jc, I just noticed your question about the Shop Vac. I bought a 14 gal., 5.5 HP one last year and it works great. I live alone so I have to get something that I can handle by myself and I had no problems with it at all. I had no problem picking up the leaves in the pond either. But, because I don't always figure out the terminology in some of these machines I didn't use the pump, which would have been even better, I'm sure. I guess I have to get one of my sons to show me how to work that thing. It would really be much easier. I guess I couldn't figure out if it would pump out while I was vacuuming in. duh!! Well, just to let you know I am really very happy with mine. I'm sure you would be too. I found mine at Home Depot. Good luck and hope you find them on sale. BT

RE: Shop Vac for pond

Thanks for all the responses so far!

Darn, I still haven't made up my mind about whether or not to buy the shop vac. And now the more expensive one has gone on sale. $179 down to $149, on sale till this Thursday.

I still have a few more questions...

1) Sounds like it works well to suck out the muck and old leaves at the bottom of the pond. But does it ever clog up from the sediment? Or is the shop vac well suited for this purpose?

2) When most people use it, do they use it for their annual 'full cleanout'? Or do they use it for occasional cleaning while still leaving most of the water in the pond?

I prefer not to totally clean and empty out my pond. I was planning to use it for it weekly in the spring for cleanup of muck (sucking out only 15% water at most at a time). Then once most of it is clean, I'd use it only on occasion.

3) Can I leave my fish in the pond while using it?

I was planning to leave my goldfish in. Would this be a problem, suction too strong if they happen swim somewhat near where I'm cleaning???

4) I was going to get a separate pump for doing water changes, but I guess I could just use the shop vac. Is it a hassle to have to set up each week? Maybe throwing in a pump hooked up to a garden hose is easier?

Well I guess I'm going to have to decide asap, otherwise once it regular price, my husband will talk me out of it.

RE: Shop Vac for pond

jcjcjcx. I was wondering the same question. Does the shop vac clog up? the outflow. If so, I was wondering if I could attach a drainage bag or nylon stocking inside the shop vac, attached at inflow site connection. That way when the water comes in to the shop vac, it has to go through the inner bag, thus catching the thicker muck. Does anyone know about this? Because if the outflow is only a regular hose, I would think clogging could be an issue.

You ask good questions jc.

RE: Shop Vac for pond

I too am new to the forum and have been considering the shop vac idea.
I gained a lot of information on them here and still have 2 questions.
Any fear of electrocution?
AS i vacuum the muck from the bottom it can be filtered though the vac and the water ran right back into the pond?
I too do not want to drain my pond or hurt the fish etc.

RE: Shop Vac for pond

I have no fear of electrocution. All my outdoor electrical plugs are GFI.

I do not consider the pumping Shop Vac a very good tool though. Ours has never pumped out even close to as fast as it sucks in and still gets completely full and requires us to stop and wait for it to pump out. It is a real pain. It overheats too. I don't know what model it is but it is a Shop Vac not a different brand. Had it at least five years.

I do not do annual clean outs, just use it occasionally if I perceive a problem. It clogs and gets full right away even on my little greenhouse pond which is about the size of a bathtub. Gets full every ten minutes or so.

RE: Shop Vac for pond

Got so frustrated trying to find a vac for a small pond; the shop vacs sucked up both the junk & water x the pond so fast that I was continualy stopping to empty the vac & then it emptied the water x the pond too fast. Bought MUC VAC that uses hose water for the suction & does't take out so much water but suction not very strong. I attached it to a 100 ft. hose so will try a shorter hose to see if it gets better suction. Also would have been more convenient if the on/off lever on the wand was closer to the end where I hold it, making it easier to turn on/off the hose suction. Nice to be able to leave the fish, plants, etc, in while vacuuming. Still not the IDEAL vac... but I'm waiting!!

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