Pond Skimmers

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Pond skimmers are essential for any pond, especially if it’s near any trees, bushes, or plants. Skimmers work by catching debris like leaves, twigs, grass clippings, and even pond scum before it becomes an issue. Without a skimmer, excess organic matter will build up over time and disrupt the quality of your water. Making sure you have the right skimmer for your pond, and installing it properly, is essential to a healthy ecosystem.

Do I Need A Skimmer?

Absolutely! Falling plant matter sinks to the bottom of your pond and eventually breaks down releasing nitrates and ammonia. Also, if your water pump is exposed to debris, it will clog and require frequent maintenance. Skimmers will remove debris before it can sink and decompose or clog up your pumps. Most skimmers also house your pump for easy access without wading into your pond and are super simple to cleanout. We recommend pairing a mechanical skimmer with a biological filter for maximum filtration. 

How does a pond skimmer work

Skimmers are the first step in your pond’s filtration system and catch floating debris before it becomes a problem. Pond skimmers have a simple yet effective design. There is an opening called a weir that sits along the surface of the water. The water passes inside and any floating bits are trapped by the mechanical filtration media. The clean water is then pushed out the back by your pond’s pump where it continues through the rest of your plumbing.

How to choose the best pond skimmer

Just like every pond has different needs, manufacturers create pond skimmers to meet those needs. To find out which skimmer is best for you, first, you need to find out the volume of your pond. Combine this with the amount of fish you plan to house to determine the gallons per hour (GPH) that you’ll need to filter. For tips on calculating pond size and more, visit our knowledge base.

We recommend pairing a skimmer that has a similar recommended GPH flow rate to your pump. Check your manufacturer’s recommendations when you are selecting your pump. If your pond’s aesthetics are important, consider getting a disguised skimmer. Some manufacturers create skimmers with lids that look like rocks to blend in with the surrounding environment. Another important consideration is how easy it is to clean your skimmer. If you find yourself frequently cleaning out your skimmer, make sure it has an easy-open lid and the filter media is easy to replace or clean. Finally, if you want it to house your pump, make sure it has enough room to prevent hose kinks.

How do you set up a pond skimmer?

We always recommend following your manufacturer’s exact instructions for setting up your pond skimmer. When you have your skimmer picked out, you need to empty the pond halfway and dig out the area where your skimmer will be installed. Remember to keep the top rim of the skimmer’s opening above the water line so it can catch debris from the surface. Skimmers should be installed at the opposite end of your pond from your waterfall. This produces the best flow of water. For more help, check out our Tips for Installing a Skimmer in Your Pond.

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