Pond Skimmer 101

atlantic skimmers illustration

Maintaining a serene and picturesque pond requires careful attention to various elements, and one helpful piece of equipment is a pond skimmer. Pond skimmers can help keep your water feature clean, clear, and inviting. In this overview, we will delve into the world of pond skimmers, exploring their benefits, functionality, installation, and maintenance.

What do pond skimmers do?

Pond skimmers pull debris off the surface of your water before that debris sinks to the bottom of the pond. Wind, trees, birds, and other natural elements add debris to water features. When debris sinks it adds to the overall organic load in the pond which causes clarity issues, health issues and helps breed algae.

Pond skimmers can also serve as a protectant for submersible pumps. These pumps can be placed directly in a skimmer, so the skimmer acts as a first line of defense against debris and a receptacle for your pump. It keeps your pump in a safe and easy to access location near the surface of the pond. For ponds without skimmers, submersible pumps are placed directly in the pond and are more exposed to potential for clogging. If you have an external pump, then the suction line is plumed to your skimmer.

What’s in a skimmer?

Right behind the skimmer door opening you will find a leaf basket or a framed leaf net to catch the big stuff. Past that you’ll find a filter pad typically installed vertically or hanging brushes. The filter pad will catch smaller particles that pass through the leaf net. While this isn’t enough to totally filter your pond, this does act as pre-filtration. Skimmers with brushes will trap some debris, but there’s far less maintenance with brushes because they won’t clog like pads. In larger skimmers you won’t generally see filter pads as the large volume of water being passed through will clog those pads too quickly.

How does a skimmer get installed?

Skimmers are typically installed with an initial pond installation, as the most common installation technique includes adding the skimmer outside of the liner and cutting the liner to line up with a faceplate. It is possible to install a traditional skimmer after a pond installation, but it can be difficult—involving draining the pond, relocating stone, and excavation. If you already have a pond, but no skimmer then you may want to consider an in-pond skimmer.

Different types of pond skimmers

As mentioned your standard mounted skimmer typically gets installed during a pond build, but there are a couple of additional options. One option we shared is the in-pond skimmer. These can be hidden with faux or real stones, and some are large enough to still fit a pond pump inside.

Another option is a floating skimmer. These are not very high volume, so we only recommend these as an option for smaller ponds that don’t get a lot of debris.

We also offer some skimmers that can be mounted away from the pond. Extension tubes will be needed (sold separately) for these installations.

Pro Note: Some standard skimmers even have the ability to mount a UV Clarifier inside—keeping everything installed in the skimmer is convenient and tidy, eliminating the need to cut/modify your piping outside the pond.

atlantic skimmers illustration

Do I need a pond skimmer?

A pond skimmer is not an absolute necessity, but they do help keep pond water clean and healthy. If you have a smaller pond and don’t get much debris then your feature may not require one.

What maintenance is required?

If the leaf net or pads in your skimmer get overloaded with debris, then the amount of water trying to reach your pump will decrease, which can cause your pump to run dry. We want the pump running at optimum capacity, so check these skimmer components for clogs often. Generally, if you’re out near the pond it’s a good idea to take a quick look “under the hood.” It only takes a few seconds to see if anything needs to be cleaned. Of course if you live in a region that experiences changing seasons then skimmers will need to be monitored more frequently during the fall due to falling leaves. The most important thing to avoid is a complete internal overload that prevents water from getting to your pump—you never ever want your pump to run dry.

What do skimmers cost?

Standard mounted skimmers usually run between $250 and $800, but on average you’re probably looking at a $300-$400 investment. If you’re in the market for a small in-pond skimmer these start around $80 and go up from there. We offer a wide range of these options on our website for all budgets and application needs.

Skimmers help keep water clean and healthy

Pond skimmers are a great tool for maintaining the beauty and health of your water garden. By keeping the water's surface free of debris, these devices contribute to clearer water, reduced maintenance efforts, and a more attractive landscape. Whether you have a small backyard pond or an elaborate water garden, a pond skimmer is an investment that will enhance your aquatic paradise and provide a harmonious habitat for your fish and aquatic plants.

Our Pond Techs can help!

Our pond techs have helped thousands of customers pick out the right pond skimmer for their ponds and would love to help you select the best skimmer for your water feature. Browse our huge selection here, and reach out to us if you’d like assistance in choosing the best option for your needs.

Article Posted: 09/13/2023 05:59:01 PM

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