Pond Skimmers

Pond skimmers are extremely useful (and I can't see running a larger pond without one) for several reasons.

Why A Skimmer

It keeps the pond healthier.

The first reason is they skim off most of the organic garbage that is floating around. If you skim off this organic matter from the top while it is floating, it will not rot on the bottom. Rotting organic matter takes up oxygen so eliminating it allows the plants and fish to use the oxygen rather than rotting and dead “stuff”.

It keeps the pond cleaner. Once you've skimmed off the organic matter, your water will look cleaner. And you'll be amazed how much “stuff” goes into pond skimmers.

pond skimmer
Installing a pond skimmer in a new pond

Buying A Pond Skimmer

What should I look for when buying a pond skimmer?

An adjustable water level gate. Without this adjustable gate, the skimmer has to be set at water level and you can't adjust it if you get it wrong. With an adjustable one, you can set the pond water level from the skimmer.

This is an extremely useful feature that many low'priced units do not have. You won't believe how useful this is until you figure out that the water level isn't right and the only way to fix it is to dig up the skimmer (again). Take my word on this feature.

Heavy grade plastic construction. The heavier the better. You're going to bury this thing and you don't want some laundry'hamper weight construction as it will collapse.

You want to ensure the fittings are properly placed. Most of the better units have double fittings so you can put the input on either side. I have seen units with a single entry point and I'd avoid these if it were mine.

Ideally, you want a skimmer that uses the same sized piping as your pond filter. While you can adjust these fittings with reducers or enlargers, it is much easier to make sure they're the same size.

Unified System

Many pond systems will sell you both the filter and the skimmer at the same time so getting a unified system makes sense.

You want to ensure the filter material is easy to get to. I've seen some systems that make you work and behave like a rocket scientist to get the darn thing apart. You want a system that is easy to maintain (otherwise ' if you're like me - you won't).

You want filter material that is durable. That will last multiple seasons. And that is easy to clean out. Remember this material may need to support fish, old shoes from playing children, definitely balls from the neighbor's kids, and a host of other things you simply can't image at this point.

Bigger Is Better

And finally, you want to look for a skimmer that is bigger than you think you need. Remember you can disguise it with landscaping but the bigger the skimmer, the less you have to clean it out. I've seen tiny ones that demand twice daily cleaning in the fall when the leaves are falling. A properly sized one for your pond is critical for success.

Shopping Resources for this Article

Check out the range of styles and sizes of pond skimmers along with pricing here