If you are looking to reduce or eliminate the debris that collects on the surface of your pond, effecting anything from the overall look of the pond and the effectiveness of any filters or pumps you have installed, you should consider investing in a pond skimmer. As there are various models to choose from, we have put together this handy guide to understanding what they are, their main advantages and a selection of what we feel are the best available on the market at the moment.
Jebao Floating Koi Fish Pond Surface Skimmer
Jebao are a very reputable brand, known for designing and manufacturing some truly innovative and reliable high performing accessories for ponds. The Jebao Floating Koi Fish Pond Surface Skimmer features a 2500 liter an hour pump and a coarse cleaning foam, with a very easy to reach and rinse out collection basket.
It is therefore easy to use and as it floats on the surface and is powered by its own pump, so doesn’t require much in the way of installation.
Oase Swim Skim Skimmer 25
Oase are another high quality industry leader in the pond accessories market. The Oase Swim Skim Skimmer 25 is another that features its own re-circulating pump capable of handling 2500 liters and is best suited to ponds that have an area of as much as 25 sq meters.
In addition to the fine sponge, that acts as mechanical-biological filtration, a nice addition to your pond’s own system, it features an injector too that adds extra oxygen to your pond.
Boyu SCL-2500 Garden Pond Floating surface Water Skimmer
Although you may not have heard of Boyu and they may not be as big or as popular as Oase or Jebao, the SCL-2500 is worth considering because of the high flow rate of 3000 litres per hour.
This particular skimmer has been designed to work best in ponds with a surface covering an area of up to 35 sq meters. Like others on the list, it features its own onboard pump, so does not require any plumbing and as the removable debris basket is easy to reach and clean out, requires little maintenance and cleaning.
Velda 126450 Pond Skimmer
This Velda model may be one of the higher priced on our list, but it is with good reason. It is a floating pond skimmer powered by its own pump, capable of a flow rate of 2000 litres per hour and suitable for ponds with an area of 20 meters.
Heissner F550-00 Adjustable Standing Skimmer
Unlike the rest of the skimmers featured above, this is not a floating skimmer. The Heissner however is a skimmer that is positioned very securely on the floor of your pond, with the option to add stones to the base plate to increase its stability.
It can be adjusted to align properly with the depth of your pond and works best with a pond that has a minimum depth of 35 cm and no upper limit. A nice feature is the fact that the catching basket for collecting debris in adapts automatically to the changing surface level within 8 cm. The basket is very easy to access and empty and although there is some installation required, it is not especially hard to do.
What Exactly Are Pond Skimmers?
Pond Skimmers are actually fairly self-explanatory – they skim the surface of the pond, collecting up leaves and other floating unwanted debris. A pond skimmer is worth investing in because floating debris eventually becomes waterlogged and sinks to the bottom of your pond where it will break down and decompose. While a little decomposition is nothing to worry about, it becomes a problem if too much is allowed to build-up.
If you have fish, this is a concern particularly if you keep fish in your pond, as decomposed organic matter releases nitrates and ammonia. In high levels, these chemicals can be dangerous to fish. Additionally, decomposed debris often leaks colours, known as tannin, into the water, tinting it in an unappealing way and can establish your pond as the perfect place for toxic bacteria and pathogens to breed.
Sunken leaves are generally the biggest cause of decomposed matter gathering up at the bottom of your pond. Therefore, if you have a pond established near a number of shrubs and trees that shed leaves, a skimmer is worth investing in.
In addition to the above advantages, the majority of larger sized box skimmers feature additional biological and mechanical filter media. This means when you use one, you are essentially providing extra filtration for your pond water while skimming it. Although you don’t need to choose a skimmer based on whether it has this feature or not, it is a good way to maximize the level of filtration for the clearest and cleanest pond water possible.
The Different Types Of Pond Skimmers Available
If you have already or when you do browse the various pond skimmers on the market, you may find it initially a bit overwhelming in terms of the choice out there. After all, there are three different types of skimmers –
- Skimmer Boxes
- Submerged Surface Skimmers
- Floating Skimmers
Understanding the pros and cons of each can help you find the best one for your pond setup. We have given a brief explanation of each below.
The larger of the types of skimmers available, skimmer boxes sit with their wide mouth on the surface of the water, so as it skims across the surface and collects up debris in its large basket. These are normally dug into and kept in place along the banks of ponds and attached to the liner. Thanks to their high capacity for skimming they are a good option for ponds with fish and larger ponds.
Submerged Surface Skimmers
Submerged Surface skimmers are placed on the floor of your pond at a specific depth so that the lips are touching the surface. They are then attached to a pump and draw the water into them from the middle of the pond. Although they require a little bit of installation, it is not anything too tasking for most models.
As you may guess from the name, this kind of pond skimmers are placed on the water surface and float along collecting debris as it comes across it. If you have a small sized pond, this is a great option because it does not need to be plumbed in. Normally they have an internal pump, so you can just about open the box and place them into the water and they will start to do their job. They are also relatively easy to look after, clean and maintain.
Some Questions To Ask When Choosing a Skimmer
There are some considerations you need to make when trying to choose the best skimmer for your pond. Some questions you need to ask when looking at available skimmers includes:
Is It Durable?
The pond skimmer you choose, ideally, should be able to work well regardless of the weather and be durable enough to last a long time. Skimmers that are of lower quality tend to be made from very low-grade plastic and are prone to breaking easily, particularly during winter. Some also tend to have debris baskets that are not especially strong and break easily too. So it is important to find a high-quality skimmer with a very robust basket.
Is It Easy To Clean And Maintain?
Pond skimmers are not designed to be self-cleaning, so you may have to empty the model you choose, often very frequently. Therefore, choosing a pond skimmer that, as noted above, has a high-quality basket and one that is easy to use and maintain, will be worth it in the long run. You should be able to reach the skimmer by hand and it should feature a basket with an appropriate capacity for your pond and the level of debris generated.
What Kind Of Pump Is Needed?
If your skimmer does not feature its own onboard pump, you will need to match the skimmer to pump or vice-versa. For example, if you have a 3,000 GPH flow rate pump, you need a skimmer that can support it. A pump that is not strong enough, will not be able to provide enough flow to catch all the debris and the motor is more likely to burn out.
Is It Suitable To Use With Fish
Do you have fish in your pond? If so, you need to be careful that you invest in a skimmer that has a floating door of some sort in front of the intake. This will stop your fish from entering the skimmer and being sucked into the debris basket. While this normally does not pose a threat to fish if they are accidentally sucked into the basket, because they are usually soft – it is a good idea to purchase the best model for the species of fish you keep.