Do I Need a Pond Skimmer?

Want clear water? Then you need a pond skimmer.

A pond skimmer keeps water clear by pulling leaves, twigs and fish waste into an easy-to-clean basket before it has a chance to sink and muck up the water.

The skimmer also houses your pump, the heart of your pond’s recirculation system, in an easy-to-access location outside the pond.

A good pond skimmer will do 90 percent of work of filtering your pond (the other 10 percent comes from biofiltration) – leaving you with plenty of time to relax and enjoy your yard.

At a Glance: Why You Need a Pond Skimmer

  • A physical skimming-type filter will remove 90 percent of the debris that enters your pond. 
  • The skimmer pulls leaves, twigs, pollen and fish waste into a basket you can easily empty without diving to the bottom.
  • Your pump, the heart of the pond ‘s recirculation system, is housed out of sight in the skimmer.
  • Skimmers can be installed in existing ponds that have flexible rubber liners. (In-ground skimmers will not work with pre-formed ponds made of rigid plastic.)

How Do Pond Skimmers Work?

If you dig a hole and fill it with water, it will quickly become a magnet for debris.

You’re going to get the corn cobs from the farmer’s field. You’re going to get the leaves from the oak tree. You’re going to get pollen, fish waste, leaves, twigs, sticks … All of that debris is going to end up in the pond.

So how do we get it out?

The old-fashioned way was to dive down to the bottom of the pond, unclog your pump and get the debris off the bottom of the pond. Around the mid-1990s, though, the pond industry came up with a better solution: the pond skimmer.

Just like a swimming pool skimmer, a pond skimmer constantly skims the surface of the water. So all of those leaves, twigs and fish waste end up in the skimmer basket before they have a chance to sink in the pond.

The pond pump sits at the bottom of the skimmer for easy access. The skimmer itself is buried beside the pond, where it can blend in with the rest of landscape without distracting from your beautiful pond.

An Upgrade from Submerged Pumps

When we first started building ponds, we would put the pump at the very, very bottom of the pond. This design, unsurprisingly, meant any debris that ended up in the pond would go down and clog that pump. 

The result was a high-maintenance nightmare. We were constantly diving into ponds or draining them any time the pump needed maintenance.

With all that extra debris in there, guess what else happens? The muck starts to break down and emit poisonous gases into the water. So your fish aren’t happy. You water isn’t crystal-clear; it’s brown or murky or green. It’s just a mess.

As a result of all these factors, the ponds people built 30 years ago were very high-maintenance and not very pretty to look at. The water quality was just terrible. A lot of homeowners opted to just have them filled in because they were so frustrating to keep clean.

The invention of the pond skimmer changed everything. Now, you can truly have crystal-clear water and happy, healthy fish – without a lot of work.

Inside Your Pond Skimmer

We sell three sizes of skimmer at Splash: The Signature Series 200, Signature Series 400 and Signature Series 1000.

All three models sit buried beside the pond. This design keeps the skimmer out-of-sight, while the underground placement of the pipes prevents freezing in winter.

You skimmer should ideally be added during pond installation, but all of these models can also be added to any existing pond that has a flexible rubber liner.

Inside a Signature Series 200 Pond Skimmer

An economy option for ponds 10' x 10' or smaller

1. Custom Lid

The Signature Series 200 Pond Skimmer include a durable black plastic lid to protect the filter components. To better camouflage the top of the skimmer, use a TrueRock cover, or upgrade to a Signature Series 400 with an included faux rock lid.

2. Weir with 6" Opening

The floating weir door rises and falls to match the water level in the pond. This mechanism restricts the flow of water into the skimmer, helping increase efficiency and pull debris from every corner of the pond.

For a weir door that you can shut to perform maintenance in the skimmer, upgrade to a Signature Series 400.

3. Debris Net

The included debris net catches leaves and other large debris that enter the skimmer.

For a rigid skimmer basket, upgrade to a Signature Series 400.

4. Optional Filter Brush

The optional filter brush cartridge handles any debris that finds its way past the debris net.

The brush cartridge is sold separately.

5. Optional Overflow

The optional overflow kit for the Signature Series 200 Pond Skimmer helps maintain proper water level in an overflow situation.

The overflow kit is sold separately.

Inside a Signature Series 400 & 1000 Pond Skimmer

Signature Series 400: Best for ponds up to 20' x 20'

Signature Series 1000: Best for ponds up to 30' x 40'

1. Faux-rock Lid

The natural-looking faux-rock lid conceals the filter in the surrounding landscape.

2. Patented Faceplate (1000 Skimmer Only)

The patented adjustable faceplate lets you adjust the water level after installation (1000 skimmer only).

3. Rigid Debris Basket

The large-volume rigid debris basket makes maintenance easy. Just dump out debris as-needed.

4. Professional, Watertight Seal

Injection-molded fittings provide professional, watertight seals.

5. Corrosion-resistant Hardware

Corrosion-resistant, non-cross-threading hardware stands up to the elements.

6. Rigid Filter Mat

The rigid filter mat effectively removes smaller sediment and debris.

7. Rounded Shape

The rounded shape provides maximum strength, even in freeze-thaw conditions.

8. Locking Weir Door

The floating weir door rises and falls to match the water level in the pond. This mechanism restricts the flow of water into the skimmer, helping increase efficiency and pull debris from every corner of the pond.

The door can be locked to drain the skimmer for easy maintenance.

What Size Skimmer Do I Need for My Pond?

Choose the biggest skimmer that your space and budget allow.

Larger skimmers not only keep the pond cleaner, but they also have larger baskets – meaning you don’t have to empty them as frequently.

In most cases, we recommend the Signature Series 400 Pond Skimmer for ponds under 20′ x 20′, and the Signature Series 1000 for ponds up to 30′ x 40′.

The Signature Series 200 Pond Skimmer is another solid choice for homeowners on a budget who have ponds under 10′ x 10′ – although we find the included debris net isn’t quite as easy to empty as the rigid baskets included in the 400 and 1000.

For ponds larger than 30′ x 40′, we generally like to build a custom solution for skimming filtration. Contact Splash to learn more.

 
 Signature Series 200 Pond SkimmerSignature Series 400 Pond SkimmerSignature Series 1000 Pond Skimmer
Model Number430204302143022
Pump Flow RateUp to 3,000 GPHUp to 4,000 GPHUp to 10,000 GPH
Weir Size6 inches6 inches8 inches
Adjustable Height Face Plate--
Locking Weir Door-
Leaf & Debris Net--
Leaf & Debris Rigid Basket-
Filter Brush CartridgeOptional--
Filter Mat-
Faux-Rock Lid-
Dimensions (LxWxH)20" x 17.5" x 17.5"21.5" x 18" x 21"21" x 22" x 26.5"
WarrantyLimited LifetimeLimited LifetimeLimited Lifetime
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