How to Install & Maintain a 400 Pond Skimmer

Instruction Manual, Warranty and Replacement Parts for the Aquascape Signature Series 400 Pond Skimmer (#43021)

The Aquascape Signature Series 400 Pond Skimmer provides efficient mechanical filtration by removing unwanted debris from the surface of the pond, significantly reducing maintenance and improving water quality. The filter also provides a protected location for the pump, extending pump life.

Splash Tip: We recommend the Signature Series 400 Pond Skimmer for ponds up to 20′ x 20′.

The Signature Series 400 Pond Skimmer is easy to install. The filter includes a large volume, rigid debris basket for quick and easy maintenance and a high-quality, medium density rigid filter mat to remove smaller sediment and debris. The extremely durable, UV protected, high-density polyethylene construction and the rounded shape maximize the strength of the filter, enabling installation in freeze-thaw conditions.

The Signature Series 400 Pond Skimmer is backed by a limited lifetime warranty, ensuring year after year of trouble-free use.

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Aquascape Signature Series 400 Instruction Manual

Aquascape Signature Series 400 Skimmer Warranty

Lifetime Warranty

Aquascape warrants that the Signature Series 400 will be free of manufacturing defects for the lifetime of the product if properly installed and maintained. Proof of purchase required. Warranty does not cover damage resulting from negligent handling, misuse or lack of reasonable maintenance or care. If upon Aquascape’s inspection, the skimmer shows evidence of a manufacturing defect, Aquascape’s liability is limited, at Aquascape’s option, to the repair of the defect, replacement of the defective product, or refund of the original purchase price.

The warranty excludes costs of labor, removal of product, shipping and expenses related to the installation and re-installation of the product. All products that include plumbing (tubing, pumps, check valves) need to be properly drained and winterized otherwise warranty is null and void. No liability for loss or damage of any nature or kind, whether arising out of or from the use of the product, whether defective or not defective, is assumed by Aquascape, Inc. or its affiliates. Aquascape shall not be liable for any incidental, consequential or other damages arising under any theory of law whatsoever

One Year Warranty

Aquascape warrants that the plastic internal parts of the skimmer will be free of manufacturing defects for one year from the date of purchase of the product if properly installed and maintained. Proof of purchase required. Filter pads and media are consumable items and are not covered under any warranty.

If upon Aquascape’s inspection, the plastic internal parts shows evidence of a manufacturing defect, Aquascape’s liability is limited, at Aquascape’s option, to the repair of the defect, replacement of the defective product, or refund of the original purchase price. The warranty excludes costs of labor, removal of product, shipping and expenses related to the installation and re-installation of the product. No liability for loss or damage of any nature or kind, whether arising out of or from the use of the product, whether defective or not defective, is assumed by Aquascape, Inc. or its affiliates. Aquascape shall not be liable for any incidental, consequential or other damages arising under any theory of law whatsoever.

Aquascape Signature Series 400 Skimmer Contents

Aquascape Pond Skimmer Comparison Guide

 
 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
 View ProductView ProductView Product

Aquascape Signature Series 400 Pond Skimmer Installation

Recommended Tools

  1. Wheelbarrow
  2. Brightly-Colored Spray Paint
  3. Screwdriver
  4. Soil Tamper
  5. Shovel
  6. Carpenter’s Level
  7. Channel Lock
  8. Scissors

Step 1: Placement of the Skimmer

  • In order to maximize circulation, the skimmer should be placed directly across from a waterfall. If you do not have a waterfall, use your area’s prevailing winds to determine where you should place your skimmer along the longest axis. Use the wind to help push the debris toward the skimmer (Ex. 1).

Step 2: Excavating Your Pond Basin

  • If you are installing the skimmer on an existing pond, skip
    this step and proceed to step three.
  • We suggest excavating the pond no more than 18-24″ deep. This depth provides the proper water levels required for aquatic plants and is deep enough to keep fish alive during winter.
  • The excavation should be dug with a series of shelves. The shelves will add stability to the walls of the pond and will also create planting beds for different types of aquatic plants.
  • The first shelf should be about 8-10″ deep, or the height of a standard shovel blade (Ex. 2).

• Dig the second shelf another 8-10″ deeper (Ex. 3).

  • The third shelf (if desired) will be excavated down another 6″ reaching a final excavation of 24″ (Ex. 4).

Step 3: Excavating Your Skimmer Location

  • When installing the skimmer onto an existing pond you will need to drain the water from the pond. If you have fish, save some water from the pond and place in a large bucket, kiddie pool, or cooler. Net your fish and place them in your container. Be sure to add an aerator and keep the fish in a shaded area.
  • Remove any rock that is within 3 feet on either side and in front of where you will place the skimmer. Pull your existing liner and underlayment back into the pond 3-4 feet from edge so you expose the area that needs to be excavated for the skimmer.
  • We recommend placing the skimmer upside-down in the position you have chosen. Overhang about 6″ towards the inside of the pond to allow some slack in the liner and make attaching the exterior liner plate easier.
  • Using a can of brightly-colored spray paint, trace around the skimmer to outline the area that is to be excavated.
  • Excavate the skimmer to a depth so that the proposed water
    level in the pond is approximately 3/4″ below the top of the opening of the skimmer (Ex. 5). If installing on an existing pond, use the known water level as your guideline on how deep to excavate the skimmer.
  • Make sure the excavated area under the skimmer is compacted and level.
  • Install the two bulkheads into the back of the skimmer prior to dropping into the excavated hole. Make sure the rubber gasket is installed on the inside of the skimmer (Ex. 6). The filter has two openings on the back, allowing multiple plumbing options.
  • Use a 2-foot bubble level to make sure your skimmer is properly set into position. Your skimmer should be level from side to side and front to back (Ex. 7).

Step 4

Installing the Skimmer

  • The pump plumbing line attaches into one bulkhead and the optional overflow or 2″ plug (if no overflow is desired) can be added to the other (Ex. 8). Use the angle of the bulkheads to your advantage by choosing the bulkhead that works best with the direction you want to run your plumbing to the BioFalls Filter.
  • Install the PVC slip fitting into each bulkhead on the outside of the skimmer to receive the pump plumbing and optional overflow plumbing.
  • Use some silicone sealant (#22010) or (#29186) or Teflon tape (not included) to coat the threads of the fittings, in order to help provide a watertight seal.

Attaching the Skimmer Exterior Liner Plate

NOTE: Power tools are not recommended for installing the screws and may strip the nut inserts.

  • Position the liner against the skimmer opening, making sure there is slack below the opening. This will help reduce tension on the exterior liner plate when placing boulders in front of the unit.
  • Mark the outer perimeter of the skimmer opening on the liner, and then mark a second box 1.5″ inside of it. This ensures that you don’t cut too much of the liner, which would result in a possible leak (Ex. 9).
  • Cut the inner box using a pair of scissors, and insert the skimmer exterior liner plate into the hole (Ex. 10).
  • Place the liner around the exterior liner plate and temporarily install the exterior liner plate and liner to the skimmer. Using an awl or nail, poke the first hole through the liner in one of the upper corners. Be careful not to damage the threads on the nut inserts when punching the holes with the awl. Remove the awl or nail while holding the exterior liner plate and liner in place and begin threading one of the screws into the filter. Repeat this process with the other upper corner (Ex. 11).
  • Now remove the exterior liner plate from the skimmer, keeping the screws installed through the exterior liner plate and liner (Ex. 12).
  • Apply a bead of fish-safe silicone sealant (#22010) or (#29186) around the skimmer opening, over the nut inserts (Ex. 13). Preinstalling the two screws in the earlier steps will make it easy to line up the skimmer exterior liner plate after the silicone is applied and will keep the silicone in as thick of a bead as possible.
  • Replace the skimmer exterior liner plate and the two corner screws, and then proceed with the bottom two corners. Make sure the holes in the exterior liner plate that the weir flap clicks into are on the bottom.
  • With the four corners secured, you may now punch the remaining holes with your awl and thread in all the screws. Again, be careful not to damage the threads on the nut inserts (Ex. 14).
  • Let dry for at least one hour before introducing water.

Optional Overflow Installation Instructions

  • The built-in overflow will allow the water in an overflow situation to flow through the pipe and drain away from the pond. Use the 2″ plug to plug the bulkhead if you do not want the overflow option.
  • Excavate a trench for a section of PVC Flex pipe to come off the back of the desired bulkhead. The trench should be no less than 5 feet from the back of the skimmer and graded away from the pond (Ex. 15).
  • Create a drainage area at the end of the pipe by excavating a small pit, roughly 16 inches in diameter and at least 12 inches deep. Fill the pit with excess gravel.
  • Prime and glue the section of PVC Flex pipe into the slip fitting and run it to the top of the gravel pit. Cover the gravel pit with a small section of underlayment and top with soil.
  • Install the overflow elbow into the corresponding bulkhead on the inside of the skimmer. Use silicone sealant (#22010) or (#29186) or Teflon tape (not included) on the threads prior to installing the fitting. Hand-tighten the fitting in the bulkhead as far as possible with the overflow arm in the highest position.

Step 5

Add Rock & Gravel

NOTE: You can expect to use several tons of stone and gravel for your water feature. Below are some helpful formulas for choosing the stone and gravel:

Stone Calculation for the Pond
Length x Width / 65 = Tons of boulders

Gravel Used in the Pond
Pond Gravel = 30% total tons of pond boulders

  • Start from the bottom and set the largest character boulders first against the vertical walls, then stack the smaller boulders on top (Ex. 16).
  • Be careful when placing any large boulders so you don’t damage the liner.
  • The opening on the front of the skimmer can be hidden by placing boulders on either side and bridging a stone or piece of driftwood across, creating a cave effect.

NOTE: Make sure the boulders do not block the water flow into the skimmer.

  • Cover all remaining flat surfaces inside the pond with a couple inches of decorative gravel. This will help lock the boulders in place, as well as cover the remaining liner, protecting it from ultraviolet rays, and giving bacteria a place to colonize.

Wash Rocks & Gravel

  • Using a garden hose, wash the rock and gravel down in order to remove the dust and dirt. Use the pump provided with the kit attached to a scrap section of kink-free pipe. The pump can temporarily be placed in the lowest point of the pond and the dirty water discharged to a drainage area in the yard.

Step 6: Complete the Skimmer Installation

  • The Aquascape Check Valve 2.0 (#48026) (included with Aquascape pond kits or sold separately) comes with two adaptors used on each end of the check valve (Ex. 17).
  • One adaptor threads directly into the pump, the other threads directly into the bulkhead on the back of the skimmer that supplies water to the BioFalls Filter. Apply silicone sealant (#22010) or (#29186) or Teflon tape (not included) to the threads of the fitting (Ex. 18).
  • Please refer to check valve assembly instructions for further pump plumbing information.
  • The second hole located in the back of the skimmer is for the overflow. The overflow will help maintain the maximum water level in the pond after rainfall, ensuring that your skimmer works properly and water does not travel over the edges of the liner and cause problems with hydrostatic pressure. Refer back to
    previous section for overflow information. If not using the overflow, the bulkhead fitting can be blocked using the 2″ plug as shown in (Ex. 19 & Ex. 20).
  • Place the pump at the bottom of the skimmer. Follow pump instructions (Ex. 21).
  • Once inside the skimmer, feed the electrical cord over the depression located on the back, top edge of the skimmer (Ex. 19).
  • Set the filter rack inside the skimmer (Ex. 19). Insert the skimmer mat into the filter (Ex. 20).
  • Attach skimmer basket (Ex. 22).

Step 7: Fill Pond

  • Fill pond so that the water level is approximately 3/4″ below the top of the
    opening of the skimmer, making sure to stay below the opening for the optional overflow inside the skimmer (Ex. 23).

NOTE: We recommend adding Aquascape Pond Detoxifier to dechlorinate and properly condition water prior to introducing fish to your new pond. See your Aquascape dealer for water treatment products.

Aquascape Signature Series 400 Skimmer Maintenance

Weir Door

  • The Signature Series Skimmer weir door can be closed shut to temporarily drain the water in the skimmer for maintenance. Open the weir door as soon as maintenance is completed to avoid operating the pump in low water conditions for extended periods of time.

Debris Basket

  • The Signature Series Skimmer is designed to sweep the surface of the water so it is free from debris. The debris basket inside the skimmer is the first filter stage of the skimmer. The basket will collect leaves, twigs, seeds and other pond debris. It takes approximately two to three minutes every other week to empty the debris basket. More frequent changes will be required during the fall and spring because of the quantity of leaves falling off the surrounding trees.
  • It is a good habit to periodically lift the skimmer lid and check the quantity of debris in the basket. This is especially true in the fall. Keep a mental note as to how often your basket has to be emptied. It’s important that the debris basket is not allowed to become too full. Too much debris can reduce the water flow to the pump.

Filter Mat

  • The filter mat below the debris basket is the second stage of the skimmer. The mat is designed to handle any debris that finds its way past the basket. The mat will not need maintenance as frequently as the basket, since the basket will remove the majority of debris from the water. Remove and rinse the mat when you notice excessive debris build up on the mat or reduced flow over the waterfall.

Aquascape Signature Series 400 Skimmer Replacement Parts

  1.  Rock Lid (#43023)
    > Available at our Online Store
  2.  Debris Basket (#43007)
    > Available at our Online Store
  3. Filter Mat (#43011)
    > Available at our Online Store
  4. Filter Mat Support Rack (#43008)
    > Available at our Online Store
  5. Exterior Face Plate (#43006)
    > Available at our Online Store
  6. Weir Door (#43005)
    > Available at our Online Store
  1. Brass Screws (8 pk) (#30078)
    > Available at our Online Store
  2. 2″ Bulkhead Fitting (#29103)
    > Available at our Online Store
  3. 2″ Plug (#29394)
    > Available at our Online Store
  4. 2″ MPT x 2″ Slip (#29158)
    > Available at our Online Store
  5. 2″ MPT x 1.5″ Slip (#29157)
    > Available at our Online Store