Choosing a Pond Skimmer
One of the key pieces of equipment that should be included in any water garden project is a pond skimmer. Skimmers are a type of mechanical filter, which means that some sort of net, basket or screen is used to capture debris as the water passes through.
Equipment Recommendations by Size
1) Small Ponds - Atlantic Oasis Series
Smaller Ponds with Submersible Pumps - The Oasis Series is Atlantic's line of user friendly products made to contractor-grade quality. Excellent for DIY water gardeners, or professional contractors putting in a smaller pond. Features a strong top lid, a steel-framed trap net for capturing debris and Matala filter mat for secondary mechanical filtraiton.
|Model||Weir Door||Size (WxDxH)||Flow Rate||Price|
|PS3900||6"||17.75" x 19.5" x 19.5"||1000 - 3000 gph||$249.00||More Info|
2) Medium / Large Ponds - Atlantic Big Bahama Series
Larger Ponds with Submersible or External Pumps - The Big Bahama series is Atlantic's line of professional products made for contractors, or DIY water gardeners wanting the best. Features over the Oasis series above include thicker walls, larger size for larger pumps, and a heavy-duty brush panel providing more advanced mechanical filtration. Comes in three sizes for ponds of all sizes.
|Model||Flow Rate||Weir Door||Size (WxDxH)||Price|
|PS4600||2000 - 4000 gph||6"||19.5" x 26" x 22"||$364.99||More Info|
|PS7000||4000 - 7000 gph||9"||25" x 30" x 24"||$459.99||More Info|
|PS15000||7000 - 15,000 gph||14"||28" x 33" x 31"||$689.99||More Info|
3) Small to Large Fish Ponds - Helix Pond Skimmer
Fish-Safe Helix Skimmer - The Helix Pond Skimmer was the recipient of the 2012 Pond Trade Show Product of the Year Award for revolutionary design. It's one of the only skimmers on the market where fish can simply swim in and out of the skimmer without getting trapped. The Helix automatically adjusts to the pond water level and flow rate making it ideal for small fish ponds all the way up to large Koi ponds.
|Model||Floating Weir||Size (WxDxH)||Faceplate||Price|
|Helix||15"||19" x 18" x 35"||12"||$499.99||More Info|
Why you Need a Pond Skimmer
Because ponds are usually located outside, there are numerous ways the water can collect debris over time. Some of these ways include trees dropping leaves and sticks into the water, wind blowing grass, mulch, garbage and other yard waste into the water, as well as clutter from water plants like flowers and buds. If left alone, all this debris will eventually sink to the bottom and begin to decay. Unlike a river, which is constantly renewing itself with fresh water, a pond is a closed system, which means anything introduced into the water will affect your water balance if not filtered out.
Pond skimmers are usually installed at the surface of the water and will capture any leaves/sticks or other floating debris. Depending on how much debris is floating on the surface of the water will determine how often the basket or filter will need to be emptied.
Depending on the design, your skimmer can be placed anywhere as long as the flow or current of the water encourages debris into the skimmer. This is usually accomplished by placing the pump inside of the skimmer in the case of a submersible pump, or by placing the pump intake inside of the skimmer in the case of an external pump. Either way, the water will naturally flow into the skimmer if installed this way. As the water flows into the skimmer, the water will enter the pump, leaving behind any floating debris in the filter basket.
Choosing a Pond Skimmer
There are many different brands of pond skimmers. When choosing which one is best for you consider these points:
Ease of Emptying
Depending on the amount of trees near your pond, you may be emptying your skimmer quite frequently in some seasons. For that reason, choose a skimmer that is easy to empty, and is also easy to access in your landscape.
Some low quality pond skimmers will not hold up well over time, especially when the weather gets cold and low quality plastics get brittle. Have a good look at the durability of the removable basket and choose one that slides in and out easily so as the basket won't get stuck in various weather conditions.
To ensure that your skimmer can always keep up with your pump, choose a skimmer that is rated to a similar flow rate as the pump. If your skimmer is matched to your pump, then it will be no problem in the future if you decide to squeeze a little more flow out of your pump (to build a bigger waterfall for example). One of our favorite brands of skimmers are made by Atlantic. To see more info about them, please see the images below with links to our store. For more information on flow rates and choosing a pond pump, click here.
If housing fish, you may want to consider a skimmer with some kind of floating door on the intake to prevent fish from entering and getting caught inside your skimmer.