A pond is a natural source of tranquility that can easily bring you inner peace. But that only happens if it is a clean and well-maintained pond.

One of the tools you’d need for this is a pond skimmer. For those who don’t know how does a pond skimmer work, I’ll give you a brief idea:

A pond skimmer pulls water in from the top surface to trap debris, decomposed organic materials, and toxins in its net while the water passes through a filter and gets clean. This causes a rapid movement that helps in aeration as well. In short, it is a filtration and oxygenation device.

From the description, it sounds like a cool item, doesn’t it? How about you read more down here:

What Is A Pond Skimmer?

For the best maintenance of a pond, you need a quality filtration system, and pond skimmer is a crucial part of that.

The skimmer is a basket-like filter that usually sits on the upper edge of the water table. It has a pump on the inside and a flapping door called weir on the outside.

How Does A Pond Skimmer Work

What Does A Pond Skimmer Do?

As I already mentioned, a pond skimmer is a key player for your pond’s filtration system. It works like a manual filter that removes all kinds of physical objects from the pond keeping the water clean and clear for you.

So, the end goal is to have a clean and dirt-free pond. I’m narrating a pond skimmer’s function down below:

Removing debris


A pond skimmer’s main function is to remove organic materials from the water and return clean water to the pond. How does it work? By creating tension.The pump draws the water into the skimmer, and the weir provides resistance that creates surface tension. Surface tension is essential to pull the water from the upper layer where all the debris floats.

Next, the water flows through a small mesh net, where all large debris is caught and then the clean water is returned to the pool. Some skimmers have a sponge filter installed, which acts as a secondary filter to catch all the small particles.

Returning clean water

The filtered water returns to the pool with the help of the skimmer. Usually, skimmers pump the water at or along the bottom edge. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be at the bottom; if you have a waterfall, you can have that water flow through it instead.

Returning the clean water safely is a key factor, else you can’t keep the water level high enough for your plants to grow or keep your fish alive.

Oxygenating the pond

A pond skimmer not only keeps the water nice and clean for you, but it also helps to oxygenate the pond.

Oxygen plays a vital role in cleaning the water and stopping it from getting stagnant or murky. It helps your plants and fishes to thrive. Plus, you can prevent algae bloom with it’s help.

While you can use an air pump to aerate your pond, a skimmer can do just that too. The pump located inside the skimmer constantly pulls the water in, regulating the flow at the surface and allowing water to absorb the oxygen and release it at the bottom of the pond.

It even works better than a submerged aerator. Don’t believe me? Let me explain:

The air pumps generate thousands of small bubbles that move towards the surface, and oxygenation occurs where the bubbles make contact with the surface. However, the bubbles aerate only a little because the contact time is less.

But with a pond skimmer, you will rapidly stir up the pond, so the oxygenation will occur at a faster rate.

You get to keep your water clean and full of rich oxygen at the same time. Keeping the water clean and oxygenated. Two birds with one stone, right?

With these simple yet effective processes, a pond skimmer accomplishes excellent mechanical filtration and gives you a dust and toxin-free pond. That aside, it also reduces the need for maintenance. For a laid-back person like me, it is the best method!

Choosing The Right Pond Skimmer

Now that we know what a pond skimmer is and how does it work, we need to pick the appropriate skimmer for your pond. And for that, we need to keep the following things into consideration:

  1. Size: First of all, you need to determine how big or small you want your skimmer to be. A big pond will need an oversized skimmer and vice versa. Calculate your pond’s surface area and compare it with how much space your desired skimmer can skim.
  2. Pump: Get a pump that is not oversized for your skimmer. You must figure out how much water it can pump in an hour. Next, you have to find out the pump flow rate. Pond skimmers specify the pump flow rate, so make sure it doesn’t exceed that.

A rule of thumb is that half of the pump should regulate half the pond’s volume in an hour. Suppose you have a 4000-liter pond, then the pump’s flow rate must be 2000 liter per hour. Use this to find the perfect pump for you.

  1. Durability: You should not pick low-quality skimmers as they won’t hold up for long, especially during cold weather. Get a skimmer that has an excellent removable basket that won’t get stuck and is durable.
  2. Easy removal: If your pond is quite big and surrounded by large trees, then the bucket will need frequent emptying. So get a skimmer that is easy for emptying and can be moved around without much trouble.
  3. Fish friendly: In case you have a fish pond, then you need to be extra careful with the skimmer. The built-in floating door can keep the fishes out, but sometimes those tiny buggers can sneak past it and get caught in the skimmer.

You can add an extra layer of protection by adding a wire mesh in the opening to keep them out. Still if you find a lone fish or a frog that strayed too far caught in the net, don’t beat yourself up over it.

Where Should A Pond Skimmer Be Placed?

The placement of the skimmer is pivotal to make sure it works properly.

The pond skimmer can be placed anywhere according to the design. But the best place to set it up is opposite from where the water is flowing from and close to the surface. That way, the water will flow naturally towards the skimmer, bringing in all the debris.

Wind direction is another important factor that needs to be considered while placing the skimmer.

You can place it inside the pond or on the outside edges. It won’t be a problem as long as the water flows smoothly. In case of a submersible pump, don’t place it too deep into the water; otherwise, it’ll hinder the way water is pulled in from the surface. As a result the skimmer won’t be able to filter properly.

How Important Is A Pond Skimmer?

You must be thinking, all these info about pond skimmer are cool, but is it really necessary? Well, the answer is YES.. I’ll tell you why.

Unlike rivers, ponds are closed water bodies. So when leaves, seeds, algae, pollen, and other organic materials are gathered in the water, they will stay there unless you remove them. Otherwise, they can sink to the bottom and decompose over time.

These decomposed materials can release toxins that can kill your fishes and plants and cause severe damage to the aquatic ecosystem.

Now, If it’s a small pond, you can remove the large objects manually using a net. But it will cost you time and won’t thoroughly clean the pond. Because, guess what? The small particles would still be in there.

A pond skimmer will help you get rid of all of it. And, if you pair it with a biological filter, you won’t have to worry about it ever again. A proper pond skimmer would collect all the debris that falls into your pond and only requires minimal effort from your end. But without a skimmer, you’ll be cleaning debris regularly for the rest of your life.

So, if you want to enjoy your day off by relaxing beside your clean, particles-free, beautiful pond, investing in a good pond skimmer would be a wise thing to do.

How to clean the pond skimmer?

After cleaning your pond over and over again, your pond skimmer will eventually get clogged. This is when it will stop working like it should and cause you problems. We can’t have that, can we? So to avoid that, you need to clean the pond skimmer regularly. I’ll explain how to do that down below:

Step 1: Pulling out the net

We stop the skimmer and open the housing to get the net out of it. This is where most of the debris will be, and you have to get rid of them. Then wash the net nicely.

Step 2: Debris disposal

Once you pull out that net, you have to open it and put all of that debris into a trash can. Afterward, all you have to do is dispose of them.

Step 3: Clean the filter mat

There is a filter mat inside the skimmer that filters out the smaller particles out of the way. You can find it at the bottom of the skimmer. After pulling it out, you have to take a hose and clean it thoroughly. I’d suggest hand scraping the bottom just in case any debris might have been left inside the skimmer.

Step 4: Put it all back in

By now, you’ve finished all the essential steps. You just have to put it back now. The filter mats go in first. Put that back in just the way it was before you brought it out. Next, you have to tuck in the net. Make sure the notch didn’t get moved while you’re at it.

Enjoy your clean and fresh pond

Having a skimmer is a real bargain. Because you’re getting permanent relief from regular cleaning duties, which are physically taxing and irritates the hell out of you. It’ll keep your pond clean and toxin-free. After knowing how does a pond skimmer work, I hope it’ll tempt you into getting one for yourself.

I’m not exaggerating when I say it can influence how much you’d enjoy your pond.

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