Does Your Pond Need a Skimmer? 4 Considerations

Last update:

Ponds are beautiful water features, and though they seem simple, there are several pieces of equipment that are important to keep it up and running. One of the most essential parts of a functional pond is the skimmer.

Pond skimmers are important pieces of equipment that most water features need. They help maintain the functionality of the internal pond mechanisms, as well as remove debris, clean and aerate the water, and improve the overall appearance of the pond.

There are a lot of optional items on the market when it comes to setting up and maintaining a pond, but a pond skimmer is pretty much essential! Below we’ll discuss how pond skimmers function, the benefits they provide, and a few highly rated pond skimmers you might want to explore.

What is a Pond Skimmer and How Does It Work?

Although pond skimmers offer many different benefits, at the end of the day, their main job is to remove debris from the surface of your pond. When the top of the water is kept clear, it prevents leaves, pollen, algae, dirt, and other buildup from sinking to the bottom and rotting.

Rotting debris can start to pile up quickly around the bottom, sides, and top of your pond, which will cause multiple problems. Your water will start to become discolored and smelly, pumps will have to work harder to keep up, and your fish and plants may become sick or die.

This debris buildup is the major problem that pond skimmers exist to fix. Skimmers will filter the water through a series of screens and spongy matts before pumping the clean water back into the pond.

Pond skimmers are relatively simple machines, but all their parts serve vital functions.

The main body of most pond skimmers consists of a squarish plastic box that resembles a tote or small garbage can. This structure houses the internal pieces such as the pump and filters.

The box has an opening near the top, which should be situated near the surface level of the pond. This opening is where water and debris will be sucked in and processed. Most pond skimmers have openings that are between 6 and 8 inches long.

A small door (called a weir) floats just inside the entrance of the skimmer. This helps to maintain surface tension and gives the debris enough time to become waterlogged and sink once it’s inside the skimmer.

Below the weir is a basket or net that is there to catch large pieces of debris. As the material becomes wet and heavy, it will sink into this basket and become separated from the clean water. Most of these baskets will be easy for owners to access and clean.

After going through the basket, the water is strained through a sponge, matt, or similar material that will catch small particles of dust, pollen, and algae that might not have been caught by the other filters.

Once everything has been successfully filtered, the water is returned to the pond and the process can continue on without interruption! As long as you remember to empty out the debris basket regularly and make sure the pump is running, you’ll be able to enjoy clean, beautiful pond water without much hassle at all!

If this explanation was a bit hard to follow, there’s a video attached below that will give a visual walkthrough of the filtration process. It demonstrates an animated example of how pond skimmers function. This video is showcasing a specific model, but the process remains similar from one skimmer to another.

Benefits of Pond Skimmers

Now that we’ve explored how pond skimmers function, let’s look at the other long-term benefits they provide!

First and foremost, they will help maintain and reduce the level of debris in your pond. Let’s face it, pond scum is gross! A layer of dirt, pollen, algae, leaves, or any other gunk can build up on the surface and create a pretty disgusting appearance.

Ponds are supposed to connect us with nature, not make us angry at it! Skimmers are easy ways to keep a clear and beautiful water surface.

Speaking of improving appearances, skimmers are also useful because they can hide the pumps and other man-made mechanisms that are necessary for pond upkeep. An exposed pipe or pump can really detract from the aesthetic appeal of a pond, and skimmers can help hide these from view.

Obviously skimmers are a piece of equipment themselves, but they can be easily disguised with a few plants or a flat rock on top of the box. In fact, there are multiple artificial rocks for sale that are designed for this exact purpose!

Pond skimmers can do much more than just improving a pond’s appearance though.

Skimmers can improve the oxygen flow of your pond and provide more oxygen to the plants and fish that live there. Oxygenation is vital to a healthy water system and the filtering and pumping process provided by skimmers can improve the aeration for the whole pond.

Your plants will be able to grow much easier and any fish that you have will be able to grow up stronger and healthier.

Finally, pond skimmers make pond maintenance so much easier for you in the short and long term. Because it cleans the water and keeps the surface clear, you won’t have to worry about skimming it by hand. That’s one less chore to keep track of!

Because it keeps the water clear, it will also help protect the machinery that keeps the pond filled, healthy, and functional. If debris is not removed, it can end up building up inside the machinery.

Once a piece of equipment has been clogged, it will quickly stop working, which will cause much more hassle to the pond owner and could potentially harm the whole pond. Pumps that have to filter through debris will have to work harder and can end up breaking much sooner than expected.

This kind of constant cleaning and filtration is important, especially during periods of seasonal debris, such as pollen season and heavy periods of falling leaves. It would just be too much for one person to keep up with!

Even though pond skimmers need to be regularly emptied, this small effort is well worth it. Hand nets are great, but they can only do so much. Skimmers can catch fine particles that other equipment just can’t process.

This tool is worth every penny because it keeps your pond clean, fresh, and beautiful for years to come!

3 Top Pond Skimmers

Now that we’ve covered all the functions and benefits of pond skimmers, let’s explore some of the best pond skimmers on the market.

All pond skimmers function in a similar way, but there are some variations that potential buyers should keep in mind when they’re looking at getting one. Small, floating pond skimmers are available as well, but these usually work for smaller ponds and none are listed below.

Laguna Pond Skimmer Box

Size: 24.3 x 18.3 x 22.3 inches

Weight: 18.17 Pounds

This skimmer has a simple and clean design that is adaptable for many different pumps and pond sizes. Users have noted that this skimmer is quite easy to install, even for beginners with no experience.

The internal debris-catching net is also easy to lift out and clean. It’s a good all-around skimmer, especially for a first-time buyer.

For more information on this skimmer, including pricing, customer reviews, and delivery options, visit this link (FYI – we receive commissions on qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you)..

Aquascape Signature Series Pond Skimmer Filter

Size: 21 x 22 x 26.5 inches

Weight: 27 Pounds

This pond skimmer has a smooth, rounded design that will fit easily into a variety of locations around a pond. This model comes with a few size variations, which can be helpful depending on the size of your pond. The various models work for ponds that are between 200-1,000 square feet in size.

The Aquascape signature comes with a rigid debris basket that can be easily removed. It also comes with a faux-rock lid that will help it blend in with the natural environment of a pond.

Like other Aquascape products, this also comes with a lifetime warranty. So even if something does go wrong with it, your purchase is protected!

For more information on this skimmer, including pricing, customer reviews, and delivery options, visit this link (FYI – we receive commissions on qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you)..

Atlantic Water Gardens PS4600 Pond Skimmer

Size: 19.5 x 26 x 22 inches

Weight: 18 Pounds

This skimmer comes in a compact, rectangular design. All the parts fit neatly within this tote-like container. With its reinforced outer casing, it is designed to hold up over time.

This product comes with a variety of nets, matts, and brushes, which gives the owner freedom to design the filtration system that will work best for their specific needs.

While this model doesn’t come with a faux-rock lid included, the top is strong enough to support one. It’s easy to customize the skimmer appearance to match your pond’s design! Although this skimmer is on the more expensive end, users of the product have noted it’s good performance.

For more information on this skimmer, including pricing, customer reviews, and delivery options, visit this link (FYI – we receive commissions on qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you)..

Photo of author


We always wanted a fountain of some kind at our house, but professional installation was just too pricey. So, we decided to make our own little fountain and after learning how, we thought we should share our experiences to help people in our same situation.

Leave a Comment