Keeping a pond surface clear of leaves, dead insects and other debris is a constant battle that can take up an awful lot of your time, or is it? It is true that pond maintenence can be a very time consuming task and one of the least enjoyable aspects of pondkeeping for many. However, there are plenty of ways to lighten the load with a pond skimmer being one of the most effective premptive methods.
In this guide to choosing the best pond skimmer we will be sharing all the important information you need to know for finding the right model for your ponds needs. To save you time wading through the many options available we have compiled a list of our top 5 recommendations. In there you will find models suitable for ponds of all sizes as well as catering to different budgets.
What Is A Pond Skimmer
In short a pond skimmer is a device that is designed to clear a ponds surface of debris before it becomes waterlogged and sinks to the bottom. In addition to keeping your pond looking nice and clean they also serve other benefits to a pond.
Without a pond skimmer, leaves, twigs, pollen and other debris can quickly sink and begin to decompose causing problems for your ponds inhabitants. Firstly, this can lead to an increase in algae growth which in turn will reduce oxygen levels in the water. Another benefit of pond skimmers are that they provide aeration increasing oxygen levels in the water.
There is of course the option to use a pond net to remove any floating debris and you can do a good job with a good pond net. However, this requires you to be on constant alert to keep up with any falling leaves and twigs, especially during autumn. As good as pond nets are they don’t have the ability to filter out smaller debris such as pollen.
What Are The Different Types Of Pond Skimmers
There are three different types of pond skimmers to choose from which makes choosing one even harder than you may of first thought. The key to knowing which one is the best for your needs it to know the differences as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each one.
Pond Skimmer Box
Also known as a wall mounted pond skimmer a skimmer box is best suited for larger ponds. In most cases they are installed during the construction of a pond as they can be quite tricky to install on a pond that has already been built. A skimmer box has a wide mouth and is capable of dealing with large amounts of pond debris. These are by far the least affordable option but the best for bigger ponds.
Submersible Surface Skimmer
These are placed on the bottom of a pond at a certain depth and usually weighed down with rocks. They feature an adjustable/telescopic pole design that allows you to set the skimmer so that it just touches the water surface. A pump will then suck water and debris in to the plastic mesh basket. Surface pond skimmers tend to be the most affordable option and are suitable for both small and large ponds.
Floating Pond Skimmer
These are the most popular type of pond skimmer and as the name suggests they float on the ponds surface. A floating pond skimmer is a great option for those with a small pond. When it comes to large ponds they are not the best but there are one or two good options available. They work by simply floating on the surface of the pond and collecting any debris they come in to contact with. Featuring a built-in pump there is no need to install them and they are great for keeping ponds free from ice in the winter.
How Does A Pond Skimmer Work
The mechanics behind pond skimmer’s is very simple with gravity doing much of the work. The skimmer is positioned so it is level with the water table. With the aid of a pump water then flows in to what is called the weir and with the help of surface tension a continious flow of water occurs. This will draw any floating debris in to the mesh basket/net to be removed later.
The now clean water is then pumped back into the pond from below the water surface. This continuous process ensures your pond is free from any debris.
Buying Tip: It is recommended that for a pond skimmer to be effective it should be able to filter the total volume of water in a pond in an hour.
How To Install A Pond Skimmer
Best Pond Skimmer
Oase Swim Skim Skimmer 25
As with most pond equipment the Oase brand is considered the leading player when it comes to the best pond skimmers. There models are typically more expensive than other brands which is mainly due to the superior quality of their products. The Oase Swim Skim 25 is one of their best sellers and a very popular choice among pondkeepers in the UK.
The Oase Swim Skim is a simple to use model that doesn’t require you to cut the pond liner to install it. Simply place it in your pond and weigh down with a rock or two. It features a powerful 2500 LPH pump and is suitable for ponds with a surface area up to 25m². A positive feature is the oxygen injector which adds oxygen as well as a fine foam to pond water which aids with biological filtration. We also like the high amount of automatic adjustment of this skimmer saving you the hassle of doing it manually if the water level changes.
The Not So Good
When buying the best of anything the price is usually the main concern for most people and Oase pond equipment isn’t cheap.
For small ponds the Swim Skim does an excellent job of debris removal. The built-in sponge filter even removes debris as small as pollen improving water quality and depth visibility making this a good choice for koi fish ponds. If only the best will do for your pond then the Swim Skim comes highly recommended
Oase Built-in Surface Skimmer Biosys Skimmer
The Not So Good
Oase AquaSkim 40 Skimmer
The Not So Good
Velda Pond Skimmer
Velda are another popular pond equipment brand with their floating pond skimmer been a favourite choice for many.
With this been a floating pond skimmer it comes with its own built-in pump which is capable of a flow rate of 2000 litres per hour. It is recommended that this model should only be used on ponds with a surface area of 20m². However, there are a few customer reviews to be found saying it works perfectly fine on ponds with a larger surface area. Just how large we don’t know but it is good to know that you could get away with using it on a slightly bigger pond than recommended.
Another positive is how easy this skimmer is to set up and install. It literally only takes a few minutes to have it out the box and in the pond working away.
The Not So Good
Customer reviews are a mixed bunch with this model with some praising it and others saying how disappointed they were with it.
For smaller ponds the Velda pond skimmer is more than capable of removing debris and improving water clarity. Considering the price though, I can’t help but think that you would be far better off spending just a litte bit more and getting the Oase Swim Skim 25. The difference in price is minimal but in overall performance and quality the Swim Skim by Oase wins every time.
All Pond Solutions Koi Fish Pond Surface Skimmer
All pond solutions are a brand with a solid reputation for producing very good quality pond equipment at a reasonable price. With many of their products being best sellers on Amazon they are a popular brand with a full range of high quality pumps, filters and pond skimmers.
Designed for use on medium to large ponds the All Pond Solutions surface skimmer is suitable for ponds with a maximum surface area of 40m². It features a telescopic riser that allows it to be used in ponds with a depth of between 71cm and 86cm. It will also automatically adjust with the water level up to 10cm. The fact it comes with a large gravel tray to weigh it down is a positive as some pond skimmer models can be tricky to place correctly. There is no pump with this model, hence the cheap price but when hooked up to a pump it has an output of between 8000 and 16000 LPH.
The Not So Good
Just to make it clear there is no built-in pump with this model and one has to be bought separately
If you already have a spare pump then this surface skimmer from All Pond Solutions is a bargain. Suitable for use on large ponds it is capable of removing all types of debris and is worth considering, especially if you aren’t looking to spend too much.