Like pumps and filters, pond skimmers help to keep pond water clean and clear. Traditionally used to help remove floating debris from the surface of swimming pool water, in recent years, skimmers have become increasingly popular mechanisms for maintaining backyard ponds.
Skimmers, and biological filters for that matter, are particularly popular for koi ponds – quite simply because they provide an assurance that you will be able to see the beautiful fish in the water. If the water is allowed to become murky or cloudy, or worse still green and slimy, you won’t get the same pleasure. Nor will the fish. So, when you get to the point of buying your fish pond supplies, be sure to check out what skimmers are available.
Basics of Pond Skimmers
Some pond skimmers are made to be built into the pond structure itself, sometimes attached to a filtration unit. These are usually suitable for both concrete and liner ponds that have a floating collar weir.
Others are intended either for concrete ponds or specifically for those constructed using a liner.
Some designs are simply set in the ground next to the pond, at water level. Others are made to float, which means that you can use them in an older pond that was not designed with an integrated skimmer unit.
Most pond skimmers work in conjunction with a pond pump that forces the water into the skimmer where debris is separated.
While they don’t filter the water, pond skimmers do prevent the water becoming excessively polluted by debris that might otherwise sink to the bottom of the pond and rot. This does not mean that if you install a skimmer you can leave the pond to itself. It really is just a useful aid. Furthermore, you will have to remember to remove debris from the skimmer basket or sieve regularly, particularly in the fall and in windy weather.
The Importance of Healthy Pond Water
Whether you have built a pond for fish, or simply to have a pleasing water feature in your yard, it’s important to keep the water healthy.
If debris is not removed from the pond, it will sink to the bottom and decompose. Not only will this make the water murky and green, but it will probably also start to smell. If you have fish in the pond, they might not survive.
While pond skimmers are designed to control floating debris, it is good practice to rake out fallen leaves, grass cuttings and other rubbish that falls into the water – all year round! This means that if the weather has been bad, for example if there’s been a particularly windy spell, or a lot of rain, then do a clean-up yourself.
Don’t leave it for a whole season, because floating debris only floats for so long, and a skimmer won’t cope on its own.
To back up a skimmer, it is also a good idea to install a filter, particularly if you are keeping fish in the pond. A filter will manage the debris that you and the skimmer have missed, and will also filter out smaller matter, including toxins, dust, algae, bacteria, uneaten fish food, and waste excreted by your fish.