Ensuring your pond does not get overwhelmed by large amounts of organic matter is key to keeping your fish and water quality healthy; as well as protecting your filter systems from over-working and filtering out more waste than is needed. If organic debris is allowed to build up and sink to the bottom of your pond it will decay, increasing the amounts of nitrates and ammonia.
From surface skimming to the traditional pond net method - below we have outlined the various ways in which you can help keep your pond debris free, and how to protect it in the future.
So, whether you're just starting out with your first pond project and are looking for an easy to digest guide, or you're already familiar with filtration and just looking for a snippet of information, we hope we've got you covered.
What is a pond skimmer? Pond Skimmers do pretty much what they say on the tin - they skim the surface of your pond, collecting debris and other floating organic matter and deposit the waste into a waste basket. This is typically achieved using a pump that causes the natural flow of the water to enter the skimmers mouth. Surface tension is everything with pond skimmers, so a weir is used to ensure maximum surface tension is created - without this your pond skimmer will not be effective at dragging in floating debris.
Pond skimmers come in a variety of types:
- Surface skimmers - float on the surface collecting debris and are best for small sized ponds. Some units come with integrated pumps and are quick and easy to get running
- Submerged surface skimmers - Designed to be placed in the middle of your pond and anchored down, a pump is attached to the unit in order to draw water in. These skimmers extend vertically until they reach the surface of your pond water where they can suck floating debris into the waste basket, the height of the skimmer adjusts depending on water levels. The waste baskets on these skimmers tend to be quite small so require regular emptying
- Skimmer boxes - Usually Installed on the banks of your pond drawing in large amounts of water and are designed for larger pond spaces. Some units are also designed to be used externally outside of the pond. Some Skimmer boxes can also be a 2-in-1 pond filter and skimmer device. Skimmer boxes often feature a mechanical door that helps to prevent fish from entering and becoming trapped
Some pond skimmers offer a second layer of foam filtration which filters out smaller particulates. Check the description of the pond skimmer you're interested in to see if this feature is included.
Pond skimmers can sometimes come equipped with their own internal pump system such as the Oase SwimSkim CWS 50 surface skimmer. Other units require an external pump to be connected. To do this you must match the flow rate of both the pump and the skimmer, for example a 6,000lph pump you will require a skimmer that can support that flow rate.
Clearing surface debris from your pond manually is still a tried and tested method for getting the job done.
Using a pond net is quite simple really, all that is required is a suitable skimming net. Skimming nets can be identified by typically being large and square with flat bases that act to collect as much debris as possible.
Doing this on a regular basis helps to keep your pond clean and prevent organic matter from building up, sinking, and later decaying which could put added pressure on your existing filtration systems.
A way to prevent organic matter from falling into your pond in the first place is to use pond netting that will catch fallen debris. The netting also helps to gather and dispose of the debris as once it has been trapped in the mesh you can simply gather the netting up and carry the debris away.
An added benefit to using pond netting across your pond is that it also helps to keep predators from disturbing the plant life in your pond, as well as protecting your pond plants.
When not using your pond netting, perhaps in the spring and summer months, it also doubles up as a great way to protect your growing garden plants and crops.
Floating pond protectors are also a useful alternative to traditional pond netting as they act to float on top of your ponds surface creating a barrier between your clean pond water and the outside elements.