Directions for a DIY Pond Skimmer


DIY pond skimmer


We used a 24” laundry tub. The front of the skimmer will be the side that faces the pond that doesn’t have a lip. The lip is where a faucet is meant to be mounted. We cut it off with a Dremel tool.
Center your opening in the front edge 1.5-2” down and 8-10” wide. You may have to change this opening later depending on the depth of your water and th…

e power of your pump. The object, just like a skimmer in the pool is to pull from the surface of the pond. Depending on the power of your pump and the size of the opening, you may have to adjust the opening. If anything, I’d go wider first. If you go too deep, you won’t be pulling from the surface. If the opening isn’t large enough, the pump will empty the tub before enough water comes in. So again, because we have used certain measurements, doesn’t mean it will work for you.
Our Black Knight Brushes came with a top that had a circle/loop sticking up. The ½” PVC slid perfectly through the circle/loop. I put an elbow on each end of the brush hanger bar and cut a tiny chunk out of the side that sits on top of the tub to hold it in place but if yours hangs over the sides of the tub, it doesn’t matter. I wanted my brushes to just touch the bottom of the tub. The brushes should hang back from the cutout opening maybe 3” to make room for leaves to get sucked in and a place for them to sit without blocking the skimmer opening. I put the media in first against the grate and then put the brushes in and slide them back against the media.
Make the grate to fit inside the width of the tub and depth of the water. It is not necessary to glue the fittings together. Tap them together firmly with a rubber mallet. If for some reason you want to redo something, take your mallet and whack them until they come apart.
The placement of the guides for the grate depends on the physical size of your waterfall pump. Put the grate as close to the pump as possible while still giving room to maneuver the pump if necessary.
Purchase plastic quarter round from Home Depot wood trim dept. Attach one piece of plastic quarter round the full depth of the tub with one flat side against the side of the tub and the other flat side facing where the grate will slide. Lay the grate against it and mark where the second piece should be, remembering to leave a little clearance so the grate will slide easily in the guide. Predrill the holes for the screws so the quarter round doesn’t split out when the screws are inserted.
We bought a low water float from Drs Foster & Smith in case the intake opening gets blocked or the water level goes down. It is mounted on the third cross bar from the top of the grate.
We cut a 3” hole in the front of the tub near the bottom and put a piece of PVC pipe in there but hubby isn’t convinced it makes any difference. I had to rig up a mesh cover for it to keep fish from getting in there.
The pipe going from the pump can be piped through the side of the tub or over the top. You might want to install a valve either there or where the water enters the waterfall tank to keep the water from gravitying back into the pond when the pump is shut off.
We built a dock looking thingy over the top of the tub with removable boards to cover the tub but still give access to it.
You may want to put a plug in the bottom drain hole.

Drawing for pond skimmerin progress skimmer

Thank you very much Esther Waayenberg for sharing this with the Watergardening group on Facebook. I’m storing this here for use this spring.  I’ve been digging for years for a decent DIY pond skimmer.  This looks like an awesome candidate, actually this is the only likely candidate I’ve ever seen.

I would also like to thank the Wakin Filter Guy in Florida for his incredible plans for a pond bio filter.  I build his version this last spring, and it worked beautifully.  I have never, in 7 yrs, had such clear water, all summer long.  It only cost about $125 to build vs. $4-500 for a similar commercial filter.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Esther
    Dec 10, 2012 @ 20:34:10

    By the way, the pump shown has a built in shut off float but they are no longer available on that brand so now we use a separate float. I refuse to have a pump burn up if the water level gets down too far.


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