2manydiversions

How I Keep Fish Out of the Pond Skimmer : )

In another recent thread someone mentioned their fish were swimming into the skimmer, but the original post was asking another question, so I thought I’d post this separately, as I have seen others with this problem.

Our new, small-ish suburban pond has a skimmer (located next to the falls, which DH and I did NOT do, ha ha!). Skimmers are fantastic as they pull in floating debris, bugs, and general gunk. But this means the fish are drawn to things they like to eat that’s been pulled into the skimmer. I also think fish find them to be wonderful caves. I know ours sure did:


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Checking the skimmer daily - often several times a day in an effort to save the fish from dying in the skimmer became time consuming. For those of you who’ve lost fish to skimmers, it’s a heartbreaking problem.

To prevent our fish from getting into the skimmer, I went to our local Walmart and purchased a cake cooling rack (took my tape measure with me to be sure I purchased one large enough to cover the skimmer’s hole). Stainless steel works well as it won’t rust, but the one I found was Teflon coated (black) and it also has not rusted. I made sure the holes were big enough that a lot of debris can go through, but the fish couldn’t (this won’t work for fry – they will fit through the holes… ask me how I know). Screen won’t work as you’ll be removing it and cleaning it constantly, and most cookie cooling racks have the smaller square holes – also too small for floating pond gunk to get through.

This is the cake cooling rack I purchased (but any of the correct size will work):


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I used wire cutters to fit it to the front our out skimmer. Not inside the skimmer – you don’t want to block the weir door (that flapper door). It serves a needed purpose. If you wish, you can use hot glue or silicone caulk on the ends of your cuts so the fish won’t swim against them and get cut. You can then use tie wraps to attach it to your skimmer, or small S hooks. You want to attach it in a way it can be removed (some larger debris such as leaves will get stuck and block it).

Here is ours with the water level lowered, but it’s behind a rock bridge I put in front of and above our skimmer. There is enough space between the skimmer and rock ‘bridge’ at the top to pull the rack out if it needs cleaning, or I use a pool net to round up large debris.


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From an average distance, you don’t know it’s there, and the fish still congregate around it : )

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Hope this is helpful to those with fish and skimmer problems!

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