Fish Safe Pond Skimmer ~ The Most Fish Friendly

fish friendly pond skimmer

Wondering Which Pond Skimmer is Fish Friendly?

The following products are what we feel are the best fish safe pond skimmers on the market currently. 

  1. Oase Aquaskim
  2. Russel Water Gardens HydroSieve
  3. The Helix pond skimmer

Let us explain them and tell you their positives and negatives. 

The numbering goes along with price points and the skill required for installation. 

Before we get into the skimmer, though, tell me why this is important.  

Most skimmers have “weir” doors, which are essentially just doors that float and go up and down as the water level and pump suction dictates—creating surface tension to pull water into the skimmer.  

If a fish decides to chase some food into the skimmer, the problem arises.  They can make it up and over the weir door with the help of the water current.  Getting out is another story.  Usually, they become stuck and cannot get back out of the skimmer once in.  

If you don’t check your skimmer daily if it has a weir door, you could have a dead fish in there and not know it.  So, regular inspection and getting to trapped fish early will significantly increase saving it.

The following skimmers do not have this weir door and are considered safer for pond fish.  Although it is not 100% and some designs are better than others. 

This is mainly with smaller fish such as goldfish and minnows.  They should be pretty safe if you have good-sized koi with this skimmer design.

aquaskim pond skimmer
oase aquaskim in use

1.) Oase Aquaskim 40″

This fish friendly pond skimmer comes in first due to its price point.  At the time of writing, it was retailing for $122.99 on Amazon.

It is mainly for smaller ponds as it can only cover 270 sq. ft. of pond surface.  

Installs in 8-22″ water depths and can fluctuate with water levels up or down 6″.  

Pumps sized 1600-3500 GPH are recommended with the option to use 1″, 1-1/4″, and 1-1/2″ pond tubing

Notes:  This is for smaller ponds and still risks smaller fish getting sucked into the debris basket.  Use with caution.

Fish friendly pond skimmer
fish friendly pond skimmer from russel

2.) HydroSieve by Russel Water Gardens

The HydroSieve also is rated for pump flow rates up to 3500 GPH.  

Where this fish safe pond skimmer shines is build quality—being made in the U.S.A. and with top-notch features like a stainless steel filter basket (not cheap plastic).  You can also install this skimmer away from the pond edge for remote installation with a 4″ pipe and “one-nut” attachment to the pond liner.

At writing, this skimmer retails for $449.99 plus shipping at Russel Water Gardens

Notes: This is an excellent skimmer that is safe for fish.  High-quality parts like the easy-to-clean stainless debris basket and remote installation make this unit stand out from the crowd.

fish friendly pond skimmer
helix pond skimmer

3.) Helix Pond Skimmer

A professional pond contractor developed the helix pond skimmer filter.  Like the other fish-safe pond skimmers, it uses a floating ring instead of a weir door.  It allows fish to swim into the skimmer unit itself and swim back out, usually without harm.

The opening is 12″ across, and the floating circular weir is 15″ in diameter. 

The Helix skimmer can be used for most pond sizes until you get to the larger ponds.  Here you may need a different skimmer or a second helix unit. 

You can use either submersible or external pond pumps.  The size range for GPH is 1500-8000.  

The skimmer starts to get up in price.  At the time of writing, they retailed for $499.99.

Notes:  While not perfect, it is pretty close.  The Helix gives you plumbing and pump options,  has an auto-fill feature, and has excellent overall quality.

We hope this helps you learn about fish safe pond skimmers.  For more information and other products, check out our main pond skimmer page.

Last Updated on February 25, 2022 by Davin