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Optimize Pond Filter Performance

Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
Cold Weather Pond Care 
Winter Pond FAQs 
Compare Pond De-Icers 

During spring and summer, a skimmer filter does an excellent job of removing floating debris before it settles to the bottom. However, during autumn, when the volume of debris (namely leaves) increases, the skimmer filter is often taxed to its limit and requires the pond owner to actively remove the excess leaves.

Small or manageable numbers of leaves can be removed using pond rakes and skimmer nets. This not only alleviates the demand placed on the skimmer filter, but manual removal of the leaves also prevents the skimmer filter from getting clogged and maintains proper water movement vital for the health of the pond.

Cover Your Pond with Nets
Many pond owners quickly realize that removing leaves can become a tedious and seemingly unending task, especially if there are several large trees on the property. The best way to maximize leaf-removing efforts is to prevent leaves from falling into the pond in the first place. Pond netting, draped over the entire pond, provides a protective screen that keeps the majority of leaf litter and debris out of the pond. Simply unfasten the pond netting and remove fallen leaves in bulk. Repeat this process until all the leaves have dropped from the trees and the area around the pond is raked free of leaves.

Clean Out Decomposing Leaves
Once the immediate threat of falling leaves has passed, remove the few remaining leaves that may have slipped through the pond netting using a pond rake or net. Perform a small water change and use fresh chemical filter media, such as activated carbon, to remove odors and discoloration. A pond vacuum is excellent for removing smaller organic debris that may have settled between rocks. Also, condition the pond with bacterial additives specifically formulated to work in cooler water temperatures. The beneficial bacteria will help process organic materials more efficiently and eliminate unpleasant odors.


  • Pond Netting - Virtually invisible multi-purpose nets catch leaves before they get in your pond.
  • Pond Vacuums - Vacuum devices remove debris and algae from pond water and tackle any pond job quickly and efficiently.
  • Microbe-Lift Autumn/Winter Prep - Specially formulated to accelerate the decomposition of organic material during the cooler autumn and winter months.
  • Drs. Foster & Smith Premium Activated Carbon - Effectively removes a wide variety of pond contaminants including pesticides, chlorine, dissolved organics, ozone and heavy metals to keep koi, goldfish and other pond inhabitants healthy.
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