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Robyn's 50 Gallon Tub Pond Page

Last Updated: 4/26/17

A lotus flower in my 50 gallon lotus tub pond on 8/3/02. This is a first day flower in the morning.

See my Pond Showcase page on this pond.

Physical Attributes

50 gallon black Lerio tub pond in partial sun.
3 feet diameter, 1 foot depth.
Buried during June of 1999.
Pennsylvania fieldstone edging.

Equipment

None until 6/28/03 (see history for previous equipment).
On 6/28/03, I added a 170 gph pump with sponge filter and fleur-de-lis fountain since the poor lotus was dead, and the pond was disgusting. I took the pump out on 10/18/03 for the winter.
On 3/25/07, I added a 40 gph solar pump. After a few months, it stopped pumping.
On 7/12/07, I added a Lifegard Quiet One Model 800, 220 gph, Pentaire Aquatics pump with a small bell fountain and a 10 foot electrical cord. Except for the tube that kept coming off, it was perfect. Later in the summer, it would clog basically daily due to the dirt in the pond (from the raccoons dumping the plants' pots. I took the pump out on 11/4/07 for the year. The pump stopped working late summer 2008 so I took it out on 9/15/08. In the summer of 2009, after the outlet was fixed, I put a new version of that pump in the 50 gallon pond. I removed it for the year on 10/18/09.

On 4/3/11, I put another Lifegard Quiet One Model 800, 220 gph, Pentaire Aquatics pump (my third) in the 50 gallon tub pond. I would take it out in the fall and put it back in the spring.

On 8/26/12, I removed the pump for the year as it had stopped working. Taking it apart, I found no reason for it not to work.

On 4/28/13, I got out the old Quiet One pump and a new one. It turned out the new one was for aquariums (but otherwise the same) so the cord was too short! My only option was to remove the magnet with drive shaft in the new pump and put it in to the old pump. It worked so it ran in this pond (until it died again).

I removed the "new" pump on 6/23/13 as it died over a week ago just in the same manner as the last group! I give up on a pump for that pond.

Animals

All were removed for winter of 1999/2000 to the 153 gallon pond but some frogs and insects may find their way back to the pond. An adult frog was back at the pond within an hour of my emptying it totally on 10/29/99.

2000:
From the indoor 20 gallon tub pond, 7 adult and 7 juvenile white cloud mountain minnows were added on 4/29/00. Also, a trapdoor snail, assorted pond snails, and a green frog tadpole were moved out as well. As of 11/26/00, nine baby white clouds and eight adults were caught to go into the 20 gallon tub pond for the winter. They were still too hard to catch with the plant cover.

2001:
A group of wood frogs showed up to breed in this pond on 3/21/01. I added some spotted salamander eggs and larvae to this pond on 4/4/01. A trillion toad tadpoles hatched out in the pond too! By July, the toad tadpoles were gone and replaced by hundreds of green frog tadpoles.

2003:
Wood frogs laid eggs on 3/23/03. They hatched 4/3/03. Most died when it got too warm (oxygen depletion, starvation?). I do not know if any made it to leave the pond as adults since the water turned green. Later in the summer, a batch of green frog eggs hatched. It was quite a chore trying to net them in the fall before the pond froze as there was a lot of plant matter and stuff that got in the way.

2004:
The wood frogs came back at the end of March 2004 but no eggs yet. They left without laying any eggs. :-( The green frogs later laid plenty of eggs in there.

2005:
On 5/5/05, I put 14 goldfish fry in there to grow out. I added 10 more on 5/8/05 and one on 5/11/05.

2006:
On 7/23/06, I put some goldfish eggs in this pond.

2007:
I redid the lotus tub pond to a regular pond on 3/25/07. At that time, there were two batches of wood frog eggs, one Melantho snail, and one small green frog in the pond. By May, the pond had the wood frog tadpoles and a large colony of daphnia. I did not know how the daphnia got there since the pond was started anew.

2008:
On 5/18/08, I put six little rosy red fry in to my 50 gallon tub pond to control mosquito larvae. I never saw them again.

2009:
A few dozen Melantho snails overwintered in the pond. On 3/28/09, I put hatching wood frog tadpoles in the pond. On 5/10/09, I put four goldfish eggs in the pond.

2011:
I cleaned the pond out on 3/13/11 and moved in nine wood frog egg masses from the 153 gallon pond. I added two Melatho snails and two black ramshorn snails on 4/28/11.

2012:
I cleaned the pond out on 3/6/12. There were about a dozen wood frog eggs masses in the pond or added to the pond. The pond contained a few Melantho and ramshorn snails and a lot of pond snails. On 3/14/12, when I cleaned the 153 gallon pond, I found a newt on the bottom. I put her in the 50 gallon pond.

2013:
I again moved most of the wood frog eggs masses to this pond in late March. By late April, the tadpoles seem to have vanished. It is too soon for them to have morphed so, hopefully, they are just hiding.

2016:
On 3/2/16, I found two large masses of wood frog eggs in my 50 gallon pond! I have not even seen or heard any wood frogs yet! I did see a splash that was probably a wood frog. After work, I dipped a bucket in to the pond to get the eggs and put them in my 20 gallon indoor tub pond. The reason is that, one it is going to get below freezing again and soon, and two, I have not yet cleaned out that pond. Once I get tadpoles, it is too hard to sort them out from the debris. I use a pond vacuum too which does not care what it sucks up. The future tadpoles will be going back in that pond before they are ready to morph.

I moved two more bunches of wood frog eggs from the 153 gallon pond to the 50 gallon pond on 3/27/16. One bunch was in the process of hatching!

2017:
There were wood frog tadpoles again.
On 4/24/17, I put three newborn goldfish in the 50 gallon pond.

Plants

All plants were removed in early 2000 and about 7 pieces of the Mrs. Perry D. Slocum lotus from my main pond were planted into this pond on 3/6/00. The lotus sent up a bud in August of 2000.

In August of 2001, this lotus sent up three blooms!

A bunch of anacharis was added on 4/2/00.

On 4/29/00, a huge bunch of java moss from the indoor 20 gallon tub pond and two water poppies were added.

In 2001, tropical water poppies were added again as well as some salvinia. The poppies did not bloom at all in 2001 (too much shade from the lotus and salvinia?) whereas in 2000, they bloomed a lot. An early frost on 10/9/01 killed off most of the lotus leaves which were huge!

I added some hornwort to the newly redone pond on 3/25/03. Of course, the lotus is in there! On 5/11/03, I put in a tropical water poppy and some submerged plant that I got free (perhaps nitella?) and did not recognize. The lotus had still not sprouted really. There was a weird sheet-like algae growing on the top of this pond. By 6/28/03, the only thing alive in this pond was the poppy, algae, sludge, and mosquito larvae. I could not take it any longer. My poor lotus seemed dead (not one leaf!) despite the 10 feet of tubers I removed during the repotting! I had to improve the pond so I put in a 170 gph pump with sponge filter and fleur-de-lis fountain. It clogged every day at first with blue-green algae but was getting better. At least I have angered the mosquitoes! The mosquito dunks and bits alone did not seem to faze them.

In 2004, the only plants in the pond were water celery that was not supposed to be there! It walked from another pond over to this one! I did order a new lotus and am waiting to put it into this pond.

On 4/23/04, I added the American yellow lotus I ordered. Also added were two free water poppies. The little pump/filter was running but provided almost no water movement and should not bother the plants. The lotus as of 5/14/04 had one half leaf (the deer chewed on it) and may not make it. I pulled some water celery out. Not much else was in there. The poppies were barely alive as well.

By 7/7/04, the deer and snails had so ravaged the lotus that only a few torn leaves remained. The poppy was doing a little better but still no flowers. The deer kept the water celery from taking over as does my pulling it. There was too much dirt on top of the pea gravel now. I redid this pond in 2003 but it needed redoing now; I would do it next spring. By 9/4/04, the lotus had I think one half- chewed leaf, that was it. I should give up!

The 2004 lotus died, and I redid the pond from scratch. On 4/27/05, I put in a new Mrs. Perry D Slocum lotus, 2 water poppies, and 1 blue tropical water lily. By 5/21/05, they were not doing so well, what with the raccoons who kept rooting them up and some nasty algae. I bought a new pump to filter the water but the cord was too short! By 6/2/05, I thought my lotus, poppies, and lily had all had it thanks to the raccoons. The pond was just a cesspool (that filter would have really helped! I wish they still sold the old one I had to replace it.) I guess I can give up on ever having a lotus again (I used to have them do okay years ago).

On 3/26/06, I put in one tuber from my repotted Perry's Yellow Sunburst I think; it was from my main pond. I anchored a rock over the tuber and hoped the animals left it alone. I redid this pond last year but it was a total cesspool with a million leaves, tadpoles, water celery, and hornwort for the most part. They were all inter-matted which makes cleaning impossible. A week later, and I put half a dozen more tubers from the repotting in there that I had been waiting to see what I should do with them.

On 4/29/06, I put a water poppy in this pond.

By 6/1/06, the many lotus tubers were basically all killed off because the raccoons kept digging them up so they would float, and the deer ate any leaves. I give up!

When I redid the tub pond on 3/25/07, the only plants were water celery and hornwort. On 3/29/07, I added in two pots of water iris up on bricks in two gallon pots and one one gallon pot of a waterlily. These were extras from the 153 gallon pond. On 4/18/07, I added a two gallon pot of Albata (white) waterlily from the 5 gallon pot from the 1800 gallon pond when I repotted some lilies.

On 5/12/07, I repotted one of the water lilies because the raccoon had completely unpotted it.

Most of the plants had pretty much died thanks to the raccoons. On 9/30/07, I put two new yellow primrose creepers in the pond, just stuck them in what remainsed of the pots in there.

When I cleaned the pond out on 3/22/09, there remained one two gallon pot with a water lily and one two gallon pot with water celery as well as some hornwort. On 4/1/09, I added a two gallon pot of blue or purple iris from the 153 gallon pond which was cleaned.

On 3/30/11, I added a two gallon pot of iris from the 153 gallon pond.

On 4/10/14, I added a two gallon pot of Chromatella waterlily from the 1800 gallon pond.

In 2015, all the waterlilies in this pond were dead. The two two gallon pots of iris were alive. On 4/8/15, I added a 2 gallon pot of waterlilies from the 153 gallon pond that I cleaned that day.

On 4/17/16, I potted up some purple water iris in a two gallon pot and added it to the 50 gallon pond on bricks.

History, Cleaning, and Photos

1999:

The 50 gallon Lerio tub pond was buried on 6/6/99. Temporarily, it held the animals and plants from the 50 gallon tub until the new 153 gallon pond was done.

This pond held what used to be in the 50 gallon Rubbermaid pond during the summer and fall of 1999. Everything in there was moved to this pond until the 153 gallon pond was built. Only one adult female and a few dozen young mosquito fish were found as the sole fish survivors. Tadpoles, dragonflies, and a pair of green frogs were the only other animals found and moved. By 10/29/99, all these animals were moved to the new 153 gallon pond. While they were in the lotus tub, the PondMaster filter was filtering and aerating the water.

Fish in the tub pond from June of 1999 to October 29, 1999:

Other animals in the pond from June of 1999 to October 29, 1999:

Plants in the pond from June of 1999 to October 29, 1999:

2000:

In early March of 2000, I filled the tub half way with dirt, planted some lotus, topped with pea gravel, and filled the rest of the way with water. With the addition of a few marginals, submerged plants, and fry from my indoor tanks, this would be a whole new little ecosystem in my pond collection. This tub was bought for the lotus which was huge. I was afraid that it would die over winter so I left some of the lotus in the pond, just in case. It was only in a 7 gallon pot in my 1800 gallon pond. Any bigger pot, I could not haul into the pond due to the steep edges. Thus, the lotus needed a larger pot (hence this new pond). The lotus sent out tendrils 10 feet long in 1998 and had never flowered. This lotus had spent three summers in my large pond without even attempting to flower. The largest leaves were at least 16 inches in diameter before they turned yellow in September. Hopefully, it will flower this year! Yes, it did; both in the main pond and this tub! It turned out pink instead of the expected yellow (they said they had sent me Perry's Giant Sunburst which is yellow instead of Mrs. Perry D. Slocum which is pink) but who cares!

2003:

On 3/23/03, I redid this pond after three years! It was a real cesspool! Due to the really cold winter, all remaining animals and plants were killed except the huge lotus tubers. I put in fresh dirt, cut up lotus tubers, pea gravel, and water. There was also a wood frog egg mass. Sounds easy, huh? Well, read my April pond newsletter to read the details of the three-hour adventure to turn the cesspool into a beautiful refurbished pond!
[Unfortunately, as a 7/1/03 update, the pond "went bad." The lotus did not grow a single leaf and blue-green algae took over. It really stunk too. I had to put in a small pond with sponge filter to fix it up.]

Here are some photos from this pond cleaning, wood frog eggs, etc.:
Wood frog eggs as found in the dirty 50 gallon lotus tub pond on 3/23/03.
Wood frog eggs in cleaned 50 gallon lotus tub pond on 3/28/03. The eggs are protected by a vinyl-coated hardware cloth cage/contraption.
Cleaned 50 gallon lotus tub pond on 3/28/03, showing entire pond and eggs in contraption.
For more photos of the wood frog and her eggs as well as information, see my page on wood frogs.

I re-did this pond on 4/4/05. It was really filthy and full of tadpoles. See my May 2005 newsletter for more details. On 4/27/05, I put in a new Mrs. Perry D Slocum lotus, 2 water poppies, and 1 blue tropical water lily. The raccoon ripped them out a few days later so I had to replant them.

2007 Redo:

On 3/25/07, I redid the tub pond. All the lotus were long dead. The wood frogs had just laid two batches of eggs in the pond. It was a total cesspool. The only plants were water celery and hornwort. The only animals were two batches of wood frog eggs, one green frog baby, a Melantho snail, a few leeches, and not much else. I wanted to get rid of the dirt and gravel on the bottom. First, I let the wood frog eggs and some water gently go into a bucket and set them aside. I bailed the water and gunk and dumped it on the lawn. That is the only way I can sort through the slop for animals and plants to save. The water was thick and black and smelled horrible. I did not find any goldfish (I had added eggs the summer before) or even surviving tadpoles. It was a hard winter; the pond probably froze down to the gravel/dirt. I rescued hornwort and a small jumpy frog that I thought was a wood frog but saw it was a green frog when I later put it back. [As I write this, the wood frogs are quacking in the 153 gallon pond.] Then, I used a shovel to dig out the dirt and rocks along with a lot of water still in there. It was painful work. Once I got to the bottom, I completely forgot about the shop vacuum so I did not know how to get up the last bit of dirt, rocks, and water. So, I used paper towels. I would soak a chunk of them, wring it out, and repeat. I used a roll up to get it clean enough to refill. I refilled the tub pond and put in a new 40 mph solar fountain pump. I put a small rock on it to try to hold it down. I am sure the raccoons will have fun knocking it over and generally making a mess. At least, since the pump is off when it is dark, it will not pump it dry if they knock it over (I should catch that in the morning in time) but who knows. The pond was (for now) dirt and leaf free! I had considered putting a bag of pea gravel on the bottom but, when reminded how painful it is to remove stuff from the pond, I decided not to add anything. I plan to maybe put some pots of iris in there later. Here are some photos I took today (I am actually writing this right after I did it for once!):

The 50 gallon before I cleaned it
Two batches of wood frog eggs in the bucket
The slop on the ground that I was sorting through
The 50 gallon after it was done
Baby green frog after I put him back
Cleaned pond - the new fountain, two batches of wood frog eggs, and can you see the green frog on the right?
Close up of wood frog eggs - once the pond was back together.
A leech in the bucket I was using

50 gallon tub pond with the newly added iris on 3/27/07 as part of the 153 pond cleaning.

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2008:

On 3/24/08, I cleaned out the 50 gallon tub pond. It was full of hornwort. In the end, I filled up an entire litter bucket to the top with the hornwort I meticulously saved. There were three dumped pots in the bottom. I found one loose water lily tuber that was mushy (deceased) and one tiny, one inch piece of tuber that was alive. There was water celery which grows like a weed all over and one minute piece of sweetflag I think. It took over an hour to get this pond empty. I bailed most of it. The bottom had a few inches of spilled "aquatic plant soil" (the brown litter you can buy for plants) and pea gravel. I had to shovel that out. I tried to also trim some of the million weeds from around the edge of this pond, mostly Japanese bittersweet but also multiflora rose bush and honeysuckle. I tried to get some of the edge rocks to stay in place a little better by digging out dirt and weeds. The animals in this pond consisted of about a dozen pond snails, a few Melantho snails, a colony of leeches, and one surprise one-inch frog (I put in the 153 gallon pond). I thought it looked like a green frog but wonder what happened to the wood frog. I repotted the three pots with aquatic plant soil, fertilizer, pink quartz gravel, and the three plants. The lily got a two gallon as did the water celery while the tiny sweetflag got the one gallon. The lily went on the bottom of the pond while the other two pots were elevated on bricks. I put the little pump back in to this pond although it is kind of early in the year. I'm betting that the raccoon will have everything de-potted within two nights.

50 gallon tub pond on 4/1/08.

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2009:

On 3/22/09, I cleaned out the 50 gallon tub pond. It was really not a pond but a repulsive cesspool! It was thick with leaves, sticks, slop, gravel, hornwort, terrestrial mint, four bricks, three pots, and a few Melantho snails. I saved about a dozen snails but the debris was too thick to save them all. There were three pots in the bottom. The one gallon pot was 100% dumped and empty. The two two gallon pots were half full of pond planting media. I was too exhausted to do full repottings at that point. So, I just topped them off with new pea gravel. In one pot went the remnants of a waterlily. Most of it was dead but one end was still alive. In the other pot, I put the baby water celery plants that were all over. I also saved a good amount of hornwort. I found one good thing in this pond though - one of the male wood frogs who I put in the 20 gallon tub.

50 Gallon Tub Pond on 4/1/09.

I took these two photos of the 50 gallon tub pond on 4/25/09 showing the wood frog tadpoles in there:
50 Gallon Tub Pond with tadpoles.
50 Gallon Tub Pond with tadpoles, closer in.

I added two jungle valisneria to the waterlily pot, a loose hornwort, and a loose anacharis to the pond on 5/24/09.

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2010:

On 3/29/10, I again cleaned out the 50 gallon tub pond. I had planned for an hour to clean out the 50 gallon tub pond but it took two hours! First, I tried to find the wood frog eggs but could not. Then, I put my torn-up net over the pond vacuum's intake and tried to drain most of the water that way, hoping that with the net, I would not suck up the animals. Animals in this pond included a few hundred Melantho snails, a few ramshorn snails, one aquatic beetle adult which I failed to rescue, and one green frog who spooked me (he went in the 153 gallon). I also had to rescue the plants which included the potted plants (one iris, one waterlily, and errant water celery) and loose hornwort (a good amount) and a few anacharis sprigs. I would estimate that I got over 100 Melantho snails and hopefully saved more than half of them. I would hope the same for the hornwort. It was so meticulous and time consuming to hand pick through the enormous wads of slop to try to save the animals. I eventually could not take it anymore. If a 50 gallon takes two hours to sort through, my 1800 gallon would take 72 hours straight to clean which is why I have never done it! In the bottom of the pond, I found the wood frog eggs. They had not hatched yet but they were all separate. So, I netted and scooped what I could. That meant putting the involved slop back in the pond but I tried to think of it as starter food for them and not a failure in my pond-cleaning abilities. I potted back up three two gallon pots. One had the iris (purple I think, maybe blue) which I hacked up and saved only about a quarter of it. I hated to discard it but my ponds can only hold so many iris. It usually will not flower since I repot it in the spring. I repot the iris in my main pond in the fall which is the way to do it correctly. Another two gallon pot got some water celery, a dozen little sprigs. The final pot got the waterlily which was amazingly still alive but very tiny. Last time, I potted in aquatic plant media (that clay cat litter type stuff). This time, I used clay soil topped with pea gravel. I sure hope the raccoon stays away!

I put the little pump and fountain in the pond on 3/31/10.

50 gallon tub pond - on 3/31/10, cleaned three days earlier.

I removed the dead pump from this pond on 9/5/10. I had a new one for next year.

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2011:

On 3/13/11, I cleaned out the 50 gallon tub pond. I wanted to do it early so that I could move the wood frog eggs out of the 153 gallon pond. Otherwise, on 3/30/11, when I planned to clean that pond, I would have to sift through thousands of tadpoles and most would die as a result. I used the Pondovac to suck out most of the water. When I plugged it in, I found a dozen ants living in the outlet. My father has had to replace that outlet half a dozen times as a result and would not be able to take that again! After I could see them, I pulled out the pots. There was an empty two gallon pot (had water celery) thanks to the raccoons. The two gallon pot of iris and the two gallon pot of a waterlily seemed okay. I was short on time so I did not repot them this year, instead just adding a little bit of old pea gravel and two fertilizer pills for each. I used my hands to lift out buckets of leaves which filled half the pond. Mixed in with them were tons of hornwort and some java moss. I did see a few pond snails early in the cleaning but never any more snails so I did not pick any out for saving. Aside from leeches, no other animals were sighted. I probably saved a third of the hornwort and java moss. There was just tons of it. The bottom was covered in dirt and spilled pea gravel from the pots. I vacuumed out the bottom, put the pots back (the iris on bricks and the waterlily on the very bottom), put the four bricks back, and topped off the pond. Then, I put the hornwort and java moss back. I collected an amazing nine masses of wood frog eggs from the 153 gallon pond and put those in the pond. They sunk. I would feed them once they hatched. I would not put the pump back in for a while. The whole process took a little over an hour because I rushed it by not repotting and not bothering to try to save every bit of hornwort. Plus, although there were tons of Melantho snails in 2010, they apparently all died this past winter. When I put in the wood frog eggs, a black ramshorn and a pond snail came with them so I am sure they will soon overpopulate the pond.

Photos from 3/13/11:
50 gallon tub pond before being cleaned.
50 gallon tub pond half empty during cleaning. Yuck!!

I removed the pump from the 50 gallon tub pond on 10/9/11. I could not find the intake sponge or the uplift tube. The raccoon kept removing them.

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2012:

I cleaned out the 50 gallon tub pond on 3/6/12. I thought it would take a few hours but it took three hours! I found probably 8 wood frog egg balls in that pond and also took another 5 or so out of the 153 gallon pond. They were just starting to fall apart so if I had waited a few days, it would have been too late. I wanted to wait as this morning, it was 25 degrees F at dawn and only 45 degrees F at 2 pm when I started. The 50 gallon tub pond was iced over in the morning. Because we really had no winter this year, the plants and animals in the tub pond all survived the winter which meant a lot more hand picking out animals. I found dozens of green frog tadpoles from very tiny to ready to morph. They all hatched from eggs last summer or early fall. There were a lot of small pond snails but only a few ramshorn (two species) and Melantho snails. I took some photos of a few large leeches. Those leeches feed on debris (not fish, after all this pond is fishless). The pond was full of tons of hornwort in good condition. There were three two gallon pots in the bottom of the pond. The one with the waterlily was dead. The other two were iris. I repotted the iris in to all three two gallon pots but had to toss a lot of it as it was overgrown. I had not repotted them last year (2011) so the iris were big. I do not know if they will flower this year due to the repotting but they flowered well last year. I potted all three pots in real dirt. One was formerly in aquatic planting soil (like clay litter). I found the uplift tube for the little pump that I use in the 50 gallon pond in the summer and also the intake sponge. The raccoon removed both last summer, and I could not find them! I would wait to put the pump back in; it was still too early.

I took these photos on 3/6/12 when I cleaned out the 50 gallon pond.
50 gallon tub pond before being cleaned, full of wood frog eggs
Wood frog eggs
Wood frog eggs in my hand
Leech - one of the leeches from the pond stuck in the bucket.
Hornwort in my hand

From 3/8/12:
Three ponds - left to right the 50 gallon tub pond, 20 gallon tub pond, and 153 gallon liner pond, facing north
Three ponds facing northwest, 153 gallon pond in the front, 20 and 50 gallon tub ponds in the back

I put the pump in the 50 gallon pond on 3/14/12. The wood frog eggs were ready to hatch at any moment. They were all hatched by 3/17/12.

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2013:

I cleaned out the 50 gallon tub pond on 3/14/13 from 12:45 pm to 3:30 pm. Alas, it was 37 degrees F with winds from hell (sustained 30 mph or so with gusts to 50 mph). I really had to clean the 50 gallon pond regardless because, in a few days, the wood frog eggs (laid 3/12/13) would fall apart, and in about two weeks, they would hatch. It is impossible to clean a pond with hundreds of loose eggs and/or minute tadpoles without killing at least half of them.

I had forgotten how difficult cleaning the 50 gallon pond is! I first bailed a little water and used the suction of that water going in the bucket to remove the one wood frog egg mass in this pond. I could not use the shop vacuum as the pond had tadpoles in there. They were probably green frog tadpoles from last fall but might be pickerel frog tadpoles. I bailed water and poured it through a net, and then I hand picked out the tadpoles. For solids (tons of leaves, sticks, pine cones, dirt, and rocks), I used my hands to remove solids and then hand sifted those for animals. I ended up finding the one wood frog egg mass, one female wood frog, one male wood frog, a ton of hornwort, a few hundred green frog tadpoles, and fewer than a dozen pond snails. I put the female frog in the 153 gallon pond but kept the male with the hornwort and tadpoles as I worked. I got the pond cleaned and mostly refilled it. I then borrowed the Luft air pump from the 153 gallon pond to aerate the water in the 50 gallon pond. With so many tadpoles, I did not want them gasping for air in newly-pumped well water. There were three two gallon pots in the pond on six bricks. One was dead. The other two contained one yellow flag iris and one purple iris. I repotted them in to the same three pots, splitting the purple iris in to two pots. I put the animals and hornwort back in the pond and the pots when they were done. I found and moved five wood frog eggs masses from the 153 gallon pond to the 50 gallon tub pond. If I did not do this, it would be nearly impossible to clean the 153 gallon pond in a few weeks, at least not without killing most of the wood frogs due to their minute hatchling size. The egg masses were already falling apart, and it is much easier to move one mass than hundreds of individual eggs.

I took these photos on 3/14/13 when I cleaned out the 50 gallon pond.
Pots and supplies all being worked on
Hornwort sitting in a bucket
Partially empty pond - the 50 gallon pond, about three quarters empty
Wood frog eggs sitting in a bucket
Cleaned 50 gallon pond

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2014:

I cleaned out the 50 gallon tub pond on 3/23/14. It was about 42 degrees F with little winds. The water was covered in an oily sheen and stunk horribly. It would have taken hours to clean except that after sifting through a few buckets, it became clear that, due to the bad winter (extended ice cover, low temperatures, lots of snow), everything in the pond was dead. There were over 100 dead tadpoles, and I saw just two snails, both dead. I found the following plants - some anacharis, some hornwort, two two gallon pots of iris, and a waterlily tuber that was still hard (not smushy like dead ones). I saved at least half of the submerged plants (hard to save them all). I repotted the plants back in to the same pots. I filled the pond back up. There were no frogs and no wood frog eggs this year to contend with but boy do I miss them. It may be too late when spring finally does arrive for them to breed this year.

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2015:

On 3/29/15, I needed to clean out the 50 gallon tub pond because there were already wood frog eggs in there. It was 40 degrees F out when I cleaned it in the afternoon, and the ponds were frozen over at dawn when it was in the 20's. The pond was a cesspool of leaves and pine needles. I figured with the horrible winter that we had, all the animals were dead, and they mostly were. I found four Melantho pond snails. I found one tiny little sprig of hornwort. All the other hornwort and anacharis was dead. The new arrivals, the wood frogs, were in there though. Aside from the batch of eggs which I removed before anything else, I found one amplexing pair and two individual wood frogs. While the eggs were set aside and put back in to the 50 gallon when done, I put the four frogs in the 153 gallon pond which itself has yet to be cleaned. I put some anacharis from the 153 gallon pond in to the 50 gallon pond. I repotted the two pots of iris. The other two pots were dead with the waterlilies.

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2016:

On 3/13/16, I cleaned this tub pond since there were wood frogs eggs in there. I removed three massive wads of wood frog eggs from the 50 gallon tub pond and set them aside. I bailed the pond down. Once I was half way down, it was obvious that there were no surviving tadpoles so, to save time, I used the pond vacuum to drain the pond down quickly. Luckily, the frogs are good at avoiding the suction. I found a total of one baby green frog and seven wood frogs! I put them in the other ponds while cleaning the 50 gallon. I also found a predaceous diving beeetle, a few pond snails, and seven Melantho snails. I found a few anacharis and hornwort plants but not a ton like in previous years. Once the pond was cleaned out, I turned my attention towards the three two gallon pots. One had nothing left in it so I dumped that one. One pot had a water iris and one had a waterlily. Instead of repotting this year, I just topped off with gravel due to lack of time. Also, the water iris rarely flower the year they are repotted. I put the plants back, put the air stone from the 153 gallon pond in the 50 gallon pond for about an hour while I cleaned the big pond, and then put back the plants, snails, and wood frog eggs. I removed another three clumps of wood frog eggs from the 153 gallon and put them in the 50 gallon pond. Cleaning the 50 gallon pond took about 1.5 hours not including the time waiting for the pond to aerate while I did more chores.

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2017:

On 3/26/17, I cleaned out the 50 gallon tub pond. I bail sifted about half a dozen buckets through a net and only found some Melantho pond snails so I decided to pond vacuum the rest and hand remove the solids (mostly leaves, pine needles, sticks, and sunflower seed shells as the bird feeder is about 10 feet away). I had limited time so I tried to clean this pond in 1.5 hours. The pond was a real cesspool. I found a few sprigs of anacharis and hornwort but most had rotted. I saved a few dozen Melantho snails. I found only one tadpole, a larger green frog tadpole. I found four frogs. I didn't spend much time trying to identify them (they were still that blah brown of hibernating frogs) but there were 2 or 3 wood frogs and 1 or 2 green frogs but definitely some of both. I put the frogs in the 20 and 153 gallon ponds as I found them. I found one predaceous diving beetle. There were three two gallon pots in the pond. For the waterlily pot, I just removed the top dirty gravel, fertilized, and put in new pea gravel. The other two pots were water iris, and I fully repotted those with clay dirt, fertilizer, and pea gravel, throwing about two thirds of the plants. I have more iris than space. I put everything back (except the frogs who were put in the other ponds) and moved some wads of anacharis from the 153 gallon pond to the 50 gallon pond. Over time, I will move wood frog tadpoles that I have in the indoor and outdoor 20 gallon ponds to this pond to spread them out more.

Photos

Most of the photos of this pond are above in the history section as I tell the story of the pond. These photos below got left out of that dialog.

Photos are listed from most recent to oldest.

On 8/3/02, in the morning, I took a number of photos of the blooming first-day lotus flower in this pond. Photo One shows the whole area around this pond from afar, Photo Two shows my hand by the side of the flower to give an idea of size, Photo Three shows the flower looking from above (I tilted the flower actually), and Photo Four shows the flower from the side with a number of the lotus leaves.

Picture of 50 gallon lotus tub, no lotuses yet, water lettuce, parrot feather, primrose creeper, etc., 8/11/99.

I put a new (7/06) photo of this decrepit pond up on Pond Showcase as this sample page.


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