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Robyn's Pond Blog for March 2020

Last Updated: 4/9/20

1. On 3/1/20, the air temperature was 44 degrees F at 1:30 pm. The 1800 gallon pond was at 42 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 50 degrees F. I did not get in the big pond. I added water and additives and removed leaves from the ponds.

2. The night of 3/3/20, it was raining, and I heard the first male woodfrog call of the year! There was a batch of eggs in the 153 gallon pond by morning. It is four weeks until I clean the pond so I will have to move the eggs to a holding pond somewhere until I get the 50 gallon tub pond cleaned.

3. On 3/7/20, knowing that I would have no time to clean any of the ponds for at least 8 days, I collected all the wood frog eggs, put them in a mesh bag, and put it in my 65 gallon aquarium. My only fish in there, Plecy, who was 26 years old had died, and there are just at on of black ramshorn snails in there. The mesh bag keeps the snails from eating the eggs. When they hatch, the babies will fit through the holes. I will have to put something over the filter intake when that happens. Once the ponds are cleaned, I'll move the tadpoles and snails outside.

4. At 2:15 pm on 3/8/20, the air was at 58 degrees F. The 1800 gallon pond was at 47 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 52 degrees F. I removed both de-icers and the lid on the biofilter as well as the lighted Rudolph by the big pond outlet (which tells me at a glance if there is power there). I got in the big pond and took out the filter floss to squirt it off. I collected leaves, put in additives, and added water. I took a dead 3" pickerel frog out of the big pond. It was going to be over 70 degrees F the next day so I started feeding the fish. I moved another bunch of wood frog eggs to the 65 gallon aquarium.

5. At 12:40 pm on 3/15/20, the air temperature was 48 degrees F. The 1800 gallon pond was at 52 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 50 degrees F. I got in the big pond to take out the floss to squirt it down. There was a dead frog in the pond but I forgot to fish it out. There was a two-lined salamander in the basket in with the filter floss. I put him/her back in the pond. They are probably breeding in the waterfall.

At 1:40 pm, I started cleaning out the 20 and 50 gallon tub ponds. They were cesspools as always this time of the year. Unlike most years, the snails and tadpoles were alive in there, making the cleaning more tedious as I wanted to save as many animals as possible. There were hundreds of pond snails so I didn't worry too much about some of them being lost or dying but I picked out those that I could. There were two empty Melantho snail shells but none living. I found 6 green frog tadpoles in the 50 gallon pond and one large one in the 20 gallon pond (they were all put in the 50 gallon pond when done). There was one wood frog, one big green frog, and one small green frog in the 50 gallon pond which I moved to the 153 gallon pond. There were no wood frog eggs in those ponds. Both ponds had copious hornwort but no surviving anacharis.

I repotted one waterlily and two iris in the 50 gallon pond and one iris in the 20 gallon pond. All were in two gallon pots. I realized I was out of pea gravel. This was for three reasons. One, dad used to get it for me, and now he is dead. Two, spring was two weeks early. Three, the coronavirus pandemic began in full swing, and that is all any of us were thinking about most of the time. So, I rounded up all the used, dirty rocks I could find to top off the pots.

6. On 3/16/20, I moved the bag of wood frog eggs from inside my 65 gallon aquarium and put them in the 50 gallon pond. Most had already hatched but there were a few left. The aquarium now has hundreds of wood frog tadpoles and black ramshorn snails. I will move them to the outside ponds little by little.

7. The goldfish started spawning on 3/21/20, about a month early! They stirred up so much debris and made a mess!

8. The morning of 3/22/20, I found what looked like a “dead” green frog on top of the pond net when it was below freezing. He moved a tiny bit when I put him in the water so he may have survived!

9. I did pond chores on 3/22/20. The air temperature was 50 degrees F at 2 pm. It had been below freezing that morning but 80 degrees F just two days before! Both thermometers showed the 153 and 1800 gallon ponds to be at 53 degrees F. Since the goldfish had been spawning, the filter material around the pump was full of mulm and filth. It was heavy! Everything is a month ahead of schedule! I set up the Biosteps filter to try to deal with all the stirring up from spawning. I didn't have time to set up the auxiliary pump, pull back the net, set up the clothesline, and so on. I was still weak from being sick the day before.

I pulled the two pots of golden club to the shallows. They're already starting to bloom! I put new ant traps in the two pond outlets. I removed three dead frogs, all pickerels, one about 2 inches and the other two were 3 or 4 inches long.

10. On 3/29/20, at 11:20 am, the air temperature was 52 degrees F. The 1800 gallon pond was at 55 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 50 degrees F. Spring has come a month early! Daffodils are finishing. I had to do a bunch of stuff I normally don't do until mid to late April. First, I removed the full net. I put up the clothesline around the edge of the pond to deter deer, herons, etc. I squirted off the filter flosses and bioballs. There was one pickerel frog in there. All the materials were heavy with mulm the fish had stirred up. I set up the auxiliary pump, adding more water coming down the main waterfall (and another filter floss to squirt weekly). I put a new air stone on the airline in the 1800 gallon pond because it was lost. I put the half net on the deep end to protect the fish.

11. I had off work on 3/30/20. I cleaned the 153 gallon pond and the 30 gallon pond. Read the details here. New animals found this year included an amplexing pair of spring peepers and three two-lined salamander larvae with gills! Unfortunately, the pond was down to just one rosy red minnow. If I get around to it, I will try to get some more native fish for this pond!

12. On 3/31/20, the great blue heron showed up. How do they always know when the net comes off! It was only two days, and there he/she was!

Continue to the April 2020 pond blog.

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