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Robyn's Pond Blog for April 2013

Last Updated: 5/5/13

1. On 4/2/13, I did some pond chores. The 1800 gallon pond was at 48 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 49 degrees F. Those water temperatures are 8 degrees colder than last year at this time. Spring is still not here. The winds were hellacious. I squirted off the main filter flosses which were pretty dirty. I removed a dead large, 5" pickerel frog that had been dead for weeks in the big pond.

2. On 4/3/13, I set up the mosaic pond on the front porch. The cords no longer bend where I want them to so they won't go down the trough made for them so the mosaic no longer can sit flat.

3. The morning of 4/8/13, there was a small, dead green frog dried up on the netting on land. He was not stuck in the net nor did he have any injuries so I'm not sure what happened to him.

4. On 4/8/13, I did some pond chores. The air temperature was 78 degrees F. The 1800 gallon and 153 gallon thermometers both read 59 degrees F. I removed some leaves, topped off all the ponds which were all an inch or two low (no rain), put some additives in, and squirted off the main filter floss. I also set up the auxiliary pump that puts more power in to the waterfall. I had bought new tubing for the pump because the old tubing cracked. I bought a "better" brand for more money. It was the same dimensions (I checked the pump instructions and physically measured the pump and old tubing to match for the new tubing) but, when I put it over the pump's outlet, it was too loose! Luckily, I found a female connector to hook on the pump. The other end was male with an old piece of cut tubing stuck on it. With that tubing on, the new tubing fit over it. There were two other problems with the tubing. It was too hard to cut so I have too much of it, and the stuff had been wrapped in a circle for so long that it will simply not straighten out. So, it looks like a big snake or a huge toad tadpole egg mass twirling back and forth. At the pump in the shallows, the tubing sticks a foot out of the water. It just will not bend. It looks really unnatural and hideous but, since I get zero visitors, it doesn't matter.

I found the pump that I had used in the 50 gallon tub pond and an older one. I took them apart. Both are missing a tab (it broke off) that prevents the impeller from just shaking which it does instead of turning. They are both useless without that part. That part only lasts a season or two. I need to get another but it's a good amount of money for someone who makes at work only a quarter of what I spend.

I removed one dead 3" pickerel frog. There seem to be an endless supply of dead frogs. I put out the gazing ball. Later in the week, I hope to put out the rest of the pond doohickeys. All the wood frog tadpoles in the 50 and 153 gallon ponds have hatched. The batteries in the Airpod are dead again; they do not seem to last very long. I put out the feeding ring.

5. On 4/13/13, I put out most of the yard doohickeys in the ponds and gardens.

6. On 4/14/13, I did a few hours of pond work. The air temperature was 65 degrees F. The 1800 gallon pond was at 61 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 62 degrees F. I started by taking the full net off the 1800 gallon pond. The iris were growing through it. I took a few photos. Per usual, I squirted off the PondMaster filters, removed leaves, topped off all the small ponds, and put in Bt to kill mosquitoes.

I moved up the two pots of pickerel rush and one pot of golden club (the other I had previously moved) from the moderate marginal area to more shallow water. Both die if they freeze. I squirted off the pre-filters (flosses) on the two pumps now in the big pond. I found and removed two large dead pickerel frogs of about 3" and 5". I set up the Cyprio filter. I put the half net on over the deep end for some heron protection. I found a poor tadpole in the big pond that was disemboweled but not eaten.

7. The first goldfish spawning of the year occurred on 4/18/13 in the morning. Last year, it was 3/21/12, four weeks earlier!

8. I did pond work on 4/20/13. The air temperature was only 50 degrees F, and the winds were fierce. Both the 153 and 1800 gallon ponds were at 59 degrees F. I squirted off all the flosses and the bioballs and lava rock. The main waterfall had slowed to a drizzle due to the spawning. The intake screen on the auxiliary waterfall pump had partially imploded from the pressure of being clogged despite a filter floss pre-filter. The bottom bag of bioballs was so filthy that I removed them from the bag and swished them in water. It added about 20 minutes to more than 2 hours of chores, and I doubt it made much difference. I changed the AirPod batteries, and the aeration works lightly when the power is off.

I was in the water and noticed that the spots on my big koi Colin now do have fungus on them. Alex also has some septicemia and scale swelling on his back end. I added the regular additives plus more salt and MelaFix. Despite the high cost, I'm dosing the pond with MelaFix for the week to try to help the koi. I ordered more of that and PimaFix. I can't risk treating with anything stronger especially when I have no diagnosis. Septicemia, red spots with algae and fungus, and mild dropsy are all symptoms but, of what, I don't know. I do use KoiZyme which deters Aeromonas bacteria. The pond's water is in good shape, and the pond is not overcrowded. Aside from at least two of the four koi and a couple of goldfish who have been sick for months, the other fish look great. If only there were a fish vet around here to call in (and I had money to pay for it).

I didn't need to top off the ponds as we had an inch of rain the day before. I netted a little debris out of the shallow end. Nothing kicks up the debris like spawning. In the debris, I found masses of moss that were full of goldfish eggs. I put some on them in the 30 gallon liner pond just because it's fun to watch fry grow.

9. On 4/20/13, Karen sent this photo of a few yellowfin shiners:
Yellowfin shiners

10. I got new MelaFix and PimaFix in the mail on 4/25/13 and will treat with both for a week. None of my fish have died. Colin still looks bad but the other fish seem fine. I'm hoping to turn things around. I simply don't have the time, money, resources, or quarantine facilities to treat a 2.5 foot koi out of the pond.

11. I did pond chores on 4/28/13. Both the 1800 and 153 gallon pond thermometers read 59 degrees F. The air temperature was 65 degrees F and started out nice. It will later get cloudy, a little windy, and drizzly. I installed a new pond thermometer (Lifegard Aquatics) in the 1800 gallon pond (the old one is very algae-covered). I topped off all the ponds which were all low because we had zero rain this last week.

I got out the old Lifegard 220 gph Quiet One pump and a new one that I just bought for the 50 gallon tub pond. It turned out the new one was for aquariums (but otherwise the same) so the cord was too short! They must not sell the one for ponds anymore. 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 dies again). The wood frog tadpoles seem to have vanished from this pond; hopefully they are just good at hiding.

I squirted off all the flosses. I changed the oyster shell in the filter. I fertilized some of the lilies and lotuses. One of the lily pots has no sign of life. Two have leaves to the surface, and two have small leaves still under the water. I need to repot the lilies mostly because the fish took the rocks out but I'm short on time. There are half a dozen dead pots in the shallows; it was a bad year for the plants; I'm not going to spend money to replace them. I found yet another dead pickerel frog, a two inch one that had been dead a while. I tried to net up some debris in the shallows to help clean the pond but, for the first time, there are tiny tadpoles in the water, probably wood frog tadpoles. Every scoop of debris had a dozen tadpoles, and I don't have the time to pick through that mess. I removed just a little debris. It's actually not too bad but perhaps enough that the koi have been having issues with infections. I've continued the MelaFix, PimaFix, and some pond salt (not a lot). All the fish seem better with only minor signs on the baby koi. Colin was the worst, and he has not gotten any worse so that's a good sign. I wish I had infinite time and money to install a quarantine pond

Continue to the May 2013 pond blog.

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