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Robyn's Pond Blog for May 2014

Last Updated: 6/1/14

1. It wasn't until May that the goldfish started spawning this year. On 5/1, 5/2, and 5/3, they were at it. By 5/3, the Cyprio filter was just dripping. I will just wait until tomorrow to fix it as I'm short on time. It's probably burning out the pump. The goldfish spawn in and around the filter materials as well as stir up debris that further clogs the filter. With the Cyprio filter, the mesh laundry net gets sucked in to the pump intake even though there's a plastic strainer on it.

2. On 5/4/14, I did work at the ponds. The 1800 gallon pond was up to 61 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was 60 degrees F. I squirted off all the filter materials. The ones in the big pond were super heavy and clogged with pond slop as the goldfish had been spawning. The filter material around the pump that goes to the Cyprio filter was covered in hundreds of eggs. The mesh bag on that filter had been sucked in which was why it had stopped running. I got everything going again. I repotted the lizard tail which were in a two gallon pot and a more squat two gallon pot. I was able to salvage the pots. I put most of the lizard tail from the squat pot in to my 20 gallon tub pond were I put extra plants for now. It's so big that it stays upright in there. Oh, and all the lizard tail was full of goldfish eggs too. I guess there will be babies in the 20 gallon tub pond too. I saw a bullfrog in my 153 gallon pond looking at me. I hope he/she doesn't eat my green frogs (none were around). I've noticed that, unlike the green frogs who love to sun themselves, the bullfrogs usually stay in the water.

3. On 5/11/14, I did pond chores. The 1800 gallon was up to 70 degrees F, and the 153 gallon was at 65 degrees F! I squirted out the Cyprio biothings. I squirted all the filter materials. I repotted the arum in its two gallon pot. In order to save the slightly-warped pot, I had to turn it over and drop it which severly damaged the arum itself. I figured it was worth it as the pots now cost about $5. I didn't want to have to cut it off like I did with the hardy canna (and many other plants in the past). It had a ton of roots. I saved three growing ends, and I hope it recovers. I saw a live male black-throated blue warbler. They are not supposed to be this far east but I have photos on my songbird page of two males that I found dead after they struck the house's windows in 2011 and 2012. It was nice to see one alive! I had to cut down one of my favorite shrubs that was by the pond the day before, a beauty berry. It was dead. I planted a new butterfly bush at the west side of the pond. Six of my eight butterfly bushed died to the ground from this last winter. Of those, at least one is probably completely dead. I also lost two of my mother's favorite plants, some kind of evergreen (never got the name but it had white smelly flowers) and her hardy fig tree (not so hardy; it was finally large and putting out figs, and then this winter did it in.). Another of her evergreen bushes also died.

4. I worked on the ponds on 5/18/14. The 1800 gallon was at 63 degrees F, and the 153 gallon was at 60 degrees F. I squirted all the filter materials. I repotted the dwarf cattails from one two gallon pot to two two gallon pots. I previously had two pots of the dwarf cattails but one had died off in the last few years. I potted up my tropical waterlily tubers in a 5 gallon pot. There were 8 nuts and 7 had growth coming out! I removed an almost- empty one gallon pot. I discovered frog eggs! There were green frog eggs in the 153 gallon pond and gray treefrog eggs in the 30 gallon pond! I always move gray treefrog eggs to that pond from the pool cover but this is the first time they have laid in there on their own! I also saw some fast, small animals in the 30 gallon liner pond. They were either daphnia or seed shrimp. Both are small and fast, and I've had them before in other of my small ponds.

5. The morning of 5/19/14, I noticed that the pond had lost an inch or two of water since the day before. I sure wish these problems occurred when I was home! It appeared that at least some water was leaking out from the rim of the biofilter (not all going down the chute). This is a problem that the pond has had from day one when the builders put a line of some kind of sealant around the lip to keep the water going the right way. I wish I knew what they had used but it fell apart 15 years ago. I have applied silicon and epoxy all over the lip of the biofilter since then. The edge was a constant drip as more old epoxy had detached. When I got home from work, I pulled out my arsenal. I first turned off the pump to the biofilter. I then took a putty knife and scraped as much algae, worms (they live in the algae), etc. from the chute and the rim (the inside part). I had a great idea to affix liner patch tape to the rim so it stuck up, thereby increasing the height of the biofilter's edge. Of course, it wouldn't stick! Next, I opened a bunch of pond epoxy. It wasn't really cooperating either, not sticking well, not going where I wanted but I managed to get part of the liner patch to stick with epoxy at the top. I then tried three, yes three tubes of aquarium silicon. One had never even been opened. All three were too hard to squeeze anything out, so totally worthless. I used my last stick of epoxy (two sticks total) and tried to make something but it was a total disaster. I was frustrated to have no help. At least three pond companies had told me that fixing my pond would cost $20,000 minimum (to redo the entire waterfall and filter system; the hill has shifted and collapsed); I don't have that kind of money to spend for what should be a pretty easy fix. I decided to bring out my can of pond foam sealant that I never have used. It had lost the application stick years ago but I squirted some on the biofilter lip. It just wouldn't go where I wanted to or stick to anything; it was like Redi-Whip. So, I took my hands and put the sealant where I wanted it. I squirted it around the rim but it wouldn't do so in a continuous strip nor in one where the sealant contacted the filter lip. I squirted a bunch where the chute comes out as the entire hill has collapsed about 5" down leaving a dirt area with no liner above the chute output such that some wicking loss of water may also occur. I then realized that this stuff was not coming off my hands. I went inside and washed my hands to no avail. If I hadn't been so frustrated, I would have brought out some disposable gloves to begin with but I'm a planner and don't do well winging it. I tried the hand cleaner we use after changing the oil and then paint thinner. I went to the container to see what it said but the foam had covered over the emergency directions aside from "seek medical attention." I went on-line. Tetra had no MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet)! That should be illegal! I e-mailed them, no response by morning. The internet told me that this stuff won't come off. One page suggested a soaking in isopropanol (rubbing alcohol) and then using a pumice stone. I did that. It felt nice but got very little off so I'm stuck with Robo-cop hands for a while! At least it's fish safe! I took photos so that, if I ever get to processing them, you can laugh at my stupidity. It remains to be seen if the repair job reduces water loss. I had the biofilter off from around 6 pm until 7 am the next day to let the stuff all dry. I hope the ammonia didn't spike too much. I topped off the pond and will see what I get when I arrive home.

6. I saw a great blue heron at my pond the morning of 5/22/14. I flapped my arms through the window, and he/she flew just a few feet away. Even with my gesticulating wildly, the heron would just walk away a big and not really fly away. I tried running up to the glass, and he moved farther. I scared him/her back from the pond half a dozen times but finally had to go to work. The fish were active, and they may have been wanting to spawn. Any fish that went in to the shallows (there's a net on the deep end) could have been eaten. Sex is a killer.

7. I received my Tricker order on 5/22/14. The only animals were 12 adult trapdoor snails and 2 babies that one of the females dropped en route. I put them right in to the 1800 gallon pond. I also put out three water hyacinth and three water lettuce in to a floating plant protector. The remaining plants will stay in buckets under a plant light in the basement until Monday, Memorial Day. I won't have time before then to plant those. They include the following plants: Two nightblooming waterlilies, Arc-en-ciel hardy waterlily, 12 anacharis, 3 water sprite, imperial taro, water plantain, white butterfly lily (a tropical bog plant), one dwarf red steam parrot feather, and a free water poppy.

8. I did pond work both on Sunday and Monday, Memorial Day. On 5/25/14, around 2 pm, the 1800 gallon was at 72 degrees F, and the 153 gallon was at 66 degrees F. I changed the mosaic pond completely. There was some kind of a slime growth on it. I changed the PondMaster filters. I topped off the smaller ponds.

9. On 5/26/14, at 11 am, the 1800 gallon was already 70 degrees F, and the 153 gallon was 64 degrees F. I squirted off all the filter materials and the bioballs. I changed the Ammocarb in the filter. I had a ton of pond (and land) plants to plant. I started with the Arc-en ciel hardy waterlily and the two nightblooming waterlilies. They all went in to 5 gallon pots (so much digging!). I put one of the nightbloomers on top of the fish's plastic hiding house in the deeper end. I will see if they can manage to both not knock it off and not tear up the leaves. I squished the other two along the line of lilies (four pots were already there) in the medium area. Only five pots fit across there so I put the tropical waterlily that I had potted from my tubers the week before in a more shallow area. It has no growth anyway. When I ordered the lilies, I thought more had died. Of course, one is barely alive.

The parrot feather had half a dozen pieces. I put some in the overflow area of the big pond, some in the 20 gallon tub pond, and some in the 153 gallon pond. I hope it will take somewhere. I put the water poppy in to the 7 gallon pot that used to have the lotus that died. There is also another plants in there. It's water hawthorne, which, according to my inventory, I added three years ago! Such plants usually don't last long in my pond. I put the imperial taro in a 2 gallon pot. Since I'm short on room in the pond, I put it on the pool deck, and I'll keep it wet there. I potted the white butterfly lily in to a one gallon pot (again because there's not enough room in the pond). The plantain got a two gallon pot. The three water sprite went in a one gallon pot in a little deeper water. I put two anacharis in my 30 gallon liner pond. The rest went loose in the 1800 gallon pond.

Continue to the June 2014 pond blog.

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