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Robyn's Pond Blog for July 2016

Last Updated: 8/1/16

1. I did pond chores on 7/3/16. The 1800 gallon pond was at 74 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 70 degrees F. I did the usual. There was nothing of note.

2. I did more than pond chores on 7/10/16. Before I did the regular chores, I worked on fixing the biofilter. Since the day it was installed, water would leak out around the unlined edges as the spillway was too shallow. The builders put some white caulk around the lip but things only got worse as the years past. First, I pulled back the cap rocks. Then, I squirted off all the bioballs and lava rock and put those back. Then, I took a putty knife and removed all the old stuff around the edge. This included the original epoxy they put on in 1997, reef and pond epoxy I have added, waterfall foam I tried to use, and pieces of liner I stuck on there. It all fell away very easily except for one clump of silicon. It was really well attached. This was a good thing for that section as it was working so I worked around it. I scraped off as much as I could on the lip and the first inch vertical down from there. Then, I dried it with paper towels. I put a bucket of gravel in to some of the pits and holes under the edge of the biofilter as so much dirt has washed away. I took sandpaper and tried to sand down the filter's edge to make it rough. Well, all the black paint just clogged up the sandpaper so that was pretty much a waste. I then put some acetone on paper towels and wiped down the lip which is parallel to the ground and about 1.5 inches wide. It looked pretty dry. Then, I attached gray self-stick EPDM door weather stripping and removed the tape as I went around the filter, skipping the silicon section. It seemed to stick, yay! I also had butyl tape which is kind of like a pliable epoxy but it didn't stick very well. I put it to the outside of the EPDM strips as a second layer of protection. Finally, I had some liner patch tape. I wanted to stick this perpendicular to the weather stripping and down in the filter to protect the part of the weather stripping where the glue was so it wouldn't get wet. The liner stuck on the south side of the biofilter's edge but it just would not stick on the other parts due to too much algae which I couldn't scrape off. To top it all off, I ran a hair dryer over the entire concoction to try to get it to seal better (melt that glue baby!). I let the filter set dry while I had lunch and did the chores below. Later, when I turned the system back on, water only lapped the weather stripping on a few inch section on the northwest side. So far, it seems to hold! That is the area where the ground below it was sopping wet. I had been losing half an inch of water a day out of the pond. I think this should slow things down! Yay! It only took 19 years to find a solution!

Then, it was on to the regular chores including squirting all the filter materials, topping off the ponds, and putting in additives. The 1800 gallon pond was at 77 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 74 degrees F. I put a new mesh koi kastle in the bottom of the pond for the fish to hide in. The feeding ring had broken off so I tied it back on to the net using fishing line to hold it in one place. I don't really put all the food in the ring but it's more of a target.

3. I processed these photos of the salamander I found a few weeks back (see the June newsletter).

From 6/26/16:
Dusky salamander in bucket (to show size).
Dusky salamander in water.
Dusky salamander out of water.

4. My first lily flowers of the year were blooming on 7/14/16. I didn't get to see them as I was at work but they opened while I was gone, one Chromatella and one Comanche.

5. It was in the mid-80's when I worked on the ponds on 7/17/16. The 1800 gallon pond was at 81 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 76 degrees F. I squirted all the filters. I emptied the Biosteps filter with a pump and squirted off all the Matala. I changed the Ammocarb. I fertilized the waterlilies. I have gotten a few flowers from the Chromatella and Comanche but the other four lilies have yet to flower. ;-(

6. The heron was around a lot, especially on 7/17/16. He was in the overflow of the big pond but didn't go past my rope fence. I got photos of him standing on the pool and video of him flying away but I don't know if I'll ever get to process them.

7. When I got home on 7/22/16, the fountain in the 153 gallon pond had been pushed down so it was squirting water many feet out which meant the pond was 80% empty! The poor animals were flopping in the bottom. I hate to do major water changes but I had no choice to mostly fill it back up to get things back to normal. I topped it off two days later. My best guess is a deer stepped on the fountain, pushing down the thing that controls how far the bell goes out. It was going out all the way which pumped the pond down.

8. I did pond work on 7/24/16. It was 94 degrees F in the shade at 1 pm! The 1800 gallon pond was at 84 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 78 degrees F. I changed the PondMaster filters, put in additives, topped off all the ponds, and squirted all the filter materials. Then, I got in the pool! It was too hot to work.

9. I am still behind on photos but these were too good to wait!
A heron was around on 7/17/16, and then he/she was on the rim of the pool. I got some really clear photos for the first time of a heron, through the glass!
Great blue heron standing on the pool
Great blue heron close-up (not the same photo as the last one)

10. On 7/30/16, my rain gauge registered 8 inches of rain that all fell within a few hours! The flooding here was intense but short lived. While I only had to deal with some branches and a downed dead tree, nearly downtown Ellicott City became a raging river and totally decimated the old main street. My ponds filled above the overflows but came down when the rain stopped. The pool water level rose so fast, so many inches above the skimmer overflow which was squirting up in the air like a fountain that the pool actually filled to the top!

11. On 7/3/16, I did regular pond chores. I sure didn't need to water any plants or top off any ponds though. The 1800 gallon pond was at 79 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 77 degrees F. I pulled a lot of weed grass out of the waterfall area but hardly made a dent.


Continue to the August 2016 pond blog.


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