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Robyn's Pond Newsletter January 2003

Last Updated: 2/5/14

Introduction and Miscellaneous:

If you have something pond-related that you want to share (information, jokes, web sites, pond secrets and tidbits, something pond-related for sale), let me know, and I will add it to the next newsletter. What topics would you like me to cover? Do you have a question that I can answer or pose to others in the next newsletter?

On 12/27/02, I bought three red-fronted shrimp and two red cherry shrimp for my 20 gallon tank. For more information, see my shrimp page at http://www.fishpondinfo.com/shrimp/shrimp2.htm.

I did not come up with any pond tidbits this month for the first time. I was going to talk about bottom drains, skimmers, and UV's but never got around to it. I've never had those three things myself.

Happy New Year!!

Significantly Altered or New Pond Web Pages (explanations below, numbers match):

1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/pictures.htm

Additions or Changes to Robyn's Pond Web Pages:

1. I added three photos of my ponds in the snow from 12/5/02 under winter and fall photos. Two are of the 1800 gallon pond (snow1.jpg, snow3, jpg), and the other is the 153 gallon pond (snow2.jpg). I took all of them through the glass but they turned out well.

Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:

1. On 12/8/02, I was way overdue to squirt off the floss and trim back the now brittle marginals but the pond was frozen over except for near the de-icer and waterfall. The pond net was frozen on as well, buried under many inches of snow and ice. Hopefully, it will thaw for next week! I also have 19 bulbs and 10 saplings to plant! The thermometer was frozen into the pond. My 153 pond is pretty much open though with the de-icer and air stone bubbling. Many deer and birds come to drink from it. They can't drink from the big pond because the net is still there. That doesn't stop squirrels from chewing through it though!

2. Freezing rain came through on 12/11/02. Luckily, we didn't lose power. When I got home from work, the pond net was ice covered and frozen into the ice on top of the pond meaning it sunk down over a foot. It may tear or break which is okay because I need a new one! If I had known what would happen, I would have taken the net off on 12/1/02 despite all the leaves yet to collect but how was I too know we'd get 8" of snow on 12/5/02 and an ice storm on 12/11/02? Now, the net is stuck, and it doesn't look like I can pull it out until spring! In my basement pond, the green taro and tropical water hibiscus are surviving as they have before but again, my tropical canna, bit the pond dust! Have any of you overwintered tropical water canna with success? How did you do it? If I get an answer, I will put it in the next newsletter.

3. On 12/15/02, I finally got some work done around the pond. The air temperature was in the 40's, and most of the snow had melted. The 153 gallon pond was at 45 degrees F, and the 1800 gallon pond was at 39 degrees F. First, I yanked the net off. I had to tear it. It came up with some ice and frozen mulch. After putting it aside, I started to collect leaves from around the pond. After an hour of that, I got into the pond to remove the floss. I squirted it off and put it back. I cleared some algae off the waterfall. I finally cut down most of the rest of the marginals. I left some cotton grass but cut down the two hardy water cannas, four water iris, zebra rush (that lost its stripes), plantain (huge sprays of seed heads with seeds going all over), lizard tail, and pickerel rush. The last two were all mush. It would have been very hard to cut these back from under the net. After getting out the water, I collected more leaves. After about four hours outside, I'd removed six industrial-sized wheelbarrows full of leaves from around the pond! But, I'm not done! I had to quit and will get back to it again next week. I haven't collected any from around the 153 gallon pond area (three ponds there). It's all I can do to just collect leaves in the water. Of course, after all this work, the strong nasty winds came back, and leaves went flying!

4. On the morning of 12/19/02, I noticed two of my goldfish upside down on the bottom. I was worried so I poked them with my net, and they did move. One was my oldest goldfish, Jill, who is about a foot long and my favorite. I don't know why they were doing this. The other had a huge chunk of flesh missing from his rear abdomen. About three of my fish have chunks of flesh missing. Ok, so they're not chunks, just slices. I assume they went playing in the rocks. I treated a cut up fish last year inside but it was time consuming, and the fish seem happier in the pond so I'm going to leave them all to hopefully heal themselves.

5. The morning of 12/20/02, it was about 55 degrees F! The winds kicked up, and it got colder later and down to freezing that night. Anyway, the raccoon had knocked over the iris pots in the 153 gallon pond. Plus, I was surprised while walking around the 1800 gallon pond for the morning check to have a small green frog hop off the edging and splash into the water. This is winter, right?

6. I had 12/23/02 to 12/27/02 off. This was the first full week I've had off since I started my job on 12/9/97. It was the first Christmas week I've had off since 1995 as I was working at an earlier job in 1996. Despite the time off, I couldn't even make a dent in the backlog of work I have to do! The pond was 39 degrees F on 12/23/02. I cleaned the bioballs but not the floss (I didn't have to get in as I'm doing that every two weeks now). They weren't very dirty. I spent an hour collecting leaves. I went back over the area I'd done 8 days before and ran out of time before even getting to where I left off! That's because the horrible winds blew leaves back over where I'd already worked. The wind was fierce. I struggled but managed to run the 100 foot power cord and 50 and 75 foot hoses back to the back 18 gallon pond. I got the 100 pounds of leaves and mud out of the hole (net and shop vacuum), rinsed, and filled with fresh water. The animals will be happy to have some somewhat clean water, even for the short time it will last. I used to net leaves and bail water daily back to this far pond but have gotten too lazy. Having a pond far from power and water is a very bad idea. Luckily, this pond has no plants or animals.

7. I was due to clean the floss on 12/29/02 but was bad and didn't do it. The pond was partially frozen but I could easily break the ice to get in. The water temperature was 37 degrees F. There was still snow on the ground from Christmas day (we got 5 inches) but I could still have done it. It would have been harder to collect the million leaves I needed to get though since many were under the snow. I use the snow as a rationale to not do pond work. The fish are fine enough.

Interesting Animal Sightings:

1. I saw some "blue bitterlings" for sale at my local fish store on 12/8/02 which I'd never seen before. I don't know which species they were for sure. I did not buy any because they were $13 each and were very plain fish. These are European pond fish that breed inside mussels. For a little more information on them, see http://www.fishpondinfo.com/misc.htm.

2. On 12/27/02, about six bluebirds were hanging out by my 153 gallon pond for a short time. As water was frozen everywhere except my two ponds, they must have come for a drink. I put fresh bluebird food and freeze-dried caterpillars in my bluebird feeder I've had since spring but no bluebirds have ever gone inside. I did see a Carolina wren go in though, and the squirrels are gnawing their way in to get in there someday.

Web Sites of Interest:

1. A ponder named Jerry put up a photo of hibernating frogs (looks like one green frog at the top and two large bullfrogs) in a pond on rec.ponds on 12/14/02. The photo is at http://mywebpages.comcast.net/yurgen/frogs.html.
I haven't seen my hibernating frogs this winter BUT on 12/24/02, I found a beheaded green frog next to my 153 gallon pond. Since it wasn't there in the morning, I couldn't blame the raccoon, opossum, etc. so it must have been my cat GK. She hates getting wet which means the frog must have been within easy reach, even though it was just above freezing.

2. There is a fish lovers group which includes a pond section and a koi encyclopedia at http://www.msnusers.com/TheFishandI.

3. A visit to http://www.nanfa.org/archive/nanfa/nanfadec00/0063.html will leave you thoroughly perplexed as to the actual identity of the rosy red minnow. The site also discusses some breeding of rosy reds. The writer doesn't like them as much as I do though!

4. To see a cartoon about gender-changing frogs, go to http://www.gristmagazine.com/ha/ha081202.asp.

5. For those of you in the USA who don't know what plant zone you're in, you can go to http://arborday.org/trees/whatzone.html and enter in your zip code, and it tells you what zone you're in! I came up Zone 6 but really straddle Zones 6 and 7, right on the line but close enough!

6. There are some interesting articles written by Dr. Tim from Marineland on water chemistry, filtration, bacteria, etc. at http://www.marineland.com/drtims_articles.html and http://www.marineland.com/drtims_reports.html.

7. The Collections store is selling a solar frog light that I, of course, have to order. It costs $14.99 as does all their stuff. They also have some frog stakes and lots of gardening dewhickeys great for around our ponds. Their web site is at http://www.collectionsetc.com.

What's your favorite pond-related web site(s)?
Do you have a web site you want me to mention here?

Pond Survey:

One of the newsletter readers, Susan, would like to know what you would do differently if you could do your pond again. She is still planning her pond. My pond problems page was helpful (http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/problem.htm) but information from many people would be even more helpful. So, here is a survey. Please answer these few questions to help out your fellow ponders, and I will report the results in the next newsletter. I could ask a million questions but alas we have to limit time and space. I do have one request. Please do NOT include a copy of my newsletter in your reply as just a few of them will overload my e-mail account limit. You don't have to answer all the questions if you don't want to; we mostly want to known about Number 6. Thanks.

1. How many gallons is/are your pond(s)?
2. How deep is/are your pond(s)?
3. What fish do you have (goldfish, koi, minnows, orfe, native fish, none, etc.)?
4. Do you have a bottom drain?
5. What filter media do you use (lava rock, gravel, bioballs, plastic things, SpringFlo, bubble bead filter, sponges, none, etc.)?
6. What would you do differently if you could do your pond over? (If I get many responses, I may have to crop your answers to this question so try to keep it short with the most important stuff. I know it's hard as my pond problems page is many pages long! You can write a page on- line if you want, and I can link to it!)
7. Do you have a web site with your pond information and photos you want to share with the readers? If not, you should!


"There'll be nobody like you ever again. Make the most of every molecule you've got, as long as you've got a second to go. That's your charge." - environmentalist David Brower.

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