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Robyn's Pond Newsletter January 2006

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?

Happy New Year!

Significantly Altered or New Pond Web Pages; New Pond Photos:

1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/amphphotos.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under Frogs 2005 is a photo that Jon sent me of a newly-morphed gray tree frog. It is very green (not so much gray) which he says is normal when they start out.

Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:

1. On 12/4/05, I got in the pond to get the flosses to squirt them off. The 1800 gallon was at 40 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 41 degrees F. I had to re-anchor the plastic cave thing that is supposed to protect fish from herons. The reason it was floating is that without a heavy pot in its pot hole, it does float. The koi had emptied the pot of dirt so it floated up. I put the pot back and stuck a heavy rock in it. This made the thing sink.

I took the net off the 153 gallon pond and pulled the net back off the waterfalls of the 1800 gallon pond, leaving it on the rest of that pond. I tried to collect what leaves I could but there comes a time to give up. Now, I concentrate on getting leaves out of the water that blow in. Ideally, I would hand pick up all leaves within 2 feet of the edge of the ponds, 5 feet better, 10 feet would be amazing. I couldn't even do the 2 feet well enough. I got the nets off because as I write this on 12/5/05, it's snowing. Snow will collapse the nets into the water. I pulled out most of the dead grass and water celery out of the moving parts of the waterfalls and stream in the 1800 gallon pond but there's still a lot in the overflow of the waterfall. What I did stir up turned the pond water brown so I didn't want to disturb too much at once. With the plants I pulled came the rich, dark pond sludge.

In my pond right now, I have a couple of sick fish. One is a goldfish who has had profound dropsy for a few months. The other is one of my remaining three golden orfe who has a kinked spine that's getting worse and worse. I'm not sure what problem caused this but I'm afraid it may be tuberculosis in the pond. The other fish seem fine. Since the dropsy and bent spine aren't really treatable, I haven't bothered to do any treatments.

2. On 12/6/05, we got our first real snow, 4.5" by dawn. By dawn on 12/9/05, we had 2.5" but it was heavy snow mixed with other precipitation.

3. On 12/11/05, I could not really do anything. The pond net was frozen into the ground under snow, and part of the pond was frozen. Even if the net had been off, I probably could not have gotten in that day. I can see the net is going to be a problem getting into the pond when the deep end is thawed but the net is frozen and under snow. All the leaves were under snow and ice so I could not collect more leaves either. The 1800 gallon thermometer was frozen in. The 153 gallon thermometer read 37 degrees F. Half of that pond is frozen too. I took some photos of the 1800 gallon pond that day.

4. On 12/18/05, I wanted to get into the pond to tend to the filter. The day before, I had cleared the snow from the portion of the net that I need to pull back. So, this day, I chipped at the net and tried to pull it back. After cutting half a dozen holes in the net by accident, I was able to pull it back a foot. I need to go back 5 feet to get in via my usual route. So, I decided to try another way. I walked over the falls and sat sideways on a flat rock that is out of water (on a garden pad, I sat). Then, I swivelled my legs around into the deep end and tried to slip in. I almost slipped and got water into the hip waders but managed to get in and walk over to the pump to remove the floss. I squirted it off as well as the bioball and lava rock bags in the biofilter. People say cleaning is not needed in winter but those things were as full of pond "black gold" as any time of the year. I got in a second time to put the filter floss back around the pump. A lot of hair algae is growing on the waterfall but I didn't try to really clean it off. I used a finger to pull the pond thermometer out of the water through the net but then it hit a rock, and with the net in the way, I couldn't get it up enough to read the temperature. The 153 gallon pond though was at 36 degrees F. I finally cut down the iris in that pond although the deer had done a pretty good job of that.

5. On 12/25/05, we had some pouring rain followed by strong winds the next day. The 153 got filled up with leaves which were frozen in the morning of 12/27/05. On 12/26/05, the 1800 gallon pond was at 38 degrees F and the 153 gallon pond at 36 degrees F.

6. The morning of 12/28/05, with the pond melted and devoid of cover, I counted 33 colored goldfish. There are others that are still naturally-colored that didn't get counted, most of them would be fry of the year. None of the 33 goldfish is more than 10" or so. All my 8-14" goldfish were killed last year and early this year by the heron and a mystery illness. But, 33 is still a good amount left.

7. On 01/01/06, the pond was fully thawed out so I could pull back the net. I moved the floating "bird island" to get to the pump and found my dropsied goldfish there, dead for a few days apparently. I measured him at 7.5 inches long. He was orange with a little white. I netted the bottom a little and saw the huge male bullfrog. According to the lady I mentioned last month (in case you missed it, she had incorrect information), he should have drowned by now but he sure moved even though he was dark and yucky like hibernating bullfrogs get. I removed the filter floss around the main pump and changed it completely. When I can get in to the pond in winter, I have to do what I can while I have the chance. The net has kept the herons away but it had an unintended victim. Entangled in the net, I retrieved a headless songbird, perhaps a female goldfinch that had been there a while. The 1800 gallon pond was a toasty 42 degrees F and the 153 gallon 39 degrees F.

Pond Tidbits:

1. Deb had this to share about overwintering lotus rhizomes indoors.
"Some time in November, I cut off all the remaining lotus leaves, dump out the mud and water, and gently hose off the rhizomes. I then lay out a large beach towel(s) on the ground and wet with the hose. I lay the rhizomes gently on the towel(s) and carefully roll up the towel and place into a heavy mil garbage bag. Since I don't have a really good place to store my lotus over winter, I find that the only place cool enough to keep it alive is under my bathroom cabinet. This bathroom faces north and is quite chilly in our southern Alabama winters. I open the bag every other week and check the dampness of the towel and let air get inside for a day or two. No need to move it to do this; lotus rhizomes are very delicate so the least amount of handling the better. Once March comes along, I carefully replant all the rhizomes back into their pots and place in a sunny window and my greenhouses until I am sure that the frost is over for good. I then place them around my garden once again. This has been working for me for about four seasons now. I grow all my water plants in big pots since I only have a farm fish pond." I asked her what temperature the cabinet was. She said the lowest it got was 45-50 degrees F.

Web Sites of Interest:

1. This is a neat site to see all sorts of insects and arachnids. They also will identify any photos that you send (assuming the clarity is good enough). http://www.whatsthatbug.com

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

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