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Robyn's Pond Newsletter January 2009

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, Photos, or Videos on Fishpondinfo:

1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/ponds/bridges.htm -
A contributing short article about bridges at ponds.

2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/pictures2.htm -
At the very bottom is a photo sent to me of pond snail eggs. The photo was taken under the microscope so you can see details of the minute developing snails.

3. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/winter2.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under Winter 2008-2009 is a photo of the 1800 gallon pond on 12/7/08 after a dusting of snow.

New Pages on Pond Showcase:

1. None this month.

Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:

1. On 12/7/08, it was horrible to be outside. The air temperature was a toasty 30 degrees F but the winds were about 30 mph so it felt a lot colder. The 1800 gallon pond's water was at 36 degrees F while it was 44 degrees F in the 153 gallon pond. I wore long johns and two layers of clothes. The bigger problem was the wind blowing things away. I wanted to squirt off the bioballs as well as the filter flosses which I did. That required the kiddie pool which kept blowing away. You might ask why I should clean the filter in the winter. Well, not only were the materials dirty but I found three frogs in the bottom of the biofilter. They would have been relatively safe down there unless the power went out. When the power goes out, the biofilter drains empty, and the two pickerel frogs and one green frog would have been exposed to the air and frozen solid if it were cold when the power went out. So, I potentially saved their lives which alone was worth the trial of cleaning the filters.

I also wanted to pull back the net off the waterfall area. The day before, I had pulled the net off the 153 gallon pond in the snow. I never finished collecting leaves from around the ponds so I'm sure the leaves will soon fill up the ponds. I had visions of the big pond net flying away in the wind. The problem instead turned out to be freezing. While I could pull the net off the little bit of snow, there was one 10 pound rock glued (frozen) to the net and the dirt underneath. I had to just move that rock along with the net! Also, as I was trying to anchor down the moved net, the parts that were in the water when I got in were freezing solid which prevented me from pulling them taunt. Anyway, the net on the big pond is now off the waterfall area but over the rest of the pond just in case the heron returns.

2. On 12/14/08, I did not get in the pond. I added water to the ponds. I removed some leaves from around the ponds. The 1800 gallon was at 37 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 40 degrees F. I got that rock that was stuck to the net back where it was supposed to be but the clump of mud is still on the net. There are a ton of leaves around the pond but I didn't get them because it's still muddy, and I was out of time.

3. On 12/16/08, I went to put out the little lighted Christmas tree by the 1800 gallon pond to be able to tell that there is power out there at a glance. It was dead. I bought a lighted deer. The fake buck turns his head too and is huge! It just needs a red nose. My mother had a cow when I told her I wasn't going to turn it off. It's not for decoration but for the sake of the pond. [Update: After Christmas, the wires broke from the moving head so the head is no longer alight, just the body!]

4. On 12/21/08, I got in the pond to take out the filter floss to squirt it off. The 1800 gallon was at 38 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 38 degrees F. I thought I would finally be able to do some work around the pond, that was until I got outside! Although it had warmed up above freezing, the horrible winds kicked in. Everything was wet and muddy as well. Raking leaves was impossible. I did hand pick up some but there's only so much I can take of the wind. It was one of those winds where you have to stop moving to let a gust past. The winds howled all night, the temperature fell to 12 degrees F, and the ponds flash froze (by which I mean that they went from 100% liquid water to almost totally ice covered in a matter of hours).

5. On 12/28/08, the weather was pretty nice. It was 65 degrees F but the winds were bad again, maybe at 20 to 30 mph with the gusts. Unfortunately, my aunt was coming over at 2 PM which gave me all of an hour to work outside (the mornings are spent vacuuming, cleaning, etc. on Sundays). I recorded the ponds' temperatures, topped them off, and removed leaves in the ponds. The 1800 gallon was at 42 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 46 degrees F. I wish I had had the time to hand pick up leaves for a few hours! Next weekend, it will be near freezing again. I also took 30 minutes to lay in half a bag of mulch (my mother was complaining about the ugly bag laying there), part of my spring mulching I never got to. I only mulched about two thirds of what I should have this year. One garden has not been done in three years, and it's a tangle of vines and other weeds, a disaster, like my life.

6. My mother called me at work on 12/29/08 to tell me that the heron was back! She saw it eat a frog! The 1800 gallon is mostly covered so he was just sitting on top of the net. But, the 153 gallon was sans net. I told her to toss it on there with me securing it when I got home. I was home for five days straight (the most time off I've had in about seven years, although only two of those days were vacation, one holiday, and two weekend); the heron didn't show up then, instead waiting until I was gone. When I got home, I took off the net my parents put on (they picked the wrong one) and anchored in the net that used to be on the 153 gallon. I saw the heron flying away. The next morning, I walked up to the 1800 gallon pond to find him standing on the net in the middle. If my parents and money weren't an issue, I would fence the entire pond in from the sides and top, keeping out the herons and deer. That would be so nice!

7. On 12/31/08, the winds were horrid, some gusts over 50 mph! Leaves were everywhere. They filled a quarter of the 1800 gallon pond's surface which flash froze that night. The leaves were stuck in there but on 1/1/09, I tried to get up the ones in the waterfall area.

8. On 1/02/09, my mother called me at work to ask if she should get live feeder goldfish to feed the great blue heron who looked so forlorn standing on my pond nets. She was afraid he would starve. I told her no way. She asked about dead fish; I told her he would not eat them. She said she was getting the live goldfish. There is/was no stopping her when she gets her ideas. When I came home from work, there were 21 feeder goldfish in a kiddie pool only two feet from my 153 gallon pond. They had been dumped from their filthy 75 degree F water in to 40 degree F clean well water with no aeration or preparation. A few were already dead. My mother insisted the heron was coming. I moved the kiddie pool further away from my pond; the last thing I wanted was that contaminated water in my ponds! That night, it went below freezing. There was half an inch of ice on the kiddie pool. Amazingly, some goldfish were alive. The heron was not around. I just could not leave them there. So, I put on plastic disposable gloves, broke and tossed the ice, and touched each fish. I remove the seven fish who responded. I set up my largest spare aquarium which is only 10 gallons. It includes lid, fluorescent light, Penguin Mini filter, a plastic hiding cave, and an air bar. I added only aquarium salt (a tablespoon per 5 gallons), Stress-Coat, and Stress-Zyme at this time. In a few days, I will treat them for ick and bacterial infections. They do not appear to have ick spots, or at least not a lot. They are anorexic as are most feeder fish. I will try to find someone who wants them in the spring. If not, I guess I will have to risk putting them in the 1800 gallon pond which is overcrowded. Even with treatment, they could still be carrying bacteria, parasites, and so on since I cannot treat for everything nor are all treatments successful. Some diseases are latent like fish tuberculosis. Of course, all my fish have already been exposed to that so that does not worry me much. My father said I should have left them out there to freeze to death. My mother said, "After you rehabilitate the fish, you can put them back outside on a warm day for the heron to eat." That made me mad. I am not going to invest all the time and effort to make them healthy just to have them killed. Already 13 fish have died. A few hours later, my mother said, "It's a miracle!" She said two more fish were moving. I brought them in; one died almost immediately (mouth agape, no movement, stuck to the intake; that is dead; I know). Of the eight fish I am now stuck with in a way-too-small 10 gallon tank, five of them are orange, two are bronze (which will eventually change to orange), and one is white. There were fancier common goldfish in the group; they were all among the victims. It is going to be a challenge to keep the ammonia down on this tank; it is overcrowded! What they went through is a lesson in what not to do to fish. How any survived such temperature shock is really a miracle. These are some hardy fish!

9. Mac and Kojak were healthy and thriving. On 1/3/09 (the day I am sending out the newsletter), I cleaned their pond as I did every Saturday. Kojak was dashing around as always since they get scared when I clean the pond. Wait, where was Mac? I looked around the pond; she was gone. The pond is netted but there are some small gaps in a few places. I looked around outside the pond but there are so many obstacles that I saw nothing. A little bit later, I pulled out the electrical cord to the cat water fountain. Out with it came Mac. From the looks of her, she had been dead two days. I am so upset. She was gorgeous, my dream koi. She jumped out a tiny gap at the edge of the net which I tried to make smaller (at that time and previously). If only I had been around when she jumped, I might have seen her in time. If she had landed anywhere else, the cats would have chewed on her but she was hidden behind the litter pan backdrops (which keep the litter out of the pond when the cats kick it). Kojak is now alone and lonely. It was not meant to be for me to have the Sanke I wanted. I will try to put it out of my head, added to my list of things I cannot have. My mother said that the eight sick common goldfish would replace Mac!

Pond Tidbits:

1. None this month.

Web Sites of Interest:

1. http://www.troutnut.com/ - this site about fishing trout may not seem to appeal to people like me who cherish fish instead of eating them but the site has a very large section on aquatic insects and animals with some really nice photos. The photo collection is quite extensive so it can help with aquatic macroinvertebrate identification. This page is an example:

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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