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Robyn's Pond Newsletter February 2004

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?

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

1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/pictures2.htm
2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/winter2.htm (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
3. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/fishphotos.htm (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
4. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/bigpondphotos1.htm (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
5. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/interact.htm

Additions or Changes to Robyn's Pond Web Pages:

1. I put in a dozen more photos that Daniel from Quebec sent me of Monet's pond in Giverny, France.

2. There is one new photo under winter 2003/2004 of my pond on 12/28/03 (same day as below). I squatted on the backside hill of the pond so the photo is taken sort of across the surface of the water.

3. I put in 8 new photos under fish for winter 2003/2004. There are some good pictures of my koi and orfe. All were taken on 12/28/03 when it was warm (no ice on the pond). Also, under spring 2003, there is a photo in there of a young goldfish in the process of changing color from April 2003 that I just now got linked into the site.

4. I also added three photos from last April to this page under Spring 2003. The last three photos in that list show the two portions of the falls (I am embarrassed by the algae that was there then!) and a waterlily taken out of the pond for repotting. These were photos my brother took that day. He also took lots of me in the pond and working all dirty but said not to put them on my site, or I'd scare people. But I do think they would have given scale to the pond itself and showed what I do and how.

5. I made this new interactive page with a bunch of stuff from sitegadgets.com and bravenet.com including a list where you can add your web site, two "funlibs," a pond story to fill in, a "tell-a- friend" thing, a "send-a-compliment" thing, a GuestMap (like a guestbook but you stick a little animal where you live on a map of the world), and a new top pond sites list that you can join if you have a pond site. There's lots of things there so check it out.

Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:

1. It was so warm on 1/3/04 and 1/4/04 that the bullfrog was out as well as the green frogs. On 1/4/04, the 1800 gallon pond was at 50 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 45 degrees F while the air was in the mid-60's! It's supposed to get cold though in a few days. I didn't have any real chores to do with the ponds in the warm air but just topped them off and removed leaves from the water.

2. What a difference a week makes! The morning of 1/10/04, the air was down to 4 degrees F!! My ponds were very frozen but still open where they had to be. I did have to pour some hot water down the falls and remove some ice from the biofilter, right next to the heater. My new 24 W birdbath/pond heater has frozen in solid. It's no match for this cold! Daily highs are in the 20's now. Needless to say, I couldn't get in the pond to squirt the floss if I wanted to! Ok, maybe with a blowtorch! The 1800 gallon pond thermometer was frozen in but the 153 gallon was near the de-icer and read 33 degrees F.

3. On the morning of 1/16/04, it was about 9 degrees F, and the pond was freezing over more and more. The waterfalls were running under a sheet of ice. I poured 3 buckets of scalding water down the falls in the morning and broke ice from the falls. I put on my water gloves to pick ice out after breaking it from the top of the falls (the biofilter) where the de-icer was. A thin line of open water went from one side of the de-icer down to where the water pours out. In my 153 gallon pond, the de-icer was frozen in but the bubbler next to it was keeping the pond open!

4. On 1/17/04, I was looking over the pond, adding some water, removing some ice from the waterfall, and removing a few leaves when I noticed the shallow area has the star pattern of ice all the way to the bottom. While marveling at that, I discovered a goldfish frozen in the ice. The goldfish is about half a foot long and orange and white in a neat pattern. His/her mouth is frozen open and a pectoral fin out to the side. I also thought an orfe was frozen in but it later moved. The fish seem to like hanging out in the shallows under the ice shelf. Perhaps they feel more secure there where they can't be seen or maybe it's a little warmer away from the falls which may have been supercooling the water a little even though the de-icer heats the water as it goes over the falls somewhat. I threw large chunks of ice from the falls across the ice and walked around in the shallow area which is a strange feeling. I'm not dumb enough to walk in the areas over a foot deep but it's tempting. On 1/18/04, it rained most of the day on top of the ice which then froze overnight. I didn't do any pond chores as the ponds were frozen. The 153 gallon thermometer read 32 degrees F while the 1800 gallon one is frozen in.

5. The morning of 1/20/04, the 153 gallon pond was completely frozen except for a two inch hole where the bubbles from the air stone came up. The de-icer was frozen in solid. Each winter, I usually put in the new de-icers as I did this year and here the brand new de-icer already stops working! As the pond was frozen, and I had to get to work to suffer, I put an old de-icer right on top of the ice thinking it might melt its way in. I was right. When I got home, both de- icers were free, and half the pond was ice-free despite it never going above freezing all day. I will have to test the de-icer to see if it's dead of the thermostat reset. You do that by cleaning it (lots of salts deposit on it), drying it, putting it in the freezer for half an hour, removing it, plugging it in, and feeling if the metal gets hot on the bottom (if it's working, it gets hot fast, and you move that hand!). In the past, I had a lot just reset the thermostat due to high winds. Luckily, my main pond de-icer is still working, or there would be a BIG problem! That pond is frozen solid except where the falls start where the de-icer is and where the falls fall into the water there is a small area of open water.

6. On 1/25/04, the main pond was too frozen to do anything. The 153 gallon was at 38 degrees F since the new de-icer is warming it. A test on the one I removed showed it is working so the thermostat must have been reset on it. We got about half a foot of snow on 1/26/04. The roads were bad but my father drove me 18 miles to work in his 4-wheel-drive pickup. Freezing rain is occurring off and on. In preparation for the snow, I covered the biofilter/top of the falls with an old rubbermaid tub lid (from my first extinct pond!) that was never really used. Then, in the morning, I easily cleaned it off, and that snow didn't stuff up the falls which were flowing in craters through the snow.

7. On 2/1/04, everything was as frozen as ever so I couldn't do much except remove a little bit of ice. Rabbit tracks were in the pond which is weird! It's almost like the pond has vanished if you ignore the tiny open area. The 153 gallon pond was mostly frozen but with the de-icer there, the thermometer actually read 37 degrees F. I've been keeping the tub lid on the top of the falls over the de-icer since it keeps the horrible winds off the de-icer so it doesn't shut down. Using the lid, little ice has formed at the top of the falls. I use a sledge hammer to gently break the ice walls that form around the falls every few days. They are disconnected enough from the main pond that the shock waves shouldn't harm the fish, plus I am weak so I don't hit it hard. Hitting them with the end of my old pond net (an aluminum pole) doesn't do much. I have to keep the water from the falls from flowing up and over the ice. I see an occasional goldfish or orfe through the tiny opening at the bottom of the falls. I think this is the longest the ponds have been frozen hard since I've had them. I'm pretty sure it's the longest I've gone without squirting the flosses off. If the ice freezes deep enough to get into the pump, then it's a good thing I have a spare as that would kill the pump!

8. As of 2/4/04, it has gotten warmer, and the pond is starting to melt out some. I saw my two koi, Maggie and Colin, this morning. They are alive and okay but their fins are a bit frayed. Any day over freezing feels like spring to me now! One of my waterlilies slid off the middle area of the pond into the deep end (which may have actually helped it depending on how far the ice froze down). There is a lot of debris (for me anyway) on the bottom of the deep end. I am considering buying the new Pondovac 2 pond vacuum but it's super expensive. If anyone has experience with it, let me know as I'm still not sure if it's worth it, or it can do what I need done.

9. The morning of 2/5/04, I looked into the deepest part of the pond as the ice/snow has receded a bit (melted). I saw a medium-sized pickerel frog! He has his eyes open, his feet sticking out, and was normal looking. This is strange to me because hibernating green frogs and bullfrogs tend to close or partially close their eyes and play dead, turning an ugly blah color. I guess pickerel frogs like to remain looking their best all year! He was beautiful.

10. I rained so much on 2/6/04, that when I got home, my 153 gallon was almost totally full, about 3 inches over the overflow. The overflow was and is still full of ice. I bailed about 20 gallons from the pond by hand. For some reason, the 1800 gallon doesn't seem to be overfull. I can see a lot of the fish now as it's melted about 1/3 out. I tossed about two cups of pond salt in the water and onto the snow (which will gradually melt into the pond). In a few weeks, if it warms up, I will have to start doing spring chores! Too bad it's going to get frigid again which means I still can't get through the ice to at least squirt off my poor floss tomorrow.

Pond Tidbits:

1. I was looking through some old unprocessed printouts when I saw an e-mail from Mary Jo back in May of 2003. She said she read that you can sex trapdoor snails by their antennae. Males are supposed to have short ones that go to the right while females have long ones that head towards the vent. Mary Jo said it made sense that the female would use her antennae to catch her liveborn young and perhaps help remove their birth membrane. Interesting.

Web Sites of Interest:

1. Here is a photo of one big oranda!

2. Here are some photos of one ponder's pond under the ice:

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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