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Robyn's Pond Newsletter March 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?

It's getting closer to spring! Now is the time to plan all the spring chores of cleaning, repotting, and so much more that it makes my head spin! Time to order new plants and things too!

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

1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/winter2.htm (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)

Additions or Changes to Robyn's Pond Web Pages:

1. I added 7 new photos of my pond frozen from 1/25/04 and 1/31/04. They are the first 7 under Winter 203-2004. Also, although not pond-related, you might enjoy seeing a deer eating from one of our bird feeders and a black-phase gray squirrel in a window bird feeder, both on my wildlife page (sorry the photos are fuzzy as they are through the window) at http://www.fishpondinfo.com/animals/wild.htm.

Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:

1. I still couldn't do anything since the pond was frozen on 2/8/04 aside from look at it! The day before, I did add in some BZT and a tiny amount of pond salt to the 1800 and 153 gallon ponds. The 153 gallon pond was at degrees 42 F while the big pond's thermometer was still frozen in. I really need to start cleaning but it won't thaw!

2. On 2/14/04, I changed the damp sand in which my tropical night-blooming waterlily tubers are resting. The 3 nut-like tubers look okay even the one that was cut. If you only have a few tubers in a little bit of sand, it helps to change it half way through the overwintering to reduce fungus and bacteria and keep the tubers from rotting. I also had some gnats taking up residence in the damp sand. The outside temperature was in the 40's but I didn't finish my Saturday animal chores until after dark (about 12 hours straight). So, even though the pond was two-thirds melted out, I didn't get in that day.

3. On 2/15/04, even though the air temperature was at 34 degrees F, the pond was melted out enough that I got in for the first time in so long I don't know! The 1800 gallon pond was at 38 degrees F (thermometer finally melted out) and the 153 gallon at 43 degrees F. First, I went over to the floss and pulled it out. Up popped a poor dead 8" red goldfish with white-tipped fins that was hidden inside that had been dead a few weeks. The floss was much too dirty to clean after so much neglect so I cut a new set (it's 4 pieces) to wrap around the pump. The diaper pins that hold the large cylinder froze to the porch while I was working on other things. I squirted out the bioballs and lava rock bags in the kiddie pool. I used my aqua gloves for the first time while doing that so my hands wouldn't freeze. I couldn't open the filter drain as the valve was still frozen. I removed the tub lid held with diver's weights that was over the top of the falls over the biofilter. I think it really helped when it was so cold to keep the de-icer working and ice off the top. I used a net to collect debris off the bottom. A huge bullfrog with eyes shut was moving around trying to evade my net (as I evaded him). I checked the debris (mostly rocks with plant matter) for snails and found two trapdoors. I also found a dead tadpole. I hadn't just killed it as it was decaying. I moved the one waterlily pot that had fallen into the deep end back up to the medium-depth area which used to be semi-flat but has degraded into a slippery slope. Instead of making my pond have three relatively flat areas with a step in between, the builders made the whole thing slope so not only do pots fall down hill but so do I. I cleared the falls off (just a little purple algae (I think the green algae turns purple when it doesn't get enough sun under the ice and snow.)). I put in a few pounds of pond salt into the big pond and added some water to finish. Everything seems fine.

4. On 2/21/04, the pond finally thawed out enough that I removed that poor dead goldfish that froze solid into the shallows back in early January. On Sunday, 2/22/04, I didn't have many pond chores to do except collecting leaves (the strong winds were back, again!). The 1800 gallon was at 42 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 44 degrees F. I found a large pickerel frog in the shallows. I thought he was alive but decided to nudge him. When I got no response, I netted him out. Then I saw the tongue and knew he was dead. When my green frogs, bullfrogs, or pickerel frogs die in my ponds, their tongues are always all the way out (blah!). At least I haven't yet found a lot of dead frogs like I usually do (perhaps there weren't enough to begin with since I lost so many last year that vanished). I couldn't top off the ponds since our well pump went out on 2/25/04 again so we had it replaced and had bleach water for about 4 days that's not safe. My poor aquarium fish went 2 weeks without a water change, and the water was yucky in their tanks!

5. On 2/29/04, the 1800 gallon pond as well as the 153 gallon pond were at 46 degrees F. The air was almost 60 degrees F! I squirted off the floss. Then, I tried my new Pondovac 2 that I ordered. In order to not get sued by OASE (a company that I love; their pump is still running since 1997), I will only include positive comments about this expensive shop vacuum I should not have bought: It's pretty and like most vacuums, it sucks. I then topped off the ponds with water and put some salt in the big pond.

6. It's been getting warm! I fed the fish for the first time this year on 3/3/04 around 7:30 am. They didn't come over when I walked by but within a minute of putting food on it, they were all tussling to get their share! I guess if I hadn't eaten any food in more than 3 months, I'd be a tad bit hungry too! The air temperatures have been in the high 50's to low 70's with nights above 40 degrees F this week! That's above normal.

Pond Tidbits:

1. When bailing murky or unknown waters, run the water through a net and keep an eye out for any movement caused by animals. Sift through larger debris as well for life. You'd be surprised what you find!

Web Sites of Interest:

1. Information about how wood frogs can freeze solid in winter (they hibernate on land): http://www.enature.com/feature/feature_news.asp?storyID=213.

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

"Fish and visitors stink after three days." - Benjamin Franklin

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