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Robyn's Pond Newsletter April 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?

My last guinea pig, Fritz, died on 3/11/06 as a result of surgery the previous day for a ruptured tumor.

I am still working on the plant subdirectory but have had little time lately. It will be done sometime!

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

1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/bigpondphotos1.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under Spring 2006 are two photos of hair algae in my stream/overflow that I took since I am working on renovating the algae and plant pages.

2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/videos/videos.html -
I finally figured out how to do short videos and after hours of uploading (I have dial up), I got up seven very short videos. One is of my 1800 gallon pond.

Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:

1. On 3/5/06, I just topped off the ponds and collected more leaves. The 1800 gallon pond was at 42 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 41 degrees F.

2. On 3/10/06, I fed the pond fish for the first time this year. It's going to be in the 70's for about a week so they will get fed once a day until it goes cold again. I'm feeding spring food and Cheerios. The fish are going bonkers. You'd think they hadn't eaten in months! (They haven't!) I've had to top off the ponds more now that it's hot all of a sudden. The deer and other animals are drinking down my small ponds.

3. On 3/11/06, my father (who finally fixed the outlet there that broke a year ago) took the de- icer out of the 153 gallon pond citing its waste of electricity. It was in the 70's that weekend but it's supposed to go back to freezing in a few days.

4. On 3/12/06, I squirted off the filter floss and bioballs. The 1800 gallon was at 58 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 54 degrees F. The air temperature was above 70 degrees F. The frogs are up. I saw a pickerel frog in my 1800 gallon pond. I heard and saw a male wood frog in my 50 gallon tub pond. The green frog tadpoles in there (that I couldn't catch last fall) survived the winter since it wasn't much of a winter at all. The cesspool, man-altered vernal pool behind our land is a-chirp with spring peepers.

5. The morning of 3/14/06, the wood frogs were really making a lot of noise. I went over to the 153 gallon pond. There were something like 6-8 of them in there! I even saw an amplexing pair and a pile of eggs already. Since I need to clean that pond in a few weeks, I'll probably move the eggs to my 20 gallon tub pond and then move the tadpoles back to the 153 gallon after cleaning. It's really impossible to sift through newborn wood frogs when cleaning a pond. It may take up to two weeks for the eggs to hatch if it goes cold again as it's supposed to do.

6. My mother told me an interesting story when I got home on 3/14/06. I had hoped to get a short movie of the wood frogs courting and calling but they were all hiding. The winds were gusting to 30 mph. It was no longer summer but horrific outside. Thousands of leaves blanketed the ponds. Anyway, my mother says that that morning, she was looking towards the 153 gallon pond where the half dozen wood frogs were having the time of their lives. Then, in a flash, a red-tailed hawk swooped a foot off the ground, grabbed a wood frog, flew up, and shredded it. I was not happy to hear that. I found three blobs of wood frog eggs in the 153 gallon pond and moved them to the 20 gallon tub pond.

7. On 3/20/06, I just topped off the ponds and collected some leaves. It's cold again. The 1800 gallon pond was at 46 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 47 degrees F. The light was hitting the pond just perfectly to see the fish. I would have taken a photo but the net is always there, making things look ugly. I made a short video and hope to get that linked up. In the sunlight, I was delighted to see two male fathead minnows were swimming and alive. A little later, I saw two females had joined them. I had thought that the fatheads were all gone from that pond and was glad to see I was wrong. They somehow avoided the larger goldfish, koi, and predatory orfe as well as bullfrogs, herons, cats, hawks, raccoons, opossums, skunks, foxes, and other animals who frequent the pond for dinner. I have yet to actually see a skunk but do smell when they've been there. I also haven't actually seen the foxes in the pond but they are always around at night.

8. On 3/26/06, I squirted off the flosses, netted the bottom a little, topped off the ponds, removed some leaves, and so forth. I took the Rubbermaid lid (from a rectangular box) off my circular biofilter and the two lead diver's weights that held it down. I removed the de-icer from the top of the biofilter and the Tetra bird island from the main pond (which the birds couldn't get to anyway due to the net; I just put it there to please my mother who bought the worthless thing). The 1800 gallon was at 47 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 44 degrees F. Hot one week, cold the next! I finally cut some dried terrestrial plants down from around the pond.

With my father's help, we got my 7 gallon lotus pot out of the 1800 gallon pond. Lotus have to be repotted in March. This is my original lotus (all others have perished that I've tried over the years). It must have weighed 80 pounds at least. I pulled tubers out of the top, removed the top rocks to be washed and re-used, used a shovel to dig the gunk out salvaging any tubers I came upon, and dumped the rest down the hill. I got an amazing probably 10 feet of tubers! However, to grow, the tuber must have some roots and a growing tip. I found about 9 growing tips. I drove the new pot to the garden and filled it with dirt, inserting my fertilizer tube near the top (I got a bigger one instead of the little one that was in there). I drove the pot to the edge of the pond and got it out. I laid four tubers with five growing tips into the pot with the tubers as far from the edge as possible which is not easy since they had some length, each being about 6" to a foot long. The growing tips were set up, and I tried to avoid harming them. I washed and returned the larger pea gravel back to the pot. Then, I washed a load of old/used small pea gravel I keep on the porch and a small load of fresh pea gravel to top it all off to be sure the dirt wouldn't come out. I put 5 PondTabbs fertilizer pills down into the feeding tube and shoved four more into the dirt under the gravel. Returning into the pond, I pulled the pot in. Once it's off the rocks, it plummets to the water and splashes. Normally, I pre-wet dirt in a pot when repotting but not in this case due to the weight that would be added. I settled the pot into its spot where it bubbled for quite a while. I've repotted this plant in 1997 when I got it, 2000, 2003, and now 2006 but it hasn't flowered since 1999 I think! I think it's yellow. I put one tuber into my 50 gallon lotus tub pond where the lotus I bought last year had been killed by the deer and dogs. I have a few tubers sitting in a bucket waiting until I think what to do with them. I may just put them into another pot. I also think that there is one other lotus which is most likely dead behind the big old one that I'll have to pull out and check next week. It should be the Chawan Basu that I moved there in October 2004. I don't recall any leaves last year though. I'll have to see if anything's in there.

9. On 3/30/06, I did my yearly cleaning of the 153 gallon pond. I have not had time to write up the story yet but will link to it in the next newsletter. The page will hopefully be up in a week or two and include lots of photos and (if it turned out and isn't too huge a file) a video of the wood frogs calling and swimming in the 153 gallon pond after I cleaned it.

10. On 3/31/06, I found a dead, shriveled up frog that had died because of my killer pond net when the frog got stuck in it.

11. On 4/1/06, we finally got just a very short sprinkle of rain that dried up in a few hours. I put mosquito dunks in my tub ponds. The wood frog tadpoles have started to hatch.

Pond Tidbits:

1. One reader (lost his name!) has what he calls a "Moses Bridge" in his pond. This is an elevated berm or hump (made with dirt under the liner) in the pond that divides it into two parts when the water levels is lowered a little bit. He can herd the fish into one side and then lower the water a little bit to trap them in one side. Then, he can fully clean out that fish-less side of the pond. Once that side is done, he can herd the fish over the hump and into the clean half of the pond. Then, he can clean the other half. This is one way to clean the pond without having to remove the fish or stress them too much. If I had a "Moses Bridge," I might just have been able to clean out my pond or one part of it anyway. My "big" pond is 9-years-old now and has never been cleaned out. I just couldn't handle it myself. I vaguely remember asking the builder's of my pond to put in a berm between the marginal area and the deep end, more to keep the plants and gravel at one end. They shot down my idea of having two flat surfaces with a berm between. Instead, my pond is a slippery slope. All paths lead to the bottom. If only, if only they'd listened.

2. I sometimes have dreams about ponds and such. Usually, it's about them draining dry. Around 1 am 3/16/06, I had a few pond dreams. First, I was looking out at my 1800 gallon pond except it was more like 50,000 gallons with no drop off and no net. There were a pair of pancake-shaped fish which were red in color, one being more orange (female). In my crazy dream, these were a pair of rudd. They were swimming above the water (yes above, hey, it's a dream!) and wiggling together as they spawned. Bright yellow big eggs came out. I was excited to have my rudd spawn. Of course, in reality, I have never even seen a live rudd.

My next dream was a typical panic sort of dream. I got a shipment from my spring pond ordering. After unpacking supplies and live plants, I found two bags of about a dozen goldfish in each, shubunkins and comets. Oh, no I thought in my dream, I forgot I impulse ordered these fish. The fish had missing scales, torn fins, and were generally really sick looking, slowing dying in the bags from high ammonia and low oxygen. Where do I put them? In reality, I would never do such a thing (order goldfish for my overstocked pond or forget I did). The reason I bring this all up is because it made me think about what things anyone might need in an emergency when fish may be thrust upon them from a relative, impulse store buy, or when something goes wrong with a pond, etc. In my dream, I considered the following emergency setups for the dream fish: 2 old kiddie pools (nope, they have holes in them now), 1 new kiddie pool (not so great, only holds 10 gallons), clear plastic storage container (13 gallons, works good for some fish at least), 2 old green Rubbermaid storage tubs (a little bigger but you can't see into them), and a 40-year-old slate-bottomed 20 gallon high tank (last used more than a decade ago and may not even hold water). Then, what to use for aeration and filtration? Luckily, I have half a dozen nearly dead filters and at least one good air pump and 2 to 4 battery air pumps that can be pressed into service in an emergency. Aeration is most important when setting up a quick emergency tank/pond. All such fish containers would have to be netted to keep fish from jumping as the sick ones are even more apt to do. Of course, the dream fish needed treatment: Salt, MelaFix, Maracyn I and II, and maybe more. The dream panicked me when, in today's world, I could just drive to the store and come back with as many containers as I wanted in under an hour anyway.

I never found out what I used in my dream as an animal scream woke me up. Opening the window, the sounds weren't repeated so I don't know if it was a cat, raccoon, opossum, fox, or something else but I could hear the culprit walking in the leaves. The moral of the story is be sure that you have at least two each of non-toxic containers (10+ gallons, kiddie pools, aquariums, plastic storage boxes, etc.), aquarium filters, and air pumps for an emergency and also various medications because you just never know what might happen, in your dream/nightmare.

3. I had another pond dream on 3/27/06. This time my big pond was not outside but in the living room and dining room over the hardwood floor. There was no liner and yet the floor held the water for 9 years. Somehow this made a bowl even though it was flat. It had the same fish that I have outside for the same length of time. Nothing else was in the pond (no plants, tadpoles, algae, pumps, filter, etc.). I was looking at my floor pond and found that the wood was starting to become mushy when I walked on it. Ut oh, the pond was leaking into the basement! I put buckets and such to collect the water dripping into the basement. I then took a net and tried to net the fish out into containers before the entire pond collapsed into the basement. I got all the fish but the fast orfe. When the pond went, leaving just the support beams, the orfe ended up in the basement which was three stories down instead of one. I almost fell down with them. Strange huh! That same night, I dreamt that my dog, Schmoo, who died in January 2005, was in fact in a coma, and he woke up out of it and bit me. I was elated. :-(

Web Sites of Interest:

1. Someone posted this really neat diagram of a koi with all sorts of medical problems to help identify health problems: http://www.waterlife.co.uk/waterlife/chart2.htm

2. This is a site about not releasing fish or aquatic plants into the wild: http://www.habitattitude.net/

3. A story about a robotic koi: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11844165/

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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