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Robyn's Pond Newsletter May 2008

Last Updated: 2/6/14

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 paradise fish in my 5 gallon tank died on 4/5/08. I tore down the tank and put it up. After much deliberation, I decided to delve into saltwater tanks for the first time with a 12 gallon nano reef tank. It's strange that I know so much about all sorts of freshwater animals, ponds, and animals but have always been kind of scared of saltwater tanks. On 4/20/08, I ordered a 12 gallon nano cube reef. I set it up on 4/26/08 and added 8 pounds of live sand and 8 gallons of saltwater (that is all a "12 gallon" tank holds I guess!). I put in 11.5 pounds of live rock on 4/27/08. I will keep a running story of what I add at http://www.fishpondinfo.com/marine/myreef.htm

I was answering questions through All Experts for many years and had to stop doing that. I have to give up more and more things I want to do (read, sew, watch TV, go for walks) and that are good for others because of my multiple jobs (chemist, animal servant, maid, yard worker, and e- mail answerer). I'm afraid my web site is over as far as real additions and improvements go. My site would be so great if I were allowed to work on it. I created my web site at my job when work used to be light; now my job has destroyed what it created because I spend 100% of my time at my job doing what they order me to do as I guess it's supposed to be.

Significantly Altered or New Pond Web Pages, Photos, or Videos on Fishpondinfo:

1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/clean5.htm -
I added in the photos and two videos from the 4/1/08 cleaning of the 153 gallon pond.

2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/pictures2.htm -
While I haven't been able to process and link in the 100 some photos piling up in my inbox for the last six months, I did manage to bring over six recently sent photos of a male green frog who is more than half blue. He's gorgeous so I had to share! The photos are under frogs and toads. He also sent a link to a video of the blue green frog which is also there.

3. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/bigpondphotos1.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under Spring 2008 are four new photos of my 1800 gallon pond on 4/13/08, three photos from 4/27/08, and four photos from 4/29/08 when 26 marginals were repotted.

4. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/amphphotos.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under frogs is a photo of a green frog's head poking out of the overflow of the 1800 gallon pond on 4/13/08.

5. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/videos/fishvideos.htm -
I added two videos of the 1800 gallon pond on 4/13/08 before and after I cleaned the filters and tidied up.

New Pages on Pond Showcase:

1. http://www.pondshowcase.com/Erwayretreat/index.shtml -
It's been a long time (10/6/07) since I've had a valid entry with a photo to add so here is Erway's Pond!

Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:

1. On 4/6/08, I squirted off the flosses and did the usual. The 1800 gallon pond was at 52 degrees F and the 153 gallon pond at 53 degrees F. It was too cold for me to feed the fish but the goldfish were spawning! This is the first spawning activity of the year. You would think it was too cold!

I brought out some of the pond and garden dewhickeys. There are many more. I repotted the Chromatella (yellow) waterlily and the Comanche (orange changeable) waterlily into the same 5 gallon pots. I had repotted them last year but, they were in such bad shape, I decided to do them this year. I normally repot lilies every two years. The Chromatella had two good growing tips but the Comanche only had three tiny ones. I mean only an inch long or so! The main tuber was dead. How do you tell if a lily tuber is dead? It was squishy instead of firm. It breaks open easily to show a tan sort of mush that stinks. There were no live leaves or roots on it. I have too other water lilies. The Albata (white) I repotted last year. The fish then removed all the gravel so the tubers were exposed. The Fabiola was last repotted in 2006 and is not in great shape. I hope to repot those two lilies this month.

2. I'm afraid that only two of my three baby orfe are left as I've only been seeing two of them. They're very active. I wonder what happened to the third?

3. The night of 4/10/08 while doing e-mail, I heard the first toads of the year. A couple of males were trilling. We haven't had toad eggs in a few years so I hope we get some. There were no wood frog eggs this year; I only so the one male calling. [Update: The toad boys left; the girls never showed.]

4. The goldfish were really spawning hard the morning of 4/11/08. Debris was everywhere. There was that tell tale smell that the fish are spawning. I'm not sure if it's just released gases from stirring up debris or all the stuff the fish are expelling.

5. On 4/12/08, I tore down my 5 gallon aquarium. I put the floating fern and duckweed in my 20 gallon tub pond with the loose yellow flag iris.

6. On 4/13/08, it was only 55 degrees F outside and windy although most days the week before were warm. The 1800 gallon was at 58 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 59 degrees F. First, I pulled off the full net. I would replace it with the net that only covers the deep end at the end of the pond work. The partial net provides some protection from herons for fish smart enough to go in to the deep end but they are now vulnerable in the shallows. I had to take the net off there so the plants can grow; they were already up in the net. Removing the net also would allow me to mulch as a lot of spare net (off the falls) was in the way. Then, I put out a few more garden and pond ornaments.

Next, I tried to repot some iris that the goldfish had uprooted by just jamming them into a few various pots (that were empty). No matter what I did, the iris wouldn't stay upright. These weren't the yellow flag iris but some of my rarer iris with buds on them even so I hope they make it! My golden club plant was flowering.

Finally, I got to the regular work. I squirted off the flosses and the bioballs. The pond was a mess because the goldfish have been spawning. The waterfall was just a drizzle (I took before and after movies). The basket with the floss around my big pump was so heavy that I barely got it out of the pond (up over a foot high cliff ) even after floating it to the shallows. It took a long time to squirt off all that brown gunk; I almost wanted to just exchange it with new floss. To combat the spawning, I installed the Cyprio filter and got it going. Near where I set it up, I found a poor 4" pickerel frog who had been dead a few weeks. A few live green frogs were out and about the week before (when it was warm). I then did my first mulching of the year for about 1.5 hours putting 3 wheelbarrows of mulch on the south side of the pond. That area is the easiest since it has weed barrier and few plants.

7. I took off work on 4/16/08. Over about 1.5 hours, I repotted my Fabiola (pink although I haven't seen a flower in years!) and Albata (white) waterlilies. Both were growing very well. The Fabiola was the only one with a leaf to the surface. The Albata was severely overgrown, and the tubers completely exposed because the fish had rooted out all the gravel and dirt from the repotting I did a year ago. I repotted the Fabiola in the same 5 gallon pot and retained most of it. There was a 3 gallon pot with Fabiola as well. Those tubers had no active growth, and if they weren't dead, they were nearly so. Since I'm getting two new hardy waterlilies later this month, I decided to just toss those. I cleaned out that pot and two two gallon pots that seemed empty.

The Albata was in a solid mass filling the entire 5 gallon pot, a wider and more shallow version of pot than my other 5 gallons. I had to use a shovel and jump on it to bust it up. I put three good pieces back into the pot. I hate to throw things away so I put the rest in a bucket on the off chance that some pond lover might just happen by (not likely! Update: I tossed them over the hill on 4/29/08). My 3-year-old niece "helped" by playing with the various gravel I used to top off the pots and touching the mud when I wasn't looking.

After repotting the lilies, I mulched cages for 1.5 hours (two loads of mulch in the wheelbarrow) and then mulched around the big pond for 2.5 hours on the south side (three loads but more weeds). My niece again helped by making her own little "sand castle" out of mulch. I asked her if she knew where mulch came from. She said, "Beavers make it!" She said the pile she was making was for the beavers' house. We don't have beavers near here (lucky for my pond I guess but not for them); I don't know where she gets these things! Once I realized she was hopelessly dirty like me, I let her have lots of fun getting dirty (her parents don't allow that so I had to wash her clothes to cover over my poor babysitting skills!). I did have to ask her to stop throwing mulch at me though and stepping on plants. She told me she loved the pond without prompting from me (we were sitting right on the edge of it working). Somehow, that makes it worth it.

8. It was raining on 4/20/08 but I went out during a lull to squirt off the flosses and tidy up a little bit. The 1800 gallon was at 64 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 62 degrees F. I was thinking of making a graph of my temperature readings since I started recording that to see if there was a gradual warming trend but I don't have the time. It would be interesting though.

9. It happens a few times a year. The goldfish have such a spawn fest that the main waterfall drops to just a drip. So, I had to get into the pond on 4/24/08, a Thursday, to remove the filter material and squirt it off. That made the water flow at a drizzle but more than a drip.

10. On 4/27/08, I squirted off the flosses which were all clogged again despite being cleaned three days earlier. I fertilized the iris and two waterlilies that I had repotted first. The other plants will get fertilized when repotted on 4/29/08. Both the 1800 and 153 gallon ponds were at 62 degrees F.

11. I took off 4/29/08 to do something I've never done before. I hired someone to help me repot my marginal pond plants. She was a great help. It was cool (50's) and cloudy but not raining (poured the day before) which was good. In 4.5 hours, we repotted 24 pots (mostly two gallons) and topped off another two pots. Everything in the pond was repotted except for the golden club (in flower), water hawthorne (delicate and about to flower), and four pots of iris (three two gallons and one five gallon I think for the yellow flag iris beast). Those first two were the pots that were topped off. Half a dozen pots removed from the pond appeared to have nothing in them. I had to cut off seven pots because the plants wouldn't come out; six were two gallon pots and one was a three gallon pot I think. It was like musical pots; I don't know what ended up where. My helper also brought me some tropical umbrella palm and dwarf papyrus which went into my basement pond in one gallon pots for now.

These are estimations of what was repotted. A 3 gallon pot of sweetflag to the same pot, three other 2 gallon pots of sweetflag, three 2 gallon pots of variegated sweetflag, one 1 gallon pot for the only snowflakes I found in the variegated sweetflag pot, two lizard tails from two 2 gallon pots to a 2 gallon and a 3 gallon, two hardy cannas from two 2 gallon pots to a 2 gallon and a 3 gallon, one white pickerel into the same 2 gallon, one blue pickerel from one 2 gallon into two 2 gallons, one parrot feather from various locations into one 2 gallon, one arrowhead into the same 2 gallon, two iris the fish had dislodged during spawning into a 2 gallon pot, one zebra rush into another 2 gallon pot, one water plantain into another 2 gallon pot, one regular cattail into another 2 gallon pot, two dwarf cattail pots into two new 2 gallon pots, and a 4 gallon pot with nothing (will have my new lotus if it ever comes). Add in the two pots that were topped off, and I actually get 26! It is hard to keep track of all of that! I probably tossed over the hill plants that could be sold at a pond store for at least $200. I did dig one extra batch of lizard's tail into a wet area of land since I like that plant so much.

I took photos of the pond marginal area before and after but it would have taken too much time to photograph each plant before and after and so on.

12. I got my really huge AquaMart order on 5/1/08 but do not have time to plant any of them until Sunday, 5/4/08, so I will tell you about those in the next newsletter. I called Tricker about my lotus and snails I ordered over a month ago. The boy said, "It's too cold in Maryland for plants yet." Huh? It's 80 degrees F today, and we're talking about a lotus that's supposed to be potted in March or April. Their catalog even says, "only available in March and April." The kid said it won't be shipped until June! By then, lotus should be putting on full growth and shouldn't be replanted. I fear I will end up with another dead lotus!

Pond Tidbits:

1. None this month due to lack of time.

Web Sites of Interest:

1. http://www.aquascapeinc.com/newsletter/pondside_monthly/april08-Water101.php - An article on pond water chemistry.

2. http://s2.invisionfree.com/fishpondinfo/index.php -
I don't know how many of you know about my forum but it's been very active lately with pond lovers.

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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