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Robyn's Pond Newsletter June 2002

Last Updated: 1/30/14

Introduction and Miscellaneous:

Welcome to my twelfth newsletter. If you have something pond-related that you want to share (information, jokes, web sites, 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?....

I received a copy of the press release for my book that 1stbooks wrote. In it, I came across the word tarn. I had to look it up.

Let me spin you a yarn
about my tarn.
What's a tarn, you say?
You'll learn a word today!
A tarn is a word
that sounds absurd.
But it simply is another way
to say pond!

My pond web site was chosen as a "'Cool site' in the DMOZ Netscape Open Directory Project." I'm not even sure what that is!

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

1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/pictures.htm (altered from the original URL since I moved it)
2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/snails/index.htm (altered from the original URL since I moved it)
3. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/snails/snaill2.htm (altered from the original URL since I moved it)
4. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/breed.htm
5. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/frogs/frogcare.htm [Link later updated for moved frog pages.]

Additions or Changes to Robyn's Pond Web Pages:

1. I added three new snail photos under the snail section. One is trapdoor.jpg of a trapdoor snail, one is ramshorn.jpg of a small black ramshorn snail, and one is snailpile.jpg which is a pile of trapdoor, ramshorn, Melantho, and pond snails. These are all taken on 5/2/02 when I received an order of snails. Melantho snails are a type of pond snail but they look like large trumpet snails to me. In with them were some regular looking pond snails that I didn't order. I put them in the pond anyway since I already have some. My new turtle (Molly) may eat some of these snails. I haven't seen Molly since the day after I put her in!
2. This page had the above snail photos added to it.
3. The same snail photos were added to this page.
4. I added a section entitled "spawning sites and mops for egg scatterers" since someone asked me how to make a spawning mop a while ago.
5. I added a section called "frogs on nets" that I had meant to add months ago after someone asked me about frogs getting stuck on top of leaf nets in the fall.

Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:

1. On 5/5/02, I squirted off the floss and the biothings (they are cylinder shaped) in the Cyprio planter filter. I put in the 20 new submerged plants in three one gallon pots filled with pea gravel in the deep end. By the next morning, the fish had rooted them all out, and they're floating around on the surface. I guess that was a waste of $30! I haven't seen Molly, the painted turtle I put in the pond since 5/3/02. There are a couple of waterlily leaves that are chewed but I'm not positive she did it. She can't hide that well so she must have climbed the rock cliff and left. I hope she found a pond (there are not any close by).

2, On 5/12/02, I cleaned off the flosses of course but also put out two tropical plants. I moved the huge tropical water hibiscus from the 20 gallon basement pond where it was bareroot and potted it into a 7 gallon pot. I potted the four walnut-like tropical water lily tubers into a 5 gallon pot. Two looked mushy but two others had tiny sprouts already so they should live. Everything else in the basement pond (dwarf papyrus, tropical orange canna (I never did get a single flower which is why I bought it!), tropical floaters) died except a few pieces of salvinia which I put outside the next week (they promptly vanished). The thermometer read 72 degrees F. My koi Maggie went after the tropical lily tubers. I only found one and put it back but she's been after it ever since (she thinks it's her personal toy ball). So, I guess all that work was for nothing! Oh well, that's more surface room for the hardy lilies.

3. I bought the following plants from Crystal Palace Perennial and potted them into the pond on 5/18/02: frog fruit, primrose creeper (I had it before; it grew like a weed and then died a few years later), Siberian pink cups, rainbow water celery, and golden buttons. These are all neat plants so I was willing to pay the higher prices. They arrived in excellent condition, maybe the best condition I've ever gotten mail order plants. This was my first order from CPP, and I recommend them for their quality and huge selection of rare aquatic plants. I did my order on-line at http://www.crystalpalaceperennial.com because their phone number is long distance. The on-line system was pretty slow but worth the end result. If I had a lot of plants to order, I would probably call instead. I hope my new plants do well! Over time, I would say about half the plants I buy die within a year while the others thrive.

4. On 5/19/02, I squirted off the floss and the biothings from the Cyprio filter in a kiddie pool. The pond temperature was 64 degrees F. It's been very cold, into the 30's at night.

5. On 5/26/02, I squirted off the flosses and bioballs and fertilized the plants that I could. I am not getting very many lily or iris flowers but there doesn't seem to be a way to get fertilizer to them through the top of the pot. The lilies have lily feeder tubes but when I check them, they're always full of fertilizer which means the lilies haven't been using it. I'm lucky if I get two flowers from each of my red and pink lilies all summer but the yellow, orange, and white lilies put out a few flowers a week. The water temperature was 72 degrees F.

Interesting Animal Sightings:

1. The nest box next to the pond hatched five tufted titmice but one died early. Another egg never hatched. The four titmice grew fast and fledged around 5/20/02. The four (one vanished) bluebirds out front fledged the week before that which is amazing (only the second success in 25 years for them!).

2. This is a non-sighting. For the first time since my pond went in, we have absolutely zero toad tadpoles this year. In 1997, they were the first to use my new pond in early May before I even added fish. In 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001, they laid tons of their black necklace eggs in my 1800 and 153 gallon ponds from mid-April to early May. This year, while two males called in April, the temperatures were all over the place. It was mostly wet and cold. I never saw a single female this year. Usually, there are half a dozen females and a dozen males. I hope they recover from this and return next year. My toad page at http://www.fishpondinfo.com/frogs/toad.htm has helpful information for those of you who do have "toadpoles" this year. I miss them!

Web Sites of Interest:

1. There is a "community" where you can go to trade aquatic plants at http://communities.msn.com/pondplantaquaticplantexchange.

2. While visiting a local wildlife management area, we came across a pair of fishermen. They had some bait fish. They said they were shiners but they sure looked like killies to me. My mother found this article on bait fish that is interesting. If you're into native fish for your aquarium or pond, you might want to check the bait shops! http://www.nanfa.org/net/jfbait.htm.

3. I mentioned this site before but it's worth mentioning again. The site eNature.com which is part of the National Wildlife Federation has an extensive directory of animals including those associated with wetlands and ponds. They cover mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, insects, and more. For example, they have hundreds of color photos of various North American amphibians. Each entry contains a little bit of information too. So, if you have a frog, salamander, turtle, bug or any other aquatic-loving animal you cannot identify, see if you can match a photo to this database. The site has a lot of other neat information as well. I mentioned in a previous newsletter that you can enter your own zip code to find species native to your area. My only complaint is that it is slow to load on my regular modem internet.

4. The goldfish society can be found at http://www.goldfishsociety.org.

5. There is new pond forum used to mount rec.ponds FAQ's at http://pluto.beseen.com/boardroom/v/57618/.

6. See an animated movie with a little bear trying to live among snowmobiles and play a game where you can throw snowballs at them at http://www.npca.org/bear/.

7. The WindStar Wildlife Institute has a web site on wildlife and includes a way to certify your property for wildlife and a free e-mail newsletter that I just joined. The newsletter is about as long as mine and includes useful short articles on wildlife. I may be writing a few pond-related articles for their newsletter. Check out their site at http://www.windstar.org.

What's your favorite pond-related web site(s)?

Do you have a web site you want me to mention here?

Pond Tidbits:

1. There is an article in the 5/7/02 issue of the Enquirer about the oldest known red-eared slider. The turtle was bought as dime-stone turtle in the 60's and is known to be at least 40 years old.

2. Small earthworms make great snacks for goldfish, koi, orfe, and other large fish. While mulching around my 1800 gallon pond, when I found an earthworm, I tossed it in. Within a few seconds, a goldfish would grab it. Sometimes a small goldfish would try and struggle with a large earthworm for a while. Trout worms which are smaller earthworms can be bought at bait shops and aquarium stores to treat the fish on occasion.

3. One disadvantage of a down-flow filter is that if the media becomes nearly or completely clogged, then water will spill out the top and usually away from the pond so that the pond may drain out partially or completely if the pump is on the bottom. Pumps should be elevated off the bottom a little to be sure the pond cannot pump dry by accident. Pipes may leak or break as well so this helps ensure that the fish will have water to swim in should that happen. Down-flow filters should be designed so that if the filter material is clogged, water overflows down a tube back into the pond but I do not know of such a filter. The do-it-yourself ponder can place the down-flow filter into a drip pan such as a large plastic box and angle it towards the pond or into some piping that returns to the pond so the pond cannot pump out. I have up-flow filters. When they clog, the pump may overheat or break free of its connection to the exit tubing. So, either way, be sure to check the filter materials often until a routine is established that predicts when cleaning is needed. Remember that during spawning season or after a pond clean-out, the filter material may clog more than normal.

4. Almost any plant except those that need dry conditions can be grown in a shallow waterfall or stream or pond area. This year like last year, I put an impatien plant in the waterfall stream. An orange pansy self-seeded itself right into the waterfall this year. Lots of weeds, trees, and shrubs sprout in my waterfall area. I often let some grow for a while (more out of a lack of time on my part!), and everything in the waterfall thrives! If you have such an area in your pond (slow waterfall area, stream), try putting in whatever flowers are your favorite and see what happens! I bet you could even grow a vegetable garden hydroponically this way! Hydroponics (growing plants in water with nutrients, bareroot without soil) is big business. In winter, most tomatoes are grown that way. Grab an extra impatien, pansy, petunia, or whatever. Knock off most of the dirt, wash off the rest in a bucket of water or with the garden house, put it into a shallow area of the waterfall/stream area where the water has movement to bring nutrients but is not too fast to wash away the plants, and put a few pieces of pea gravel over the roots to hold it in place.

5. It is common for me to open my Cyprio planter filter in summer and fall and be greeted with a plume of white flying insects. These white flies are midges, and I've gotten a lot of questions about them. They aren't mosquitoes. I've never seen mosquitoes in filters as they don't like moving water and need access to the open air. Midge adults are little flies or what we often incorrectly call gnats. Females lay eggs in the water. Some larvae get sucked into the filter (or should that be a LOT of larvae!) and happily develop there. (If you're wondering why few to none are in the pond, it's because fish and other animals will eat all the ones they can find.) Those are the little wiggling worm-like larvae in most filters. Some species are white and some are red (the bloodworms). After pupation into flies, they just wait for us to open the lid so they can fly into our face. Filters that are open to the air will have a different mix of insects as the females of not only midges but caddisflies and other bug dudes can lay their eggs right into the filter. Caddisfly larvae make homes out of pebbles, sticks, and leaves and travel in moving water with their little houses. Midges and caddisflies are completely harmless to people and all pond animals (there are a few species of biting midges where the adult flies bite but this is a very small percentage of the midges). They make great fish food. There are over 200 species of midges in North America alone. One species, the leaf-mining midge is not beloved by water gardeners as this guy leaves trails in waterlily leaves. Mosquito dunks will kill them. For more on midges, flies, mosquitoes, caddisflies, and other of our insect friends, see http://www.fishpondinfo.com/insects/index.htm.

6. AquaMart now sells filter floss with barley straw integrated into it. I've been using it around my OASE Nautilus 60 pump. It works just as well as the old floss plus it has the benefits of barley. See my pond algae page for more barley straw information including where to buy some at http://www.fishpondinfo.com/plants/barley.htm.

Pond Plant of the Month:

One of my favorite plants that is in bloom from early May until the summer is over is the water forget-me-not. I've found the scientific names of Myosotis scorpoides and Myosotis palustris. I don't know which I have. A photo of my forget-me-not plants flowering last year can be seen at http://www.fishpondinfo.com/photos/ponds/bigpond/forget.jpg along with some grass and clover. I took a new photo on 5/27/02 that is at http://www.fishpondinfo.com/photos/ponds/bigpond/forgetme.jpg that I haven't linked to my web pages yet. My plant started in a one gallon pot and quickly jumped it to fill the shallow overflow basin with blue flowers. I've also picked some and moved it for the top of my Cyprio planter filter (it doesn't do as well there). This plant stays about 3 to 4 inches tall but when flowering, sends up stalks to about 12 inches high. It likes to be just barely wet or up to a few inches. It certainly does best in about 1/4 to half an inch of water. I got my plant from a local pond store but many catalogs carry it. Water forget-me-not is very hardy (sources say down to Zone 3) but may not like to be in hot zones (Zone 9-11). Mine is in water that pretty much freezes solid, and the plant has come back for the four years I've had it. It is planted in pea gravel. The plants in the pea gravel are actually more vigorous than those in the old pot with dirt (I guess I haven't repotted that in a long time)! Water forget-me-not does not like a lot of moving water but will do well in a slower area of a stream. My plants are in a stagnant area. They help to filter out the pond's water and are one of the most beautiful and long-flowering plants in the water garden. I don't have to repot mine but if restrained to a pot, then a repotting should be done every two years.

Vote for the pond plant of the month! Let me know which plants you want me to cover. So as to provide first-hand information, I will only cover species that I have had for more than a year. Whichever plant gets the most votes will be covered in the next newsletter. Would you like me to do an animal of the month too or is this newsletter too darn long? So, how about some input?

"Some days you're the dog, some days you're the hydrant." - Unknown.

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